Blog Archives

Lupin III (2014)

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Art thief adventure series Lupin III and frenetic cult director Ryuhei Kitamura (Godzilla: Final WarsVersus) seems like it could be a match made in heaven. Kitamura is known for his energetic, reality defying, somewhat gaggy but exceedingly enjoyable action movies, and Lupin is known for his energetic, law-enforcement defying, seemingly impossible but somehow charming art heists. The combination in this 2014 live action movie makes for a moderately fun crime thriller that is never too serious … (read more)

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014)

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We’ve probably had this conversation before — the pros and cons of the Live Action Film. When they’re done well, they enhance the source and become another aspect of effective cross-stream marketing that people are happy to pay to see. They win new fans and invigorate the existing ones. But let’s not kid ourselves thinking that any company sinks millions of dollars (or yen in this case) into a film better known in anime or manga out of their sense … (read more)

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Villon’s Wife (2009)

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”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Otani (Asano Tadanobu) does not know what love is, but his wife Sachi (Matsu Takako) certainly does. He is a talented writer, but … (read more)

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The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones (2009)

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Movies about mountain climbing are usually epic tales of human survival, and The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones is another fine example of this genre. We live in an era when every peak of every mountain has been conquered, but it is not uncommon for even today’s mountain climbers to run into trouble during their expeditions, despite having available to them sophisticated equipment, greater understanding about the human body’s functioning at high altitudes, and knowledge passed on by previous generations … (read more)

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Survive Style 5+ (2004)

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Survive Style 5+ is one crazy movie. Containing some of the strangest ideas ever put on film, it really offers quite a wild ride. How much you enjoy the ride though will depend on whether you can accept the many bizarre plots, wacky characters and at times a lack of logic. Yes, it is very weird, but if you are prepared to put to sleep those parts of your brains responsible for logical thinking, you will be in for one … (read more)

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Mongol (2007)

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Flawed but magnificent, Mongol, by Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov, is a film of truly epic proportions. From the sprawling canvas of scenery shot in some of the most remote parts of China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, to the mythos of one of the most feared men in human history, this film paints both an elusive and visceral personal portrait.

There probably aren’t many people even today who have never heard the name Genghis Khan, and as a success story, this … (read more)

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Invisible Waves (2005)

The second collaboration between Pen-ek Ratanaruang, cinematographer Chris Doyle, script writer Prabda Yoon and actor Tadanobu Asano after Last Life in the Universe is in my opinion an even better work, regardless of its technical faults, jarring changes in plot direction and stilted performances.

Simply as an extremely raw mood piece with astonishingly drawn out sequences devoid of elaborate fantasy, Invisible Waves was for me thoroughly captivating. When I think of it now, some months after viewing it for the … (read more)

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Electric Dragon 80,000V (2001)

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Common sense dictates that any film featuring the line “He conducts electricity! He talks to reptiles! He’s the man!” is bound to be good. But there are certain elements that separate the good from the great, and director Ishii Sogo has brought them all to Electric Dragon 80000V. Tadanobu Asano looking for lizards in the back streets and sewers of Tokyo? Masatoshi Nagase as the coolest half-deity assassin you’ve ever seen? A soundtrack so loud that it could turn … (read more)

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