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Zatoichi (2003)

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I am not a critic. I am a reviewer.

(It’s a line I’ve nicked off an article Steven Grant (an American comic book writer) once wrote in one of his forums. It being applicable, I thought I’d use it for myself.)

So why the distinction and why now? Well, the thing with being a reviewer is that all I really do is fulfil a consumer role — I basically recommend whether something is worth seeing or not. I’m not really … (read more)

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Taboo (Gohatto) (1999)

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There are two main reasons you might want to watch Taboo:

  • You enjoy watching some sword-wielding samurai action;
  • You like looking at beautiful young Japanese men.
  • On both those counts, Taboo is bound to satisfy. The samurai swordplay has the plenitude of droopy pants, flashing blades, and stern-faced shouting that one requires of a samurai flick, while the two young leads are, and I shall put it mildly in order not to be confined to quarters for a week, … (read more)

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    Kikujiro (2000)

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    The first thing I should say about Kikujiro is that there’s no unsanctioned chopstick use. No guns. No knives. Not even a stick with a nail in it, although Beat Takeshi’s character cops, or delivers, the odd kicking.

    No, this film is an atypical one for director Takeshi, and deliberately so: he sought to make a film that defied the stereotype for Beat Takeshi films. It does, however, bear the director’s stamp: in the same way as a Greenaway or … (read more)

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