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Blood of Wolves (2018)

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You only have to do a little digging to come to the understanding that the origins and history of the yakuza aren’t necessarily written in stone. Sources conflict about how they began – as ronin or samurai family retainers, or special police formed to fight organised crime – but most sources can agree that regardless of where they started, their main characteristics involved crime, violence, and their own specific set of codes and rules.

Blood of Wolves maintains this essence … (read more)

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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno & The Legend Ends (2014)

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I’ll be upfront with you; I’m not going to review Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends separately. Considering how close together their theatrical releases in Japan were, it could be argued they’re just one film with about a month long intermission (if you’re old enough to remember those). Also considering the cliff-hanger Kyoto Inferno ends on ­Empire Strikes Back style I’d also run a much bigger risk of spoiling far too many things if I … (read more)

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The Brain Man (2013)

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It’s been a while since I last saw a film coming out of Japan that I have found truly inventive, truly exciting and truly satisfying. Perhaps not since Love Exposure, the 4-hour masterpiece from Sion Sono, way back in 2008. So I can’t express how grateful I am to the Japanese Film Festival for the opportunity to see The Brain Man, the latest film from Tomoyuki Takimoto, director of JFF 2011’s crowd favourite Star Watching Dog.

Any … (read more)

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Rurouni Kenshin (2012)

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Rurouni Kenshin Madman DVD cover

I hate spoilers. I am a massive spoiler-free zone. I’ve been burned too many times by sexy trailers and the internet rumor mill, where the film itself turned out to be so much less than promised. So what I let myself know about something amounts to the title, maybe who’s in it, and what the poster looks like. It might sound completely illogical, but that’s what I base my omg yay levels on, and when I saw the poster for … (read more)

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Goemon (2009)

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Over the past few years, the Japanese Film Festival has emerged as one of the best film festivals for Asian film lovers across Australia. Goemon was the fifth and last film that I saw at the 2009 Festival, and I continued to be impressed by the variety and quality of films showcased. Many of you would have read my short reviews of some of those films, and here I want to share with you my thoughts on Goemon.

Goemon … (read more)

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Another Heaven (2000)

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If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of the skull looks like, then this is the film for you. Likewise if you’re looking for several new recipes with which to nauseate your friends.

This little-known gem of Japanese serial killer cinema starts with a murder scene, crawling with cops. When the morgue attendants arrive, with the senior saying “Oh, the corpse doesn’t look as gruesome as some. It’s my trainee’s first day” you know that both you and the trainee … (read more)

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