Blog Archives

Kanikosen (2009)

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Given the current socio-economic climate in Japan and the industry’s ability to push a film from conception to release much quicker than their Hollywood counterparts, it’s no shock to discover that proletarian writer Kobayashi Takiji’s pre-Second World War agitprop novel has gained some new traction. Kanikosen – literally The Crab Cannery Boat – is the best-known work by the writer who died in police custody, and the story’s fundamental anti-capitalist diatribe has an eerie relevancy that’s difficult not to empathise … (read more)

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Hard Luck Hero (2003)

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The synopsis basically describes the whole movie, apart from the fact that this film was apparently intended as a short, music video-style, offering. Well, like Topsy, it grew.

Not much can be said about it. If you like V6, as did the screaming hordes of girly-fans at the premiere I attended, then you’ll find it rivetting. If you like lots of fast car action, you might like it as well. It’s not the best of Sabu’s work: there’s a near-repetition … (read more)

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Hold Up Down (2006)

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One of the most popular boy bands in Japan working with Sabu, one of the hottest directors: what could go wrong?

Thankfully, not much, as we see. Sabu’s talent makes a meal of what could have been a simple bank-heist-gone-wrong story, and the six members of V6 apply themselves with much energy and verve to characters that don’t tax their skills unduly. There’s car chases, almost compulsory in a Sabu film. There’s sudden unexpected lurve, that pops up at the … (read more)

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Drive (2002)

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Sabu deserves to be much more famous than he is: he’s a master of coincidence comedy, he has a soft spot for the underdog, and his storylines go where no storyline has gone before.

We’re introduced to our uptight hero straight up, via his doctor explaining the cause of his headaches. Yet another Sabu salaryman, whose parents suicided and left him, whose job is unfulfilling, and whose personal life is non-existent, is the victim of tension headaches. No, really? His … (read more)

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Monday (2000)

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What can you say about a film that starts with a funeral? Well, almost starts with a funeral: our hero (an unassuming salaryman) wakes up in a hotel room, discovers that it’s Monday instead of the Saturday he was expecting, and tries to remember his weekend.

While this might be a familiar experience for some of you, what he gradually pieces together of his action-packed 60 hours would not be familiar. It starts with the funeral, at which, in the … (read more)

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