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Imprint (2005)

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I had a difficult time reviewing this one. Why? For starters, writer’s block. The words didn’t come to mind to properly describe the experience easily. Secondly it is a little bit unconventional in that it’s not actually a film from our neighbors from the north. It’s an episode of a cable television series, from the USA — the Masters of Horror series. So why is there a review being written for it? This question brings me to the hardest thing … (read more)

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The Bird People in China (1998)

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I’d like to be able to start this review off by saying that, on the surface at least, The Bird People in China is a bit like a road movie, Miike-style. Unfortunately that would be somewhat less than true because, actually, it’s a little more like a road movie Kitano-style. Takashi Miike – best known for films both creepy and extreme – turns his hand to a subject a little more intimate than blood and guts; heart and soul, … (read more)

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The City of Lost Souls (2000)

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The camera hovers beneath the water of a toilet in which two recently curled out hot ones are still floating. Through the, ahh, murk, we watch as a man is quickly dispatched by a Yakuza killer for hire.

Nice one. Welcome to the maniacal world of Miike, to whom the phrase ‘inventive camera angles’ barely does any kind of justice. And let’s not get started on weird plot twists and oddball scenarios.

OK, let’s. We get murderous games of ping … (read more)

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Three… Extremes (2004)

Three… Extremes is both an obscure and a completely appropriate title for this cross-cultural horror film anthology. Obscure because, as titles go, usually you can kind of work out what you’ll be watching or at least the genre it’s going to be presented in, just from the title. This title, however, doesn’t give away a lot up front. I mean, what’s with the ellipsis? Three dot dot dot Extremes. Yeah okay. Clever way to label it a sequel to Three(read more)

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The Great Yokai War (2005)

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There’s a little folklore everywhere you look, especially in Japan, and Takashi Miike, in his charming, slightly left of centre way, has perhaps never looked so closely nor with such relatively gentle nostalgia, at this traditional source of fear.

The Great Youkai War is of course a children’s film, so gentle is a more appropriate term to use than you might have expected from this director, although he does get in a few subtle hair raisers. Mainly, it’s a standard … (read more)

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Rainy Dog (1997)

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Undeniably serious, Rainy Dog has a lot going for it, least of all it’s slightly Kitano-like approach made recognizably Takashi by the distinct absence of quirkiness that Kitano manages so well in favor of a darker, more realistic humor. Not that it’s a funny film, and indeed could even be thought of as difficult to watch at times, but ultimately it is a somewhat direct, touching take on the heroic bloodshed film yakuza style.

Rather than cool and successful, hitman … (read more)

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One Missed Call (2003)

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I can imagine director Miike lecturing a group of open-mouthed students: “Just because a film has a supernatural evil killing people in grisly (and gristly) ways, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.” And this is, both grisly (and gristly) and fun.

The central theme of this film is the cell phone warnings of impending death, which comprise a message, from the doomed to themselves, containing their last words. Now I don’t know about you, but if I received a message … (read more)

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Fudoh – The New Generation (1996)

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There was a time that the name of Miike had been unheard before these ears and his films unseen before these eyes. But yeah, that moment of enlightenment came upon me and I was awoken.

The opening sequence of Dead or Alive was just mind blowing and, while the rest of the film was less ground breaking, there was enough sensationalism and gratuity to keep me hooked. The fact that this was a double bill, with its sequel following right … (read more)

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