Director: Yō Moriyama
Japan. 6h 30m ish
This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.
In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)
Director: Sôichi Umezawa.
Starring. Kyôka Takeda , Momoka Sugimoto , Ena Fujita , Kanji Tsuda. Japan. 1h 21m.
I used to be blown away by Japanese horror, going through the Tartan Horror series with much glee as it was miles apart from the slowdown that was occurring with its Western counterpart. with the fresh of breath air that the creepy tales sprung upon me, eventually I started noticing a huge split between genuine Japanese Horror and that fringe area which incorporated their unique humor, gore, body horror and sprays of blood. After a while I let things run their course, on returning I was gobsmacked by the array of mundane items which the Japanese has found a way to make scary! Continue reading Chi o sû nendo / Vampire Clay (2017)
Director:Yoshiaki Kawajiri .
Characters: Master Rai, Rebi Ra, Earth Demon, Mephisto, Rapist, Hag, Yin, Chibi, Water Demon, Genichiro, Rama . Japan. 1h 25m
The makers of this slightly underpowered Anime are responsible for much more adored favourites such as Ninja Scroll (1993) and Wicked City (1987), so it’s got a high standard to live up to. The story is somewhere between Supernatural adventure and a Romantic horror, and at times seems to be a missing link between the two.
Opening mid way through a battle between good and evil, two men, former friends Rebi Ra and short lived hero Genichirou are doing cool battle shit when one hits a limit break and kinda sparks off a huge explosion which opens a gateway to hell and this envelopes the Shinjuku area.(as you do) Cut to the modern day and only a few years after this “event” and the city has been become a no go area. The military had tried to control the nasty creatures that reside there but failed miserably but despite this an underground of people still live in their beloved district. Continue reading Demon City Shinjuku (1988)
Director : Carl Colpaert
Starring : Tony Markes, Rainbow Dolan, Filiz Tully. Japan/Australia. 1h 25m
There is always an element of Love and Hate with this Anime/Live Action mashup, the film will captured my affection many year ago and I still enjoy watching it, while blindingly unaware of it’s origins I just assumed two directors got together to produce this mix of post apocalyptic drama/ baroque mystery, many years later I realised how this project basically butt fucked a precious classic Anime movie and turned it into a Troma movie BUT I still adore it.
So the original Anime is Mamoru Oshii’s 1985 undefinable classic Angel’s Egg, which sees a young girl traverse an abandoned town while nursing a giant egg and entertaining a young soldier, the film dissolves into a biblical darkness that even the director himself can’t really explain. But Carl Colpaert decided to rehash the strong imagery in between new footage filmed in the hot Australian desert and brings new life and meaning to the bizarre original. Continue reading In the Aftermath (Angels Never Sleep) (1988)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Jinpachi Nezu,Mako Hyōdō . Japan . 1h 15m
This avant grade collaboration between Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii is like a waking dream, the film has very little dialogue and what is said is as fragmented as the action within the film. The sparse plot, while linear, doesn’t really suggest a solid straight forward narrative but, but instead has a hazy, “make of it as you will” atmosphere. It’s very easy to sum this up as “Animated Art House” rather than a film with direct meaning and purpose, but it continues to inspire with its unfamiliar themes and dark visuals.
There are two main characters, a young girl who lives in an abandoned building near an abandoned town, a man appears on the shore watching a temple like orb raise from the ocean, and he descends silently into the town. Meanwhile the girl collects her giant egg, an object she protects each day by stuffing it under her dress, and heads into the eerie neo gothic town to scavenge for food and bottles to collect water in. She wanders around looking through windows and only gets startled when the man arrives on a biotechnical tank their silent glare results in the girl running away and the man slowly following after her. Continue reading Tenshi no Tamago / Angel’s Egg (1985)
Director: David Cronenberg
Based on – Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
Starring: Peter Welller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider. Canada, Japan, UK. 1h 55m
This bold, Kafkaesque putrid remake of the legendary novel by William S Burroughs, is possibly as vivid and imaginative as the original book, but if you’ve read the book you’ll realise that no film could ever really be a true adaptation, so the screenplay is a metatextual adaption. Detailing characters and scenes from a complex novel and other works from Burroughs, both fictional and from his journal and the events which lead to the 1951 death of Joan Vollmer, Burroughs’s common law wife. So while it’s not entirely Naked Lunch, it should at least FEEL like Naked lunch and at times it feels a lot like Burroughs but slightly more coherent.
As a surreal autobiographic piece the film follows the life of William Lee, who is basically Burroughs, a bug exterminator who discovers his wife is stealing his insecticide and using it to get high. Lee is arrested and starts hallucinating because of his exposure to the powder. Believing that he’s a secret agent he beings a strange relationship with two handlers, one is a insect typewriter and an alien “Mugwump“. The typewriter assigns him a mission of killing Joan, she’s allegedly an agent of an organization called “Interzone”, Lee dismisses this notion but on returning home he finds Joan having sex with a friend and kills her, inadvertently carrying out the mission, he flees to interzone, a city in North Africa where he spends his time writing reports to his handlers, this slowly becomes the Naked Lunch book and after taking more mind altering drugs and getting a new typewriter, a Clark Nova, this insect stresses that he needs to find Dr Benway by seducing Joan Frost who’s a doppelganger of his dead wife and then things get really weird, and with the addition of a drug that is made from a centipede. Continue reading Naked Lunch (1991)
Director: Osamu Dezaki. Japan . 1h 31m
I’ve never really been swept off my feet by Bond movies, although I did get sweaty palms over some of the wonderful toys and gadgets. But the actual bond character changed with every incarnation and while everyone brought their own twist I couldn’t really find him all that believable. In contrast we have Rambo (stay with me here) Rambo is the toughest man alive (no question about it) a tough hombre who little kids wanted to be when they were all growed up, but then I discovered Riki-O (1991) a amazing invincible tough guy who makes Rambo look like a pussy. In the same vein Golgo 13 makes Bond looks equally pussified. He’s an assassin who is always one step ahead of the game, women falling over themselves willing to die just for one night with him, no shot if ever off and he’s like teflon in hand to hand combat. There really isn’t anyone better than Golgo 13.
With that mighty introduction, what else is left to say? You now have the opportunity to see the toughest man alive do bossanova things.. Get going.
Continue reading ゴルゴ13 / The Professional : Golgo 13 (1983)
Director: Hiroshi Katagiri
Starring: Eva Swan, Sean Sprawling, Katherine Taylor, Simon Philips, Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen. USA/ Japan. 1h 45m
Katagiri’s feature length debut opens up with an embellished biblical quote from Matthew 18:9, but instead of casting your eye into hell fire, the word is changed for Gehenna, this cuts away for a group of natives performing a ritual involved cutting off a mans face and walling him up in a cave.
After the bloodshed, the film cuts to a pristine office, where Morgan (Henriksen) speaks with his daughter about checking out a new spot in Saipan, the family business is tied with tourism and they have acquired a new piece of land which Paulina (Swan) is determined to check out as she’s planning on taking over the family business soon, this is all you’ll see of Henriksen so don’t get your hopes up Henny fans.
Continue reading Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)
Director : Takashi Anno, Tomomi Mochizuki
Writer: Daijiro Morohoshi
Starring : Nozomu Sasaki, Alan Marriott, Mizuho Suzuki. Japan. 1h 40m
When I first started getting in Anime Akira (1988) probably kicked things off for me, and I dug deep in powerful fast pace cyber and horror films. But one film really stood out on a few trailers. Its pale colours, still images and traditional soundtrack make it stand apart from the rest of the 90’s Manga collection.
Having a deep love of folklore and being totally mystified by the demonic creatures in the advert I was sure to get a copy ASAP and i fell in love with animated films all over again, but for very different reasons than before. Continue reading Ankoku Shinwa / Dark Myth (1990)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Based on: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Starring:Tatsuya Fujiwara, Takeshi Kitano, Aki Maeda, , Chiaki Juriyama. Japan. 1h 54m
Battle Royale is Japan’s ultimate dystopian thriller, which follows a group of junior high schoolers who are forced to fight to the death by the Japanese government. due to the ultra violent nature of the film and the age of most of the cast it was met with widespread repulsion and band in excluded from distribution in several countries.
Veteran director fukasaku, at the tender age of 70, managed to put everything we had into this film. and while it’s often not easy to watch, stark, angsty and the incredibly unnerving it still remains an influential genre masterpiece, that takes place in a difficult near future, that we pray is an alternative universe to the one that we’re all comfortable with. Continue reading バトル・ロワイアル (Batoru Rowaiaru) Battle Royale (2000)