Like a rare and obscure borja wine, the history of Yoshihiko Matsui’s film making is sporadic but filled with really unusual gems, with themes of suicide, the understanding of love blended with cannibalism and genuine strange behavior you’ll always know who you”re watching and often question why you’re still watching. For me this unreal expression is one of the blessings of cinema, seeing something genuinely new that is al altered, heightened sense of the world around you. At times you’ll almost be able to feel Matsui’s message through the combination of imagery, a feeling of an idea that doesn’t need language for expression, or you might be left scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on.
Director: Sam Firstenberg Starring:Mark Dacascos, David Bradley, Valerie TRapp, Rex Ryon, John Fujioka. USA. 1h 34m
This movie arrived during the height of the American cinematic takeover of the eastern martial arts. For many years Hong Kong cinema had released a number of powerful Kung Fu movies, winning over the hearts of millions if not billions of die-hard fans, with such prestigious names as the Shaw Brothers, Wu-Tang, and the Iconic labels such as Golden Harvest, a non-stop line of some of the best and most questionable martial arts movies have been released reaching cult classic limits.
Somehow during the late 80s early 90s the American market started the whole new basket of shenanigans, attempting to suggest that some of the the top of the range martial artists were in fact American born, initially this kicked off with a number of American ninja movies, and this delightful side step into the world of the Samurai features a number of faces that were normally seen as ninjas.
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.
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)→
After the raging success of Yojimbo, Akira Kurosawa, adapted Hibi Heian, to incorporate the lead character and developed Sanjuro. A sort of pseudo sequel, while carrying on all of the comedy antics from Yojimbo, this film only has one classic full on Samurai scene and it’s very end, but it’s generally entertaining throughout, if only a little off key from the original.
A group of young Samurai, gather together the temple to discuss the Lord Chamberlain who they believe is corrupt, one of them tells the superintendent and he agrees to intervene and meet the secretly at the Shrine to discuss the problem. A Ronin (Mifune) emerges from another room where he’s been resting, overhearing the Summarise discussing their plan, he suggests that it’s the Chamberlain who is corrupted, they feel insulted by his claims but soon find themselves surrounded by the superintendent men proving that in fact the Ronin was correct. He persuades the men to hide while he goes out at face the superintendent Men full on, in this altercation he manages to save the young gullible Samurai, a manager’s to win rust on both sides.Continue reading Sanjuro (1962)→
Totally one of those nights where I got totally bummed out from the first movie that I had to make up the rest of the night by watching some awesome movies to make up for it.. So low and behold the shitness that is….
*The Bigfoot Project (2017) –I adore bigfoot movies, books, documentaries and even those creepy videos on YouTube, so seeking this mockery was a huge disappointment. But I just about managed to sit through it…A group of amateur filmmakers embark on a tour of some backwoods in Georgia (even though it was filmed in California) in search of Bigfoot. Everything that could go wrong does, and the lame collegehumor requires more than a couple of blunts in order to really be appreciated. It’s hard to distinguish the difference between a tree and actor for most of the film and there is a long enough pause after each “gag” in order to the audience to process the joke. It’s filmed as mockumentary, and it feels largely ad libbed, the improv is often ballsed up but the camera work is on point. I was so exhausted by the end of the film I can’t even remember if they found proof of Bigfoot or Bigfeet existence, and I won’t be re watching to find out.
Lone Wolf and Cub – Episode 3 and 4 (1972) – My mother is a huge fan of Asian Cinema, and one of the films I was restricted from until I was about 9… was the legendary Shogun Assassin, she thought it was a bit too much for me as she managed to wrangle an amazing (nearly) uncut version, I fell in love with the film from the first viewing but the film seemed a bit odd, after some research I found out that there are many more movies. We both instantly fell in love with ALL the films and it’s become a bit of a family tradition to watch them all around the Christmas Holiday season. Although after years of watching 1-2 I rarely watch them now, I usually start with the 3rd movie and carry on which was going to be the attempt tonight to try and erase the Bigfoot Tragedy from my mind.
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades – this should have been titled Baby Cart in a Brothel.. They don’t actually enter a brothel but they do have to save a girl who’s being sold into the business. Along with a massive battle against Ninja’s these two amazing gents really know how to show a girl a good time. The amount of killings in each film is probably on the verge of a world record, Shogun Assassin I think still has the No.1 spot for the most kills in a movie.I know Ogami Itto has the most kills for his character as the lone wolf and no one better try and take that from him.. Goddam I love Samurai’s.
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril – This episode is one of my favourites as there is a grown ass man who is afraid of a little boy, like petrified of a small kid with a stick. There is also a female assassin with tattoos on her boobs to distract people, she reminds me of me… But still it’s a detailed and brutal journey for the peaceful family as they have to fight for their survival yet again and against a new foe from the past. There is so much honour and love in these movies, but what sets this one apart is that the cub starts to really come into this own and shows signs of taking on the Samurai code himself.
Another addition of horror so soon! Yep I’m on a roll, and I found three more interesting horrors.
Director : ??? France. 2014 Duration: 3.46 Starting with some bleeding steps and flashing pictures of all those scary faces that usually make up the title of any modern Creepypasta, this short remains totally “typical” it soon cuts to the usual home alone with a mobile phone scene that 90% of all horror shorts seem to be exhausting these days, until the young man notices his front door open, after closing it, strange noises come from the bottom of the dark stairs ,and on investigating the lights go out… It’s spooky in a sense but not gripping or scary in the least, Rating: 1/10
Director : Kantom Chantom and Pattakit. Thailand. 2015 Duration: 2.32 Just from the title I kinda guessed the ending of this short, and even if it is predictable and the end result is a bit tacky, without trying to give too much away, it looks like it’s been edited on Paint, but the jumpscare was done well and actually worked on me! So despite the dullness of this I have to give it some credit for the excellent editing. Rating:4/10
Playing with the devil
Director : Nick Stentzel. Starring : Rachel Frain, Balerie Trevherz, Jessica Hadlock USA. 2014 Based on a Japanese Ritual Hitori Kakurenbo, (One Man Tag) and using characters from the Screenplay “LETTERS” Written Damon Peoples. Duration: 7.09 First off I was confused and put off by all of the fucking rules, not really knowing what the Ritual entails and only getting little bits of information constantly throughout was off putting, maybe I should have read up about it first, but to make something like this accessible i think a lot more could have been done to educate the viewer but don’t let this distract you as it’s still an awesome horror short, that does actually have a few frights. Three sisters decide to partake in this ritual and until things go terribly wrong and the movie soon turns into a rollercoaster of unsettling frights. The acting from the three young ladies is faultless and it the quality of the film itself is sound. I just felt that every few seconds a new rule was being introduced and I was left confused wondering why anyone would want to play this “game” but it does it’s job I am unnerved, well done. I was expecting it to turn into that early scene in Cabin in the woods (2011), where the kids are exorcising the witch but… well you’ll have to spare a few minutes to check it out. Rating: 6/10
Director/Writer: Yoshiaki Kawajiri Based on: Makai Tensho by Futaro Yamada Starring: Koichi Yamadera, Emi Shinohara, Daisuke Gori, Kareshi Aono. Japan. 1h 34m.
I can’t believe this is my first Manga installment on the blog, but I have to start somewhere and I would have believed it would be with Akira (1988) or something cyber as that was always my main attraction to Japanese animation and Akira literally blew my away for years I was sketching scenes, trading cards and obsessing over rebuilding Tokyo.. but eventually I got into some other genres and then left it all behind when it became tooooooo computerised and cute, and err popular.. Hipster am I yes.Continue reading Ninja Scroll (1993)→