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Japanese Movies

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I've recently watched "Departures", a film based on a memoir by Shinmon Aoki called "Coffinman". It's about traditional Japanese ritual morticians called "nokanshi" and covers the story of a young man who used to be a cellist but returns to his hometown along with his wife after his career fails and becomes a "nokanshi" by accident XD. The job of dealing with dead bodies is usually considered impure and it's not well seen even in these modern times. But the movie brings out the beauty and the art behind this ritual and tries to change this old perception. I really loved this one. It was recommended by one of my Japanese literature professors as her all time favorite movie, so I had to watch it. I am very soft so I cried during the whole movie because it's just so beautiful and the background music is composed by Joe Hisashi, who wrote most of the soundtrack for Miyazaki's creations and I think his music is what helped with triggering some tears from me XD. Overall I really love this movie, can't watch it again because of my weak and fragile soul, but it's very beautiful.

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I know Daremo Shiranai has been mentioned a few times already but I am a big fan of Koreeda's work and will happily plug anything from After Life onwards. After Life is about people who have died and before they can truly pass on, they have to recreate one single memory to be played out eternally in their minds. It's a funny and poignantly beautiful meta-film, with lots of scenes that have stuck with me for years. And his more recent works, like Still Walking, are simply masterpiece studies of the everyday, almost Ozu-like in its rhythm and sparkling energy.

 

I also recommend checking out the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I attended for a few years and every year they have an excellent choice of films (that are not always mainstream) but well worth watching. http://www.jpf-film.org.uk/

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Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue

Another japanese arthouse №4684, which uses the standard scheme with a couple of "no-such-as-all" characters and the imposition of their boring world. Surprises the presence (suddenly!) Of Christian overtones. The next confrontation of non-standard characters and local romance frankly failed.

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Batman Ninja - I've been really looking forward to this, and daaaayum, this did not disappoint at all. Like Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which up until this point is the best Batman film ever, this is set in an alternative universe so to speak. Batman goes anime, and Batman and friends (Alfred, Catwoman, The Joker, Gorilla Grodd, Bane, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, Deathstroke, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and Penguin) are all sent back in time to Japan during its Edo period.  Now unlike Gotham by Gaslight, this isn't driven by a deep, complex plot and characters with an immense depth or anything, it's driven by fun characters and over the top happenings. This is Batman, but it's so over the top, weird, crazy and super Japanese that it's hard not to be entertained.

 

It's anime alright, and it's got a classic anime feeling to it. It's got a lot of over the top and crazy moments, with clear kaiju influences and hell, dare I even say moments of Power Rangers tribute? I don't know, but there was a moment when I thought about Godzilla and similar films, in the next I was thinking about Power Rangers for quite an obvious reason. Another thing that I really liked was the character designs both for our classic heroes and villains, but also for the ninja and samurai that appears. Original, unique and interesting. 

 

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Evil Dead Trap - Rewatched this sleazy masterpiece yesterday and this is still one of the best Japanese films ever. Evil Dead Trap is a dark, gritty, bloody, brutal and sleazy slasher with a proper Japanese twist to it. The plot itself isn't very original and it takes influences from other films, but the set pieces, imaginative death scenes and complete weirdness of it all makes it into a really unique film.

 

There's also certain nods to classic films like Evil Dead, Alien, Un chien andalou and most notable Suspiria, the latter mostly in form of the soundtrack which is absolutely brilliant. But there's also a few visual nods towards Suspiria and Dario Argento.

 

I wonder if I can get the soundtrack on vinyl, because Kira Tomohiko did such a good job here. With influences from Goblin and John Carpenter he creates something nice, mystic and mezmerizing. Need this shit!

 

 

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Has anyone seen Ayashiki bungô kaidan / Kaidan Horror Classics? A four-episode mini-series with episodes that range from 33 to 48 minutes. I've seen it be described as a slow-paced horror-drama, very much inspired by 60's Japanese horror films. Sounds so good and interesting. The four directors are Masayuki Ochiai (Saimin, Kansen), Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Hiruko The Goblin, Tokyo Fist), Lee Sang-il (Unforgiven, Akunin) and Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking, Like Father, Like Son).

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^sounds pretty interesting and a good selection of directors too. i'll have to check it out sometime.

 

On 1/21/2018 at 5:23 PM, JimHarper said:

If you enjoyed Confessions, you should check out the other films based on that author's works: The Snow White Murder Case, a slightly more light-hearted murder mystery, and Penance, a six-hour mini-series directed by horror legend Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It's long and involved but one of the director's best works of recent years, and well worth seeing.

super late reply!! i haven't been checking this topic much lol.....

thanks for the recs, i will be sure to check them out! i've really grown to like kiyoshi kurasawa's works and am quite interested in penance~ hearing that it's based off a novel by the same author who wrote confessions makes me even more interested.

 

i most recently watched Tag by Sion Sono. first of all i didn't realize it was a Siono Sono movie and i remember seeing posters of it everywhere when i was in japan back in 2015. i've seen several clips/gifs of it around the web and always that it was some really mediocre core movie that was all about the gore. but after watching it through i can say that it was not a bad movie at all. you just have to get past the poorly cg'd and over-the-top gore, although it's there for the comedy. the first half seemed ridiculous and absurd (so many panty shots too) but once you get deeper into the movie the mood becomes drastically dark, giving you an awful feeling that most sion sono's films do. i was really impressed by that ending and especially when "The Land Between Tides / Glory" by Mono started playing (one of my faves by them). certainly not sion sono's best work but still good.

Edited by plastic_rainbow

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Love Exposure was fucking good, damn. i keep thinking about how good it was and am re-watching some of my favorite scenes.

the film had everything from action, romance, comedy, to religious cults, and all that wacked up shit. it had me smiling, laughing, feeling nervous about the outcomes, and crying in one scene. just absolutely perfect, i really felt for these characters. also, miss scorpion is probably my favorite.

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One Cut of the Dead - This low-budget, Japanese horror-comedy is the type of film that'll make every other director who've ventured into the sub-genre over the past 25-30 years to feel truly ashamed that they were nowhere near as creative, fun, innovativ, original, charming and fucking awesome as this. Made on a budget of something like $25000 with a cast of mostly inexperienced and new faces it shows what you can do with creativity, a cool but simple vision and will.

 

This is everything you could ever want from a horror comedy imo. Adds so much freshness into a sub-genre that's been pretty stale for a long time, and makes one of the most unique and original horror movies ever. Hands down a fucking masterpiece! Charming, funny, original, unique. Laughed out loud so many times, and I don't always do that when I sit along and watch movies with my midday coffee. Brilliant!

 

Btw, the details. Holy fucking christ is this movie detailed. Like, HOLY motherfucking FUCK is it detailed. Stunning!

 

 

That 37 minute long one take opening was breathtaking, and the path it took from there on and until the end was genius.

Edited by Bear

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^ I just watched this with a friend, expecting it to be a zombie movie, or at least some kind of horror-comedy hybrid...... but we found that it was just a regular goofy comedy (with the topic of horror/zombie movies ofc). Still, I thought it was hilarious and very well-done. :D Great stuff!

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I really enjoyed All about Lily Chou-Chou. The mood overall is really oppressive, even though you don‘t seem to know why. And the soundtrack is cool, too. Not much words spoken, lots of silence. I enjoyed it.

 

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