Japanese cult cinema thread

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 20 Apr 2013, 08:37

Finally! Nikkatsu releasing Velvet Hustler (Like a Shooting Star / Kurenai no nagareboshi) (1967) on dvd 2013/08/02. Cruel Gun Story (1964, also available on Criterion dvd) and Again (1984) which would appear to be a documentary film, come out the same day

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Velvet Hustler
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=882959
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160439

Again
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=882958

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 23 Apr 2013, 12:43

Marshall wrote:Hmm. Hmmmmmmmm....

Edit: OK, ordered both. Thanks for the tip.


Let us know more when you've watched them. Especially the Reiko Ike film... how does it compare to her Toei films?

(the shitty thing about these new Nikkatsu releases is that they're sale-only. Even though I live in Japan, I'm in no better position to see them as they're not available for rental, and with all the school fees I can't invest much on dvds these days)

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Marshall » 24 Apr 2013, 01:37

Well, I finally got a shipping notification on the 14th, so perhaps someday I will be able to chime in.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Marshall » 30 Apr 2013, 02:45

Got those two Nikkatsu titles today. SUPER GUN LADY is a hoot. I spot-checked the other one ("VIOLENCE SWEEPER?") and it looked boring but then I watched the trailer and oh boy. Looking forward to checking that out for real.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 30 Apr 2013, 12:13

Thanks. Let us know more later, please.

Anyway, dropped by in my favorite movie theater last weeked for Etsuko Shihomi retro. Tokyo's Laputa Asagaya. A lovely small theater running nothing but retrospectives. Morning and afternoon slots are filled with more or less respectable 50's/60's stuff, and the evening slot is dedicated to Toei karate/pinky violence/yakuza/etc. stuff. This week they were playing Blind Beast (Yasuzo Masumura retro), A Certain Killer (Raizo Ichikawa's Daiei Noir) and 13 Steps of Maki (Shihomi retro)

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Loved Maki! A non-stop karate show built on pinky violence grounds. Tons of action and essentially every female character's shirt ripped off (except for Shihomi's). One of Shihomi's best films alongside Sister Street Fighter and Dragon Princess. Toei has no excuse not to release this on dvd. The 35mm print is near flawless (a few bits of dirt removed, and maybe slight color correction for a couple of scenes, and it will look pristine).

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Marshall » 30 Apr 2013, 13:11

Sounds like a winner.

That Reiko Ike film turned out to be fun. Short and sweet--about 72 minutes in the Nikkatsu tradition. Mostly her as an unstoppable killing machine mowing down bad guys with "martial arts." Lots of gougings--throat, crotch, eyes. Some trampoline flips. Her garish 70s outfits contributed significantly.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 02 May 2013, 09:56

Toei will release two Ken Takakura films in September

高度七〇〇〇米 恐怖の四時間 (Kôdo nanasen metoru): kyôfu no yojikan (1959)
Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi
Cast: Ken Takakura, Tatsuo Umemiya
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=883663
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316144/

いれずみ突撃隊 (Irezumi totsugekitai) (1964)
Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Ken Takakura, Yôko Mihara
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=883664
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142407

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 07 Jun 2013, 12:59

Kick ass news! In October Toei will release three Tomisaburo Wakayama chanbara action films. Don't expect subs, of course.

賞金稼ぎ (Shokin kasegi) (Killer's Mission) (1969)
Director: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Yumiko Nogawa, Bin Amatsu, Goro Mutsumi
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189089/
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=890572

五人の賞金稼ぎ (Gonin no shokin kasegi) (The Fort of Death) (1969)
Director: Eiichi Kudo
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Kanjuro Arashi, Goro Ibuki, Asao Koike
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187080
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=890573

賞金首 一瞬八人斬り (Shokin kubi: Isshun hachinin giri) (1972)
Director: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Shigeru Amachi, Maki Kawamura, Minoru Ooki
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=890574

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Shokin kubi: Isshun hachinin giri still and poster

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Killer's Mission is also available on dvd from Germany, but the release is unsatisfactory: the cut German print is presented only with a German dub, while the Japanese print is cropped to 1.78:1 and is a composite with some scenes taken from VHS. From Toei we can certainly expect uncut version in original (2.35:1) aspect ratio.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 07 Jul 2013, 19:24

Artworks for the Toei Tomisaburo Wakayama dvds:

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 30 Aug 2013, 10:43

Shochiku will release Karate Wars (Karate daisenso) (1978) on DVD in Japan 2013/11/26

Director: Hideo Nanbu
Cast: Hisao Maki, Darm Dasakorn, Chen Yao-Lin, Nobuo Kaneko, Toru Abe
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=900055

Description from Outcast Cinema:

"Karate Wars, aka Karate daisenso, on the other hand, is a bit more of a known quantity. Directed by Hideo Nanbu, it's an entertaining martial arts vehicle for the multi-hyphenate and semi-notorious celebrity Hisao Maki (above). Maki-sensei was a disciple of the famous kyokushin karate master Masutatsu Oyama, also a teacher of Sonny Chiba and the subject of films like Karate Bullfighter and Karate for Life (which Maki had a hand in producing, I believe). His older brother Ikki Kajiwara (who died in 1987) was an incredibly prolific manga writer, and creator of many well-known sports manga series, like Ashita no Joe, Tiger Mask, and others. Maki himself is also a screenwriter and a frequent collaborator with director Takashi Miike, having produced or written films like the Bodyguard Kiba series, the Family series, Big Bang Love, Waru, and others. And, they say, he's got affiliations with a certain underworld society famous in Japan for missing fingers.

Well, back in the late 70s, Karate Wars was produced at Shochiku by Kajiwara, apparently on a very low budget, as a vehicle for his younger brother to show off his martial arts skills. It's an entertaining film, basically following the stoic Maki as he travels from Japan to Hong Kong and Thailand in order to show the superiority of Japanese karate to those countries' native martial arts. There are lots of real martial arts fights, a bit of filler romance and intrigue, and popular Toei villain Nobuo Kaneko even appears as a slimy corporate type. I've only seen the (poorly) dubbed version, but rest assured that the eventual BCI disc will feature the original Japanese soundtrack (and hopefully the English dub track as an alternate soundrack)."

- http://outcastcinema.blogspot.jp/2008_0 ... chive.html

The film was scheduled to be released on DVD by BCI / Eclipse before the company went down.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 05 Oct 2013, 08:03

Caught the 35mm Nikkatsu print of Asia-Pol (1966) in Tokyo as a part of Nikkatsu Rare Film retrospective, which was indeed the Japanese version with no Wang Yu in it! The film was shot for Japanese and Chinese markets with two main actors playing the same lead role. In the Shaw version it's Wang Yu, while in the Nikkatsu version Hideaki Nitani plays the same role. Both actors even do the same poses.

The versions are otherwise almost identical with the same running time. Opening credits are a bit different, and there are some differences in the soundtrack (at least one stereotypical "China melody" is removed from the HK print). The spoken language is also different: the Shaw print is in Mandarin while in the Japanese version everyone speaks Japanese. The one exception is the meeting with another Asia-Pol agent near the end, which is in Taiwanese in the Shaw print and in French (with English subtitles and no Japanese translation!!!) in the Nikkatsu print.

Despite the partly misleading "Shaw Brothers reputation" Asia-Pol is mainly a Nikkatsu product. It's very much in the vein of the hundreds of modern, ultra cool action film Nikkatsu was churning out in the 50's and 60's, a features some of the studio's biggest stars of all time: Hideaki Nitani, Ruriko Asaoka, and Joe Shishido.

Even then, the Shaw print is actually better! Hideaki Nitani may be a screen legend on his own right, but his reputable and slightly wooden performance cannot compare with the youthful, energetic and campy performance by Wang Yu, who does one of his earliest roles here (superstardom followed the next year with One-Armed Swordsman)! Joe Shishido (with amusing fake accent) and other Japanese cast members fare better in the Japanese language Nikkatsu print, though.

It's a fun film full of Nikkatsu coolness in any version, though I didn't remember how gloriously stupid it can be at times (the car bomb scene defies all logic)!

Below is a brief comparison between JP and HK version. More JP images here where I stole them from.

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And the original Japanese poster.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 08 Oct 2013, 14:21

The reason why I haven't posted in Toei updates recently is because they haven't made any. I emailed Toei and they said they haven't stopped releasing catalogue titles, but they also don't have anything planned for this year anymore. I hope they will resume catalogue releases next year.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 13 Oct 2013, 08:17

I was kinda expecting this: Toei's second catalogue hit series to make it on BD will be Truck Yaro. There will be two box sets, Vol. 1 in February and Vol. 2 April.
- http://www.toei-video.co.jp/BD/truck.html

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby kemushi » 14 Oct 2013, 18:38

HungFist wrote:The reason why I haven't posted in Toei updates recently is because they haven't made any. I emailed Toei and they said they haven't stopped releasing catalogue titles, but they also don't have anything planned for this year anymore. I hope they will resume catalogue releases next year.

Thanks for getting a statement from Toei for us, it's much appreciated! While they have already released the title I was most anxious for them to get around to, there are still a few films I would love to upgrade to DVD.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 29 Oct 2013, 17:35

Last month I dropped by again at my favorite cinema in Tokyo: Laputa Asagaya. This time they were screening a Rare Nikkatsu films (action, comedy, drama) from the 50's and 60, and a Female Prisoner Retro with a combination of Toei, Nikkatsu and Daiei films.

Secret Report from a Woman's Prison (1968) was screening from 16 mm print. Akira Kato, better known as a Nikkatsu Roman Porno director of the 1970’s, helms the opening instalment to Daiei’s women’s prison series. The period film is a mediocre exploitation drama with little violence and only partial and off-focus nudity. The prison segment makes the main chunk of the film, followed by a revenge climax. Nicely shot in black and white, but ultimately forgettable despite some nostalgia values.

The later entry in the series Decapitation Island (1970), screened from 35mm print. This is a Daiei soft-exploitation with a surprisingly strong screenplay. The historical women’s prison movie gets off to an instant good start with original setting. Instead of a seedy prison, the bad girls are dispatched to a small island where they can move relatively freely under the supervision of a handful of male guards. The film is relatively tame by exploitation standards, only featuring a small amount of violence and nudity, though a certain steamy punishment scene is a genre classic. Acting, story and cinematography are all above genre standards, making this a small discovery among less exploitative genre films.

From the Nikkatsu series I caught Asia-Pol (1966), discussed in the earlier post, as well as Kenjū mushuku datsugoku no blues (1965). The film opens with a young man walking in the harbour at night. Another man in the shadows is blackmailing him to accept a gig. No deal, the young man says and shoots the gun out of the blackmailers hand. A partly successful Nikkatsu b-action with Tetsuya Watari in one of his early leading roles. The screenplay is routine trash, but Watari’s passionate acting and some stylish scenes make the film a good enough genre effort.

Finally, some photos

Love the moody area with small streets
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Advertisement for the Nikkatsu series
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Posters inside the theater
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Also found time to catch Red Peony Gambler on 35 mm... in a charming 150 seat theater in Kamata screening it 5 times a day for 7 days in their only screening room. Honestly, I don't understand how they can stay in business, but I'm happy as hell they do

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby kemushi » 29 Oct 2013, 18:58

Teruo Ishii's BLIND WOMAN'S CURSE is getting a BD release from Arrow Video in the UK on March 17th 2014.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 30 Oct 2013, 07:57

Probably Nikkatsu's new HD master which came out on DVD in Japan last year. Good, the old US dvd wasn't that hot to begin with.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 03 Nov 2013, 05:34

HungFist wrote:I was kinda expecting this: Toei's second catalogue hit series to make it on BD will be Truck Yaro. There will be two box sets, Vol. 1 in February and Vol. 2 April.
- http://www.toei-video.co.jp/BD/truck.html


Artworks

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The first box set will also feature a bonus DVD. Contents are unknown so far. Each BD is said to feature only trailer as extra. All discs will also be available separately.

Here's the thing...Toei seems to apply an idiotic pricing strategy where box sets cost more than the sum of the discs they contain. The two box sets are listed a 28,350 and 27,300 respectively, while the stand alone releases are 5,040. Unless I fucked my math, five times 5040 is less than the price of either one of these box sets! For box set 1 you can somehow justify a higher price as it comes with a bonus DVD, but why the fuck is box set 2 so expensive? There better be something we're not seeing in the product pictures, otherwise it's pure madness!

I didn't notice it before, but Battles without Honor and Humanity BD set is also more expensive than the 5 BD's it contains! It does have two bonus discs and some cards, but that doesn't make it a fair game!

Sidenote: I'm willing to bet a few hundred yen Toei's next BD release will be either the Red Peony Gambler series of Yusaku Matsuda films.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby kemushi » 07 Nov 2013, 19:10

HungFist wrote:Probably Nikkatsu's new HD master which came out on DVD in Japan last year. Good, the old US dvd wasn't that hot to begin with.

I'm sure you are correct. Arrow Video's HD output has been hit and miss for me but they have shown some big signs of improval in the past year and a half. At any rate their BD should easily make the now OOP Discotek DVD obsolete.

I wonder if we will get some more Teruo Ishii in HD anytime soon. I know Synapse did a HD transfer for HORROR OF MALFORMED MEN but when I asked Don May about that film's chances of a BD release he stated that it wasn't selling nearly well enough to warrant the effort.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 19 Feb 2014, 04:48

The Shape of Night (1964) set for June 7th R2J release.
- https://twitter.com/nakamura_noboru/sta ... 1299078144

Let’s hope for English subs, too. A translation was made last year for the new festival print.

I caught the film recently on 35mm. Below is my mini review:

The Shape of Night (Yoru no katachi) (1964) [35mm]

Noboru Nakamura’s realistic prostitution drama was one of the major re-discoveries of 2013. With its realism and strikingly stylish cinematography it echoes both Shohei Imamura and Seijun Suzuki, whose Gate of Flesh premiered earlier the same year. Nakamura refrains from Suzuki’s heavy-handed dosing of sex and violence, but the film is no less gripping. Leading actress Miyuki Kuwano is excellent as a sweet young girl falling in love with a yakuza, resulting in her slow downfall and transformation to a miserable street hooker.

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More info: http://filmex.net/2013/en/nn03.html

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 27 Jun 2014, 10:50

Lady Battle Cop R2J coming October 10, 2014.
- http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00L8R94YW

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And no, Toei is not resuming their catalogue releases unfortunately, this is in their V-Cinema series.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 27 Jun 2014, 22:09

HungFist wrote:Lady Battle Cop R2J coming October 10, 2014.
- http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00L8R94YW

I doubt it will come close to the female-robot greatness of ROBOTRIX but I'll most definitely support this release with a purchase.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 05 Jul 2014, 19:48

STRAY CAT ROCK Blu-ray box set from Arrow Video in the UK on September 8th. Includes all 5 films.

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Extras consist of interviews with director Yasuharu Hasebe and actor Tatsuya Fuji.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Gaijin84 » 18 Jul 2014, 16:36

Guro Taku wrote:STRAY CAT ROCK Blu-ray box set from Arrow Video in the UK on September 8th. Includes all 5 films.


Psyched about this!

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 20 Jul 2014, 07:34

The full first batch of Toei V-Cinema Titles has been announced:
- http://www.toei-video.co.jp/vcinema/index.html

Lady Battle Cop (1990), Crime Hunter (1989) (MidnightEye review here), The Hitman (Teruo Ishii, 1991) Soshiki bôryoku: Ryûketsu no kôsô (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1999) and many others

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The release date is October 10th. There will be another batch in November. The two batches are supposed to include a total of 25 films. Some of them have been issued on dvd before, but most haven't.


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