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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 29 Dec 2017, 16:43
by HungFist

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 30 Dec 2017, 15:35
by Guro Taku
HungFist wrote:Toei will release 4 Tai Kato films on DVD 2016/10/05

真田風雲録 (1963)
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Cast: Kinnosuke Yorozuya, Mickey Curtis, Jerry Fujio
IMDb lists various English titles like "Brave Records of the Sanada Clan" and "Sasuke and His Comedians". The film is a very entertaining mix of numerous genres and was obviously made with a big budget. Jidai-geki, musical, fantasy, romance and youth film all figure into its whole. I feel a second viewing where I pause and google/wikipedia all the names for a better understanding of what historical events and/or fairy tales informed its plot is pretty much required. The film opens in the 17th century with a band of orphan kids looting dead soldiers for their belongings, when they encounter a boy with magical powers who calls himself Sasuke and claims he came from a meteor that crashed to Earth. The film then cuts to the same band of friends who are now grown up and still struggling on the fringes of society as outlaws. Eventually they will run into Sasuke again and get tied up in the siege of Osaka...

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 30 Dec 2017, 17:14
by HungFist
That looks pretty cool. Need to add that to my rental list.

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 25 Mar 2018, 09:53
by Guro Taku
Arguably one of the few anime titles to deserve inclusion in this thread, Toyoo Ashida's FIST OF THE NORTH STAR 劇場版 世紀末救世主伝説 北斗の拳 (1986) is getting its world premiere on BD from Discotek Media May 29th.

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As expected, this will be the exact same master that Toei prepared for their own DVD release 10 years ago, so the gore will still be partially obscured by pixels and soft focus.

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 15 May 2018, 07:04
by HungFist
I extracted all the TV and VoD reviews to a new thread: Rare Japanese Cult Cinema reviews (No DVD / BD).

The rationale was that some of you guys might get frustrated with me posting so many Japanese TV / VoD reviews of films that can't be purchased from abroad in the JP Cult thread, and I didn't want that to happen. Hence I created a new thread.

There's no strict rules, though. Discussion of rare films is just fine in both thread. But the idea was that this thread would focus on films that are or might become available for purchase, while reviews of films only available on Japanese TV broadcastings and streams that are next to impossible for anyone outside Japan to access could go in the new thread.

(Classic Japanese Exploitation thread still covers both films available and not available on DVD/BD).

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 15 May 2018, 08:08
by HungFist
I thought I had posted this already...

True Account of Hishakaku - A Wolf's Honor and Humanity (実録飛車角 狼どもの仁義) (1974)
Interesting although not especially visceral de-romantization of the Theatre of Life saga for the jitsuroku era. Bunta Sugawara portrays "Hishakaku" as a short tempered, violent yakuza and thief who falls in love with prostitute Rie Nakagawa. Tsunehiko Watase and Kyosuke Machida are his pals, Akira Kobayashi an enemy. Mostly unexceptional but entertaining and relatively slick late film by director Shinji Murayama who was more of a 60s filmmaker. It's also one of the few jitsuroku style films set in Taisho and early Showa era as opposed to post WWII. Curiously, this was probably the first and only Theatre of Life film that was indeed a true account to an extent. It is a little known fact that the original novel was based on a real life yakuza called Hikoichi Ishiguro, whose account however was fictionalized and romanticized to no end in the novel and film adaptations. This film goes back to the real Ishiguro, as depicted in the grittier 1974 novel "Okami domo no jingi", rather than the Theatre of Life novel from the 1930s.

The screencaps are from a TV broadcasting but Toei also released this on DVD recently.

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Rie Nakagawa
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 26 May 2018, 12:03
by Guro Taku
Arrow Video have finally announced a new Toei/Fukasaku release and it's not the much-speculated upon Hokuriku Proxy War or Wolves, Pigs & Men but rather STREET MOBSTER 現代やくざ 人斬り与太 (1972).

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Release date is August 7th.

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 19 Jun 2018, 14:10
by HungFist
Daredevil Drivers (マッハ'78) (1978)

A minor carsploitation classic with nonexistent artistic achievements partly out-weighted by some of the most insane car stunts ever committed to film. The storyline is about Japanese and American stuntmen competing each other in a tournament in USA where they perform death defying car and crash stunts. What's interesting is that while the story is fictional, the film essentially plays out as a documentary since the stunts are real, often shot in a single take, even showing the real medical personnel pulling the poor driver out of the wreck. Nearly all cast members are stuntmen and it's difficult to believe many of the outcomes could've been scripted. Some of the stunts are impossible to witness without going all "holy shit!" Cinematically the film is amateurish with a ridiculously thin romantic side story (with "Hollywood Star" Linda Stayer who appeared in a total of two films!) and dull sequences documenting a real car museum and race event. Nevertheless, with achievements like "word record car jump" (158 metres) and "359 demolished vehicles" the film found relatively wide international distribution in the early 80, mainly on video, and still manages to astonish in places.

The film is available on a 2017 BD and DVD by Pony Canyon. No subs, but half of the film is in English and there isn't that much talk in the first place. Be careful not to pick up the older (possibly non-remastered and full screen... amazon says 1.33:1) 2006 DVD edition by Jet Link. The caps below are from a Hulu stream.

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Stuntman Chiaki Otomo in his only starruing role (he's Japanese although he looks Western)
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Linda Stayer
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The film was produced by manga writer Ikki Kajiwara (Karate Bullfighter, Bodyguard Kiba) via his own company, btw.
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Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI8Qb6z0B9I

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 24 Jun 2018, 15:58
by HungFist
The Beast Must Die: Mechanic of Revenge (野獣死すべし 復讐のメカニック) (1974)

A thematic follow-up to The Beast Must Die (1959) with sex and violence upped to the 70s standards. Once again the protagonist (Hiroshi Fujioka) is a devil is disguise, a literature teacher also working as an assassin but betraying his employers. The film's nihilist and action packed final reel is especially memorable, and would make modern mainstream audiences shake their heads in disbelief. It is too bad the film is not always as captivating, with the antihero surrounded by boring corporate bosses and desperate women (one of them played by Mako Midori) whose worries aren't too interesting. Sugawa was a director whose coldness and relative minimalism was well suited for tensely written thrillers (e.g. Beast Hunt, 1973); this movie serves that need intermittently.

Available on Toho DVD, which I had but sold. If I remember correctly, the extras were trailer, photo gallery and a very brief featurette (about 3 or 5 min I think) about weapons used in the film.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 06 Jul 2018, 13:57
by HungFist
Toei will release Junya Sato's Organized Crime (組織暴力) trilogy on DVD 2018/11/02.

組織暴力 (1967)
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http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... id=1025968

続組織暴力 (1967)
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http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... id=1025969

組織暴力 兄弟盃 (1969)
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http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... id=1025970

https://www.toei-video.co.jp/special/soshiki/

And no, Sato hasn't died (as far as I know).

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 06 Jul 2018, 19:32
by Guro Taku
HungFist wrote:
06 Jul 2018, 13:57
And no, Sato hasn't died (as far as I know).
A lot can happen in the 5 months before the DVDs come out. Maybe Toei's higher ups know something we don't.

Morbid jokes aside, it's good to finally see some more catalogue releases from Toei. It's certainly been a while since the last batch!

Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 01 Aug 2018, 14:18
by HungFist
Happinet will release Tatsumi Kumashiro's debut film Front Row Life (かぶりつき人生, Kaburitsuki jinsei) (1968) on DVD 2018/9/4

- http://www.happinet-p.com/jp3/releases/digs-1055
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaFt93q9v04

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 08 Aug 2018, 06:12
by HungFist
The Four Roughnecks (あばよダチ公) (1974)
Four young slackers (three incels and one Yusaku Matsuda) with total disregard for honesty and other people's property retreat to a isolate, riverside hut with a girl (Sayoko Kato) who hooks up with them. This 70s neo-taiyozoku film is stacked with constant cheap sex jokes (Gajiro Sato groping anything that moves, and even trying to rape a goat) but the cast is so good and director Yukihiro Sawada helms with such energetic swing that the film easily wins over. There's surprisingly much sex and nudity, as if Sawada forgot the Roman Porno gear on (this was one of Nikkatsu's few non-Roman Porno films of the 70s) but it's all cheerful and fun rather than pervy and dull.

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The caps above are from the old 2002 Nikkatsu dvd. There is a 2012 Happinet release also which may or may not utilize the same interlaced, anamorphic transfer.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 19 Aug 2018, 14:16
by HungFist
Takuzo Kawatani x 3 ! I've warmed up to this fella over the years.

Song of Ossan of Kawachi (河内のオッサンの唄) (Japan)
Takuzo Kawatani, Toei's loud mouth punk bit player and comic relief, somehow landed starring a role in this short running series. This first film is a countryside drama/comedy with a yakuza undercurrent. Kawatani is fun to watch as good hearted village ossan (middle aged man) with no patience at all for anything, but the film doesn't utilize his talent for loud mouthing and tragicomedy as much as it should. There's too much non-eventful drama with supporting characters (young trucker guy Koichi Iwaki, his gal Emi Shimizu, and even a grumpy grandma) in what is a family friendly affair on top of all (light violence and brief boobs only). The film only becomes genuinely entertaining when Kawatani goes against Tokyo yakuza Kenji Imai at the end... largely because in spite of his overly optimistic attempts he nearly always gets his own ass kicked.

Song of Ossan of Kawachi: Yokita no ware (河内のオッサンの唄 よう来たのワレ) (1976)
Now we're talking! This is the Takuzo Kawatani show the first film should've been! The ossan runs into a sympathetic conman (excellent Kunie Tanaka) whom he mistakes as a gambling genius. He agrees to shelter his gal (spunky Hiroko Isayama) which sends all kinds of sparks flying with his wife, the other piranhas and gangsters. And then there's Hideo Murota taking the piss out of Kawatani at every turn! This is a very enjoyable sequel that omits the dull drama of the first film and replaces it with fast pace and likeable characters. Also included is a cool soundtrack, a gambling duel that makes most proper gambler movies pale in comparison, and lots of hilarious moments with the short tempered Kawatani haunted by objects that are destined to land on his face. For a comparison especially apt for this film, Kawatani was the Donald Duck of Toei!

Hiroko Isayama
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Kunie Tanaka
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Hideo Murota
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Osman Yusuf!
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Piranha Corps (ピラニア軍団 ダボシャツの天) (1977)
The third and final mid 70s Takuzo Kawatani starring vehicle, unrelated to the two Ossan of Kawachi films. Kawatani is a small time Osaka thug hanging out with his scarred aniki Isao Natsuyagi. There's a wonderfully pathetic fight at the end with Kawatani and fellow piranha just scratching each other's faces and crying their eyes out, but other than that there's not much truly outrageous stuff in the film, nor as much piranhas as the title would have you expect. The film is neither very funny nor too violent, which was perhaps to be expected from director Kosaku Yamashita. In the 60s his name served as automatic recommendation for any film he made. In the 70s he somehow lost his touch, perhaps not keen on the modern yakuza mayhem, and his films became lifeless. Note: this was a standalone film with no follow-ups. The other Piranha Corps film listed by Chris D. and IMDb does not exist.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 24 Aug 2018, 15:29
by HungFist
Happinet will release Chusei Sone's “BLOW THE NIGHT!” 夜をぶっとばせ (1983) on DVD on 2018/12/04

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- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... id=1028289

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Posted: 07 Sep 2018, 19:25
by Guro Taku
Speaking of Sone, Happinet will also re-release his 元祖大四畳半大物語 (1980) on October 2nd. This is a slice-of-life comedy based on a manga by Leiji Matsumoto about a country bumpkin moving into a tiny apartment (the 4 and a half tatami mats of the title) in Tokyo and the wacky shenenigans that ensue. It was previously available on DVD from Pioneer but that release is long OOP.

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