What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Ghost of the One Eyed Man (怪談片目の男) (Japan, 1965) [TV] – 1.5/5
A near identical production follow-up to The Ghost of the Hunchback, with Nishimura a murdered company president who comes back haunting the greedy relatives. Once again set in a big mansion. The director is Tsuneo Kobayashi this time, and under his helming the film makes even less sense.

Swords of Death (真剣勝負) (Japan, 1971) [TV] – 3.5/5
Tomu Uchida’s final Musashi Miyamoto film, produced a decade after the classic 5 film series (1961-1964). This one follows Miyamoto’s (Kinnosuke Nakamura) encounter with chain and sickle wielding Baiken Shishido (Rentaro Mikuni), which results in a massive, 30 minute battle scene between the two adversaries. At only 75 minutes, this is a compact pack of both hard core action and philosophical discussions. Whether the abrupt ending and the short running time were artistic decisions or merely a result of director Tomu Uchida dying before the film was completed, they often work to its benefit. The film was brought to theatres in February 1971, some six months after Uchida’s death.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Under Your Bed (アンダー・ユア・ベッド) (Japan, 2019) [BD] – 3.5/5
Forever-alone incel freak Kengo Kora (!) somehow manages to overcome his total lack of social skills and asks a co-ed who showed him a bit of kindness out for coffee. She agrees and of course he spends the next 10+ years obsessing about it, eventually going into full creepy stalker mode, tracking her down, wiretapping her house and, yes, spending a lot of time lying under her bed. This is how he discovers that her husband is a huge abusive asshole and a lot of the film's suspense hinges on whether or not he can stop masturbating to the sounds of his one true love getting beaten and raped long enough to actually do something about it. Director Mari Asato, whose praises I have sung ever since her 2004 Hideshi Hino adaptation THE BOY FROM HELL (地獄小僧) here delivers her highest profile and most polished film to date and makes good use of both non-linear storytelling and her unreliable narrators. A suspenseful and icky endurance test that hopefully will lead to some more prestigious gigs for its writer and director.

Afternoon Affair: Rear Window (昼下りの情事 裏窓) (Japan, 1972) [BD] – 3/5
Ayuko (Kazuko Shirakawa) works in a third-rate bar and spends her leisure time with sugar-daddy (Taiji Tonoyama) spying on the residents of a mansion across the street in order to get in the mood for some fucky-fucky. Eventually she convinces the guy to rent her an apartment over there and starts LARP-ing as a high society girl. She promptly meets a former classmate (Hajime Tanimoto) she still has the hots for and who keeps asking her for money... This is easily one of the best Shogoro Nishimura roman pornos I have seen. It certainly comes with a pretty nihilistic outlook on human relationships as everybody here is out to use everybody else in order to fulfill their unreachable dreams and desires. I enjoyed it!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Shogun’s Vault (御金蔵破り) (Japan, 1964) [TV] – 3/5
Teruo Ishii entered Toei with a number of stylish, contemporary capers. Here he does the same formula in Edo, with met-in-prison Hashizo Okawa and Chiezo Kataoka putting on black hoods and scheming to nab the shogun’s gold without anyone noticing. The film takes a while to get going, but the heist sequence delivers thrills in spades. Also noteworthy is the opening (all male) prison segment, full of perversity pre-dating Ishii’s late 60s Tokugawa films.

Safari 5000 (栄光への5000キロ) (Japan, 1969) [VoD] – 4/5
You probably didn't know there was a Japanese 3 hour racing film that is both a sentimental epic and heavily influenced by French new wave. And a good chunk of it is spoken in French. Japanese daredevil driver Yujiro Ishihara crashes near-fatally in Monte Carlo, separating ways with teammate and close friend Jean Claude Drouot. The latter goes on to become a rival, while girlfriends Emmanuelle Riva (of Hiroshima Mon Amour and Haneke's Amour) and Ruriko Asaoka (who speaks all her dialogue with Riva in French) remain close. Motorsports boss Toshiro Mifune and team leader Tatsuya Nakadai then recruit Ishihara for the legendary East African Safari Rally. Koreyoshi Kurahara helms the film with loads of style and intense documentary-like touch in the racing scenes (the climatic rally scene takes over 50 min). Ishihara is excellent as the bull-headed driver, and manages his abundant English dialogue alright (his Kenyan co-driver, on the other hand can speak English well, but not act). The storyline was inspired by real events. This was the no. 1 film at the Japanese box office in 1969.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Bathhouse 911: Jellyfish Bliss (トルコ110番 悶絶くらげ) (Japan, 1972) [BD] – 2.5/5
Brothel headhunter Miura (Koichi Hoshino) - who's obsessed with Ken Takakura's films and songs - sends Okinawan girl Choma (Etsuko Hara) to work at yakuza boss Shimatani's (Nobutaka Masutomi) Turkish bathhouse. As luck would have it, both men fall for the girl, which leads to a dangerous rivalry, amusingly complete with an imagined bloody swordfight showdown set to a Ken Takakura song. The film also sees Masutomi get a shampoo enema after having a tube supergluded (in)to his ass.

Pink Tush Girl: Proposal Strategy (桃尻娘 プロポーズ大作戦) (Japan, 1980) [BD] – 2/5
I thought this was pretty amusing for the first half hour, with a number of funny lines and situations. The film seriously runs out of steam once the bloated subplot with the teater troupe comes into play and never really recovers.

Raigyo (黒い下着の女 雷魚) (Japan, 1997) [BD] – 4/5
Extremely bleak Takahisa Zeze film about a psychopathic woman who kills men after having sex to cope with an abortion she was forced to have, making this the only Japanese film I have seen that treats abortion as traumatic and not just as a comedic punchline. She eventually meets a guy whose son was burned to death by his girlfriend and the two misfits form a strange bond. The entire film is set in marshlands and delapidated industrial slums. There is not a single character in this film who could be called normal and not a single location that looks inviting.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Ring (1998) **½
Japanese chiller is spooky and well-made, but a lot stodgier than I remember.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Guro Taku wrote: 30 Oct 2020, 20:43 Pink Tush Girl: Proposal Strategy (桃尻娘 プロポーズ大作戦) (Japan, 1980) [BD] – 2/5
I thought this was pretty amusing for the first half hour, with a number of funny lines and situations. The film seriously runs out of steam once the bloated subplot with the teater troupe comes into play and never really recovers.
I recall that being a solid 3 star film in my books, certainly way better than part 2. Also, most of the film was shot around where I live or used to study. I really should investigate if there is some obscure theatre tradition in Otaru, because this isn't the only Otaru-set film where I've seen those plot elements...
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Walking Major (ある兵士の賭け) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] – 3/5
America is a friend: The Movie. Major Dale Robertson (and sidekick Frank Sinatra Jr.) decides to walk through half of Japan to raise money for an orphanage. And then he walks, walks, once falls into a ditch, and then walks some more. Cute little kids cheer for him, women shed tears of admiration, and once he even stops to put out a fire. A terrible military march keeps playing in repeat. Pretty pedestrian filmmaking to say the least, and could pass for a genuine propaganda piece only if it wasn’t produced by the Japanese themselves, Yujiro Ishihara’s Ishihara International. And it is a true story, with some invented content, the opening states. It is not without innocent, sentimental charm, however. By the end, you’ve likely grown quite fond of it. And the last part of the film is genuinely curious. Aside Ishihara, there’s Toshiro Mifune, Ruriko Asaoka, Mayumi Nagisa and Michiyo Aratama popping up, faring somewhat worse with their English in what is mainly an English language film than in Safari 5000. The director is b-grade import Keith Eric Burt aka Keith Larsen.

Chiwawa (チワワちゃん) (Japan, 2019) [DVD] - 3.5/5
Fragmented, hectic youth exploration about a group of friends recalling Chiwawa, a cheerful party girl who was found floating in Tokyo Bay in pieces. Director Ken Ninomiya again proves he is (the only new Japanese director) on to something. Here he updates Hideaki Anno's masterpiece Love and Pop to the Instagram age, and does Harmony Korine's (masterful) Spring Breakers with honesty instead of satire, resulting in a film that feels very much on to its time. One can only assume these images spring from the director's own life. And after bombarding the audience with disco lights and life on speed for 100 minutes, he ends the film with a scene where all these young, popular actors have been stripped of make-up, and the result is beautiful. He could've cut the film shorter, though. Side note: contains an insanely funny group sex scene.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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HungFist wrote: 03 Nov 2020, 14:04I recall that being a solid 3 star film in my books, certainly way better than part 2.
I've never seen the second film and, for what it's worth, I wasn't a huge fan of the first film either. That having been said, I'd have probably rated this one higher if it had kept up the momentum of the first 30 minutes.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Man Who Causes a Storm (嵐を呼ぶ男) (Japan, 1957) [VoD] – 2.5/5
A Nikkatsu classic with hard-fisted delinquent Yujiro Ishihara put behind drums to replace arrogant AWOL band star Toshio Oida. The boy proves to be an instant sensation. But the yakuza affiliated (backed up by crooked Toru Abe) Oida isn't going let his glory, nor his stripper girlfriend, be taken away that easily. Energetic Ishihara shines, but the conservative drama with Ishihara seeking mother's approval is strictly a product of its time, and can bog down the film's momentum at times. The film remains one of Nikkatsu’s more popular pictures, however, and has been remade multiple times.

Fuji sancho (富士山頂) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] – 2.5/5
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation: The Movie. In 1964 Mitsubishi - yes, they did more than just cars and rice cookers - built weather radar on top of Mt. Fuji under gruelling conditions. And here we have a motion picture epic about their struggles to make that happen, courtesy of Yujiro Ishihara's Ishihara Production. It's big enough a film for engineer protagonist Ishihara to disappear for a good 40 minutes while Shintaro Katsu and Makoto Sato try to drive a bulldozer on top of the mountain. Third billed Tetsuya Watari doesn't appear until well into the 2nd hour as a helicopter pilot. It’s a great cast only rivalled by the beautiful scenery, in a decently suspenseful but awfully safe tale of a national achievement. Very much made for mainstream audiences, and indeed, this was the 3rd biggest box office hit of 1970, tied with Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo.

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Man Who Causes a Storm (嵐を呼ぶ男) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] – 2/5
A disappointing remake of the 1957 Yujiro Ishihara film. It’s the same storyline, but with conflicts and villains downplayed to the point of the drama becoming toothless. Tetsuya Watari is the new delinquent band star, Tatsuya Fuji the arrogant drummer, and Meiko Kaji a girlfriend character in a new race driver brother side-plot. Despite the star power, Watari is the only one who makes an impression. It’s very much the same film as the original, only with less punch, and in colour this time. No, wait, the original was in colour, too!

Tezuka's Barbara (Japan / UK / Germany, 2019) [DCP] - 3/5
Astro Boy Osamu Tezuka's adult manga brought to screen as jazzy noir weirdness with an intellectual undercurrent. A writer (Goro Inagaki) with "slight mental issues" (he mistakes a lingerie store mannequin for a real woman and tries to make love to it) is saved by bad-mannered, booze-loving, French literature quoting Barbara (Fumi Nikaido). But things only get more bizarre from there on. Lots of interesting talent behind this one: Tezuka's son Macoto helms, Christopher Doyle lenses, and Third Window Films' Adam Torel produces. It’s a good looking picture, with a standout performance by (the frequently naked) Nikaido as Barbara. But this could have been even wilder, with tighter editing, better character depth, more cannibalism and, well, let’s not give away too much. Still, even with its shortcomings, this is surely the most interesting film in Japanese multiplexes at the moment, one with some bite.

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Chivalrous Woman (女渡世人) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 3/5
An unusually feminine yakuza picture with Junko Fuji searching for her long lost mother, and becoming a mother figure herself for a girl whose father (Koji Tsuruta) went nagurikomi on an evil gang. Fuji always had a distinctly motherly aura, even at a young age, which still didn’t stop her from killing a dozen people and slicing a few arms off, as in this film’s opening scene. Another oxymoron: director Shigehiro Ozawa filmed much of this picture in real mountainous locations instead of studio sets, which creates an oddly realistic effect in the fairytale like ninkyo context. A solid film with many good scenes (e.g. clueless/arrogant boss Tatsuo Endo asking for Fuji's name and getting a formal yakuza self-introduction in return) but it could have done with a few barrels of tears less – half of the film is spent about crying over lost and found mothers.

A Blood Stained Love Affair (Yoru no enka: Shinobikoi) (夜の演歌 しのび恋) (Japan, 1974) [VoD] – 2.5/5
A late entry in the Song of the Night series, more in the 70s mold with more sex and nudity. Heroine Yutaka Nakajima holds on to her clothes (it took a Yusaku Matsuda to make them gone some 5 years later), so the skin is on the supporting cast. Nakajima is a wanna-be model affiliated with club mama Naomi Shiraishi. Shiraishi is holding on to her toyboy Toshio Shiba by feeding him with money. The money comes from rich geezer Nobuo Kaneko, to whom Nakajima’s virginity is secretly sold. But then Shiba falls in love with Nakajima. Enter Tatsuo Umemiya, a sleazy photographer who takes photos and deflowers virgins, and we have a love pentagon. Unremarkable, but nevertheless watchable and trashy entry in the series, surprisingly by director Yasuo Furuhata. And it’s got a sex-crazed Mexican wrestler in it! Notice the title difference: this was called “Ballad of the Night” (Yoru no enka) instead of “Song of the Night” (Yoru no kayo). However, considering the cast, crew, concept (“based” on a Aki Yashiro song) and connection to the previous film (Song of the Night: Love Lost in Tears also starred Nakajima), it’s safe to assume this was either the 11th and last “Song” film, or a failed reboot with a slightly altered title.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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I'm currently rewatching THE KILLER AKA SACRED KNIVES OF VENGEANCE courtesy of the old Warner VHS. It's quite a well written and paced noirish martial arts thriller, but it seems an odd choice for Warners as the US theatrical followup to their blockbuster FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH, and this film's underperfomance seems to mark the end of the majors distibuting HK imports stateside.

As it's underrepresented on disc, be nice if a UK/US distirbutor licenses the Celestial restoration at some point - the VHS print is very soft and washed out.
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Nasty Diver (1977, Japan) - OL/No dubs or subs - 2.5/5
Pretty standard Roman Porno about 3 Pearl diving beauties in a small Japanese fishing village and all the insanely horny men constantly trying to have sex with them. Sexy Diver Reika (Yoko Azusa) can't get any satisfaction from her younger pre-mature ejaculating boyfriend, and just gets more frustrated seeing everyone else in town having sex. She meets an older guy who DOES satisfy her, but afterwards he sells her off to the local pervert, which sends her boyfriend to the rescue.
Despite the lack of subs or dubs, I was moderately entertained by this, though I suspect it was as much from the fascination with 70's Japan fashion/culture as much as anything else. Well, and the pretty, naked girls.
There's very little actual diving in it, just a small segment at the beginning and the end.
Also with Reika Maki and Aoi Nakajima (In the Realm of the Senses).
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chazgower01 wrote: 22 Dec 2020, 12:49 Nasty Diver (1977, Japan) - OL/No dubs or subs - 2.5/5
Good to see you back! Your reviews have been missed.

I've seen a handful of these female diver films more than a decade ago, not this one, though. The only one that I found any good was Lusty Ama: Stirred-Up Pot (色情海女 乱れ壺) (1976). I recall that one having decent characters and drama.
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Murder on the Last Train (終電車の死美人 ) (Japan, 1955) [TV] – 3/5
Good, if a bit dated true account crime drama based on book released Asahi Newspaper crime reporters. A group of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department detectives are assigned to investigate the case of a dead beauty on a train. The era being the 50s, they have to go to great lengths to even identify who the dead body is, and the people who might have associated with her, let alone who might have killed her and why. Though frequently singing praise to the police force, there are also interesting, almost documentary-like segments that show police work in impressive detail. The film also served as a predecessor to Toei's famed Police Department Story film series that was launched the following year. The concept would be the same, and most of the cast would return, although in different roles.

Chivalrous Woman 2 (女渡世人 おたの申します) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] – 3.5/5
An unusual ninkyo film that attempts to strip the genre of its trademark romanticism. Junko Fuji is a woman gambler who travels to another town return a fellow gambler’s ashes to his parents, and to collect his debt. However, her good deeds are only greeted with ungratefulness, and every action she takes brings more death and misery to the people around her. "We are yakuza, we are destined to live in the shadows" says honourable companion Bunta Sugawara. There is some silly comedic relief in the beginning, and a rather uninspired musical score, but by the bloody climax the film has descended to a level of emotional despair never before seen the ninkyo genre. An inconsistent, but remarkable effort by director Yamashita and writer Kasahara.

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HungFist wrote: 24 Dec 2020, 13:22
chazgower01 wrote: 22 Dec 2020, 12:49 Nasty Diver (1977, Japan) - OL/No dubs or subs - 2.5/5
Good to see you back! Your reviews have been missed.

I've seen a handful of these female diver films more than a decade ago, not this one, though. The only one that I found any good was Lusty Ama: Stirred-Up Pot (色情海女 乱れ壺) (1976). I recall that one having decent characters and drama.
Thanks! Between work and reading Manga (a LOT of it), haven't had as much time for movies as I'd like. But should have a few reviews coming up here...
And always look forward to reading yours here! A lot of great films I might never have found out about!
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Younger Sister (1974, Japan) - Subbed - 3.5/5
Light, darkly humorous family drama about a girl (19-20 year old Kumiko Akiyoshi as the 'younger sister') who leaves her husband and moves back home with her older brother. Her ex-husband's sister follows her there, saying that he has disappeared, and somewhat of a dilemma involving the sister's future ensues. Light hints of incestuous feelings, domestic abuse, family suicide, with some straight out rape and murder, and some minor yakuza roughhousing. I stand by my 'light and humorous', because none of these things turns into anything they take all that serious in the movie.

I found it extremely watchable, mainly for the acting of Akiyoshi, who's both cute and talented - and naked, and went on to win acting awards and have a versatile career, with a fair share of controversy. At this early point of her career, from what I can gather, after she did an early movie with director Toshiya Fujita (in-between finishing up his Eros movies and his two Lady Snowblood films) called 'Aka chôchin', either the studio liked the way he handled her or HE was so enamored of her that (After LS2) she appeared as the female lead in 4 straight movies of his!

Roman porno actress Yuko Katagiri has a small role but she isn't a part of any of the nudity in it. I liked it.

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Yanagase Blues (柳ヶ瀬ブルース) (Japan, 1967) [TV] – 1.5/5
An instantly forgettable tale of Shinjuku playboy bartender Tatsuo Umemiya hustling in the night. He sleeps with gangster Fumio Watanabe’s girl, which forces him to relocate to Yanagase in Gifu. There he comes across bar lady Yumiko Nogawa and old fart Junzaburo Ban, to both of whom love is just means to get rich. That’s about all I can remember about this remarkably tame film. Based on a popular Kenichi Mikawa song, this film started a long series of programmers that semi-thrived in the b-film slot in Toei’s double features. It wasn’t however until the 3rd entry, “Even if I Die”, that Toei came up with the “Song of the Night” moniker that linked the films into a single series.

Police Department Story (警視庁物語 逃亡五分前) (Japan, 1956) [TV] – 2.5/5
The 1st film in the Police Department Story series, preceded by pilot film Murder on the Last Train (1955), which had already established the concept. What is new here is screenwriter Kimiyuki Hasegawa, a former Tokyo police coroner, who would (more or less) base the storylines on real crimes and realistic police work. The semi-documentary touch became the series’ trademark, and perhaps made it a predecessor to the 70s jitsuroku films. The series would run 24 films in 1956-1964, most of them B-features running approx. 60 min each, though there were also occasional 90 minute films. Sonny Chiba made his silver screen debut as one of the detectives in the 15th film (he was also in parts 16 and 17). The series was followed by a TV show called Keiji-san in 1967-1968. This first film is not bad, but a little more straightforward than its predecessor or some of the later ones. Looking back at it now, 65 years after it was made, it has lost its sharpest edge, but it remains an entirely watchable detective tale.

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Sundome 3 (2008, Japan) - OL - 3/5
Set in a typical Japanese High School, a cute girl, Kurumi, dates an overly horny boy, Hideo, and instead of giving him sex... just kind of teases him crazy. Based on a manga by Kazuto Okada, 'Sundome' means "stopping the moment before" (I looked it up online), which pretty much says it all. It plays on a lot of Japanese fetish themes but unfortunately features a lot more embarrassing boners and simulated jerking off than it does panty shots, but... well these characters play the part with so much conviction and comedic zeal, it's difficult not to be amused by it at times. Having read thru the manga a bit, it's more to my liking, but if this was a TV series, I have to admit, I'd probably tune in every week.

The storyline in this one is that a rumor starts going around that Hideo's girlfriend is seeing an older man, which he visualizes very clearly in his thoughts and dreams. I watched this mainly because one of my favorite gravure idols of the mid/late-2000's is in it (Kana Tsugihara - kneeling in the cover photo) - she plays the mean girl rival, and she provides some added sex appeal, and of course she's secretly in love with Hideo. The ending strongly hints that there's more to Hideo and Kurumi's relationship and past than meets the eye, so I'll now have to watch the whole series.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Parasite (S. Korea, 2019 - first time viewing): 4.5/5

Really good movie. Starts like a comedy-drama and it reminded me of films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Usual Suspects - were the rich family secretly keeping another poorer famiuly in the basement?
The contrast between rich/poor and the inequality between South/North Korea seems to run through the film.
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Lonely 15 (1982, Hong Kong) - OL - 3/5
Nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best New Performer (Irene Wan), Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing; but it was Becky Lam in her only listed movie, winning the Best Actress at the 2nd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards, and then… I guess she never made another movie.
(Ann Hui’s ‘Boat People’ won most of the awards that year.)

Lam plays a completely believable troubled teen growing up in a fractured household - her dad is gone and her mom is more interested in her abusive muscle bound guitar playing boyfriend than her. She’s unsure of how to make her way in the world and her friends aren’t any help and other adults aren’t any help… even the boy she meets just complicates her life. Then her friends get her involved in drugs and prostitution…

Despite no subs, I found it very watchable - director David Wei would go one to produce Jason Statham’s Transporter movies (and The DOA movie). It’s not an exploitation movie like they usually make in HK (this predates the Category ratings by a few years), but more of a serious drama about real world troubles and temptations of HK teenagers.

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grim_tales wrote: 01 Jan 2021, 17:27 Parasite (S. Korea, 2019 - first time viewing): 4.5/5

were the rich family secretly keeping another poorer famiuly in the basement?
That was the housekeepers husband - he was hiding from loan sharks.

Very good movie!
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Post by HungFist »

Police Department Story 2 (警視庁物語 魔の最終列車) (Japan, 1956) [TV] – 2.5/5
A train arrives at the Shinagawa station with 3 dead guards and no money on board. Who did it? Another good'ish, not exceptional police procedural with some good Tokyo location work that is quite interesting to see after 65 years. Moves a notch faster than the previous film, with the usual 60 min running time. One thing that could be pointed out about the series is actor Rin’ichi Yamamoto. Most Toei fans are more than familiar with him as a slimy ninkyo villain, or at best a drunken hothead who might redeem himself at the end joining Takakura or Tsurura in a fight. But he plays a detective in this series, albeit with limited screen time.

Sakariba Blues (盛り場ブルース) (Japan, 1968) [TV] – 3/5
Part 2 in the Song of the Night series, this time based on a Shinichi Mori song (he’s also a supporting actor in the film). Umemiya works for a hostess club that hires Nogawa, a woman who needs money for her husband who is waiting at home. Nobuo Kaneko plays two roles, and they are both rich pervert geezers! Spectacular production design and use of colours aside, this is pretty unmoving at first, but gains momentum from halfway on and ends up a dramatic tale of manipulation and love losing out to greed. Umemiya does his usual pimp / hustler / seducer role, which by 1968 was turning into a one man genre of its own, ala Liam Neeson revenge films. Norifumi Suzuki wrote in his book that the sexy “seducer films” with Umemiya and others were in high demand at Toei, because they made ideal B-features in Toei’s double bill system, where an overly masculine ninkyo yakuza film (void of any sexual themes) was the main audience draw. But the sexy films remained notably tame most of the time, and like this one, were often void of any graphic nudity (Mako Midori’s sex melodramas tended to be more daring and twisted, however).

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chazgower01 wrote: 31 Dec 2020, 16:56 Sundome 3 (2008, Japan) - OL - 3/5
Thanks for the review. I've seen these DVDs in second hand stores a million times, but never actually watched any of the films.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Post by Killer Meteor »

Six Directions Boxing (1980)

David Chiang (who now I think about it does look a bit like Jerry Seinfeld), with a semi-shaven head, is a policeman after snake fist master Lung Tien-hsiang, whilst Yuen Siu-tien trys to get him to marry his daughter Nancy Yen. Very lightweight and tame, but less of an out-and-out comedy then you would expect from the time. The Yuen Clan choreography is rather slow, not surprising given the stars - probably the only really interesting thing about this film is the specially traned dog and chimp, who get their own special credit!

5/10
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HungFist
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Tokyo Heaven (東京上空いらっしゃいませ) (Japan, 1990) [VoD] – 2/5
A deceased teen idol refuses to go to heaven, comes back to earth as a runaway spirit to try and live an ordinary life. She seeks shelter with a young marketing employee who has just been tasked with covering up her death for a greasy politician responsible for her ran-over-by-a-car mishap. Shinji Somai was arguably the greatest youth film director of the 80s, but he seemed to lose his intimate touch and technical genius as he grew older. This one plays out like a standard domestic 90s drama with a low key fantasy touch akin to Nobuhiko Obayashi. There is one scene, however, where the protagonist meets a childhood friend on a buzzing home district street, all shot in one long take, that sparks the old Somal magic. The film remains a largely forgotten entry in Somai’s filmography, though it's been making a bit of a comeback with recent 35mm screenings in Tokyo and VoD distribution.

Kanto Society of Leading Mobsters (関東幹部会) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Just out of prison mobster Tetsuya Watari is sent to Fuji City, one of the last areas where his gang has not yet been crushed by bigger syndicates. Childhood friend and gangster Isamu Nagato awaits there, but the men's interests conflict. Chris D. praised this film in his book. It's certainly good, a ninkyo / jitsuroku hybrid directed with the kind of youthful energy and compassion towards its young outlaws that set Nikkatsu apart from the more old fashioned Toei. It's also got Watari dressed in leather jacket and sunglasses day and night, and a beautiful ending. But it's a little rough around the edges, and shallow on character depth until the last third. A re-watch might reveal more layers behind Watari’s sunglasses, perhaps. This was part 2 in Nikkatsu’s Kanto series (unrelated to Toei’s 60s Kanto series with Koji Tsuruta) and the only one directed by Yukihiro Sawada; the other two were by Ken’ichi Ozawa.

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