Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Kong Zi (2010)
Ignoring its political controversy, it is just a bad film.
I was actually hoping it would be really good, and went into the cinema with nothing but optimism.
The first half an hour works. Chow Yun Fat is fantastic as Confucius, and while the plot seems a little clichéd, it at least entertains. The following hour seems to progressively get worse, and I found myself becoming impatient from watching Chow Yun Fat repeating the same motions, gestures, and facial expressions. It all becomes obvious that this "Confucius" is nothing but a 2 dimensional character. The action scenes in the latter half are largely irrelevant to the plot and rely too much on poorly executed CGI. The other characters are practically caricatures, including the disciple who is always sleeping from overdrinking - a running joke that by the end of the film became just plain annoying. Finally, the syrupy overdose of sentimentality near the conclusion is not for from vomit-inducing. What a train-wreck! What pains me so much about this film is that it could have been amazing. Think a Tarkovsky-esquire odyssey through the chaotic era of Confucius... Or at the very least an entertaining popcorn flick. But it is neither. It is just a very bad film.
I'm giving it 2/10 simply for the opening and Chow Yun Fat's brilliant acting that unfortunately was at total odds with the rest of the filmmakers total incompetence.
Bodigaado Kiba (1993)
The first watchable Miike
This is a fairly stock standard straight to video yakuza film. Although the actor playing Kiba is incredibly wooden, the rest of the cast make up for this. This is early Miike, so there's nothing terribly excessive yet, but it is competently told with some nice lighting, camera-work and stunt work. The Kiba sequels are pretty terrible though.
The pacing is really good in this one as well. I often find pacing an issue with Miike films, but the plot is quite tight, and the few unnecessary scene are short and often involve some entertaining stunts.
There is a really beautifully shot sex scene in this one as well, which is very surprising for a gritty v film
I've seen worse!
I'm not saying this film is a masterpiece....
There's a lot of other words that would aptly describe this cinematic piece.
I'll cut to the chase: Takashi Miike's cinematic works are often so hit and miss so when one decides to watch an hour long b-movie yakuza martial arts film, one does not expect a masterwork in craft and execution. Nonethless, Miike's strong point is that he is so inventive, and I am happy to say that even this early in his career he still makes really entertaining 'bad' films. The content is particularly bad in comparison to is later works (some of which are actually surprising competent, in fact, very occasionally brilliant). Here we are barely able to suspend any sort of disbelief. The plot is ridiculous, and the action choreography is literally hit and miss (I swear I saw people scream and fly backwards when the air nearby them has been punched).
My verdict is an ambivalent one. If you like inventive bad-but-not-boring b-movie karate-yakuza films, then this one comes recommended.
Shotgun Stories (2007)
Solid film portraying a very real America
Ever want to know how those supposed family feuds happen, when two groups end up killing each other on site? Stories of these age-old battles have been curiously explored in literature such as Huckleberry Fin which tackles the subject with daring accuracy. This is the first film to show us not only a convincing portrayal of one of these family feuds, but showing us how they start; often by human beings who are hot-headed and overly defensive, potential bad-seeds which can take the whole family down with them, and in a poor society that allows such aggression to ferment and be propelled forward onto another family. I think it is important to note that there are no real villains in this film, only people offended and wanting satisfaction for their own grief.
Now to judge it more as a physical film, the lead actor is terrific and captivates us throughout the entire film. The other actors give solid performances but not stand-out ones. The sound design is masterful, and much needed for there is a lot of silence, and not a lot of dialogue, yet the sound design keeps us on edge whenever we need to be. Direction is fine, and the writer/director obviously knows where to pull his punches without overdoing it (so he doesn't labour his points and thus overall message of the film).
I don't agree with the soundtrack, and I think it takes away from the film a little. A few too many sequences of beautiful cinematography with music goes a little longer than necessary, but this is nitpicking and overall an excellent and original film.
An ending to 47 other films.
Well, I have only seen this film out of all the Tora-san series, and I'm not sure whether that makes me too ignorant of the rest of the series to review this film, or in fact, puts me in the perfect unbiased state to review this. Either way, there seems to be no reviews of this movie here, so mine should at least be better than none.
I had seen Yoji Yamada's samurai films, the Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade before this, the latter I really enjoyed. I do believe he is an excellent director, although an unoriginal one. In Tora-san number 48, not a lot happens. Tora-san isn't even in it for about half of it. So don't expect too much of him. I really thought the plot with his nephew in the first half was more interesting than Tora-san's story, and there are a few interesting scenes, including a wedding scene. But the 2nd half seems to just slowly fizzle out. There's just not enough material for Yamada to work with. Instead of entertaining us, his long takes begin to seem obvious, and he begins to look like some third-rate Yasujiro Ozu, being not quite as effective to a story that has very little to it.
If the rest of the series is similar to this film, I will be scratching my head as to why it is so popular.
Beat Kids (2005)
Beat Kids is a nice movie which has lots of little moments. In a nutshell the story is about a kid nicknamed "fool" and his journey to become a good drummer.
There's no real point to it really.
He's got a bad relationship with his father who drinks and and gambles, and he doesn't want to become like him. So he doesn't. There's a love interest who he never goes after. There's a music teacher that the students trick. The film is really lots of little stories that don't really amount to anything.
I like the film because really life is just like that, the stories are still enjoyable and each add a different element to the film which makes up this teenager's life.
However I don't see any real point in watching it again. In life there are more profound lessons to be learned which prevent this film becoming a good account of the life of a teenager. For this reason the film falls short. It really just crashes and burns because it doesn't really achieve anything. It does have its funny moments and I cannot say that it wasn't interesting and so I'll give it a 6/10 as my vote.
Ranpo jigoku (2005)
This achieves exactly what it sets out to do.
I also happened to have seen this at the very same Japanese festival in Sydney, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
These shorts are sick. The writer behind the original stories may have a disturbed and twisted mind for inspiring these disgusting tales of torture and obsession, and love (love which is so alien it doesn't really fit the word).
Of course many stories by Edogawa Rampo have been banned already in Japan for that very same reason.
However, these shorts were great examples of how dark cinema can get. These push right to the boundaries, where sense, reason, and any sort of real point is left behind in its own madness. And it does try to make points. They draw parallels between conscious and subconscious, reality and delusion. The surreal images and narratives destroy the boundaries between the two and the flow freely into each other. The film challenges what art really is. Whether it's a beautiful reflection, a horrific image, or something that is both beautiful on the outside but dead and corroded inside. Here we see that mirrors have the potential to be god, trapping us in its frame. Love is horrific. Horrific. These shorts have the potential to repel you in disgust, or to draw you in and lose yourself in its insanity, and for that reason alone it is a powerful work of art.
The four individual directors obviously had a daunting task ahead of them trying to make this. They had to present these tales honestly, and also visually uncover the madness behind them. I don't know about the former, as I haven't read any of Rampo's stories, however visually these films are amazing too. Especially Mirror Hell, which has amazing shots of the actors constantly reflected in dozens of different mirrors.
You leave the film feeling as if the makers had thrown a lot of violence and sex at you stylishly but with no real substance. The shorts are too surreal and disjointed to follow through with any of the points they try to make. The are no answers to be found in these shorts, and nothing profound to learn or re-learn. However, these shorts were never made with such intentions. They were made to show the madness of Edogawa Rampo. They were made to disgust you, and to provoke you. And they mastered that exceptionally.
Whether you like it or not, you won't forget this one.
a masterpiece on simple values of friendship and forgiveness
I saw this at the Japanese Film Festival in Sydney and I thought it was fantastic. The whole story is clichéd as a whole, however with all the plot twists changing directions you have to just let it take you where it wants to go.
The story involves a young boy who lost his mother and was confined to a wheel-chair from a car accident. He spends his time locked in is room, using a robot that he can communicate from his computer as his eyes to the outside world.
Some moments in the film could be considered to many audiences as quite corny, however, the darker elements manage to balance the film as a whole quite nicely. At times the film feels it gets a bit long too, however this is only because there are so many ideas crammed into it that sometimes you really have no idea where it is going and are wanting to find a resolution all too soon. The ending, however, is far more than satisfying enough.
Use of cg is really great too, although it is usually saved for the right moments so that it is most effective. The use of first person perspectives and computer game footage was masterfully utilized to make interesting comparisons between reality and virtual-reality. Much more interesting than it was in say, Doom.
I think the most important thing about this film though, is that the characters are presented in ways that you can only feel compassion for them. You get the sense that the makers also felt the same way.
Verdict: You'll laugh, you'll cry.
Sora no ana (2001)
I found this film much spookier than the Hideo Nakata films such as Ringu and Dark Water. This is mainly because of the indirect way that the story is told. The film takes many directions at once which may lead to the "answer" behind the mystery that is the disappearance of the main character's sister. Parts of the answer seem to lurk in many dark corners of the film and where answers are not found instead you witness another horror of the impact that the disappeared girl has on the family. For this reason, it is a very strange film, and the themes it explores also makes it a very disturbing film. However the end is very satisfying, employing a beautiful visual metaphor that shouldn't be given away.
The film holds an effective dark atmosphere throughout that feels extremely authentic and original, with an unpredictable plot that doesn't fall for the usual level of cliché that is expected in such a horror film. That acting is fantastic and the direction is unusual and uncompromising
Also, the film I saw and the information on IMDb seem to be different, even though I saw this on cable, a Japanese film directed by the same director as listed Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, the title Antenna explained in the film as the protagonist's younger brother keeps mentioning that he can feel the missing sister with his antenna. On the plot summary it talks about a drive-in worker and a young tramp. I did not see these characters in the film. It's either the World Movies channel here is wrong or the user who submitted the plot summary is wrong.
my favorite science fiction, incredible ride through mistrust and the warping of reality.
my favorite science fiction, incredible ride through mistrust and the warping of reality. Probably the best performance I have ever seen Jude Law play. Incredibly original with interesting character developments and a story line that twists and turns so rapidly that it takes a couple of minutes after the film to fully grasps its genius. Even more fun watching it again for the end changes the beginning.