Reviews written by registered user
the_diceman

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14 reviews in total 
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1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Already one of this year's best, hands down!, 4 July 2008
9/10

What are those rockets that are being shot in the sky everyday? And why is everyone around Saeko acting so weird? Or is just her period? Who is Saeko? Saeko is a normal Highschool girl who wants to change the world, but everyone around her behaves kinda funny; her father stinks, her friends are barring her way, her teacher's a pervert. And Saeko's angry; not to say, hopping mad. But she doesn't know why. Maybe she's just having her period, after all ... Director Yuya Ishii confronts us with a wonderfully bizarre, yet oddly familiar reality which could very well be our own. We see the world through Saeko's eyes as she's trying to cope with everyday situations and her final days in school. "Girl Sparks" is one of those incredibly catchy and honest Coming-of-Age stories like they can only come from Japan. The humor feels fresh, the dialog is terrific, the pacing perfect, while still delivering a kind of bittersweet feeling of nostalgia. Ishii's camera-work is down-to-earth and realistic, the acting is as believable as it gets. Definitely among the best up-to-date films of relevance I've seen in a theater this year. Now all that's left for us to do is pray that this infinitely charming gem will eventually find its way on a subtitled DVD. Aaah, I dare not to hope ...

Election (2005)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A skeptic convinced . . ., 22 March 2007
8/10

I always thought this would be a long and boring Talking-Heads flick full of static interior takes, dude, I was wrong. "Election" is a highly fascinating and thoroughly captivating thriller-drama, taking a deep and realistic view behind the origins of Triads-Rituals. Characters are constantly on the move, and although as a viewer you kinda always remain an outsider, it's still possible to feel the suspense coming from certain decisions and ambitions of the characters. Furthermore Johnnie To succeeds in creating some truly opulent images due to meticulously composed lighting and atmospheric light-shadow contrasts. Although there's hardly any action, the ending is still shocking in it's ruthless depicting of brutality. Cool movie that deserves more attention, and I came to like the minimalistic acoustic guitar score quite a bit.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Jet Li and the Screenplay without Verve, 22 March 2007
5/10

Jet Li is a writer of pulpy Adventure novels with his alter ego acting as the main hero, while in real life he's trying to solve some serious relationship-issues with his girlfriend. Naturally the Adventure part taking place in a fictional scenario (and thankfully using up most of the movie's screen time) is the more entertaining one of those two story lines. Unfortunately plot-twists gradually become more random and ridiculous, so atmospheric visuals and fight-scenes remain as the only redeeming factor. Action focuses on effect and not so much on realism, Jet Li battling a Ninja-Squad is a blast, though. The "Indiana Jones"-feel is there, but without the suspense or energy. SFX are looking good and carry a certain trashy charm to them, while events in the real world stick to being a rather dull affair. Some good jokes here and there, but in the end there's nothing really to remember. Subtitles on the HK-DVD are of worst kind imaginably, they make no sense at all.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Was a Hater, until I've seen the "Revenge"-Cut, 22 March 2007
6/10

Twenty minutes of additional footage serve the movie well. Imprudently applied Kitsch remains, though, so does Riki Takeuchi's overacting and that non-subtle Social Message, but now they're all easier to bear, because of 1) deeper insight into certain character background, 2) extended Afghanistan footage, and 3) more headshots, yay. As crude Sledgehammer-Satire with a brainless Blockbuster-Look I can now co-exist with "Battle Royale 2" rather well. And I love Ai Maeda in her Army-Outfit: with strands of hair boldly hanging into her face, while carrying a huge Assault Rifle, she could've escaped right of a Manga Comic Book, which actually fits the tone of the movie quite well; "Starship Troopers without bugs" is also fine. So if you feel like watching "Battle Royale 2", please forget everything about the first one, exclusively allow the Director's Cut to enter your DVD-Player, and before hitting the "Play"-Button, it's imperative to memorize some kind of "Logic in movies sucks"-Mantra. Then, and only then even that conciliatory Ending Solution doesn't hurt as much anymore.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Sukeban vs. Kawaii, 22 March 2007
8/10

Maybe the one and only movie with a theme about Embroidery, that still can be considered "cool". Kyoko Fukada as cute Lolita-look Aficionado and Anna Tsuchia in a tough Biker-Gang Wardrobe make up a most strange, yet sympathetic pair of friends. Makes you laugh, makes you feel warm, yeah, even nostalgic. "Kamikaze Girls" is the archetypal essence of Manga-Culture come alive, pure J-Pop Fanservice in psychedelic, overbidding videoclip visuals (including one hysterical Anime story sequence), and one of those rare movies, where you don't ever want to see the credits. Also features a great entrance by my favorite Pin-up Idol Eiko Koike.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Compared to this, "Dragon Squad" is a Masterpiece of True Art, 18 March 2007
3/10

Daniel Lee's modern day remake of the Shaw-Brothers Classic "One armed Swordsman" actually should have been the greatest Sword Fighting movie ever done, or if Triads-Societies battling each others with sharp blades doesn't sound like a damn ****ing cool idea to you, get home. But sadly the movie gets spoiled by stoic characters, stupid MTV-editing full of annoying close-ups, and a total absence of comprehensible action-choreography. And whoever told directors, that a blurry and spinning super slo-mo is a way cool thing to be frequently applied in action-movies, should be shot. No, wait, stabbed. Or better even, have his arm cut off.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Watch it or skip it. Won't make a difference, 18 March 2007
5/10

Not too bad Action-Comedy by Danny Pang, starring Ekin Cheng, Ekin Cheng and the always charming Charlene Choi. A homosexual fashion-designer from Hong-Kong (Ekin Cheng) has to close a deal with a Triads-Boss in Thailand, otherwise his twin brother (Ekin Cheng, who after a fatal car-crash lies in a hospital) will lose all his property plus a finger. Yeah, it's shallow comedy and the CGI during a "Bad Boys 2"-style car chase sucks, but characters come along rather likable and there are a couple of really good jokes (Homo-Cheng giving styling tips to the sulky father-in-law of his brother), so if you're equipped with a big forgetting heart and don't mind Not thinking a lot, you're in for some pretty amusing 90 minutes. Some (tame) shootouts have the camera concentrating on slow-motion posing, rather than actual bullets flying, and if you look closely, you'll notice a terrific cross-over-reference to Pang Brothers' "Ab-normal Beauty".

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Hero" like a Playstation Gamer would have filmed it, 18 March 2007
8/10

Surprisingly solid Ninja-mainstream with lots of okay CGI and a drawn out "Romeo and Julia"-side plot. Fight scenes are short, yet effectively executed and rely heavily on various Anime-like Special Abilities of the Ninja-Protagonists. I love the flair, has quite an "X-Men"-Feeling as well, plus a tragic twist in a finale which works better than any Final Showdown Stuff would have. How perfect the ending really is, I only came to notice after having watched the movie a second time. Outstanding and moving performance by Yukie Nakama. Also pay attention for a most beautiful ballad by Ayumi Hamasaki, which is playing during the Credits.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Couldn't relax once, 18 March 2007
4/10

Creative dismemberment of human bodies doesn't automatically achieve a humorous effect. Doggedly told story, no sense for style or truly funny slapstick. Furthermore I felt disappointed that they didn't make it a real Kung-Fu Movie; instead almost every Fight Scene instantly switches to some ultra-bloody Finishing Move, and the Showdown in the kitchen is nothing but grossed-out Bad Taste. Visually-wise "Story of Ricky" is quite competent, though, some sufficiently "sparkling" images here and there, also prosthetic Splatter-SFX came about as rather convincing. Gore-Afficionados most certainly will find them entertaining to watch. May as well be, that this movie is so Bad it's almost Good, but after all the Hype the last thing I wanted to see was a bad movie.

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Excellent (in case you've never seen a Disaster-Movie before), 18 March 2007
5/10

Epic disaster movie, but totally different from Hollywood-Stuff (may be a budget thing, too). It's more about personal drama and the Big Picture than all-out Smashing Mayhem and people running around, screaming and dying. The actual Sinking of Japan takes place in a few short destruction-sequences throughout the movie and they are superbly executed (for Japanese standards), in between it's all about Love, Hope, and Sorrow in lofty dialog. Kou Shibasaki and her good looks remain the best thing about this movie. One perfect Farewell-Scene is being spoiled by stupid R'nB-Music, the ending had me crying with affection, though, I suck.


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