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Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell 吸血鬼ゴケミドロ (1968) Dir: Hajime Sato

Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell    Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell Japanese Film Poster

吸血鬼ゴケミドロ Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro

Release Date: August 14th, 1968

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Hajime Sato

Writer: Kyuzo Kobayashi, Susumu Takaku (Script),

Starring: Tereuo Yoshida (Sugisaka, the co-pilot), Tomomi Sato (Kazumi Asakura, the stewardess), Eizo Kitamura (Gozo Mano, the senator), Hideo Ko (Hirofumi Teraoka, the hijacker), Kathy Horan (Mrs. Neal), Yuko Kusunoki (Noriko Tokuyasu), Nobuo Kaneko (Tokuyasu). Kazuo Kato (Dr. Momotake, the psychiatrist), Masaya Takahashi (Toshiyuki Saga, the scientist)

IMDB

Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell is a pessimistic sci-fi horror where a group of survivors from an airplane crash encounter an extra-terrestrial blob that can turn humans into bloodsucking vampires.

Released in 1968, the same year as classic Edo-gothic horror Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindo), the disturbing drama The Profound Desire of the Gods (Nagisa Oshima), and social commetary Death By Hanging (Nagisa Oshima), while it won’t be remembered as anything ground-breaking like those titles, it has its B-movie charms that justify giving it a watch.

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Wild Geese / The Mistress 雁 Shiro Toyoda (1953)

The Mistress (aka Wild Geese)      Wild Geese Film Poster

雁 「Gan

Running Time: 104 mins.

Release Date: September 15th, 1953

Director: Shiro Toyoda

Writer: Masashige Narusawa (Screenplay), Ogai Mori (Original Novel)

Starring: Hideko Takamine, Hiroshi Akutagawa, Choko Lida, Eijiro Tono, Jukichi Uno,

IMDB

Wild Geese a.k.a The Mistress is based on a novel by Ogai Mori (real name, Mori Rintaro, 1882–1916), an interesting figure in himself. Originally born to a family of doctors, he was expected to follow that path but, instead, found fame as a translator, novelist, and poet. He lived through the transition from the Meiji era to the Taisho period and, from what I have read on Wikipedia, his works are humanist dramas as is evident in this particular film that tells a quiet tragedy about a poor woman who dares to dream of escaping the confines of her lowly position through marriage but finds herself trapped by gender and class as is revealed when she falls in love.

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Wandering Alien Detective Robin さすらいのエイリアン 私立探偵ロビン Dir: Lisa Takeba (2012)

Wandering Alien Detective Robin

さすらいのエイリアン 私立探偵ロビンSasurai no eirian shiritsu tantei Robin

Release Date: June 16th, 2012

Duration: 20 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Script), 

Starring: Masanori Mimoto, Takuro Kodama, Lisa Geran, Kinuo Yamada, Arata Yamanaka, Takashi Nishina, Yaeko Kiyose, Yuya Ishikawa, Marc Walkow,

JFDB IMDB

Lisa Takeba is a multi-hyphenate talent who gleefully blends genres, utilises melodrama and has the sort of imaginative hands-on DIY special effects that can charm an audience enough to paper over how slight or loopy her stories are. This can best be appreciated in her feature films The Pinkie (2014) and Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory (2015), both of which are zany romances with a science fiction spin. Her earliest available work, the short film Wandering Alien Detective Robin (2012), is a good indicator of what she is capable of.

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The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time オルジャスの白い馬 Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba (2019)

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time Film Poster

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time   

オルジャスの白い馬Oruhasu no Shiroi Uma

Release Date: January 18th, 2020

Duration: 81 mins.

Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba

Writer: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov (Screenplay),

Starring: Dulyga Akmolda, Madi Minaidarov, Mirai Moriyama, Samal Yeslyamova,

Website IMDB

 

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time is a wholly original film that runs for a tight 81 minutes and utilises the mechanics of various genres to explore the impact of a murder on a family in a remote region of the world. The film, which opened the 2019 edition of the Busan International Film Festival, is an international co-production between Kazakhstan and Japan. It’s the collective vision of two directors: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, who won the New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival 2015 for The Walnut Tree, and Lisa Takeba who is known for her quirky sci-fi tinged romcoms, The Pinkie (2014) and Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory (2015). What is delivered is a picture that definitely deserves to be seen on the widest screen possible as it zeroes in on the tiny dramas of a group of characters clinging to life in an uncaring environment.

Continue reading “The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time オルジャスの白い馬 Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba (2019)”

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Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory 春子超常現象研究所 Dir: Lisa Takeba (2015)

Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory    Haruko'sParanormal Laboratory Film Poster

春子超常現象研究所「 Haruko Chojo Gensho Kenkyujo」

Release Date: December 05th, 2015

Duration: 73 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Aoi Nakamura, Moeka Nozaki, Fumiyo Kohinata, Sayaka Aoki, Takumi Saito, Yumiko Takahashi,

Website    IMDB

The spirit of love and youth animates everything in Lisa Takeba’s sophomore feature. With the imagination and energy of a high schooler drunk with love for B-movies, she showers the screen with handmade sets, head-spinning moments of romance, and characters set up to accentuate the giddy energy of love as Takeba crafts a colourful, creative and offbeat tale of a maladjusted girl finding romance with a TV in a film that doesn’t belabour but parodies and placates the existential angst living creatures feel as they seek a place in the world.

The story begins  with Haruko (Moeka Nozaki), a loner with a passion for the paranormal, something she has longed to encounter since childhood when she sought out an alien abduction to free her of her high school days which were fraught with betrayal and bullying. Her only company at home is her television, an old analogue set from the 1950 which, one day, transforms into a man (Aoi Nakamura) with a TV-shaped head. Haruko names him Terebi and soon falls in love with him. Their path to true love proves to be rocky and the two have to work through issues, Haruko’s being a hatred of other people and Terebi’s being an existential crisis brought on by the fact he was once an inanimate object and not human (so what are feelings and aree his real or something he learned from a TV show!?!?!).

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Featured The Pinkie Film Image Miwako Wagatsuma 2

The Pinkie さまよう小指 Dir: Lisa Takeba (2014)

The Pinkie   

The Pinkie Film Poster
The Pinkie Film Poster

さまよう 小指  Samayou Koyubi

Release Date: September 14th, 2014 (Japan)

Duration: 63 mins.

Director: Lisa Takeba

Writer: Lisa Takeba (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryota Ozawa, Miwako Wagatsuma, Haruka Suenaga, Kanji Tsuda,

Website

When I first saw this film I fell in love with it and hyped the director up. Lisa Takeba is one of those multi-hyphenate talents whose imagination covers writing, directing and more. She has a background in advertising and writing videogames for the likes of Nintendo so she’s got a lot of experience with different styles to work with, something which shows in this fun and insane mash-up of genres where rom-com meets offbeat sci-fi and yakuza thrills in a story that firmly places love at the centre of everything.

The story is about love as experienced by four people but it starts with two.

Since they were both five, Ryosuke (Ryota Ozawa) has been stalked by Momoko (Miwako Wagatsuma) – the ugliest girl in the village. Momoko’s love for Ryosuke is so boundless that she has her face surgically altered to suit his taste – but still, he wants nothing to do with her. Ryosuke is a louche NEET who is in love with the girlfriend of a yakuza boss, a slippery dame named Manami (Haruka Suenaga), but when the boss finds out about their affair he has Ryosuke’s little finger hacked off and chases him off. Magically, the finger falls into Momoko’s hands and she uses it to clone Ryosuke so she can finally have him (or almost him) for herself – and that’s the first five minutes of this deranged tale of pure-hearted love.

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Lovers on Borders ポルトの恋人たち時の記憶 Director: Atsushi Funahashi (2018)

Lovers on Borders   Lovers on Borders Film Poster

ポルトの恋人たち 時の記憶 「Poruto no koibitotachi toki no kioku

Release Date: November 10th, 2018

Running Time: 139 mins.

Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Writer: Atsushi Funahashi, Shigeru Murakoshi (Screenplay),

Starring: Tasuku Emoto, Yuta Nakano, Ana Moreira, Antonio Duraes, Flavio Hamilton, Alex Miranda, Miguel Monteiro, Valdemar Santos,

Website IMDB

Lovers on Borders is an international co-production between Japan and Portugal that was released in 2018. Based on an original script by writer Shigeru Murakoshi and director Atsushi Funahashi, it tells the story of a relationship between two lost souls that defies many lines of separation. Life and death, geographical distance, language, race, religion, social class, hatred, and ultimately time are traversed in a love story that takes nearly 300 years to reach fruition.

The film starts in Japan in 2021, a year after the Tokyo Olympic Games have successfully been held but have failed to revitalise the economy and ten years after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the effects of which continue to haunt the nation.

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GEMINI 双生児 -GEMINI- (1999) Dir: Shinya Tsukamoto

This year’s Halloween movie review is back and I am returning to a familiar name for this year’s chosen film, Shinya Tsukamoto. There are slight spoilers in here.

Gemini   

双生児 -GEMINI- そうせいじ ジェミニ

Release Date: September 15th, 1999

Duration: 83 mins.

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto (Script), Edogawa Rampo (Original Story – Souseiji: Aru Shikeiin ga Kyoukaishi ni Uchiaketa Hanashi)

Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Ryo, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Shiho Fujimura, Akaji Maro, Masako Motai, Renji Ishibashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Tadanobu Asano, Naoto Takenaka, Yuriko Hirooka,

IMDB

Gemini (1999) is an adaptation of the Edogawa Rampo story ‘The Twins’ by Shinya Tsukamoto. Now, tone down any expectations of hyper-stylised violence and prepare yourself for psychological horror as a doppelganger forces a doctor to confront class issues in Tsukamoto’s first period film.

It is Meiji-era Japan and as the country goes through growth pains Yukio (Masahiro Motoki) has been blessed with good fortune. Following his unscathed return from being a military surgeon on the bloody frontlines of an unspecified war, he has followed in his father’s footsteps and taken over the practice in his family’s beautiful home. He is handsome, highly educated and refined, a naturally talented doctor, and well-respected by those who can afford him. To cap things off, he has a beautiful wife, Rin (Ryo). The only wrinkle in his picture-perfect life is that Rin has no past for she has amnesia and nobody knows a thing about her and her social status, something which rankles his parents. Despite this, Yukio is happy.

Gemini 1

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Third Window Films Release Europe’s first Blu-ray and the UK’s first release of Shinya Tsukamoto’s “GEMINI” on November 02nd

Third Window Films are going to bolster their stable of  Shinya Tsukamoto films by issuing a (Region B) blu-ray release of Gemini, his 1999 horror title, on November 02nd.

It has a sparkling transfer that is pin-sharp and accentuates the colours and the extras, which the disc is packed full of, do a brilliant job of going into the background of the film. Here are the details:

 

 

Extra features
New HD transfer
Audio commentary by Tom Mes, author of Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto
Making of Gemini” featurette directed by Takashi Miike
Behind the Scenes
Make-up demonstration featurette
Venice Film Festival featurette
Original Trailer
First 1000 units come with slipcase featuring new artwork illustrated by Ian McEwan

Here’s the trailer and synopsis and a little extra info:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release Europe’s first Blu-ray and the UK’s first release of Shinya Tsukamoto’s “GEMINI” on November 02nd”

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All the Things We Never Said 生きちゃった Dir: Yuya Ishii (2020)

All the Things We Never Said Film Poster

All the Things We Never Said   

生きちゃった Ikichatta

Release Date: October 03rd, 2020

Duration: 91 mins.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Writer: Yuya Ishii (Script), 

Starring: Taiga Nakano, Yuko Oshima, Ryuya Wakaba, Park Jung-bum, Yuuno Ota, Miyu Yagyu, TOBI,

Website IMDB

In 2019 the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and China’s Heaven Pictures launched a pan-Asian project called B2B A Love Supreme wherein six Asian auteurs were tasked with going back to basics and making a feature on a limited budget of approximately US$145,000. The filmmakers selected included Tsai Ming-Liang from Taiwan, Chinese-Korean Zhang Lu and Japanese director Yuya Ishii who contributed All the Things We Never Said.

The title for Ishii’s story proves to be apt as this 90 minute film finds its dramatic fluctuations based on a cycle of escalating tragedies derived from various character’s inability to communicate what they truly feel to others. This is down to the fact that expressing ones emotions and risking breaking the peace of a situation is difficult in a Japanese situation where social equanimity and cohesion is prized.

The opening is anything but grim. Boundless optimism radiates from the screen as we gaze upon three high schoolers, two guitar-wielding boys and a girl, who amble along an open road on a balmy summer’s day. An upbeat song gives us the perfect accompaniment to these sun-kissed scenes that are familiar from countless seishun eiga and sappy romances. These are hopeful kids however, amidst all of their joy, seeds of disharmony are sown as they are caught in an unspoken love triangle that will have consequences well into adulthood. 

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