Getting Any? みんな~やってるか! (1995) Dir: Takeshi Kitano

Getting Any?   Getting Any Film Poster

みんな~やってるか!Minna~ Yatteru ka

Running Time: 108 mins.

Release Date: February 11th, 1995

Director:  Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano (Screenplay),

Starring: Dankan, Moeko Ezawa, Takeshi Kitano, Susumu Terajima, Kanji Tsuda, Yurei Yanagi, Ren Osugi, Taka Guadalcanal, Hakuryu, Yojin Hino, Yoneko Matsukane,

IMDB Website

Takeshi Kitano the director and Beat Takeshi the performer meet together in a manic film about a young man’s increasingly desperate attempt to get laid which becomes a series of prurient slapstick sketches that push the boundaries of good taste.

Getting Any Film Image

The story follows middle-aged layabout Asao (Dankan). His one and only goal in life is to have sex. To do this, he embarks upon a series of misadventures ranging from buying a car to impress a woman enough for car sex to becoming an actor to get a seat in first class on a jet because, in his narrow-minded world, he thinks sex is one of the services on offer from air-hostesses. His antics get bigger and bolder and wackier the more desperate he becomes. Pretty soon they involve armed robbery, becoming the next Zatoichi in a movie production, a yakuza hitman, and an invisible man and worse because of crazy scientific experiments.

Getting Any? uses an episodic structure to launch a scattershot satire of Japanese society and popular culture through the lens of Kitano’s unique sense of humour which he takes to extremes in terms of the inanity and stupidity. Every situation start off at some reasonable level of idiocy initiated by Asao before becoming a series of bizarre, over the top and absurd slapstick gags at the expense of the central character and a cast ranging from serious actors to Kitano’s army of fans, his Gundan who appear in many of his films and TV shows, all of whom throw themselves into the skits with gusto. Even Kitano shows up to take part.

Kitano finds comedy in every situation thanks to Asao being of a character with a one-track mind with a brain straight out of dullstown. This leads to tremendous sight gags especially in the first part of the film. In order to get money Asao figures he needs to rob a bank. So he needs a gun. Who has guns? Cops. Asao imagines stealing a gun and getting blown away. When he acquires a gun, one of his targets is a bank run by cops.

As the film ticks along, his imagination gets only slightly bigger but his luck get much better. Seeing Asao graduate from being a bit-part player stuck full of arrows in a samurai movie to playing Zatoichi by way of accidentally getting the original actor to almost drown is hilarious and then taken to the next level as the central fool plays the blind swordsman by closing his eyes and engaging in physical slapstick such as dousing people with manure and much more dangerous liquids while in the presence of a naked flame.

Kitano managed to work in references to and mock films as diverse as Ghostbusters, Branded to Kill, Ultraman, Mothra, Zatoichi, Michael Jackson’s song Beat It and Akira Kurosawa as Asao travels across Tokyo and gets into misadventures. Having a knowledge of Japanese pop-culture adds a lot of depth to the gags and makes them funnier, the laughs last longer, but towards the end of the film, many of them have a habit of going on way too long (especially the tokusatsu stuff), past the point where the joke is funny. This was deliberate on Kitano’s part since he made the n’est plus ultra of bad jokes to scandalise the Japanese entertainment industry and also to destroy his own career.

This a film with which some Japanese fans of Kitano feel he tried committing suicide as public figure since he went to such great lengths to be absurd audiences wondered if he had lost the plot. It was filmed at a time when he was at the height of his fame and fortune in Japan as Beat Takeshi, the comedian, radio star, writer and so forth but not taken seriously as Takeshi Kitano, the film director and serious actor. With so many TV shows, books, and other projects he was working on and an eventful private life to say the least, he was finding it difficult to manage the stress of fame and public interest as well as his excessive work and partying. This was compounded by the box-office failure of the 1993 gangster film Sonatine, which he personally saw as his first major artistic achievement as a director. With fame and pressure mounting, he let the comedian, Beat Takeshi tear up the screen with this film and the results are scandalous. Further adding to the dramatic context of the film, Kitano finished production on it before the motor-scooter accident which left the right side of his face paralysed. No wonder some interpret Getting Any​? as something he made unconsciously to help him deal with his career frustrations and anxiety over his fame as well as being a rebel yell against an industry not taking him seriously. 

Getting Any? may have been made out of frustration but there is enough comedy and shock value and bizarre prurient humour here to justify viewing it. It is easy to imagine fans at the time being scandalised by some of the scenes packed full of nudity and violence but also there’s a sense of dangerousness and liberation in seeing people gleefully engaging in the anarchy on screen. Kitano is pushing back against good taste and does so effectively.

Getting Any Film Image 2

Kitano leads actors and his Gundan who he worked with in previous films astray as everyone throws themselves into this nonsense. It is fun seeing the likes of Yurei Yanagi, Susumu Terajima, and Ren Osugi from Boiling Point and Sonatine reprise roles as gangsters and weirdos who only show up to get bumped off or take part in sight gags based on societal quirks and erotic games that will lead to audience-members doing spit takes. Leading the cast is Dankan who plays Asao with a vacant gaze perfect for a man so shallow he is unable to see where his disastrous schemes go wrong and why women don’t like him. He would come off as a sexual predator of the worst kind if he wasn’t so inept at everything he put his hand to and Kitano didn’t keep slapping him in stupid situations that break off his ardour or totally subvert it.

Getting Any? is a solid comedy and interesting to engaging with when you consider this as Kitano’s mid-career crisis film. We should be glad he survived it and his accident because he went on to make even more films and gain a serious following in Japan as an auteur and we are now able to watch his films get re-released in wonderful 4K and enjoy his idiosyncratic sense of humour and direction. Even if it doesn’t always work, most of it is amusing to watch and a great time-capsule of pop-culture hits from the 80s and 90s.

Third Window Films continue to release the newly restored films of Takeshi Kitano on sparkly blu-ray in the UK with Getting Any?. Prior to this release, it was only available in the UK via Second Sight Films and their Kitano box-set. The Third Window Films release is a massive improvement in terms of visuals and sound and the subtitles have been given a unique UK spin with money translated from yen to pounds and there’s an interesting interview with Kitano.

Getting Any? みんな~やってるか! (1995) Dir: Takeshi Kitano is erotic nonsense of the highest order and presented perfectly here so if you have to get any version, then this is the one.

This review was originally written for VCinema.

Third Window Films Release Takeshi Kitano’s “Getting Any?” on October 16th

Third Window Films continue to release the newly restored films of Takeshi Kitano on sparkly blu-ray in the UK with Getting Any? on October 16th.

I remember watching this film for the first time around five years ago and just being stunned at how monumentally unfunny it was after the Ghostbusters sketch. It’s undisciplined and tries to do too much, the humour hasn’t dated well and there’s little that’s funny to begin with. But then maybe that’s the point and there’s a lot more going on than I realised:

In an interview Kitano actually draws parallels to Kurosawa, who, in the hindsight of Kitano, should have made a total bullshit film, instead of attempting suicide after “Dodes Kaden”. To Kitano, “‘Getting Any?’ is a beautiful disastrous failure and “suicide”.

Henrik Sylow (kitanotakeshi.com)

Whatever, of you’re a completionist or adventurous this is definitely for you. The material covers so much since it’s a send-up of the Japanese film industry and it certainly is memorable. Perhaps, after living in Japan, I might find more elements of this funny. It certainly has a good cast with Kitano leading familiar actors like Yurei Yanagi and Susumu Terajima astray and both Dankan and Ren Osugi appeared in the Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie Eyes of the Spider!

Getting Any Film Image

Here are the details:

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release Takeshi Kitano’s “Getting Any?” on October 16th”

Japanese Films at the Venice Film Festival 2017

The Venice International Film Festival launches its 74th edition on August 30th and it lasts until September 09th and the line-up was announced earlier this week. I’ve missed the last couple editions of the festival because there have been few Japanese films (the last edition I covered was in 2014). Anyway, there are two Japanese films from current directors and three classics from the golden age present this year. One if the modern ones is a Hirokazu Koreeda film which is in the international competition section which has many world premieres. Takeshi Kitano has his latest film screened out of competition, a section dedicated to already-established directors. There is also on American documentary about the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

There are a couple of other Asian movies. To find out more about them, head over to Windows on Worlds.

Here are the details on the Japanese films:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Venice Film Festival 2017”

Metrograph in New York to Screen Takeshi Kitano Movies throughout November

People in New York have a nice winter treat since Metrograph will play host to a series of movies by the genius that is Takeshi Kitano. This event will see most of his major works screened on 35mm prints from November 17th to November 25th. It features highlights such as Sonatine, Boiling Point, A Scene at the Sea and Kids Return. There’s also one of his weaker efforts, Getting Any?, a comedy that wears out its welcome after 30 minutes… Otherwise, this is a stellar selection of films.

Kikujiro Takeshi Kitano Masao Yusuke Sekiguchi
Kikujiro Takeshi Kitano Masao Yusuke Sekiguchi

Continue reading “Metrograph in New York to Screen Takeshi Kitano Movies throughout November”

Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s “Kids Return” on Blu-ray on October 24th

Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s brilliant coming-of-age drama Kids Return (1996) at the end of October. This is the latest film to be released on Blu-ray by Third Window Films thanks to Office Kitano updating their titles with 2K masters.

Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-bi and Kikujiro and Dolls, but I missed the last release, A Scene at the Sea.  This is the second film he directed but does not star in after A Scene at the Sea (1991) and much like that one, it is one of his best as it charts the relationship between two friends at high school who face tough choices in life. It has an excellent story and a fantastic soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi. Here’s a track.

kids-return-film-image

Here’s some information from the press release:

Continue reading “Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s “Kids Return” on Blu-ray on October 24th”

Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s “A Scene at the Sea” on September 12th on Blu-ray

Third Window Films are releasing a series of films by Takeshi Kitano on Blu-ray since Office Kitano are updating their titles with 2K masters. Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-bi and Kikujiro and Dolls, and the latest release is A Scene at the Sea which comes out on September 12th.

A Scene at the Sea Two Leads

I saw this one for the first time around five or six years ago and was bowled over by it. The story is simple but profound as it looks at the love and problems of a unique set of characters, especially the two leads. It has some of that comedy and tragedy present in all of Kitano’s films minus the director himself who usually takes a star role. This one features another great score by Joe Hisaishi.

Here’s some info from a press release!

Continue reading “Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s “A Scene at the Sea” on September 12th on Blu-ray”

Dolls ドールズ (2002)

Dolls   Dolls Film Poster

ドールズ 「Do-ruzu

Release Date:  2002 (Japan)

UK Release Date: March 14th, 2016

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 114 mins.

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano (Screenplay),

Starring: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Chieko Matsubara, Kyoko Fukada, Kanji Tsuda, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Yuko Daike,

IMDB

Dolls is a beautiful film about love, love that is betrayed and love that is lost and regained. It is a gorgeous film visually and aurally, absolutely stunning at points.

Continue reading “Dolls ドールズ (2002)”

Third Window Films Release Takeshi Kitano’s Dolls on Blu-ray on March 14th

Third Window Films are releasing a series of films by Takeshi Kitano on Blu-ray as Office Kitano updates the titles with 2K masters. Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-bi and Kikujiro and next Monday I hope to review the latest film to get a release in the series, Dolls.

I was in high school when this was released and I must admit to being turned off by the obvious artiness of it, which isn’t to say that it’s bad so much as my taste ran more to his more violent gangster films. When I was in university I came to love his more sedate films like A Scene at the Sea and Kids Return. Like those two films, Dolls doesn’t feature Kitano acting on screen and it features a score by Joe Hisaishi (his last collaboration with Kitano). I suppose now is a great time to see how far my views have changed since it’s getting a release on March 14th!

Here’s some info from a press release!

Continue reading “Third Window Films Release Takeshi Kitano’s Dolls on Blu-ray on March 14th”

Kikujiro 菊次郎の夏 (1999)

Kikujiro

菊次郎の夏「Kikujiro no Natsu」   Kikujiro Film Poster

Release Date: June 05th, 1999 (Japan)

UK Release Date: February 22nd, 2016

UK Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 121 mins.

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano (Screenplay),

Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Yuko Daike, The Great Gidayu, Rakkyo Ide, Fumie Hosokawa, Beat Kiyoshi,

IMDB

Kikujiro is Takeshi Kitano’s most innocent film. The titular character was inspired by his own father (also named Kikujiro) who was a bit of a chancer, it’s a story of a little boy and his unlikely adult guardian on a summer trip full of friendship and misadventures that make up for some heartbreak.

Continue reading “Kikujiro 菊次郎の夏 (1999)”

Takeshi Kitano Comedy Kikujiro on Blu-ray from February 22nd

Third Window Films are set to release a number of films by legendary director Takeshi Kitano on Blu-ray this year. So far we have had the release of Hana-bi (my review here) and we are going to get a number of others such as Kids Return, A Scene at the Sea, Dolls, and Kikujiro. It’s a phenomenal run of titles and Kikujiro is a very popular film. It’s a family film, a road movie and it will make you laugh and cry and laugh even more. Here’s some info from a press release!

Third Window Films are all set to release Kikujiro on February 22nd and it’s going to be available on Blu-ray with a new 2K master from Office Kitano.

Kikujiro Fishing

Continue reading “Takeshi Kitano Comedy Kikujiro on Blu-ray from February 22nd”