Archive for J Cinema

Outrage

Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Cristina Blackwater

Outrage – 2010

 

plot: The boss of a major crime syndicate orders his lieutenant to bring a rogue gang of drug traffickers in line, a job that gets passed on to his long-suffering subordinate. The plot concerns a struggle for power amongst Tokyo’s Yakuza clans, today just as likely to be playing the stock market as shaking down pachinko parlors, over which the Sanmo-kai clan holds sway in the face of constant betrayal and ever-changing allegiances. Sanmo-kai chairman Ototomo (played by Kitano himself) learns that his henchman Ikemoto has struck an alliance with the drug-dealing Murase family, and is not best pleased, to say the least. The ensuing retaliation triggers an orgy of killings, territorial invasions and score settling while law enforcement officers, too corrupt to intervene

 Kitano is fucking back with a vengeance. let’s all bow and thank the japanese film gods. after laying off the yakuza genre for nearly 10 years, master Takeshi Kitano brings us Outrage, once again starring himself as the main character. Outrage follows the ins and outs of Yakuza politics of revenge and atonement between bosses, brothers, and cohorts, and an unstoppable backstabbing bloody avalanche of awesome.

 

 

 

the winning recipe here is the ultra violence topped off with irresistible black humor. you gotta love it when the fatalities and horrible, blood filled yakuza situations you are presented with also make you let out an out loud chuckle or two. i mean there’s a reason why Tarantino loves this guy so much, right? right.

 

 

one way Outrage differs from Kitano’s other notorious yakuza movies, is that his character, and generally the story itself, lacks his distinctive outcast-inner struggle, the nuances in the people involved are put aside for a more straight forward kind of story telling, but after all, as Kitano remarked publicly about his making of Outrage, he is giving the people what they want – no pretense of artistic embellishments, but rather blunt, cruel acts of violence of the professional criminal devoid of any romanticism.

 

 

so sit back and enjoy the bloody ride, and then, if you’re hungry for more, remember this is the same guy who brought us masterpieces such as Brother, Hana-bi, and Boiling Point. it’s never too late for a good re-ash.

Suicide Club

Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by Cristina Blackwater

Suicide Club – Jisatsu Circle – 2001

Plot: In Tokyo, when fifty-four high-school students commit a collective suicide, jumping from a platform in Shinjuku Station, the police force leaded by Detective Kuroda has no clue to follow. Then he receives an e-mail from a young woman, The Bat, advising that there is a site where red dots mean the number of persons that died. Kuroda and his team investigate the deaths going nowhere

Suicide Club aka Suicide Circle aka Jisatsu Circle is a very popular 2001 movie directed by Sion Sono. This is exactly the kind of movie i used to just love as kid, because it was so gruesome and nonsense, and so typically Japanese. As i grew up and my taste for strong storytelling developed, i am now reconsidering my opinion a bit, and i’m gonna try to briefly explain why in the next couple paragraphs.

First of, the strong points: we have the always appealing schoolgirls (in uniforms!) butchering themselves deal, you know, that sort of thing that is just eye candy for the horrorhounds.

the opening sequence is one of the most impressive in J-Horror history, with over 50 little schoolgirls cheerfully singing and holding hands as they prepare to jump under a speeding train.

then we have that fascinating, typically japanese, over the top nonsense part, where a pseudo underground terrorist j-rocker doing his best David Bowie impression – complete with high heels and sequined suits – takes lead in a scene and just starts.. to sing a song. about suicide. about how suicide is good for you and death survives everything and stuff. I mean come on.. beat that:

now, the movie even goes deeper into the social propaganda, exploring the realms of disaffected youth and existentialist wonders. what is the meaning of life? are we all linked to each other? do these bonds still exist after we die? things that work in theory, but that are not played out at best as the story unfolds. The main problem is that  Suicide Club follows a pace that is remarkably slow, something that i don’t mind most of the times but in this case there’s a couple moments where the movie becomes simply boring.

I mean, at some point you’re just waiting and waiting for the next crazy gory scene to shake things up a bit. But it’s all good, because from time to time here we go with those bleeding schoolgirls again

Sono soon announced that this movie was going to be part of a trilogy, but so far we only saw one sequel: Noriko’s Dinner Table, that depicts events from before and after the happenings of Suicide Circle, and gives more insight on several plotholes of its predecessor.

Briefly, the weakest point of the flick is all the unanswered questions. But all in all this is another classic, and fits perfectly that J-Cinema revival i was just talking about.

Zombie Cupcakes out!

Battle Royale

Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2010 by Cristina Blackwater

Battle Royale – Batoru Rowaiaru – 2000

Plot: In the beginning of the 21st Century, the economy of Japan is near a total collapse, with high rates of unemployment and students boycotting their classes. The government approves the Battle Royale Act, where one class is randomly selected and the students are sent to an island wearing necklaces with few supplies and one weapon. After three days, they have to kill each other and the survivor wins his or her own life as a prize. The 42 students of a ninth-grade class are selected to participate in the survival game and abducted while traveling in their bus. Under the command of their former teacher Kitano, they have to eliminate each other following the rules of the sadistic game where only one wins

It’s Japanese Classics Revival here at Zombie Cupcakes land!

Being born and raised in a part of Europe where J culture is extremely popular, i kind of took movies like this for granted, like it was pointless to bring them up because “everybody has seen them already”.

It was then brought up to my attention that maybe a fresh viewer who is introduced to asian cinema for the first time might not exactly be so familiar with Akira, Tetsuo, Boiling Point, or in this case Battle Royale.

If i was ever to make a top 10 must see Japanese movie-list, this one would definitely be a part of it.

But first things first: Batoru Rowaiaru is a 2000 Kinji Fukasaku movie based on the shockwave novel by Koushun Takami, which is a bestseller in Japan, and which has become very controversial in a very short time. The plot is simple – a group of students are set to kill each other until only one survives – and stars the one and only Takeshi Kitano as the merciless teacher who’s behind the whole ordeal

Battle Royale is a fever-pitched exercise in the theory that reality itself is so close to absurdity that you need twist your picture of it only slightly to send it over the edge into nightmarish satire. There is no real meaning to the violence of it: just plain, bloody, and ultra-violent.

The main chatacters are Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa, two students who are secretly in love but never revealed it to each other before, and a third guy, Shogo Kawada, a survivor from a previous Battle Royale Program. But the thing is, even though she is in the movie only for a few minutes, the movie features a way more popular face, Takako Chigusa, played by Tarantino’s favorite japanese lady, Chiaki Kuriyama (aka Kill Bill’s Gogo). She wore that yellow one piece suit first!

The movie is brilliant in its simplicity, the satire against modern society is dry, bloody, and extremely effective.

And did i mention super-cute Japanese Schoolgirls (in uniforms!!) butchering each other?

Many other japanese movies involving schoolgirls and blood will be made after this, but Battle Royale will always be the “serious one”, the one that is not so gory it makes you laugh, but the one that’s brilliantly real even in such an unrealistic setting. If you’re approaching J-Cinema, and you want to do it right, make sure this movie is a part of your viewing experience.

Tokyo Zombie

Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

Tokyo Zombie (2005)

tokyo-zombie

This is japanese movie directed by Sakichi Sato in 2005, and tells the story of Fujio (a guy with no special talents and a big afro) and Mitsuo (his bald mentor who’s an expert of Jujitsu). After they accidentally kill their boss, they decide to bury his body on Black Fuji, a mountain that’s a result of all the trash and dirty laundry piled up from Tokyo’s inhabitants. As it turns out, the mountain is full of dead bodies and a weird chemical reaction results into a full blown zombie attack, and their odd adventure begins..

Today i was really sick and as i was laying in bed i realized it was about time to update my site. As you might have noticed, i decided to talk about a Japanese movie for a change. The main reason why i did this is a special person who told me i shouldn’t miss it. The second reason is that probably comedy and laughter are a better cure for sickness than my usual korean ultra-violent drama. Not to mention the ZOMBIES! hello? Zombies are the cure for everything.

So if you ever asked yourself: can a zombie movie be awesome? hilarious? sentimental? post apocalyptic? just plain fucking weird? – and hoped that there would be one day where you could answer all these question with a YES, well then look no further. Because Tokyo Zombie has them all!

It might be also interesting to remind you that the main actor in this movie is Tadanobu Asano, who (other that being extremely  hot) already starred in really good movies like Ichi the Killer and Survive Style 5+.. and that Tokyo Zombie also originally comes from a manga, and follows its pace. if you’re looking for entertainment, dark comedy, and flesh eating zombies all mixed up Japanese style, this is definitely the movie for you.