Archive for January 22nd, 2010

Noroi (2005)

A male documentary filmmaker Kobayashi uncovers something strange and evil that is leaving dead bodies in it’s wake. It’s all starts when a woman claims to be hearing a baby’s cry in the neighbour’s house next door even though there’s no baby there. A bedraggled woman opens the door to the house but refuses to answer his questions only to slam the door in his face. Things get even more mysterious when the woman that first reported the baby’s cries and her daughter are both killed in a car accident. The woman next door and her son vanish from the house leaving a pile of dead pidgeons on the back porch. Kobayashi is determined to solve the mystery but has he bitten off more than he can chew? The trail leads to a small village and tales of an ancient demon known as Kagutaba.

This scared the shit out of me. A brilliant movie shot like a documentary and played out like a true story. High on atmosphere with a mood of dark foreboding seeping through the movie, Noroi manages to get under your skin and as the story pans out you’re left on the edge of your seat and biting your nails such is the tension that builds up to a very disturbing finale. It doesn’t have to rely on cheap scares to make you frightened. I’ve never been this scared watching a movie for a while so kudos to the filmmakers. I highly recommend this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Akemi Tachibana (Meiko Kaji) is trying to keep the wishes of her dead father alive by not allowing her yakuza clan to continue to spill bloodshed. However a traitor within her clan is secretly dabbling with a rival in order to take control. Adding to her worries is a female swordswoman who Akemi accidentally blinded years ago and wants revenge for her brother who was killed.

Meiko Kaji in another classic movie from the 70’s. She is just totally mesmerising on screen. No wonder she’s a Japanese movie icon. I could watch her movies all day. This bizarre tale is part yakuza part horror that features a manic hunchback and a cat that likes to drink blood. If you’re a fan of Kaji’s work then you’ll definitely want to give this a go.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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A young woman in her 20’s called Taeko can’t seem to move on with her life, something inside is holding her back and she’s questioning what to do with herself. She decides to take a trip to the Japanese countryside to pick some berries with some distant relatives where she starts reminiscing about her childhood days when she was 10 years old and how events back in those days have shaped her life so far. She meets a man and they look like the ideal couple together but they’re both too shy to make the first move. He’s far too polite and she has insecurities that prevent her from falling in love. Will she finally break free from her past to make a go of it in the present?

I don’t know why this isn’t one of the most popular Ghibli movies as it’s just fantastic. Such a beautiful movie to make you think of your own childhood. I was thinking back to mine whilst watching this movie. What would the 10 year old me have made of what I am today? We’ve come to expect some kind of fantasy element with Ghibli’s output but this hasn’t got any. It’s the most realistic movie they’ve ever done. Very uplifting, touching and moving. Don’t forget to stick with the end credits for a truly wonderful ending. I was tearing up!! We might become adults and leave our childhood behind but the memories are always kept within our hearts. Highly recommended. A masterpiece if ever I saw one.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Incredible movie starring the Thai female sensation Jeeja Yanin. In this, her 2nd movie she’s a part of a team with 4 men who are out to smash an organisation that have kidnapped ‘special’ women. The purpose being that tears from these women have health benefits and people will pay a lot of money for it.

The fight choreography is outstanding and at times it’s like watching poetry in motion. For those that loved the Drunken Master movies then you’ll enjoy the martial arts here which combines breakdancing and drunken muay thai. In case your wondering although Jeeja is the main star in this movie she does have to share her screentime with 4 people who get to show off their martial arts skills too.

I’ve got to hand it to the Thais, they’re certainly innovative with their fight sequences and action movies. Raging Phoenix comes highly recommended and Jeeja Yanin raises the bar once more after her brilliant debut in Chocolate. Jeeja is one tough young lady and she must have been hurt quite a lot during the filming. Can’t wait to see her next movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Trick:The Movie (2002)

The popular Japanese dorama Trick debuted on the big screen after the 2nd season of the TV series. Reuniting the female magician Naoko Yamada and Professor Ueda, they travel to a remote village in the countryside where it is said a catastrophe will befall the whole place and Yamada has been summoned there to ease the people’s feelings. But that isn’t all. 3 men posing as fake gods have assembled there and one by one they are murdered. Can Yamada and Ueda solve the case?

This carries on the complex but interesting plotlines that took place in the dorama series. The fake gods pulling off a scam trick with Yamada being able to crack how they did it. It’s actually very clever the way you see the tricks exposed by Yamada.

Trick of course has plenty of laughs along the way. There’s great chemistry as always by Yukie Nakama and Abe Hiroshi. The two bumbling cops who were constantly accusing Yamada of a crime in the series – one of which is the bald man Yabe who wears a wig also make an appearance in this movie. If you loved the dorama then of course you should watch this otherwise I fear those that have not followed the series will find the style of the movie a little bit hard to follow.

I can’t find a trailer for this movie unfortunately.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Thieves steal a buddha’s head statue from a remote Thai village. The villagers fear that bad luck will bestow upon them so one young man vows to restore the balance by going after them and retreiving it.

The movie that introduced the Thai sensation Tony Jaa to the world and put him on the map as one of the hottest martial artists around. Those that have longed for the type of action movie that Hong Kong was famed for in the 80’s when health and safety regulations were thrown out of the window just for the sake of creating a stunt and no holds barred fighting will no doubt be salivating at watching Ong Bak. The stunt people did get injured filming this movie. Words cannot describe my reaction when I saw Ong Bak on first viewing, my jaw hit the floor at the bone crunching fights I witnessed. It’s just awesome. The storyline is basically weak and just an excuse to showcase Tony Jaa’s incredible acrobatic Muay Thai fighting skills. One of the best modern martial arts movies in recent years.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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