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Archive for May 14th, 2010

Tokyo Story (1953)

An aging couple, living in retirement in rural Japan, decide to visit their married children in the bustling metropolis of post-war Tokyo. But once they arrive, they find that the children no longer have time for them in their busy lives. Shuffling their parents back and forth between each of their houses the couple is eventually shipped off to a health spa. Only the couple’s daughter-in-law, the widow of their son who died in the war, shows them any kindness. The parents return home – lonely and disillusioned, and the mother soon falls critically ill. The children arrive too late though, and have lost their chance to make any reconciliation.


A classic masterpiece Japanese movie from director Ozu. In spite of the simple slow pace of the story it really packs an emotional punch as we see the disintegration of a family. The modern generation turning it’s back on the older one as the children drift away from their parents. All of the cast do extremely well in their roles but I have to say that Setsuko Hara as the dutiful daughter in law Noriko stands out by hiding her pain with a constant smile on her face and taking time out from her work to spend some time with the elderly couple whilst the rest of the family due to their busy lives just can’t be bothered. Even after the death of their mother, though they mourn for a little while – very soon they are back to their selfish selves once more. You just feel contempt for them all by the time the movie ends. This is the kind of movie that will make you reflect upon your own family and how you treat them. It is a fantastic moving piece of work and arguably one of the best movies ever made.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 out of 5

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This controversial Hong Kong shocker has a reputation for being one of the sickest movies ever put on celluloid. It’s a movie that’s supposed to be a history lesson in showing the cruel and inhumane experiments that one Japanese squadron – 731 did to people in their death camp in order to achieve victory in World War II. What puts this above other nasty horror movies is that the filmmakers used real dead bodies in some torture scenes and then there’s the infamous two scenes of animal cruelty which is gruesome. A live cat is thrown into a room full of starving hungry rats which devour it whilst it tries to escape. Very disturbing and harrowing to watch. Later the rats are shown to be on fire near the climax. I can’t believe they did this to live animals but apparently it’s all true. This isn’t a movie to be enjoyed and it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.

I can’t find a trailer for it unfortunately

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Black Magic M-66 (1987)

The Terminator done anime style! Two government androids are on the loose after a plane carrying them crashes. The military try to capture them. One is destroyed whilst the other escapes with orders to kill the grand daughter of it’s creator. A female reporter gets involved and tries to protect the grand daughter from being killed by the robot which is relentless in the pursuit of it’s target!


A good but rather short old skool anime from the director of Ghost In The Shell. It only runs for 48 mins. The storyline could have been expanded a bit more. Very entertaining with a lot of action. Anime sci-fi fans will love it.

I can’t find a trailer but I’ve got this music video showing scenes from the movie instead.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Kite (1998)

Sawa is a college girl, an orphan, and a hitman. She’s under the control of a sleazy cop Akai and Kanie, who give her targets to kill, detailing to her the crimes these men have committed. Some of Akai and Kanie’s power over Sawa has to do with her deceased parents and a pair of earrings that are her prized possessions. Akai and Kanie bring Sawa in to assist another orphan, Oburi, with a multiple hit. Oburi and Sawa become friends, and this friendship may give Sawa the strength to break from her controllers, whose crimes against her are as abusive as the crimes ascribed to the men they have her kill.


Kite is a great action packed anime despite the graphic hentai scenes. It’s exciting and there’s plenty of gun-play, explosions, and bloodshed to keep the more hardcore anime fans happy. This is one anime that doesn’t pull any punches.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Marebito (2004)

A cameraman witnesses a suicide in Shinjuku station and becomes convinced that the person must have seen something so terrifying that he chose to end his life. He discovers a door that leads him to a subterranean world underneath Tokyo. It is there he finds a young naked woman that’s chained to a wall. He takes her home but upon inspecting her teeth surmises that she isn’t completely human. She doesn’t eat or drink anything……except human blood. Now the cameraman must find a steady supply of human blood to satisfy the woman in his flat.

A strange but fascinating J-horror, very much like one of H.P Lovecraft’s stories of a journey into the mind of a sick man. It’s a very good example of how imagination and a good plot can make a movie work even with the most limited resources. This original story is disturbing and unpleasant, using a morbid and creepy atmosphere to unravel the twisted mind of a deranged man. Not everybody will appreciate it.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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An excellent Indonesian martial arts action movie. A young man Yuda leaves his countryside village and goes on a journey to the big city of Jakarta as a rite of passage to adulthood. After chasing a young pickpocketer to a backstreet alley, he finds himself witnessing the pickpocketer’s beautiful sister – a stripper being hit by her unsavoury boss. Yuda cannot stand by and watch so he beats the man up. But that is only the beginning of his troubles as the man’s boss a sadistic foreigner who’s into human trafficking wants the girl back so Yuda, the girl and her brother finds themselves on the run. Fortunately Yuda is highly skilled in the martial art of Silat and he’ll need every bit of that skill if he’s to survive all the skirmishes he’s about to encounter.


Iko Uwais is most definitely Indonesia’s answer to Tony Jaa. The young man is sensational in this slick martial arts actioner directed by a Welshman – Gareth Evans. There’s no doubt that he was trying to emulate Ong Bak in this movie and for the most part he succeeds. Iko Uwais carries the movie well. It starts out a little bit slow but once he cuts loose and starts kicking major league ass – martial arts fans are going to be in seventh heaven! There is very little wirework used in the fight scenes. Just like Ong Bak, health and safety regulations are thrown out of the window to create some awesome scraps that will thrill you. In short, Merantau Warrior is a movie that should not be missed if you’re an action junkie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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The conclusion to the epic trilogy 20th Century Boys finds Kenji returning from the wilderness and eager to end Friend’s reign once and for all. His niece Kanna is in charge of a terrorist group that’s waging a guerilla campaign against Friend. Friend himself has a dastardly plan to destroy Japan by faking an alien invasion with 2 specially built flying saucers that will spray a lethal virus on the population of Tokyo before triggering a massive bomb planted inside a towering ED-209 lookalike. Can Kenji or Kanna prevent this catastrophe and bring an end to Friend’s rule forever?


A satisfying end to what has been a brilliant trilogy. The only reason that this hasn’t been awarded another star is the running time. The movie tends to drag as we near the finale and it should have been cut by a good 30 mins to make it a bit more pacey. All loose ends are nicely tied up and we finally see who Friend really is after a couple of red herrings. Definitely recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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