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Archive for September, 2010

Fish Story (2009)

The year is 2012 and a huge comet is set to strike the Earth. An American attempt to destroy it has failed and there’s a last ditch effort using an Indian spaceship to blow up the comet. Cities are abandoned as people flee to higher ground to avoid the resulting tsunami after the impact. In a tiny corner of Tokyo, a record shop is open and the 2 people running the shop are listening to a very special song called Fish Story by a failed 70’s punk band. This song is set to save the world!!

Smart and witty movie about how a forgotten punk rock song (with a mystery within the song) links the lives of several characters who mostly never meet each other. It is set in 4 time periods: 1975, 1982, 2009, and 2012 – with each period having its own set of characters (in essence we’re getting 4 movies rolled into 1). From the ominous setting of 2012 and the end of the world scenario we go back in time to the origins of the song itself and the group that recorded the song, and how the song has touched several people who will become champions of justice and heroes. They include a timid college student in the 1980’s, a man and a doomsday cult in 1999 and a cook who gets involved in a ferry hijacking in 2009. Each story is intriguing and adds another piece to the puzzle and we don’t know how each time period links together until the incredible ending which is fantastic. The acting from all of the cast is brilliant. Fish Story is a magical experience that will entertain and engage you from start to finish. Go see!

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Big Tits Zombie (2009)

Professional stripper Lena has recently returned home to Japan from working in Mexico where she finds herself forced to take a gig at a dead-end small town club, alongside four other similarly down on their luck strippers. But in the absence of customers, the ladies have very little do to occupy their time, outside of the odd catfight. Happening upon a secret room under the club, they uncover a treasure trove of rare occult paraphernalia and literature, amongst which the resident Goth Maria finds a copy of  the Book of the Dead. One innocently murmured incantation later, and the Stripper Five suddenly find themselves faced with a considerably larger audience, who are hungry for flesh indeed.

The majority of viewers will watch this movie based on the title alone. It’s not too bad considering how low budget the whole production is.  There is very little nudity on show which will be disappointing to fans of the AV idols that are the stars of the movie – they look great mind you.  Plenty of cleavage on show if that turns you on!  The gore is predictably CG which I’ve never been a fan of . The comedy is OK though nothing special. What did you expect out of this movie? – something along the lines of Tokyo Gore Police! This is sold largely on sex and nothing more. The American movie Zombie Strippers which has a similar sort of storyline is better than this. I can’t really recommend this unless you’re fans of the AV idols. It’s  a shame as this could have been awesome.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 out of 5

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Memories Of Matsuko (2006)

A young man in his late teens/early twenties, who dreams of becoming a pop star musician and who therefore has left his hometown for Tokyo, is lost somewhere between the vast city and his porn movies compensating his loneliness. He is unexpectedly addressed by his father, whom he hasn’t seen or heard from in 2 years, who tells him that his aunt Matsuko has recently been murdered. He consecutively tells his son to deal with Matsuko’s “aftermath”, including an unbelievably messy and run-down apartment and, more important, the disturbing story of her sad life.

An absolutely amazing movie that blew me away. This masterpiece is so original, so entertaining, and so tragic that its hard to deny its brilliance! While I would say it was fairly sad at times, and you’ll shake your head at the life choices the lead character made, the movie will stay with you. It definitely has tearjerker moments, major ones. It is magnificently crafted, every scene showing a unique beauty in both camera and composition. It sometimes changes to anime and music, making it a very special experience to watch. The character of Matsuko is brilliantly played by the beautiful Miki Nakatani – a performance of a lifetime from her. She truly shines as Matsuko for her effortless ability to switch from drama to comedy. If you’re going to see this movie be prepared to be moved by it. It’s a bitter-sweet drama/comedy that will make you cry but will also touch your heart in a way few movies do. A must-see for any movie fan.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 out of 5

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Symbol (2009)

The 2nd movie by one half of the popular Japanese comedy duo Downtown. If you’re expecting Matsumoto’s 2nd movie to be like his first (Big Man Japan) then you’re in for a surprise as it’s completely different in tone but no less funny nevertheless. Symbol see-saws between two stories and is shown in three chapters which are labeled Education, Implementation and Future. There’s the story of an out-of-shape Mexican wrestler known as “Escargot Man” as he prepares for a title fight in some tiny dusty little village. And simultaneously, there’s the story being told of a Japanese man who awakes to find himself in a large, all white rectangular room with no doors or windows. How are these two stories linked together – well at first they don’t but just wait until the final third when both plots start to combine together in a very hilarious way.

Symbol is a very odd situational comedy. It’s silly yet artsy, thoughtful in parts, anarchic in its delivery and overall plain crazy. I have no idea what it was about though, its meaning or what it’s meant to symbolize. It defies attempts to categorize it. Very unique and entertaining throughout, even though the last fifteen minutes get really bizarre and kind of artsy. This movie is not to be missed. You will probably never see anything quite as weird and funny like this. I loved it. Hitoshi Matsumoto is a clever and intelligent comedian. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Cyber Ninja (1988)

It’s the near-future and the Dark Overlord’s Mechanical Army is attacking the Suwabeh Clan, trying to kidnap Princess Saki. In the heat of the battle, a man’s brother dies. This man’s body was taken by the villain Raimei and transformed into the Cyber Ninja. Years later, the Cyber Ninja’s memories are starting to resurface and he wants to stop Reimei’s plans. That plan, I should mention, is the spilling of Princess Saki’s blood which will bring Dark Overlord back to life!

Quite a decent tokusatsu movie which has an exciting mixture of Kurosawa samurai epics, TRON and the original Star Wars trilogy. Some of the special effects can look silly at times such the Mecha Ninja troops running at double-playback speed. I liked the concept of cyborgs and robots fighting with swords, wearing samurai armors, and knives shooting out from hands. Plus you have to admit that putting ammos into katanas is kind of cool. Not to mention different types of robotic ninjas. This movie isn’t for everybody but if you’re into Japanese tokusatsu then there’s much here to enjoy.

No trailer but here’s the first part of the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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Assault Girls (2009)

Four mercenaries who are taking part in a virtual reality game called Avalon F must team up with each other to defeat a giant sandworm in order to advance in the game.

Visually Assault Girls looks stunning but there’s a lack of plot and character development in this movie. Hardly surprising considering it only runs for 70 mins. This is supposed to be the sequel to the 2001 movie Avalon. There are some great action sequences showing the 3 beautiful mercenary women hunting the giant sandworm with some cool weapons but also there’s a nod to the game Mortal Kombat in which 2 of the mercenaries square off against each other. I think the majority lured to watch this movie by the trailer will ultimately be disappointed – the introduction takes far too long and then there are sequences of the characters walking around desolated landscapes which is boring. The cast is good especially Meisa Kuroki but I think it’s Rinko Kikuchi as Lucifer that steals the show. Overall this movie is far from a classic and from what I’ve come to expect from Mamoru Oshii but that doesn’t mean it’s a complete failure. It’s still very watchable.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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Another fun adventure with Luffy and the crew of the Going Merry. When their ship is taken from them whilst they’re relaxing on a beach, the Straw Hat pirates bump into the Thief Brothers who lead them to the culprits behind the taking of the Going Merry – The Trump Pirates. Things go from bad to worse when Nami also ends up being kidnapped. Eventually the trail leads Luffy and his crew to Clockwork Island which is full of deadly traps. Will they able to save Nami who’s going to be forced to marry the Trump Pirates’ boss and get their ship back?

If you’ve seen the first One Piece movie then you’ll know what to expect from this one. It’s a rip roaring adventure with a good plot and full of comedy, excitement, thrills and spills. The animation is brilliant as always. I really enjoyed this anime movie and look forward to watching the 3rd One Piece movie very soon.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

No trailer for this movie either so got this trailer for Season 2 instead.

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