Archive for February, 2011

The GhostHustlers are three beautiful female students Kyoko, Mayu and Emi who fight evil spirits at Onin High School. The GhostHustlers are called into action when their school is invaded by “Erotomaniac Spirits”!

A very camp Japanese comedy rip off of Ghostbusters set in a high school in which 3 female students who belong to a Paranormal Club have to get to the bottom of why girls are being possessed by some kinky spirits who throw themselves at boys in a school. Not that the boys are complaining mind you!!! The storyline is crap and the special effects even worse but there’s a couple of gags here and there which will make you smile and the 3 leads are beautiful. It’s a typical soft-ero movie from Japan.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

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Enjoyable movie by Takashi Miike about a former biker leader Kintaro who promised his wife when she died that he’d turn straight and become a salaryman. When the construction company he works for and family are threatened by the yakuza thanks to a corrupt politician, Kintaro hooks up with some of his old biker friends and takes matters into his own hands resulting in some major ass-kicking!!

Unless you’re familiar with the Salaryman Kintaro manga or anime this will probably not interest you at all. Considering it was directed by Takashi Miike, this is one of his tamer movies as his signature mixture of blood, guts and sex is absent. The story keeps your interest and you care for the characters. For Miike completists or Kintaro fans only.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5


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Death Tube (2010)

A young man and several other people become unwilling participants in a real-time game on a website called Death Tube. In each game, one of them must die and in the end only 1 has a chance to play the final game with a chance to escape their prison.

After a promising start, the movie gets a bit dull. The games are crap and uninteresting and the pathetic bear villains are ludicrous. At times you think this is a horror movie for kids. It’s also like a low budget SAW clone but lighter in gore. Some of the deaths on display are an insult to horror fans – check out the wrecking ball one for instance. Death Tube is OK but I’ve watched a hell of a lot of better J-horrors then this. This movie had a lot of potential but the filmmakers botched it up. The long running time doesn’t help things either. Average at best.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Confessions (2010)

One of the best Japanese movies of 2010 is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller on how a mother whose 4 year old daughter was killed by 2 of her teenage students from school sets about getting her revenge on them.

The story hooks you in from the outset and will make you jaw hang open such is the dark cruel world that the movie is set in. It shatters the common belief that Japanese high school students are polite, respectful and diligent in their studies and instead gives us uncaring, cruel, hateful and evil little shits. The way the mother/teacher goes about extracting her revenge is wickedly devious and no doubt a lot of viewers will agree that the 2 students deserved everything they got as payback for murdering an innocent little girl.

Depending on how much you like a movie to be challenging like that and how much you cherish it’s toughness and no-holds barred mentality, you will really enjoy this. It might appall and appeal you at the same time. That’s what made Confessions such a unique experience for me and why I loved it. A definite recommendation.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Ami (from The Machine Girl) has a friend named Yoshie who’s murdered and desecrated by the Kimura Gang. She is saved and, like Ami, receives modifications from the same mechanics. Remembering her past, Yoshie decides to avenge herself and Ami by going after the gang.

This short spin-off from the ultra gory Japanese movie The Machine Girl is more interested in comedy than all out horror. It’s entertaining, funny, stupid and quite surreal. I mean, the heroine has a machine gun sticking out of her arse for God’s sake!! Fans of The Machine Girl will no doubt love it, I don’t know about the anybody else though.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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Dream Home (2010)

A very violent HK horror about a woman who’s desperate to get an apartment overlooking Victoria Bay in Hong Kong and will literally get her hands bloody in order to secure the home of her dreams!

Filled with disembowelments, slicing, dicing and an inspired use of household products, the film’s extreme violence is so intense that walkouts have been reported at screenings around the world! Dream Home presents us with a series of nasty, comical and inspired set pieces that never fail to surprise, shock and sensualise. Josie Ho performs admirably as the female killer, presenting us with a character easy to believe in. Her gradual decline into madness is expertly crafted, as the director presents us with a series of flashbacks hinting at the trouble ahead. Pang Ho Cheung has pretty much crafted the first intelligent slasher movie, a film that digs deeper than your average horror vehicle. It’s violent, darkly comic and gleefully twisted. Don’t miss out on this movie if you’re a horror/gore fan.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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The Shock Labyrinth (2009)

When a bruised and distraught girl named Yuki pays an unexpected visit to a group of friends after 10 years, they take her to an old abandoned hospital where they find guilty feelings and shame coming back to haunt them.

Complete utter disaster of a movie. Nothing works: the plot is all over the place (above all it’s boring), and the adult actors seem to be sleep walking through the entire movie. After establishing the basic premise of the story, it gets stuck in a pattern of repeating the same things over and over again with a twist here and there until the finale. There were just too many actors and not enough story to make it feature length movie. The “horror” scenes are either unintentionally humorous or just crap. Ironically for a director known to build tension and atmosphere in his movies, the creepiness of the famous haunted hospital is completely lost. Such a shame as this could have been a great movie. Don’t bother with this drivel. One of the worst J-horrors I’ve ever seen.

Sadako’s Rating: 1 star out of 5

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The crew of the space battleship Yamato set out on a journey to the planet Iscandar to acquire a device that can heal the ravaged Earth.

Having never watched the anime renamed Star Blazers in the US as it never aired in the UK back in the early 80’s, I came into watching this movie with only a scant knowledge about the Yamato saga. It’s a pretty good sci-fi movie which does drag a little bit in the middle. The plot is solid and the CGI is also impressive. Acting wise – Takuya Kimura makes for a good rebellious hero with Meisa Kuroki adding sex appeal to the proceedings as the hot-shot space pilot Yuki. I know that the original anime fans aren’t too happy with this movie but I really enjoyed it despite the long running time so I’d recommend it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Ohayo (1959)

Two boys go into a silence strike to pressurise their parents into buying them a TV set.

From the director of the excellent Tokyo Story comes this family drama which is also a witty comedy dealing with the miscommunications that complicate modern life. The movie meanders around a couple of plots – children conniving to get their parents to buy a television, and a suspected case of embezzling. Though the latter is potentially extremely serious, Ozu follows these conflicts and misunderstandings, and detours into his characters’ other doings, with a light, unforced, sometimes quizzical amusement and compassion. The fart jokes that sprinkle throughout the movie is also very funny to watch. ‘Ohayo’ perfectly balances drama and comedy, metaphor and visuals. This is the kind of movie you can see repeatedly, as there are always new things to discover and its a pure delight to watch.

I can’t find a trailer but did find this short clip from the movie:

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Aftershock (2010)

This is the story of the devastating Tangshan earthquake in 1976 which killed 240,000 people and how it rips apart a family of four. A mother of two children loses her husband in the quake and has to make a decision no parent should ever go through – which one of her children should survive as both are trapped under a slab of concrete. One has to be sacrificed say the rescue workers. She chooses her son unaware that her daughter survives. She’s adopted by a couple and given a new identity. The story follows the lives of the siblings over a period of 30 years until fate brings both of them together once more after another quake.

This isn’t your typical disaster movie. It’s more about people trying to move on with their lives. The director displays a careful attention to the characters and their relationships, and creates people that the viewer can not only identify, but also empathise with in their joys and sorrows, trials and tribulations, hopes and anxieties. When the siblings are finally reunited in a tearful reunion, only the hardest of hearts will not be moved. All of the performances from the cast are top notch. There are all kinds of wonderful and heartbreaking scenarios touching on the nature and loyalties of family.

Overall, Aftershock is a grand epic Chinese drama that will tug at your heartstrings and is a must see.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Late Spring (1949)

Noriko is 27 years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay taking care of her father.

The 2nd movie by Ozu I’ve watched after Tokyo Story. This is an ordinary story about ordinary people that is extraordinarily moving. At times you feel like you’re a fly on the wall and intruding into people’s lives such is the simplicity of the movie. The director Yasujiro Ozu gives us another powerful movie about his favourite subject: family and human relationships. The performances from the cast especially from Setsuko Hara is fantastic. This is a great movie you just need to see for yourself and don’t be put off by its slow pace – it’s all part of the overall artistry by the director.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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A Chinese chef accidentally gets involved with a news reporter who filmed a drug bust that went awry and is now being chased by gangs who are trying to get the video tape.

There are 2 things I want to see in a Jackie Chan movie and this one delivers them both. First I look for new physical feats and stunts, and second I want to laugh. This film provides great fights and good humour. The action sequences (and to a lesser extent the comedy) are really impressive in this film. Its what we’ve come to expect from Jackie Chan movies. The finale is really quite impressive in which Jackie goes on an orgy of destruction in a massive dumper truck! If you are a fan of Martial Arts/Action films, or just like Jackie Chan, then watch this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Tokyo Sonata (2008)

This story is about the disintegration and rebirth of a typical Japanese family. The father of the family loses his job and is afraid to tell his family, the elder son joins the US army to fight in Iraq, the younger son wants to learn the piano but the father forbids him and the wife is depressed of trying to hold the family together.

The movie is so delicate and beautiful. It captures the feeling of each character very well. The pace is slow but it’s not boring because you can follow the story very easily and you can sympathise with each one of the characters. It doesn’t even have any Hollywood boring formula of sentimental movie. This is a real work of art. Although it’s a sad story overall, it has a very powerful message if you watch it to the end, a message that will encourage you to move on even when life gets to its darkest moment. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s movies are always wonderfully framed and Tokyo Sonata boasts plenty of beautifully designed shots. A great drama and interesting humorous perspectives, discretely woven together in a story. There’s no doubt this is a masterpiece. Don’t miss it, you won’t regret seeing it!

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Sorry about the lack of updates here since Halloween but I should get going again very soon with a ton of new reviews.

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