Archive for April 30th, 2012

Mario is a reckless drug dealer who after blasting his fellow cons in a bar in Sao Paolo returns to Japan from Brazil 1 year later to rescue his gorgeous girlfriend Kei who is in the process of being deported. In an audacious plan, Mario steals a helicopter to stop the bus that is transporting Kei. The two escape only to be harassed by Ko, a merciless Chinese Triad who also happens to be Kei’s ex-lover. Mario and Kei purchase fake passports and plan an escape to a far away land. After an unorthodox wedding and a visit to Mario’s ex-lover Lucia and his blind love-child Carla, the two are almost on their way. To help fund their escape Kei and Mario interfere with a yakuza drug transaction, but instead of winding up with the money, they’re left with a suitcase of cocaine and even more yakuza on their trail. When the ship they were meant to stowaway on sinks before they ever get on it, the two are left with a new challenge to face. How are they going to get out of the country? With the triads and the yakuza on their tail and now with a bargaining tool thanks to them kidnapping Carla, Mario is not going to have an easy time in rescuing her.

Whilst not possessing quite the same intensity or shock value of other Miike masterpieces like Dead or Alive for example, this is still nevertheless a fast moving slick production which oozes with style and balances it’s manga tall tale surrealism expertly with plenty of violence, sick humour as well as a doomed love story – what more could you ask? It is not a run of the mill generic, mediocre, forgettable action movie that most film directors are churning out these days. The action is fast and frenetic and all the while Miike manages to inject a cruel wink of black humour such as a midget who keeps going to a toilet! The movie is also a sly dig at the many different cultures that live in Japan these days. You have to witness the incredible CG animated cock fighting sequence which replicates a scene from The Matrix. It was completely unexpected and I just couldn’t believe when I saw it – but what else do we expect from the vivid imagination of Miike! I wonder if the Wachowsky brothers have seen it and what do they make of it? I think the biggest draw in this movie is in it’s tongue in cheek presentation – that what makes it work so well. There’s also a very unique take by Miike on how Kei receives a spider tattoo on her shoulder.

The great multi-culture cast was an inspired choice by Miike. Teah is awesome as the Brazilian gangster Mario who speaks through actions rather than words and what can I say about the stunningly beautiful Michelle Reis as Mario’s girlfriend Kei. I loved the scene where she grabs a bottle of vodka, take a big swig, spits it out on the face of a Russian male collaborator and then lights the vodka so that it burns the man’s face. The rest of the supporting characters do a good job in their roles too. The little girl who plays Carla is very cute.

City Of Lost Souls is one wild ride to experience and even though it’s not one of Miike’s best, it’s still a very interesting movie which you should check out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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This movie has been split into 3 parts. The first part named Kamen Rider Decade: Final Chapter follows the series cliffhanger ending at the climax of the Rider War in which Decade accepts his place as the Destroyer of Worlds and Tsubasa is running amok taking on all the other riders in order to claim their cards. Can any of the Riders left alive stop Decade? The second part of the movie Kamen Rider Double: Begins Night investigates the origins of Kamen Rider Double as briefly shown in the opening of the series’ first episode, referred to in the series as the “Begins Night” and how Phillip and Shotarou’s boss Shokichi met his end. The Movie Wars 2010 is the third and final part of the movie, a convergence of the two parts that brings the casts and characters of Decade and Double to finish the fight with Super Shocker together.

Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider W Decade Movie War 2010 was a fun movie. Having not watched a lot of Decade or W I wasn’t sure if I’d be lost with the movie’s plot but fear not because it didn’t really matter. The action’s great as usual with these Kamen Rider movies. However it’s a little uncomfortable especially in the first part because it’s largely Rider-on-Rider violence, and the deaths are fairly graphic, with Riders really exploding, chunks and all. You won’t see any blood or anything as this is a kids movie after all but I never thought I’d see the day when Kabuto’s head horn would be blown off! The character of Tsukasa as Decade is a nasty bastard make no mistake about it. He’s ruthless and seems to enjoy destroying the other riders. For him to get killed by Natsumi in her KR Kivaata form was a bit lame in my opinion. He’s gotten past all the other tough riders and it’s left to her to finally make the breakthrough to finish him off. Sorry I didn’t buy it. Just a minor gripe though and a great opening part to the movie.

As for the KR Double segment of the movie, I also really enjoyed this as well. Unlike Decade where I did manage to catch a third of the series, with Double I switched off after 2 episodes as I thought it had too many young characters for my liking. Now after watching this movie I might actually go back and watch the entire series. This part of the movie gives a good backstory to the series which builds up to a satisfying conclusion. It’s the characters that actually make this part work so well even the annoying Akiko which was one of the main reasons I disliked the series so much. We also get to see the appearance of KR Skull who looks cool with his hat. The action is top notch.

So now onto the final part where Decade and W team up to defeat Super Shocker but Decade also brings along a few other friends along to counter the threat – 9 Heisei Riders. This sequence might not have the grand scale feel of All Riders vs Dai Shocker but it’s still amazing to see. The only problem is what semblance of plot and logic you had going in the first 2 parts is thrown out of the window in the final segment. It didn’t really matter because the action is so good you don’t really care about it.

Overall, this movie was fantastic and it was a great way to end Decade’s story although he would appear in other KR movies after this. Definitely recommended for KR fans.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Intentions Of Murder (1964)

Sadako is a plump, bored housewife, cursed by generations before her and neglected by her common-law husband who is having an affair with a work colleague. Looked down by virtually everyone, especially her mother-in-law, Sadako stays at home doing some knitting for money but is desperate to end her miserable life but cannot due to her son Masaru. Then one night whilst her husband is away, she falls prey to a brutal thief who rapes her. Sadako is continually hounded by her rapist, who shows up again and again professing love for her and a desire for them to run away together. At the same time, her husband becomes suspicious that she is having an affair, which causes him to treat her with even more vicious contempt. Meanwhile her husband’s lover steps up in her campaign to become his real wife and starts following Sadako with a camera in order to gather evidence to show to Riichi what she’s up to in the hope of catching her indiscretion.

In detailed fashion, the movie investigates the troubled psyche of a dull, uneducated lower-class housewife in a backward northeastern province of Japan. The woman is so stupid that she is scarcely aware of the drabness of her life with a petty, bickering husband and his whining mother or of her own thwarted sensuality. The movie delivers a powerful message about the human instinct to escape stifling existence. You could also say that it’s a perversely twisted domestic melodrama about how Japanese society allows pathetic men to manipulate and control the women in their lives. But Sadako comes through her experiences a stronger person as she begins the movie without claim to her son or husband, not respected by her mother-in-law, and potentially in danger of losing everything. It takes harrowing circumstances to correct these problems, but she emerges, despite the psychological scars, with a more stable situation, and one far better than if she had ignored the rape. Masumi Harukawa gives quite an outstanding performance as Sadako and is probably the only person that you really care about in the movie. The rest of the main characters are all obnoxious people even her 6 year old son is starting to turn into a person that’s been taking advantage of Sadako over the years. There is some deeper meaning about this movie but I’m not the right person to start going on about that! There’s also plenty of symbolism in this movie about Sadako’s situation such as the two mice which are running aimlessly in their cage and one devours the other eventually.

Intentions of Murder is beautifully directed by Shôhei Imamura with its black & white cinematography, stark shadows and wonderful scenery. Recommended for fans of the director’s work.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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