Posts Tagged ‘Weird’

Dead Sushi (2012)

dead sushi

Keiko is the daughter of a sushi chef who runs away from home when her father’s demands to combine martial arts and sushi making proves a bit too much for her. Landing at a remote resort hotel, she finds a job as a waitress where one of her first customers is serving for a president of a pharmaceutical company and his colleagues. Unknown to all of them, Yamada, a former researcher at the company who was framed and thrown into jail thanks to the president is also in the area and living as a vagrant. He’s angry at what happened to him and thanks to his research has found a way of creating killer sushi. Soon a horde of flying killer sushi is let loose in the hotel and the only people who can fight back is Keiko and former sushi chef Mr Sawada plus an unlikely little ally named Eggy!!

To be perfectly honest, when I first saw the trailer for Dead Sushi many months ago I immediately dismissed it as a load of crap and I didn’t have any intention of watching it. However, when the opportunity arose to buy the DVD I did hesitate at first whether I was doing the right thing but seeing as Noboru Iguchi has entertained me in the past I thought what the hell and went ahead in purchasing it. I wasn’t really expecting much with this movie but I have to eat my words as this is such a fun nonsensical movie which had me laughing a lot. It’s completely insane and I didn’t expect to be entertained quite so much. Iguchi pulls out all the stops in this low budget movie to create a hilarious OTT camp gory comedy horror movie which has to be seen to be believed. So inventive with a lot of incredibly bizarre sights and great gags! If you’ve seen his other works you know by now what to expect. We get to see flying sushi with sharp teeth which have squeaky voices and start attacking staff and guests at the hotel, two sushi having sex and producing offspring, sushi rice zombies, a sushi armed with a flame thrower, a sushi battleship and even Yamada being reborn as a human sized tuna after eating sushi which has been injected with a serum. Then there’s the added pleasure of hearing an egg omelette sushi singing!!!!! As expected with this kind of movie the cheesy CG blood is spurted around like there’s no tomorrow with some eye popping, exploding facial skin, a chef hacking off his own nose and half his face with a kitchen knife, a decapitation and a woman being eaten alive by mini sushi until only her bloody bones are left!

deadsushi screenshot

I really don’t know how the cast managed to keep a straight face on whilst filming this movie but one can imagine there was much merriment going on during the production. A lot of why this movie is so good is down to the wonderful Rina Takeda as Keiko who is fantastic. She’s such a likeable, cute and endearing actress. Rina has said in the past that she’s a big fan of Jackie Chan and his movies. Here she gets a chance to demonstrate his style of comedy with her acting in this movie. I’m not sure if Rina didn’t want to be typecasted in just serious martial arts roles so that’s why she’s shifted recently to comedy? I do hope that she’ll go back to doing a serious martial arts/action movie in the future. She does have some fight scenes in this movie and even gets a chance to making fun of Bruce Lee in one scene with the climax seeing her square off against Yamada the mad axe tuna man and his secret weapon. She even gets to use sushi nunchakus!! The rest of the cast are obviously well up for the silliness of the plot with the women walking around in various stages of undress and one couple parodying a moment from the classic movie Tampopo specifically the egg kiss scene.

Those that love these kind of Japanese splatter comedy movies will find this movie very enjoyable and director Iguchi really delivers on gore and laughs. I thought Dead Sushi was hilarious. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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A Snake Of June (2002)

A Snake Of June DVD

Rinko Tatsumi works as a telephone counselor for a Tokyo-area suicide hotline. Her husband is Shigehiko, an older, workaholic businessman, that has a obsessive compulsive order for cleanliness. Their marriage is a sexless relationship, that seems to be more cordial than intimate. Rinko soon receives a packaged in the mail that contains photographs of herself sitting by her window and masturbating in a semi open public view. Another package arrives with a cell phone. The photographer calls and identifies himself as one of Rinko’s past clients that is not interested in money. Instead, the caller wants Rinko to confront her unfulfillled desires and sexual fantasies. From there a relationship between the stalker, Rinko, and Shigehiko occurs in a tense game of hidden desires.

From the twisted mind of Shinya Tsukamoto comes this tale of a repressed woman’s sexual awakening. The first half of the movie is straight forward and easy to follow but in the second half when the story switches to focus on Rinko’s husband it goes a little bit weird with all kinds of strange and surreal sequences. It’s not something I enjoyed watching to be honest. Actually I thought I was beginning to understand this story in that I believed Tsukamoto was telling the viewer to live their life to the full and they should free themselves from their inhibitions. As the movie goes into full-on bizarre territory I gave up trying to make sense of what Tsukamoto’s intent was and just let everything fly over my head. I also began to lose interest in the movie. It’s one of those movies which you’ll either love or hate depending on whether you like some of Tsukamoto’s other movies. There’s no doubt of the man’s creative talent as a director but some of his work I’m not really keen on. Take for example Tetsuo which nearly everybody harps on about being brilliant but I can’t say I was a fan of that movie at all.

A Snake of June screenshot

I do like how the movie has been shot in blue-tinted monochrome which gives it a unique look and it compliments the many scenes with rain in the background. Rain features a lot in this movie which fits in with the title of the movie as June is when the rainy season hits Japan. There’s a lack of warmth in the movie due to the way the director has chosen to film the story the way he has. I’m quite impressed with Tsukamoto’s visual style in the movie, it’s got his stamp all over it. It’s just a shame that the story about desire and voyeurism which I was beginning to really get into just turned into what I would call a mind-bender during the second half. Despite what you’ve read about the plot above it’s not as exploitative as you think it is.

The performances by the 3 lead characters especially by Asuka Kurosawa is fantastic. Kurosawa made a brave decision to take on such a daring role and she excels as Rinko oozing sexiness as she parades in a micro-skirt around the streets of Tokyo prompting looks by everybody that passes her. You can see how she has become so repressed as her much older husband Shigehiko prefers to spend his time scrubbing the bath rather than pleasing his wife sexually. Is it any wonder that Rinko resolves to buy herself a vibrator! A lot of male fans will like the scene when she decides to strip off naked outside in the pouring rain. Iguchi, the blackmailer who is dying from cancer that is telephoning Rinko to follow his instructions is played by none other than the director himself. We don’t know what his intentions are at first other than trying to make Rinko fulfil her innermost desires.

A Snake Of June will probably be enjoyed more by surreal art-house lovers and those that like to be intellectually challenged rather than casual Asian movie fans who will most likely be left baffled.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Baptism Of Blood (1996)

Matsuko Uehara is a successful actress who hides a blue birthmark on her face with plenty of makeup. She quits acting as she finds it hard to hide the mark. The story shifts many years ahead as Matsuko is now older, is seen limping and has a 15 year old daughter Sakura who is a talented pianist under the tutelage of a man called Tanigawa. He is trying hard not to lust after Sakura despite the fact that his wife is about to give birth to his child. Matsuko and a mad doctor have created a machine down in the depths of the mansion where she lives which can transplant brains from one person to another. Matsuko has plans to transplant her own brain into the body of her daughter. Although Sakura tries to escape when she finds out, she is eventually caught and goes through the horrific ordeal of having her brain removed. Matsuko wakes up in Sakura’s body and sets about seducing Tanigawa who doesn’t take that much resistance to fall for her charms. Matsuko plans on emptying her account and running away with Tanigawa to France but then strange things start happening to her. Sakura’s forehead starts developing a small blue birthmark (the same on Matsuko’s old face) and the police start snooping around………..

This is a very strange mid 90’s J-horror about a disfigured woman on a quest for wanting an unblemished and young body which isn’t that good if I’m being honest. The title is somewhat misleading as there’s no baptism as such. The ludicrous plot which has elements from movies by David Cronenberg has some awful acting, crappy pacing and a ridiculous ending with a twist which comes from nowhere. It’s like the scriptwriters couldn’t think of a way to finish the movie so they came up with a lame excuse of a climax. It’s also quite dull. The only saving grace of the movie is a marvellous bloody scene featuring the brain surgery which is performed by a big machine. It’s gory, extremely graphic and very well done. A pity the rest of the movie is a bit of a mess. Rie Imamura who plays Sakura is a very stunning young woman who you think that butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth if it wasn’t for the fierce angry looks she makes at times. Even though she makes for some good eye candy, it doesn’t hide the fact that her acting is terrible. The story does have some eroticism and perverse themes. When you think about it – seeing a minor sleeping with her piano tutor is just plain wrong even if it’s an adult brain in her body! Is it any surprise that director Kenichi Yoshihara hasn’t made any more movies after this clunker. I suppose the criticism he got for this movie put him right off from directing anything else.

Despite a plot which I thought would be interesting, this was a major disappointment in my books which only got worse by the mediocre ending. Give it a go if you want to watch something which has some unitentional hilarity about it. Poor.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

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Tokyo Trash Baby (2000)

A fascinating little story about a weirdo girl Miyuki who falls big time for the grungy guitarist who lives in the apartment upstairs from her own. She likes him so much she grabs the trash he throws out and goes through it daily – piercing together his life and personality – what he eats, smokes, the shampoo he washes his hair and all of his secrets.

This movie is bizarre tale of adoration and the behaviour of Miyuki is very creepy. The story does have some charm to it, with some intriguing and spirited characters thrown into the mix. Especially at the café that Miyuki works at. Mami Nakamura is great as Miyuki and we do sympathise with the way her character behaves. Kou Shibasaki has a nice supporting role as Miyuki’s slutty colleague who constantly boasts about her sexual conquests.

I think this is a movie that divides opinion – some will like the quirky storyline about an off-beat character whilst others will think it’s too weird for their taste and find it dull. If you want to see a Japanese movie that strays off the usual beaten path then you’ll enjoy this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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Rampo Noir (2005)

Four short films, based on stories by Japanese mystery writer Rampo Edogawa, explore dark themes of obsession, sex and death. In “Mars Canal,” a naked man wanders alone through a swamp recalling a former lover. “Mirror Hell” follows a serial killer with a fixation on hand mirrors. “Caterpillar” centers on a crippled veteran, his sadistic wife and their unhealthy relationship. And in “Crawling Bugs,” a chauffeur plots to seduce a starlet.

Starring art-house regular Tadanobu Asano as almost different characters spanning across the shorts, this movie, to put it mildly, should excite art-house lovers since it stars one of their idols, but everyone else, unless you have spare capacity for the bizarre, would likely want to steer clear of this. For omnibus movies, you’d come to expect varying standards and levels of enjoyment, and this one is no different. I did enjoy the 2nd short called “Mirror Hell”. The other 3 shorts were just plain too weird for my taste and I got bored. There’s more visual style than solid substance here in driving the movie. I’d only recommend this to people that are into their art-house movies and have a long attention span as this movie drags on for over 2 hours.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

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Young-goon is convinced she’s a cyborg. When she cuts herself at work with a knife and inserts some wires into the wound thinking it’ll recharge her batteries she’s carted off into the nuthouse. There she enters into a relationship with another patient Il-soon who’s job is to get her to start eating again or she’ll die.

This is an orginal, inventive but strange movie with a bizarre lovestory. It has a weird cast of mentally disturbed people. It does have some funny scenes and the screwed up version of Silent Night made me laugh. This isn’t a movie that everybody will enjoy as it’s rather off-beat.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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A championship wrestling match pits Koji Taguchi against Crush Volcano, the latter no match for Koji’s signature move, the Torture Ring Strangler. Koji beams as he clutches the Champion Belt, only to have it snatched away by a mysterious new challenger in the ring–a giant squid! A giant squid, in fact, who not only evades Koji’s key attack, but destroys him with a Northern Light Suplex! Koji’s fiancee Miyako watches tearfully, though there’s something about this Calamari Wrestler that seems familiar to her.

Got to be the most bizarre and surreal movie I’ve ever seen of a man reborn as a squid who makes a comeback into the wrestling ring. The premise of this movie sounds preposterous but believe me this movie is great fun if you don’t take it all too seriously.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Weird and wacky Japanese comedy set in a high school which has a gorilla called Whoopi, a robot and a mute Freddie Mercury lookalike as pupils. Some of the jokes are a bit hit and miss but there’s a wonderful spoof of The Exorcist involving the school robot and a cat! Things get even more strange when an alien ape from space called Gori invades and plans to conquer the Earth (Gori was a character in an old 70’s sci-fi show called Spectreman). I think this movie is an acquired taste and not everybody will understand and like it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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Big Man Japan (2007)

A middle-aged slacker living in a rundown, graffiti-ridden slum, Daisato’s job involves being shocked by bolts of electricity that transform him into a stocky, stick-wielding giant several stories high who is entrusted with defending Japan from a host of bizarre monsters. But while his predecessors were national heroes, he is a pariah among the citizens he protects, who bitterly complain about the noise and destruction of property he causes. And Daisato has his own problems—an agent insistent on branding him with sponsor advertisements, an Alzheimer-afflicted grandfather who transforms into a giant in dirty underwear, and a family who is embarrassed by his often cowardly exploits.

One half of the Japanese comedy duo Downtown – Hitoshi Matsumoto stars in this weird movie done mockumentary style of a 40 year old loner who transforms into a tall giant called ‘The King Of Pain’ to defend Japan from a concotion of strange monsters. There’s one monster he fights with an eye penis which has to be seen to be believed! The movie is definitely tongue in cheek and a spoof somewhat of Ultraman. It’s fun, silly and entertaining throughout.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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