All articles All reviewed titles

© Yoshikazu Yasuhiko · THMS arion-00.jpg

'Arion': Whom The Gods Would Destroy ...

No comments

Calling it an anime 'Clash Of The Titans' falls far short; this staggeringly ambitious respinning of Greek mythic adventure is a must-see

© 2019 "No Longer Human" Production Committee no-longer-human-2019-00.jpg

'No Longer Human' (2019): Dead Man Writing

No comments

A splashy but unmoving look at the last years of Osamu Dazai's dissolute life, with much screen time sensibly devoted to the women he manipulated on the way down

© 1991 Japan Home Video hideki-2552.jpg

'Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki': The Lady Killers

No comments

A deeply unappreciated David Lynch-esque jolter, from two major writers of anime live-action adaptations; a horror-feminist project that deserves reexamination with fresh eyes

All articles All reviewed titles

© 1988 Japan Home Video evil-dead-trap-00.jpg

'Evil Dead Trap': Monster In The House

A classic 1980s Japanese horror effort, a ferocious Dario Argento homage that invents at least as much as it borrows or nods at

No comments

With a title like Evil Dead Trap, you wouldn't be blamed for assuming this film's a nod to Sam Raimi. Actually, the reigning influence and inspiration on this horror project is Dario Argento; if you're going to borrow, you might as well borrow from the classest of acts. And while Evil Dead Trap borrows and pays homage, it's ultimately an original, one of the best and most ferocious horror movies ever to come out of Japan. Not everyone will be able to stomach it, but those that can are in for an example of Japan's horror scene at its most wickedly gruesome.

Continue reading

© Avex Broadcasting punk-samurai-00.jpg

Gakuryū Ishii's 'Punk Samurai Slash Down': Anarchy In The JP

Gakuryū Ishii's wild adaptation of the equally wild cult novel is one part 'Gojoe', one part 'Burst City' and two parts Coen Brothers

No comments

Kō Machida's cult novel Punk Samurai Slash Down was an experiment in hallucinatory black humor for which no middle-of-the-road response seemed possible. I could think of only two directors working now suited to make a live-action adaptation of such a project: Takashi Miike, who has never shied away from a difficult project in his life; and Gakuryū Ishii, not as prolific as Miike but equally fearless and visionary . Ishii's movie is meticulously faithful to the source -- impressive enough given how deranged the source is -- but it also manages to stay just this side of watchable all the way through instead of flying completely apart at the seams. Whether or not you'll like it is another story. If you enjoy cinematic cosmic shaggy-dog stories of the Coen Brothers variety, this is your film. If not, don't say you weren't warned.

Continue reading

© 2008 SBS Films · La Fabrique De Films · France 2 Cinema inju-1496.jpg

Barbet Schroeder's 'Inju': Rampo Wept

An attempt to both modernize and partly Westernize Edogawa Rampo's thriller falls flat on both counts

No comments

Most Western remakes of Japanese properties shuck off all relation to the original locale, if only to avoid becoming a jumble. (See: Midnight Sun.) Inju is an odd case: it's a remake of a classic Edogawa Rampo mystery, but with only the protagonist relocalized and everything else left in place. The result's more reminiscent of the cringey '80/'90s-era cinematic view of Japan from films like Rising Sun than a smart remapping of an older property. It's twice as dismaying to see director Barbet Schroeder responsible for this, the fellow who gave us Barfly and Reversal of Fortune and Our Lady Of The Assassins. It could have been directed by anybody, and maybe anybody else would have relocated the movie completely and avoided the mistakes made here.

Continue reading

All articles All reviewed titles