Article Archives


2021


'No Longer Human' (2019): Dead Man Writing 
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
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'Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki': The Lady Killers 
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
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'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
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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
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Barbet Schroeder's 'Inju': Rampo Wept 
An attempt to both modernize and partly Westernize Edogawa Rampo's thriller falls flat on both counts
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'Yasuke': Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos 
A wildly stylized project that bodes well for future trans-Pacific productions -- but which might have been just as good without being wildly stylized
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Izumi Suzuki's 'Terminal Boredom': She Saw The Future And It Didn't Work 
The first volume in English of this avant-garde feminist figure's work shows her approach to SF and fantasy as personal cultural commentary
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'Serial Experiments Lain': The Wired And The Weird 
Now that we're all wired, whether we like it or not, this cyberpunk urban legend and vaporwave precursor is even creepier and more prescient
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'ID': Beastly Flesh 
Kei Fujiwara's sequel to 'Organ' ends up being more merely unpleasant than unsettling
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'Organ': Grotesquerie In Red 
Kei Fujiwara's symphony of sickness drowns you face-down in its excesses and lingers for a long time to come afterwards
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'The Strange Tale Of Panorama Island': He's So Unreal 
Suehiro Maruo's rendition of Edogawa Rampo's tale of wide-gauge decadence is both delirious and spot-on in its look and feel
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'Eros + Massacre': Living History 
Kijū Yoshida's staggering epic of Japanese anarchists Sakae Ōsugi and Noe Ito defies categorization, synopsis, or easy answers
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'Blade Of The Immortal': Life Sentence, Death Sentence 
An all-new anime adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's classic long-running manga gets it right at last
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'Children Of The Sea': The Life Aquatic 
Some of the finest animation around, lashed to the mast of a story that goes nowhere
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'Mirai': The Kid Stays In The Picture 
Mamoru Hosoda's weakest film yet, a cloying and sentimental misfire
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'Weathering With You': Who'll Stop The Rain? 
The latest of Makoto Shinkai's gorgeous films that inevitably end up being about so much less than the sum of their parts
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2020


'Birdy The Mighty: Decode': Gimme Back My Skin! 
A raucous fusion of two genres (SF and comedy), and just like its two main characters, it's a symbiosis, not a collision
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'Versus': No Budget, All Ambition, Total Excess 
Twenty years later, Ryūhei Kitamura's pulp-horror gumbo of Lucio Fulci, Sam Raimi, George Miller, and everything in between remains a micro-budget, J-indie milestone
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'Burst City': Punkocalypse Now! 
Gakuryū Ishii's head-on collision between gang-war and punk-rock exploitation pictures still explodes on impact decades later
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'Malice@Doll': The Machine's Last Love Song 
Half adult OVA of the 90s/00s home-video era, half experimental stop-motion art film, and while not entirely successful it's still worth a look for its low-fi digital aesthetic
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