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© Haruko Ichikawa / KODANSHA / Houseki no Kuni Production Committee land-of-the-lustrous-00.jpg

'Land Of The Lustrous': The Crystal Method

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The glimmering surfaces of this endearing microcosmic fantasy-adventure hide great depths that promise to only get greater with time

© 2016 TOHO CO., LTD. / CoMix Wave Films Inc. / KADOKAWA CORPORATION / East Japan your-name-01.jpg

'your name.': If A Body Meet A Body ...

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Makoto Shinkai's blockbuster is an eyeful and a heartful, but look closely and you'll see the seams

© Gō Nagai / Devilman Crybaby Project devilman-00.jpg

'Devilman Crybaby': Sympathy From The Devil

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Maverick director Masaaki Yuasa retells one of Gō Nagai's infamous operas of ultraviolence, with Yuasa adding both his trademark psychedelic visuals and a story that ultimately aims to break your heart, not just turn your stomach

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© Project Itoh / GENOCIDAL ORGAN genocidal-organ-00.jpg

'Genocidal Organ': Death Sentences

The third and final movie adapted from Project Itoh's novels retains the timely and unsettling ideas from its source material, but also its dramatic awkwardness

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When a piece of science fiction is overtaken or echoed by reality, it tends to be either magnificent or horrifying, with very little room in between. The parts of Project Itoh's Genocidal Organ that seem to be coming most true are not the bio-gizmos used in its high-tech warfare sequences, but how one of humanity's oldest technologies, language, can become its own weapon of mass murder. And now, here we are in 2018, where cries of "fake news" can pre-emptively character-assassinate any claim of fact, and where the political vocabulary has been slashed down to the language of othering and vituperation. So, yes, Genocidal Organ is horrifying, although somewhat more in its original novel form than in its sleekly animated version. Both are something of an endurance test, but then again, genocide isn't supposed to be anyone's idea of a good time. We hope.

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'Funeral Parade Of Roses': Party Like It's 1969

More than forty years later, Toshio Matsumoto's psychedelic whirlpool of counterculture sexuality and continuity-shattering New Wave filmmaking remains a one-of-a-kind blast of cinematic fresh air

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My favorite movies are the ones that defy me, that dare me to try and wrap my arms around them. Every aspect of Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade Of Roses shouts defiance: its non-linear, non-narrative narrative; its polymorphous and anarchic sexuality; its free embrace of everything from Douglas Sirk melodrama to vérité filmmaking to knockabout farce to blood-spattered horror; its lead role, inhabited by one of modern Japan's most flamboyant and outré public figures. All of this comes by way of what amounts to several films in one: a love triangle in Tokyo's homosexual underworld, a docu-manifesto for personal erotic freedom and social protest, and a modern-day retelling of a certain classic tragedy. I won't say which tragedy; that would ruin the fun. And now that it's available again to English-speaking audiences in a lustrous 4K remaster, you deserve to discover for yourself just how much this one-of-a-kind movie dares to do, and how completely it gets away with all of it.

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© MIND GAME Project mind-game-00.jpg

'Mind Game': You Can Live ... Or You Can Live It Up

Masaaki Yuasa's psychedelic masterwork is the 'Joe Vs. The Volcano' of animated films, about daring to snatch life from the jaws of the world

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If there is one feature-length animated production I never hesitate to recommend to those curious about how the medium can be a medium, it is Mind Game. If there is one feature-length animated production I never hesitate to recommend, period, it is Mind Game. It's the Joe Vs. The Volcano of animated films — a project with a devoted cult following and a philosophy of seizing life unrepentantly by the throat.

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