Japanese Film (Live Action)

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Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:31 am

Ironically, I know basically shit about Japanese film. I know a handful of stellar anime titles (almost all from the 80's and 90's) and of course the Kurosawa films. Anyone wanna chime in on some hidden gems I'm missing? I think I've seen 3 max, which is a bit disgusting, I know. Never even watched Zatoichi. O.o
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby zinger » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:10 pm

I haven't seen a lot either, but I always recommend "Fukushuu suru wa ware ni ari" (1979).

Synopsis from Criterion:

A thief, a murderer, and a charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a remorseless man from a devoutly Catholic family—into a cold, perverse, and at times diabolically funny examination of the primitive coexisting with the modern. More than just a true-crime tale, Vengeance Is Mine bares humanity’s snarling id.


All smart-ass film buffs say: watch Ozu and Teshigahara, and personally I cannot recommend Teshigahara's "Suna no onna" (1964) enough. Ozu's movies are also beautiful, and unlike any other director's, so try him if you haven't already! I like "Ohayoo" (1959) a lot myself, but there are a couple of others that are more famous.

A few other classics I liked are: "Yabu no naka no kuroneko" (1968) by Shindoo and "Seppuku" (1962) by Kobayashi. "House" (1977) is a really cool and unique horror comedy -- perhaps a bit too goofy for my taste, but still a must-see. Out of the few Kitano films I've seen I think "Hanabi" (1997) is my favourite.

I used to watch a lot more recent or comtemporary stuff as a teenager, and was deeply impressed by the craziness in movies like "Burst City" (1982), "Tetsuo" (1989), "Electric Dragon 80.000 V" (2001) and a couple of Miike's films... It's been a while and I'm not sure I would like them as much now, but it's safe to say there's a lot of interesting and unusual directors out there to discover. Would love to hear some more recommendations myself, especially movies from the past decade!

By the way, I recently discovered this site, which has tons of reviews by people who seem very knowledgeable in Japanese film: http://www.midnighteye.com

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:54 am

zinger wrote:I haven't seen a lot either, but I always recommend "Fukushuu suru wa ware ni ari" (1979).

Synopsis from Criterion:

A thief, a murderer, and a charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a remorseless man from a devoutly Catholic family—into a cold, perverse, and at times diabolically funny examination of the primitive coexisting with the modern. More than just a true-crime tale, Vengeance Is Mine bares humanity’s snarling id.


Funny you mention this, as it's been on my HD for a while. I will watch it (and probably soon as winter has kicked in) but I was going to try to work back in time if possible. I watched Chung King Express last night and that whole "last dance with film" vibe, mixed with modern day Asia got to me. Hoping to find that aesthetic in something where I don't have to rely so heavily on the subtitles. I think the closest off the top of my head would be Shall We Dance, which isn't nearly as edgy, but when you read it on paper you're like, "whatever" but it is quite charming, and the humor isn't bad. Then again, I saw it literally 20 years ago.

All smart-ass film buffs say: watch Ozu and Teshigahara, and personally I cannot recommend Teshigahara's "Suna no onna" (1964) enough. Ozu's movies are also beautiful, and unlike any other director's, so try him if you haven't already! I like "Ohayoo" (1959) a lot myself, but there are a couple of others that are more famous.

A few other classics I liked are: "Yabu no naka no kuroneko" (1968) by Shindoo and "Seppuku" (1962) by Kobayashi. "House" (1977) is a really cool and unique horror comedy -- perhaps a bit too goofy for my taste, but still a must-see. Out of the few Kitano films I've seen I think "Hanabi" (1997) is my favourite.


Cheers for these -- I will note them.

I used to watch a lot more recent or comtemporary stuff as a teenager, and was deeply impressed by the craziness in movies like "Burst City" (1982), "Tetsuo" (1989), "Electric Dragon 80.000 V" (2001) and a couple of Miike's films... It's been a while and I'm not sure I would like them as much now, but it's safe to say there's a lot of interesting and unusual directors out there to discover. Would love to hear some more recommendations myself, especially movies from the past decade!


I saw Tetsuo back in university. Interesting and ambitious, but just not my thing. I can handle violence some times but that was just crazy. As such, I've never bothered with Miike's.

By the way, I recently discovered this site, which has tons of reviews by people who seem very knowledgeable in Japanese film: http://www.midnighteye.com


Cool!
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:56 am

Gaijin Punch wrote:
zinger wrote:I haven't seen a lot either, but I always recommend "Fukushuu suru wa ware ni ari" (1979).

Synopsis from Criterion:

A thief, a murderer, and a charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a remorseless man from a devoutly Catholic family—into a cold, perverse, and at times diabolically funny examination of the primitive coexisting with the modern. More than just a true-crime tale, Vengeance Is Mine bares humanity’s snarling id.


Funny you mention this, as it's been on my HD for a while. I will watch it (and probably soon as winter has kicked in) but I was going to try to work back in time if possible. I watched Chung King Express last night and that whole "last dance with film" vibe, mixed with modern day Asia got to me. Hoping to find that aesthetic in something where I don't have to rely so heavily on the subtitles. I think the closest off the top of my head would be Shall We Dance, which isn't nearly as edgy, but when you read it on paper you're like, "whatever" but it is quite charming, and the humor isn't bad. Then again, I saw it literally 20 years ago.

All smart-ass film buffs say: watch Ozu and Teshigahara, and personally I cannot recommend Teshigahara's "Suna no onna" (1964) enough. Ozu's movies are also beautiful, and unlike any other director's, so try him if you haven't already! I like "Ohayoo" (1959) a lot myself, but there are a couple of others that are more famous.

A few other classics I liked are: "Yabu no naka no kuroneko" (1968) by Shindoo and "Seppuku" (1962) by Kobayashi. "House" (1977) is a really cool and unique horror comedy -- perhaps a bit too goofy for my taste, but still a must-see. Out of the few Kitano films I've seen I think "Hanabi" (1997) is my favourite.


Cheers for these -- I will note them.

I used to watch a lot more recent or comtemporary stuff as a teenager, and was deeply impressed by the craziness in movies like "Burst City" (1982), "Tetsuo" (1989), "Electric Dragon 80.000 V" (2001) and a couple of Miike's films... It's been a while and I'm not sure I would like them as much now, but it's safe to say there's a lot of interesting and unusual directors out there to discover. Would love to hear some more recommendations myself, especially movies from the past decade!


I saw Tetsuo back in university. Interesting and ambitious, but just not my thing. I can handle violence some times but that was just crazy. As such, I've never bothered with Miike's.

By the way, I recently discovered this site, which has tons of reviews by people who seem very knowledgeable in Japanese film: http://www.midnighteye.com


Cool!
EDIT: Shit -- they've stopped updating it. :-/
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby zinger » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:20 am

I hadn't noticed, too bad! The state of Japanese film today is apparently one of the main reasons -- that's sad to hear.

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby layzee » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:11 pm

Most of my favourite movies (some Japanese ones too). I'm mostly into thriller type movies so I can't really recommend any to GP since they tend to have violence in them and he seems to like the more arty films. The last remotely good Japanese film I liked is probably 告白 (Kokuhaku / Confessions) from 2010, which also happens to be excellent. I'm struggling to recall anything good after that.

As far as anime goes, I miss the (relatively) big budget groundbreaking anime films for adults. I'm talking ones that make the world notice, like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or even the brainless yet entertaining ones like Kite and Ninja Scroll. Unfortunately, Yoshiaki Kawajiri (of Ninja Scroll, Wicked City etc) seems to have gone missing in action and Satoshi Kon (with a very good track record of Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, and "shades of Christopher Nolan's Inception" Paprika) who I had pinned as the future hope of anime, died way too early.

On that note, I would recommend Kon's work to GP, or anyone really.
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:53 pm

layzee wrote:Most of my favourite movies (some Japanese ones too). I'm mostly into thriller type movies so I can't really recommend any to GP since they tend to have violence in them and he seems to like the more arty films. The last remotely good Japanese film I liked is probably 告白 (Kokuhaku / Confessions) from 2010, which also happens to be excellent. I'm struggling to recall anything good after that.


I will check these out. I watch violent films a lot, but I've found in my old age they cut a bit deep. I watched Natural Born Killers about 6-7 years ago and was shocked that I didn't flinch at it in my younger days.

As far as anime goes, I miss the (relatively) big budget groundbreaking anime films for adults. I'm talking ones that make the world notice, like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or even the brainless yet entertaining ones like Kite and Ninja Scroll.


We all miss those. ;) But for the record, Ninja Scroll is basically unknown in Japan... at least not as big as it was in the west. A handful of those around, actually.

Unfortunately, Yoshiaki Kawajiri (of Ninja Scroll, Wicked City etc) seems to have gone missing in action and Satoshi Kon (with a very good track record of Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, and "shades of Christopher Nolan's Inception" Paprika) who I had pinned as the future hope of anime, died way too early.

On that note, I would recommend Kon's work to GP, or anyone really.


A non-anime dude recommended me Perfect Blue, so I might get off my ass and finally watch that.
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby layzee » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:14 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:We all miss those. ;) But for the record, Ninja Scroll is basically unknown in Japan... at least not as big as it was in the west. A handful of those around, actually.


I didn't know that but I am not surprised that some things are a lot more popular outside Japan as opposed to inside (the Metroid franchise for example).

Gaijin Punch wrote:A non-anime dude recommended me Perfect Blue, so I might get off my ass and finally watch that.


You really could do a lot worse than to watch Perfect Blue on a nice quiet evening so to use your words, get off your ass already and watch it!
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby CTN » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:40 am

The 70s are a treasure trove of genre cinema.

Kinji Fukasakus gangster movies like Battles Without Honor And Humanity or Graveyard Of Honour
Meiko Kaji in the manga adaption Lady Snowblood, the Female Convict Scorpion or the Delinquent Girl Boss series
Reiko Ike in Sex & Fury with it's awesomely weird bossa nova score
The french new wave like Dressed To Kill

House (already mentioned) was directed by the man also responsible for the legendary Charles Bronson Mandom perfume commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEqA84R0lYU

For more recent films try those offbeat comedies from SABU, Beat Takeshi's Sonatine, the Guitar Wolf vehicle Wild Zero and all the other obvious leftfield "cult favourites" like Versus, Visitor Q, 2DLK and Aragami, Audition, Dead or Alive and sequels as well as the early films by Mamoru Oshii.

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:11 am

I've got a somewhat love/fear relationship with Miike. Dead or Alive and Ichi the Killer are hilariously over-the-top, but Audition was deeply disturbing. I'm not sure I'll ever have the guts to try Visitor Q. But he's a bit of a goofball as well, and Sukiyaki Western Django is a really great send-up of both the spaghetti western and the jidaigeki. Not too splattery, if I remember right. And Thirteen Assassins is the usual tale of samurai against all odds done really really well--a back-to-back of that and Seven Samurai would be a pretty impressive experience.

Some of my personal favorites are almost cliche when speaking of Japanese film, but regardless they're really goddamn good. Ozu's Tokyo Story is really great, and some of the less-visible Kurosawa films are must-sees in my opinion. Ikiru is probably the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, but the Kurosawa/Shimura Takeshi combo is unbeatable anywhere.

I second Sonatine as a fantastic twist on the yakuza film genre. Kitano's take on Zatoichi is fun and a lot more light-hearted. This one's a bit tough to turn up in the US, but Minna Yatteru ka! (Getting Any?) has Kitano directing but not starring in a bizarre comedy about a dude who just wants to get laid, preferably in the back of a cool car. Japanese pop-culture references abound, and it's a lot of fun when you're able to pick those out. With your time in Japan, you should be able to nail most of them.

Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence probably needs no introduction, but David Bowie as an Allied POW starring opposite Ryuichi Sakamoto is absolutely mesmerizing, plus there's a great soundtrack by Sakamoto and Kitano as a sadistic prison camp guard. I've got streaming access to a good part of the Criterion Collection through school and am trying to convince myself that it's really worth my while to try and watch In the Realm of the Senses, but I can't quite pull the trigger on that one. Wonder what sort of effect that may have on a five month-old.

Getting a little more obscure, there's this fantastic drama called Go that I saw during my first study abroad way back when and am kicking myself for not renting and ripping at the local Tsutaya last time around. It's zainichi boy meets uptight and prejudiced girl who doesn't know he's Korean--or that there's pictures of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung hanging in the family home, and his Dad is constantly mulling over whether to just break out the old North Korean passports and try to move home. The film really digs into the shit that ethnic Koreans have to face no matter if they've never set foot in either Korea, and the added layer of expat North Koreans just makes for a much more interesting spectacle.

Finally, one of my personal favorites is the incredibly bizarre and criminally underrated Survive Style 5+. I'm a total whore for Tadanobu Asano, and this is five layers of the most bizarre metaphors for dealing with personal relationships with an all-star cast of Japanese film and TV actors. There's Hiroshi Abe, and several people I really should know by name but don't. Also Vinnie Jones as a hitman not given to much small talk. Perhaps because of his inclusion, the film got a DVD release in the UK, and the Japanese version has competent English subtitles (certainly not necessary for you but a boon for me).

That's about it for right now. I'm sure I'll think of a few more, but there's very little in my list that's not already well-known. Perfect Blue, if you haven't seen it, is good but really disturbing. It's also quite disturbing in how closely Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan parallel parts of the film. But hey, since we're talking about animation and Oshii was mentioned previously, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is one that flies a bit under the radar. Part of Oshii's Kerberos saga, it's full of political intrigue in the secret police forces of a fascist Japan that lost World War II and was occupied--by Germany. Really unique animation that seems almost rotoscoped, and really not your typical "anime" sensibilities at all.
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby layzee » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:03 pm

And since we're on the topic of Takashi Miike again, allow me to add a few to round out his list:
Lesson of the Evil (2012): Reasonably entertaining, particularly if you liked Battle Royale.
Izo (2014): Crazy movie and comparable to Survive Style 5+ in the sense that this film can be interpreted in myriad ways and whatever meaning you derive from it, it's probably valid as any other.
Chakushin ari (2003): Above average horror movie (speaking as someone who has high standards for this genre) with a creepy yet catchy mobile ring tone.
Koushounin (2003): Probably one of his most "normal" movies. Pretty good thriller with twists.
Gozu (2003): Back to the crazy. A slow burn... something. I have no idea, man.

Sukiyaki Western Django was surprisingly decent (and had a Quentin Tarantino cameo, who wasn't) but I highly recommend watching it with English subtitles unless you're fluent in Japlish. Good production value (for Japanese movies), Gun-fu action, varied characters, and a workable story to tie them all together.

Speaking of action, that reminds me of the recent theatrical adaptions of Rurouni Kenshin, of which there are three. I haven't read nor watched the original manga/anime (I'll have to hand in my Wapanese badge) so I can't judge it based on that, but as far as big budget Hollywood-style action movies go, you can't really go wrong here. It had mostly praise from "true" Rurouni Kenshin fans so there's that too. One thing worth mentioning is that the action/fighting choreography is the best I've seen from a Japanese movie (martial arts movies ain't Japan's strong point; that's more Hong Kong). The fight scenes are pretty fluid and there's not too many Hollywood-style camera changes each time a punch/sword slash is thrown. It turns out that the action director has some kind of connection (maybe protege or something) with Donnie Yen (the best thing in HK martial arts at the moment) so that might partly explain it. Oh, and one of the actors from Sukiyaki Western Django is here. Take a guess which.

Personally I've been waiting to watch Kuime (Over Your Dead Body) (2014) (also by Miike) but held off due to lack of English subtitles for some inexplicable reason, so on a whim I just searched and it turns out there's finally some released recently so off I go. Hopefully it's decent.

So, ya watched Perfect Blue yet?
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:45 pm

layzee wrote:Sukiyaki Western Django was surprisingly decent (and had a Quentin Tarantino cameo, who wasn't)


He was so terrible! But the with the whole film in bad phonetic English, the end result was so surreal anyway that I didn't think much of it at the time.
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Limbrooke » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:04 am

I've seen very few Japanese live action films and the to-be-watched list is non-existant. However, I'm open to suggestions no matter the movie is from so long as its interesting (ie, not Boyhood).

Okuribito (2008) was decent although I don't remember much. Equally less can be said about Akai Megane (1987) of the Cereberos Panzer Cops saga. Roll-on 3 with Stray Dog (1991) and lastly Talking Head (1992). Trend much? Well, its been a long time since I've seen any but don't recall hating any of those, unlike Casshern (2004).

I had been meaning to see Otoko-tachi no Yamato (2005) about the eponymous battleship Yamato but still have not gotten around (probably due to less than stellar reviews). The most recent film I wanted and would still like to see is The Vancouver Asahi (2014) about the local baseball team and the subsequent internment in Canada during World War 2.

In unrelated biz, I decided finally to get Royal Space Force on Blu-Ray (the 07, DVD/BR double pack). I've been picking some BR up lately, thanks to snagging The Thing (1982) for sub $10 new.

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby CIT Seven Force » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:38 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:Anyone wanna chime in on some hidden gems I'm missing?


Japanese cinema hidden gems would be about a 1200 title list, lol! Any chance you can narrow your interests down a bit more? Like genre, period, etc?

Anyway, Seijun Suzuki's films are all great, and I think it's the type of stuff you would love. Also a good introduction to Japanese "cult" cinema in general. Start with Branded to Kill (1967).

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:19 pm

Probably 80's / 90's would suit me best. I've not followed up on too many but plan on it soon!
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby CIT Seven Force » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:17 pm


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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:11 am

Thanks -- although I saw Tetsuo already... and barely made it through it. O.o
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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Imhotep » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:10 pm

I once saw Gemini (Sōseiji) on Arte / German TV by accident, must have been well over 10 years ago. I liked it well enough and some scenes have stuck with me. It draws its strenght from ruthlessly picturing the animalistic side of human nature though.
It seems to be by the same guy that did Tetsuo.

I liked Audition, though the torture scenes weren't easy to stomach, and I've grown more sensitive over the years. Half of the audience left the cinema in disgust during the movie :)

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby CIT Seven Force » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:08 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:Thanks -- although I saw Tetsuo already... and barely made it through it. O.o


Hahaha, it's a trip, for sure!


Oh, and I forgot to mention my favorite Japanese film of all time:

The Woman in the Dunes (1964)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058625/

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WODbLjG4kzw

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby zinger » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:53 am

I posted that above, CIT -- I love it too! Tanin no Kao (Face of another) by the same director is also very good!

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby zinger » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:53 pm

Has anybody watched Shin Godzilla (2016) yet? Not a fan of the series/genre, but this trailer gave me goosebumps, and the movie seems to have gotten good reviews generally.

http://youtu.be/3WkxVHyzivg

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Re: Japanese Film (Live Action)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:49 am

zinger wrote:Has anybody watched Shin Godzilla (2016) yet? Not a fan of the series/genre, but this trailer gave me goosebumps, and the movie seems to have gotten good reviews generally.

http://youtu.be/3WkxVHyzivg


Went to the theater to see it... mother fucker was sold out. No joke. Haven't made it back, but it's on the list.

I did see After the Storm (Umi Yori Mada Fukaku) which was great. Very touching drama set in a Tokyo suburb. Took me back.
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