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Showing posts from November, 2010

Captive Factory Girls 1&2

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Title: Captive Factory Girls 1&2 (The Violation/The Revolt)
Rating: 3/5 (Violation), 3.5/5 (Revolt)
Genre: Exploitation, Thriller
Director: Mikio Hirota
Language: Japanese

Sometimes its worth clarifying the difference between “low-budget” and “no-budget” as to the casual observer they would probably amount to much the same thing. This readily falls under the 'no-budget' heading and tell tale signs include cap guns, hand-held camera's, acting that feels like it was shot in a day and bra size being the most important thing when deciding on which actress should get the lead roles. For at least half the cast this certainly holds true, and most of the others are male and thus relegated to as minor a role as possible. For those that remain, the acting remains hilariously awful with awkward pauses where lines were probably forgotten, politely waiting for the other to finish their sentence when in a heated argument and plenty of opportunities for naked frolicing, albeit again…

Tenten (Adrift in Tokyo)

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Title: Tenten
Translated Title: Adrift in Tokyo
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Starring: Jô Odagiri, Tomokazu Miura, Kyôko Koizumi, Yuriko Yoshitaka
Director: Satoshi Miki
Language: Japanese

“In my 8th college year, buying 3-colour toothpaste I thought could spare me from my rock bottom situation.”

Often when nothing happens in a film, its pretty dull to watch. You sit there anticipating anything that might be of interest and it never really comes. What I've observed though – particularly where 'slice of life' anime is concerned – is that quite often, even when nothing at all happens the result is interesting to watch; the characters going about their ordinary day to day lives is all that's needed as you form an attachment to them, like a close friend or family member you wish to keep in touch with and know what's happening in their lives. The challenge here, in this more than aptly titled film, is forming this attachment in a short space of time. Miki doesn…

Round Ireland with a Fridge

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Title: Round Ireland with a Fridge
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Tony Hawks, Ed Byrne
Director: Ed Bye

“So how much is the bet for”
“£100”
“...and how much did the fridge cost?”
“£130”


So, continuing my accidental fridge-themed film stint comes the film that was preceded by the book of the same name. Not to be confused with the well known professional skater Tony Hawk, Tony Hawks is a little known English comedian who perhaps unsurprisingly, first made waves with this aforementioned book. As a comedian, he's not particularly amusing, which as you can imagine comes as something of a hindrance, but his material works not because its well written but because he's the only middle-aged man mad enough to carry out stunts like this. Round Ireland with a Fridge is a journey to the heart of Ireland, and a voyage of self discovery filled with both triumphs and defeats.

And much like his follow up novel, “Playing the Moldovans at Tennis,” it all began with a bottle of whiskey. Follow…

The Refrigerator

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Title: The Refrigerator
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Michael Beltran, Phil Butard and Angel Caban
Director: Nicholas Jacobs
Release Date: 1991

With a motto that might as well have been so blazingly obvious as “when things go wrong, nobody suspects the refrigerator,” the title more or less gives the game away. In fact, in using said motto it would keep in line with the rest of the film in the fact that its actually not true. For one thing, it turns out the real enemy is not a refrigerator at all – the fridge just happens to be the most hungry – and likewise everyone suspects the fridge. Multiple times are they told that the fridge is evil, and you'd probably laugh it off too if it wasn't for the fact that for almost 2/3rds the run time the damn thing keeps acting up. And by acting up, I mean leaking blood on the floor, housing a miniature version of your boss who occasionally talks to you, throwing dry ice around the house whilst you sleep and trying to tempt you into i…

Love Exposure

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Title: Love Exposure
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Romantic Drama (Avant-Garde)
Starring: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando
Director: Sion Sono
Language: Japanese

Anyone whose seen my usual tendencies for general carnage, low budget cheese-fests and Sci-Fi eye candy should be surprised to see a rare romantic drama catch my attention – much less one with such a heavy religious theme running at its core – but this is one I wish I had found sooner. Cast aside any notion of a typical boy-meets-girl type scenario, with that done to death unrequited love or the stereotypical chase situation, as this has none of that. This is a four hour long tale of life under the influence of Christianity and the corruption and heatbreak it can cause; of perversity and desperation; manipulative secular cults; chaos and destruction, all in the name of love. There is still that trademark quirkiness that the Japanese seem to have coined for their own but this film goes beyond such a limited view. This i…

She Creature

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Title: She Creature
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Starring: Carla Gugino, Rufus Sewell
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez

One of the results of Columbia/Tristar's decision to team up with HBO and re-live the glory days of the old monster flicks of the 50s; the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Attack of the 50ft Woman,” as well as of course the original "She Creature," in honour of the recently departed Sam Arkoff. With such a modest budget it's quite apparent little of that went on what seems to be so prevalent these days; bad CGI, plenty of blood and nobody who knows how to make a decent film. None of the 'stars' here are particularly renowned for their abilities, but neither are they unknowns yet to prove themselves, and who better to lead the way than a director fresh off his award winning debut film, and who would later go on to pen 'Snakes on a Plane?' With Sewell following suit, sporting a rather convincing Irish accent that rarely slips an…

Megane

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Title: Megane
Translated Title: Glasses
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Starring: Satomi Kobayashi, Mikako Ichikawa, Ryo Kase
Director: Naoko Ogigami
Language: Japanese

Escaping from the business of her city life, Taeko finds herself travelling to a remote island in the hopes of solitude with only the promise of no cell-phone reception spurring her decision, but the transition from her hectic lifestyle to one filled with long hours of doing nothing is not an easy one to make, and the curious locals do little to help with matters. Yeah, I know, it all sounds like a bit of a cliché drama, but it was that “curious locals” part that got me interested. After Miike's “Visitor Q” and Satoshi Miki's “Instant Swamp” I had a certain set of expectations in mind for the wacky brand of comedy in store. Except as it turns out, I'd barely refer to this as a comedy at all.

That's not to say it's necessarily bad, simply that the comical aspect certainly seems to have been overpl…

K-On!

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Title: K-On!
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: "Slice of Life," Animation, Comedy
Duration: 25mins (Season One: 14 episodes + 1 OVA; Season Two: 26 episodes)
Language: Japanese

As my poorly self lay in bed feverish and trying to find that side of the pillow not drenched in sweat, I realised I needed something light to watch and take my mind off my diminishing throat size. To describe K-On! As anything but ridiculously easy to watch would be a grave mistake. I happily managed to get myself through the first season before the morning broke, and the rest followed shortly afterwards; it's light and largely without plot, and yet somehow the episodes seem to breeze by before you've noticed it. Following the 'slice-of-life' style of comedy pioneered by “Lucky Star” and “Azumanga Daoih” before it, its influences seem quite clear cut, even if they decide to add the twist of being in a pop/rock band formed from the members of the “Light Music Club.”

Of course, the club often seems m…