Showing posts from April, 2011


Title: Robo-Geisha
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action, Exploitation, Horror, Comedy
Starring: Aya Kiguchi, Hitomi Hasebe, Takumi Saitô
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Language: Japanese

Sometimes you get a craving for something cheesy and filled with blood, and if you've never had this craving then you can probably dismiss this review already, assuming the cover work didn't already turn you off. There are two main schools of thought on the matter these days; the “Saw” and “Final Destination” method of finding new ingenious ways of killing you, and my personal preference, the far more comical “what the living hell” method of finding the most bizarre ways of letting their characters find divine retribution. In the past few years there are two names that have earned themselves a well deserved reputation for their depraved minds, the special effects designer Yoshihiro Nishimura known for thinking up the infamous 'crocodile killer' and 'human chair' for Tokyo Gore Police and Nobo…

Sword of the Beast

Title: Sword of the Beast
Original Title: Kedamono no ken
Rating : 4/5
Genre: Action, Drama
Starring: Mikijiro Hira, Gô Katô, Shima Iwashita
Director: Hideo Gosha
Language: Japanese
Release Date: 1965

Minister: Wait! We're not connected at all. Why kill me?
Yuuki Gennosuke: No, we are connected, because I'll see you in hell!

There seems to be no shortage of Japanese films set in the feudal era, and it was a complex time with events coming thick and fast; clans ruling the lands constantly fighting with one another, ronin wandering the streets and bandits making a nuisance out of themselves, and yet throughout it all are the samurai themselves. Courageous and holding their honour up high, fighting for the betterment of their clan with complete self-sacrifice, and never doing anything that would harm an innocent life. It is this erroneous dramatisation that made this film sound so intriguing, for here it is clearly not so black and white. When found amidst corruption, treated as li…

Swing Girls

Title: Swing Girls
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Starring: Juri Ueno, Yûta Hiraoka, Shihori Kanjiya, Yuika Motokariya, Yukari Toyoshima
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
Language: Japanese

It wasn't all too long ago that I saw Juri Ueno in “Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers,” and it would be the perfect lie to say that she enchanted me enough there to seek out more of her work. Of course that wasn't true. I had no idea she was in this until a few minutes when I started pointing and going 'hang on,' but I can't say that her presence was anything but a delightful surprise in watching a film I'd clearly just downloaded for the cover of Japanese school girls in suggestive poses and whacked on from my bed, too lazy to really check what film it was that I was watching. Sometimes this is a recipe for disaster as I have things on my computer that I honestly have no idea what I was thinking when I downloaded (actually, it probably isn't too far off from this), b…


Title: Ellie (1984)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Comedy, Exploitation
Starring: Sheila Kennedy, Shelley Winters, Edward Albert
Director: Peter Wittman
Duration: 89 mins

An invalid, backwoods farmer is a month into his marriage with Cora when she persuades him into making out a will (what’s the worst that can happen, right?). Well, the very next day they are out on a picnic with Cora’s three sons, her conspirator lover, and the farmer’s nubile, young daughter Ellie. While Ellie is being distracted by a motorcycle ride, Cora rolls the wheelchair-ridden farmer into the lake, drowns him, paints the whole thing as an accident, and collects on the will. However, sweet little Ellie is too smart for such an excuse. Abandoning her purity and innocence, she lures Cora’s sons one by one to their deaths with her luscious, tender body and playful giggles. With the local sheriff too love-stricken with Cora the gluttonous career widow to do his job properly, Cora and Ellie break out in a battle of wits to see …

Minimoni The Movie: The Great Cake Adventure!

Title: Minimoni The Movie: The Great Cake Adventure!
Original Title: Minimoni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibōken!
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Adventure
Starring: Mari Yaguchi, Mika Todd, Ai Kago, Nozomi Tsuji, Ai Takahashi
Director: Shinji Higuchi
Language: Japanese

When most bands announce a change in the line-up they have a press release, or mention it in some official capacity. A lot of smaller bands don't even do that, they simply place it on their website and let the fans discover the change in their own time. Minimoni (a J-pop band formed amongst some of the members of the well known “Morning Musume”) clearly had other ideas as the 'story' of how the band leader left and the woman who would replace her is all depicted in this hour long film. Apparently. In reality I think they let themselves exaggerate the events a little too much, and if this really is anything remotely resembling how it happened then they should all be tested for LSD. As the title alludes this…

Battle for Los Angeles

Title: Battle for Los Angeles
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Starring: Kel Mitchell, Nia Peeples, Dylan Vox, Theresa June Tao
Director: Mark Atkins

“I can tell you one thing: they don't come in peace”

Not to be confused with the recently released big-budget atrocity that was “Battle: LA,” this conveniently titled and released within the same month comes from the king of cheese, the SyFy studios. With the big budget version being so awful it wouldn't be surprising if this never really got noticed, but for me this is a test for my hypothesis; that a bad big budget action can be improved by a removal of most of the budget, forcing their work into the path of dreadful CGI effects and sets that look like someones back yard and into that much sought after territory of 'hilariously bad.' It's quite surprising just how well this manages to do that, and not only because the last time I saw the lead role is when I was a teenager lounging about to 'Kenan and Kel'…


Title: Stalker
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Drama
Starring: Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Language: Russian

Tarkovsky might be a name known to many, or it might just be the select few who have spent any deal of time exploring classic Sci-Fi films, but regardless of how well known he is, he is often praised of something of a 'Russian answer to Stanley Kubrick' with the infamous “Solaris” being his “2001.” But it's not Solaris that has drawn my initial attention but this overlooked work which I already know something about having played through the series of games that draws heavily from this piece, but if you're under the illusion that anything more than the environment is to feature here then remove that notion before you get too far. This is intelligent, philosophically thought provoking and superbly detailed in it's subtle suggestions. It's also over two and a half hours long and mostly filled wi…