Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Movies 2010’

FLOWER AND SNAKE 3 [HANA TO HEBI 3 | 花と蛇 3]

2011/02/03

https://www.dmm.co.jp/hanatohebi3

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Yusuke Narita  Written by: Masayoshi Azuma  Novel by: Oniroku Dan  Cast: Minako Komukai, Shohei Hino, Mari Komatsuzaki, Kotono, Shunsaku Kudo, Kei Mizutani, Yasukaze Motomiya, Ayumu Saito

You should think that the Pinku Eiga is coming of age by now. FLOWER & SNAKE 3 leaves it kind of open however if it has, or hasn’t. It may simply be a matter of definition though, or maybe a matter if time.

FLOWER & SNAKE 3 has little in common with the likes of ANGEL GUTS or other Nikkatsu productions of the late 70’s or 80’s. Transgressions that once defined the genre – or creativity, as you may prefer to call it and were once a hallmark of the Japanese pink film – have made room for convention. Disregard the question if we have to attribute that creativity to censorship or not it must be noted that the Japanese pink film has always been more inventive than its western counterparts.

To be precise, the key difference is that the pinku eiga is imaginative while the western sex film is mostly solely descriptive. Like, say, the difference between Internet Explorer and Safari. This stronghold is genuinely made in Nippon, and few filmmakers outside the country have come close to the specific vision of pinku eiga directors or their literary sources.

Now how about the coming of age of the pink film? FLOWER & SNAKE 3 has come of age in the sense that it has evolved far away from the origins of the genre and represents a glossy interpretation of European soft core, a fantasy that could have come from the ever-playful mind of Tinto Brass, a film that turns transgression into fashion, lauding S&M as the new standard of the mainstream. Indeed, many ideas have moved from the periphery of society into its center, however, that doesn’t mean that the auteur has to follow that example and start depicting what is instead of what could or will be.

Losing that specific edge means losing a good part of the pinku eiga identity: there are more similarities than differences to western productions, even though FLOWER & SNAKE 3 still seems more story-driven and tries to define pleasure and pain as an expression, or result, of the relationships between the characters. But it’s a far cry from what made the pinku eiga a genuine category and that is also why I cannot think of many reasons why you need watch it.

J.

 

MAN HUNTING [MAN HANTINGU | マンハンティング]

2011/01/16

http://www.primewav.com/movie/1004d.html

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Yasushi Koshizaka Written by: Yukio Miyajima  Produced by: Yukio Miyajima  Cinematography by: Susumu Kasahara Cast: Satomi Kaneko, Yo Kamiyoshihara, Toru Amemiya, Tomohiko Isomura, Koji Nakayabu, Mayu Sakuma

What would we all do without today’s technologies? Probably talk to real people, have a real conversation, have real get-togethers, and miss out on all the junk distributed via MMS and internet, including disturbing images that could lure us out into the woods. It’s interesting to compare a terror flick like MAN HUNTING to, say, FRIDAY THE 13TH:  back in 1980 it was kind of the idea to keep the victims isolated, contain the murders, control the space and ensure its functionality in the future. Just like Norman Bates in the 60s, the killer had to leave no trace if it was his goal to do it all over again. Today, it’s the killer’s goal to tell the world about it. How pathetic; I thought gentlemen don’t brag. The good old killer etiquette is dead: they are not killing for their own pleasure anymore (or dead mother), they are killing for the public (and very rarely only that means pleasure as well).

 

MAN HUNTING is no DEATH TUBE, but the story wouldn’t develop the same way without multimedia mobile phones. Not that this makes the film any better or worse than it is. The story is a lame attempt to justify misogynistic torture scenes that are embedded in plot extracts from movies like BATTLE ROYALE, SAW or ALL NIGHT LONG. I am not sure why some filmmakers think doing the same thing others did before – just worse – would be sufficient for any audience out there (but maybe the V-audience is really that undemanding).

 

In principle, MAN HUNTING could have been an ok genre flick if it wasn’t for an irrational storyline and an outstandingly inelegant execution. Some movies are gross, some are weird, some are raw and realistic, but MAN HUNTING most of all is clumsy. Not only the direction and editing are clumsy, but the special effects: if you have ever watched a making-of by Tom Savini, or any other FX guru, you’ll be laughing out loud seeing many of the wannabe gruesome effects. A movie that has barely anything else to offer is digging its own grave displaying poorly executed scenes of violence. The only effective scenes are those copied from other films, yet MAN HUNTING never achieves the same level of quality.

With clearly less than 90 minutes of running time MAN HUNTING is best suited as opener for a movie night, or downer early in the morning when many are on their way home, or asleep. The only thing MAN HUNTING is killing is time.

J.

 


GOTHIC AND LOLITA PSYCHO [GOSURORI SHOKEININ | ゴスロリ処刑人]

2011/01/14

http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp/galp/

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Go Ohara  Written by: Hisakatsu Kuroki  Produced by: Jun Nakajima, Hiroyuki Sasaki Cast: Rina Akiyama, Ruito Aoyagi, Asami, Yukihide Benny, Satoshi Hakuzen, James Mark, Misaki Momose, Fumie Nakajima, Masahiro Okamoto, Minami Tsukui, Yurei Yanagi

Now that’s entertainment. It’s almost as if GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO wanted to prove that funny isn’t the same as silly (see CHANBARA STRIPTEASE). Rina Akiyama plays a young woman whose mother is killed by ruthless assassins, causing her to go on a killing spree herself dressed up as a gothic lolita avenger. Needless to say that her crazy dress comes with equally crazy weaponry…ready to deliver a one-of-a-kind death penalty to the villains.

Everything CHANBARA STRIPTEASE was missing is beautifully intact in GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO. It’s a tongue-in-cheek rollercoaster ride with over-the-top carnage and mayhem, but it also always keeps a healthy distance to the on-screen violence – a constant smirk is hovering above the flick from beginning to end. And with the thematic outfits GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO seems like a Halloween party gone wrong, but makes very creative use of one of Japan’s most favorite pop culture icons.

Equipped with lethal umbrellas and more Rina Akiyama looks like the Harajuku version of Emma Peel, slicing and dicing her way through enemy lines. School uniforms are so 1980’s – leave that to the YoYo Girl Cops. Here comes the GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO: glam and gore are never far apart, and the beautiful dress and inventive equipment make for a playful, quirky heroine you’ll instantly fall in love with.

Go Ohara’s take on J pop culture, gore flicks and “tribal” insignia is fresh and entertaining, beating other flicks by a mile. Add to that comparably good special effects, camerawork and editing, and you’re in for a great movie night. GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO may have stayed under the radar a bit, but make no mistake: it’s bloodier and better than many of the other wannabe genre sensations.

With the pedal to the metal from beginning to end GOTHIC & LOLITA PSYCHO keeps what others promise. Best consumed on Friday, or Monday, evening.

J.