Tag Archives: japanese

Kairyu daikessen / Battle Of The Dragons (1966) Tetsuya Yamanouchi, Hiroki Matsukata, Tomoko Ogawa, Ryûtarô Ôtomo, Fantasy

Kairyu daikessen AKA Battle Of The Dragons (1966)
In ancient Japan, a good lord is killed and his throne is taken by the trecherous Yuki Daijo and his wizard friend Oroki-maru. The young prince Ikazuki-maru is rescued from the jaws of death by a magic bird sent by a wizard. Ten years later, Ikazuki-maru embarks on an adventure to avenge his parents and the wizard’s death with his magic powers he learned from the wizard. He kills Yuki Daijo but then must battle Oroki-maru in a battle to the death.

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A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth / Yôki na gyangu ga chikyû o mawasu (2006) Tetsu Maeda, Takao Ohsawa, Kyôka Suzuki, Shôta Matsuda, Comedy, Crime

A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth (2006)
Four strangers (a verbose romantic, a human lie detector, an expert pickpocket, and a woman with a preternaturally precise sense of time) are brought together by chance when they inadvertently team up to thwart a bank robbery. Recognizing the potential of their combined talents, they decide to form a bank-robbing gang themselves, just for the fun and romance of it. Their heists are played out swiftly and coolly, less like robberies than performance art. Eventually, the foursome’s good-natured crime streak is interrupted when a man from one of their pasts creates a whirlwind of extortion and double crossing.

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Nishijin Shinju / Double Suicide at Nishijin (1977) Yoichi Takabayashi, Yoshie Shimamura, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Goichi Yamada, Drama

Nishijin Shinju AKA Double Suicide at Nishijin (1977)
Yumi, an exceptionally beautiful call girl, has a close call with death when a client forces her to die with him. An old cop pities her and agrees to be her guarantor so that she could join a Nishijin weaver workshop. Yumi wishes to put her dark past behind her, but she’s exposed by an ex-client. Despite the unwavered support of the old cop, she sees no way out and uses her seductive body again to get what she wants. Hiroyuki, her co-worker at the weaver workshop, is a pure-hearted young man who may redeem Yumi from her deadly path as a femme fatale.

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Akibiyori / Late Autumn (1960) Yasujirô Ozu, Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Mariko Okada, Comedy, Drama

Akibiyori AKA Late Autumn (1960)
Family and friends of the late Shuzo Miwa have gathered for his annual memorial service, this one marking the seventh anniversary of his passing. Three of his long time friends – married Shuzo Taguchi, married Soichi Mamiya, and widowed Seiichiro Hirayama – have long known and admitted to each other that they have always been attracted to his widow, Akiko Miwa, who they believe has gotten even more beautiful as she has matured. The three friends take it upon themselves to find a husband for the Miwa’s now twenty-four year old daughter, Ayako Miwa, who they believe as beautiful as her mother, and who, as a pure innocent, deserves a good husband. Their self-appointed task is despite them knowing that Ayako does not want them to do so. She doesn’t want to get married, at least not yet, as she struggles with her traditional sensibilities in post-war modern Japan. Her first priority as she sees it is to take care of her widowed mother, who would be alone if she were to get married.

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Kamome-yo, kirameku umi o mitaka/meguri ai / Oh Seagull, Have You Seen the Sparkling Ocean? : An Encounter (1975) Kenji Yoshida, Ken Tanaka, Yôko Takahashi, Akemi Negishi, Drama

Kamome-yo, kirameku umi o mitakameguri ai (1975)
Fujishita Kumi is an ordinary office lady. Longing to escape her poor fishing village for a life in the city, she came to Tokyo. One day while alone in the office, she’s spotted rolling up her pantyhose by the window cleaner Kurata Katsuo. This was to be their first encounter. Completely enchanted by Kumi, Katsuo does everything he can to get close to her. He’s is a man with a terrible past. With the death of his coal miner father, his family was broken up and he was forced to follow in his father’s footsteps laboring away in the mud. In spite of this, Katsuo still has dreams. He dreams of living in Resiporuko, a utopian fantasyland that exists only in his imagination.

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Yatsuhaka-mura / Village of the Eight Tombs (1996) Kon Ichikawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Yûko Asano, Yu Ji Chin Ye, Mystery

Yatsuhaka-mura AKA Village of the Eight Tombs (1996)
400 hundred years ago the inhabitants of the village of Yatsuhaka murdered 8 samurai rebels, whom they were actually helping to hide away, afraid of what the Shogunate would do to them. Before dying one the samurai puts a curse on the village. Strange things start to happen so the villagers decided to erect 8 graves for the murdered samurai to appease their anger. Then four hundred years later the head of Tajimi family and head of the village goes mad and starts killing almost everyone in the village. 25 years later his eldest son is poisoned. Kindaichi Yousuke detective is hired by the family’s lawyer as everyone in the village believes is the curse of the samurai again.

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Dasso yugi / Jail Breakers (1976) Kôsaku Yamashita, Shin’ichi Chiba, Haruko Wanibuchi, Eitarô Ozawa, Action, Crime

Dasso yugi AKA Jail Breakers (1976)
The film is packed with nice stunts throughout, but the screenplay could be better. After escaping the prison Chiba teams up with a bunch of thugs, who design prison escapes for money. Unfortunately trust and loyalty are unknown concepts to these men who take turns deceiving each other. The endless “who’s-cheating-who” game has been done better in other films, and sometimes the writing is downright sloppy: when a carefully planned escape operation fails, Chiba simply steals a fire engine and drives away without anyone noticing! It also feels that director Kosaku Yamashita, who made his name with yakuza films, was a bit out of his element here. However, even with these weaknesses it’s an entertaining action comedy which compares favourably against some of the later, similar Yasaku Matsuda films like Execution Game (1978) and No Grave for Us (1979). The focus is on stunts and comedy.

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