meta: Live-Action


2020


'Burst City': Punkocalypse Now! 
Gakuryū Ishii's head-on collision between gang-war and punk-rock exploitation pictures still explodes on impact decades later
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'Vital': The Weight Of The Dead, And Of The Living 
Shinya Tsukamoto's dark drama about a medical student obsessed with the cadaver of a lost love becomes a moving meditation on how life and death inform each other
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'A Snake Of June': A Love (And Death) Triangle 
Shinya Tsukamoto's eros-and-thanatos story doesn't always work, but gets an A+ for dazzling effort anyway
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'Electric Dragon 80.000V': Raw Power 
Gakuryū Ishii's hourlong, warp-speed clash of pseudo-superheroes is still deafeningly good fun after twenty years
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'Gojoe': The Demons On The Bridge 
Twenty years later, Gakuryū Ishii's revisionist samurai legend still dazzles and jolts like few other movies of its kind
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'Gemini': Of Self And Other 
Shinya Tsukamoto's seething, psychedelic adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's work remains one of his best films
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'Bullet Ballet': Shooting High, Aiming Low 
Shinya Tsukamoto's grimy underworld odyssey about a man obsessed with the weapon that killed his girlfriend is more potential than payoff
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'Tokyo Fist': The Players Of Bloodsport 
Shinya Tsukamoto's blood-soaked, bare-knuckled psychodrama gives us two men in competition for a woman -- but it's the woman who wins
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'The Adventures Of Denchu Kozo'/'Haze': Shorter Tsukamoto 
Two short films from Shinya Tsukamoto, now anthologized in the Arrow box set for the director, show off his cheeky-humored and bending-sinister sides
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2019


'Izo': Takashi Miike's Death (And Resurrection) Mantra 
Even longtime Takashi Miike fans were alienated by this mix of Miike's fetishes, 'Slaughterhouse-Five', and William S. Burroughs's space-age shamanism, but it deserves fresh eyes and open minds
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'Rashōmon': The Post-Truth Condition 
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's story, and Akira Kurosawa's movie, have endured to tell us something about the nature of truth in a time when we can hardly trust the words we hear in our own heads
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'Unforgiven'/'Yurusarezarumono': From The Wild West To The Deep North 
Sang-Il Lee's Meiji-era remake of Clint Eastwood's now-classic Western doesn't quite eclipse its predecessor, but it doesn't need to; it stands very nicely on its own
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'The Face Of Another': Confessions Of A Mask 
Kōbō Abe's novel, and Hiroshi Teshigahara's film adaptation, explore an extreme case: a disfigured man given a new face to present to the world, and thus all the perils of existential absolute freedom
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'Cure': The Hollow(ed) Men 
Two decades on, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's mutant serial-killer thriller remains among his very best films, and one of Japan's finest from the 1990s generally
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'One Cut Of The Dead / Kamera o tomeru na!': This Camera Cannot Be Stopped, Ever! 
Not just a love letter to the cinematic underdogs who pull off amazing things with sheer sweat, it is one of those amazing things pulled off with sheer sweat
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'Twilight Of The Cockroaches': The Bugs Shall Inherit The Earth 
Despite the wretched condition of the current reissue, this idiosyncratic and allegorical fusion of live action and animation has black comedy and deeper meanings alike
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'Kamui Gaiden': Uncanny Valley Of The Ninja 
Get past the often terrible CGI, and you'll find a reasonably faithful movie adaptation of Sanpei Shirato's manga masterpiece
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2018


'Illang: The Wolf Brigade': Defanged 
Jee-woon Kim's live-action adaptation of Mamoru Oshii's 'Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade' is passable on its own, but doesn't come close to the primal shadow-play sorcery of the original
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'Bleach' (2018): Kid Janitor Of The Spirit World 
A dialed-down take on elements from the first major story arc of Tite Kubo's long-running shōnen actioner, it's no classic but no disaster either
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'Maborosi': The Unanswerable Question 
Hirokazu Kore-eda's debut feature, twenty years on, remains an ominous and poignant masterwork
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See more Live-Action posts from 2018