meta: Live-Action


2022


'Crazy Thunder Road': Wild To Be Wreckage Forever 
Never before available for English-speaking audiences, Gakuryū Ishii's raw and rousing micro-budget motorcycle mini-epic heralds what was to come in his future films
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'Tokyo Decadence': The Dark Age Of Love 
Ryū Murakami's adaptation of his own story about a Tokyo sex worker is noisome social commentary that won't reach anyone who hasn't already gotten the message
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2021


Akira Kurosawa's 'RAN': Omnia Vanitas 
Akira Kurosawa's samurai revision of 'King Lear', among the very greatest films ever made, returns to glory in a new 4K remaster
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'ID': Beastly Flesh 
Kei Fujiwara's sequel to 'Organ' ends up being more merely unpleasant than unsettling
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2020


'Versus': No Budget, All Ambition, Total Excess 
Twenty years later, Ryūhei Kitamura's pulp-horror gumbo of Lucio Fulci, Sam Raimi, George Miller, and everything in between remains a micro-budget, J-indie milestone
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'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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See more Live-Action posts from 2019