meta: Recommended


2021


'Organ': Grotesquerie In Red 
Kei Fujiwara's symphony of sickness drowns you face-down in its excesses and lingers for a long time to come afterwards
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'The Strange Tale Of Panorama Island': He's So Unreal 
Suehiro Maruo's rendition of Edogawa Rampo's tale of wide-gauge decadence is both delirious and spot-on in its look and feel
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'Eros + Massacre': Living History 
Kijū Yoshida's staggering epic of Japanese anarchists Sakae Ōsugi and Noe Ito defies categorization, synopsis, or easy answers
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'Blade Of The Immortal': Life Sentence, Death Sentence 
An all-new anime adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's classic long-running manga gets it right at last
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2020


'Birdy The Mighty: Decode': Gimme Back My Skin! 
A raucous fusion of two genres (SF and comedy), and just like its two main characters, it's a symbiosis, not a collision
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'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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'Malice@Doll': The Machine's Last Love Song 
Half adult OVA of the 90s/00s home-video era, half experimental stop-motion art film, and while not entirely successful it's still worth a look for its low-fi digital aesthetic
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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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Nisioisin's 'Katanagatari': Adventures Beyond The Language Barrier 
Nisioisin's twelve-novel cycle of a 'swordless swordsman' and 'strategemist' on a weapons hunt is, in its English edition, a gold standard for how to translate cutting-edge cultural properties
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'The Great Pretender': Con Men At Work 
A real delight: a smart, fleet-footed story inspired by classic con-man comedies, and with correspondingly more to bring to the table than other anime
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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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'Boogiepop': The Antibody Has A Voice 
Kouhei Kadono's knotty novels walk us backwards through the tangled stories surrounding a being that arises just long enough to right the world when it has fallen out of joint
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'Kiki's Delivery Service': The Witch Returns To Print 
Newly reissued, the joyful little book that inspired Studio Ghibli's equally euphoric film has a fresh new translation to go with it
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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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'Whisper Of The Heart': The First Draft Of Shizuku's Story 
When they talk about "a film for all ages", this Studio Ghibli masterwork about life on the cusp of adolescence must be what they mean
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'Tokyo Godfathers': Three Vagabonds And A Baby 
Satoshi Kon's most "conventional" movie was also his funniest, a coincidence-driven romp through Tokyo's lower depths
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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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See more Recommended posts from 2020