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Archive for August, 2007

Vital (JAPAN 2004)

Director & Writer : Shinya Tsukamoto
Cast : Tadanobu Asano, Nami Tsukamoto, Kiki, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Lily and Hana Kino.

Review
by Edward Tang

From the man who brought us the classic mindfuck Tetsuo comes another flick that shows his greatness in every scene. There are very few directors out there who establish themselves to a point where as if you were to see a single frame of their movies, you could tell what director was doing the job and his name is all over this one. Perhaps not everyone is familiar with the name, if not check out some of his great works like the already mentioned Tetsuo, Snake in June, Tokyo Fist or Bullet Ballet. Vital is a basic film that really doesn’t showcase notable odd and plain ol’ nasty shit that the man is usually known for but this shows how he has matured as a director, not needing the violent factor (shame) to spice up the night rather than displaying his excellent style of direction and interesting visuals.

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Versus (JAPAN 2003)

Director : Ryuhei Kitamura
Cast : Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Chieko Misaka, Kenji Matsuda, Yuichiro Arai, Minoru Matsumoto, and Kazuhito Ohba

Synopsis
A pair of escaped convicts meet up with a group of gangsters by a remote forest road. After an argument over a girl the mobsters have kidnapped, shots are fired and one of the gangsters is killed. The standoff is cut short, however, when the dead man suddenly springs to life and starts trying to kill his former friends. The zombie eventually goes down in a hail bullets, but their problems aren’t over. It seems the gangsters have been using this forest to dispose of of their victims, all of whom are now looking to settle some old scores. Even if they get through this mess, there is still the question of why they’ve arranged to meet the convicts out here, and why they’ve brought along the girl. How are they connected to the dead bodies coming back to life?

Review
by Edward Tang

I give this movie a perfect score, 5/5 because what it does, it takes an unfamiliar plot and mixes it in with zombies and pure action. I’m a pushover when it comes to flicks like these, completely over the top destruction and a few comedic moments here and there. Versus is a great film because it is non-stop entertainment, backed on with a plot that looked good and delivered the goods in an easy, but interesting way. I’m a realist, films like this aren’t made every day, and when they are, you can’t help but smile and enjoy what you are seeing on the screen. Give me this any day over the dreck I continue to waste money on, every time I got the local theater. Okay, maybe not that bad, but Ben Affleck or Keanu Reeves as an action hero? Give me a break, and a kit kat bar as well. As Versus remains off key, and totally out there with some of the stuff that they dish out, I was asking for more the entire time. Seeing that Kitamura has green lighted the second installment, he better not let me down, I don’t think that my childish lust for blood and zombies can be contained for much longer! (Note: Don’t feed the animals)

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Uzumaki (JAPAN 2000)

Director : Higuchinsky
Cast : Eriko Hatsume, Fhi Fan, HInako Saeki Eun-Kyung Shin, Keiko Takahashi and Ren Osugi

Synopsis
The inhabitants of a small Japanese seaside town come under the influence of a strange force that causes an obsession with spiral forms. Kirie, a young schoolgirl, is the first to notice the strange behavior in friends and neighbors and is powerless to prevent the obsession that is overwhelming everyone around her. Eventually the townspeople begin descending on a self-inflicted and self-perpetuating spiral of terror.

Review
by Edward Tang

The word Uzumaki means spiral, which is the main point of this film. An entire town starts to become obsessed with the spiral, which eventually leads to their untimely death. What succeeds is the plot of this film, one that I haven’t ever heard of and probably won’t hear of again. But the plot stays on this one subject, and even when one of the characters finds out some knowledge about what is happening, he is later killed in a horrible car crash. Almost like making the fact that the spiral’s point is to capture and destroy with known horrible results. The direction is crisp and that’s a complete fact. Even though the film has some truly interesting subjects, even the more subtle shots of spirals that simply fall into the background, give us something extra. As we are taken through this story, everybody is killed off. It’s almost like a drain effect, you put something in it, and it will consume it eventually, no matter how long it takes.

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Danny The Dog / Unleashed (Special Edition) (Panorama)

DVD Information
Distributor : Panorama
Audio : DTS-ES, DD 5.1
Discs : 2 (DVD9 and DVD5)
Languages : English, Cantonese, Mandarin
Format : NTSC
Subtitles : English, Chinese
Running Time : 103 mins / 61 mins
Contents : 2 DVDs
Screen Ratio : Anamorphic Widescreen | 4:3
Classification : -
Region : 3
Others : -

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Danny The Dog / Unleashed (2005)

Director : Louis Leterrier
Costume Designer : Olivier Beriot
Martial Arts Choreographer : Yuen Woo Ping
Wire Technology : Circle Crew Ltd Philippe Guegan
Production Manager : Thierry Guilmard
Line Producer : Bernard Grenet
Re-recording Mixers :  L Cyril & Francois Joseph Hors
Sound Designer : Vincent Tulli
Music : Massive Attack
Editor : Nicholas Trebasiewicz
Creative Consultant : Robert Mark Kamen
Production Designer : Jacques Burnoir
Cinematographer : Pierre Morel
Co-Producer : Pierre Spengler
Producers : Luc Besson, Jet Li, Steven Chasman
Writer : Luc Besson
Cast : Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan, Dylan Brown, Tamer Hassan ,Michael Jenn

Synopsis
Danny was raised as a dog, and when is collar is taken off, he turns into a killing machine. After finding a new way of life from a friendly piano tuner and his adopted daughter, Danny learns that life is more than what he has known for his entire life. He learns of his mother’s fate and is hunted by his former master.

Review
by Edward Tang

I haven’t been a big fan of Jet Li’s work outside of his native Hong Kong. To be honest I tuned out when I heard that he was working with shit holes named DMX and Tom Arnold (Bleh). But Danny the Dog, or also known as Unleashed is the first step in the right direction since he left. Jet actually stretches his acting ability to a key and wins over the audience with his innocent mind and his curious nature. I wasn’t sure if he would be able to act over the talents such as Freeman or Hoskins, but he does a great job. The action doesn’t cease to impress me either, every scene looks good and is easily cut into what is otherwise a very nice story. Expecting an action bonanza or something that will match up to Jet’s earlier fighting scenes probably will leave you dry. But everything in between is solid and makes for a good experience that should leave you satisfied if you look into the picture of simple humanity. 

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