• No More Easy Life

    No More Easy Life

    ★★★½

    This film is like the flow of breeze, just a bunch of fleeting moments, but that's what life actually is. Mariko is a girl lost in time, a past that comes and goes, an uncertain future, and a lost present. Can't say much about it because it's all in the title, no more easy life.

  • The Black House

    The Black House

    ★★★★

    This film takes a tired genre like horror and twists it around, Morita is not afraid of experimenting, more accurately experimenting is the norm for him, The Black House is tame by his standards but it's still a haunting film.
    The cinematography here is wild and purposeful, in the first half it's mostly a security-cam type of filming, very still shots with a little to no depths to them with very minimal movement (mostly panning), a very impersonal and cold…

  • DRIVE

    DRIVE

    ★★★★½

    Sabu has this unique ability to control the flow of every second in the film, like all films basically this one is divided into sequences, but what's special about this one is how the energy of a scene is spread out across the runtime, making this two hour film feel like 30 minutes.
    As with his other works it's had to define a genre because each sequence is like a short film by itself, most of these sequences have this…

  • Irezumi

    Irezumi

    ★★★★

    A beautiful twisted tale of deception and revenge, but this is also about breaking social through sex. We follow Otsuki as she first goes down the social order and escapes with Shinnusuke works under her father. Then she is kidnapped and turned into a geisha and she is given an "irezumi" a tatto, this is where everything changes she becomes infused with the spirit of this irezumi and goes on "eating" men with her body taking her revenge.
    Everything about…

  • The Ondekoza

    The Ondekoza

    ★★★★

    This is one of those seemingly silent documentaries where there is no narrator, or more accurately the camera is the narrator. The film is essentially the journey of The Ondekoza band from their beginning on the Island of Sado until the 80s, their earlier shows are recreated and the rest is a series of performances. It's also more than that, thanks to the hypnotic soundtrack and the dreamy direction, in between and during the musical pieces we have a lot…

  • Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle

    Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle

    ★★★½

    Futristic cyberpunk or medieval Japan, Sogo Ishii knows how to create the perfect atmosphere. This atmosphere is probably the film's highest point so much so that it's easy to forget the flaws and be fully immersed. The story is is surrounded by mysticism, shamanism and fantasy, the direction here with Ishii's style of cinematography makes everything feel like a dream (or a nightmare). Trying to place this in a genre is difficult, some scenes are borderline horror while others are…

  • Where To?

    Where To?

    ★★★½

    Even for its time this film is technically outdated, and for our time it definitely feels like it's a 100 years old, but all that doesn't matter because the themes are even more relevant today than they were at the time. This is mainly a film about emigration, a farmer, the father of a family in 1950s Lebanon decide to leave to Brazil to make a better life for his kids and wife, he leaves all behind and as a…

  • Crimson Bat, the Blind Swordswoman

    Crimson Bat, the Blind Swordswoman

    ★★★★

    This is beautiful tale of intertwining revenge stories with a very powerful main character. The first half feels a bit disjointed with the high amount of flashbacks but the film picks up pace in the second half that's full of good action sequences and a dramatic climax.

  • Cops vs. Thugs

    Cops vs. Thugs

    ★★★★½

    So many great Yakuza films and film directors out there but there's only one Fukasaku. From the opening scene this film lets us know that it's not like the others, when we see Bunta Sugawara we naturally assume he's playing that classic Yakuza hyper masculine thug, but not here, instead he's a cop, this decision is obviously a metacommtary given the film's title and main theme, the similarities between the Yakuza and the police on a institutional level and on…

  • A Family

    A Family

    ★★★★

    One of the best films that depicts the twilight of the yakuza, and it's so much more. The first half feels like your typical yakuza flick with a thug joining and rising through the ranks then someone goes to jail and gets out into a whole new world, we've seen it done a thousand times, but here is where the film really begins. While the first half is quite entertaining with lots of violence and beautiful shot action sequences, it's…

  • Seventeen Ninja

    Seventeen Ninja

    ★★★★

    A very brief story told in the most straightforward manner make this film quite unique in that it knows its goals and it reaches them. Seventeen ninjas from th famous Iga Ninjas are hired by the Shogunate to steal a document from a castle to insure Iemitsu inherits the Shogunate after his imminent father's death, that's it the whole story. This seemingly impossible mission of infiltrating an impenetrable castle is made more difficult by the enemy's Ninja leader. The film…

  • Round About Midnight

    Round About Midnight

    ★★★½

    Japanese cinema of the 80s and 90s is often overlooked and goes underappreciated and this is no different, it has all the elements of a solid film. A neo noir set in Tokyo and drenched in Jazz, the story is very straightforward and feels like a noir video game with sudden quests popping up and then slowly revealing the plot with some chases, fights and action sequences in between all to the sweet sounds of the trumpet. Acting is very…