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  • Fireworks
  • Yi Yi
  • My Night at Maud's
  • Yearning

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  • The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter

    ★★★★½

  • An Ode to Yakuza

    ★★★★½

  • The Night of the Hunter

    ★★★★★

  • The Approach of Autumn

    ★★★★

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  • A Legend of Turmoil

    A Legend of Turmoil

    ★★★★★

    What a triumph! A (Toei) masterpiece, A LEGEND OF TURMOIL has it all: the relentless action and bloody violence; the quieter, more emotional moments (that scene in which Jinnai Takanori leaves prison, for example, and the scenes featuring the note and letter of Kobayashi’s daughter); some great music; a Kitano appearance (among other heavy-hitters) and an absolutely awesome finale. In short: a perfect yakuza eiga. It all comes together in the commanding performance of Kobayashi Akira who seems to take…

  • A True Story of the Private Ginza Police

    A True Story of the Private Ginza Police

    ★★★★½

    In the same year (1973) Fukasaku popularised the jitsuroku eiga with the first instalment in his BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY series, came Sato Junya’s PRIVATE GINZA POLICE. From the very disturbing first scene the relentless violence kicks in, never to leave the screen. As in the aforementioned Fukasaku films and typical for the genre, there’s the use of voice-over and freeze frames to mark important story events and the action is filmed with a shaky camera. Umemiya Tatsuo’s performance…

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  • The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter

    The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter

    ★★★★½

    THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER is impossible not to like. I had been immensely looking forward to finally watching it and it did not disappoint. The fights are crisp and spectacular and they pack a real punch. The training scenes in the monastery in Mount Wutai were another highlight, as was Kara Hui! She really is terrific. The sequence in the inn is unforgettable. The film’s finale is one long stretch of epicness. Insane stuff. But there’s something more. The…

  • An Ode to Yakuza

    An Ode to Yakuza

    ★★★★½

    Wow! Masumura Yasuzo’s AN ODE TO YAKUZA, also known as YAKUZA MASTERPIECE, really is a yakuza masterpiece.

    Katsu Shintaro stars as Tatematsu Minoru, a tough as nails and flamboyant yakuza with a special affection for his younger half-sister, Akane (Otani Naoko). Wanting her to become “a proper woman”, he’s overprotective of her and any man who dares to touch her will soon get to inspect Minoru’s fists from up close. Meanwhile, a boss of a rival yakuza gang, the Toufuu-kai,…

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  • Brother

    Brother

    ★★★★

    Aniki: I understand “fucking Jap,” asshole!

  • Out of the Past

    Out of the Past

    ★★★★★

    OUT OF THE PAST starring none other than Robert Mitchum alongside Kirk Douglas and Jane Greer is another noir classic. All the ingredients are there, but to hit the heights this film hits you need a stellar cast and what a stellar cast this is.

    Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas), a gangster originally from New York, has set up camp at Lake Tahoe (where they worry as much about the income tax as anybody, we learn). Well, he’s living rather spaciously…