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  • Freezing Point

    Freezing Point

    ★★★★

    Freezing Point is a powerful exploration of humanism from the pen of author Ayako Miura, whose works were often largely influenced by Christianity. However aside from its preoccupations with 'sin', Freezing Point focuses primarily on morality within a family unit, in more ways than one - the film often lingers too uncomfortably on its near-positive attitude toward incest, but thankfully stays within the bounds of implication.

    What starts as a complex but sinister plot between husband and wife expands into…

  • The Spider-Man

    The Spider-Man

    ★★½

    Apart from the (two) kitschy TV series produced in the 70s, this is one of the only film adaptations of Rampo's "The Spider-Man" (Kumo Otoko) in existence, so it's a pity it's such a poor piece of cinema. 
    The pacing is both slow and unnecessarily fast, with odd cuts and over-explanatory snippets of dialogue. It's all presented with a kind of dramatic silliness, which makes it terribly insensitive to the tone of the story itself - a tale of an…

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  • Twenty-Four Eyes

    Twenty-Four Eyes

    ★★★★★

    It's thirty minutes too long, over-melodramatic and way too sentimental, but I'll be damned if I can think of the last time a movie made me weep like this one did. Keeping in mind that Japan has a long history of people proclaiming how a full moon brought them to tears - one only has to skim through the country's vast body of ancient literature to get an idea - it's understandable that the Japanese people have an affinity with…

  • The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

    The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

    ★★★★½

    Masaaki Yuasa very seldom makes a misstep, and 夜は短し歩けよ乙女 (The Night is Short, Walk On Girl) is not one of them.
    He continues to expand on the inventive style he explored in The Tatami Galaxy, but this time with only 90 minutes to do it in - however the manic pace that Yuasa's works are usually characterised by settles in nicely considering the 'single-night' narrative layout (something I hadn't actually realised when reading the book) here as well. Although there…