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Flying Guillotine Movies March 24, 2014

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Asian Cinema , add a comment

Emperor Yung Cheng creates an army of Flying Guillotine users to take down anyone that he may see as a threat, but such an army makes him far deadlier and vicious targeting anyone who should dare even look at him the wrong way. When one of the Flying Guillotine members decides to escape he encounters the full wrath of the Emperor and his army.

Unlike it’s unofficial sequels this is a rather tame (yet bloody) start to the myth of the flying guillotine. If you’re gonna get into the Flying Guillotine series then watch this first because what’s going to come later will blow this away.

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Sherlock series 3 January 15, 2014

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Sherlock Holmes , add a comment

2 Years on and we finally had a resolution (one of many) to how Sherlock did or might have pulled it off. At this stage does it really matter how he did it? I think the producers quite agree too. It’s more about the return of the world’s greatest detective (no, not Batman) and how people around him deal with that return.

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Breaking Bad October 2, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Best Ever , add a comment

Perfect is how I’d describe the ending of this series. I haven’t seen a finale in so long that was able to wrap up so many elements and hanging strings in such a satisfying way. But was it a little too perfect? Or are we so spoiled rotten when it comes to the high production value of TV these days that nothing will satisfy us? In some ways I want to be surprised by the unpredictability of events, in other ways I want to enjoy my meal. while I didn’t know what was going to happen I felt like the last episode of the series gave us everything we could have wanted. There won’t be any regrets or a big huh?! with this series finale. *Cough, Sopranos, cough Battlestar Galatica’s Kara disappearing cough* .

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Blind Fury September 10, 2013

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Blind Fury is a lose remake of the 17th Zatoichi movie ‘Zatoichi Challenged‘ starring Rutger Hauer. The film floats somewhere between a family TV movie of the week and a grindhouse film.

Having lost his eye sight in combat in Vietnam, Nick Parker spends years training before returning to the USA in order to talk to the man who left him alone on the field of battle. By chance he gets mixed up with a gang who are after the kid of his ex army buddy and so he must protect the kid while trying to get him back to his father, who now cooks drugs.

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The Grandmaster August 23, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, DVD/Video/T.V., Asian Cinema , add a comment

Kung Fu, two words, horizontal vertical, victory and defeat.

Here is a film that does not directly interpret the life story of Ip Man but gives us the essence of it through Kung Fu.  Much like the Great Gatsby the grandmaster is a stunningly beautiful film that is less about people and more about a way of life. The life of a martial artist.

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Frankenstein July 25, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Horror, Books, DVD/Video/T.V., Book to Film , add a comment

Have been Frankenstein crazy the past year. It all started with my viewing of that excellent stage play of Frankenstein 2011 based on a script by Nick Dear, Directed by Danny Boyle and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller both as the creature and Victor Frankenstein. I watched both versions and definitely feel that Benedict’s Creature and Miller’s Victor Frankenstein are best suited to the actors abilities. There is a very physical performance in Benedict’s Monster that shines through the actor and expresses the creature beyond words alone. Miller’s Frankenstein is gentlemanly and carries the genius and torment of Victor Frankenstein wonderfully making his story as gripping as the monsters.

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Leaving Las Vegas April 11, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Movie Drunks , 1 comment so far

I can’t remember why I suddenly had an urge to watch this the other night. I have seen it a few times over the years and it still leaves me with the same feelings, it’s a great movie, Nic Cage’s acting is amazing and reminds me he did do other things before ‘Ghost Rider’. It is a deeply affecting story. Based on the semi autobiographical novel of the same name by John O’Brien who killed himself after selling the rights to the novel. There is a lot to this film and you definitely feel that while watching it. For me it brought back some memories, in particular, what an ex gf of mine told me after she watched it. Saying that the main character reminded her of me (no comment).

Our main character, Ben, goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. His Wife and Son are gone, he is not sure if they left him because of his drinking or if he started drinking after they were gone. He burns all his belongings, drives to Vegas, rents a Motel room and continues drinking. During the course of a nights drinking he has a chance encounter with a Prostitute, Sera, and after spending a night together talking and drinking a relationship starts to form between them.

Critics of the film say the story between the characters is unrealistic, that no prostitute would take a drunk off the street, that such a relationship can’t be formed. But I beg to differ. There are people who stick in bad relationships, hang around the wrong people and love those that suit them worst. Why is it different that a prostitute who is abused by her pimp and an alcoholic who has thrown his life away not find something in each other’s souls? They find in one another that person who doesn’t care about what they do but care about something deeper inside the soul.

This film hits me harder in the gut each time I see it. Not many films can do that on repeated viewings but this is one of them. It’s one of the best romantic movies around and it is one of the best ‘drunk’ movies to watch while drinking.

Favorite Quote: “Sera… what you don’t understand is - no, see, no. You can never, never ask me to stop drinking. Do you understand?” - Ben

Cyber City Oedo 808 February 12, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Best Ever , 1 comment so far

A favorite anime of mine which I first viewed in the early 90s late at night on the UK Channel 4 back when it used to show anime on weekends. Back then anime was still a bit of an underground cult, it wasn’t as accessible, an unknown among many people and had slightly more respect before the days of Pokemon.

It blew me away the first time I saw it. The animation style, the characters, the stories. It was dripping of Cyberpunk and opened up a new world of anime to me. Viewing Cyber City Oedo years later represents to me what I miss in Animation these days. The colors in animation today are dull, pale tone, the characters look less human, more otherworldly in appearance. Cyber City Oedo was colorful, vivid, the characters were designed closer to that of real people. The action was in your face. Less artistic and more like a real action film. It didn’t pander to a general audience. But I guess being an OVA film it can get away with that.

The story revolves around 3 criminals released from prison in the year 2808. They work for the special service section of the police catching other criminals in the attempt to reduce their own prison sentences which are into hundreds of years. To prevent them from escaping they each wear an explosive collar around their necks (oh yeah!) and if they fail their missions they’ll be feeling quite light headed after too. The first two episodes are of excellent quality. The third loses it’s way a bit in terms of story, animation quality and even the english dub seems a bit off. It’s a little closer to Kawajiri’s other offerings.

Part of it’s cult status is not just the animation and story but the UK dubbing which took some liberties with the dialogue, although in my own estimation it makes for some kick ass and at times hilarious lines such as..

“You wouldn’t recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick. So just get off my back.”


“Eat this dick splash!”

The UK voice cast delivers these lines with all the gusto they can muster and it wasn’t surprising to hear this kind of dialogue in dubbed anime back in the day. Added to that was a legendary soundtrack by Rory McFarlanes which forgoes the slightly generic Japanese anime theme of the 80s and replaces it with something suiting it’s Cyberpunk setting. Most fans seem to love it and would rather have that version on DVD than the original Japanese music.

The setting of the series is in a futuristic Oedo and the characters and setting reflected that. The stories are varied from People trapped in a Tower (ala Die Hard). Robots with Psychic powers (ummm..) and Vampires (vampires). There was a rich world of storytelling opened up in this SF Cyberpunk series but…. this is all we got. Just 3 episodes. I’m still as disappointed now as I was 20 years ago when no more episodes were broadcast.

In my opinion this is a MUST SEE animation that is still riding the cult status two decades on.

Favorite Quote:“You fuck this up and i’ll pop all your collars for sure.” - Hasagawa

Ring Ø:The Birthday January 14, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment

‘Ring 0′ リング0 バースデイ is in many ways the most unlike Ring film in the series. It hits scare points of ‘Ring’ and ‘Ring 2′ but it’s less terror and more tragedy. Here Sadako isn’t yet the monster we know from the previous films. Here she is a super sweet, cute girl that has a smile that could evaporate the ocean. Where was i… yes, the monster aspect is there somewhere but Ring 0 plays Sadako as more like Frankenstein’s Creature from the first Universal Frankenstein movie in 1931. Seeing the good Sadako being beaten to death by an angry acting troupe is like watching Frankenstein’s creation trapped in the Windmill being burnt down by an angry Mob who see him as nothing more than a monster.

It’s this innocent, misunderstood Sadako that makes this different to anything we’ve seen before. Even in the books she’s not this nice and has a seductive personality along with a few other “things” that make her very different to the Sadako here. Screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi does a good job of creating a new back story for Sadako that ties in with the supernatural side of Sadako he created with Ring and Ring 2. Yet he also incorporates the story ‘LemonHeart’ from Suzuki Koji’s novel ‘The Birthday’. Norio Tsuruta does an excellent job of putting it all together onscreen and it’s quite a visual feast of a film that is haunting in a dramatic way. Interesting to note that Norio Tsuruta was suggested by Hiroshi Takahashi as a possible director for Ring.

Why we have two Sadako’s isn’t really explained in the film. We do see some documents in professor Ikuma’s Home relating to it but nothing more is said. It seems to be some kind of Mitosis. The actual explanation is given in a prequel Manga released around the same time as the movie called “The curse of Yamamura Sadako”. In it, little Sadako’s stress over her mothers insanity causes her to split in two, one normal Sadako and one that looks like her father…
Nakama Yukie gives a fantastic performance as Sadako. Butter would not melt in her mouth, folks.  Today she can often be seen on varity shows, dramas and TV commericals (sometimes wearing that White Sadako dress)

The best way to enjoy the film is to go into it fresh without any preconceived expectations of getting the same “it’s behind you” feeling that ‘Ring‘ and ‘Ring 2′ gave you. By the end of the film you are definitely on the side of Sadako and ready to be one of her shamblers.

Favorite Quote:If I could be reborn, even though it violates the will of God himself, I would want to be at your side, with you. If it were all a dream when I awoke, if only you were there.
But the light of morning shows me as I really am.
Still, I want to say..
I love you.
” - Sadako Yamamura

Ring 2 January 6, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, J-Horror , add a comment

When I first watched ‘Ring 2′. 10 years ago… I really liked it. It wasn’t as good as ‘Ring’ but I thought it to be a very worthy successor to it and in many ways it was. It was the successful alternate sequel that ‘Rasen’ wasn’t. It kept the tone of the first film and expanded on it with some shit your pants scary scenes but suffers from dragged out scenes and filled with technobable that would make a Star Trek writer proud.

I’ve watched the film quite a few times but over the years I have also read the Novels the films were based on which have expanded the Ring World in my mind. Now, all these years later I start to see some glaring flaws with ‘Ring 2′. The impression I’m left with at the end is that it had a lot of scenes with people standing around looking stupid and then Mai (our heroine) faints. Really. The film consists largely of scenes like this. I was counting the seconds of characters standing there with dumb looks on their faces until the moment that Mai Takano played by Mai Nakatani faints. It seems like a mistake to replace heroine Reiko Asakawa played by Nanako Matsushima from the first film after her strong performance. In general Mai is not only physically weaker but a character with little background, all we really know about her is that she “worked” with Ryuji; Reiko’s ex husband and father of her Son Yoichi who seems to have been possessed by Sadako in some way.

It also starts to veer away dramatically from the source material. This was in part because of Rasen and how unsuccessful that was. Ring 2 has a new story separate from the spawn of Author Suzuki Koji’s original idea. Now characters seem to have developed Psychic powers. Powers that include telepathy, astral projection, some Akira type killing powers and communication with the dead. Yes, our character’s have become almost superhuman in some aspects and their powers are increasing fast over this sequel’s 92 minutes.
I like that the film attempts to keep some continuity of the financial failure sequel Rasen. It seems here too that Mai is on her period in this film too which might excuse her fainting every 5 f’ing seconds.

To avoid further confusion on which sequel is which and what is actually based on the book check out below.

Another thing that ‘Ring 2′ expands on is Sadako’s origins. Clearly Ring and Ring 2 have taken the Supernatural horror path and made her the Daughter of the Sea, we might even say daughter of ‘The Devil’ since the Sea is considered the Underworld in some religions. Sadako is Japan’s answer to Damien.

Sadako’s Uncle informs Mai that Hot Mom Shizuko gave birth to Sadako and then told her Brother that she had given Sadako to the sea, however the next day Shizuko returns with baby Sadako in her arms. This story is recounted in what appears to be a cave of Sai-no-Kawara (Children’s Limbo) at the moment that Mai questions whether Sadako is born from the sea there is a strong wind as if to answer her question.

‘Ring 2′ doesn’t end as dramatically as ‘Ring’, the scarier scenes take place earlier in the film with encounters of Sadako’s Mother Shizuko and a recently deceased (at the hands of Sadako) Schoolgirl Kane providing tense horror moments.

‘Ring 2′ also features dumb males once again in a J-Horror film. I had previously discussed this in my review of ‘Kairo’. Yes, all the men in this movie are complete idiots with 1st Prize going to reporter/cameraman Okazaki who lets a hot girl who is attracted to him die to save his own ass. In the end the girl Kanae returns to haunt him and some people have even suggested that any future sequels might have continued with Kanae as the ghost Villainess.

I watched this version of ‘Ring 2′ on the remastered DVD Tartan Box set released a few years back. The subtitles are good and make the plot far clearer than the original subtitles of the previous Tartan. Strangely though it brings back the Translation of “Frolic in the brine, Goblins be thine” line that was changed in the first film.

Favorite Quote: “That Boy isn’t Yoichi anymore.” - Granpa Asakawa

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