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    Gurozuka

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 8th, 2012

    A group of high school girls heads off into the woods to make a movie for their film club. What only the two organizers know is that they are heading for the site of a previous film club’s massacre. Their shoot descended into madness, with a participant in a deigan mask killing all the others, and the whole thing was recorded on tape. It isn’t long after the girls arrive that things start to go wrong, and it seems that history might be repeating itself.
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    Redline (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on January 11th, 2012

    To say I am not a big fan of racing is something of an understatement. I never find myself watching the races, Nascar or Indy and could really care less about the sport where you turn left a whole lot. When it comes to cartoons or video games, it is a somewhat different tale since I have enjoyed the show Wacky Races as well as loved to play anything in the Burnout series of video games. So when it came to reviewing the anime film, Redline, I was not sure exactly what to think but looked forward to the review.
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    First Squad: The Moment of Truth (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on January 9th, 2012

    My mother was born in Poland thus making me 50% full Polish. Growing up, I was often told stories about the Second World War and how my grandfather primarily was affected by it. So much so, that he never really spoke of it (I got my stories second hand through my grandmother and mother) most likely due to the horrors endured to the Polish invasion and other unspeakable depictions of violence. Today’s review takes us to an interesting Anime that is set in Russia during the same war with a supernatural feel.
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    Helldriver (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on November 16th, 2011

    Over-the-top movies can be enjoyable vehicles to invest ninety minutes into. Movies like Planet Terror where somewhere behind the blood splatter and the lovely Rose McGowan who had a machine gun leg was an actual enjoyable story. But these movies do not just exist in America. Abroad, over in Japan, this type of film has been taken up to the Nth degree by the company Sushi Typhoon. This review covers their newest flic, Helldriver. Let’s see what we got.
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    Gamera Vs. Barugon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 8th, 2010

    “Barugon: The Freezing Monster – This carnivorous reptile, a nightmare cross between a monitor lizard and a chameleon, is found only in New Guinea’s Valley Of The Rainbow. It is born every 1000 years, according to legend, from an egg resembling a large opal. It has a long, darting tongue used as a battering ram, while the tip sprays a freezing mist that immobilizes its prey…”

    Ask anyone about Japanese monster movies and Gamera usually won’t be the first name that comes into their minds.
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    Gamera: The Giant Monster

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 19th, 2010

    “In our findings on Gamera, we’ve ascertained that: Firstly, it is attracted to and consumes fire. Secondly, it also seems to possess an internal power plant, of sorts. This emits a signal frequency that can jam radio communications. In order to store up energy reserves, Gamera consumes inorganic resources. Not only does it consume petroleum as well as other mineral and fossil fuels, but Gamera may also seek out atomic bombs.”

    Ask anyone about Japanese monster movies and Gamera usually won’t be the first name that comes into their minds.
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    Big Man Japan

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 6th, 2009

    Daisato (director/co-writer Hitosi Matumoto) is having his daily life filmed by a TV crew. This life is pretty depressing. He doesn’t make much money, his wife has left him, and his neighbours hate him. His job isn’t exactly low-stress, either: he is Big Man Japan, a hereditary job that involves defending Japan against monster attacks. So whenever he gets the call, he has to run to the nearest power plant, get himself zapped until he grows into a 50-foot giant, and do battle with various bizarre creatures (one looks like a plucked chicken with a huge eyeball/penis appendage). But though he does his best, his ratings are down, his show is broadcast in the dead hours of the morning, his agent appears to be taking advantage of him, and there’s a new monster in town that mops the floor with him on their first encounter.
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    Gemini

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 23rd, 2006

    Synopsis

    Masahiro Motoki plays a well-to-do doctor, very much concerned with class difference, eager to distance himself from slum-dwellers, whom he regards as barely human. He is deeply in love with his fiancée, a woman suffering from amnesia. His life collapses in chaos when his parents are murdered by a prowler, who then throws him down a dry well. This prowler turns out to be his twin, who proceeds to take over his identity.

    One hell of a rattling score gets things off to a disturbing s…
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    Odyssey 5 – The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 26th, 2006

    Manny Coto almost saved Star Trek. After 2 years of Rick Berman’s floundering on Enterprise, Coto came in and gave the show its legs. It was too little too late, of course. The show would be canned when most critics, myself included, thought the show was finally clicking. This near resurrection should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Odyssey 5. Coto created this Showtime series. Superior f/x and a compelling story arc drove this cable cousin to Stargate SG-1.

    The astronauts of the Space Shu…
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    My Neighbor Totoro

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 11th, 2006

    It’s rather stunning to discover that My Neighbor Totoro was made way back in 1988, long before the days of CG and all automatic illustration. And perhaps that animation does detract from the overall experience from the film, but if that’s the only reason that it would be a problem, then people simply need to get their taste in order.

    In another film from legendary Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki (who made the Oscar-winning film Spirited Away), the film follows sisters Mei and Satsuki, w…
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    Pulse

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 1st, 2006

    Synopsis

    Plenty of Japanese horror films have storylines that vary from the oblique to the opaque. Pulse is no exception, so forgive me if this synopsis is a bit confusing (or confused). An internet website offers visitors the chance to see actual ghosts. Viewing the footage seems to make one vulnerable to an actual visitation, and when someone encounters a ghost, that person withdraws from others, shunning all society, and becomes consumed by loneliness to the point of suicide or something ev…
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    Ran

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 18th, 2005

    Synopsis

    Thankfully, as part of Criterion’s desire to be completists of the Akira Kurosawa collection, they have finally decided to release Ran on DVD. For the sake of time, I’ll include my thoughts of the film based on my review of the Kurosawa boxed set, which included a previous version of Ran:

    In Kurosawa’s last outstanding film (inspired by “King Lear”), the aging Lord Hidetora Inchimonji decides to split his power equally among his three sons Taro, Jiro and Saburo. Saburo ques…
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    Kagemusha

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 18th, 2005

    Synopsis

    In Akira Kurosawa’s later years, it was almost criminal that a director with his resume was forced to practically beg for financing. Kurosawa was in the midst of a career drought, having made only two movies in almost 15 years with Dersu Uzala and Dodesukaden. This coming after a run of films that has proved influential to even today’s filmmakers. While Kurosawa did have to obtain foreign financing for his movies in later years, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, both of whom cite…
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    Yakuza Demon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 9th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    The Date crime family is unwillingly drawn into a mob war with the much more powerfulTendo group. This war disrupts the happy existence of one small sub-family, consisting of Muto,the boss more interested in his model planes than in crime, and his two loyal soldiers Seiji andYoshifumi. Muto promises to kill a high-ranking Tendo member to prove his worth, but Seijiknows he isn’t up to it. He arranges for Muto to be packed safely off to jail instead, and thenstages an attack …
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    Andromedia

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 8th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    Teenagers Mai and Yu have just become girlfriend and boyfriend when Mai is killed in atraffic accident. Her distraught father uses her digitized physical characteristics and memoriesto create an AI resurrection. The new Mai gradually becomes more and more human and fullysentient (think a digital Pinocchio), and she winds up in the Yu’s laptop. A megalomaniacal CEOwants the technology in order to download his own consciousness into the Net and thereby rulethe world. His mini…
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    Gozu

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 4th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    A yakuza is charged with eliminating his violently unstable mentor. On the drive to do thedeed, said mentor is (apparently) accidentally killed. But then his body vanishes from the car ofour hero, who is then charged with finding the corpse and making absolutely sure the man isdead, or else. His search takes place in a town populated entirely of grotesques, from a man whohas the same repetitive phone conversation day after day, to another whose face half plaster-white, to a…
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    Living Hell

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on July 25th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    One year after the brutal murder of a family, an old woman and her silent granddaughtercome to live with some relatives. We know from the opening that these are the killers, and thatbad times lie ahead. This is especially true for the wheelchair bound Yasu. His father is gone forthe week, his siblings are likewise mostly absent, and they ignore his warnings that the newarrivals are weird. As soon as the house is empty of any who might interfere, the torture sessionsbegin. M…
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    Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 16th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    There is no plot, as such, here. Each of the dreams has some sort of narrative, but moreimportant are the visuals and the themes (humanity and nature, nuclear power, and so forth).Dreams is not on the same level as Kurosawa’s great masterpieces (Ran, The Seven Samurai,Throne of Blood, and so on), and is not always compelling. But it is very frequently jaw-droppingly beautiful.

    Audio

    The music, a curious blend of eastern and western influences, sound…
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    New Fist of Fury (Remastered)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 27th, 2002

    Intro

    It is nice to see one of Jackie Chan’s first films, New Fist of Fury, get re-released with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. Unfortunately, that is the only bonus to this disc.

    Synopsis

    “Jackie Chan (Rush Hour), the master of kung-fu and Chinese acrobatics, stars in this action- packed sequel to Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury. In one of his first leading roles, he displays the style that would make him an international superstar. During WWII in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Jacki…
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    Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin (Remastered)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 27th, 2002

    Intro

    Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin finally gets a DVD re-release with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. It is too bad that the quality of this DVD is so low.

    Synopsis

    “International superstar Jackie Chan (Rush Hour) stars in the film that real Kung Fu fans call the best traditional martial arts movie Jackie’s ever made, Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin. Jackie is a young warrior suspected of poisoning all the Shaolin Masters, the creators of a new unbeatable fighting style cal…
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    To Kill With Intrigue (Remastered)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 27th, 2002

    Intro

    Columbia-Tristar has re-released To Kill with Intrigue, along with New Fists of Fury and Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin with a new anamorphic widescreen transfer. To Kill with Intrigue looks better than the other two releases, but still is nothing stellar on DVD.

    Synopsis

    “In To Kill With Intrigue, Kung Fu fans get a rare chance to see international martial arts legend Jackie Chan (Rush Hour) as a serious dramatic hero with a fighting style to match. Jackie plays a young …
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    Taboo (Gohatto)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 26th, 2001

    Intro

    A recent effort from director Nagisa Oshima, perhaps best known for In the Realm of the Sense, Taboo continues his elegant exploration of sexuality and dangerous passions.

    Synopsis

    Imagine a samurai version of Death in Venice, and you have some sense of Taboo. The year is 1865, and a militia has two new recruits. One of them, Kano, is decidedly adrogynous, and the other recruit, Tashiro, promptly falls in love with him. As time goes on, more and more members of the militia fall u…
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