ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – J – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2017)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Itaru Era (Screenplay) Hirohiko Araki (Manga)

Starring: Kento Yamazaki, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nana Komatsu, Masaki Okada, Mackenyu, Kenji Mizuhashi

 

Plot: A teen gifted with supernatural power discovers the truth behind his cursed and bizarre bloodline, and the evil that lurks within his town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wildly Imaginative

 

Story: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure starts with high school student Koichi Hirose (Kamiki) getting to learn the new surroundings which contains the mysterious slick cool Josuke ‘JoJo’ Higashikata (Yamazaki) who has the ability to defeat enemies with his unique abilities.

When JoJo learns about his bloodline with the appearance of a distant relative, he learns of a bigger battle going on, one that JoJo will finally learn the true powers that he possesses.

 

Thoughts on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

 

Characters – Josuke or JoJo for short is the high school student everyone wants to be friends with, the one that sticks up for the bully victims and has his own unique look that makes him stand out, he does possess an ability that he doesn’t know the true power of, until a distant relative arrives to teach him what he is capable off. JoJo takes his first steps into this world where he can be involved in supernatural battles. Koichi Hirose is the new kid in the school, he helps us understand JoJo’s place in the school, while trying to come to grip with what is going on around him. Yukako is the friend that Koichi has made at the school, there is something mysterious about her, though it remains a mystery even to Koichi. Keicho is the man with the strongest ability causing trouble around Japan, he has targeted JoJo after learning about his powers.

PerformancesKento Yamazaki in the leading role is an entertaining watch, he makes his character look the slick cool figure he needs to while showing a much more grounded figure behind that persona. Masaki Okada does make for a strong villain that fits this over the top world we have entered. The rest of the cast let the main two stars steal the show without looking out of place in the film.

StoryThe Story here follows a teenager that learns about his powers to use a ‘Stand’ which will give him additional strength when it comes to battling his enemies and here he must face his own biggest enemy in the world. This story is adapted from a manga, so you need to accept the over the top style the film is creating, it does have the themes of fitting in, loss and understand how to fight your own enemies running through the story. we get plenty of interesting ideas here which will see how the power can be misused and how it can be used for good. This does feel like a story that you do need to have some back story before stepping into though which can hold back the highest level of enjoyment from it.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film takes us into a world where people can have the power to have ‘Stands’ which will fight for them to prove themselves in battle, each vision is different which does make this feel interesting as the fantasy side of the film comes through with this too.

SettingsThe film is set in one of the most popular cities in Japan, it shows how a fantasy war could be going on behind anybody’s back without them knowing.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout, they bring to life the Stands which have their own unique look in every scene or fight.


Scene of the Movie –
That is your Stand?

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t helpful for a gateway to the world we are entering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a highly ambitious live action version of a popular manga, the problem comes with it being difficult to walk into if you haven’t seen anything beforehand.

 

Overall: Ambitious fan service.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Yoshitaka Yamaguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Yayan Ruhian, Lily Franky, Hayato Ichihara, Riko Narumi

 

Plot: In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire-a bloodsucking yakuza vampire boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin. One day, assassins aware of boss Kamiura’s secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: Return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza. As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama’s desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate’s mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader!


Tagline –  Once bitten, you’re a yakuza.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bonkers Revenge Thriller

 

Story: Yakuza Apocalypse starts with Yakuza boss Kamiura (Frankly) showing his kindness to the civilians in his neighbourhood, removing any members that wrongfully harm any of his people, with a new understudy Akira Kageyama (Ichihara) we start to see the tension from the rest of the Yakuza before assassin Kyoken (Ruhian) is set to murder Kamiura who just so happens to be a Yakuza vampire that in his dying breath turns Kageyama.

Kageyama must learn how to survive his new abilities to become strong enough to extract revenge on Kyoken and the rest of the Yakuza who turned on his boss by turning everyone into vampires.

 

Thoughts on Yakuza Apocalypse

 

Characters – Akira Kageyama is a member of the Yakuza, he is a good man not following traditions of tattoos and never hurting anyone innocent, which has raised him up the ranks under his current boss. When his boss is murdered, he takes his ability of being a vampire to continue his good nature in the battle while taking out the men that killed his boss. Kyoken is the stranger in town, the assassin sent to kill Kamiura, deadly in combat, he knows how to blend into a crowd.  Kamiura is the respected Yakuza boss that keeps the city in check not letting anything get out of hand, which has made him enemies within the Yakuza with his secret being revelled.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are good throughout, there is a stand out performer in Yayan Ruhian because we know just how amazing he is at combat, Hayato Ichihara is good too in the lead role, but some of the small supporting performances do feel over the top.

StoryThe story here as far as I could tell, was a Yakuza boss being murdered and one of his men seeking revenge with a vampire filled twist, which just makes things bigger and crazier through everything that is unfolding. Then there is the frog costume, well things get crazy here, this is a story you remember, not for being great, but for being weird as they come.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is big and gives us plenty of martial arts material to watch unfold, the horror comes from the different styles of vampires that become Yakuza and the comedy comes from the craziness going on through the film.

SettingsThe film keeps everything in on location of a small city which is now under control from Yakuza, first the kind type and soon the deadly type.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work well because they show the blood splatter at its very best.


Scene of the Movie –
The frogs arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tone of the film changes too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is truly a crazy movie which has blood splatter throughout the film even though it does follow a simple revenge plot.

 

Overall: A movie you won’t forget.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Lesson of the Evil (2012)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takashi Miike (Screenplay) Yusuke Kishi (Novel)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Takayuki Yamada, Fumi Nikaido, Nicole Balsam, Howard Harris

 

Plot: A popular high school teacher concocts an extreme plan to deal with the rise of bullying and bad behavior among the student body

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strange Horror

 

Story: Lesson of the Evil starts by taking us into the High School in Japan, the school is filled with cheating, bullying and worst of all sexual harassment, the teachers even look to new ideas to stop the cheating by blocking phone signals during tests. We focus on Kesiduke (Sometani) and Reika (Nikaido) as they turn to popular teach Seiji Hasumi (Ito) for help during the situation they see wrong.

When Hasumi finds himself searching for a way to end the trouble at the school and his methods prove to be deadly, we are left to wonder which students will become the latest targets of his clean up mission.

 

Thoughts on Lesson of the Evil

 

Characters/PerformanceSeiji Hasumi is the likeable teacher that the students turn to for help, they are unaware of his darker side as they could become the victims of his decision to go to the extremes to clean up the school. Tetsuro is one of the stricter teachers that takes advantage of the students, Keisuke is the slacker in school, happy to cheat his way through class but never truly bullied from what I could tell. Reika is the girl that falls for Hasumi which plays into the rule book that he has set up making her a potential victim.

The performance are all good throughout the cast, fitting the film tone and ideas, with the kids running scared and the teacher enjoying what he does.

StoryThis film askes the question, what would a teacher do to clean up the school, well this pushes everything to the extreme in what is part Saw and part Funny Games. The film does have a chance to tackle real issues but fails miserable to tackle them instead focuses too much on just the cheating going on within the school of the problems that are much more serious.

HorrorThe horror is all through the idea of a teacher going to the extremes to teach the lessons about cheating.

SettingsWe don’t get too many iconic settings, most of the film starts in the school but we also have certain random places for the crimes.

Special EffectsThe effects are all used well to create the kills but otherwise nothing overly important is coming from the effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long horror that tries to give us a shocking film but in the end it is just something that misses a big chance.

 

Overall: Sloppy horror that doesn’t click.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – One Missed Call (2003)

one missed callDirector: Takashi Miike

Writer: Minako Daira (Screenplay) Yasushi Akimoto (Novel)

Starring: Ko Shibasaki, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, Kazue Fukiishi, Anna Nagata, Atsushi Ida, Mariko Tsutsui, Kumiko Imai

 

Plot: People mysteriously start receiving voicemail messages from their future selves, in the form of the sound of them reacting to their own violent deaths.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspense Filled Horror

 

Story: One Missed Call starts as Yumi (Shibasaki) and her best friend Yoko (Nagata) receive a mystery phone call after one of Yoko’s friends has recently died, the call only has a woman screaming after discussing the weather. Later that night Yoko phones Yumi only for the two to realize that phone call was in fact predicting Yoko’s death which Yumi has to hear happen again.

Yumi learns of this urban legend that goes between phones selecting its next victim. When Natsumi (Fukiishi) becomes the latest victim Yumi teams up with Hiroshi (Tsutsumi) who also lost his sister to the similar experience they both go in search of the origin of this story looking to stop it once and for all.

One Missed Call is one of my favourite types of horror where we have a spirit haunting our main characters.  This film takes advantage of the early usage of mobile phones which brings in the idea that a message on the phone will be your last breath is scarier. The fear used through the film is brilliant making every single scene feel like something is about to happen. While we don’t meet too many characters the mystery behind everything is great as well as keeping everything simple.

 

Actor Review

 

Ko Shibasaki: Yumi is our leading lady, she is watching her friends die around her after receiving missed calls predicting their deaths. When it final ends up being her turn to receive the call she must team up with Hiroshi to stop her own death from happening. Ko is good in this leading role where we feel her fear throughout.

Shin’ichi Tsutsumi: Hiroshi has experienced the same as Yumi only he lost a sister. He is teaming up with Yuma to try and stop the vengeful spirit taking the lives of the young people. Shin’ichi is good in this role where we see him in the investigator role.

Kazue Fukiishi: Natsumi is another one of Yumi’s friends who receives the phone call but this time it is left in video form, her time is longer and she gets taken to perform an exorcist on. Kazue is good in this supporting role and has one of the most terrifying scenes in the film.

Anna Nagata: Yoko is the best friend of Yumi, she has recently lost her friend and now she has received a mystery phone call. Later that night she becomes the latest victim of the curse of the One Missed Call. Anna is only really a supporting character but she does help push Yumi into the horror happening.

Support Cast: One Missed Call has a supporting cast that are involved mostly in the back story as our main two characters try to solve the mystery.

Director Review: Takashi MiikeTakashi gives us a horror that keeps shocking us with each and every scene.

 

Horror: One Missed Call has brilliantly created horror scenes through the film that have scarier moments throughout.

Mystery: One Missed Call keeps us guessing to what is really going on throughout.

Settings: One Missed Call tries to keep the film settings in everyday place to show our character being haunted in normal likes.
Special Effects
: One Missed Call has brilliant effects to create the extra horror being used through the film.

Suggestion: One Missed Call is one for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The Horror created is brilliant.

Worst Part: Meeting the friends only for them to be victims is the only killed.

Kill Of The Film: Natsumi.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Tagline: Death cannot be put on hold.

 

Overall: Terrifying horror movie that is filled with scares.

Ratingcard

 

Audition (1999)

logoDirector: Takashi Miike

Writer: Daisuke Tengan (Screenplay) Ryu Murakami (Novel)

Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eili Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda

Plot: A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: What Just Happened?

Story: Audition starts Ryoko (Matsuda) in hospital dying with her husband Shigeharu (Ishibashi) and son Shigehiko at her side. Now fully grown up Shigehiko (Sawaki) wants his father to move on with his life and potentially get married again. Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Kunimura) decides to help his friend Shigeharu by holding a show where woman of a certain age audition to be his new wife.

When Shigeharu finds the profile of Asami Yamazaki (Shiina) he believes he has found the perfect woman, having the accomplishments he desires in a woman. As Yoshikawa tries to look in Asami past he struggles to find anything but Shigeharu can’t help but remain attracted to her. We start to learn more about Asami’ past and that not everything is as it seems with her but the true identity will leave Shigeharu facing the true terror.

Audition starts with a nice style of trying to create a romantic angle which if you knew nothing about the film works very well. The problem I think this film will always have now is people knowing it has a very twisted second half and simply put it will either shock you or disappoint you. I really don’t know what happened in the final third of the film and this does work because it leaves you to figure what you want the ending to be. (8/10)

Actor Review

Ryo Ishibashi: Shigeharu Aoyama is the widowed man, who raised his child alone but after a few years he decides he wants to get married again. Everything is going smoothly with the beautiful but mysterious girl he meets but her secret will leave him fighting for his life. Ryo does a great job in the leading role. (8/10)

Elhi Shiina: Asami Yamazaki is the mysterious and beautiful girl Shigeharu meets and chooses for his new wife, but she isn’t everything he thinks as she has a much darker side to her history. Elhi does a great job in this role showing a full range of emotions. (8/10)asami

Support Cast: Audition has a small supporting cast which mostly helps the create the audition.

Director Review: Takashi MiikeTakashi brings us a film that really keeps us guessing right until the end. (8/10)

Horror: Audition has to get high praise on the horror in the final third of the film. (9/10)

Romance: Audition creates a good romantic angle for the characters and showing just how far the people would go for love. (8/10)

Thriller: Audition does keep us guessing right up to the final moments of the film. (9/10)

Settings: Audition uses the settings well to show the different society levels the two characters are leaving in. (8/10)

Suggestion: Audition is one for the hardcore horror fans to watch, if you only like certain levels of horror this will be too much for you. (Hardcore Horror Fans Only)

Best Part: The final third.

Worst Part: It will be too much for some.

Funniest Scene: The Auditions.

Oh My God Moment: Foot scene.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: She always gets a part

Trivia: Described by Quentin Tarantino as a “true masterpiece if ever there was one,” in a video discussing his favourite films released between 1992 and 2009.

Overall: A film that will test how much you can watch in one showing.

Rating 80