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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nao Kanzaki: Nao's weekly movie series #1....




 Hopefully will be able to keep this series going every week, more than dramas or Idols my passion is Japanese films and especially older ones. Even though there's twice as many viewers than there were a few years ago tend to get many less comments, that's probably becausde there haven't been as many posts for actresses, dramas and films.
 But had been trying to go back to what this blog once was and was doing a good job at it with many drama recaps until my laptop decided it preferred Idol posts more and crashed. You'll be noticing in these posts how much I prefer older films, some new ones from the past decade have been quite good but for the most part Japanese films have gone way downhill.
 To me they've become too much like American films with much bigger budgets and seem to be concerned with the bottom line more than anything else. I consider a week going from Monday to Sunday so that'll be the order of what I viewed last week, any comments are appreciated. Also all of the films I've bought on DVD, used to be easier to find them at stores but not so much these days.


 Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final    1974    98 minutes


Bunta Sugawara, Akira Kobayashi, Kinya Kitaoji, Jo Shishido

 Will be posting the trailers for the best two films of the week, at the top is the one for this film. However I think that the third film was the second best of the week but there was no trailer for it, then again it was kind of neck and neck for which movie took second place. Not going to give reviews of the films as it'd mean a post would be 10,000 words, will just give some of the details about them as often there's plenty of reviews already done.
 Won't go into too much detail about this film which was the fifth and final movie of the five part series that was released in 1973-74. Watched all five in a row and it was about the tenth time viewing the series. If you like a lot of action and are into Yakuza films then this is one film series that is truly a must watch, without a doubt the best Yakuza films ever made. So many of my fave actors were in the series, way too many to list but the main star was Bunta Sugawara who may have been my fave actor from the 70's.






Rusty Knife    1958    90 minutes


 Yujiro Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, Akira Kobayashi, Mari Shiraki

 This film is part of the 'Nikkatsu Noir' five movie box set which is my #1 collection of all time. All of the movies are in black and white and all are considered to be truly lost classics. Another Yakuza film but there's so much more going on than just that. Yujiro Ishihara is one of the biggest films stars in Japanese history, perhaps even the biggest one. He always had the lead in his films and back in those days most actors would appear in ten or more films.
 These days it seems insulting for an actor to appear in two films, think it's more of a case of pay be a lot of money and let be live a life of luxury. The female lead in the film was Mie Kitahara who also was someone who appeared in at least ten films a year. She was one seductive looking gal, especially in "I Am Waiting" from 1957. She ended up marrying Yujiro at the end of 1960 and retired, when he died in 1987 he was worth close to 1.5 billion yen and in 1987 a dollar equaled 152 yen. Also in the film was Akira Kobayashi who became such a mega star and is another of my big faves.





 A Colt is my Passport    1967     85 minutes


 Jo Shishido, Jerry Fujio, Chitose Kobayashi

 Second film from the 'Nikkatsu Noir' box set, all five films are highly recommended and to me this was the best of the bunch. It was my second fave movie of the seven I watched but there's no trailer out there for it, the film was definitely a lost classic. Jo Shishido was another huge fave of mine from this era, he's still kicking and he'll be turning 85 later on this year.
 Not quite another Yakuza film but in it Jo played Shuji who was hired to assassinate a mob boss. The killing went smoothly but after events backfired as him and his partner played by Fujio were unable to flee from Japan. Two mob families were on their tail for revenge and the ending was truly out of this world, Shuji was a a bad guy but you still hoped he could elude the two families.






 Black Test Car    1962    95 minutes


Hideo Takamatsu, Jiro Tamiya, Junko Kano

 These last three films have all been in black and white, seems that style adds a bit of edginess into the plots. Wonder if things like what happened in the film actually did take place and if so wonder if it still happens? Story was off a car company about to manufacture a new sports car but the designs for it were stolen by their hated rivals.
 Both companies were heavily into spying on each other and there were no methods they wouldn't do to steal their rival's secrets. Quite intense all the way through but like all of these short bits about the films won't give away any spoilers but what a cutthroat world business can be. Takamatsu had the lead role in the film, what a brutal character he turned out to be and another highly recommended film he was in was "Giants and Toys" from 1958.






 Red Peony Gambler 1    1968    98 minutes


 Junko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Tomisaburo Wakayama

 Long films are not my cup of tea, sometimes they're okay but much prefer to view movies between 85-100 minutes in length and all of the ones for today fall in that range. This was an eight part film series that came out between 1968-70 but have only seen the first four. All have been solid and can't say that one stands out more than any other.
 The series takes place in the late 1800's, Junko in this first film played Ryuko who was looking for the man who killed her father. She did eventually find him and it ended up in quite a showdown at the end as her and two others managed to defeat an army of over fifty mobsters. Lot of violence but not in an over the top style as Ryuko is a bit of a classy woman, an expert gambler too. Junko is quite a famous actress who eventually changed her first name to Sumiko.






 Wandering Ginza Butterfly 1    1972    85 minutes


 Meiko Kaji, Tsunehiko Watase, Tatsuo Umemiya

 My fave of the seven films viewed last week and will also be the first of many Meiko watches in this series. Everyone probably has their all time #1 gal and for me it's easily Meiko, the way she looked from 1970-78 is untoppable and what a diverse actress she was. Most weeks expect to see one of her films here, perhaps I'll do a post or two for her in the future and there's no doubt they'll be the least viewed ones ever here. Meiko is known best outside of Japan for her 'Lady Snowblood' and 'Female Scorpion' series but my faves are the five 'Stray Cat Rock' films, in total I have 22 DVD's of her.
 Little bit of everything in this film.... The Yakuza, hostess clubs, killings and more but the best part of the film was the billiards. Meiko played Nami who had recently been released from prison. Near the end she's in an intense billards match to save her hostess club along with her uncle's pool hall. May not sound too exciting but the match is one of the best scenes you'll ever see. Also in the film are two more of my fave actors from the sixities and seventies who are Tsunehiko and Tatsuo, they're both have been in well over a hundred films and both were so superb in the 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity' series, Meiko was in the second film.





 The Mysterians    1957    88 minutes


Kenji Sahara, Takashi Shimura, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kochi

 Final view of the week was a mini calssic, not a huge sci-fi fan but do love most of the older monster films. What I really enjoy are the special effects which took much more work and imagination back then, these days you don't need as much talent as a computer can do most of the work for you. There should be plenty more entries in the next few weeks of this genre, have over ten Godzilla DVD's and a few others with my fave creature being Mothra.
 The Mysterians were aliens from the asteroid Mysteroid who have landed on Earth for peaceful reasons. But the humans don't think so as the Mysterians requested a small patch of land plus they want some human women to marry to keep their race going. The aliens are much more advanced than the Earthlings but in the end you kinow who the victors were, this is one of the better older
sci-fi films you'll ever see. First pic isn't from the film but from the set of the first Godzilla film which starred Momoko who was quite an attractive woman. Final pic is of the 200 foot moster/robot Mogera in who has appeared in other films.





 The format will be a work in progress, think this first post worked out fine but sure there will be a few tweeks along the way. Not going to grade these films, most I've seen already so a rewatch means it's good enough for repeat viewings. Final video for these posts will be of the trailer of the week's number one film, all were deserving but the first "Wandering Ginza Butterfly" movie took the first honors in this series. However don't have the trailer as I thought this short clip of the billards match at the end is a much more enjoyable watch.


9 comments:

  1. King Ghidorah bro 👍 saw it on TV once when I was a little runt so dunno which film it was from but only remember a destroyed city(which is like in every godzilla movie) and Ghidorah doing a slow but cool landing on the ground.
    A US dollar equaling to 152yen...if only the AUD made it to even 100yen
    One thing I like about the old movies(other than the badassery) that can't really be placed in todays movies is the lighting like in the short clip above but guess that's what makes it dated.
    There's quite a bit of live action movies coming out nowadays which some are good but now it's pretty much flooding in it that there's barely a good one and you'd just watch it really for the actor/actress(that's what I'm doing for 3D Kanojo😑). Similarity is probably my pet peeve with recent movies.

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  2. That 152 yen mark was in 1987 though, these days it's just 110. it is true that's there's not much originality in films these days, so many do seem the same and even if one my huge faves is starring in one that doesn't mean I'll view it.
    Last night's watch was a film I've seen at least ten times but think this was the first time in four years that I viewed it. It's such a classic action film with some cheesy 80's J-Pop and will be viewing it's sequel next....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEY4ijaEb9Q

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  3. Must've been good if there was another movie and some TV shows. Had a little look at some scenes from it(probably some from the TV show as well) and it looks funny that she's using a yo-yo to kick ass but then it made remember getting hit by a metal yo-yo...s*** hurts man.
    The best AUD got in 1987 was 108yen...nowadays it's 84yen😑

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  4. The series ran for three years followed by three films. There was also another film that came out in 2006 starring Aya Matsuura from Morning Musume fame, that too was a solid film.
    Didn't watch the first two movies back to back but viewed the second one last night and to me it's more of an enjoyable movie. Star of it was Yui Asakawa who was such a popular Idol in the late 80's and early 90's. She was also part of the Kazama Sisters J-Pop group who disbanded in 1988, the other two members co-starred in the second film which was subtitled 'Counter attack from the Kazama Sisters'.
    First video was the theme song to the film, the DVD has an excellent feature hosted by Yui from the set of the movie along with her a short concert segment. Second video is of the Kazama Sisters from 1987.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1HZl2EYYuc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mgJSiZIi3o

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  5. Mannnn, Yui is so pretty!! Japanese 80s bro, had me on a (10hr)run with it after those two videos. Just a couple of faves to start the groove
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjxxkZAhans
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bNITQR4Uso

    Saw this one in particular from Deka II and I guess it was the TV show but this scene looked like the early day 'Majisuka Gakuen'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZEwVJHt2Sg

    Looks like there was a cool fight scene in what looks like near the end of the 2nd movie with guys in body armour against Yui, it wasn't even 10sec long but it looked better than some fight scenes you see in today's stuff.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z5cn3VYqGs

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  6. That was a cool scene but it gets even better as after that she takes down an airplane with her yo-yo!!!! That other scene was from the TV show which is available at two sites but haven't found the time to view it yet.
    1980's J-Pop is so underrated, there's so many fabulous artists to discover. The Pizzacato Five is my #1 J-Pop group ever and have well over ten of their albums. In the first Deka movie the gals were talking about Seiko Matsuda who was one of the biggest Idols ever as she sold more records in the eighties than anyone else.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgUiB4_723s

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  7. You mean to tell me that plane got taken down by a yo-yo!!? the string only goes so far. It's like she pegged it at the plane or something.
    Japanese 80s had some GREAT artists m8. Tatsuro Yamashita is probably the most recognised but my fave has gotta be Toshiki Kadomatsu.
    Heard of Seiko from N46 Kazumi's little fangirl moments and she did a 20sec or so cover of 'sweet memories' on a radio show...which is no longer on YT(S***!!) So after that, went to go listen to the original and well, it has class, very smooth.

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  8. Those yo-yo's seemingly have a never ending length....
    See that Toshiki is still active, though not as popular as females the men seem to have longer careers.
    Akina Nakamori was also a mega star from the 80's, perhaps the biggest one. She had twenty singles that topped the chart in the decade and also a few others that cracked the top five.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMhp6PeOOg

    Had watched too many Japanese films in a row so needed a break and as usual think I made a wise decision with this choice....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdXhAxMzEuA

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  9. 'Desire' seems to be her biggest hit because I hear it quite a bit. Gotta say didn't really get into the bigger stars like Akina, Seiko , Momoe and a couple of other big names. I haven't found a song to start my engines yet unlike some other artists you might find when ya get lost in some YT videos or find from animes like 'City Hunter(1987)' they got good songs as their op and ed...f***ing great anime too...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLWjBJMEMaU

    (Song starts at 1:04 but it was a cool part in the anime so...)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmcnPBcHiYw

    Booyah HK movies! Even though there's a list of movies/dramas to go through, haven't been as ardent to watch them lately so had taken a break but now I feel like watching 'Fight, back to school'...Hope ya understand chinese...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO9Tkh9MHds

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