Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Masatoshi Nagase, Tadanobu Asano
Director: Katsuhito Ishii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Cult filmmaker and popular commercial director Katsuhito Ishii (SHARK SKIN MAN AND PEACH-HIP GIRL, THE TASTE OF TEA) brings you seven of the strangest characters you'll ever meet. Yakuza punk Miki checks into the remote Ne... more »
4 ½ Stars: Japanese "Super-Cool" Design and a Guy named "Cap
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 05/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PARTY 7 (2000) is an over-the-top comedy written and directed by Katsuhito Ishii, the man responsible for the anime sequence in Tarantino's Kill Bill. Ishii has put together a group of talented performers for his first full length feature film. I'm not exactly sure as to why it took 8 years for this film to be released on U.S. dvd, maybe because of its very "cultist" nature. But one thing I can say (I saw the Japanese release long ago); for a first time director, Ishii's talent shines through in his first full-length outing. "Party 7" is an exceptional blend of Tarantino deconstructions, over-the-top black humor, outrageously odd characters with an excellent script to close it up.
Synopsis partly derived from the back cover:
Yakuza flunkie Miki (Masatoshi Nagase) checks into the remote "Hotel New Mexico" to hide out after stealing a suitcase of Yakuza money. Not long after, Miki's old girlfriend Kana (Akemi Kobayashi, the hottie on the dvd cover) shows up to collect on an old debt, but are soon followed by her current "boyfriend"(?), Todohira and Miki's elder gang brother Sonoda, who's trying to recover the stolen gang money. Meanwhile, shy peeping tom Okita (Tadanobu Asano, Ichi the Killer) hides out in a secret room built by the enigmatic "Captain Banana" (Yoshio Harada), who are both watching the proceedings with voyeuristic interests. Finally, hot on Miki's and Sonoda's trail is oddball assassin Wakagashira, who has a strange obsession with plastic model kits! Throw all these personalities together in one hotel room and it's a recipe for mistaken identities, sexy comedy and violence.
Ishii's film captures the spirit of Quentin Tarantino with comic book aesthetics bereft in twisted irony. The film is an unforgettable portrait of seven wierdos entangled in a cycle of craziness that never stops. The opening animated sequence that gives us brief character backgrounds is very stylish and witty, it may well be worth the price of this dvd by itself. The entire movie is bound to have a huge cult following. Granted, this film may not be for everyone, but if you have a certain familiarity with Japanese films and their somewhat obscure comedies then this flick is tailor-made for you. The film exudes a lot of the "that's hella cool" attitude in its proceedings that takes place in an enclosed space.
The way the story is structured is quite ingenious as it doesn't give out too much details, and whatever detail it does reveal at that time, doesn't really make any sense. But slowly and humorously as the plot begins to unravel, then everything makes perfect sense; up to the last moment that the film has finished rolling the last of the end credits. "Party 7" is definitely focused on its direction and as to what it is trying to do, it may well be the epitome of what a cult film is; some folks will love it and some guys will be repulsed by the film. The outrageously weird but interesting characters are also backed by an amusing script that has a lot of dialogue (much like a Tarantino flick) and "quippy" one-liners that will make you laugh in a somewhat uncomfortable way. There is a lot of absurdity in the film that makes up for its lack of action sequences. There are cheap cameras, Armani knock-off suits, latex, a super-hot Japanese chick and Captain Banana, who may well be the most outrageous character I've come across.
The film's main strength lies in its "party" of unique characters that expresses their own depth and odd charisma just by taking a look at them. There isn't a lot in terms of character development and we don't really know that much about their past; but what really works for the film is its excellent storytelling and Ishii's close added details to their costumes and mannerism. For example; Sonoda is the boss's top enforcer, therefore he wears a supposedly expensive outfit and he exhibits an intimidating presence (for a time anyway), Kana exudes pure sex appeal (Akemi Kobayashi does it so well) and Okita is some sort of "in the closet pervert" so please pay extra attention to what kind of outfit he is wearing. All these factors come together so well that I had to take multiple viewings to catch each subtle attempt in humor. Try not to blink so you can see each clever attempt at oddball humor. Even though the proceedings have no spoon-fed details about each character, their appearance alone and the dialogue gives us a vast history about each one of them.
Director Katsushito Ishii mixes and blends a lot of spectacular styles in this film that includes comedy, oddball irony, sci-fi (?), loyalty and pride, whodunit and the usual stereotypical notions that men want sex and money, while girls are after $$, or in this case a lot of Yen. With its opening anime sequence, there is even a bit of "cyberpunk" style and fortunately the film is well-controlled by its director that it didn't suffer being overcooked and overdone. It goes in so many directions that it's a real wonder that it managed to put everything together with such credibility. The film does have some unanswered questions and if Ishii makes a sequel called "Party 8", I'm all in!
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this film. I do understand that the film is an acquired taste but it comes with a very high recommendation from me to all those who love Japanese cinema and even to those who aren't but are fans of just great filmmaking with our boy QT's sensational style.
After all with a character named "Captain Banana" and Akemi Kobayashi who provides the eye candy, how can this film miss?!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [4 ½ Stars]
Note: Make sure you watch the film up until the end of the closing credits.
Akemi Kobayashi Rules!! (Check out the cover)
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 06/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, since the review that got me to check this out (the always thrilling Woopak's) is the only one up for this little gem of cult cinema so far, I'll give it a shot. "Party 7" essentially begins with watching a man urinate for minutes (this pays off at the end, believe it or not) and closes with the world's strangest poop joke. If you're still with me after that little disclosure, than this film is probably for you. It's pointless, plotless, often perverse, and at it's best chaotic. I'm still not sure how much of that is good and how much is bad, but I had a good time either way. Exactly how long should a scene last that consists of one man telling another about a piece of excrement that fell from the sky? I don't know, but apparently director Katsuhito Ishii thought about it long and hard. And came up with the right answer too, it seems. So yeah, this movie is an odd one.
The credit sequence for "Party 7" sold me right off the bat. It's five or so minutes of stylish animation so cool and bizarre that it makes you think you are in for an hour and a half of the most kicka$z sh!+ known to man. It's worth the price of admission all by itself, really. Too bad the rest of the film is not nearly as good. So then we're introduced to a young peeping tom and his partner in crime Captain Banana -wearing a costume well befitting his name ("CB" on his belt and everything)- who then brings us to one of the two hotel rooms that the audience will spend most of this film in: this one being CB's personal room to peep in on the guests in his hotel. The guests they are peeping on will eventually consist of five people: a crazy-sexy girl, her ex-boyfriend who owes her money, her fiance who tracks her to the room and engages her ex in a fight worthy of the Three Stooges, the exes's brother who comes to beat him down for stolen money from a heist, and a twitchy/psychotic gunman who comes to kill everybody involved. Add the good Captain and his protoge to those five and you've got "Party 7".
Most of this movie consists of weird jokes and oddball conversations. The animation at the beginning leads you to believe that there will be plenty of action, but that just isn't so. Not that it's false advertising, I totally get the idealized kitsch of it, but that opening credits sequence is just so cool that anything short of awesome would fall short after it. The amount of time spent describing (and re-enacting) an incident where a woman allowed CB's young friend to peep at her nether-region is alarming and hilarious at the same time. The two also spend some time counting down Captain Banana's all-time greatest peeps. There is more than one toupee gag as well; a well-worn comedy classic/cliche if ever there was one. The climax features a man in a polar bear suit (Mr. Polar), the emergence of Captain Banana's sidekick (Captain The Yellow), and the appearance of the aforementioned hitman which kicks off a hysterically chaotic chain of rapid-fire dialogue and camera cuts ending with an amusing discovery regarding the cash they're all fighting over.
I apologize if my review is a bit anarchic, but that's the nature of this film. Trying to discuss it as one would a hunk of cinema gold would be a monumental task indeed. This is a film about bad taste, kooky humor, and eccentric characters. There are some decent special features on the DVD including a rather boring alternate ending, a "making of" bit, and an interview with the ringmaster/director of this madness. "Party 7" manages to stand out as an oddity even in the insane world of Japanese entertainment. And that's a good thing. I think. If you're up for a taste of the bizarre, then prepare to laugh out loud and scratch your head; this one's a doozy."
Party 7 is both Kinky and Weird that has the heart of a simp
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 09/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My friends seem to enjoy this more then I did. One of the things I enjoy most about Japanese cinema is the fact that they can throw out some really wild and unpredictable movies. Of course they can also cannibalize themselves to the point of making whatever was original seem boring. However it does seem that there is always someone over there that can deliver a movie that will surprise you. In the case of Party 7 it's writer/ director Katshuhito Ishi, who has managed to incorporate some of the most weirdest things. The majority of the movie is set within a room in the Hotel New Mexico, with the tale of seven people, and a suitcase of cash, converging in a seedy hotel (thoughtfully equipped with a peeping room), has a lot of comedic potential, but somehow turns a lengthy misfire. It's unfortunate too, since the base material is quite funny.
First, you have Captain Banana, a costumed super peeper (whose hideout is the aforementioned room), and Dream-logic fave, Tadanobu Asano, as a pervert just released from prison, and Banana's new best friend. Then there's Masatoshi Nagase (Stereo Future) as a rockabilly thief, and the afro sporting assassin and stone cold gangster on his tail. You also have a grossly mismatched odd couple: a tragically un-hip uber nerd and his sexy girlfriend (Akemi Kobayashi, Antena), whose interests may or may not be entirely of the gold-digging kind. To top it all off there's the tale of the dung from the sky (most certainly not a tossed dung, as the trajectory was not a parabolic arc) that bookends the whole piece. The whole thing is technically and artistically sound, with excellent camera work, lighting, direction, and acting, but, like a tale told by a class clown that loves his own jokes, everything is a little too drawn out for its own good.
Though this film was mildly enjoyable and it reminded me of QT's earlier works and the movie "Four Rooms." If I would change one thing in this film it would be the characters. The roles that they played could have been made more entertaining, rather than having them yell at each other in a hotel room for close to two hours? Nevertheless this movie might leave you feeling drained and it may not appeal to all viewers, but for those that like to see something a little off the wall then I vigorously recommend Party 7.