Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Tadanobu Asano, Miki Fujitani, Yűko Fujimori, Kazuhiko Kanayama, Tsugumi
Director: Teruo Ishii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
"Asano is something of a director?s fantasy; he can look tough and threatening or sensitive and delicate in equal measure." - INTERVIEWTHE ULTIMATE JAPANESE CULT FILM! What do you get when you bring together the King of Cu... more »
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More like 'Loser'
Hans Visser | Seattle, WA | 01/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but, either way, didn't get it. The movie opens up with a kind of weird fever dream full of naked people on a beach, which leads to... a very ordinary story about a young man whose life is falling apart, and who has absolutely no idea how to cope with it. A few of his failures are poignant, a few just pathetic, and yet his basic issue - detachment - ensures he stays at an arms length from the audience. You have a guy in a very slow, dull downward spiral with zero hope for redemption (or even an understanding of the concept) and horrible people skills, and then the inevitable triumphs.
Basically, if you're looking for sex (sure, there's some topless women, but nothing you wouldn't see in any R-rated American movie), violence or wacky hijinks, this isn't it. There's a few odd moments of strangeness (the entire hospital scene and the oddly-predictable ending), but they're just temporary segues from the basic, depressing core of the tale. If you're looking for a somewhat strange "this is where homeless people come from" message-movie, though, it works (a little)."
What the hell is this?
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 03/30/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Screwed (Teruo Ishii, 1998)
I've been wanting to see Screwed--one of the final films made by mega-popular exploitation director Teruo Ishii, and one of the formative films in the making of Tadanobu Asano into a screen superstar--for years. Now, I finally have, and while I'm not entirely sure about what I think of it, I do know one thing; it puts Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Bright Future, and especially Asano's character in that film, into an entirely new perspective for me. To explain why could possibly be considered a spoiler, but I think I can probably skirt that by not making the connection clear. (If you don't plan on seeing one or both of the films, the connection will make itself clear if you hop over to my Bright Future review.)
Tsube (Asano) is the title character, in the sense that he's the guy suffering from a particularly nasty form of Murphy's Law. He's a struggling cartoonist whose work lies somewhere in the vein of Suehiro Maruo and Hideshi Hino (if you're unfamiliar, clips can be easily googled; it's strong stuff, and the opening scene of this movie reflects that); small wonder, then, that the masses haven't been snapping it up. Tsube's young wife, Kuniko (Niki Fujitani, best known on this side of the pond as a voice actress in the popular Rouroni Kenshin series), has been supporting them; she picked up a job as a waitress at a kind of hostel for business travelers (think the Japanese version of Extended Stay America here). She's staying there, so he hooks up with an old friend of his. Things are going badly enough that he tries to kill himself, which doesn't work, but getting saved sends him on a mad quest to see the sea. Probably not a great idea, since he there has a very nasty encounter with a Portugese Man-o'-War that shapes the rest of the movie. Well, kind of. What really shapes the rest of the movie is, I suspect, the incredible amount of drugs ingested by Teruo Ishii in the sixties. I mean, that's gotta be it. I haven't seen a movie that revels this much in pointless psychedelia since Liquid Sky. Which may be a recommendation. Maybe not. Your call.
The movie was scripted by Yoshiharo Tsuge, a mangaka in his own right, which may explain both the main character's profession and the odd left turns it takes from reality on a fairly regular basis. (In this respect, it reminds me of nothing so much as a pinky version of Nobuo Nakagawa's 1960 film Jigoku.) I can't really call it a good movie, but it's got that really, really black humor that I'm quite fond of (that also made Bright Future such a fun one, though this picture is much less dry), and of course Tadanobu Asano is always a joy to watch onscreen; those who know him only from the few films that have gotten a theatrical release in America (Ichi the Killer and Mongol are the only two of which I'm aware) are really missing out on a fantastic body of work; Asano is one of those folks whose presence in a film almost guarantees quality; he's the go-to guy for some of Asia's most interesting directors these days, including Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (who's tapped Asano for leading roles in both The Last Life in the Universe and Invisible Waves), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Bright Future), Shinji Aoyama (Eli, Eli, Lama Sabacthani?), Gen Sekiguchi (Survive Style 5+), Nagisa Oshima (Taboo), and two of Japan's greatest working directors, Shinya Tsukamoto (Vital, Gemini) and Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi). This is a chance to see Asano before he was Asano, and before anyone in the States had even heard the name; it's worth taking. ***