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  #34421  
Old 21st November 2015, 08:01 PM
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The Stuff. Fast food gets even deadlier than usual in this bonkers mid 80s comedy-horror. A new dessert fad is sweeping the US, and nervous ice cream companies hire a corporate spy (a typically eccentric turn from Michael Moriarty) to find out precisely what's in "the Stuff"... only he gets decidedly more than he bargained for. It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers... with dairy! Fun.
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  #34422  
Old 21st November 2015, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs View Post
Enjoying these reviews Keirarts.

I didn't read the Dr. Terror one as i'm going to give it a rewatch shortly.

You might want to add a 'D' to the title rawn and Quartered in your Vault review.
thanks for spotting that!

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  #34423  
Old 21st November 2015, 11:37 PM
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Battles without honour or humanity.

Blimey, just had a marathon of this set and I'm impressed. Seen one of them ages ago but wasn't all familiar with them outside their stellar reputation with aficionados of Japanese Cinema. Like a lot of films of its era its actually episodic in the style of series like Lone wolf & cub, Hanzo the razor and Female scorpion. here however, Kinji Fukasaku uses the format to deliver a 25 year history of Yakuza in Hiroshima, from the post war era to the 70's with a huge cast of characters, many of whom end up meeting bloody ends.
The film starts with Battles where we meet central character Shozo Hirono, an ex-soldier struggling to survive on the mean streets of Hiroshima. Handy with a gun, and prepared to stake everything he joins the Yakuza with his friends and through the film they begin to try and rise through the ranks. The film is both optimistic, with characters that want to seize the the limited opportunity before them and then also pessemisitc about the older generation who see them as pawns in their power struggles, prepared to sacrifice them for their own interests. Hirono ultimately becomes jaded as the film progresses. The series then moves on to Hiroshima death match, this one stars Fukasaku regular Sonny Chiba as a psychotic thug out to get an ex kamikaze pilot with a suicidal death wish that seems to stem from his war record. Time has moved on and Hirono has risen to a position of higher power within his 'family' and begins to make friends with the unstable pilot who becomes something of a liability. Once again, through the backstabbing and intrigue of Yakuza politics the pilot becomes another pawn to be sacrificed.. By the next film Proxy war the era has moved on to the 60's and the impending 1964 Olympics in Japan. Hirono has the opportunity for advancement with a sudden power vacuum at the head of the family. Ultimately however this generates yet more conflict and shifting allegiances and pretty soon its all out war between family's and bloodshed across Japan. Proxy war ultimately leads into Police Tactics the fourth film in the series and intended to be the last. Here the bloody conflict of the proxy war has turned public opinion, and the police against the Yakuza. Not only must Hirono contend with yet more power plays, grudge matches, deceit and treachery he must also deal with a police force no longer content to look the other way. Ultimately concluding with a downbeat but realistic ending.
There was one more film to be had from the series however, Final episode deals with the Yakuza's attempt to go legit. The old guard, returning from prison reject this and attempt to return things to the old ways but ultimately the force of progress is too strong. Hirono returns from prison to find his family decimated and a fragile peace about to collapse so decides that his era is over and will retire.
While a lot of people seem to compare the series to the Godfather, not unreasonable when you look at its attempt to create an epic gangland saga, many Fukasaku academics will actually argue his films have more in common with french new wave cinema, Italian post war cinema and to a certain extent Italian crime cinema of the 60's and 70's. The film comes one year after Milano calibro 9 by Fernando Di Leo, and while the films appear to have some superficial similarities its doubtful this film was a direct influence. Certainly though Japanese and Italian cinema had some cross cultural pollination with Fistful of Dollars. Where Battles and its sequels stand out is firstly the level detail involved. The first two especially are based on a tell all autobiography by an actual Yakuza which went into great detail about the Yakuza post world war 2 (much to the chagrin of the actual Yakuza who made efforts to block video releases of battles) The authenticity of the story telling mean the romanticised depictions of men of honour battling between duty and morality is gone out the window. This was a hangover of the samurai epic, given that Yakuza descend from the remains of the Samurai much of the ethos carried over, but as Fukasaku details here, much of it is bullshit in reality. The director delivers the violence straight up and brutal. No brave duals as such rather bloody, chaotic and well choreographed violence that is sudden and brutal. Fukasaku is a first rate action director and the scenes here are delivered brilliantly. The films, especially the first, have a hand held documentary feel to them making the on screen violence all the more jarring. Best of all the score is brilliant and very memorable. So much so its been recycled a lot through Japanese pop culture. The films influence can be seen on western directors like Tarantino and a lot of Japanese directors as well. A lot of Takeshi Miikes Yakuzas films feel directly inspired by these pictures and the director himself confirms this. Another fan is Takeshi Kitano, who took over the rains of Violent cop when Fukasaku jumped ship and also starred in Battle Royale. I know a lot of folk here are not so keen on Japanese cult cinema but 'm really glad that Arrow are continuing to release stuff like this.
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  #34424  
Old 22nd November 2015, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keirarts View Post
Battles without honour or humanity.

Blimey, just had a marathon of this set and I'm impressed. Seen one of them ages ago but wasn't all familiar with them outside their stellar reputation with aficionados of Japanese Cinema. Like a lot of films of its era its actually episodic in the style of series like Lone wolf & cub, Hanzo the razor and Female scorpion. here however, Kinji Fukasaku uses the format to deliver a 25 year history of Yakuza in Hiroshima, from the post war era to the 70's with a huge cast of characters, many of whom end up meeting bloody ends.
The film starts with Battles where we meet central character Shozo Hirono, an ex-soldier struggling to survive on the mean streets of Hiroshima. Handy with a gun, and prepared to stake everything he joins the Yakuza with his friends and through the film they begin to try and rise through the ranks. The film is both optimistic, with characters that want to seize the the limited opportunity before them and then also pessemisitc about the older generation who see them as pawns in their power struggles, prepared to sacrifice them for their own interests. Hirono ultimately becomes jaded as the film progresses. The series then moves on to Hiroshima death match, this one stars Fukasaku regular Sonny Chiba as a psychotic thug out to get an ex kamikaze pilot with a suicidal death wish that seems to stem from his war record. Time has moved on and Hirono has risen to a position of higher power within his 'family' and begins to make friends with the unstable pilot who becomes something of a liability. Once again, through the backstabbing and intrigue of Yakuza politics the pilot becomes another pawn to be sacrificed.. By the next film Proxy war the era has moved on to the 60's and the impending 1964 Olympics in Japan. Hirono has the opportunity for advancement with a sudden power vacuum at the head of the family. Ultimately however this generates yet more conflict and shifting allegiances and pretty soon its all out war between family's and bloodshed across Japan. Proxy war ultimately leads into Police Tactics the fourth film in the series and intended to be the last. Here the bloody conflict of the proxy war has turned public opinion, and the police against the Yakuza. Not only must Hirono contend with yet more power plays, grudge matches, deceit and treachery he must also deal with a police force no longer content to look the other way. Ultimately concluding with a downbeat but realistic ending.
There was one more film to be had from the series however, Final episode deals with the Yakuza's attempt to go legit. The old guard, returning from prison reject this and attempt to return things to the old ways but ultimately the force of progress is too strong. Hirono returns from prison to find his family decimated and a fragile peace about to collapse so decides that his era is over and will retire.
While a lot of people seem to compare the series to the Godfather, not unreasonable when you look at its attempt to create an epic gangland saga, many Fukasaku academics will actually argue his films have more in common with french new wave cinema, Italian post war cinema and to a certain extent Italian crime cinema of the 60's and 70's. The film comes one year after Milano calibro 9 by Fernando Di Leo, and while the films appear to have some superficial similarities its doubtful this film was a direct influence. Certainly though Japanese and Italian cinema had some cross cultural pollination with Fistful of Dollars. Where Battles and its sequels stand out is firstly the level detail involved. The first two especially are based on a tell all autobiography by an actual Yakuza which went into great detail about the Yakuza post world war 2 (much to the chagrin of the actual Yakuza who made efforts to block video releases of battles) The authenticity of the story telling mean the romanticised depictions of men of honour battling between duty and morality is gone out the window. This was a hangover of the samurai epic, given that Yakuza descend from the remains of the Samurai much of the ethos carried over, but as Fukasaku details here, much of it is bullshit in reality. The director delivers the violence straight up and brutal. No brave duals as such rather bloody, chaotic and well choreographed violence that is sudden and brutal. Fukasaku is a first rate action director and the scenes here are delivered brilliantly. The films, especially the first, have a hand held documentary feel to them making the on screen violence all the more jarring. Best of all the score is brilliant and very memorable. So much so its been recycled a lot through Japanese pop culture. The films influence can be seen on western directors like Tarantino and a lot of Japanese directors as well. A lot of Takeshi Miikes Yakuzas films feel directly inspired by these pictures and the director himself confirms this. Another fan is Takeshi Kitano, who took over the rains of Violent cop when Fukasaku jumped ship and also starred in Battle Royale. I know a lot of folk here are not so keen on Japanese cult cinema but 'm really glad that Arrow are continuing to release stuff like this.
Mm, i wasn't particularly interested in this set before...
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  #34425  
Old 22nd November 2015, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keirarts View Post
Battles without honour or humanity.
Excellent review, keirarts. I have the box set on DVD (from the US) and now the Arrow set, which I hope to watch in as short a time as possible.
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  #34426  
Old 22nd November 2015, 10:47 AM
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A.W.O.L. (AKA Lionheart)

Jean-Claude Van Damme runs from the French Legion and gets involved in illegal fighting to raise money for his brothers family after he is attacked by drug dealers. An entertainingly cheesy film in a similar vein to Kickboxer and after being put off by some of Van Damme's more boring films (I.e. everything but this, Kickboxer and Bloodsport - please tell me if there's others) I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.
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  #34427  
Old 22nd November 2015, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryd View Post
after being put off by some of Van Damme's more boring films (I.e. everything but this, Kickboxer and Bloodsport - please tell me if there's others)
I've always been partial to the odd JCVD film throughout his career. As well as the three you mention personal faves are.

Universal Soldier
Nowhere to Run
Hard Target
Sudden Death
Maximum Risk
Legionnaire
The Order
In Hell
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  #34428  
Old 22nd November 2015, 12:20 PM
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I picked up the German blu-ray of Victoria. Its USP is that the 134 or so minutes were shot in a single take that takes us through the streets of Berlin from a disco to an armed robbery. The story follows Victoria a young Spanish girl who has recently moved to Berlin who falls in with a group of "lads" and becomes embroiled in a bank robbery.

The technical achievement is of course outstanding, but even without this the film is still worth a look. the German blu-ray is English friendly (the dialogue is a mixture of English and German but there are full English sub-titles).
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  #34429  
Old 22nd November 2015, 01:28 PM
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The Fox and the Hound (1981)

An underrated Disney effort with enjoyable animal characters and one i loved as a child. I was ten when it came out and times were simpler back then. Kurt Russell voices the Hound, Copper.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

There's a lot of fun to be had with this one and it should appeal to both young and old. Basically the Muppet take on Stevenson's Treasure Island. Loads of jokes and not too many songs.

Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2009)

Prequel to the excellent Van Wilder. Although Jonathan Bennett is no Ryan Reynolds, he still makes for a likable Wilder. Whilst no classic the film has plenty of funny moments, including grossness, a fair bit of T&A and a nice take on army war games for the finale. If you enjoy high school comedies i'd say give this a go.

Whilst none of these films are poor, their Cult Labs appeal will be fairly minimal i would think.
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  #34430  
Old 22nd November 2015, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs View Post
Whilst none of these films are poor, their Cult Labs appeal will be fairly minimal i would think.
Muppet Treasure Island is ace!
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