A decent sequel that serves another magical adventure, but trips over the same hurdles the first film did. The comedy is hit-and-miss, the musical bits are mind-numbing, the plot a little too convenient. Luckily the fantasy elements are quite creative and the animation is at times stunning, which elevates it above its peers.
Better than I expected it to be, although it's a little hard to say who this film is for. It's a bit edgier and darker than the jolly kids show from my memories, but it's still a very cheesy and nonsensical piece of fluff that makes no sense at all. In the end I enjoyed it as an amusing blockbuster with a tinge of nostalgia, but I'm not surprised there's no word of a sequel yet.
Beyond terrible. I'm not a big Western fan to begin with, but this one was particularly awful. The acting and dialogues are laughable, the music is grating, the editing sloppy and the plot a complete bore. Apparently everyone involved thought this was supposed to be very intense and serious, which just made it all so much worse.
Sato's film is the best in the franchise, but for someone who never got the appeal of Death Note the excessive lore is just a bit too much. It's all supposed to be very epic and intricate, but the result is just convoluted and sentimental. This franchise deserved a lighter, more horror-oriented adaptation, but clearly that was never in the cards.
A short but interesting anthology film where Ishii tepidly explores his more introverted self in 4 unrelated shorts. The punk influences are still there, but they flare up in short bursts and never truly climax. The quality is pretty consistent and there are moments of greatness here, but overall it's just a little too short and restrained to be truly impressive.
Very cheap, lazy and lifeless sequel. It's another one of those uncharacteristically tame, early Miike films that feels more like a quick directing exercise rather than an actual film. There's some basic Yakuza drama and a pretty violent finale, but that's hardly enough to win over anyone but the most die-hard genre fans. Avoid unless you've seen all the Miike there is to see.
Piece: Fragments of a Memory
Fun and stylish mystery regarding a wave of peculiar murders. A killer is on the loose and turning people into stone, a reporter and a mysterious man with split personalities are on the killer's tail. Shimoyama has a way to make films visually appealing, sadly the effects are a little cheap and the twists are too tame. Apart from that it's good fun though.
Ugh. The acting is atrocious and the presentation is terribly cheap and amateurish. It's nice that anyone can make a film nowadays, but without talent you're still getting nowhere. Unless you're really into sci-fi or student films, there's absolutely nothing here. Do yourself a favor and find something else to watch.
Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.
An Ishii short that feels like a prelude to Tsukamoto's Tetsuo. The camera work isn't as manic or crazy as Tsukamoto's early masterpiece, but the soundtrack is absolutely stunning and makes this a tense and riveting experience. If it had been twice the length this could've been a masterpiece, but fans of Japanese cyberpunk cinema should definitely give this a go.
A very early, somewhat lackluster Miike film. Maeda and Takeuchi make a fine couple and the comedy is fun and light-hearted, but the poor presentation and the total lack of vintage Miike moments make this a film that is for completists and hardcore fans of the director. It's not a terrible film, but it doesn't stand out at all, especially not in Miike's oeuvre.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Cheap and shlocky 80s horror/comedy. This could've been terrible, but the somewhat surprising dedication to the silly premise keep this film afloat. Don't expect any noteworthy gore or slick effects, but the comedy is completely daft and the film never runs out of steam. This was way more fun than expected.
Ghidorah may be one of the most appealing monsters within the Godzilla universe, his introduction to the series is rather plain. Mothra and Rodan are present for the battle, but all they really do is flick stones at each other, in a rural landscape. The result is a pretty plain and uneventful entry in the Godzilla franchise.
Early Chaplin short that feels like a try-out for his later feature films. I'm not a big Chaplin fan to begin with (somewhat of an understatement), seeing him do his less elaborate jokes and routines didn't do a whole lot to change that. I just can't stand his characters and his particular kind of slapstick. I'm sure Chaplin fans will love this though.
Slick animation that delivers a pretty unique version of the origin story of Santa Claus. The art style is nifty and the backgrounds are lush, character designs are less attractive though and the hyperactive nature of the film is a real letdown. It's a shame because this could've been a great film, sadly they made it a little too childish.