Jigoku (1960): Film Review

What happens when you give the director of Ghost of Yotsuya $1.95 and a ham sandwich (or, in this case, 195 yen and an onigiri), say the studio is on the brink of bankruptcy and tell him to make a horror film – you get Jigoku. This is a dark, grim, surreal, and truly nightmarish film.

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Film Review: Electric Dragon 80,000V

It’s been a while since I watched what I’d call a “Weird Japan” movie – a Japanese film with a degree of creativity and un-reality that is uncommon in Western cinema – and indeed is generally rejected outright in Western independent cinema (see Dogme ’95 and Ethan Hawke’s comments about superhero films). Instead, these films openly embrace science fiction, fantasy, and horror concepts in a way that Western independent cinema (outside of horror) fails to do.

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Movie Review: The Yakuza Papers – Final Episode

It’s odd how much polish a film series can undergo over the course of two years. The first installment in the Yakuza Papers series of films came out in 1973. This film, the final installment in the tetralogy came out in 1974. Kinji Fukasaku was already an accomplished director when he made the first film, but over the course of two years he quickly came up with a very definitive style to this series. Continue reading “Movie Review: The Yakuza Papers – Final Episode”

Film Review: The Yakuza Papers Pt. 3 – Proxy War

Proxy War, along with the second film in the series, Hiroshima Deathmatch, are really where the Yakuza Papers series really kicks into high gear with showing the real nature of the Yakuza life. Where the sophomore film in the series introduced a new character, followed him through his induction into the yakuza, until his ultimate death, Proxy War returns us to following Bunta Sugawara’s character, Shozo Hirono, as factions within the old guard start playing the new generation of yakuza against each other, while Hirono himself tries to reconcile this current chain of events with the yakuza code of honor. Continue reading “Film Review: The Yakuza Papers Pt. 3 – Proxy War”

Movie Review – The Yakuza Papers, Vol. 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Due to the copyright strike on my Youtube channel, I’m going to hold off on doing film video reviews for the immediate future, aside from works from companies with a proven track record as being forgiving when it comes to film criticism (such as the Criterion Collection). However, I still want to keep talking about film so, for now, I’m going to do those review as prose reviews. If there is an interest from my Patreon Backers (which you can be one of), once the copyright strike is up, I’ll go back to re-do some or all these reviews as video reviews (depending on what films they’d like to see reviewed).

These reviews are also being posted on my Letterboxd page. I’m cross posting them here because I remember what happened to Screened, and I’d like to make sure I don’t lose any of my reviews.

With that out of the way, I’m taking a look at a Japanese Yakuza film from the 1970s – and the first part of the Yakuza Papers/Battles Without Honor Or Humanity series of films. Continue reading “Movie Review – The Yakuza Papers, Vol. 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity”