Back to watching SF movies people posted on YouTube. Three films today, none of which I had seen before. I downloaded these films to watch later and since I downloaded the first film it disappeared off of YouTube. Things disappear off of there all the time, they're usually looking for copyrighted material but smut is also high on the list. I saw some actual porn on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. Some guys had posted some clips and I blundered onto it just by chance. A day or so later all of it was gone.
The Invisible Man Vs The Human Fly is a 1957 Japanese film. A scientist named Sugumoto develops a formula to shrink a man to fly size. He uses it get revenge on the men that framed him as a war criminal. A physicist called Tsukioka develops a ray to make men invisible. He uses it to catch the killer. It was a fairly interesting film and one I hadn't seen before. There was a DVD released last October but I don't know if I would buy it. I can a lot of other stuff for 15 bucks.
Neutron Vs The Amazing Dr Caronte is a Mexican Wrestler movie with a slight SF element. A mad scientist has made some monsters for his servants. It's all pretty typical of a Mexican Wrestling movie. Worth a look for the serious fan of such things.
Atomic War Bride is a 1960 Yugoslavian film that was called RAT there. It translates to WAR. It's written by Cesare Zavattini, who wrote The Bicycle Thief, and it's directed by Veljko Bulajic. That's John and Maria in the picture above. They get married as the bombs start to fall. John gets constricted into the Army and Maria tries to survive in the war zone. Eventually pretty much everything is destroyed. The film makers put some effort and expense in the film. It's got a simplistic story with a heavy handed message. It's worth a look but more as a response to living the cold war. It's only about average as a film.
I thought I hadn't seen The Bullet Train before but I had, and it was only 6 years ago. The version I saw was on a US DVD and it was much shorter. The Japanese version is 152 minutes and the US version is 115 minutes. It's a 1975 disaster movie about a bomb on a train. If the train goes below 80kmp, it's boom time. Sound familiar? That's right, it's a similar plot to Speed. I'm not much of a fan of Speed. The Bullet Train is more interesting than that movie. On the plus side, it's got Sunny Chiba as the driver of the train. On the negative, he's hardly in the movie. Ken Takakura plays the baddie who sets up plan. The plan was somewhat good, very precise, but fate has a different plan and the robbers get caught and killed by the end of the movie. When I saw the short version I didn't much care for it. The longer version is more coherent. They don't waste much time on unnecessary story telling yet the movie does seem to drag a bit. It was nice seeing the movie complete but I don't think I need to pick up the Blu-Ray. I doubt I need to watch it again.
Our 2nd feature is also from Japan but of a totally different genre. The Bullet Train is a movie and Ninja Vixens Demonic Sacrifice is crap. It's a 2003 movie about ninjas and demons and bad CGI. It's a direct to video that has a poor script, poor actors, poor direction, poor makeup, poor CGI, poor sets and poor whatever I didn't list. It's not that I disliked the movie, it's just sadly not very interesting. I found myself bored a lot and we did fast forward through some of the dull spots. On the plus side that saved a third of it's 91 minutes. On the negative, while there were some naked ladies, sadly they weren't much fun. Give it a miss if you're pretty much anyone. It only has 6 votes on the IMDb and surprisingly no one voted it a 10. It got two 5s, two 3s and two 1s.
First up a 2014 Japanese movie called Parasyte: Part 1. It's an alien invasion movie, based on a manga and anime series, about some creepy crawly bug like critters that burrow themselves into people and take over their minds and bodies. Shinichi is a high school student. He gets one of the critters in his arm and it takes over his hand. The creatures have total control over the cells that they replace. Shinichi's hand can morph into other shapes, including sharp cutting edges that can slice a human right into two. The other creepies take over people's brains, after which the personality is gone. In Shinichi's case his brain still works fine. The hand learns his language and they communicate. That causes some grief for Shinichi as he half goes crazy. The hand can detect other parasites, most of whom are happily munching down on the humans around them. The police are looking into the grisly deaths and are puzzled. A creepy has taken over one of the teacher's at Shinichi's school and she seems to be the leader of the group in the area where Shinichi lives. She's managed to fit into the human lifestyle while other parasite's seem to be having trouble making themselves human. Some of the parasites want to kill Shinichi but the teacher holds them back. Things develop and more people die as the parasites get out of hand. The story ends with a sequel in mind. The movie gets a well deserved 7 on the IMDb, it's worth a look for those that might like the story. It's a bit gory and somewhat sad but that's parasitic alien invasions for you.
School Spirit was our second feature. It's a 1985 Roger Corman production with a script by Geoffrey Baere and direction by Alan Holleb. There's a trio of men that failed to produce a good sexy comedy. Geoffrey would only write two more movies and this would be Alan's last film. He had directed one back in 1974. Like the poster and the DVD cover above School Spirit is below average. It gets a 4.6 on the IMDb but I couldn't give it more than a 4. Our hero, Tom Nolan, is hot for some action with the lovely Elizabeth Foxx but she insists on a condom. Obviously not a Boy Scout, Tom isn't prepared. He leaves her to get one, scores at a seedy road house, and is killed by a truck on the way back. Now an invisible ghost Tom is still trying to score before he has to leave the Earth. His Uncle shows up as his spirit guide. He's supposed to lead Tom to the light but he lets Tom dick around for a while. Uncle Pinky is a lecherous old man who chases after the young college girls. He also shows Tom how to magically become solid and visible. Not that it matters that much, in ghost mode the spirits can interact with the human world just fine. Tom steals a car while invisible. Tom has a full night of running about like an invisible maniac, doing things like secretly visiting the college women's bathroom room while the girls shower. Nice as the young ladies are the scene is short and the script doesn't deliver enough good jokes to get you through to the few scenes that have some boobies. Still I doubt whether more naked flesh would would have made this better than it is. You can see it on YouTube in the link in the title above to find out if you liked it more than me. Some guy gave it a 10 on the IMDb. He sure has a different rating system than I do.
The Twilight Samurai is a 2002 Japanese film about a low-ranking samurai named Seibei. His wife died from TB and he hasn't remarried. Seibei takes care of his two daughters and his senile mother. He works during the day for the clan in their food stuffs storage area. Seibei gets a salary but it isn't enough to get by on. He spends his home time working in the garden and making cricket cages to keep food on the table. There's a woman who is interested in him, Tomoe, the sister of a childhood friend, but since they're of a higher rank Seibei turns down the offer of marriage claiming he is too poor. He does fight and beat Tomoe's ex-husband. Hearing of Seibei's fight, a wooden stick against a metal sword, the clan leader sends him off to kill a man who had been on the other side of a clan dispute. He'd not killed himself like he was supposed to and on top of that he killed the first man the clan leader sent to do the job. Seibei goes to see the man, he doesn't want to fight the man and even gives him the opportunity to sneak out. Seibei returns home to find Tomoe there and they embrace. In the epilogue we see one of the daughters as an old woman placing flowers on Seibei's grave. He married Tomoe and they lived happily ever after, for three years. Then Seibei was shot to death in the Meiji Restoration. Tomoe and the daughters moved to Edo and lived out the rest of their lives off camera.
It's directed by Yamada Yoji who also adapted a novel for the screenplay. He started making films in 1960 and is still going. He's got 124 writing credits and 85 directing credits. About half his directing jobs are the Tora-san pictures. They are domestic comedies about a salesman who gets into trouble and has to work hard to get out of it. They don't show up here. Netflix has a few but they are always on short wait. I haven't seen any of them, nor have I seen any of his other non-Tora-san pictures.
It's a really well made movie that reminds that old Japan really sucked for a lot of the people. That makes for a sad picture that reminds a person to enjoy the good time while they can, some rich guy will eventually screw things up. There's almost no fighting but that's OK, it's not what the film is about. It's more a melodrama with social commentary than a samurai film. The industrial revolution was coming and the times were changing. The feudal society was on the way out. People's lives would be changed by that, not all for the better. I gave it an 8 on the IMDb, it scores a 8.1, it is that good. You might like it. Who knows.
I had Netflix send me a copy of Street Mobster to watch. It's a 1972 Japanese film by director Kinji Fukasaku. He's directed a good number of films and I've seen a few that I liked; Black Lizard and The Green Slime from 1968 and Shogun's Samurai and Message From Space from 1978.
Street Mobster is a yakuza film about a guy who has been on the wrong side of the law most of his life. He gets out of prison after a good long stretch and things have changed. He sets up a little gang and, because of his hot head and absolute ability to do the wrong thing at the wrong time, things don't go so well. He leads his gang to their collective doom and hardly anyone he works with survives.
I always find it a puzzle that guys like that can't figure out what's going on around them. I'm glad not to run into them in real life. The movie is enough of that reality for me. All in all a fairly darn good crime film and a good reminder not to be such a dick, 'cause eventually your co-workers will shoot your fuckin' ass.
The Naked Island is a 1960 Japanese film about some people who live on a tiny island in the Seto Inland Sea. They live a hard life, mostly hauling water from the main land for their crops. There's brief bits of joy in their lives but mostly it's hard work and sorrow. Then the movie ends. It's the work of director and scriptwriter Kaneto Shindo. He's the writer director of the 1964 horror film Onibaba. I really like that film quite a bit and would always recommend it, even to non-horror fans. It's more than a horror story and people interested in dramas seem to like it because of the psychological stuff that's happening. You can check it out on YouTube at the link in the title. He also scripted a few episodes of the Zatoichi TV Series. I'd recommend the TV series but only after you see the film series first.
Kaneto Shindo wanted to make a movie with little dialog and that's what he's done with The Naked Island. It was popular when it came out, saving the film company from financial ruin, and it won some awards. It was interesting enough to watch and it reminds me that irrigation is a wonderful thing. People who like a drama about subsistence living would enjoy this. It gets a 8.3 on the IMDb so I guess a lot of them like it. I wouldn't need to watch it again so I'm glad that I got it from Netflix. You can see it on YouTube for free right here.
The second volume of Nikkatsu Diamond Guys has three comedies. We watched Murder Unincorporated during Friday Night Movie 606. You can read that post here. The other two films might not be quite as unusual as that one but they were OK.
Tokyo Mighty Guy is a 1960 Japanese film starring Akira Kobayashi as Jiro. That's him in the beige suit. He's just come back from Paris where he's learned to cook. He opens a French restaurant in the Ginza and has some trouble with the local gangster boss. He more than the gang can handle and there's some laughs there. There's a bit of romance and some fighting and other bits of action.
Buichi Saitô is the director, Tsuyoshi Ishigôoka wrote the screenplay and Takeo Matsuura wrote the story it was based on. Buichi Saitô directed Akira in The Rambling Guitarist which was on the first volume of Nikkatsu Diamond Guys. TRG isn't too dissimilar to TMG. Saitô directed many other movies including the fourth in the Lone Wolf And Cub Babycart series. That series just became available from Criterion and it's well worth getting.
A little goofy but a movie I was happy to see.
Jo Shishido stars in Danger Pays, a Japanese gangster comedy from 1962. He's one of several people all wanting to get their hands on a billion Yen that's gone missing. There's counterfeiting and fights and comedy slapstick.
It's directed by Kô Nakahira, the screen play is by Ichirô Ikeda, and Michio Tsuzuki wrote the story the screenplay was taken from. It has it's goofy moments and the sets are often entertaining in themselves.
Here's Jo getting a massage. It looks like he's paid for danger. Another one that was fun to watch. The movies in this set are not quite as entertaining as the movies in the first set but they are still fun to watch.
I'd buy the series but they DVDs are pretty pricey. Maybe if I see them used or on clearance.
Kibakichi 2 writer Baku Kamio and director Tomo'o Haraguchi didn't come up with a winner this time. The first in the series was average but watchable, this one barely. It poked along and bored the hell out of me. There's a big sad romance that helps drag the movie to a standstill. The fights are poor. There isn't much of anything to recommend about it. I'd give it a miss if I were you. Yay, for Netflix having a copy so I didn't have to buy a copy to see it.
Kibakichi is the US title of Kibakichi: Bakko-yokaiden and from that Japanese title we can see it's about Yokai monsters. It's world wide English title is Werewolf Warrior. It's a 2004 film about a werewolf guy who stops at a town to find the local gambling den is run by Yokai posing as human. They eat some of their customers. The Yokai have a deal with the local Boss and they are left alone. At least until the Boss's henchmen get a Gatling gun. They kill the Yokai and the young blind girl that hangs out with them. Werewolf guy goes off on a revenge fueled bitey marathon and wipes out the Boss's creeps. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. It kept me going to the end but I was a bit frigidity. The same material in a more deft hand would have been more interesting. The DVD plays with the default to English. The English dub track is nearly as poor as any I've heard. Luckily you can switch to all Japanese with English subtitle. That helps a lot.
The director is Tomo'o Haraguchi and he's mostly a special effects guy who directed 8 films. I've seen his 2010 film Death Kappa and thought it was a bit poor. I'd seen his Sakuya: Slayer Of Demons and my one word comment on my Watched Movie List was "fair". I guess I wasn't too enthused about it. I'm not too enthused about Kibakichi but I did get to the end and I will watch the sequel. It's not something I'm going to rush out and buy as I wouldn't need to watch it again too soon.