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Tang shan da xiong (1971)
Childhood classic? (nods) Oh yes!
Does anyone have great memories of seeing THE BIG BOSS (1971) late night on Channel 4 (UK) in the 90s?
It was the first time I saw the uncut version after watching the VHS countless times in cut form. What a revelation it was - especially seeing it as a child.
The film is at times rough (very, very rough) in its quality and execution but there are so many iconic moments peppered throughout that all is immediately forgiven.
Sequin in a Blue Room (2019)
I've seen horror films that are less grim...
SEQUIN IN A BLUE ROOM (2019) is a cold and emotionless film - like the lead character - that rarely captures the interest. The cinematography and score are stronger points but with a lead character like this it's not a world I care to revisit.
Pink film here, pink film there, pink film right now...
MY HERO, CHIHIRO (2015) is a wacky erotic Japanese comedy which will easily be a worthwhile watch for fans of the leading ladies and director Mototsugu Watanabe.
It raises the odd chuckle due to the typical overacting (you'll know what I mean if you've experienced Pink cinema before) and while it could've been shorter, the film doesn't outstay its welcome for too long.
A General Who Deserved A Longer Reign...
THE YOUNG GENERAL: REFLECTIONS ON MICHAEL REEVES (2022) is must-see feature-length documentary that also touches on the subject of film censorship (which always interests me).
I would have welcomed some focus on the director's personal life prior to him entering the industry - we get a little bit but more would have given it an extra boost.
This documentary can be found on the UK Blu-ray of 'The Castle of the Living Dead' which was released as a part of the 'Michael Reeves Limited Edition Film Collection' boxset. Certainly worth seeking out.
Ikon ari (2011)
A Samurai Slice of Class From Japan...
THE LAST REVENGE (2011) is a solid feature-length TV drama starring the always reliable Tatsuya Fujiwara. He was the main draw for me here having been a fan of his since I first watched 'Battle Royale' but the cast around him bring depth to their roles and the overall production is quality.
I wish TV movies were of this kind of class in the UK and US - they used to have something about them but not much so lately.
This Japanese period film is certainly one to seek out.
Nostalgia hits high here...
I still vividly remember seeing the US version of this story 'Pokemon: The First Movie' upon its cinema release in the UK - I would've been about 8 and I was early into my exploration of anime.
It's now 2022 and here we have POKEMON: MEWTWO STRIKES BACK - EVOLUTION (2019) a CG remake of that 1998 childhood favourite and nostalgia hits high.
Almost shot-for-shot in its execution, the animation style is bright and features great depth - I wouldn't say it brings new life to the original film, as that film didn't really need to be touched (except say, release ALL Pokemon films in their original language versions too) but I couldn't help but be charmed by it.
I would happily take a CG animated film from Japan any day over anything the US/Europe produces - this comes from my love of Japanese cinema, anime, manga and culture overall, along with the distinct feel you get from the animation style.
More CG Pokemon films please (plus traditional ones too, of course). Oh and please bring back Misty... 2D? 3D? I don't care. Just please bring her back.
Time for people to open their eyes...
THE X FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (2008) was unfortunately overlooked in its year of release due to coming out in the midst of The Dark Knight's domination of the box-office. Often dismissed due to a lack of creatures, ghoulies and little green men, this is an underappreciated gem of thriller storytelling and filmmaking and one of the finest parts of The X Files mythology. To cap it off we have a cracking end credits song - 'Broken' by UNKLE - that lifts that high even higher.
Do you believe in this film? I know I do.
The X Files (1998)
Search for the truth and you may just find it worth revisiting...
It was Christmas; I was 8 and what did I get (put your hand down, this ain't a quiz) - THE X-FILES (1998) - Special Edition VHS, along with a Godzilla VHS boxset. Living the dream, living the dream.
This big-screen adventure of our favourite FBI agents has always had a special place in my heart, I couldn't always follow the story as an 8-year old - I can only just about follow it now 23-24 years later but the film still holds up.
Grab the keys and take a cross-country jaunt with Mulder and Scully - you may just find the truth.
Bleach: Burîchu (2018)
The orange-haired one lives!
BLEACH (2018) is a cracking live-action adaptation of the manga/anime, and like many Japanese blockbusters that have come before it has a way of bringing a tear to your eye - yes, I'm looking at you 'Parasyte: Part 2'. Onions, be gone.
You may not like the changes made in order to craft this telling of our favourite Soul Reapers first meeting but give it a chance and you may be surprised at the result.
Let Him Go (2020)
If you make Diane Lane cry expect carnage to ensue - FACT!
2020's LET HIM GO has tension running throughout and it's been some time since a film has really accomplished that to this degree - it leaves you in a bit of a sweat and fully engaged.
Plus, it has some proper evil ****ers in it.
A modern classic and essential viewing.
Lupin III: The First (2019)
Disney couldn't even dream of making something this good
A full-on vibrant treat of a film, LUPIN III: THE FIRST (2019) features animation that will certainly give your HD TV a work out with all the various colours and depth on show. Character designs honour that which has come before in the Lupin the Third timeline while delivering a 3D animated feast that makes me wonder... when's the next one coming out?
Batman Begins (2005)
The Dark Knight Has Definitely Returned!
Batman Begins is a restart of the ever popular Batman franchise and starts off in style with what is the greatest movie ever made. Christian Bale puts on the cape and cowl this time around in the origin story of the crime-fighter. After the death of his parents by the hand of a small time crook, Joe Chill, Bruce Wayne begins to travel the world in search of the means to fight injustice. While in Tibet, Wayne is trained by a martial arts master named Ra's Al Ghul and his accomplice Henri Ducard. As the story continues, Wayne returns to the city of Gotham and builds up an arsenal of gadgets including the new Batmobile. He soon takes on the guise of the masked manhunter, Batman. Bale is amazing as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman, as always his performance brings a great amount of realism to the character and believes in the character that he is portraying. Bale is supported by an A-list cast including Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. There is also a purely brilliant performance from Irish actor Cillian Murphy as the psychotic villain Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, his screen time is limited but he makes a great impact. Being one of the biggest Batman fans i loved every minute of this thrilling adventure movie. There is a great heart to the movie and it is made with a passion. Director Christopher Nolan knows what he wants from his actors and he gets the very best out of them as none of the actors give any less than an A+ performance. The script is of pure gold and David S. Goyer had a great helping hand in the story. The sets that were used are some of the biggest ever put on film and look absolutely stunning with the grimy look of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One comics. The action scenes are edge-of-your-seat entertainment especially the Batmobile chase sequence. Cay-si, the fighting style, is beautiful to watch, the Keysi Fighting Method was in development for 13 years before being realised and used in the film. The plot twists and turns and makes for thrilling viewing giving us, the viewer, surprises all the time. The film is a dark adaption of the character but isn't as Gothic as 1992's Batman Returns. Take it from a true Batman fan. DO NOT MISS THIS!