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Japanese, Korean and other DVDs...

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Japanese, Korean and other DVDs...

Old 08-11-01, 06:41 PM
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Japanese, Korean and other DVDs...

Okay, I've been a Hong Kong film afficianado for years now, but my area of "expertise"(which isn't all that expert compared to some here) basically ends at Hong Kong. My favorite director of all time, however, is Akira Kurosawa, so I know his films and their availability well, as well as the films of Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige out of mainland China.

So that's where I stand right now - I know quite a bit about Hong Kong cinema and a smattering of other Asian cinema, but I want to know more, so I'm asking for some suggestions.

I'm primarily interested in films from Japan right now - aside from Kurosawa, Afterlife, the Mushashi Miyamoto trilogy, Kwaidan, and the Seijun Suzuki Criterions, I don't have much in the way of Japanese cinema on DVD.

And I've been hearing about some interesting things from other cinemas, such as Korea.

So what about these titles:

City of Lost Souls
Bichunmoo
Shiri
Ring1
Ring2
Avalon
Metropolis
Stuff from Miike

Specifically, how are they, what is the best version of these discs to get, and where is the best(and cheapest) places to get them. I know, a tall order, but I'm really interested in exapanding my horizons here.

Also, what are some other essential DVDs out there from Japan and other Asian countries other than Hong Kong? And of course the best places to pick them up - any genre, anime, live action, whatever.

Thanks in advance, fellow fans.
Old 08-12-01, 06:26 PM
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brief anime list

Hi there,
I'm sure some other, far-more-knowledgeable folks will address other issues, so I'll give a brief list of anime titles that I think fans of asian cinema would enjoy. You're probably familiar with most (or all) of these, but if not.....

Grave of the Fireflies--a historical drama detailing the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No real political grandstanding, just a very personal, moving story. Excellent production quality, although not as flashy as most anime.

Ghost in the Shell--not the be-all-end-all of anime that some fans think it is, but a pretty enjoyable action film nonetheless. Supposedly the Wachowski bros. got a lot of inspiration for the Matrix from this....and of course, all the obvious HK wire-fu films.

Akira--Considered a classic among many anime fans. *Very* high production values, rather convoluted but interesting plot. Extremely detailed cell drawings and excellent animation. Characters are a bit thin though, IMO.

Perfect Blue--a modern-day psychological thriller/slasher film. Nothing fancy as far as animation goes, but it's very well written and plays much like a Hitchcock film.

Princess Mononoke--Visually lush fantasy film with environmental/sociological overtones. Directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, long considered one of the greatest directors working in anime.

Castle of Cagliostro--Another film from Hiyao Miyazaki. This one is a light-hearted action/adventure film concerning the exploits of a master thief and his cohorts. Being from 1980, the animation is dated, but the brisk pace, likable characters, and good storytelling make it a blast.

All of these discs are available from domestic retailers, both online and brick'n mortar. I've intentionally left out a few anime TV series, as I find it best to "get into" anime thru movies, as they require less of a time committment.

hope that's useful,
zipflint
Old 08-13-01, 12:09 AM
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ahh all those anime dvd's are classic must haves in my opinion...
classic not necessarily meaning of old age...
Old 08-13-01, 12:57 AM
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I know nothing about anime (except for watching Speed Racer and Clutch Cargo 100 years ago) and this has nothing to do with anything, but...

you may have heard a case a couple of weeks ago in the San Jose, CA area about a 24 yo young man whose 5 1/2 month-old baby died because the baby was left in the car in his car seat for 4 hours. Turns out the guy was at his brother-in-law's house watching anime during that whole time and forgot his baby was in the car. Apparently this guy was unemployed and totally addicted to anime. Go figure...
Old 08-13-01, 02:23 AM
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Originally posted by Yellow Hammer
... you may have heard a case a couple of weeks ago in the San Jose, CA area about a 24 yo young man whose 5 1/2 month-old baby died because the baby was left in the car in his car seat for 4 hours. Turns out the guy was at his brother-in-law's house watching anime during that whole time and forgot his baby was in the car. Apparently this guy was unemployed and totally addicted to anime. Go figure...
Old 08-13-01, 03:39 AM
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Originally posted by sexymama

Double

I actually heard about that a few weeks ago on the radio.
Old 08-13-01, 04:11 AM
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Dude - I couldn't help it - it was a Cowboy Bebop marathon.
Old 08-13-01, 07:48 AM
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Re: Japanese, Korean and other DVDs...

Originally posted by Dagan
City of Lost Souls


Another bizarre Takashi Miike movie. Not much else I can really say about it except try it and either you'll love his stuff or have no clue what to make of it. I have the HK DVD but there's a better Japanese DVD with subs as well.

Bichunmoo
Kind of a Korean Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in style with a very different and interesting story. Great swordplay coreographed by Yuen Woo Ping. There's a good quality fullscreen HK DVD out now but the Korean special edition (w/subs) is due out next week so I'd recommend waiting.

Shiri
An action movie so good that the Korean Special Forces actually honored it with an award for realism! What more needs be said. Get the Korean 2 disc special edition.

Ring1
The creepiest film I've ever seen and a psychological horror masterpiece. More atmosphere than almost any other horror film and no gore. The only subbed DVD is the UK R2 from Tartan which is pretty good quality.

Ring2
Very good follow-up continues where the first left off. Also available in the UK from Tartan.

Avalon
Looks great but I'm waiting for my R2 DVD to show up.

Metropolis
Haven't seen it but all of the reviews have been less than glowing. Apparently a big disappointment.

Stuff from Miike


See City of Lost Souls above.

As far as essential viewing, here are the films I'd recommend with descriptions plaigarized from imdb:

JAPAN

Swallowtail Butterfly:
After a young girl's mother dies, she is cared for by Glico, a brassy hooker, who gives the girl the name "Ageha" (Butterfly). Ageha goes to work for a collection of oddballs who run a junkyard and salvage business. Available on R2 DVD w/subs.

Cure: A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo. The only connection is a bloody "X" carved into the neck of each of the victims. In each case the murderer is found near the victim and remembers nothing of the crime. Detective Takabe and psychiatrist Sakuma are called in to figure out the connection but their investigation goes nowhere. An odd, young man is arrested near the scene of the latest murder, who has a strange effect on everyone who comes into contact with him. Detective Takabe starts a series of interrogations to determine the man's connection with the killings. Available on R2 DVD w/subs.

Audition: Ever felt lonely and decided you wanted some romance back in your life? That’s how Shigeharu Aoyama, a film director, feels. To find the ideal woman, he holds an audition, and chooses the attractive but enigmatic Asami. But the more he investigates her past, the more of a mystery she becomes. He learns all too late that she has very different plans for their relationship… A disturbing film that will leave you reeling with shock. Available on R3 DVD w/subs and coming on R2 in the UK.

Gemini: Yukio is living a charmed life: he is a respected young doctor with a successful practice and a beautiful wife. His only problem is that his wife is suffering from amnesia, and her past is unknown. Things begin to fall apart, however, when both his parents die suddenly, killed by a mysterious stranger with Yukio's face. Only when Yukio confronts this stranger will the mystery of his identity, and his wife's past, be revealed. Available on R3 DVD and better R2 DVD from Japan.

Uzumaki: In a small town in Japan, Kirie comes upon her boyfriend's father silently videotaping a snail. He seems unaware of her presence and she thinks no more of it. Later, the mans obsession with spirals becomes more and more bizarre, ending in his suicide in a washing machine which turn his body into a spiral. Soon other inhabitants become possesed with different forms of spirals, one student seems to be mutating into a snail, another's hair becomes strangely medusa-like. The entire town becomes possesed. Available on all region HK DVD.

Wild Zero: Just the best horror/action/zombie/punk rock/love story ever made! Starring the great Japanese garage punk band Guitar Wolf. Available on R2 DVD.

KOREA

Jakarta
: Phenomenal heist-type comedy/action film. Great story and acting. Available on Korean DVD.

Peppermint Candy: We watch the downfall of a man's life in reverse. It begins with his suicide and we see the tragic events in his life that led to this moment. Available fullscreen only on Korean DVD.

Tell Me Something: Great tense Seven-ish horror/thriller. Defintely worth seeing. Available on Korean or HK DVD. Both are about the same.

I could recommend dozens more but this post is pretty long already. E-mail me and I'll be happy to help you with more. BTW, the best places to get these DVDs are:

Japanese: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp
Hong Kong: http://www.dddhouse.com
Korean: http://www.dvdasian.com
UK: http://www.blackstar.co.uk
Old 08-13-01, 04:03 PM
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Thank you to all have replied - you've been extremely helpful, and I appreciate it very much. This already looks like good grounds to an expanding of my filmic horizons, and I have you guys to thank.

So anybody else have anything to add to these lists?
Old 08-14-01, 07:55 PM
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other Korean movies that have received much acclaim are:

The Foul King
Joint Security Area
Friend


Anyone know the cheapest place to pick up the Shiri 2-disc set?
Old 08-14-01, 08:05 PM
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Has anyone seen Takeshi Kitano's movie, Brother? Is it any good?
Old 08-15-01, 10:18 PM
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Yeah, Brother is good but not nearly as good as Takeshi's last couple movies. If you aren't a Takeshi fan you'll probably not like it at all...
Old 08-25-01, 02:34 AM
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Korean Movies

I'd check out http://www.koreanfilm.org/index.html and its Annual Reports on reviews of notable movies.

Personally, I'd recommend that you read the reviews of:
JSA(2000): Probably will be the best selling Korean movie(for now). Not on dvd yet, but a definite keeper when it's out.
ATTACK OF THE GAS STATION(1999): Satirical and comical look at society.

Although not reviewed, BEAT(1996?) is probably the movie for late '90s X-geners. It's a story of a couple of h.s. kids who drop out and join a gang as thugs. Cinematography influences of HK's Wong Kar-Wai, I think.

If you are really a film connossieur and don't mind slower-paced movies:
PEPPERMINT CANDY(2000)
GREEN FISH(1997)
SOPYONJAE

I personally didn't like SHIRI(1999), though.
Old 07-12-02, 12:41 PM
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In case you're interested, a follow up on the guy who left his 5-month old son in the car while he was watching Japanese anime videos - the trial is taking place this week.

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/3646973.htm

No mention of which ones he was watching...
Old 07-12-02, 06:15 PM
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which is the best version

this is a great site for quick referenceing, although after you get a glimpse i would still reccomend a search to provide info letting you know what version is bet for you



dvd compare
Old 07-12-02, 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by Yellow Hammer
In case you're interested, a follow up on the guy who left his 5-month old son in the car while he was watching Japanese anime videos - the trial is taking place this week.

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/3646973.htm

No mention of which ones he was watching...
I told the court I was watching Cowboy Bebop and they dismissed it... Wow - way to resurrect an old thread. You've got a good memory. This thread is almost a year old now and I had completely forgotton about it.
Old 07-12-02, 08:07 PM
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actually that's how I refound the thread - I did a search on the word 'Cowboy Bebop'!

and ever since you mentioned that thing last year, I now have etched in my mind an image of you looking like that dude on trial now. (Hope your girlfriend's a bit better looking though...)

Last edited by Yellow Hammer; 07-12-02 at 08:15 PM.
Old 07-12-02, 08:15 PM
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Old 07-13-02, 11:58 AM
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Re: brief anime list

Originally posted by zipflint
Ghost in the Shell--not the be-all-end-all of anime that some fans think it is, but a pretty enjoyable action film nonetheless. Supposedly the Wachowski bros. got a lot of inspiration for the Matrix from this....and of course, all the obvious HK wire-fu films.
Certainly not the "end-end-all-be-all" of anime, but then again, what is?! That being said, when it comes down to production values, absolutely drop dead gorgeous backgrounds, and some fairly thought provoking themes - I think it definitely deserves much of the credit it has garnered. It's a film that I think needs to be watched several times in order to appreciate not only the quality of animation, but the very poignant themes within (what are the lines between humanity and machine?).

Very few anime can match the majesty of the art in this film. And it was produced way back in 1995!

Akira--Considered a classic among many anime fans. *Very* high production values, rather convoluted but interesting plot. Extremely detailed cell drawings and excellent animation. Characters are a bit thin though, IMO.
I've always been quite disappointed by this anime. The production values were extremely high - they pushed the bar of animation several giant leaps forward - but the plot and characters were atrocious compared to the FAR superior manga. Katsuhiro Otomo himself directed the film version and it boggles my mind how much he slaughtered his original vision. Convoluted is the perfect way to describe it - the entire film feels rushed, compacted and very little of the depth of the source material is revealed.

Great visuals, some fantastic action sequences and a memorable score though. But it's still a bitter pill (pun intended) to swallow when you realize what it could have been.

TETSUOoOOoOO!!!

Perfect Blue--a modern-day psychological thriller/slasher film. Nothing fancy as far as animation goes, but it's very well written and plays much like a Hitchcock film.
See if you can catch the scene lifted frame-by-frame by Darren Aronofsky for his Requiem For A Dream.

-matt
Old 07-13-02, 03:23 PM
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Re: Re: brief anime list

Originally posted by raithen
See if you can catch the scene lifted frame-by-frame by Darren Aronofsky for his Requiem For A Dream.

-matt
You mean this?

link 3
link 2
link 1 is gone from the forum

Here's the picture I made and posted:

Old 07-14-02, 09:30 PM
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Another recommended Japanese Director

He hasn't been mentioned yet so I'll add the name Seijun Suzuki:

3 films I recommend are available subtitled in English:

R1 - NTSC - Branded To Kill
R1 - NTSC - Tokyo Drifter
R2 - PAL - Gate of Flesh

Additionally there are some Japanese only releases (R2, NTSC) but they aren't subtitled (I may still seek out his newest film).
Old 07-14-02, 09:35 PM
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I think since this thread was started about a year ago, the original question has already been answered (although I too have been tempted to answer it again)... Is the originator still posting at this forum?
Old 07-19-02, 07:46 PM
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ok I promise not to post any more about this sad topic, but the guy who left his baby in the car while deciding to watch anime videos for 3 hours was found guilty of manslaughter.

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/bayarea/3697179.htm
Old 07-19-02, 11:31 PM
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I doubt if he will serve any time though. Even his wife doesn't want him locked-up. Very sad. The defense was pretty pathetic too.

$0.02

See you didn't post any more, I did.
Old 07-20-02, 05:11 AM
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First of all, it's a baby - not a man. Secondly, the baby wasn't slaughtered. I hate that term "Manslaughter" - it just sounds like the person was butchered up with a meat cleaver. Anyway - it was a baby and he's ignorant and he shouldn't be put in charge of a child - but that doesn't mean he should go to jail or anything. Maybe a fitting punishment would be to force him to have a vasectomy.

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