Film Friday… week 87

Bunraku

Bunraku is a type of Japanese puppetry that makes extensive use of paper, which inspired the aesthetics of this unusual film. A drifter (Josh Hartnett) teams up with a Samurai (Gackt Camui) as they attempt to resolve their individual vendettas with a ruthless local leader (Ron Perlman) and his nine deadly assassins. The reviews for this film were dire but we found it fun and action packed… kind of like if Kill Bill mated with Sin City and spawned an ugly, brightly coloured lovechild. It is without doubt a question of style over substance but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. 3/5

Assasin: The Musical

22 Bullets (L’immortel)

Retired mob boss, Charley Mattei (Jean Reno) surprisingly survives an attempt on his life when he is shot twenty-two times. With his idyllic family life under threat he must go back to his old ways to find out who is trying to get rid of him and why. When he discovers that his best friend (Kad Merad) is behind the hit, Mattei has no choice but to eliminate the threat in the most brutal way possible. In the same kind of vein as Taken this is a satisfying action thriller that kept us engrossed until the end. Highly recommended. 4/5

Come closer… I think I left the oven on

Stake Land

In a world ravaged by a plague that’s turning people into zombie-like vampires, a group of travellers make their way across the USA in the hope of finding the fabled New Eden. Facing not only the threat of attack by vampires, they’re also dogged by a religious rightwing who believe that the plague was sent by god to cleanse the planet of sin, and must band together to stay alive. There’s nothing new about the post apocalyptic road trip but when it’s done as well as this, it’s still a compelling theme. I’m genuinely surprised that I hadn’t heard about this film before Paul recorded it on a whim. A surprising treat. 3.5/5

Bob had eaten his way out of the trunk and he was more than a little mad

Battle Royale

In this cult classic a group of ninth-grade Japanese students is forced to fight each other to the death on a deserted island under a mysterious “Battle Royale Legislation.” With only three days to get down to a sole survivor or all die, the students must wrestle with their consciences as the need for self preservation comes up against friendship, honour and even love. Gruesome, poignant and often disturbing, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the recent Hunger Games, although Suzanne Collins claims never to have seen it and the similarities are relatively surface. In some ways it’s very Japanese in the way it glosses over a lot of details that I would have quite liked to have been privy too. Overall definitely worth a watch assuming you can stomach the violence. 3.5/5

Tomi’s ability to balance a pencil on her head was the envy of her whole class

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