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Gavin Schmitt

  1. Blu-ray Review: "Pulse" (2001)

    A group of young people in Tokyo begin to experience strange phenomena involving missing co-workers and friends, technological breakdown, and a mysterious website which asks the compelling question, "Do you want to meet a ghost?"

    Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa spent years working in the world of "pink" films and direct-to-video movies. He was at this time best known in the west for "Cure" (1997), though it was "Pulse" that would make him an international ...
  2. Blu-ray Review: "Dead or Alive 3: Final" (2002)

    The ace cop of a totalitarian police force and a drifting android play their parts in a post-apocalyptic society. They are destined to fight. Their encounter will change them forever.

    What we have here is Miike going full-on Miike, letting his absurd vision overtake any attempt at a rational film. Some may appreciate that. For me, other than that funky saxophone player, I find it to be a waste of just about everyone's time. The film is rife with references to "Blade Runner", ...
  3. Blu-ray Review: "Dead of Alive 2: Birds" (2000)

    Two contract killers cross paths on the same job and realize they are childhood friends. Together they take a break from killing and visit the small island they once called home. After reflecting on their past lives they decide to team up and use their talents in killing for good... upsetting the crime syndicates they used to work for.

    This film is far sillier than the first, with special effects that make this have almost science fiction qualities (which were absent from part one ...
  4. Blu-ray Review: Takashi Miike's "Dead or Alive" (1999)

    A yakuza of Chinese descent and a Japanese cop each wage their own war against the Japanese mafia. But they are destined to meet. Their encounter will change the world.

    Right off the bat, we get a crazy opening sequence, culminating in a clown and a naked circus act. The film is notable for Takashi Miike's characteristic scenes of ultra-violence and perversity, which come casually littered throughout. Most notoriously, an "enema bath" scene which is juxtaposed with an existential ...
  5. Blu-ray Review: "Ley Lines" (1999)

    A trio of Japanese youths of Chinese descent escape their semi-rural upbringing and relocate to Shinjuku, a special ward in Tokyo, where they befriend a troubled Shanghai prostitute and fall foul of a local crime syndicate.

    Like many of Miike's works, including the two previous "Black Society Trilogy" entries, the film examines the underbelly of respectable Japanese society and the problems of assimilation faced by non-ethnically Japanese people in Japan. Although it may ...
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