Takio Yoshida

Takio Yoshida

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Dolls Review


Terrible
This may not be the most boring film ever made, but it's probably safe to say it's a strain on the attention span. Only a director who enjoys some cult status, it seems to me, would attempt such a thing as using Japanese Bunraku puppets for a model of human behavior while carrying on tragic romances as though they're in some parallel universe. This 2002 film now hitting DVD bins is imagined by Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi). For lovers of the exotic, the reflective, or the stubbornly abstruse, it may pay off. Apart from some stunning visuals, it didn't for me.

After a short prelude in which a Bunraku tragedy is staged as a framework for what is to follow, three intersecting human stories are told simultaneously in a tedious 114 minutes of mystification. In the first, Sawako and boyfriend Matsumoto (Miho Kanno and Hidetoshi Nishijima) walk along public pathways, tied together with a red rope. This is meant for protection and identifies the pair as "'Bound Beggars,' aimless vagabonds to the outside world but desperate to find something forgotten," (according to the promo description).

Continue reading: Dolls Review

Kikujiro Review


Grim
I'd describe Kikujuro if I could. Written, directed by, and starring Takeshi Kitano (best known for the Asia-meets-America gangsta flop Brother), the film is a road trip of two unlikely buds: a crotchety criminal (Kitano) and a doe-eyed little boy (Yusuke Sekiguchi) in search of his mother.

Somehow this bit of whimsy is combined with a pedophile who tries to molest the kid, a guy who spends most of the movie naked (his privates covered by animated butterflies), and a solid, but Western, soundtrack. The road trip itself tends to go around in circles, as does the movie. It's too bad, because Kitano wants to say something about the inexplicable nature of friendship a la Harold and Maude, but it's drowned by a ridiculous storyline and the jarring presence of naked man-buttocks,

Continue reading: Kikujiro Review

Takio Yoshida

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