Cruel Gun Story (Review)

Cruel Gun Story

aka 拳銃残酷物語 aka Kenju Zankoku Monogatari
Cruel Gun Story 拳銃残酷物語
Written by Haruhiko Oyabu
Screenplay by Hisataka Kai
Directed by Takumi Furukawa

Cruel Gun Story 拳銃残酷物語
Cruel Gun Story is a standout entry from the Nikkatsu Noir boxed set, possibly my favorite (with A Colt Is My Passport a close second) of the set, and maybe even one of the better Japanese noir flicks out there. A criminal is hired to lead a heist, but before you can say “setup”, there is an onion farm’s worth of layers of betrayals that spiral out of control into the inevitable conclusion. Part of the drama is not if certain characters will betray everyone, but just when and how they will do so. The mix of everyone looking out for themselves while things keep hitting the worst of all possible universes for outcomes suggests the cruel object isn’t the gun, but life itself for those who choose to live by it and anyone caught in the crossfire.

Joji Togawa is fresh out of the joint, but before he even has a chance to breathe, he’s being scoped out by a yakuza boss to run and armored car heist. Togawa is what he is, and ends up agreeing, though he’s big on saying how this is his one last job. So we know things aren’t going to end well. Togawa meets his team with his old friend, Shirai (Yuji Odaka), it includes Okada (Shobun Inoue) – a former boxer, and Teramoto, a big mouth junkie (and whose girl, Keiko (Minako Kazuki), tags along). Another member is rejected immediately when it’s revealed he easily spills his guts when threatened.
Cruel Gun Story 拳銃残酷物語
The target is an armored car full of 127 million yen in racetrack money, and guarded by motorcycle cops. The plan to snag the car goes off with only a few minor hitches, but that’s when things hit the fan and fall apart at the same time. The team is betrayed from without and within, leading to the survivors behind holed up while a swarm of yakuza blast their guns at them. The scope of the crime is enough that the entire country is looking for them, and there is nowhere for Togawa to hide. Even attempts to fight against the yakuza hunting them ends worse than things were before. Yakuza Boss Matsumoto’s (Hiroshi Nihonyanagi) son is kidnapped, but the other yakuza care more about the money than the boss’s son’s life.

The only way out is to flee the country, Togawa calling in a favor of Takizawa (Tamio Kawaji), who loved Togawa’s sister before she was crippled in an accident (and still loves her). Togawa’s sister sits in a home for the disabled, and despite her pleas for her brother to be good, she knows he’s gone and done something bad again.
Cruel Gun Story 拳銃残酷物語
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 27, 2015 at 8:04 am

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A Colt Is My Passport (Review)

A Colt Is My Passport

aka 拳銃は俺のパスポート aka Koruto wa Ore no Pasupoto
A Colt is My Passport 拳銃は俺のパスポート
Based on the novel by Shinji Fujiwara
Screenplay by Hideichi Nagahara and Nobuo Yamada
Directed by Takashi Nomura

A Colt is My Passport 拳銃は俺のパスポート
Shuji Kamimura (Joe Shishido) and his protege/sidekick Shun Shiozaki (Jerry Fujio) are contract killers who are brought in to eliminate a yakuza boss by a rival family. Things go downhill after they complete the mission, getting captured, escaping, and becoming holed up in a hotel while their employer is incentivized to betray them. While in hiding, hotel worker Mina (Chitose Kobayashi) falls for Shuji and dreams of escaping her trapped existence with him, but can they make it out as the jaws of their pursuers closes in?

Director Takashi Nomura is relatively unknown in the west, A Colt is My Passport seems to be his only film that has had a subtitled release. Sort of a shame, because Colt shows a lot of creative flare that manages to use visuals to show important bits of the story without spoonfeeding it to us. Nomura seems to be a fan of Westerns, incorporating elements such as a whistling/harmonica-filled soundtrack (which also has the normal hip jazz sounds of other Nikkatsu noir flicks) and a final showdown in a dusty landfill that is the spitting image of a desolate Western desert landscape.
A Colt is My Passport 拳銃は俺のパスポート
There is a neat sequence detailing yakuza boss Shimazu’s (Kanjuro Arashi) daily routine and how everything is on a schedule and everything is bulletproof, shown to Shuji and Shun by the man who hired them to kill Shimazu. Later we go through the daily routine again, with camera pans showing no one is tailing Shimazu that day. We see Shuji has already picked when and where he will strike and it setting it up.

Kamimura and Shiozaki end up hiding out at a hotel picked for them by the boss who hired them, Tsugawa (Asao Uchida). It becomes clear from the dialogue that this is not the first time the hotel has been used to hide people, and some of those people have met gruesome fates. Hotel employee Mina was in love with one such man, who was shot by a killer named Senzaki, someone she also used to date and is one of the many goons looking for Kamimura and Shiozaki. Mina’s ability to pick bad boyfriends strikes again with her love for Shuji Kamimura, she seems more in love with the idea of escaping with someone that she sees as noble than actually being in love. And Shuji does play fair, even as he’s being betrayed. He drugs Shun so when they are attacked he won’t suffer. But Kamimura is just too good to be easily taken out, and Mina has an escape plan by ship thanks to crew members that frequent the hotel restaurant.
A Colt is My Passport 拳銃は俺のパスポート
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 20, 2015 at 8:49 am

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The Bride He Bought Online brings killer internet pranks to Lifetime!

The Bride He Bought Online Lifetime

Is there anything more scary than high school girls??? Okay, maybe the internet…

Teenagers and the internet are like gasoline and matches in the hands of Lifetime! With The Bride He Bought Online, teen girls pranking a guy into thinking he bought a woman turns tragic when the man turns out to be crazy. I know, disturbed people on the internet? What fiction! But is is real enough for our trio of heroines, who aren’t that nice either, so who are we rooting for? Blood and death, that’s who!

The Bride He Bought Online is the directorial debut of Lifetime Channel superstar Christine Conradt, who has written around forty of the channel’s most ridiculous movies, including most of the “_____ at 17” films and the “____________ He/She Met Online” movies. Conradt knows how to deliver a good script full of crazy scenes, and her connections have probably allowed her to be on set for many of these films. So I think things are in good hands, and I hope this is the beginning of a whole new slew of Christine Conradt Lifetime mania!

Driven by the growing popularity of a prank blog they’ve created, three teen girls decide to play a ‘catfishing’ joke. They create a fake profile of a beautiful woman on an international mail order bride site, and then wait to see which “pathetic losers” fall for her. One does– a lonely, unstable computer programmer named John. After weeks of being led on, John buys the fictitious woman a plane ticket to come visit him in the U.S. The girls show up at the airport to film his devastation, but when his bride doesn’t show, something snaps in John. The teens have no clue that the man they duped is deeply disturbed and will plan an inconceivable revenge that they will be lucky to survive.

Teens, a crazy guy, the Internet coming to kill you, midriffs, Baywatch alums, kidnappings, and follower count obsessions mean this Lifetime flick looks tops!

The Bride He Bought Online stars Anne Winters, Travis Hammer, Lauren Gaw, Annalisa Cochrane, Alexandra Paul, and Jamie Luner. It is written and directed by Christine Conradt.

The Bride He Bought Online premieres Saturday, July 18th on Lifetime!

via Lifetime!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

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Lethal Seduction handcuffs Lifetime and demands love!

Lethal Seduction Lifetime
The cougars are out in force, and they’re coming for your son! Lethal Seduction brings crazy back to Lifetime, this time with a dangerous older woman who can’t spend two scenes without breaking out handcuffs, if the trailer is to be believed. There is even handcuffed pool sex, which promises to be the Lifetime version of the Showgirls pool scene. Lethal Seduction looks amazing, and Dina Meyers is always awesome, so let’s hope that she gets away with everything in the end. I always root for the villain when the villain is Dina Meyers!

High School senior MARK RICHARDS has never minded his overprotective widowed mother, TANYA, and is a good son to her as he prepares to go off to Princeton in the fall. However, when he comes under the sexual spell of the rapacious, manipulative older woman CARISSA BARRINGTON, he finds himself in the middle of two strong, unreasonable women–one of whom is insane…

Lethal Seduction stars Amanda Detmer, Caleb Ruminer, Dina Meyer, Brian Thomas Smith, and Sam Lerner. It’s directed by Nancy Leopardi, who directed the amazing Nanny Cam. It’s written by Roger Stigliano and Michael Waite (My Santa)

Lethal Seduction premieres Saturday, July 11th on Lifetime!

via Lifetime!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 11, 2015 at 11:08 am

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Kept Woman (Review)

Kept Woman

Kept Woman Lifetime
Written by Doug Barber and James Taylor Phillips
Directed by Michel Poulette

Kept Woman Lifetime
Kept Woman is loony Lifetime insanity with a scary dose of all-too-close to being ripped from the headlines. While Kept Woman isn’t based on a true story, it’s inspired by real events, but then gets a looking glass twist that incorporates the scary world of Men’s Rights Activists. Some spoilers below.
Kept Woman Lifetime
Newlyweds Jessica and Evan Crowder (Courtney Ford and Andrew W. Walker) have a bad experience in the city, including getting robbed, and then coming home to find an armed robber in their apartment. This is enough to scare Jessica into demanding a house in the suburbs. But thanks to them being young and poor, the only thing they can afford is way way way out there, meaning Evan has a hellacious commute and barely gets to see his wife, who now works at home doing graphic design. They maxed out their savings on the place, leading to fights over money and the lack of quality family time. Worse of all, Jessica’s fear of the city and wanting to live somewhere safer put her right next door to someone far more dangerous than some random guy with a gun who wants drug money.
Kept Woman Lifetime
Shaun Benson breathes life into the creepy Simon, fleshing him out as a master manipulator who belief in his own superiority and place as a patriarchal god becomes his undoing. To the outside, Simon comes off as a reclusive hipster dork who has flashes of creepiness while trying to be nice. Those bits of creepy words turn out to be oozing from the cracks of his facade, and the creep monster underneath is a frightening beast capable of dishing out mental and physical torture while holding a carrot for those that willingly fall in line with his brainwashing.

Kept Woman Lifetime

I think that “POLICE” label needs to be bigger. BIGGER!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 5, 2015 at 8:24 am

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Perfect High pops some Lifetime pills!

Perfect High Lifetime

Drugs messed up my hair. Don’t do drugs, unless you got a brush.

If you can’t trust drug dealers, who can you trust? Unfortunately for these upper class youths, their drug dealer turns out to be a liar who is slipping them heroin. You might wonder how you can confuse heroin with other drugs, but since these kids start out with painkillers and then graduate to shoving any type of pill they can get their hands on in their mouths (even, presumably, Flintstones Vitamins!), they aren’t going to stop and look at the pill to see all the heroin oozing out of it. Okay, I don’t know what heroin pills look like, but perhaps they are liquicaps? Gel-caps? Whatever the case, there’s also love going on, guaranteeing Perfect High being filled with lots of perfect teenage angst and you can bet someone will be dead or wish they were by the time the credits roll. Most of you know that as why we watch the Lifetime flicks!

From the trailer there is a dance group, teens freaking out, taking random pills, and of course some idiot passes out while in a car, causing the teen actresses to scream and become dramatic scene chewers. It will be hilarious and awesome.

Inspired by a true story. A star high-school dancer starts using prescription painkillers after a knee injury sidelines her. Feeling isolated, she is adopted by a popular group, which leads to sharing her pills, having regular “pharm” parties and falling in love for the first time. But when her prescription runs out, they resort to buying pills, only to have their lives forever changed when they discover their classmate dealer has been selling them heroin under the guise of being a cheap Mexican painkiller.

Perfect High stars Bella Thorne (The DUFF), Israel Broussard (The Bling Ring), Daniela Bobadilla (The Cheating Pact), Ross Butler (Teen Beach 2), Matreya Fedor (My Mother’s Future Husband), Jasmine Sky Sarin (A Sister’s Nightmare), and Cassidy Alexa (pretty much just this movie). It’s directed by Vanessa Parise (PopFan) and written by Anne-Marie Hess (usually credited as an editor, this is her first full feature as a writer)

Perfect High premieres June 27th on Lifetime!

via Lifetime!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 26, 2015 at 11:05 pm

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