Take Aim at the Police Van
aka その護送車を狙 aka Sono gososha o nerae: ‘Jusango taihisen’ yori
Screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa
Based on a story by Kazou Shimada
Directed by Seijun Suzuki
The Nikkatsu borderless action train continues, this time with a police guard looking to uncover the conspiracy to kill prisoners that he took the fall for. Take Aim at the Police Van gets attention as an early piece from Seijun Suzuki, before he got bored enough to try the widespread experimentalization of his flicks.
Michitaro Mizushima (Underworld Beauty) stars as Daijiro Tamon, the guard on a police prisoner transport van that is hit with gun fire and two prisoners are killed. Because someone must take the blame, Tamon is suspended for six months, which gives him plenty of time off to find out who shot at the van and why. Thus begins an investigation that will see Tamon sucked into the world of sex trafficking, hidden behind fronts of modeling agencies. This gives an excuse to have lots of attractive women running around, which gets even more glaring as most of the male characters range from seedy to extra seedy to so full of seeds they’re being sold at garden supply stores.
Tamon distinguishes himself as a guard because he treats the prisoners fairly, this gives him enough of a reputation that he gets more doors opened to him when he starts hunting for clues. It also seems to say something about the Japanese prison system if just treating someone like a human being is commendable behavior. Not that we have problems like that in modern day America…
The prisoners that were killed don’t seem to be connected at all, but the more Tamon digs, the more he finds connections to something bigger. A missing sister to one of the prisoners who was working as a dancer is connected to another dancer that was watching the police van just before it was fired upon. The dancer, Tsunako Ando (Mari Shiraki), is dating another prisoner from the van, Goro Kashima (Shoichi Ozawa), who has a mysterious new job that he promises will earn a lot of money. And everyone seems connected to the Hamaju Talent Agency run by Yuko Hamashima (Misako Watanabe), who took over when her father Jube (Shinsuke Ashida) fell ill. But a rival firm has popped up and they are poaching each others’ talent.
Bad, Movie Reviews Tags:
Akira Hisamatsu, Hiroshi Osa, Japan, Kazou Shimada, Kotoe Hatsui, Mari Shiraki, Michitaro Mizushima, Misako Watanabe, Reiko Arai, Ryohei Uchida, Saburo Hiromatsu, Seijun Suzuki, Shinichi Sekizawa, Shinsuke Ashida, Shoichi Ozawa, Tatsuo Matsushita, Toru Abe, Toyo Fukuda
I haven’t been this miserable since I ran away with that old guy and had to pretend I was kidnapped. I mean, since I was kidnapped!
I take back my statement last week about Lifetime’s lack of confidence in The Wrong Girl
, because this week the links for Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story
are also broken! This is especially weird since Lifetime went the extra distance to provide more thank just a low-rez trailer, even including behind the scenes stuff! Not that you can get there from the main MyLifetime.com/movies site, mind you…
Based on a true story. On the afternoon of August 3, 2013, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson was abducted after finishing cheerleading practice in a San Diego suburb. When the bodies of her mother and brother were found in the burned home of family friend James DiMaggio later that day, an AMBER Alert was issued, and a frantic multi-state manhunt for Hannah began. For a week she was kept prisoner by the increasingly unstable DiMaggio as they made their way across the state. One week later, the two were found in Idaho and DiMaggio was killed in a shootout with FBI agents, leaving Hannah as the sole survivor. As the dust settled, questions began to emerge about the nature of the relationship between Hannah and her kidnapper. Was Hannah purely a victim of a depraved adult, or is it possible she was more complicit in the tragic events?
Ah, kidnapping conspiracy theories. Every internet commenter will feel justified now!
Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story stars Scott Patterson (Little Big League), Jessica Amlee (Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus 3-D), Brian McNamara (I Know Who Killed Me), Jay Pickett (Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North), Susie Castillo (Holiday Engagement), and Tim Abell (Snow White: A Deadly Summer ) It’s directed by Peter Sullivan (Christmas Under Wraps, High School Possession), who also wrote the story along with Jeffrey Schenck (Chupacabra vs. the Alamo) and Hanz Wasserburger (A Novel Romance), the latter also doing the screenplay.
Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story premieres Saturday, May 23rd on Lifetime!
Photo via Hybrid LLC/Jack Zeman/Lifetime
aka 錆びたナイフ aka Sabita Naifu
Written by Shintaro Ishihara
Directed by Toshio Masuda
Yukihiko Tachibana (Yujiro Ishihara) is released from prison and trying to go straight, after spending time for killing the man who raped and murdered his girlfriend. But the crime of what happened to her still haunts him. Meanwhile, the cops look for witnesses to murders committed by the local yakuza boss, something Tachibana unwittingly became during his time as a thug. But when he and fellow witness Makoto Terada (Akira Kobayashi) get approached by the cops, they get pulled back into the underworld, and soon there will be a whole lot more murders as the yakuza moves to silence everyone and Tachibana discovers his girl was attacked by more people when she was killed.
The debut picture of future hitmaker Toshio Masuda, Rusty Knife weaves a believable web of police seeking justice through the courts, yakuza bribing and murdering their way clear, and the people caught in the middle. It’s only really handicapped by the too obvious reveal of who the real villain is, his character existing entirely to be a big reveal and contributing little else. The Nikkatsu action format still had a few kinks to work out, but the overall style is coming along nicely.
Mie Kitahara clocks in another appearance alongside frequent costar and future husband Yujiro Ishihara as Keiko Nishida, a daughter of a politician who killed himself, until information comes to light that it was staged and he was murdered. Tachibana and Terada are two of the witnesses to the staging, but despite knowing Nishida, he doesn’t realize it was her father he saw being killed until much later. Unfortunately, she seems largely an extraneous character, only sharing a few scenes with Ishihara. While it is nice from a world building stand point, it becomes a negative ding in the film on the emotional front.
Bad, Movie Reviews Tags:
Akira Kobayashi, Japan, Joe Shishido, Mari Shiraki, Masao Shimizu, Mie Kitahara, Noaki Sugiura, Shintaro Ishihara, Shoji Yasui, Toshio Masuda, Toshio Takahara, Yujiro Ishihara
Just because I’m left handed it doesn’t mean I’m the wrong girl!
You can tell Lifetime has a lot of faith in its latest original movie The Wrong Girl
(aka Fatal Friends
), because it hasn’t even bothered to release any promotional material besides a trailer. No pictures, no real information, and the link on the MyLifetime.com website doesn’t even point to the right place. But I have faith in The Wrong Girl
, because someone has to. That’s what I do, step up when no one else will.
Sophia is the perfect 17-year-old girl. She studies hard, stays out of trouble, and is a promising pianist. The only problem is that she’s always been quiet and keeps to herself, so when she strikes up a friendship with Grace, the new girl in school, her parents are happy for her. Unfortunately it’s not long before Grace starts showing signs of being possessive. Then, when she tries to destroy Sophia’s family and seduce her would-be boyfriend, Sophia can’t help but wonder if she’s befriended the wrong girl. Now, Sophia must uncover Grace’s secret past and learn the truth about her new friend before it’s too late.
Lifetime continues to teach us that the only thing more dangerous than men are new girls at school.
The Wrong Girl stars Jamie Luner (Stranger in My Bed) as Ashley Allen, Kirsten Prout (Joy Ride 3) as Michelle, Sarah Grey (Embrace of the Vampire) as Sophia Allen, Nels Lennarson (Spooky Buddies) as Dylan Allen, Dominika Juillet (Dracano) as Hana, Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) as Mr. Clark, and Nicole Muñoz (Chupacabra vs. the Alamo) as Allison. It is directed by Jason Bourque (Stonados) and written by the incredibly prolific Peter Sullivan (Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, every The Dog Who Saved… movie)
The Wrong Girl premieres Saturday, May 16, on Lifetime!
I Am Waiting
aka 俺は待ってるぜ aka Ore wa matteru ze
Written by Shintaro Ishihara
Directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara
Japan’s cinematic output in the 50s and 60s was astounding, and the quality of films from that period form a reputation that is hard to match. It is no wonder that huge swaths of them got festival coverage over the years, and many get released in the US under premium labels. Nikkatsu Studios produced a whole series of “borderless action” films (as a response to US and French film box office success) and is where Seijun Suzuki made his fantastic flicks, at least until he got fired after constant clashes with the studio head and Nikkatsu later turned into a roman porno factory. But those hundreds of films still exist, and are still awesome. And while many haven’t been seen outside of Japan in forever, the growing appreciation means more and more get releases over time. Hence, I Am Waiting popping up in 2009.
I Am Waiting is a tale in two acts. Joji Shimaki (Yujiro Ishihara) meets a mysterious woman at the pier who calls herself Saeko (Mie Kitahara) – we find out later her name is Reiko. It’s clear she’s on the run from something traumatic, and we slowly learn that she is a cabaret singer at a yakuza club and one of the gang members got too frisky, so she bashed his head and ran, thinking him dead. Her dreams of being a singer soured after he vocal chords were ruined by an illness, and now she’s trapped in a contract at the yakuza nightclub. Her time with Joji helps her to briefly escape that life, working as his waitress and hanging out in town with Joji. But she’s recognized, and the yakuza come to reclaim her, until she finishes her contract. She spends the last half of the film again working in the nightclub, which Joji returns to occasionally as part of his story.
While the yakuza are confronting Joji, Joji gets a clue into his big mystery, the whereabouts of his brother. His brother was supposed to go to Brazil a year ago to buy land for a farm, but hasn’t contacted him since the boat left port, and Joji’s letters were returned. But one of the yakuza had a medallion that Joji’s bother carried, and the focus switches to Joji’s mystery as he works to unravel just what happened to his brother, and the culprits work to try to cover up their deeds.
Bad, Movie Reviews Tags:
Hideaki Nitani, Isamu Kosugi, Japan, Ken Hatano, Kenjiro Uemura, Kojiro Kusanagi, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Mie Kitahara, Shintaro Ishihara, Yujiro Ishihara
Will you be my dead husband in Fuller House?
As we all know from romantic comedies, people who set up romances know the least about having stable romances in their lives. Thus Candace Cameron Bure’s character, who tries to reignite her marriage, except her husband is all about his job and not his family, which is really bad as Mother’s Day is approaching AND this is Hallmark Channel, the channel from the greeting card company that made you feel guilty about not buying your mom enough stuff on Mother’s Day. So you know things are going to go down!
When a professional matchmaker’s own marriage loses its spark, she seeks to recharge the relationship by asking her husband out on a blind date. As Mother’s Day approaches and their romance starts to rekindle, she wonders if her career-driven husband will finally learn to put his family’s needs before his job.
Dang it, Ian, get it together!!!
Just the Way You Are stars Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House) as Jennie, Ty Olsson (Godzilla) as Ian, Farryn VanHumbeck (Big Eyes) as Kate, Natasha Calis (The Possession) as Chloe, and Kristine Cofsky (No Men Beyond This Point) as Donna. It’s directed by Kristoffer Tabori (High Plains Invaders) and written by Harvey Frost and Michael Murray
Just the Way You Are airs Saturday, May 9th on Hallmark Channel!
Photo via Hallmark/Bettina Strauss