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Happiness of the Katakuris back to product details

Odd and ...just odd
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written by rpmfla June 3, 2008 - 8:37 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
After a while, I began thinking that maybe the director started out making a straight horror film but noticed the actors and actresses were not very good and that maybe the script was weak, and then he noticed one of the crew humming a tune between takes, and he thought "Why not plug some musical numbers into this vaguely horrific story?".

People who like horror films will not like it because it is not horrific. People who like a good story will not enjoy it because there just isn't much of a plot. People who like musicals will not like it because the singing and dancing are awful.

I did like the animation sequences though, and that is what made me give it an average score. The rest of the film was just not my cup of tea.

The role of a lifetime for Sawada Kenji!
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written by AHurley July 20, 2004 - 1:27 AM PDT
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Illuminated cherry blossoms glitter as they fall to the ground, introducing a ballad about the yearning to fall in love. A con man passing himself off as the nephew of Queen Elizabeth flies through the air (and animated floral galaxies) as he sings about his love for Shizue, whom he just met. And a claymation demon with wings hides in a bowl of soup until it pounces out and grabs the heart-shaped uvula of a pretty young woman? What? Yeah. It's a strange movie. But it's not scary or gross like other Miike movies, and it has some truly clever and delightful moments. There are a few fatal "incidents," but they have the gore level of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video (or perhaps a mild episode of "Celebrity Death Match") and the emotional impact of a saccharine Hallmark card. And if you know who Sawada Kenji is, please rent the movie! The artist formerly known as "Julie" added acting to his list of talents a few decades ago, and he manages to bring all of his gifts to his performance as the father who moves his family to the countryside, where they run a bed and breakfast qua death factory. I've seen him in tv shows, in concert, and on stage, and I've never seen Sawada this good. The karaoke-style music video in the middle of the movie has him pulling out old "Julie" moves and belting out choruses in a way that only he can do. Spellbound! I was completely spellbound. As for the story, there is something so simultaneously horrifying and tender about the way the Katakuri family supports one another that I'm not sure whether the film is an awful admonition to repress ("forget about bad things and they'll go away") or a celebration of tenderness in the face of adversity. But it doesn't really matter if, like me, you'll be happy enough just to see Sawada Kenji finally get the role he was born to play. Whether desperately pleading for his wife's life, sulking in defeat, or skipping through the fields in song, he is at his very best. Oh, and those of you who like freaky & morbid movies or generally quirky stuff will probably like the Katakuri experience even if you don't know Julie.

Utterly weird
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written by starbuck July 2, 2004 - 8:10 PM PDT
8 out of 12 members found this review helpful
This is without a doubt a the absolute strangest film I have ever seen. Funny, morbid, gross, heart-warming, and bizzare. Not to be missed.

Wasted Potential
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written by teardownthewall December 1, 2003 - 4:17 PM PST
6 out of 19 members found this review helpful
Admittedly, other reviews had already forewarned me that this was indeed a VERY different film than previous offerings by Miike. However, I really had no idea I should expect something like this. The very first scene is completely surreal and immediately engaging. Unfortunately it is never further explained nor does it have any bearing on what we are about to watch.

HotK goes on to lay the groundwork of the story and introduce some very interesting characters. There are a few notable moments of stunning camerawork, flashy movement, eye-popping color... indeed this might be a great movie to watch.... WITH THE SOUND OFF. Because soon enough, here come the songs. The musical numbers are mostly torturous, shmaltzy pop numbers. Rather than complement the movie, they distract and interrupt the flow. Just as it seems the film is gaining some kind of momentum, we get a frustrating and often confusing song to kill it. The effect is that the movie becomes repetitive and tiresome. Ultimately, it declines further into the absurd and fizzles out into 'climax' that just leaves one feeling cheated.

If you feel you must rent it, then do so. But if you feel compelled to turn it off 45 minutes in, don't resist the urge. It doesn't get any better...

Brilliant mix of black humor and musical
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written by msilenus April 13, 2003 - 7:02 PM PDT
18 out of 21 members found this review helpful
It is hard to explain how wonderful and twisted the experience of watching this film is. By turns hilarious,silly and disturbing its one of a kind. No director in recent times can deliver the goods in such a range of cinematic genres as Takashi Miike. If you like cult exploitation this is a must for viewing late at night with a head full of acid and a tumbler of white russians. Oh and watch out for claymation angel looking things when eating rice and dumplings ;)

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(Average 7.10)
466 Votes
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