Category Archives: Japanese Cinema

Homunculus: More of a Romance Drama than a Psychological Horror

In theory, to hear both, Hideo Yamamoto and Takashi Shimizu in a same sentence sounds like an exciting project with lots of potential and that’s what we have in here, sadly it’s only that.

Susumu Nakoshi is a homeless guy, who lives in his car, you can usually find him in a park in Shinjiku, close to a luxury hotel/restaurant.

Medical school student, Manabu Ito, takes interest in him, because Nakoshi lives right in between the two sides of a coin: luxury and poverty.

He offers him a new reason to live, to volunteer in a experiment where he could open his third eye through trepanation and be able to feel again.

After the surgery, he starts seeing people, only with his left eye, as monsters, as distorted humans.

Ito tells him that are “homunculus”, the visualization from deep within the mind, the darkest feelings they have and try to hide and he is able to communicate with them.

The cast and their performances are strong, cinematography it’s good and in general it’s a very stylish film, but we have two big problems here.

The first one, if you haven’t read the manga, time to time doesn’t make sense, feels rushed and without a proper storyline; just the plot and characters are all over the place.
It has too many plot holes, many questions with just a few answers.

The second, it does makes you feel that you must have to read the manga to understand some “whys” and to fill some of the plot holes, but sadly, if you know the manga, you are going to be extremely disappointed with this adaptation, because not only changes the essence of Nakoshi and Ito, but the whole point of this story.

“Homunculus” it’s a story heavy in the psychological and philosophical areas, it makes you feel disgusted, angry, sad, emphatic.

Humans are complex, to try to understand the very concept of this it’s really hard but trying to summarize it in 116 minutes it’s just crazy and that’s why we ended up with something that seems more of a soap opera drama than the very complex and rich artwork that Yamamoto delivered.

This had so much more potential to be a series, I hope someone else tries to do it again and without restrictions because, easily, 90% of the manga was censored.

As a fan of the manga, I’m heartbroken and as a fan of asian cinema in general, I’m confused and disappointed.

Hopefully when we hear these names again, they will be attached to a better project.

WARNING 

These are spoilers for those who have read the manga and want to know the biggest differences between them:

  • Nakoshi is not poor, never goes under plastic surgery, it’s friends with Ken and it’s amnesic. Nanako and him were living together, he doesn’t go crazy with the trepanations and has a happy ending with a girl.
  • Ito looks more like an idol, his only problem is with his father because his father loved more a gold fish. Crossdressing and transgender issues are nonexistent. Makes a huge experiment with Nakoshi and “Nanako” leaving both of them amnesic. He is the one who goes crazy with trepanations, sew his eye and commits suicide.
  • Nanako and Nakoshi are a couple, they live together, she suffers a miscarriage and start fighting in the street where a car runs over her and dies. The girl in the car feels guilty, wants to forget and gets a trepanation, she and Nakoshi believed she was Nanako, after they found out the truth, decided to run away together and start knowing each other as Nakoshi and Chihiro; that’s the ending.
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Ghost of Tsushima movie in the works

A movie adaptation of the best-selling video game Ghost of Tsushima has just been announced.

Firstly, have you played Ghost of Tsushima? I got completely hooked on it. The beautiful samurai-era Japan, galloping your horse through endless beautiful blossom trees. I said this recently on a social media post that “Ghost of Tsushima is so damn gorgeous to look at, you forget you have to behead and destroy the Mongolian army”.

As a fan of samurai movies, I was more than delighted to see that I could play the game in the Japanese language with English subtitles. There is also an option to play the game in black and white. You 100% feel like you’ve become an old-school samurai warrior from an Akira Kurosawa movie. It seems like the creators were huge samurai movies fans and Ghost of Tsushima was their love letter to the genre. The creators of the game were also recently appointed official tour guides of Tsushima Island in Japan.

John Wick director Chad Stahelski has been attached to direct

There’s no doubt Stahelski can do epic violence – we have seen it in the John Wick movies, but I am a little worried. I will still watch the fuck out of it but with Stahelski involved, will Hollywood big execs be involved too?. How authentic will it be? how many Asian and Mongolian actors will be hired for the roles? I hope I am wrong because it really deserves the authenticity that the game got so brilliantly right.

As much as I love Keanu Reeves or any other ass-kicking action star, the last thing I wanna hear is “Keanu Reeves cast as Jin”.

Only time will tell!. As soon as we hear more news I will make sure to update the article. As always, thanks for reading.

Article by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @Moviehooker 
Source:IGN

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New Asian Horror Movies Coming Your Way In 2021

We are back again with another list. This time, focusing on New Asian Horror Movies Coming Your Way In 2021. We hope you enjoy – we got some great stuff to be looking forward to this year. Let’s get to it!

THE MEDIUM (Thailand)

New Asian Horror Movies The Medium Moviehooker Movie-List
New Asian Horror Movies – The Medium

Shutter co-director, Banjong Pisanthanakun teams up with director turned producer Na Hong-jin (The Chaser, The Wailing, The Yellow Sea) for a new Thai traditional horror, The Medium

A shaman is called to a family when one of them gets possessed by a malevolent spirit. That’s all I know, and to be honest, I don’t wanna look into this one too much and watch it knowing as little as possible.

The plot sounds familiar but the team involved gives me hope that The Medium will offer us something refreshing in the possession sub-genre

THE SADNESS (Taiwan)

New Asian Horror Movies – The Sadness

This looks pretty damn crazy. The Sadness is a new viral outbreak from Taiwan that I am sure all the gorehounds, including myself, will love.

An unknown virus mutates and turns infected into crazed cannibals. Again, not much originality regarding the story but is that what we look for when watching a zombie flick?. It is great when one comes along that is completely original but as long the execution is delivered, it’s filled with gore, great looking zombies, decent acting and a high kill count…I could watch the same zombie scenario and never get tired of it. Take Army of the Dead for example: does it look original? absolutely fuckin’ not!: does it look badass? AbsoFuckinlutley! This is what I am hoping for with The Sadness.

HOMUNCULUS (Japan)

Homunculus Netflix Movie
New Asian Horror Movies – Homunculus

Homunculus us based on a manga by Ichi the Killer creator Hideo Yamamoto. It will arrive on Netflix in April and has need described as extreme psychological horror – yay!.

A homeless man undergoes an experiment where he gets a hole drilled in his head. The experiment unlocks his 6th sense and when covering one eye, he can see people for what they really are – pure evil!

THE CINDERELLA ADDICTION (Japan)

New Asian Horror Movies Cinderella Addiction Moviehooker Movie List
New Asian Horror Movies – The Cinderella Addiction

The Cinderella Addiction is about a woman who loses everything she has in one single night; her husband, her house, money…everything. When she thinks that all luck is lost she finds herself falling in love in a fairytale setting with a doctor. Her new fairytale dreamworld shortly crumbles before her when she is involved in a shockingly violent crime.

CHARACTER (Japan)

New Asian Horror Movies – Character

A talented but kind-hearted manga artist called Keigo Yamashiro has trouble creating villains for his stories due to his good nature. He works as an assistant for a well-respected manga author who asks him to go to a house to sketch a “happy” family.

He enters the house to find the family have been murdered and the murderer is still there. Instead of telling the police, he uses him for inspiration for the villain in his manga.

NEXT PAGE FOR MORE TITLES.

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Fukushima 50 – the heroic real-life story of the ultimate scarifice

When it comes to disaster movies, no one can quite do it like Asia. We have had some fantastic releases including, Pandora, The Tunnel, The Tower and Earthquake. The thing is, unlike Hollywood productions with L.A crumbling, and The Rock hanging from helicopters trying to save his family, Asian disaster movies are based on real events. Fukushima 50 is based on the most terrifying event of them all: biblical-scale earthquakes leading to a meltdown putting the whole of Japan and the rest of the world at risk of a nuclear catastrophe worse than Chernobyl. This film follows the heroic actions of the ones that sacrificed their lives to prevent Fukushima from further devastation and reaching a global scale.

OFFICIAL FILM SYNOPSIS:

Japan’s Tohoku Region: at a magnitude of 9.0, the strongest earthquake in the country’s history strikes, triggering a huge tsunami and carnage that would end up killing thousands of people and displacing many more. It mercilessly engulfs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, causing a crippling station blackout. Unable to be cooled, the nuclear reactors quickly turn into hydrogen bombs at the brink of explosion. If the power plant is abandoned, Japan’s destruction is assured. Facing a life or death situation, the power plant workers known as the “Fukushima 50”, including shift supervisor Izaki and plant manager Yoshida, remain on the site until the bitter end. As the world holds its breath, the Fukushima 50 fight for their hometown, their families, and the future of Japan.

Capelight Pictures

FUKUSHIMA 50 Arrived On VOD/Digital Platforms On March 5th

You can check out the trailer below

Trailer

FUKUSHIMA 50

poster for Fukushima 50

Directed by: Setsuro Wakamatsu
Written by: Ryusho Kadota (Book: “On The Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi)and Yoichi Maekawa (Screenplay)
Country of Origin: Japan
Language: Japanese (OV) / English (dub)
Genre: Action & Drama
Distributor: Capelight Pictures
Produced by Tsuguhiko Kadokawa
RunTime: 121minutes

As always, thanks for reading.

Article by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker

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New Asian Films You Should Know About (Japan & South Korea)

We are back again with another brand new list of films for you all. This list will focus on Asian films that I think you should know about. I hope you enjoy it.

For this list we just focus on new upcoming releases from Japan and South Korea. Stay tuned for a new list of movies from different parts of asia including indonesia, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Let’s get to it!

THE FABLE

New Asian Movies You Should Know About 2021 Moviehooker List The Fable

Based on a manga series of the same name, The Fable tells the story of a legendary hitman called Akira, known to everyone else as The Fable.

After years of hard work, killing and commitment, Akira is ordered to take some much-needed time off to relax.

With a part-time job at a design company, Akira’s assassin days seem to be a thing of the past. But his past comes back to haunt him when he finds out that another assassin named Suzuki is targeting someone at the company.

THE CINDERELLA ADDICTION (Melancholy)

Written and directed by Ryohei Watanabe (Shady, Sailor Zombies).

The story of a woman who loses everything she has in one single night and finds herself at the end of the line.

After falling in love again in what seems like a fairytale setting, she commits a horrendous and vicious crime that couldn’t be further from the new life she believes she is leading.

And what a fantastically creepy poster!

BRAVE: GUNJYO SENKI

A group of elite archery students find themselves thrown back in time to the 1500s’ Samurai-era Sengoku Japan.

Not only must they battle ancient samurai warriors but they are about to enter the famous Battle of Okehazama

Also based on a manga series of the same name.

RIDE OR DIE (no poster available)

Ride or Die is a new Japanese murder mystery movie with a crazy psychotic female thinking killing is ok…if you’re doing it for love.

The film focuses or two women, Rei and Nanae. Rei has been in love with Nanae for as long as she can remember.

Things take a crazy turn when Rei kills someone saying she done it in the name of love for Nanae.

Although terrified of Rei, Nanae still risks everything to save Rei from herself and from hurting others.

HOMUNCULUS

New Asian Movies You Should Know About Homunculus Moviehooker Movie List

Based on a hugely successful Manga of the same name and from the creator of ICHI THE KILLER.

Homunculus tells the story of a 34-year-old homeless man Susumu Nakoshi who agrees to undergo an experiment to earn some much-needed cash.

He agrees to have a hole drilled in the centre of his head in a procedure known as trepanation. This experimental and highly dangerous procedure opens up parts of the brain and improves its functions beyond normal human capacity.

After awakening from the operation, he finds that he can now see two different sides to people through each eye. Through one eye, he sees what we see but with his left eye, he sees a much darker, evil and sinister version of that person. He learns that what he is seeing is the dark side of someones dark sub-conscious.

Described as extreme psychological horror. And guess what? it is coming to Netflix this April.

SIGNAL THE MOVIE

Signal (series poster)

South Korean series, Signal is a hugely popular time-bending detective drama about cops on the hunt for a serial killer.

I am guessing you will wanna watch series before you delve into the movie. Both seasons are now available on Netflix.

Like Bong Joon Ho’s Memories of Murder, Signal deals with the same serial killer that inspired Joon’ Ho’s classic.

UNDERDOG

Underdog New Asian Movies You Should Know About

Underdog tells the story of three boxers all from different backgrounds; A struggling boxer, a boxer who grew up in an orphanage and one who is getting a documentary made about him for a comeback fight.

A sports drama infused with some amazing fighting choreography and action.

THE LEGACY OF DR DEATH: BLACK FILE

New Asian Movies You Should Know About Legacy Of Dr Death: Black File

A new Japanese serial killer drama about a doctor who killed his patients. Based on the true story of a doctor who euthanised over 130 patients

Based on the novel The Legacy of Dr. Death by Shichiri Nakayama. Directed by Yoshihiro Fukagawa

That’s it for this list. We hope we have hooked you up with some new future-viewing. As always, thanks for reading.

Article by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker.  
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Alice in Borderland – Cube meets Battle Royale

Based on a popular Manga series of the same name that ran from 2010-2016. Alice in Borderland is Netflix’s most recent live-action adaptation

Well, this is a lot of fun. And yeah, I know, both Cube and Battle Royale are both classics but this is a beautiful blend of both of these, only adapted into a series

After a run-in with the cops, Arisu, Karube, and Segawa hide in a toilet of a local train station. In the blink of an eye, the whole population of Tokyo just vanishes without any explanation. The 3 friends soon find out that they’re all part of a deadly game where the only prize is…escaping with your life.

The contestants are given a task and a certain amount of time to complete it. Failing to complete the task in the given timeframe will result in a gruesome death. There is no escape, the only thing to do is play or die.

The difficulty of each game is determined by the suit of a playing card; 2 of clubs=easy etc. That’s all you really need to know.

Alice in Borderland season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix. Do your eyes and ears a favour and go and check it out this instant!. Season one consists of 8-episodes, so it’s easy enough to binge.

The manga series ran from 2010-2015 and finally finished in 2016. So, we have 5/6 years of story here. I am gonna take a wild guess and say we will be seeing a lot more of Alice in Borderland. There was also a 2014 original video animation adaptation. OVA is a Japanese animation network that primarily produces stuff for home viewing…pretty much like everyone else these days!

You can check out Alice in Borderland and other new upcoming December Netflix titles HERE.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the series.

Article by GG 
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker
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New Netflix Arrivals Coming This Month (with trailers) – Here is our TOP 5

Here is a short list of some films and tv shows that are hitting Netflix this December.

South Korean zombie series, dystopian Japanese sci-fi, post apocalyptic George Clooney drama and mindless violence. Netflix have certainly got some exciting new arrivals this December.

SWEET HOME – 18th December (SERIES)

If any country in the world can do the zombie genre justice then it’s South Korea. And just like the fantastic, Kingdom, this new series breathes life back into the undead giving us a more Lovecraftian type vibe than your typical flesh-eating zombie.

Sweet Home is a new 10-part South Korean live-action zombie series. It is based on a webtoon of the same name.

The series focuses on a recluse man that joins forces with his neighbours in his apartment block when a virus turns people into “savage monsters”.

THE MIDNIGHT SKY – 23rd December (FILM)

George Clooney directs and stars in a post apocalyptic tale. The world is experiencing an unknown catastrophe. Augustine, a lonely scientist must warn a group of astronauts and prevent them from coming back to earth.

Based on the book Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

ALICE IN BORDERLAND – 10th December (SERIES)

A new Netflix series from Japan. 3 gamers find themselves in an empty wasteland Tokyo. They are trapped and forced to participate in a deadly game to survive.

Based on a Manga of the same name from 2014-2015

THE RIPPER – 16th December (DOCUMENTARY)

A new 4-part Netflix original documentary that delves deep into the crimes of Peter Sutcliffe, a Jack the Ripper inspired serial killer who stalked the North of England in the late 1970s.

SPREE – 31st December (FILM)

Spree doesn’t look to be for everyone. It is for fans of shaky-cam, found footage type filming.

A guy called Kurt uses a Uber-like service and goes on a killing spree and streams everything live to try and achieve fame and notoriety.

That’s it for this list, I hope you have found some new content to watch. As always, thanks for reading.

Article by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker
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New South Korean + Japanese Movies Coming 2020/21

A mix of genre films all from Japan and South Korea

It has been a while since I have put a list of South Korean & Japanese movies together for you. Below you will find a list of films coming your way in 2020/21. I hope you enjoy.

Voice Of Silence (South Korea)

Two men work for criminal organisations as crime-scene cleaners. They both receive a job which involves them in the kidnapping of an 11-year-old child.

From what I can see, it looks dark with some elements of comedy. I am not too sure about the comedy side of things but when done right, South Korea can mix them both while still delivering an engaging and fast-paced thriller (check out A Taxi Driver if you haven’t…that’s a perfect example).

Voice Of Silence co-stars Ah-In Yoo who starred in South Korea’s best zombie movie of 2020 #ALIVE

Hope (Japan)

Soon after a young kid goes missing, the parents get the authorities involved in fear that someone may have kidnapped him. Not long after his disappearance, a murder is reported. The person that was murdered was in the same class as the missing child. Evidence then points out that the missing kid may have something to do with the murder of his classmate.

Based on a Japanese novel, Nozomi released in 2016

Tokyo Revengers

The film focuses on a girl getting murdered by a criminal gang. This news deeply affects Takemichi who was once in love with the slain girl. After an accident, Takemichi is then thrown 10-years into the past. He tries to prevent this murder from ever happening. But with changing fate, the consequences are unknown. Someone else will die in her place and Takeimichi soon realises that things should have stayed the way they were.

Tokyo Revengers is based on a Manga of the same name.

Call (S Korea)

The story of two women whose lives are connected and thrown out of control when they receive a mysterious phone call.

When Seo Yeon moves back home she finds an old phone in the house. When she connects the phone, someone else is on the other end of the line. Seo Yeon realizes that the caller is calling from the same house, only they are 20-years apart.

Bolt (Japan)

At first glance, Bolt looks like a typical nuclear disaster movie. One that we have all seen before in movies like South Korean masterpiece Pandora.

While we do have a similar story about a nuclear meltdown, Bolt is explored through three different segments; Bolt, Life & Good Year. Each segment dealing with a different character caught in the middle of the meltdown.

The End Of The Tiny World (Japan)

Kida, Makoto & Yocchi have been friends since childhood. They have a strong bond as all three of them have grown up as orphans. Their lives change forever after they are involved in an event by a criminal gang. Years later, they are all major players in the criminal world but this has been their plan all along, they want revenge for what happened to them all those years ago

The Voice Of Sin (Japan)

The Voice of Sin deals with a journalist investigating an old crime that took place decades ago. A group of people were extorting cash from a number of companies. Their method for extortion was using violence which was enforced by a Japanese criminal gang. When two people find strange cassettes of the crimes their lives are drastically changed forever.

The Voice of Sin is based on an award-winning novel “Tsumi no Koe” by Takeshi Shiota which was released in 2016. The novel is based on a real extortion case that took part in the 80s.

The Werewolf Game: Death Game Operator (Japan)

This one could be my favourite from the list. And I had no idea, this seems like a franchise with the first film released in 2013. I have started reading a little about the movies. Ok, so some ain’t as good as the books it is based on…but hey what’s new?

In a way, the premise reminds of the fantastic Tzameti. I really don’t wanna go into too much here, for both our benefits. The film deals with some sort of game of death. People are kidnapped and forced to participate in a game with the rich & powerful betting on their lives.

The Werewolf Game: Death Game Operator is based on a novel called Jinro Gemu: Death Game.

That’s it for this list. Make sure to check back soon for more exciting content. As always, thanks for reading. Happy Halloween and stay safe wherever you may be!

Words by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker
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New Moviehooker Content on YouTube: 5 Asian Serial Killer Movies

I know I am late to the game but better late than never, right?

I have started uploading different movie-list trailers on YouTube. If you’re a regular reader here on Moviehooker, chances are you’ve already seen most of the films I am talking about. But hey, there are always some movies that slip through the cracks. I hope you find some in these new videos I am making.

This video is under ten-minutes and features 5 Asian serial killer movies. One, that dates back to 1997 called Cure from Japan. The others are quite recent, but lesser-known than movies like I Saw The Devil or The Chaser. I really hope you enjoy it. I am sure I have missed out on some serial killer movies. My aim though is to make these videos as short as possible. I know how bad our attention span can get sometimes. A second part will be uploaded next week.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and turn on the notifications.

This way, you’ll be the first to know when a new video has been uploaded. On my channel, you will also find some reviews of blu-rays…and some content from my gay vampire series, Sange – which is due to start shooting again after August 28th. I can’t wait to shoot the new episode, we have something very special…and hopefully quite disturbing too.

And, if you have any genres that you would like me to cover in any future videos, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. I will try my best to make a video on some great films you hopefully ain’t heard of from the genre you love. I can’t promise haha, but I will try.

Here it is. As always, thanks for reading…and watching.

5 Asian Serial Killer Movies You May Have Missed

Thanks so much for taking the time to watch these videos of films I feel so passionate about.

Words by Gary Gamble 
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker
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Japanese Manga Classic PARASYTE Anime Now Streaming On Netflix

Parasyte, the mind-bending, shape-shifting original Anime is now streaming on Netflix UK/Ireland

Parasyte is a horror/sci-fi Manga which was written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki. The series ran for 7-years between 1988-1995. It has since been adapted into an Anime and also 2 live-action films. The anime is now on Netflix UK/Ireland for us all to enjoy.

It focuses on a high school student named Shinichi Izumi that lives with his parents in Tokyo. One night an alien invasion takes place. Parasitic worm-like aliens fall to earth and find new hosts in humans by burrowing into their ears or nose. When Shinichi lays sleeping with headphones on, he wakes up with one of these parasitic worms trying to get into his body. Unable to get into ears or nose, this quick-thinking little worm quickly burrows his way into Shinichi’s right hand. When he wakes the next day, he has lost total control of his right hand. Because the Parasyte couldn’t get into Shinichi’s brain and take control, Shinichi is able to keep his own thoughts but his hand has its own personality. He names his new one-hand-army companion Miji (Japanese for “right”)

I really enjoyed the live-action movies but have been waiting on the Anime to come my way. Miji is able to morph into any sort of bladed weapon and remove heads, limbs or any part of the enemy that poses a threat to Migi and his best pal, Shinichi. And, there is plenty of threat from the other Parasytes when they realise that Shinichi has still got control of his own brain. An unusual partnership is formed to eradicate the alien threat and stop the rest of mankind from becoming worm food.

I am so loving Netflix at the minute.

Due to my constant need of crazy Asian cinema, I think I may have opened some sort dark portal to all of these amazing titles. I am definitely not complaining. I am loving every second of it. This lockdown ain’t too bad when you know you’ve so much quality content lined-up.

As always, thanks for reading. Now go enjoy yourself some Parasyte on Netflix!

Words by Gary Gamble
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker
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