MOSTLY FILM: The Perfect American
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MOSTLY FILM: For Love's Sake

Takashi Miike. That seems to be a camera behind him, so let's assume he's directing right now. (Given the amount he turns out each year, that's statistically quite likely anyway.) Here's how it could have worked out. To back up my latest article for Mostly Film in which I review For Love's Sake, I could have picked up on a detail that quite a few other reviews have skipped over: that the songs in Takashi Miike's musical are all old ones, Japanese pop hits from the sixties and seventies that have been shoehorned into the narrative. And I could have taken the time to track down each individual song as performed in the film, and matched it against a video of the original. So, for example, we could see how the song introducing lead baddie Ken is actually the theme tune to a 1960s cartoon called Wolf Boy Ken. And so on.

But I'm lazy, so here's how it's actually going to work out. I'm going to pick a chronological selection of trailers and clips from Takashi Miike's epic career, and you're going to watch them. Deal? Deal. (I've also included links to previous reviews of his work from this site.)

Here's what you're looking at:

1. Shinjuku Triad Society, 1995. I think this is the earliest work of Miike's I've seen so far - though he'd been making DTV features and the like for four years before this.

2. The Bird People In China, 1998. "The second best Miike film you've never heard of", I said in 2011. Still stand by that.

3. Audition, 1999. This is the one that introduced him to the West, really. I wish Film Unlimited was still around, so I could show you the discussion thread where a bunch of us sustained an extended conversation about how Audition was the feelgood romcom hit of that summer.

4. Dead Or Alive [opening], 1999. This was the first film of Miike's I ever saw, and the opening and closing scenes made the most impact on me at the time. So here's the beginning...

5. Dead Or Alive [closing], 1999. ...and here's the end. This may technically count as a spoiler.

6. Ichi The Killer, 2001. The film where it's widely agreed that Miike went too far. If that's your opinion, then you simply haven't watched it enough times.

7. The Happiness Of The Katakuris, 2001. The musical so nice, I reviewed it thrice.

8. Shangri-La, 2002. And here's the best Miike film you've never heard of - it's only made a couple of brief festival appearances in the UK, and has never been released on DVD with English subtitles. Searching for a trailer or clip on YouTube, the best I could manage was the entire film with Russian dubbed narration.

9. The Great Yokai War, 2005. You know, for kids.

10. Big Bang Love Juvenile A, 2006. You know, for gays.

11. Sukiyaki Western Django, 2007. Miike's first English language feature, sorta. And he's just announced his next one.

12. Zebraman 2: Attack On Zebra City, 2010. Not a major work in Miike's canon by any means, but it tickled me that something this berserk was playing in normal suburban Japanese cinemas when we visited in 2010.

13. 13 Assassins, 2011. The film that gave Miike's career in the West a second wind. I reviewed it at the LFF, and The BBG and I used it as a springboard for a retrospective discussion on Mostly Film.

14. For Love's Sake, 2012. See here for details. (And here, too.)

15. Shield Of Straw, 2013. Booooooooooo! Apparently.


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