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01 - Love Exposure - Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô WatabeLove Exposure (愛のむきだし): everything’s epic these days: a night out, food, car insurance, 99% of fails… how about this for a movie epic: a 4 hour film examining the relationships between religion, cults, family, perversion, sins, obscenity, love, erections, and upskirt photography. THAT’S EPIC! First-off, it feels a lot more like a TV series: technically (camerawork, budget, quality etc) and story-wise in the four, quite individual hour-long segments of the film. The acting however is fantastic; all three youngster are great to watch, but the two main adults are particularly engaging and believable – really adds to the drama. When one of the main story threads is the usage of ninja moves (and weapons) to take upskirt pictures in order to sin – it’s mental, it’s batshit mental, and when you throw in some schoolgirl karate lesbians it could really only be from Japan. In saying that, it’s all done very well and with lots of humour, much like the pervert’s motto the film is “Careful, Oblivious and Bold”. Staying true to it’s subject matter, there’s at least one – if not a montage – panty shot every 10 minutes – so if that’s your bag, this is an absolute must-own. For being as long as it is, the melodramatic final half hour is the only time the film feels like it’s truly stretched. Love Exposure is a lot of things, but at four hours (237 minutes!) long, and containing this subject matter – forgettable is definitely not one of them.

Score: 7/10

06 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe05 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe04 - Love Exposure Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe03 - Love Exposure - Sakura Ando - Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe10 - Love Exposure - Hikari Mitsushima -Upskirt Panchira パンチラ panty-shot Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando, Makiko Watanabe, Atsurô Watabe

Hard Boiled: a classic cops Vs Triads flick by John Woo, arguably at his peak. This is almost always cited as one of the best action films ever made, and with good reason. The bloodshed is so, so stylish and cool: slow-motion, intricate and technical. The action is completely mesmerising in places with explosions, bullets, bodies, weapons and debris all dancing around the frame. This is the closest thing to an action-ballet you’ll see, with long swooping shots, that make the even the most intricate of scenes seem effortless. It also has a real cinematic quality for the most part, with brilliant camera work jumping out in places – peaking with a meticulous 2 1/2 minute single-shot through hospital corridors and lifts, like a shoot-em-up game. The story is pretty standard – fallen colleague, hostage situations and undercover cops – but Woo avoids cliché by putting 90% of the focus on the action. There are some minor downsides to Hard Boiled; the hospital siege goes on for far too long (well over 40 minutes), The 1980s synth soundtrack is incredibly out of date and there’s a bizarro Jazz motif throughout. It’s also the only foreign film I deliberately watch with English dubs because the original audio is in worse synch than the voiceovers. All in, Hard Boiled is the definitive action film that takes all the best parts of a tired genre and makes them great again, and so much more watchable.

Score: 8/10