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READER RECOMMENDATION: HELLEVATOR (2004)

Reader recommendation by James Harben

Gusha no bindume; AKA Hellevator: The Bottled Fools

DIRECTED BY: Hiroki Yamaguchi

FEATURING: Luchino Fujisaki, Yoshiichi Kawada, Ryôsuke Koshiba

PLOT: A dystopian future civilization lives in a vast underground complex where each floor represents a different part of society, from housing and schooling up to more sinister departments, culminating in . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: HELLEVATOR (2004)

READER RECOMMENDATION: WOMAN IN THE DUNES (1964)

Reader Recommendation by Fredrik Allenmark

DIRECTED BY: Hiroshi Teshigahara

FEATURING: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida

PLOT: An entomologist ends up trapped together with a woman in a house at the bottom of a sand pit in the desert, where they are forced to spend their nights shoveling sand.

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: . . . → Read More: READER RECOMMENDATION: WOMAN IN THE DUNES (1964)

158. AKIRA (1988)

“Otomo, who wrote and directed the movie, has told interviewers that he set out to ‘make a film that would be a jumble of images, instead of just showing the highlights of each scene’, and on that score, he succeeded.”–The Los Angeles Times, in a dismissive review entitled “High-Tech Hokum From Japan”

DIRECTED BY: . . . → Read More: 158. AKIRA (1988)

CAPSULE: SUMMER WARS (2009)

DIRECTED BY: Mamoru Hosoda

FEATURING: Voices of Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba

PLOT: Math and computer whiz Kenji battles a rogue artificial intelligence who is wrecking the virtual world of Oz and seizing corporate and government computer accounts, while simultaneously posing as the boyfriend of a classmate he has a crush on during her family celebration. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: SUMMER WARS (2009)

CAPSULE: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988)

DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki

FEATURING: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning (Disney dubbed version)

PLOT: Two young girls befriend a forest spirit who lives in a tree near their new country house.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: My Neighbor Totoro is somewhat strange, like being dropped into the unfiltered imagination of a six-year old girl. . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988)

CAPSULE: TORMENTED (2011)

Rabitto Horâ 3D 

DIRECTED BY: Takashi Shimizu

FEATURING: Hikari Mitsushima, Takeru Shibuya, Teruyuki Kagawa

PLOT: A young boy has nightmares about a giant bunny after he euthanizes a wounded rabbit on the playground; his mute older sister tries to keep him from being sucked into another world.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Tormented . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: TORMENTED (2011)

CAPSULE: DEADBALL (2011)

DIRECTED BY: Yûdai Yamaguchi

FEATURING: Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino

PLOT: A boy with a (literally) killer fastball grows up to become a vigilante, is imprisoned, and is blackmailed into playing on the jailhouse baseball squad despite the fact that he has sworn never to use the fatal pitch again.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: DEADBALL (2011)

146. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)

“I love the animation, ’cause it’s very magical and very… fantapsychological?”—12-year old Josh Hutcherson (who played Markl) on Howl’s Moving Castle

DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki

FEATURING: Voices of Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall (US dubbed version)

PLOT: Sophie is an 18-year old girl who works in her mother’s hat . . . → Read More: 146. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)

142. TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)

Tôkyô Zankoku Keisatsu

“She is the only actress in the world who can look so beautiful just standing in the midst of a gushing spray of blood.”–Yoshihiro Nishimura on Eihi Shiina

“I wouldn’t say I liked being covered in blood… [but] I really love the surrealism and beauty of these scenes, while I’m getting covered . . . → Read More: 142. TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)

CAPSULE: MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978)

Uchu kara no messeji

DIRECTED BY: Kinji Fukasaku

FEATURING: Philip Casnoff, Peggy Lee Brennan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masazumi Okabe, Vic Morrow, Makoto Satô, Etsuko Shihomi, Sonny Chiba

PLOT: A race of evil robotic samurai conquer a peaceful tribe of leaf-headed aliens, who send out eight magic space nuts to track down reluctant heroes to save their planet.

. . . → Read More: CAPSULE: MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978)

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