Takeshis' (2005)

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Released 14-Mar-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Cast
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Main Menu Animation
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 107:39 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (43:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takeshi Kitano
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Takeshi Kitano
Kotomi Kyono
Kayoko Kishimoto
Ren Osugi
Susumu Terajima
Tetsu Watanabe
Akihiro Miwa
Naomasa Musaka
Kôichi Ueda
Tsutomu Takeshige
Beat Kiyoshi
Junya Takaki
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Nagi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Following on from the visually and emotionally haunting Dolls, Takeshi Kitano decided that he was going to do something way off the beaten track. In fact, he wasn’t going to even tell anybody about it until he unfurled a big banner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.

    Takeshis' (don't forget that possessive on the end) is Kitano's upbeat answer to the more surreal and nightmarish films of David Lynch. The plot follows the lives (or is that life?) of Beat Takeshi (Kitano), a TV celebrity living the chaotic and bizarre world of show business, who meets his double – Takeshi Kitano (also played by Kitano) a struggling, out-of-work actor who dreams for the celebrity that Beat has – in a make-up room. These encounters plunge Kitano into a surreal dream-world where his own life begins to take on facets of Beat's life behind the camera and also the traits of various on screen personas that Beat has played in the movies.

    The only cinematic expression I can think of that this even comes close to is Lynch's Lost Highway, but this too is somewhat more bizarre than even that film, which explored the muddled perception of a schizophrenic murderer unable to discern reality from fantasy, and was designed primarily as psychological horror. Takeshis' on the other hand is an exploration of identity and possibility, utilising the genres of comedy rather than horror, and taking Kitano's own real life and theatrical characters as a canvas – he being the only one to have, at some point, undertaken all facets of Kitano's surreal fantasy experience in Takeshis'. In terms of literary expressions, Takeshis' is more like Bret Easton Ellis's recent Lunar Park, in which the author blurred fiction and autobiography, though Takeshis' is far more structureless (plotless?) than Lunar Park. The result is that the audience is often asking how much of the life portrayed is Kitano's, and how much is his TV acting persona, and how much is drawn from fictional characters, several of whom he created – it’s almost a game of ‘spot the reference’.

    Kitano said that, with Takeshis', he wanted to make a film where the audience did not know what to think or feel after it was over. Having been fortunate enough to see this on the big screen at MIFF last year, and now fortunate enough to see it again, I have to say that I know what I thought when I left the cinema – "Man, that film was weird, but kind of cool." Of course, I had had the luxury of having seen Kitano's previous films – most notably Hana-Bi, Sonatine, Boiling Point and Violent Cop – and those of you out there who have likewise done so are likely to take the most away from Takeshis'; the number of self-referential “in jokes” are likely to make this movie worth the price of entry alone. But even those who have not and who like challenging and creative cinema, I highly recommend this movie. While you are likely going to be stuck with indecision as to whether this was either genius or self-indulgence, it’s still worth the trip.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, I watched this projected on a 100" matt white screen via Sony VLP-HS60 projector, scaled at 1080i by my DVD player over HDMI (and therefore rescaled to 720p by the projector).

    This is an acceptable image, though certainly not as visually stunning as the recent transfer done for Dolls, and suffering from some rather noticeable grain issues. Colour is a faded by comparison to more recent transfers, leaving the picture with a rather dull look, and the image is, overall, a little soft.

    Shadow detail is okay, but hampered slightly by the overall softness to the picture and the graininess. Given this PAL version has the same running time as the NTSC Region 2 version, it’s possible that this is an NTSC-to-PAL conversion, which has resulted in the image softness.

    There were no really distracting film artefacts, though more stray hairs and dirt here than you would expect of a film so recent, and no film-to-video artefacts worth mentioning – I noticed a tiny bit of background aliasing.

    Subtitles are available in English, and are yellow with a grey border. They are clear and easy to read.

    The dual layer pause occurs at 43:45 on a scene change. It is a bit messy, as there appears to be a drop out just before the actual DL pause, as if there were two DL pauses. While reasonably well placed, it is distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As if to make up for the imperfect video, audio is available in a stunning Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track and also a fairly rudimentary 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

    The 5.1 Dolby Digital track has an amazing amount of surround information in it, and I was beginning to wonder if it were perhaps an unflagged DD-EX track, though the compression rate indicates that this is not so. Apparently, Kitano took exceptional care when designing the surround sound field and as such your surround speakers get lots of work.

    Dialogue is clear and suffers from no discernible sync faults.

    The score by Nagi is good, though used quite prominently (perhaps to excess) in places.

    The subwoofer gets a great work, particularly with all the excessive gunplay.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has scenes from the show with sound in 2.0 Dolby Stereo. The other menus are static and silent. Efficient and well laid out – nice design overall.

Interview with Takeshi Kitano (15:50)

    Presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, subtitled in English with a Japanese 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack. Some interesting insights, or perhaps just more bafflements. Check it out, though.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:39)

    Presented in 1.78:1 letterboxed, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack with English subtitles.

Teaser Trailer (0:39)

    Presented in 1.78:1 letterboxed, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack with English subtitles.

Directors Suite Trailers

    Trailers for:

DVD Credits

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no R1 release of this DVD. The R2 NTSC Japanese version release has a longer interview with Kitano and subtitles in Japanese as well as English, but is otherwise largely identical. Aside from NTSC/PAL differentials and Region Coding, there’s not much to differentiate the versions. Buy whichever is cheapest

Summary

    Takeshis’ is a very interesting film for long-time Kitano fans, but may not hold the same appeal for non-fans. Extremely funny in places, but also just bizarre in others, it’s still worth the time for something different. Great surround sound on this disc, but video is a long way from perfect.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, June 08, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10,000:1 contrast ratio) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

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