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Happiness of the Katakuris

Kenji Sawada , Keiko Matsuzaka , Takashi Miike    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Fun July 4 2004
Format:DVD
* In Takashi Miike's THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS (THOTK), we meet
the Katakuri clan: grandpa Jinpei, the old crusty family patriarch,
and his little Benji-style mutt Pochi; Masao (Kenji Sawada), an
ex-shoe salesman, and his wife Terue (Keiko Matsuzaka), who met at
work, fell madly in love with each other and stayed that way; their
divorcee daughter Shizue (Naomi Nishida), a pretty and sweet girl who
unfortunately is unbelievably gullible, making her a complete pushover
for every lying jerk that comes around; their son Masayuki (Shinji
Takeda), who has a bit of an attitude problem and a history of
problems with the law concerning lifting wallets and the like; and
Shizuo's little daughter, who is something of an observer to the
family's eccentricities.
Masao, having been laid off from work, invests in a country house to
rent rooms to vacationers, bringing together his semi-dysfunctional
family in an earnest attempt to get things back on track.
Unfortunately, they can't seem to get any guests, driving everyone to
distraction; and so when a gloomy stranger shows up and asks for a
room, everyone is ecstactic. They are distressed, then, when he
commits suicide during the night. Instead of reporting the incident
to the police, Masao decides that it would be healthier for business
if they simply buried the poor fellow in the woods, and manages to get
everyone to agree. However, this turns out to be only the beginning
of a streak of really terrible luck, which just seems to go from bad
to worse ...
As this description suggests, THOTK is a quirky film, made all the
more quirky by the fact that it is a musical.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What in the hell is going on? May 6 2004
Format:DVD
My lovely fiancee introduced me to this movie fairly recently, and it's not that often that a film has me thinking for hours after it's over, 'What in the hell was all that about?'
being an avid lover of the cinema, I have always had great respect for directors that like to push the envelope and do something unique as well as creative. This movie goes above and beyond the call of duty to accomplish that. I am of two minds about this movie, I'm not saying I don't like it, in fact I think it's one of the best foreign films I've ever seen. Yet at the same time I feel like going up to Takashi Miike and saying 'What kind of a sick freak are you?' It's amazing how a movie can pull your feelings in different directions.
This film seems to defy all the conventions of genre and/or style in regards to movie making, because it seems like Miike threw all of the rules right out the freaking window.
The film is indeed a feel-good black comedy, it's also a musical, a horror film, a romantic comedy, and a family film. It's strange how one film can be all of these things at one time, and yet be none of these things at the same time.
i swear, sometimes I felt like I was watching a Japanese version of Monty Python's The Sound of Music. That is essentially the best way I could ever describe this film. The film also incorporates avant-garde and absurdist slapstick situational comedy along with other great stuff thrown in, including moments of claymation thrown in for good measure.
It is the sort of film that you can't help but get drawn into, not just because of everything that I just mentioned above, but also thanks in large part to the incredible performances by the actors and actresses involved.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What the hell did I just watch? March 8 2004
Format:DVD
"Happiness of the Katakuris" is about this japanese family who own a guest house in the rural japanese countryside. Every single guest they get end up dead in the morning, and instead of calling up the proper authorities, they handle the situation by BURYING THEM next to the river. Anyway, hijinks and tomfoolery ensue, with lots of spontaneous singing and dancing and flying and clay animation. My favorite scene was when the giant fat man in a kimono furiously banged this chick whom i took for a TWELVE year old. When they were found dead in the morning and the girl was declared "missing", i was yelling "He ate her! He ate her!" But i was wrong. He actually killed her in a much more lazy way. I figured the movie would have been really good, except for the fact that i didn't know what the hell was going on and there was also too much singing. WAY too much goddamn singing. Its supposedly a "parody" of musicals but the singing was just so earnest and BAD it seemed sincere. So i give it a 2.5 out of 5, which amazon doesn't have so whatever.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Someone had to do it... I suppose... Aug. 4 2003
Format:DVD
"The Happiness of the Katakuris" is one part Robert Wise, one part Tim Burton and 100% Japanese kitsch (think ninja sequence in the "Peaches" video by The Presidents of the United States of America and you're close.) Can you imagine it? The only director before Miike who has attempted something like this is Peter Jackson (e.g., "Meet the Feebles", "Dead Alive", etc.)... minus, of course, the "Nandayo!" element. In that sense, it had to be done. Just as there has to be a "Pink Flamingos" out there, this movie had to be made. I was wondering when someone would get around to lampooning karaoke videos and, like nearly every inch of Japanese entertainment, Miike can't help himself from doing it. Exceedingly cute, even in its goriest moments, and replete with animation and hilariously wooden choreography, "The Happiness of the Katakuris" is a dizzying display of over-the-top plastic pop culture.
The problem is... the joke only goes so far. The brilliance of a John Waters, for example, lies in his ability to do more than deliver a mock-up: His camera falls in love (albeit in a perverse way) with his actors. Take, for example, the picnic scene in "Polyester". You just know that Waters was both laughing and wiping a way a tear when Edith Massey said "Purr, purr Francine." It's cute, it's campy, it's dumb... and, best of all, it's simple. There's no BS. It's the kind of thing that just HAPPENS during a take and you yell "print it!" Spontaneity is what made "This is Spinal Tap" great, as a second example. Here, unfortunately, there is no element of surprise. You get it immediately and, about halfway through the film, you are left thinking "How much farther can this go...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars With my family, I know I'll grow up to be really cool
A woman is eating soup when she finds a strange object in her soup -- a curly-headed pixie who becomes enamored of her uvula and steals it. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2008 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Miike's Finest
This is one of miike's best movies. a combination of horror, comedy, drama, and a musical is a very original film. it has segments using claymation even. Read more
Published on March 17 2004 by "miikethkiller"
4.0 out of 5 stars Off beat, strange at times, but it's worth watching
Miike is known for him graphic violence, strange sense of humor, and shocking imagry, but claymation and musical numbers?! Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by "subkrazy03"
5.0 out of 5 stars What the heck just happend?
That is all I could say after seeing this movie for the first time. I was pretty confused and I wasn't even sure where I was. This movie was not good or bad. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars This is one crazy Japanese film
With this film, Avant-guarde Japanese director Takashi Miike shows that he still has a sense of humor. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2003 by James Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars BIZZARE AND HILARIOUS
A Japanese family starts a guest-house on the top of a hill but it seems to be jinxed -- all the guests who visit them have an unfortunate habit of dying. Read more
Published on July 14 2003 by Shashank Tripathi
4.0 out of 5 stars Want to see something REALLY different? No, really ....
THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS is the Japanese remake of the Korean black comedy, QUIET FAMILY, as filtered through director Miike's pitch-black sensibilities. Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by Greg Goodsell
5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky!
This movie had me absolutely cracking up. It is an absolutely oddball flick, full of non-sequitor plot points and bizarre musical moments. Read more
Published on April 26 2003 by Zack Davisson
5.0 out of 5 stars A completely unique movie experience
There's an interview on the DVD for the Takashi Miike film "Audition" where he says that he has the benefit of not having to work under the microscope. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2003 by Brent Figiel
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