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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
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. Thus begins a weird claymation sequence involving ghastly rag dolls, snakes, killer crows, and more pixies.

This one scene alone tells you just what kind of movie "The Happiness of the Katakuris" is, and whether you're going to like it. Takashi Miike -- well known for gruesome action movies -- is pretty obviously having a ball as he tells the colorful, chaotic story of a singing family and the people who have the misfortune to visit their hotel. Zombies, random musical numbers, and family strife are all here in abundance.

The Katakuri family is made up of four generations of family, criminal activity, and general hopelessness -- the only one currently immune is the little granddaughter.

And things are not improved when the head of the family Masao (Kenji Sawada) is laid off from his job. So he purchases a remote hotel, after being told that a major road is going to be run nearby. But nobody checks in until one rainy night, when a strange man appears -- and then stabs himself on a sharpened keychain. Cue the Japanese techno and dance number!

Terrified that the suicide will ruin their reputation, the Katakuris surreptitiously bury the man in the woods -- only to have more guests die in bizarre ways, and end up buried in the woods. Oh yeah, and Shizue's (Naomi Nishida) new boyfriend is a criminal. As a typhoon approaches and their secret burials are threatened with discovery, can this family of failures pull it together -- or will everything blow up in their faces?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Fun July 4 2004
* 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
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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Most recent customer reviews
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 18 2004 by "miikethkiller"
3.0 out of 5 stars What the hell did I just watch?
"Happiness of the Katakuris" is about this japanese family who own a guest house in the rural japanese countryside. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by GoGo Horrorshow
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 28 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
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone had to do it... I suppose...
"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... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by "vampyroboy"
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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