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Happiness of the Katakuris

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Today Only: "Best of Warner Bros. 100-Film Collection" for 163.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kenji Sawada, Keiko Matsuzaka, Shinji Takeda, Naomi Nishida, Kiyoshirô Imawano
  • Directors: Takashi Miike
  • Writers: Ai Kennedy, Kikumi Yamagishi
  • Producers: Hirotsugu Yoshida
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Eastern Star
  • Release Date: April 22 2003
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083C5D
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,034 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 7 2008
Format: DVD
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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By Greg Goebel on 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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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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