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Taxing Woman [Import]

VHS Tape
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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3.0 out of 5 stars Middle of the road March 7 2002
By A Customer
R-Rated for a small amount of sex and nudity, this is pretty much a movie like most others, a human interest story involving a diligent tax collector (female) and a tax dodger. I found it interesting for casual entertainment (I rented it), for a look at a slightly different society, and a look at Japan that isn't kimono's and Geisha girls - this is modern Japan as such and a breath of fresh air from the "Yes'm massa" eyes-bowed-down type of Japanese movie. The lead female is freckled, not a sex-pot, but a nice looking gal and the main male is a hard nosed, limping fellow. In general, this is for a mature, general audience who isn't cranked over into some offbeat genre (if you need violence, military, porn, true romance, kiddie cartoons, space ships, whatever you'll find it dull - but an ordinary person in a good mood looking for a casual view might like it). ...thought I'd give a more honest opinion.
I myself am looking for more non-European/American movies featuring real people in real settings, but alas that is rare. I'd like seeing Japanese and Asiatic and African movies, even dubbed, which are something besides "Morphen Power Ranger" ... or "Kill 'Em All" garbage, but rather feature human beings getting along in life. But, they don't seem to exist here in the USA. Too much artsy or glitzy Holloywood hype gets in the way, it seems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Delightful ... Feb. 26 2001
As Tampopo is truly delicious, this film is an unadulterated joy. Fans of Juzo Itami and his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto will recognize old friends from other adventures in this offering. Like a much beloved repertory company, familiar faces are to be found new and surprising roles.
Taking an unlikely subject for heroic portrayal, Itami's (as usual) delightfully feministic touch on that dreaded villain the tax auditor is effective and engaging. Unlike MINBO, which for some inexplicable reason bores me beyond redemption, this film is easily accessible and eminently watchable. Aside from some quite graphic nudity at the very beginning, (view by parents first), the film is an excellent overall story accessible to an audience over about 15. (Depending on your feelings about sex and taxes).
In reference to the subtitling, I must say that ALL subtitling for Itami's films leaves a great deal to be desired, and I frankly don't see that much difference between the DVD and VHS versions ... but I must admit I am not a connoisseur on the matter, either. The ease of use and storage outweigh all other concerns for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sly, original comedy July 1 2000
Format:VHS Tape
She's rather memorable, this taxing woman. She has a face like a China doll all grown up with freckles around her eyes and a mat of thick dark hair on her head as though cut with the aid of a vegetable bowl. She is Nobuko Miyamoto, wife of the late and lamented director Juzo Itami, and a comedic star worthy of "Saturday Night Live" in its better days. She plays Ryoke Hakura, tireless tax inspector hot on the trail of shady tax dodger Hideki Gondo, played with rakish self-indulgence by Tsutomi Yamazaki. Itami blends situation comedy with some soap opera angst (Japanese and American) to which he adds some ersatz action/adventure shtick (the chase scene near the end with Hakura legging it after Gondo's teenage son, comes to mind) seasoned with a touch of the traditional theater and a little zesty porn, well mixed. The result is interesting and a little jarring.
I was most affected by the atmosphere of this strange and original comedy. I found myself looking at the backdrops and the sets and into the faces of all those very neat Japanese bureaucrats as I followed Ryoko Hakura's tireless pursuit of the missing yen. All that paper work and all those numbers! Interesting were the attitudes and presumptions of the characters in terms of sexuality and social status. We can see that in the modern Japan a woman must navigate her way carefully through the sea of men, while a man must achieve financial success to command respect. And yet there lingers still the flavor and the swagger of the samurai as seen in the scene where Gondo cuts his finger to write a bank account number in blood.
Aside from getting a little soapy at the end, this is fine flick, sly and amusing.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, poor DVD July 27 2001
By A Customer
This movie is quite good. Not exactly like Tanpopo but it's a fascinating movie with memorable characters. Unfortunately, the DVD version is absolutely terrible. The DVD version of Tanpopo is a hundred times better. It's very clear that this was a sloppy job. It's nothing but a very poor VHS transfer of the movie to DVD. Bad thing is that the DVD highlights the imperfections of the original VHS so that even people like me can see it. The quality of picture is fuzzy and the subtitles are the ones from the VHS (not DVD subtitles). This results in words that are impossible to see in some scenes and hard to read in all the others since the picture quality is quite fuzzy. Unless you are a die-hard fan of this movie, you're better off spending your money getting the DVD of Tanpopo. The DVD of Tanpopo is not perfect but the quality is still reasonable good and sharp and much better than this ... job.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Classic movie undone by dvd remastering April 10 2004
By A Customer
I have two copies of this movie-one on VHS and this one on DVD. I received the DVD as a present. Itami is one of the greatest modern directors in Japan who unfortunately committed suicide. This movie was enormously popular in Japan and deservedly so with its many touches of black humor, story, writing, acting and direction. The VHS is quite watchable. However, when I put the DVD on I immediately had to adjust my picture settings to even see the picture. It's unclear and fuzzy throughout the movie. In all of the film the English subtitling is difficult and sometimes impossible to read. I would say it is a prime candidate for a recall by the company. Since I can't give separate ratings for the movie vs. the DVD treatment I'm forced to give it 2 stars.
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