Princess Raccoon - Operetta tanuki goten (2005)
Director Seijun Suzuki's radical departure from his Yakuza themed films such as Pistol Opera and Tokyo Drifter is a flight into fairy-tale land. A thoroughly engaging mixture of live-action, Anime, CGI, cut-out animation ala Terry Gilliam and looniness this film more closely resembles Gaja Gamini or The Happiness of the Katakuris than anything else I can recall. There's even a hint of West Side Story - "Men must not be with Raccoons, Raccoons must not be with Men".
And yes, it says "Operetta", so we have song and dance, rap, tap, show tunes and a samurai Calypso marching band. And Raccoons.
Sometime, probably in the 17th century, (there are Spaniards) the vain and brutal king, Mkijiro Hira, is told by the palace seeress, the (Christian) Virgin Hag that he has been supplanted as "fairest of them all" by his son, Joe Odagiri, thereby vowing to exile the lad and devise his demise. Naturally, the prince comes across a Raccoon Princess in human guise, Zhang Ziyi and the quest for love begins, encountering a number of the expected pitfalls, many odd characters, including the Ostrich Monk, a set of Gibson Girl - like handmaidens ("You girls are weird") and even the "Frog of Paradise".
I can not pretend to give this movie it's due but it is deliriously lovely and loads o' fun so,
God Of Cookery (1996)
Stephen Chow, Christy Chung, Lam Suet, Tats Lau, Vincent Kok, Karen Mok.
This film, by Hong Kong's favorite funnyman, Stephen Chow, doesn't even achieve the level of humor found in "Hannibal" or even "The Killing Fields". Not simply a waste of time, money and a terrific supporting cast, it is a veritable black hole, sucking up harmony and good will like a cosmic Hoover.
This movie has gathered raves (and lots of money) from viewers, perhaps those with an autonomic response level to familiar stimuli, such as Chow's habit of featuring distorted-looking characters, disfiguring beautiful women and presuming that abuse is funny. It isn't.
I bought, I watched, I snapped the disk in half and threw it out.
(4 spleens with a side of gall and wormwood)
ps. You (the hypothetical reader) may notice that some reviews lack certain referencing links and elaboration. This is not an accident.