SciFi Japan

    Minoru Kawasaki Collection on Region 1 DVD from Synapse Films

    Synapse Films Presents Three Serious Satires from Japan`s Top Cult Comedy Director Source: Synapse Films, Twitch Special Thanks to Marc Walkow and Donald May, Jr.

    In November, Synapse Films will release DVDs of three movies by cult filmmaker Minoru Kawasaki, the director of the internationally acclaimed comedy THE CALAMARI WRESTLER (Ika Resura, 2004) and the recent kaiju film MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! (Girara no Gyakushu / Samitto Kiki Ippatsu!, 2008). Minoru Kawasaki was born in Tokyo in 1958. He grew up on a steady diet of Toho monster movies, comedies like the CRAZY CATS series, and Tsuburaya Productions` ULTRAMAN and ULTRA SEVEN. After graduating from Meiji University, he directed and produced a number of independent films. He was also a disciple of famed ULTRAMAN director Akio Jissoji, who acted as an executive producer for two of Kawasaki`s films— THE CALAMARI WRESTLER and THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN (Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu, 2006) — before the senior director`s death in November 2006. Among Kawaski`s films are EXECUTIVE KOALA (Koala Kacho, 2005), a murder mystery involving an anthropomorphic koala bear businessman who lives in Japan, CRAB GOALKEEPER (Kani Gorukiipaa, 2006), about a crab who joins a Japanese soccer team, and THE RUG COP (Zura Deka, 2006), in which a police officer uses his toupee like a flying guillotine. He also directed and starred in DEN-ACE, a series of comedic short films about an Ultraman-type superhero.

    Kawasaki`s childhood favorites have had a direct influence on his own films. In a 2007 interview with Twitch, Kawasaki explained the inspiration for an early musical number in EXECUTIVE KOALA: "I based that part of the movie on an old Japanese monster movie called DAIGORO VS GOLIATH [Kaiju Daifunsen: Daigorou vs. Goriasu]. A part of the movie is kinda kiddish with nursery rhyme-like songs. It’s supposed to be a scary monster movie but the film starts out like a Disney movie." For RUG COP`s main weapon, Kawasaki said, "I thought about ULTRA SEVEN. He has a mohawk-like horn that comes off from his head as his ultimate weapon. He is the most popular Ultraman in Japan. So, when in crisis, he goes bald even though he is a super-cool hero. We [Japanese] think that’s funny." In promotional materials for MONSTER X STRIKES BACK, the film studio Shochiku Co. described Minoru Kawasaki as the "Ed Wood of Japan", stating that "his style of direction is based on ridiculous ideas and nostalgic VFX techniques, making him a unique cult director".

    But Marc Walkow of Synapse films found the Ed Wood comparison a bit misleading. "I think Kawasaki is talented, but he`s got tons of energy and is a relentless self-promoter," Walkow said. "He himself said that he`s more like the Lloyd Kaufman of Japan, the guy behind Troma, and I think that`s right on. Lloyd is a really smart guy, and great at promotions and seizing on crazy films to make that capitalize on something else that`s in the mass consciousness - like [Kawasaki did with] the MONSTER X / G8 summit connection." Synapse Films has announced that they will be bringing three of Kawasaki`s most popular films to DVD for the first time in America. EXECUTIVE KOALA, THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN, and THE RUG COP will be released under the "Minoru Kawasaki Collection" banner on November 18, 2008. Each film comes with an anamorphic widescreen transfer, newly-translated, removable English subtitles, and a variety of bonus features. The suggested retail price for the DVDs is $24.95 each.

    EXECUTIVE KOALA

    AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE U.S., MINORU KAWASAKI’S FOLLOW-UP TO CALAMARI WRESTLER, A CULT CLASSIC “PSY-KOALA” HORROR / COMEDY “Japanese arthouse cinema at its most surreal.” – Sydney Morning Herald

    Tamura is an average Japanese salaryman working in the offices of a pickle distribution company. He is well-liked in the office, hard-working, polite, wears a suit and tie, and also happens to be a six-foot tall koala bear. But when his girlfriend Yoko turns up dead one day and Tamura is the chief suspect, he is forced to enlist the help of his boss (a white rabbit) and a friendly convenience store attendant (a frog) in order to prove his innocence. A psychological thriller wrapped up in the packaging of a nonsense comedy – with giant animals – EXECUTIVE KOALA is like nothing America has ever produced…which is why it was made in Japan! Hawaii Film Festival, 2005 Nippon Connection, 2006 Fantasia Film Festival, 2006 SPECIAL FEATURES: • Anamorphic (1.85:1) Widescreen Transfer • Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo • Newly-Translated, Removable English Subtitles • “Making Of” Featurette • Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot 2005 / NOT RATED / 86 MINS. / COLOR / NTSC / 16:9 1.85:1 / DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 2.0 / SFD0076

    THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN

    POLITICALLY INCORRECT SATIRE SINKS TO A NEW DEPTH IN THE OUTRAGEOUS SPOOF THAT TELLS THE SHOCKING STORY OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WORLD SINKS…EXCEPT JAPAN “Hilarious… Controversial… A wild journey into outlandish satire.“ – Johan Fundin, 10K BULLETS

    It’s 2011, and due to global warming and the shifting of tectonic plates, most of the Earth’s land mass has sunk beneath the surface of the ocean. Only Japan remains, and refugees from all nations try to incorporate themselves into Japanese society: famous American actors do TV costume samurai dramas, white women serve as French maids for middle-class families, the former leaders of China and South Korea act as lapdogs for the Prime Minster, and foreigners who don’t sufficiently blend in are arrested! Yet geologists have begun to detect signs of another looming global catastrophe, one that threatens to destroy the last piece of earth remaining. Based on a satirical novella published in the 1970s, THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN turns sci-fi on its head to create a surreal alternate universe that’s alternately hilarious and heartfelt, and where nothing is sacred as long as it’s funny! Nippon Connection, 2007 Fantasia Film Festival, 2007 SPECIAL FEATURES: • Anamorphic (1.85:1) Widescreen Transfer • Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo • Newly-Translated, Removable English Subtitles • Audio Commentary with Director Minoru Kawasaki and Actor Takenori Murano • “Making Of” Featurette • Introductions from Cast and Director • Theatrical Trailer 2006 / NOT RATED / 98 MINS. / COLOR / NTSC / 16:9 1.85:1 / DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 2.0 / SFD0079 [INSIDE – RIGHT PAGE]

    THE RUG COP

    CRIMINALS! BEWARE THE COP WITH THE DEADLY WIG!

    A spot-on, hilarious spoof of 1970s Japanese TV cop shows, THE RUG COP follows chrome-domed officer Genda as he transfers to a new precinct just as a group of radical terrorists hijack a shipment of uranium and deliver a ransom demand of five billion yen. Genda and his crack team of detectives must solve the case using their peculiar abilities: champion eater Detective Fatty, abnormally endowed Detective Big Dick, speedy weightlifter Detective Shorty, and ladies’ man Mr. Handsome. But most dangerous of all is the Rug Cop, whose projectile toupee proves lethal to wrongdoers! Kawasaki’s unique comic genius and his love of vintage cop shows combine to produce a silly masterpiece that will have viewers truly believing in “Rug Power!” Nippon Connection (Frankfurt), 2007 Fantasia Film Festival (Montreal), 2007 Fantastic Fest (Austin), 2007 SPECIAL FEATURES: • Anamorphic (1.85:1) Widescreen Transfer • Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo • Newly-Translated, Removable English Subtitles • “Making Of” Featurette • Japanese Press Conference Footage • Introductions from Cast and Director • Theatrical Trailer 2006 / NOT RATED / 79 MINS. / COLOR / NTSC / 16:9 1.85:1 / DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 2.0 / SFD0074

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