The Legend of the Stardust Brothers review – 80s Japanese bubblegum pop curio | Film

A curio that’s lain dormant for a few years because it first sashayed on to screens in 1985, this Japanese teeny-bop musical helps the argument that not all cult movies have to be revived. Finally, some have been flops the primary time spherical for good purpose. That stated, lovers of Asian kawaii tradition, camp and Japanese bubblegum pop, which all converge on this confection, are more likely to be glad.

Like so a lot of pop-tastic exploitation tasks (see additionally the Monkees’ Head), the music comes first and the story splicing all of it collectively a distant second. Musician-impresario Haruo Chikada composed the soundtrack of tacky, synth-heavy bop after which employed director Makoto Tezuka (son of the well-known manga artist Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy) to string the songs collectively right into a script. Et voila, the confection they got here up with this can be a self-referential story of two aspiring pop stars: temperamentally scratchy Shingo (Shingo Kubota) and cooler, albeit mulleted, pretty-boy Kan (Kan Takagi), who’re introduced collectively by a file firm government with the intention to create a commercially compelling duo. Marimo, a random woman they meet on the label’s headquarters, is drafted in to turn into the top of their fan membership, earlier than they even have a lot of a fan membership to begin.

The songs, an excellent mishmash of genres starting from sub-Pleasure Division post-punk to ska beats to moody new wave drones, are fitfully entertaining (with their poorly translated lyrics about subjects together with maxed-out bank cards, tomato juice and inventive ambition). But it surely’s all so clumsily assembled and herky-jerky, it will get extra irritating than amusing over the lengthy haul. The perfect bits are the place it completely goes off into crazy-town with zombie monsters performed by actors in latex masks after which again to (relative) actuality as if nothing has occurred.

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is launched on 18 March on Mubi.

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