I've posted some Japanese films here before. Check out the history if you are interested. My favorites are the samurai/feudalism period pieces: Chushingura, Samurai Rebellion, Throne of Blood, and Samurai Spy. I've seen tons of Japanese films: The Seven Samurai, The 47 Ronin, Story of a Prositute, Late Spring, Ugetsu, Early Summer, A Story of Floating Weeds, Hidden Fortress, Sword of the Beast, Rashomon, Ran, Yojimbo & Sanjuro, Kagemusha, Ikiru, Stray Dog, The Sword of Doom, Dreams, Kwaidan, and Rebel Samurai. I know there have been more than that, but I cannot remember all of them. The Criterion Collection has a lot of great Japanese films available.
As for anime: Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust are my favorites.
I currently own Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Hidden Fortress, and Ran. Kurosawa's work was so inspiring to my favorite film makers Scorsese, Friedkin, Coppola etc, that it is required viewing imo for any movie geek. For me credit must go to Tarrantino for turning me onto my favorite Japanese director Takashi Miike, The Audition, Dead or Alive, Rainy Dog, Yakuza Demon, Deadly Outlaw Rekka, Ley Lines, Shinjuku Triad Society, Ichi the Killer, and most recently Sukiyaki western Django.
Kenji Fukusaku's Battles without Honor and Humanity, was absolutely brilliant in 6 parts. I could keep going but im going to start screwing up the names. I love Asian cinema in general and Japanese in particular.
Takashi Miike? Is he really modern? The only one I've heard of is Ichi the Killer. If they are Tarantio-style movies I may not like them, really. I recently tried to watch Youth of the Beast, the 60's gangster-style movie, but it did not appeal to me.
I'll check these titles out on Amazon.com. Thanks.
You should watch Kurosawa's Throne of Blood and Stray Dog.
Takashi Miike is relatively modern. Out of the films I mentioned, Uzumaki and Fudoh the next Generation are both films he directed. Uzumaki is based on a horror manga series in which a town is corrupted by a supernatural force which leaves people obsessed with spirals. At the same time other residents turn into giant snails. It's a very unusual film with fantastic editing.
Fudoh deals with a teenaged Yakuza gangster who forms his own gang made up of children and teenagers and then goes about hunting down the adult gangsters. The film features primary school children with guns, a teenage girl who shoots poison darts out of an unusual place and a number of other bizzare scenes and twists.
Ichi the Killer is the goriest film you're ever likely to see and not at all for the faint hearted. It also has some amazing directing and camera work. Not for the squeamish, but definitely well worth a look.
I just watched Gozu this past week, and I did not really like it. It was kind of like a Japanese David Lynch movie, and I can't stand David Lynch. I don't mind absurdism, unconventional storylines, and bizarre situations, but this movie did not impress me.
There is a fine line between absurd bizarre unconventional storylines and the ones which just don't make any sense no matter how much you look at them. David Lynch for me is usually borderline. I have Gozu at home but I'll probably watch a few other films first.
For me, Lynch falls into the "don't make any sense no matter how much you look at them" catagory. I just get damn mad after wasting my time watching his films. However, I think something like Pink Flamingos by John Waters, which is bizarre, offensive (to many), and absurd, is just wonderful.