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Monday, 31 October 2011

Comforting Sounds

Howdy everyone.

Apologies for the delayed post. I've been busy with both work and assignments and didn't have the time to write over the weekend.

I had a pretty boring week this week which means no photos of my everyday life. Boooooooooo, I know. Maybe once I get these assignments out of the way I'll actually have the time to go out. Oh wait a minute, "Uncharted 3" comes out this week and I should be expecting "Batman: Arkham City" any day now. Let's just put my social life on hold for a while there.


Normally I'd write my full thoughts about each film I saw this week but considering that I still have some work that's due in, I think I'll just reserve my thoughts to dotpoint forms. So if anyone's followed me on Tumblr, you may have seen these similar dotpoints of the films I saw. This week, I watched the Jet Li wuxia classic, "Swordsman 2", the stylish "Sakuran", Hong Kong classic, "Comrades: Almost A Love Story" and the thought-provoking, "After Life".
  • Honesty time: I slept through portions of the film.
  • I know, it’s a horrible thing to do during a film.
  • And I have no idea how it happened - I got a good 10 hours of sleep and yet I still managed to sleep through it!
  • My bed is too comfortable.
  • Having said that, I don't think my judgement of this film is exactly sound.
  • But from what I did see of the film it’s pretty much classic wuxia.
  • And I shouldn’t have laughed as much as I did with the film because the jokes are kinda flat as these movies tend to be but I had a pretty good time watching it!
  • That is of course until I slept.
  • Kinda awkward to see Jet Li be so silly in this film cause he’s always so goddamn serious.
  • That and he had a Cantonese voiceover so that was also awkward.
  • But hey, Michelle Reis and Brigitte Lin were in it so what’s not to love?
  • Watching it just reminded me of all the drama series my parents watch.
  • Like I said, classic wuxia!
  • Not exactly memorable by any means, if anything it's pretty run of the mill.
No trailer because the trailer practically gives you the entire film. ==

  • “Pretending there’s something there when there isn’t. It’s petty. I don’t do that. Pretending there’s nothing there when there is something… that’s called ‘style’.”
  • Pretty sure that quote taken straight out of the movie sums up my entire feelings regarding the film.
  • Singer Anna Tsuchiya plays up her a role a bit at times but it’s still pretty fun to watch - balancing vulnerability and toughness quite well throughout.
  • And the film’s visuals are just bright and dazzling.
  • Absolutely enamoured by how colourful the film is.
  • But for all the film’s ‘style’ there really isn’t much there.
  • If there was a story, then I don’t know what that was because things just happened and then they just forget about it and move on.
  • The relationships that were built for amongst each character was pretty thin.
  • And it wouldn’t be appropriate of me to not discuss the use of Shiina Ringo.
  • And as much as I love that woman (and anyone that knows me knows that I love her a great deal) I felt her songs were kinda misrepresented within the context of the film.
  • They sounded great within certain scenes (the opening with Meisai is godly) but as a whole the soundtrack for the film is a bit of a hit and miss (the scene where Gamble is used is reallllllyyyyyyy out of place).
  • I still think Heisei Fuuzoku is one of my favourite albums of all time though - this movie hasn’t deterred that thought.
  • Also the alterante arrangements for some of the songs that were used in the film were quite nice, I thought.
  • But yeah, Sakuran = all style, no substance.
  • Sorry Carrie if you're reading this.!Comrades_Almost_a_Love_Story.jpg
  • Quite enjoyed this cute little ‘love’ story.
  • But kinda hate the fact that the covers and posters that I've come across for the film are all like the one above there cause it almost looks like a porno movie.
  • But who wouldn’t fall in love with Maggie Cheung?
  • Even if she is working with McDonald’s!
  • And sorry Leon Lai but you don’t possess the charm of Tony Leung.
  • But that isn't to say he was bad or anything.
  • Just saying that Maggie works best with Tony.
  • The third act of the film was a bit disappointing though - it kinda just took a nosedive and dipped heavily into soap opera melodramatics.
  • Although the third act was kinda redeemed when both Maggie and Leon’s character gaze at the Statue of Liberty. Great little scene.
  • Oh, speaking of soap opera melodramatics, that music that was used in the film was overwhelmingly annoying at times.
  • I dunno if anyone who has seen the film thinks that but that music was pretty awful at times.
  • Also, I’m not knowledgable on my history of Hong Kong but I like how it was integrated throughout the film and how it had an affect on the lives of our characters.
  • I was just waiting for 1997 to hit for the handover of Hong Kong but they never got there. Oh well.
  • Enjoyable film - funny and entertaining.
Surprisingly enough there is no trailer for this film on YouTube but plenty of clips so go crazy with that.

  • Loved this movie.
  • Truly brilliant concept: after death you are taken to an institute where you are given three days to decide which one memory you would like to take into the after life.
  • Not as emotional as I thought it would be (although the old lady talking about her brother and the red dress was quite the tear-jerker).
  • But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by the film in some way.
  • Very thought-provoking - made me reflect on my life and has made think which moment I would take.
  • Hirokazu Koreeda’s approach to this film was great.
  • Loved the documentary approach to it - gave it a level of authenticity, like this kinda thing actually does exist and that these characters do exist!
  • I really ought to watch more of his films but from the three that I’ve seen, this one included, (Nobody Knows, Air Doll), I have to say that this guy is one of Japan’s best directors working today and one of the top filmmakers in the world right now that not many people are paying a lot of attention to.
  • His films, from what I gather, not only celebrate life but, more importantly, some of the tragedies that beset it.
  • Air Doll was an existential and coming-of-age (yes I do classify this film as coming-of-age) drama about a sex doll come-to-life trying to find the importance of human life and our relationships with others.
  • Nobody Knows was a tragic drama that, again, reasserted the importance of one’s relationships with others and their humanity and was about four children trying to survive for themselves after their mother abandons them.
  • Do endevour to search for After Life! Very poignant and moving film that makes you think about what you've accomplished in your life time.

Kind of a "meh" trailer but stick with it.

Anyone looking forward to some Tidbits of Film News should look elsewhere because I'm not going to be putting it up this week. Sorry! It will return next week though!

So I guess I'll just end this week's blog post here and with this song that I just found (like right now as I was writing this!) and it is amazing. Like oh man, could this be one of the greatest things I've ever heard in my life? Okay that's probably a bit exagerrated but it's such an amazing song that nine minutes is NOT enough! Ugh. Enjoy your week everyone.

End post.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Roadhouse Blues


This is me waiting for Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead to finish downloading.

Opening this post like Ellen and Eddie except I pull a stupid face.


Very tired. Short post. Quick and succinct. Real talk.


Friend's 19th birthday. Friday night. Had Balinese food for the first time. Amazing dinner. Everyone go to Warung Agus. Lamb is highly recommended. Dinner was followed by games of pool. Long time no play.


Weekend involved going to induction for new job. Tiring but worthwhile. Start next week.


Lizzie can’t handle you right now.

Spam time. Admire Elizabeth Olsen. This blog does not have enough of her. Where's "Martha Marcy May Marlene", Australia?


Was meant to have Sofia Coppola week but was busy. Very busy. Next time, perhaps? This upcoming week will be Asian film week again. The following may be viewed (important word is 'may)':


"Comrades: Almost A Love Story"

"Swordsman 2"

"Farewell, My Concubine"

"After Life (or Wonderful Life)"

"Ju Dou"

"The Road Home"




Click links provided for more information (obviously).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in talks for Quentin Tarantino's newest, "Django Unchained"

Fox turns Marvel's vigilante, The Punisher, into a police procedual TV show

Sony acquires the rights to turn popular video agme, Assassin's Creed, into a movie.

Trailer for "The Flowers of War" - described as a Chinese "Schindler's List". Directed by Zhang Yimou ("Hero", "Raise the Red Lantern") and starring Christian Bale.

Warner Bros finally gives the "Akira" the greenlight - Garrett Hedlund pegged for the Kaneda role.

Trailer for "When Harry Left Hogwarts" - documentary covering production on "Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part 1 and 2". Not to be missed for Potter fans.

That's all. Now enjoy Harrison Ford playing "Uncharted 3: Drake's Fortune". Indiana Jones meets Nathan Drake. World explodes.

End post.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Riders on the Storm

Hello everyone.

I had only two days of uni this week which meant I was practically on a five-day weekend. And what did I do during that five-day weekend? I signed up as a volunteer for SYN radio, caught up with a few animated films and got a job! Hooray for that! Talk about productivity, right?

My training with SYN radio begins in late November and I look forward to going on air and presenting material. Presenters get the chance to propose their own show and I'd love to pitch a movie-discussion based show much like the podcasts that SlashFilm produce on their website. Here's hoping that this experience will be both beneficial and fun!


I think this upcoming week will be my second last week of university study for the year. And from there I have to re-enrol and pick new subjects (this is gonna be horrible... I don't want to be forced to study Jane Austen or anything like that).


"Breaking Bad" just wrapped up its fourth season and if you're not watching this show I implore you to do so right now! "Breaking Bad" is without a doubt the best television show on TV right now, possibly one of the best TV shows ever created! Real talk, guys. Ugh, the season four finale killed me emotionally and I am absolutely at a loss as to where things will go from here. Everyone involved with the show do an outstanding job of providing quality television week in and week out. Do not deprive yourself of this amazing television series and go watch it now!


Speaking of television, anyone keeping up with "American Horror Story" at the moment? It premiered on FX in America two weeks ago and it's very interesting. I mean, the hook for me to watch it was basically because it was horror stretched out into a television series, which makes for an interesting concept for me anyway. The promos for the show had me curious and while I'm not entirely disappointed by it so far, it has been a little underwhelming. I do think there's a lot of potential and the two episodes we have so far do show signs of promise and intrigue. For my full thoughts on the series so far, head on over to my Tumblr post about the show.

I love the show's opening credits. It's simple and effective and is one of my favourite opening titles of any television show.


This week was animation week. I sat myself down and watched a couple of recent animated feature films that I have been meaning to catch up. In addition to these recent titles, I also endeavoured to watch a cult classic anime title for the first time as well. Below are my thoughts.


Prior to having seen "How to Train Your Dragon", there was a lot of positive buzz for the film that had been floating around for more than year now regarding the film - some of that buzz even going as far as to say that "Toy Story 3" stole the Oscar from it. I might not share that exact same sentiment nor do I disagree with it - I think "How to Train Your Dragon" is a fantastic film that may have very well won the Oscar had it not been for such stiff competition that year. But let's not focus on the politics of awards and focus on the film itself which surprised me a lot more than I thought it would.

The film thrusts you straight into the action, no opening credits or even a title - the audience is immediately introduced to our unlikely hero, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), who provides a wealthy amount of exposition about himself and the war between the Vikings and the dragons amidst the chaos of battle. In this short opening sequence, we see all the main characters and conflicts are immediately presented which, by film's end, the viewer hope will be resolved. And from there the story begins to unravel - Hiccup wants desperately to prove his worth as a Viking and dreams of capturing and slaying a Night Fury, the most dangerous of all the dragons. He luckily shoots one down but can't bring himself to kill it and instead begins to befriend him and even domesticates the wild creature. It's essentially a story about a boy his pet dog, except the dog is a fire-breathing black dragon which Hiccup names Toothless. The story can fall into the realm of predictability but you won't care about this or what happens next because the film delivers spectacles and thrills on an emotional level that remind you of the pure joys of cinema.

Much has been said about how this film was able to use 3D and, much to my chagrin, I was unable to actually see this film in 3D. Those who saw the film in 3D during its original theatrical run must have been treated to something spectacular though because, even without the 3D, the jaw-dropping visuals of the film are something to marvel over. The characters and visual scenery all beautifully rendered and the scenes where Hiccup and Toothless are flying are absolutely magical. When seen in 3D, the film has been said to have pretty much provided audiences with a sensation of flight during these scenes and it's not hard to see why. And if the 3D, whether it's a post-conversion or filmed entirely on a 3D camera, adds to the level of immersion and depth with the story and its characters then by all means use it and use it well! We all know that 3D is gimmicky but it can work - "Avatar" made it work even if it was, in the end, a giant advertisement for filmmakers to get behind 3D technology and for investors to start buying into the market (which worked, by the way). Audiences know better and we generally do not enjoy having to wear oversized 3D glasses to watch a movie but if you can make it as magical and awe-inspiring as this film, then kudos to you.

But I digress, back to the film in question. In addition to the amazing visuals is the film's overwhelmingly marvelous score. My, what a score. Again, I was completely thrown off by just how damn good the score was and how well implemented it was all throughout the film. I did not expect such a quality score at all. It's a soaring and epic score that commands our attention, keeps the story afloat and alert and helps to hold together the inspiring magic of the film.

"How To Train Your Dragon" succeeds in being a wild crowd pleaser with a fairly simple story that's set on a massive stage. It's a family film with a lot of potency behind it - about as much potency as "Toy Story 3" - with characters you genuinely care about. Not a single minute of the film is wasted. You will fall in love with Toothless as much as Hiccup does. You will cheer when Hiccup and Toothless fly for the first time and at the same time feel fear when things begin to go wrong. It's everything you'd want out of an adventure film like this and more so. It surpassed all of my expectations and probably those of Dreamworks Animation as well. They finally have film worthy enough to rival the films of Pixar and the critical response and box-office receipts around the world are proof of this.


"Akira" is the film that brought Japanese animation to the forefront of Western audiences' attention. Now that's not to say that something like "Astro Boy" didn't do that earlier, however, "Akira" was important as it, along with films like "Ghost in the Shell" and "Ninja Scroll" provided audiences with a side of animation not previously exposed in the West with animation being used as a means of serious, adult storytelling. There are some liberties that animation can achieve that live-action films can't, such as the grotesque ways in which characters can be depicted as well as being able to fulfill our imaginations and not limit them. For that, "Akira" exists soley as an animated feature film and I would imagine that a live-action adaptation of it would be very difficult to produce.

The film takes after World War 3 in the metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, a neon-filled city of decadence where motorcycle gangs, student protesters, corrupt bureaucrats and the military are among the common sights to take in at this troubled city. A mix between "Blade Runner" and "Mad Max", we follow Tetsuo, a motorcycle gang member who is abducted by the military after his exposure to a frail-looking psychic child causes him to channel similar abilities of his own. Meanwhile, Kaneda, Tetsuo's best friend, seeks to release him from captivity only to further pull Tetsuo one step further into hell.
There's a lot to take in with "Akira" as it is a rather bizarre and highly stylised piece of work. The dystopian cyberpunk world of "Akira" has clearly gone on to become influential in films like "The Matrix" but other than that, it's almost hard to see just how else "Akira" has become an influence. The problem with this probably lies with the anime market as it is today which is just populated with many different series and films. It's hard to gauge just how big "Akira" is meant to be watching it now but that isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it - I just couldn't understand why "Akira" was supposed to be as huge as it was. Overrated? Probably. Or maybe I just didn't get it?

Although I will say that the film does have a rather profound nature about it when it came to the destruction of Neo Tokyo. I mean, this is coming from a country that has been ravaged by destruction not just by natural disasters but with war as well (Japan of course being the only country to suffer the effects of the nuclear atomic bomb). In addition to this bizarre yet profound muse on destruction, the film is very dark and grim with subject matter that sure leaves you feeling overwhelmed by film's end. I know I was in a state of disarray after finishing the film, trying to recollect my thoughts as to what I just saw.
But who, or what, is Akira? It's hard to put into words what "Akira" (the film) is although this is something that film challenges you to answer all throughout. I personally found this concept of Akira to be a metaphor for the capacity for darkness and destruction that we all possess - similar to "Apocalypse Now" in that regard.

I feel like a bit of a authoritative figure when it comes to Disney, having begun my time as an ACMI volunteer with the "Dreams Come True" Disney Exhbition. "Tangled", Disney's 50th animated film sees a return to form for Disney, returning to telling fairy tales in the way we're familiar with - not with an appropriated modern setting like "The Princess and the Frog" - but within the somewhat medieval touch of classics such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" or "Sleeping Beauty".
We're all familiar with the story of Rapunzel, but this isn't the same Rapunzel you grew up with. In this alternate retelling, Rapunzel, having spent her entire life within the confines of Mother Gothel's tower, wishes for nothing more than to see the glowing lanterns and experience the outside world. With the help of a dashing rogue, Flynn Rider, who stumbles across her tower after a thieving mishap in the woods, she soon discovers the world for the first time and learns of her true identity. This alternate retelling gives Gothel and actual reason to hold Rapunzel captive as Rapunzel's hair has mystical healing abilities which, in the case of Gothel, help to keep her staying forever young.

I'm pleased to say that this film is classic Disney that's been filtered through the contemporary 21st century style of American animated storytelling. That last part is important because the heart and humour of the film is reminiscent to the majority of the mass distributed animations from America today yet is still able to evoke that timeless Disney charm that we all know and love. Rapunzel has a lot more of an assertive sass to her character and instead of a regal prince, we have a charmingly smug rogue who comes to the aid of our princess.

Some may lament Disney's choice to abandon the hand drawn aesthetic for this film but the computer generated imagery of this film help to add much more personality to the characters. The animation department do a marvelous job of rendering them and giving them all unique little quirks when they talk or emote (eg. Rapunzel using her hair to emote is genius).

Of course it's not just the animated department who should get kudos here as the voicework in this film is delightful (as they are in all these films mentioned here). Sometimes casting actors to do voicework sounds awkward and stilted on screen but here Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do an outstanding job of bringing these characters to life and giving them each a huge personality.

I think "Tangled" is great and that Disney have really picked up their game with this and it's great to see them go back to doing what worked for them so many years ago. "Tangled" is able to take a well known fairy tale and add enough of a contemporary spin to it that it wouldn't alienate audiences from the style in which it's trying to achieve. I really enjoyed the film and thought that it's a great family film that also works as a lovely coming-of-age story.



Not much by way of film news this week other than this one trailer for
"The Avengers" which is pretty cool. Can't believe this is actually happening though... I mean this is all started, or at least was planned, way back in 2008! Time flies, right?


And that's it today guys. Sorry for the lack of photos again. My friend didn't upload his party photos so I'm not gonna press him for them. Anyways, time to end things.

End post.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How You Like Me Now?

How are we all?

Just came back from a job interview and decided to buy Community - Season 2 on DVD at JB Hi-Fi after it was over. It was begging to be bought, okay? I mean you don’t just all of a sudden make it half price for nothing, right? :P

Here's me with a brand new purchase of Community's second season on DVD.
A week ago it was valued at around $45 and was recently brought down to $20. Talk about a bargain, right? I'm gonna have fun devouring the commentaries and bloopers like I did with Season One.

Uni's looking to be pretty stressful next year. La Trobe's implemented this thing where all subjects are 15 credit points which means I have to take up extra subjects in order to get the required amount of credit points to finish my degree!

To be honest, I don't mind having to do eight subjects again like in first year but it's the fact that there are barely any subjects that I actually WANT to choose to do that is gonna make it pretty bad for me next year. I mean if I'm not enjoying a subject, that's definitely gonna reflect on my assessments. Which in turn would probably hinder the whole graduation process. Ugh. That and I have to pay extra for those two extra subjects and I don't want too much to pay off in debt in the future (despite having plans to do a Masters at RMIT).


But enough about my uni complications! Yesterday was my friend's 21st birthday party. He actually turns 21 on Tuesday but since we're all gonna be busy on Tuesday, him included, why have a party on a weekday at all, right? We did take photos of the night BUT they're not up on Facebook or anything yet so I can't share them right now. Maybe in the next post? :)

As I'm sure you're already aware - and if not, this will be brand new information to you - I'm doing a writing class on documentary this semester and as a requirement, I've been told to watch some documentaries outside of class times as part of my assessment. So the following are just documentaries I saw over the weekend. They'll all be bullet pointed though for your viewing benefit.
  • A fantastic insight into talk show host Conan O'Brien's psyche.
  • This guy craves attention, and it's not a bad thing. He just enjoys to entertain people and loves feeding off live crowds.
  • May turn people off from Conan because he does come off as being a bit of a dick sometimes.
  • But then again, he did just kinda lose his show and has a lot of frustration and anger built up in him.
  • I can understand why they decided to include footage of his tour but it's the backstage stuff and interviews that make Conan much more of a complex and interesting character.
  • Not much of a story to go by, more of a concept, really.
  • But a pretty nice little documentary about Conan and life on the road.

  • Pretty damn bizarre subject matter but very interesting one nonetheless.
  • Can't tell if the documentary is trying to make fun of these people or if its trying to turn these people into noble citizens.
  • I mean at times they show that these people are indeed good with watching the community and helping out the poor but at the same time, these people can't actually do anything if something bad we're to happen and, like the rest of us, are forced to call the cops.
  • Which, in a way, defeats the purpose of having these masked crimefighters if they're not truly vigilantes - therefore defeating the purpose of the documentary.
  • Interesting characters, that's for sure.
  • A bit on the corny side at times but pretty insightful overall - got me thinking if there were any masked crimefighters here in Melbourne.



Not really related to film news but since there's a movie in the works, it may a well be considered film news.
It was announced that "Arrested Development" would return to television for one more season this week and that the cast will also return for a feature-length movie. I guess the question is, "Where do we go from here?". If you've seen the show then you'll know what I'm talking about since it wrapped up quite nicely (considering it only had three seasons as well!). Excited nonetheless. Anyways, have a video of the Bluth family trying to do their best chicken impersonation.

Jason Reitman's Young Adult
Here's a new trailer for "Young Adult" straight from the folks that brought you "Juno", Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody. I like and hate Diablo Cody's writing but a lot of the hipster youth-speak that was found abundantly in her scripts for "Juno" and "Jennifer's Body" don't seem to be found anywhere in this film.


Also here's a brand new trailer for "The Adventures of Tintin". My god this film looks gorgeous, even if the uncanny valley stuff can be a little distracting and all. Excited for this film.


Can't get enough of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"? Here's another brand new trailer anyway! Cause we all love trailers, right? (Reading a book on David Fincher at the moment and appreciating the crap out of his films even more at the moment!)


And finally, the full theatrical for Steven Spielberg's, "War Horse", which looks absolutely beautiful and will undoubtely make you cry. Shoe-in for the Oscars, am I right?


And that's all for this week. Nothing proper to end the week so I'll leave that there. Peace.

End post.

Saturday, 1 October 2011



Today's blog post title is brought to you by Childish Gambino.
Haven't heard his new song yet? Check it out and feel the awesomeness of Donald Glover seep into your mind. His new album, "Camp" drops November 1st apparently. Super excited.


Remember that thing about me having to need more photos on this blog? Well for someone who had a week-long break, I didn't do much. That is to say, I didn't actually go outside. But then again, the weather this week in Melbourne has been rather intense so there really is no need to go outside. All I did this week was the standard - watch television shows, a couple of movies and played some games. Oddly enough I also did homework. Yep. And I highly doubt anyone wants to see pictures of THAT. So I'll just leave this part out and move on to the rest.

At the behest of my one of my best friends, I took this break to catch up on some films that he keeps telling me to watch. It may come off as a surprise to some people but it was my first time watching "Cast Away" this week - that famous movie where Tom Hanks is stranded on an island talking to a volleyball! I also watched "Crows Zero" and it's sequel, this week to see what all the fuss was about. THANKS KEVIN.


Everything about "Cast Away" screamed potential failure. Even with the starring power of Tom Hanks, the fact that the film was centered around one man trapped on island on his own, with only a volleyball to communicate to and with no supporting background music to accompany him through his struggle to survive on the island, meant that there was a big chance for this film to be the subject of ridicule. Funnilly enough, most people don't remember the movie for Hanks' fantastic performance and transformation or for it's simple story - they remember it for Hanks' supporting anchor in the film, Wilson. So maybe there's still a bit of ridicule there? Regardless, I felt the film did a nice job of sustaining interest in me to keep watching what could have been a boring and overweight film and had a very heart wrenching and emotional story to tell. A powerful movie about the human spirit and the power of love.


Released in 2007, "Crows Zero" was a film that I would not hear the end of from friends and it's not hard to see why. The film is follows Genji, the son of a yakuza boss who enrols into Suzuran High School - revered as Japan's most dangerous and wreckless school. Genji enrols in the school to take down the school's leader, Tamao Serizawa, in the hopes of proving his worth to his father. The film was a success in it's native of Japan and it's not hard to see why as the film does go through a checklist that guarantees success for the film such as recruiting a popular television drama actor for the lead role, add a music video-like sheen to the film and base it on a comic book series. In fact the film itself is pretty run-of-the-mill as far as popular cinema goes in Japan (or Asia for that matter) and follows conventions like having an obligatory yet forgettable romance within the film. Takashi Miike doesn't quite put his unique spin on the film and treats it as the film that it is - a testerone fueled brawl with a dash of coolness added into the mix. The film is very cool, and not just for cool's sake or anything like that. As I watched it, I could begin to understand just why my a lot of my friends loved it so much to the point that they'd dress like the characters in the film or get their hair cut like Genji's. It's essentially the spirit of punk rock being replicated through today's youths. The film knows what's cool in this day and age and that makes it largely enjoyable, I feel. At least for the generation it wants to speak to. Ignoring basic logic in the film - the fact that these kids don't actually learn a thing and that teachers are no where to be found - you'll find that it's actually not all that bad. It may feel run-of-the-mill and the story's a bit thin but it's worth-while and it can be fun and exciting when the moment calls for it.


"Crows Zero 2" fixes up the problems I had with the first one, which is great, but at the same time introduces new problems through it's story. This time around, it's school vs. school as Genji, who inadvertently breaks a non-agression vow between both schools, tries to convince Tamao's gang and the rest of Suzuran High School to join him in taking out rival school, Housen. The film still carries that music-video vibe about it - reinforcing the whole punk-rock angle that the film goes for - but gets rid of the obligatory romance that was more than rather pointless in the first film. Instead, the majority of the movie is focused on the rivalry between these two schools which is fine but the meaning behind the rivalry ends up becoming almost forgotten by the time we reach the middle point of the film. The rivalry begins with a guy who, in the beginning of the film, is revealed to have killed the former leader of Housen and was imprisoned for it. He's let out and you're led to believe that this guy will end up going back to Suzuran to help fight off the rival school but he ends up having his own side-story which in itself is convoluted and frustratingly confusing. Essentially, he's a waste of a character and screen time - just an excuse for the writers to up the ante of the first film by making it school vs. school. And because he's a waste of a character, the entire reason why Housen are fighting Suzuran becomes a little silly. Kinda like street gangs.

But, I will give credit to the fact that they mostly focused the film on just guys getting the snot kicked out of them as that's what I felt the first one should've been more focused on (not that it wasn't but if you're gonna make a high school gang movie, don't include an uninteresting romance). In a lot of ways, both this film and it's predecessor remind me of the "Young and Dangerous" series. Both are gang films that have, in some way or another, influenced Asian youths, to follow or adopt the look and attitudes of the films' characters while adopting an element of coolness about it all.


Not much by way of film news this week so I'll just leave the post to end off here. Now here's a video celebrating one of "Adventure Time's" funniest characters, Lemongrab.

End post.