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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Bonfire

HOWDY.



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.

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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.
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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.

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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.



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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.



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"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.


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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.

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