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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Her Voice is Beyond Her Years

How's it going everybody?

Late blog post, I know. I was staying over a friend's house last night and we watched some really terrible films that were often rather hilarious. We watched "Future Sport", "The Secret Agent Club" and "Terminal Rush". Based on those titles alone, can you see what I mean by terrible films? These films were a dollar each and we still have two more of these films to see. So yeah, that happened. And no, I won't be discussing them. They're terrible but hilarious. I doubt anyone would want to waste their time doing what we do.

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It was my birthday last week for those who were unaware. I am now 20 years old am no longer in my teens. I didn't plan on celebrating my birthday at all (hell, I even went to work on my birthday!) but two of my best mates came over to hang out for a while and give me presents.

My birthday spoils! Now I need to buy the other books to complete the collection. Also my life is officially over now that I have a copy of The Old Republic to play.

Now all I need to do is buy the remaining three books! Also my life is officially over now that "Star Wars: The Old Republic" has come into my possession. I've never played an MMO where I've had to pay to play but this one looks pretty worth it. Thanks guys!
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHINGhttp://risefilms.com/themes/risefilms/uploads/films/the_interrupters_smaller.jpg

  • Anyone who lives in Melbourne should go catch The Interrupters before ACMI closes the film for this season.
  • A brutally honest, harrowing eye-opener of a documentary that depicts a year of violence in a city that's consumed by it.
  • The way in which director Steve James executes the documentary is that he brings the issue in a way that's both not glorified nor obscured.
  • And the way they depict the news media in regards to their reporting on violence in Chicago and in other parts of America is that it's something that they don't necessarily have a huge grasp on gang violence and look only for a story to cover.
  • It's crazy to think that these teenagers/young adults live this way - prepared to die at any corner with a gun tucked in their pants and a bulletproof vest over themselves.
  • It's even crazier to know that these guys don't expect to live past 25 and live for today not tomorrow.
  • There's a fantastic moment where James takes his camera and shoots various memorial sites dedicated to the recently deceased adolescents in Chicago and then finishes it up by showing a wall with each brick containing someone's name. The scene with a close-up of one particular brick that says, "I'm next", which for me was incredibly haunting.
  • Highly recommend that people watch this, a superbly made documentary.
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  • Enjoyed it for the most part.
  • Quite heavy with the political jargon in the early goings of the film which makes it hard to follow.
  • Also, the fact that it's American politics also makes it that much harder to identify.
  • But as far as all surface elements of the film are concerned (acting, story etc), they're all good.
  • And as far as political thrillers go, I was surprised to see some really nice shots in this film - rather decent cinematography in certain areas.
  • I dunno, the film's just okay - I was hoping to expect some form of satire (a la 'Network') but I just got a pretty decent film about American politics.
  • Yeah, don't really have much of an opinion on this to be quite frank.
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  • Hugo is one of the year's best films, hands down.
  • The film is one giant love letter to cinema while also acting as a fond reminder of cinema's humble beginnings.
  • Seriously, it's almost like a crash course in film history but you wouldn't really know it until you see it for yourself.
  • And not only is it a celebration of cinema but it's also a celebration of youth.
  • Essentially a children's film, it has a lot of potency as a film that captures a sense of innocence with much maturity - something you don't see a lot nowadays with children's features.
  • So that was a refreshing thing to see.
  • Hugo also acts as a positive argument for the use of 3D in films.
  • Naysayers might say that director Martin Scorsese "sold out" by using 3D but it's the way the 3D is integrated within the film's story and it's overall message that makes it a compellingly positive argument for 3D.
  • It's not clear at first why this film in particular would require 3D, but it becomes clearer.
  • Hugo isn't perfect though, there are problems with the story and it's a little muddy here and there with its pacing (a minor fault within Scorsese has a storyteller).
  • But otherwise, Hugo is a heart-warming film that is essentially dedicated to both the power of cinema as well as to the preservation of it.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

The nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards were announced last week and you can find the link to the list of nominees RIGHT HERE.

I was VERY surprised to see that "Bridesmaids" would get any nomination for anything but at the same time am rather happy for everyone involved with making that film because I thought it was pretty good (but definitely not "Academy Award-nominated" worthy...). I don't think ANYONE saw that coming.

My favourite film from last year, "Drive", walked away with only one nomination but for Sound Editing (come on... where's the nom for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture?). If there was any film from last year that deserved nominations for any major award, it was definitely this one. But cry and cry all I want, it won't happen.

Gary Oldman finally gets a nomination from the Academy for his work with "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" which was great to hear.

Elizabeth Olsen did not get a nomination for her breakout performance in "Martha Marcy May Marlene" which is a shame because I just want to see her at the Oscars... (but I will be able to see her in the aforementioned film this week finally...)

Another snub, according to those who've seen him in "Shame", is Michael Fassbender, who I thought for sure would get a nomination, considering that he's been nominated in every other award ceremony for Best Actor.

I'm also crying snub for "The Interrupters" because after seeing that documentary this past week, I was shocked that it didn't get any recognition whatsoever.

If I had to guess, I'm gonna say that "The Artist" will take home a lot of the major awards that evening. It seems to be the film that everyone is falling head over heels for so if I had to pick something to win, it'd be that. Pro-tip right there.
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So that's it. There was more to "Tidbits of Film News" but I'm too lazy to get started on that. I mean, the most that I cared for this week were the Oscar nominations, so I just wanted to get that out of the way and leave the rest another time. This blog post's title comes is provided by Mew, a band I've recently started to have a liking to. There are two different versions of the song, one slower, and another one faster. Not sure which one I like personally but botha re good. You can decide for yourself. Enjoy.





End post.




Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bangers & Mash

Hello all.

This week was a pretty average week. I watched some things and finished a book. Not exactly exciting, right? But then again this isn't an exciting blog. Oh snap.

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One thing that I forgot to mention last week which I shall bring up now is that Tokyo Jihen are disbanding by the end of February which makes me very sad. Sad because they're one of my favourite bands and to know that there won't be any more new material from them is more than disappointing. I wanted to see them live too because their live performances are fantastic but now I won't ever get that chance. It's a damn shame for a talented band like this to dissolve but my hope now is that Shiina Ringo continues her solo career after this.

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I was able to finish reading "Real World" this week and I thought it was a pretty nice read from start to finish. It may have dipped a bit too much into exposition every now and again but otherwise the novel was pretty much exactly what I had imagined - a deadly combination of "All About Lily Chou-Chou" and "Confessions". Add in a tiny dash of "Battle Royale" (referenced twice in the novel) and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (referenced once in the novel) and you’ve pretty much got a book that provides an interesting psychological insight into the present day youths of Japan and criticism of Japan’s social expectations and emphasis regarding status and education. If you’re keen, give it a go.

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Speaking of "Battle Royale", I also ordered that during the week through The Book Depository and am most likely going to acquire a copy of the film on Blu-ray sometime soon also. Not very smart with my money but I tend to try and buy things in small amounts...
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHINGhttp://www.onlinemovieshut.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-poster.jpg

  • I'm pretty much convinced that David Fincher is a modern day Alfred Hitchcock.
  • The man knows how to work the audience and layers his films with much character and intrigue.
  • In some ways, TGWTT is almost like an amalgamation of all his films thus far.
  • The slow burn of The Game, the complexity of Zodiac, the darkness of Se7en etc.
  • Admittedly hard to follow however with so many names being thrown at you and the fact that you're dealing with what sometimes can be an incomprehensible accent. Sometimes.
  • Rooney Mara gives herself completely to the role and comes out guns blazing in a terrific performance.
  • Long film though. Bit too long. Was hoping the film would wrap up once the case was solved but there were other loose ends that needed to be tied up...
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide yet another stellar score and I hope this partnership with Reznor, Ross and Fincher continues because their scores completley mix well with Fincher's films.
  • It's the first official film of 2012 for me so I am pleased it's this one that's the first!


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  • I didn't want to have to talk about each film individually because they're all more or less the same film all with the same amazing results.
  • Now as of writing this I have now just seen three of the five Police Story films - Police Story, Police Story 2 and Police Story 3: Supercop.
  • The films are pretty much what we've come to expect from Jackie Chan but it's with this film series in particular where his dedication to elaborate stunts and eclectic combination of comedy and action create an entire genre all on it's own.
  • Story and character are practically secondary in Police Story but that's okay because it's an action movie first and foremost - one spearheaded by Jackie Chan, no less.
  • The first and third films in particular just seem like the story is there as an excuse for action to take place.
  • The second film had more of an emphasis on story, bringing a focus on our hero and his girlfriend (played by Maggie Cheung!), but let's face it - we don't really need to worry about these things.
  • These films are meant to be fun and entertaining and aim to bring the audience a sense of awe and shock; bewilderment and spectacle!
  • And as we watch with wonder and observe a man dangling from a helicopter or witness a brawl in a shopping mall, we're all reminded of the dangers that go into making these types of films by the end of it all.
  • The highlight of Chan's films don't necessarily come from within the final product (as memorable as these scenes may be) but within the closing credits.
  • As with almost all of his films, a blooper reel is shown that shows everything that went wrong with particular stunts (eg. Michelle Yeoh on a motorbike trying to get onto a moving train but not quite getting there).
  • It's in these videos where you see the dedication in Chan and his stunt team's work and you appreciate the final product so much more in doing so.
  • Seeing these now has made me realise that while the man loves pleasing the audience, he's not happy until he gets the most out of himself for a scene.
  • He doesn't just want to get it right, he wants to get it perfect.
  • And in doing so, we're not really seeing an "action movie", we're seeing an "adrenaline movie".
  • A movie that pushes our desire to see and feel more danger and one that actually encourages us to respond to seeing a man dangling from a helicopter (with no safety harness or ground team spotting him) much in the same way that that very same man would be responding in that very situation.
  • These movies offer some of the most fantastic stunts ever committed to film and the fact that Jackie Chan would prefer not to use wires and other visual trickery with the camera makes the stunts in these films all the more credible.
  • Which in turn make Jackie and his team look like a Super... anything!

Trailer for the first movie.
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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

The only bit of news today comes in the form a teaser trailer for Mamoru Hosoda's newest feature, "Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki" which I think translated is "The Wolf Children, Ame and Yuki". Hosoda's previous directing credits include, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" and "Summer Wars" so needless to say, I am pretty excited for this one.

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And that's all for today's post. Today's title is contributed to by Radiohead and is from the second disc of their album, "In Rainbows".

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

I of the Mourning

Howdy folks.

Super delayed blog post, I know. BUT, have no fear for my memory isn't clear. Which means you won't have to suffer through a long post! Huzzah for that!

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The only thing that is of relevance this past week was the Richmond Chinese New Year Festival out at Victoria Street. I wasn't actually there for most of it though because I actually wanted to be at ACMI to help out on Sunday but my plan was just to go get food and lounge around at my mate's place any way which is exactly what I ended up doing after I was finished with my shift.


This right here is $50 worth of food. I only finished about $40 worth though.... I was really struggling to get through it. Also large cups of sugar cane drinks for $6.00? Overpriced as hell but I'm the sucker for buying it. The Korean Bulgogi taco wasn't as good as I had imagined so that was a colossal disappointment.

Don't know if anyone noticed but this year the vendors were a bit more... diversified. Normally they just have Vietnamese and Chinese stalls from the different stores on Victoria Street but this year they had a few Korean, Japanese and even Spanish food stalls. I was convinced I saw a Middle Eastern one at some point but that was probably just in my head. Just thought I'd bring that up...

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"Drive" (the novel) came in the mail yesterday! Can't wait to get into this right after I finish reading "Real World" and see for myself just how much different the novel is compared to the film! Hell, maybe I should just buy the "Fight Club" novel as well...

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I also made a bookmark for no reason because why the hell not? I was bored. It was 1.00AM. So logically the right thing to do would be to fold paper and draw things. Yep. Totally makes sense.
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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS


Just the one piece of news from me today because I am lazy and I don't want to make this post too long. Wes Anderson fans rejoice for here is the trailer for his new film, "Moonrise Kingdom". I'm not big on Wes Anderson, mainly because I've only seen "The Royal Tenenbaums" and found that to be rather underwhelming at best. Decent movie, but somewhat overrated, I feel. Enjoy the trailer.


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So that's it this week! This week, the title from this post comes is from a track by The Smashing Pumpkins. Listen and enjoy. Have a good week, folks.


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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Undenied

How you living?

Everything's been pretty awesome this week. I had a friend's 21st birthday party to attend to on Friday night which was more than fun to be at. I can't be bothered talking about it because Ellen's done that for you already. I swear I've been saying that same thing for the last few posts now...

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My copy of Batwoman: Elegy came in the mail today. Can’t wait to devour this. Batwoman’s quickly becoming one of my favourite characters thanks. Mostly thanks to what J.H Williams’ art has done for her but her. Also picked up Defenders #2 and Detective Comics #5 just now.
My order of "Batwoman: Elegy" arrived in the mail this week. Ordered it from The Book Depository - top site to buy books of any flavour (free shipping and ridiculously cheap - especially if you're getting comic books in trade). I'm planning on getting a few more comics once I have built up a sizeable amount of money in my bank account.

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I've also recently placed orders for James Sallis' "Drive" - the book from which the film of the same name was based on - and "Real World" by Natsuo Kirino. My interest in "Real World" was met this week when I saw it on display at The Book Grocer on Russell Street. From the description, it sounded like a cross between two Japanese films,"All About Lily Chou-Chou" and "Confessions". A quick Google search of Natsuo Kirino will show that a lot of books have an awesome plot to it so depending on how I go with "Real World", I might just go and get her other books as well.

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Oh yeah, totally bought this today. Haven’t played any King of Fighters game in so long and from what I hear, KOFXIII is a return to form after the terrible 12th installment. I just want to forget about that one…
Also went out to buy "The King of Fighters XIII". Top game and a return to form for this fighting game series. Favourites right now are Andy, Joe, Mature and Kensou. I'll somehow make a team out of that and learn how to properly use them.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHINGhttp://ones2watch4.com/content/wp-content/gallery/joseph-gordon-levitt/jgl-3.jpg

Surprise, surprise. I actually saw some films this week! This week was a mini Joseph Gordon-Levitt week. JGL has steadily been making a pretty big name for himself, having recently appeared in films such as "Inception", "(500) Days of Summer" and will be also appearing one of the year's biggest films, "The Dark Knight Rises". While some may say he's relatively new to the scene, prior to his blockbuster success, JGL had, for many years, established himself as an actor on the independent scene. Now, with a recent Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the the hotly talked about dramedy, "50/50", I'm sure he'll carve out a fine career for himself in the next decade or two to come. ("Brick" is one of my favourite films and he was magnificent in it.)

Having said that, below you'll find my thoughts on three select JGL films - "Mysterious Skin", "Stop-Loss" and "Hesher". In addition to this, I also saw the underseen Korean melodramatic film, "Failan" starring Choi Min-Sik and Cecilia Cheung.

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  • With the film being called, "Hesher" you'd think it would be about this greasy, long haired, headbanging, Metal-loving dude.
  • But no, it's about a kid coping with the death of his mother.
  • But that's okay cause this film is aces.
  • I loved the film, more than I thought I would.
  • I don't know what I expected from the film to be quite honest.
  • One of JGL's best screen performances in a role that many will, in the future, consider to be a cult icon (seriously calling it now).
  • Hell the film itself has a bit of a cult appeal to it and will probably only affect those who are willing to see it.
  • And while it may be about a kid coping with the death of his mother, the underlying message underneath it all is that we all go through some form of grief but it isn't until someone comes crashing into your lives and smacks you with some hard truth and reality to wake you the hell back up.
  • Natalie Portman's character in the film felt a bit wasted which is a shame.
  • Oftentimes hilarious due to Hesher's unashamed words of wisdom (e.g.using a four-way sexual encounter as a metaphor for enjoying one's life) and deeply poignant is this film.


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  • Much to my surprise, this film was produced by MTV, which was not a good sign to begin with when starting your film.
  • Aside from the surprisingly strong performances, there's not much weight within the film to keep it sustained for the running time.
  • What was the purpose of the film? What was it trying to achieve?
  • I'm not sure I quite understood the film.
  • It's like as if the film wanted to tackle a lot of issues already raised in previous war films.
  • The cast turn in very solid performances and bring a sense of complexity to the characters even when it seems like there isn't any.
  • Even Channing Tatum isn't so bad in it although he's really got to get a control of accents and stop teeth grinding.
  • There are other films out there that are like that do a better job like "The Hurt Locker" and "Jarhead".
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  • Often lauded as one of JGL's best performances, if not the best of his career.
  • I think I hold that distinction for "Brick" to be honest.
  • The film itself is quite bleak and harrowing and tackles a rather hard to watch subject matter - pedophilia.
  • I'm not sure if it was director Gregg Araki's intention to make me cringe at a lot of the scenes in the film but oversexualising JGL's character (both as a child and as a teenager) was not something that I wanted to look at again.
  • Definitely an uncomfortable experience and something that I wouldn't recommend to a lot of people.
  • Had the same effect on me that "Requiem for a Dream" had.
  • Having said that, the film was quite the challenge to get through.
  • Although, for some reason, it seemed to offer a somewhat interesting slice of Americana in the midst of all the whirlwind of tragedy and emotions brought out within the telling of the story.
  • The performances in the film are superb and the music is absolutely sublime.
  • Just don't go into this film and think it'll have a happy ending.
  • Don't think I'd ever want to see the film again. Once is enough.
  • A disturbing and frankly honest film.
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Yes, the poster is Japanese, I know.
  • "Failan" is a beautifully restrained melodramatic film from Korea.
  • I'd argue that it's quite an underseen film as it seems that no one really talks about it but those who have seen it are rather enamoured by how good the film really is.
  • A rather remarkable feat to have our two protagonists never share actual time together in the film yet have the audience establish an irrevocable connection between them.
  • Truly a great accomplishment and in that regard, it's quite the original little feature.
  • A film like this COULD benefit from some fantastic cinematography but rather than take the artistic approach and add a visual flare to the film, there's a sense of dry mundaneness throughout.
  • And while that might sound like a turn off, it completely completely depth to the film.
  • Giving this sense of realism rather than style evokes a sense of desperation and despair between our two characters.
  • In some ways, this film reminded me of "Comrades: Almost A Love Story".
  • Slow burning film which paces itself with great precision.
  • Intriguing narrative structure.
  • Choi Min-sik shows why he's one of Korea's best actors in a role that makes feel compassion to an otherwise despicable and petty character.
  • Cecilia Cheung also equally impressive in providing further nuance to an already wonderfully directed film.
  • Great film. Seek it out and keep a box of tissues close by.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

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Two films are being put on hold right now - the American remakes of "Akira" and "Oldboy".
In the case of "Akira", Warner Brothers have decided to put the project on hold in order to take a look at the costs behind "Akira" and if they want to even take a risk on it. In addition to the costs, they want to also look further at their casting decisions for the project. Good move, I say. And if it somehow all goes underwater then "Akira" fans can celebrate.

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As for the "Oldboy" remake, production for the film is being delayed due to Josh Brolin's commitments in promoting "Men in Black 3". The film is still going under way but is still yet to secure an actor for the villain. Still not even sure if Mia Wasikowska has actually accepted her role yet.

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You want to hear about my celebrity crushes? Well okay then! First up we have a still of Amanda Seyfried as former real-life pornstar Linda Lovelace. Wait, Amanda Seyfried is playing a pornstar? Oh boy. Also in the still is Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Traynor.

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Speaking of Amanda, she's also reported to be in final negotiations for a role in Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables". Hooper, whose last directing credit was "The King's Speech" directs a very stacked cast with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Sacha Baron Cohen agreeing to take part in the musical.

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Meanwhile another of my celebrity crushes, Elizabeth Olsen, can be seen in the first trailer for the horror movie "Silent House". The film, purportedly filmed in a single take, is a remake of the Spanish film, "La Casa Muda" (also purportedly filmed in a single take) and was first seen at the Sundance Film Festival last year where Lizzie gained a lot of attention for her turn in "Martha Marcy May Marlene" (a film which I am dying to see and won't be released in Australia until February 2nd).


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And that is all for today's blog post. Today's blog post title comes from Portishead. It's a name that's been floating in and out of my consciousness for years now but I never actually followed up and bothered to research on them.

Anyways, it wasn't until I saw the video below that I was absolutely sold on Portishead (and you'll see why). They've got an awesome sound but surprisingly only have three studio albums since their formation in 1991. The band toured Australia very recently also. Enjoy and bye.



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Monday, 2 January 2012

Right Back To You

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS!

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I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year's Eve celebration and ushered in 2012 with some positivity! I spent my New Year's Eve a bit differently this year and met up with my high school friends to celebrate. It was pretty much a house party for most of the night up until the part where we relocated to the beach to catch the sunrise. Oh and it was also my mate's birthday too so it was half of a New Year's celebration and a birthday celebration! As usual, Ellen's blogged about it before me so I won't go any more into it. The rest of the photos and stuff are up on her blog.

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After everyone left at like 7.00AM, myself and some friends who lived in my area decided to have McDonald's for breakfast. I tried the pancakes - terrible stuff. Ugh, and after I told myself that I wasn't going to have any Maccas for the next year too! Ended up coming home at about 8.00AM and slept through to 4.00PM.

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When I woke up, I took a shower and hopped onto my laptop only to find that Tokyo Jihen had released a new song and video on the first day of the New Year! They also announced a new "Best Of" collection of their live performances on DVD and pictures of Shiina's performance at the 62nd Kouhaku uta Gassen live show were popping up all over Tumblr. I'm still looking for a video of her performance though... For me, this was a great way to kickstart the year!



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This past week has been pretty good to me. I received a package from JB Hi-Fi in the mail and was ecstatic that my order of "Thirst", "The Quiet Family" and Yasujiro Ozu's Boxset Collection arrived safely and in great condition! Ah, buying these was DEFINITELY a good decision. The sale that went on with JB Hi-Fi and Madman made these three purchases, the Ozu boxset in particular, super cheap! An offer NOT to pass up on!

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Also, my parents bought a new television set for the living room and moved the one that was in the living room into mine. Having a large television like this is WAY too much of a luxury - I even told my parents to just buy a regular sized one but they felt the need to get something huge. I'm not complaining though, I mean, the picture looks fantastic and every time I walk out into the living room I can't help but smile because of it's presence, haha.
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Bad news, I haven't been watching anything this week. I was meant to have begun watching "Parks and Recreation" as well as "Justified" but I just wasn't in the mood to watch anything at all this week. That and I've been keeping myself occupied with finishing "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2" on PC. Not bad of a game, just not as good as the original. Mostly playing it to get myself psyched up for the new MMO, "Star Wars: The Old Republic". I'll get back to watching things this week hopefully.
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I'll also just abandon my usual "Tidbits of Film News" section this week because, and if I recall correctly, I just don't think there was enough news-worthy things to add in. So having said that, I'll end today's blog post (and also the very first post for 2012) right here. The song today is from Electric Youth once again and is off their Right Back To You EP which also includes the song Fade Away and several remixes of Right Back To You. Hope everyone has an awesome 2012!



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