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.
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.
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.
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...
WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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".