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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Atomic

Hey hey. 

So quite a bit has happened in the world since I last posted here right? Between Kim Jong-un threatening the United States to the unfortunate attacks in Boston, I think it’s safe to say that the world is in a very bad place right now.

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On my end of things, it hasn’t been terribly dour these last couple of weeks although I haven’t really been in the mood to watch films at home as of late. No particular reason either, though I suspect it has to do with the enjoyment of my new PC. Oh yeah, I got a new computer!

I’m also now the proud owner of Bioshock Infinite and Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm as well (form an orderly queue, ladies...)! Essentials for gaming on a gaming PC, right? I’ve been really enjoying Bioshock Infinite and Heart of the Swarm’s just giving me a reason to enjoy using Zerg all the more (although you Terrans and your brand new widow mines are giving me a headache). Okay that will end gaming nerd speak.

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BUT NOT WRASSLIN’ NERD SPEAK! Often described as “the Superbowl of professional wrestling”, the WWE’s show of shows, Wrestlemania, took place a couple weeks back. The 29th edition of the event itself was pretty underwhelming, I must admit, but I had a heck of a time watching it and going crazy with one of my good mates – a fellow WRASSLIN’ enthusiast. Look, we know it’s all a bit silly – I mean really, grown men rolling around and wrestling in their underwear? - but you can’t deny that there’s an element of excitement that these larger-than-life characters bring to the table. They’re called World Wrestling Entertainment for a reason, folks!

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via Supanova Pop Culture Expo's website
Taking off my WRASSLIN’ nerd cap and putting on my anime nerd cap for a moment here but can I just express how much I love Mamoru Hosoda’s films? He’s a genius of a filmmaker and to think that I was introduced to his films three years ago by a friend of mine. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to him about his latest film, Wolf Children, this past week when he was making the rounds to promote his film in Australia. I really enjoyed picking his brain but it was pretty hard to contain myself when he said that I had done some good research for the interview (humble brag, right?). The full interview with him isn’t up just yet on Japan Cinema but when it is, I’ll no doubt share it here (hell, check my Twitter feed or Tumblr too cause I update those on a frequent basis!).
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING 

And now for the section of this blog that really matters! As I said, I haven’t been seeing as many films as I would have liked to but for those interested, here are the films that I got to see in the last couple of weeks.

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Montreal-based filmmaker, Kim Nguyen, scored his first Oscar-nomination this year with his captivating film War Witch (also known as Rebelle). While my initial interest to see the film was based mostly on the fact that a Vietnamese filmmaker managed to create such a high-profile film such as this, I walked away from it feeling like I saw something incredibly special. A stirring film, War Witch follows an African child soldier navigating the battlefield and finding love in an otherwise hopeless situation. I loved the film and much of it had to do with the elusively dreamy quality that the film has. It’s almost psychedelic and it creates that dream-like atmosphere through its use of imagery and sound. Nguyen’s clever implementation of some tantalizingly cool African-folk music and evocative imagery make the film feel like something of a fairy tale, particularly in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the film. It almost put me into a trance-like state and felt like as if I was conforming along with the recruitment of these child soldiers. War Witch comes highly recommended and is certainly one of the most effecting films I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this year.


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A disclaimer came up before The Loneliest Planet would begin. It stated that the film would not have any English-language subtitles whenever a different language was spoken. You could feel the nervousness in the audience which I’m guessing was absolutely the intention of the filmmaker. Hoping that this would make for an interesting film experience, I felt quite cheated by the film by the end of it. If I were to sum up the experience of seeing the film, it would be that the film was a struggle to get through (and that’s putting it lightly). A backpacking couple hike across Europe but an incident occurs that forces the couple to put their loyalties to each other in question. It certainly makes for an interesting premise and the idea is solid but the execution itself falls flat. I can’t imagine many people to be truly taken by the film but for me, I thought it was pretty terrible. If you’re into watching people walk for minutes on end and talk about nothing by the campfire, then The Loneliest Planet may just be for you. If I could say one good thing about the film it would be that the moment that causes the rift between the couple was handled really well and was made to be extremely uncomfortable.


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Based on the original anime series of the same name, Rurouni Kenshin is a live-action adaptation that surprised the hell out of me when I saw it. In an effort to lift my spirits (I was kind of out of it the day that I saw this film), I think I chose the right film to see to do that. A mysterious, wandering samurai warrior goes to battle against an opium drug tycoon with the help of some rather odd-ball characters. A friend of mine is deeply invested into the series and, as such, I have been exposed to it on some occasion (though I am in no way absolutely familiar with it) but I thought that the film was a lot of fun and is quite possibly one of the best anime adapted films to date. I think what really surprised me about it was how boisterous the entire production was. A lot of this may have to do with the source material but I also happen to think that the financial backing by Warner Bros may have had something to do with how much of a solid action blockbuster this was. Production value and cinematography truly shine when experiencing the film on high definition though so if you decide to see this one, try to make the effort to see it on Blu-ray (Madman’s transfer of it is quite exceptional, personally speaking). A lot of the time when I’m seeing a live-action adaptation of a manga or anime series, I’m always filled with a bit skepticism as, a lot of the time, they’re not as good as you expect them to be. I think with Ruruoni Kenshin is a step in the right direction as far as anime/manga/video-game adaptation goes and if things turn out really well, this could turn out to be something of a blockbuster revolution in Japan akin to America’s output of comic book movies. Only time will tell but here’s hoping that a bit more confidence is put into the making of these type of films in Japan’s future.


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Warm Bodies features a pretty interesting premise in that it's a zombie apocalypse but in the midst of all the horror, one zombie falls in love with a human. Before those Twilight bells begin to ring, I can assure you that this zom-rom-com doesn't fall into some weird longing for ridiculously handsome beasts. No, this is completely different and is most definitely a huge step above Twilight. Directed by Jonathan Levine - whose previous effort was the outstanding cancer drama/comedy 50/50 - Warm Bodies is a film that's fun yet underwhelming. Given that it's the end of the world, there is a sense of dourness all throughout from the cinematography to the writing. Suspension of disbelief is integral to enjoying Warm Bodies and I feel that if you can get over the initial meeting between our zombie hero, R (Nicolas Hoult who sure is building a name for himself now) and his love interest, Julie (played by Aussie actress Teresa Palmer) then you should find yourself having a pretty decent time with this film. I feel like I could have enjoyed the film a bit more because there is certainly a lot to poke fun at when you have a zombie falling in love with a human but it's a modest effort at best by Levine and company. Sidenote: Can couples please pay attention to the movie instead of sucking each other's faces and talking to each other all throughout?

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And that's it for the week. No I have no idea why but I've been listening to heaps of Blondie lately but probably because Debbie Harry is still rocking it at her age, I dunno. So I feel it's appropriate to leave you with a Blondie song. BYE.


End post.