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Friday, 20 September 2013

Lamp

Oh, lawd.

So these last two weeks have been pretty crazy. Spent most of my time in the city attending the Korean Film Festival in Australia just downing a heap of films - some good, some bad. Also spent time filming stuff for Meld as well.

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So yeah, seen a bunch of films but even now I don't have all the time in the world that I would like to sit down and write individual full-length reviews for them. Kinda sucks but I guess that would make for a super-long blog post and people would tune the hell out so, maybe it's a good thing? Bah.

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Oh yeah, bought Grand Theft Auto V this week. Totally having a ballin' time with it, Just gonna have to make sure that my cousin doesn't override my save file though, omg. Kinda crazy how much thought Rockstar have put into the game and how amazing it looks in spite of hardware limitations from the Playstation 3/Xbox 360. Good stuff. And no I'm not going to take a picture of my copy like everyone else.

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And also currently playing The Witcher as well (oh how I have missed long-form fantasy RPGs). Dunno how the hell I'm going juggling all this stuff that's going on but seems to be working so far, heh.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

Okay, so considering that I've seen quite a few films in the time I was away from this blog, I really don't think I can write too much about it BUT I can try to contain it to a sentence or two. Kinda like tweets, I guess. Longer than tweets actually so nothing like them at all. Here goes nothing.



ARCHITECTURE 101: Fairly standard romantic melodrama though it isn't without its moments of heartfelt emotion. Tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways though perhaps not nearly as collectively successful as something like the genre-hopping frenzy of A Werewolf Boy. Also, I think I have a crush on Suzy now, I dunno. I may need to get that sorted out.

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WHATCHA WEARIN': An absolute surprise! Just when you think the film veers towards genre conventions, it does a complete 180 and swerves into unpredictable fun. Nice to see a Korean film candidly talk about sex as well. All in all, Whatcha Wearin' is a refreshingly fun romantic comedy that's cheeky and sexy. Well worth hunting down.

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FISTS OF LEGEND: An overstuffed mess of a film crushed by the weight of all its uninteresting subplots - some of which end abruptly for no real reason. Somehow also an unintentional parody of sports films as the film far too often settles into genre conventions. That being said, the only parts of the film worth caring about are the flashbacks to the characters' younger years. Some really great stuff in those segments of the film. Otherwise its not worth sitting through honestly.

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BOOMERANG FAMILY: Honestly, this film didn't really do much for me which is disappointing considering that it was in the same category as the brilliantly moving, Miracle in Cell No. 7. Neither a good film or a bad film but it just didn't have a lot to say and is easily forgettable.

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PIETA: Perhaps the most challenging films at this year's KOFFIA. Interesting to say the least and is definitely one that sticks around with you though with Kim Ki-duk being such a visual storyteller, I can't help but feel that there's a lot of meaning in the film that was lost on me. Visually gorgeous though and at many times was an astounding feature to behold. Multiple viewings for sure.

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PLUTO: For me, the best film at this year's KOFFIA. Like Pieta, Pluto is one of those films that resonates long after the credits roll. A gut-punch of an indie film that's reminiscent to last year's equally dark high school film, The King of Pigs. A harsh film about high school elitism and, in some ways, a critique of the pressures faced by students as a result of education in Asian countries. Joins the ranks of esteemed high school films like Confessions, All About Lily Chou-Chou, The Kirishima Thing and even Battle Royale (all Japanese films, I realise).

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THE BEST OFFER: I'll preface this by saying that I had no idea what I was going into (other than the fact that the film had screened at MIFF and starred Geoffery Rush). Surprisingly great film though not without its faults, namely its overly long narrative. The thriller element of the film was unexpected but everything is tightly coordinated from cinematography to direction. Geoffery Rush excels in the film. Something a little different from the usual for me, I suppose.

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WHAT MAISIE KNEW: Oftentimes heartbreaking but ultimately a very honest portrayal of divorce's fallout and the effect it has on a child. Seen entirely from the point of view of a six-year old, it's a sturdy film that's carried on the backs of adorable (and incredible!) child actor, Onata Aprile. She works alongside Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard in the film! Especially reminiscent of Hirokazu Koreeda's films for me, which made it all the more enjoyable. Very much a recommendation.


FRANCES HA: Super influenced by films of the French New Wave, Frances Ha has become a critical darling around the world but for me wasn't as great as I had imagined it to be. I suppose if you look past the hipster facade there's some genuineness there but I can't help but feel that there's something I'm not seeing. Perhaps if I were more appreciative of Godard, Truffaut and the like, I'd be more inclined to enjoy it more but even as it is on its own, I really couldn't see what the fuss was about. Fortunately enough, I at least could feel like I could relate to Frances and her ongoing struggles.

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BLUE JASMINE: My first Woody Allen film and a great one at that! Supposedly influenced by A Streetcar Named Desire, this drama (which I totally was not expecting because one would assume a Woody Allen film meant hilarity) features one of Cate Blanchett's greatest performances on film. Blanchett, plays a woman in ruin and does so with such vigour that one should expect her to be called up for a nomination or two come awards season. Blanchett is helped by an outstanding supporting cast in Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin and Louis C.K (yay!).

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3-IRON: Supposedly one of Kim Ki-duk's best films but what was meant to be tender and delicate turned out to be monotonously boring. Mostly dialogue-free, the film tells the story of a drifter and an abused housewife who slowly fall in love. It's a strange film though one of things I've become to appreciate with Kim Ki-duk's films is how spiritual they feel even if they're at their darkest (see Pieta). His is a unique voice in Korean cinema (hell, in all of cinema) and it's interesting to see how spiritualism has been embedded into his films. That said, I still think this isn't as great as it's been made out to be, but that's just me.

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SAMARITAN GIRL: Perhaps my second favourite Kim Ki-duk film, to be quite honest which is crazy cause this is one of his more polarising films. With adequately fine performances by the father-daughter tandem of Kwak Ji-min and Lee Eol, Samaritan Girl is an unusual film about forgiveness and redemption. Though not nearly as dark or twisted as something like Pieta, Samaritan Girl's strength perhaps lies in the way Kim twists the idea of innocence. Though what the girls in the film do is morally abject, Kim in his own way, challenges the perception of one's happiness through the actions of the girls and the actions of the father (although this is probably far and away from Kim's intentions of the films and maybe I'm just trying to see something that's not there). Still, I thought it was better than 3-Iron.
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Yup, yup. So there's that. Okay, song of the week (and thus the title of this blog post) goes to the melodically inspiring tunes of Haruka Nakamura who is accompanied by the late, great Nujabes. Nakamura was working on an album with Nujabes before he passed away. Now under Nujabes' label, hydeout productions, and with help from Nujabes' fellow label mates and friends, the album has released and is out for the world to consume and enjoy. Listen and love.


End post. 

1 comment:

  1. nice short reviews! :D i'll give "Whatcha Wearin" and "Pluto" a try

    ReplyDelete