Probably the biggest thing to have happened to me in the last couple of weeks since my last blog post was this little interview I did with one of the coolest people in the world, Japan's reigning princess of pop, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!
I got the confirmation that Kyary would be accepting interview questions from media a week before her live show in Sydney so with the help of Tumblr's Kyary fanbase, I worked up a few quick and easy questions to ask her (I had already lost any hope of interviewing with her since I never got a reply so I really had to rush getting my questions in). I think the interview turned out quite well so do be nice and have a good read of it over at Meld Magazine, yeah?
(Shit, if I can score an interview with Kyary, my dream of interviewing Shiina Ringo isn't too far off, right? RIGHT?!)
Other than that though, I don't recall anything else of particular significance to have happened in the last several weeks. Most of my time has been spent playing games though (this includes my recent acquisition of the insanely addictive shooter, Titanfall) so a lot of last week was dedicated to catching up on movies as you'll soon see.
I finished Mass Effect 2 and am now starting the third and final entry into the series. It's been a pretty great ride so far (how did I not bother to start this earlier?!) and I feel a little reluctant to finish it. After this I'll be heading towards Ni no Kuni and will also start playing The Last Remnant which I had no idea was available on Steam until this past week when it was on sale.
WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING
NEBRASKA: While I certainly I enjoyed Alexander Payne's latest, Nebraska, I really didn't think that this simple and understated comedy/drama was big enough to contend as nominee in the Oscars race a while ago. It's a really lovely film, don't get me wrong, but I just think it's not that good to be in contention (Philomena, on the other hand, felt more deserving as the obligatory small-time crowd-pleaser). Great black and white photography and a nice little soundtrack all headed by a great cast of comedy veterans. Nebraska reminded me a fair bit of Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise actually.
BAD NEIGHBOURS: Was fortunate enough to catch an advance screening of this and really enjoyed it. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are great as the leads in the film but it's Rose Byrne, the queen of Australia and queen of my heart, who steals the show. Typically speaking, the wife in these types of films is normally given the sensible, smart and reasonable role of trophy housewife but Byrne's character in the film is as dumb and fool-hardy as Rogen's (example: suggesting that they roll a joint as a peace offering to the fraternity next door). There's also an unexpected deeper quality to the film that resonates too with Efron's character growing fearful of the future and the couple scared of becoming boring adults. Just good fun overall, go see it!
THE 47 RONIN: Oh boy, this was not what I expected. After being impressed by the Lone Wolf and Cub series a while ago, I thought The 47 Ronin, another Japanese classic, would follow suit but nope; it ended up being a pretty dreadful film altogether. It might be a legend in Japan but this particular telling of the story felt so long-winded and overarching that I couldn't care how the eventual revenge attack would look. Seven Samurai was also 3 hours long and did a far better job of telling a fantastic story with memorable characters and it was made years before this was released. Watch Seven Samurai or Takashi Miike's stellar, 13 Assassins instead.
TO THE WONDER: I really wish that the Blu-ray I bought was of better quality (and you would think that a Blu-ray transfer already means good quality, right?!). For a HD film, it wasn't nearly as sharp as you might think and really did feel like a DVD transfer at times (shocking considering it's a Terrence Malick film which means you want it to be as beautiful as you can!). Anyways, I felt like I enjoyed this a little more than The Tree of Life solely because Malick condenses his subject down to love which is less of a mind-screw than trying to find the meaning of life (or whatever it was that Malick toyed with in his previous film).
A BAND CALLED DEATH: A film I really wanted to catch at MIFF last year! A Band Called Death tells the story of three black bothers who formed what the documentary considers to be the first punk band ever (predating The Sex Pistols or The Ramones!). The doco mostly focuses on the deceased member of the band, the spiritually inclined David, as he was the one who had the vision for their band, Death. It's a great story, very reminiscent of 2012 doco, Searching for Sugar Man though I felt this particularly documentary just looked too ordinary and never really felt all too special (at least not in the way that Searching for Sugar Man did).
PUSSY RIOT - A PUNK PRAYER: I really enjoyed this film and was actually really surprised as to how much footage the filmmakers were able to acquire to build a really great narrative. For those who may not know, Pussy Riot, is a Rusian anti-establishment group who use punk rock music to vocally denounce the Russian government (you may have heard of them after their stunt at the recent Sochi Winter Olympics). They made headlines a few years back when they performed an impromptu, guerilla performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior where three of its members were arrested and detained by Russian authorities (the arrest and following trial serve as the backdrop of the film). The film provides great insight into the unfairly detained Pussy Riot members as well as the state of Russia under Vladimir Putin's regime and was a great watch for me.
And that's all for today! Anyone here read my recent review for Petal Dance over at Japan Cinema? If you have then you'll know that I really enjoyed the movie and how much of a therapeutic movie it felt to me. Much of this had to do with Yoko Kanno's splendid music in the film so for your enjoyment, today's post title/song is from the Petal Dance soundtrack. Listen and love, ya'll.