Also of interest at work was Mara, who said that sometimes she thought I was the weirdest guy on earth, and sometimes the funniest. I, not liking the fact that other people never understand me, got even more annoyed. Then she pushed her key into my hip and proclaimed, "I'm turning you on!" making me smile despite myself.
I spent a good chunk of the end of the night hiding from those pesky humans in the family section and watching the Nightmare Before Christmas.
I still know all the lines, and I sang along.
The rest of this post is long, and has tangental relevance (better than my usual blog-train-of-thought, though) so feel free to comment on the first part before you read on, then you won't forget what you thought, if anything. Please tell me you think! Oh dear, we've lost you with our ramblings...
So you wanna know what's going on in Asian cinema? Naturally you do. Here are some reviews for you.
There is only one Chinese movie today...
Let me tell you a story. Years ago, there was rumor on the net of a fantastic movie. Somehow Kit got a hold of a copy and we all huddled in Ben's little dorm room to watch it. Now its on DVD. This movie changed my perception of what movies could be, much like Amilie had done only a month or so before.
Ichi the Killer
I was scared to rent this one for a long time, cause of the face of the guy on the cover (I can't stand self-mutilation). But its really interesting, and suprizingly funny. Funny fact: the main character (who is not Ichi) was played by Japan's version of a pop idol, Tadanobu Asano.
By the same guy that directed Ichi (Takashi Miike, who is a really famous name right now), this is a film that is more David Lynch than David Lynch ever was, and more enjoyable. My only complaint is the slow pace (something that plagues both David Lynch and Japanese movies frequently). Knowing shinto/Buddhist mythology helps you understand this movie a little.
Also by Takashi Miike, so I was expecting a good movie. Wrong. Turns out that Miike sold out to do a Japanese Pop Idol film, much as if the Backstreet Boys made a movie. I was very angry when they started singing halfway through the movie. The plot is crap too, about a girl (a jpop star) dying and being brought back as a computer program by her father. I didn't know the human psyche could fit on a laptop.
Avoid at all costs, and slap Miike if you see him.
For the first half hour, I was gagging on the cheesiness, but this one had me laughing hard as it went on. The plot: When our main characters play baseball against an opposing school of zombies, the rules basically change to last man standing wins. The weird part of the movie is they convince a thug that they need him because of his "Tornado Pitch," but he never actually uses it in the fight. Was that supposed to be a joke of omission? I don't know. The extras on this DVD were really good, but the previews that are included should be x-rated. I hate when video companies pull that crap. The main feature itself is quite tame.
Recommended if you like Ernest movies
This is a pretty cool, stylish, and funny movie. Apparently MTV Japan doesn't suck like their US counterpart, because the director usually works for them.
Recommended desu yo!
The Tomie Series
Tomie is a cute Japanese girl that just wont die. She regenerates. She attracts men, then causes them to kill her in a jealous rage (usually by beheading). Poor Tomie. I've watched the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th movies in the series. Each one is made by a completely different group and cast. I like them a lot. Tomie is intriguing in a different way each movie. These movie are pretty minimal in gore, thankfully, relying on psychological horror as per the Japanese standard. In fact, Tomie rivals the creepiness of Sakura (Samara from the ring).
Ju-on (the grudge)
Like the Ring, the Grudge was once a Japanese movie. But this isn't scary at all. When are people gonna learn to walk out of the room when creepy girls come in?
Not recommended when driving, 'cause it will put you to sleep... and you can't watch a movie and drive at the same time anyways. But you probably knew that... *cough*
Other movies on this list will make you wonder if Japan isn't a land filled with crazy people (actually, I've heard most of their movies are tame due to housewives being the main consumers of that market), but Tokyo Godfathers gives you hope for all humanity, let alone the Japanese. It had me crying at the end. By the director that gave us spirited away, and princess mononoke.
My highest recommendations.
I really like this movie. It makes hard hitting commentary about the Japanese society's commercialism and obsession with trends. The creepy thing is, this movie is fairly plausible. People in Japan really are getting together to kill themselves all the time. Additionally, the movie is scary and funny at the same time.
Korean movies I've seen recently
A tale of two sisters
The Ringu phenomenon has spread to Korea, and this is a movie in that tradition, but by no means a rip off. As per usual in Asian cinema these days, it is more psychological than gory.
Save the Green Planet I really wanted to like this one especially after seeing the apple.com preview, but the middle of the movie is a completely different beast from the beginning and end. It starts as a dark comedy, gets darker, and then gets kind of funny again. I'd like to see it remade in America, just to see what would happen.
I recommend it though, for the Korean-punk-remake of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (see the aformentioned preview for some of that).
2009 no pic needed for the bad movie!
Ugh, this one sucked. It seemed to be interesting at first, but it is just a cheesy action movie in the tradition of the rock (WE WILL SHOVE DRAMA DOWN YOUR THROAT WITH SLOW MOTION AND BAD MUSIC!!!), not to mention anti-Japanese propaganda. Boo.
Not recommended unless you live in North Korea.