Archive for Japanese movies

Movie night: Creatures from the Abyss vs Ace Attorney

Posted in Crime, Horror, Movies with tags , on March 16, 2014 by Cara Marie

Our last movie night featured what is possibly the worst movie I have ever sat all the way through. Creatures from the Abyss is a really awful Italian exploitation film, brought along by H of course.  He has promised to vet the films more thoroughly in the future.

Creatures from the Abyss is kind of like Alien if Alien were set on a scientific research yacht with mutant fish instead of aliens, and with the sex scene from Prometheus, if halfway through the sex scene the guy had turned into an alien mutant fish instead of only impregnating the woman with alien mutant fish babies. Except worse than that description makes it sound.

Also none of the characters are likable, the editing is near-incoherent, there is no budget, and really I don’t know why anyone would inflict this monstrosity on the universe.

Thankfully one of the other films H brought along was Ace Attorney, which restored my faith in film-making/humanity. Such a good movie! I enjoyed it, without ever having played the games (we were a Playstation family, okay!), and H enjoyed it, having played the games; and I think L enjoyed it too although he got quite worked up about how ridiculous the court system was.

I think the best comparison I have in terms of adaptations is to Scott Pilgrim vs the World – it takes some of the very stylised elements of the source medium and replicates them entertainingly. I mean, you have to respect this level of dedication to replicating cartoon hairstyles:

Phoenix Wright has his trademark pointy hair, despite not being a cartoon.

Unlike Scott Pilgrim vs the World, though, Ace Attorney is actually a successful movie. (Apologies to anyone who likes the Scott Pilgrim movie.) It’s not a serious movie. But it also doesn’t make fun of its source material. It takes the characters’ emotional arcs seriously.

Recent movie nights

Posted in Action/adventure, Crime, Horror, Movies with tags , on December 8, 2013 by Cara Marie

Kung-Fu Chefs

Two brothers, both excellent chefs, have a falling out that ends up with one never being able to cook again, and the other, played by Sammo Hung, getting kicked out of the family for serving a dish that made everyone sick.

Years later Hung starts cooking again, which causes his nephew to try and avenge his father’s honour by ruining Hung’s restaurant, beating everyone up, and also by hiring chefs that can defeat Hung’s protege in a reality TV show cooking contest.

Kung-Fu Chefs was hard to follow at times – not because the plot was especially convoluted, but because a bunch of connecting scenes seem to have been cut out, leaving you to wonder how people got from here to there, and why aren’t they in the refrigerator any more?

Despite that, it was a really fun film. The action scenes were enjoyable, and we all got really hungry while watching it. Which is really what you want out of a movie called Kung-Fu Chefs.

Also watched that night: Tai Chi Zero. Will leave talking about that until we’ve seen Tai Chi Hero as well.

Hard Boiled

It took a while to really get into this movie. I think it suffers from the two leads not actually meeting till quite a way into the movie. (It also suffers because after a certain point, you can’t help but compare it to another movie, which anything would suffer in comparison to.)

So: Chow Yun Fat plays Tequila, a cop driven to revenge after his partner dies in a horrific shoot-out in a bird cafe. (I mean, everyone seemed to have birds with them. I’m not sure what that was about.) Tequila is in trouble with his boss for killing the gangster they were after during the shoot-out; he’s going to be taken off the case altogether and that is not okay with Tequila.

Our other lead is played by Tony Leung (the character’s name is also Tony), and he’s a hitman being seduced into a rival gang. (I say seduced, because the rival gang boss expresses some rather romantic sentiments when he’s trying to convince Tony to join him. Maybe it was the translation, but S and I were both like, um.)

Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung have great chemistry, and the film really picks up once the two of them are on screen together. (They’re both so young in this!) Sadly, it’s not for a while.

The action scenes are shocking and brutal, and some of the choreography is very impressive … but they go on too long. There’s a point where there’s been so much shooting you can’t tell why they’re just not all dead yet, and you’ve lost what the point of the scene was.

The final action sequence spices things up by forcing Chow Yun Fat to fight while carrying a baby, though, so I suppose I can forgive it for that ;)

Also watched that night: Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Experimental stop-motion metal-fetishist bizarrity. S told us there was no weird sex stuff. There turned out to be a lot of weird sex stuff. It was an experience.

The loveliness of little things

Posted in Fantasy, Junior fiction, Middle fiction, Movies with tags , on July 31, 2011 by Cara Marie

Saw Arrietty at the film festival, which I enjoyed a lot – much more than Ponyo, which was a bit weird for my liking. Arrietty is a lovely film, all the stronger for its simplicity. I especially loved the sense of scale – the threatening immensity of the kitchen, the way a single garden became a scenic view. The way the tea poured from the kettle, drop by fat drop. The borrowers might be the fantasy element, but it it the transformation of the mundane that is really wondrous.

Just a pity that my four-year-old niece couldn’t enjoy it so much. I am as much for subtitles as the next film geek who has her glasses on, but I don’t really think it’s fair to show a family film that the preliterate members of the family can’t watch.

4 and a half hours Death Notey goodness.

Posted in Crime, Fantasy, Movies with tags , on August 4, 2007 by Cara Marie

So, last night me and a group of unsuspecting friends went along to the Death Note movies at the film festival. Two movies: four and a half hours of awesome.

I think we all enjoyed ourselves, despite the perils off sitting still that long (though there was an interval). I ate a lot of candy, and now I wonder how L can eat so much without constantly having mouth ulsers? But I suppose that’s the least of his worries.

Oh, L. It’s easier to forget in the comic just how much of a bastard Light is, really. He might be worse in the movies, if you can have worse. The first movie was pretty close to the plot of the comics – Naomi’s involvement differs, and Light has an actual girlfriend (this is where the utter bastard part comes in). It basically covers up till when Misa is introduced.

The first film takes a while to get moving – the first half hour is pretty much dramatic heart attacks and people texting each other about Kira. Which I does think illustrates better the Kira phenomenen. Once Light is actually introduced, you’re on the edge of your seat. It’s hella exciting, and also, hilarious.

I don’t know if it was meant to be so funny? But it was funny. It’s quite over the top sometimes. Some of the reaction was from the people who were familiar with the comics, some of it was to the sheer awesomeness. I don’t think the first movie could have existed as it did if it wasn’t an adaption, because you get to the end of it and it’s only just getting started.

And the second movie is bam into it and has the whole damn rest of the story packed in. And by the whole, I mean many characters are cut and plotlines erased, but it works, because it’s a movie, not a serialisation. No Mello, no Near, which is a pity but actually I really liked that meant L got to win. That made me happy, although in fact the whole thing’s a bit of a tragedy. Very much loved L through it all. With his eyeliner. He he.

I can’t go through everything that was amazing and made me so happy – but it was there. I do recommend watching the two movies together, just because it is such as experience! You really have to make an event of it. I wanna do it again sometime.

It was also nice seeing all the fankids and the general geeky environment. Because everyone’s there to enjoy it (even if it’s just as their crazy friends dragged them along). So I had a very good birthday, thank you. Up the geekdom!

Gedo Senki

Posted in Fantasy, Movies with tags , , on July 22, 2007 by Cara Marie

So, this evening me and my workmates at the bookshop had an expedition to the Earthsea movie, which is the latest thing from Ghibli. There’s been a lot said about, in terms of an adaptation of the books, and its direction by Miyazaki Goro. The books it is most loosely based around, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu happen to be the Earthsea novels I have yet to read, so that doesn’t bother me much – except that Le Guin’s moralism is subtler than that found in this movie. And I’m not interested in comparing son to father in terms of direction… it is what it is. I wasn’t disappointed because it wasn’t as good as something else.

It just wasn’t that good straight.

I know what I’m doing for my birthday

Posted in Movies with tags , on June 23, 2007 by Cara Marie

Someone picked up a copy of the programme for the Wellington International Film Festival today, so I was looking through that earlier. There wasn’t anything too exciting – which is just as well, because I can’t afford to go to much anyway – though there was the Leonard Cohen documentary I’m Your Man which I pointed out to my mother, and she marked the dates.

…until, with five pages to go (in the weird movie section), I don’t so much point out as squeal. Because. They’re showing the Death Note movies. Ee!

In fact I was so busy squeeing it was left to my mother to point out the one showing is on my birthday!

Anyway, I’m excited. Is it sad that I want to ring people up to tell them this? Though it will mean very little to them? He he. I imagine Kim rolling her eyes at me already. Too bad. I’m looking forward to forcing people to come with me.

Hello again, I am eating chocolate

Posted in Books, Horror, Manga, Movies, Science fiction with tags , , , , on January 2, 2006 by Cara Marie

So, I’m back now from my adventures in Christchurch. My quite expensive adventures in Christchurch – ie why it’s probably a bad thing for Borders to come to Wellington. Well, they had buy two get one free on all their manga, so of course I was going to take advantage of it, wasn’t I? So now I have Paradise Kiss in its entirity, yay! This is my favourite manga. And I have a lot more Ceres now – and that damn 7th Eva that I tried ordering in from two places and never came in. Grr. Um. Not that you probably need to hear me talk about the manga I bought. Let’s just say shopping in Christchurch was a very fulfilling experience.

I have sand in my hair from going to the beach when it was windy. It was a boring beach – no rocks to speak of. Akaroa, on the other hand, was all rocks, which is no good either. You have to get that happy medium. In Akaroa, I bought a $5 bag of possum pieces. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with these. But they’re soft and fuzzy, so you know, that’s cool. I love having pieces of dead animal lying around. Please, someone tell me what’s wrong with me.

I’m all excited to see people again, except half of them are still away! I was scared maybe everyone would have jobs now, and that all this free time I have now would be useless. I don’t know if that’s going to be a problem though – the problem will be waiting for people to get back. I’m looking at Logan in particular, who is in nearly the same place as I was to start off with. I got him a present, and can someone please explain the Ring movies to me? See, because the book is Spiral, which there is a movie of – I know this because Logan will not let us watch it. Apparantly I won’t be scared enough. So I read it (yes, I read Logan’s present) and it’s a sequal to Ring, right? And this confuses me because, with the movies, there is Ring 2 as well as Spiral. How does this work? What happens in Ring 2? Is the Spiral movie in the same ‘verse as the Ring movie? Why oh why must this be so confusing!

It was a good book actually, more a thriller than a horror, so maybe I can tell Logan that and he will let me watch it, because if it’s not a horror then I don’t have to be scared, right? It was very engaging, and I actually felt like I understood it all, which wasn’t so much the case watching Ring. I mean, it was wacky, but it was consistant. Although I do fail to understand why anyone would think humanity would be improved by removing individuality.

Today I am going to see another movie that is an adaption of a book – I am going to see Howl’s Moving Castle! This is very exciting for me, especially because The Paramount is showing in subtitled. My sister went to see it dubbed… blasphemer. I understand it makes it easier to watch… but once, at Logan’s, we watching Kiki’s Delivery Service, and we watched it subbed – and then we watched parts of it with the dub, and, well, you’d never want to watch a dub after that either.

I haven’t read the book of Howl’s Moving Castle… which I have heard may be a good thing. I never got into Diana Wynne Jones. I read one of her books once, but it was quite weird and not in a way that appealed to me. I can’t really remember anything about it now, so it can’t have done that much for me. I couldn’t even tell you what the book was.

I’m sure last night I’d come up with all these meaningful, maybe even interesting things that I could say, but they’ve all fled now. You’ll just have to make do.

Today I read x-men

Posted in Middle fiction, Movies with tags , on November 30, 2005 by Cara Marie

Oh, joy of joys, Madman is going to be released Whisper of the Heart come March next year. This pleases me immensely. Whisper of the Heart is a Ghibli film about a girl who wants to be a writer, and also a snarky boy who wants to make violins, and I was thinking through out the whole thing that they should totally get married and have babies, and at the end he asks her to marry him! You know, when they’re older. They’re about 14. It was very sweet and exciting, although I think the boys who saw it found it slightly more disturbing. Which is understandable. But anyway, I’m very very happy it’s going to come out on DVD.


Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Winner

Ha ha!