Quick recs

Tue, Sep. 29th, 2015 11:17 pm
oyceter: (bleach parakeet of doom!)
First, I am sure everyone has heard about this by now, but just in case you haven't or have but didn't check it out yet: Hamilton Original Cast Recording Spotify playlist (or if Spotify doesn't work for you, YouTube). I've been dying to see or listen to this musical since I heard about it a few weeks ago, and now that the soundtrack is out, I can at least listen to it. Lin-Manuel Miranda's mix of hip hop and Broadway and other pastiches (the BritPop!) is amazing, and it reminded me of the excitement of listening to Rent for the first time in the 90s after only having heard Andrew Lloyd Webber and Les Mis. The recitative bits sounds a little like Rent to me, but other than that, Hamilton is entirely its own thing. Also, Thomas Jefferson sports natural hair and purple velvet.

I also saw East Side Sushi over the weekend, a cute indie film about a Latina woman who gets a job in a sushi restaurant and decides to become a sushi chef. The plot is pretty much what you would expect—opposition from her more traditional father, racism and sexism from the Japanese owner, a competition where she Proves Herself—and it sometimes felt a little clunky, but it's extremely charming and features Mexican-Japanese fusion food. It's also filmed in Oakland by a local director, so I got a ton of enjoyment out of seeing familiar places on screen as well.

And I (FINALLY) played through Hatoful Boyfriend, aka the pigeon dating sim, thanks to [personal profile] bluerabbit. Although to be accurate, it's more a piece of post-apocalyptic science fiction masquerading as a pigeon dating sim, which was not what I was expecting. Also, you date pigeons (and other birds). If this interests you and you're generally not into video games, I'd give this a try. It's a visual novel, so there's not that much game play involved aside from making some decisions about who to talk to and etc., and it's worth it to go through all the storylines.

I also mean to rec N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season and Zen Cho's Sorceror to the Crown, but I am still holding out hope that I will write actual entries on them.
oyceter: (still ibarw)
Sooooo tired. May have to up sleeping from eight hours to ten, which sounds ridiculous to me. But seriously. I have had my requisite cup of caffeine, and I still can't concentrate.

I was going to write separate posts on Blood Diamond and Casino Royale and cultural appropriation and post-colonialism and race, but looking at my current record, I may as well just do short blurbs and get it over with.

No spoilers for any of these, just cut for length.

Blood Diamond )

Casino Royale )

The Painted Veil trailer )
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
I haven't read the comic yet, so no comments on how the movie works or doesn't work in that respect. On the other hand, now I really want to read the comic to see what imagery was the same, what plot was condensed and etc, and none of the libraries in the area have it available! I suppose everyone else watched the movie and ILLed it as well.

I know everyone says "Such-and-such is the comic book movie for non-comic-book readers!" about assorted movies, but this would be my comic book movie for non-comic-book readers, largely because it doesn't deal with superpowers and doesn't have the cheesy lines (or quite as many). Also, I think the comic-book aspects of the movie (V's mask, the iconic nature of the government symbols and etc.) very much work in the 1984-ish, vaguely futuristic AU setting, particularly because it doesn't use the hand-wavy science that many superhero comics and movies do.

I also thought Sin City worked well as a movie for non-comic-book readers, but the content of that movie is so problematic for me that I wouldn't rec it.

That's not to say that V for Vendetta isn't problematic; it is. I dislike that violence is the first response to a problem, I dislike what happens to Evey mid-movie, and I very much think the symbolism of Guy Fawkes and the threatened destruction of the House of Parliament as a symbol of rebellion is extremely problematic post-9/11. I also don't like the fact that no one in the movie protests the fact that the destruction of a giant building may not be the best way to bring down a government, even a totalitarian one. Also, the historian in me wails, because the Houses of Parliament are beautiful.

On the other hand, I like that it is very obvious that V is a monster, created by other monsters, and that while he has his own twisted reasons for the havoc he wreaks and the lives he takes, past monstrosity never excuses the continuation of it. It reminds me a great deal of Angel's "Damage," in that sense.

I am also shallow and adored the way the film looked, very claustrophobic and futuristic without ever being too shiny and sci-fi. I loved the giant close-up of the councellor's face and the small people below, the way V's outfit echoed the lines of 17th-century fashion, how V never took his mask off except once, and that we never get to see his face. I also very much liked V and Evey's relationship, which is somewhat romantic but also very platonic, and how oddly courteous he is. And there are just some beautiful set-pieces: fireworks and explosions to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, many people dressed as V, secret hidden rooms with Renaissance art and 1950s pop art.

Thankfully, unlike Sin City, the narrative isn't quite so problematic that I couldn't enjoy the movie even while I was debating with it.

Hugo Weaving also did a wonderful job as V. He didn't exaggerate his actions because he couldn't work with facial expressions (also termed the Power Rangers mistake), but you could always tell what he was thinking via body language and via his voice. Hugo Weaving has a lovely voice, btw. And because I couldn't see his face, I never got the weirdness of thinking that Mr. Smith as Elrond was talking to Frodo or something odd like that.

Natalie Portman I didn't like quite as much, but that could be because she just didn't have as much to do.

I also very much liked Inspector Finch.

Spoilers )

It's strange to know that Alan Moore wrote the comic a long time before 9/11, just because it seems so relevant now.

Also, like most movies that deal with revolutions against totalitarian governments, I want to know what happens after the revolution. One always sees the final triumphant shot, but really, the difficulty lies in the rebuilding, in creating a new government that doens't become totalitarian in another way.

(no subject)

Sat, Apr. 23rd, 2005 01:37 am
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Watched The Interpreter tonight... we were going to go see The Upside of Anger, but we ended up getting the wrong tickets and then switching for this one, which is fine with me, since I wanted to see it anyway.

I really liked it. Really liked how delicately the relationship between Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn's characters were played, how there was tension but how it didn't tip over into romance.

I don't know. The movie just got me thinking about things, about how little I know about African history. I took a class called "The World Since 1500" in college -- mostly it was on the effects of colonization and imperialism and how it shaped the world today, and it was fascinating. One of the profs. who taught the course was an expert on African history, and although we touched on it a little for the class, I've forever wanted to know more afterwards, because there are so many things happening there and I don't know the historial backdrop at all, so I feel like I am not informed about it at all. Yah, that's me... I never feel like I'm informed until I've had about 5 centuries worth of historical context so I know how all the ideas and whatnot developed.

And it just seemed to be a very idealistic movie about the UN, about the power of words and diplomacy, which I particularly appreciated, especially since the movie seems to be marketed as a thriller, and usually thrillers have a more conservative political stance. I am a horrible idealist, and while the boy used to argue all the time that the UN was ineffectual, it is still something I believe in, and there is still something rather inspiring about so many nations gathering under one roof to hear something and to discuss things. I also liked the movie because of how it made the political personal, and how it felt so international.

This is me just making gigantic generalizations, but I feel that thrillers, particularly political thrillers, tend to have a very nationalistic bent to them at times. Air Force One, the Tom Clancy adaptations, etc. It's about saving the president, saving the reputation of the country and such. And it's about it being ok to use guns and violence as long as it's to protect the country, and this is a concept that does disturb me. Of course, this is me, and I really dislike violence. I liked that even though there were the trappings of a thriller about this movie, in the end it was about words and about putting down guns. And I can hear the quiet whispers of Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn's voices in my head still, and for a thriller, it's got a remarkable amount of dialogue about some rather abstract things, and I don't think it's a coincidence that there is this emphasis on voices and words and speech, given that the Kidman character is an interpreter and that she stresses the importance of words and connotations in one of the beginning scenes.

This concept of words and diplomacy, of interpreting languages and of being multi-national or trans-national, this is important to me in a way that I can't quite pinpoint. I think part of it must have something to do with not feeling like I'm a part of any nation, and so this gathering of nations is something that I like. And while I understand the love of nation, I am wary because love of nation often leads to polarization, to rhetoric against other nations (the jokes about France floating around when the US first sent troops to Iraq bothered me a great deal). I don't know. I feel that underneath everything, there should be a sense of the personal, of how it is political because being human should be enough to make other people and governments care about your fate.

As I said, I am an idealist. And now I am going to go rent Hotel Rwanda and finally read the book on that event that my sister gave me, because I feel responsible, in some way. Not quite responsible for it, but responsible for knowing, for bearing witness. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone, but that's how it feels in my head.

On a lighter note, I went to Borders and was bad. Borders had a buy-2-get-one-free sale for manga. Er. Yes. Luckily, they did not have the new Connie Brockway in stock, so I was not tempted further, but I got vols. 1-3 of Angel Sanctuary and a book on the modern history of Tibet, which was on sale for $4. It's a remainder, so it's sort of beat up, but it's got a great blurb from the NYTimes on the front, and I know nothing about Tibet, and I feel I should know something. Onto the pile it goes.

(no subject)

Thu, Jan. 6th, 2005 05:08 pm
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I got lots of Amazon gift certificates for Christmas! I am a very, very happy me.

The boy found me sitting in front of my computer with a giant grin on my face because I had just finished ordering several books, Buffy S7, Angel S4 and Firefly.

Other than that, the homesickness continues. Everything in the apartment just feels very dark and quiet and lonely, especially after being around so many people that I'm familiar with back at home. It probably also doesn't help that I'm currently waking up before sunrise and going home after sunset... it gives the impression that it's dark 24 hours, except the brief glimpse of sunshine as I leave the house for the train station. And of course I have no window in the office, grrr. I feel like there's something wrong when just having an office/cubicle with a window feels like this huge perk! One should not be kept away from sunshine all day, imho.

But I did watch The Emperor's New Groove with [livejournal.com profile] fannishly a few days ago, which was hilarious (I nearly fell off the couch. The cat! The vengeful cat with the bitty paws!), and it was just really nice sitting around and chatting with someone not-the-boy who likes talking about assorted things. The boy and I tend to talk more about tech stuff and gadgets and the like, and I miss the meta at times.

I also miss having fresh fruit every day. Definitely time to go to the supermarket again and stock up on apples and satsumas. At least I should have my car back by Saturday (finally!). I like taking the train because I have an extra hour and a half a day to read, but it's also a huge pain because it does take nearly twice as long.
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Really very good. And I was expecting it to be good from everyone's comments, but I still did not expect the depth of my emotional involvement with the story or how hard it hit me.

Probably everyone knows now that it's about two lovers who decide to erase each other from their memories post-breakup. The structure really confused me at first, since it skips around timewise without any warning whatsoever -- the hardest part was figuring out when the outside structure sequences, focused on the Lacuna Inc. employees doing the erasing, took place.

I did not particularly like the outside structure until the final poignant payoff, and I was more confused than anything else by the outside world intruding on Joel's memories at first (overhearing conversations, etc.). I liked it much better when Joel grew more submerged in his memories, when he had figured out more what was going on.

And the more I watched, the more I invested I became in Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine, although part of me was kind of scared as well, because they sounded so much like the boy and me when we argue (I wonder, do all couples in the end argue in the same fashion? Just change the subject of the argument...). And it hurt when every memory was deleted, especially the one of them first meeting, and Joel's decision to change it.

I was thinking on the drive back on how much the movie horrified me on one level -- everyone keeps talking about a mindrape re: Angel's decision and Willow, and I agreed intellectually, but didn't quite get it emotionally. Now I do. I think I always did, it just took this to get it out. I cannot imagine making a decision to erase any of my memories; if anything, I would pay for a memory enhancing service. It disturbs me that already I can't remember exactly what my mice looked like, that I don't really remember Colorado, or the halls of NEHS. Everything is fuzzier. It's almost terrifying, pieces of yourself slipping away through your fingertips because of unused synapse paths, or whatever. It's particularly frightening for me because I place so much importance on my mind, on knowing things.

Who would I be without my memories?

The movie seems to embody the Santayana quote that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. In some cases, it might be good (I was rooting for Joel and Clementine). But there was just so much desperation in Joel attempting to keep the Clementine of his memories. And I wondered, how much of the Clementine in his memories was Clementine? If the people I know were suddenly replaced by people who acted only the way I thought they would in my mind, would I be able to tell the difference? There must be a sci-fi story on this somewhere.

And I have not even mentioned the really great performances of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who I thought of as Joel and Clementine through the movie because they were most decidedly not Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.

(no subject)

Sat, Apr. 3rd, 2004 09:51 pm
oyceter: Delirium from Sandman with caption "That and the burning baby fish swimming all round your head" (delirium)
His Girl Friday is awesome ^_^. I want to watch more old movies now. I wish people still made romantic comedies like this, in which there's not much action going on physically, but the dialogue is just wonderful.

Cary Grant's character is a total sleaze, but somehow still lovable, and I really, really love the first dialogue/argument/talk between him and Hildy. And it's not actually that romantic -- it definitely falls more heavily on the comedy side of the scale, but I really do wish that the romantic comedies they have now were remotely like this.

I loved the verbal sparring and how completely Hildy knew Walter (Cary Grant) so she kept trying to spoil his little schemes.

I hate doing the whole "everything in the past was so much better!" route, but from what I've seen of the older romantic comedies, it kind of seems true. I don't know. I think it's because they somehow show that the people falling in love are smart and have some knowledge about themselves, and they're funny because the people who made them understood that no matter how smart a person is, love makes them do incredibly stupid things. It's almost more about the wonderful folly of love than about love itself.

I think that's where a lot of the romantic comedies today (esp. the teenage ones) go wrong -- it's almost as though the people making them assume only stupid people fall in love! Either that, or they don't show falling in love as this crazy, fun thing in which you lose all control. And yes, it cuts both ways, but still. For some, it's as though they go through so much trouble trying to prove that the love in question makes sense and is rational (demonstrating the sharing of the same interests, demonstrating that the guy is as feminist as the girl, etc.) that they forget that most of the time, it doesn't make any sense, and it just happens. I think some current romance novels forget about that too in the interest of trying to show why the two people would fall in love.

Maybe that's a bit of a backlash from all the why would she fall for him? He's an abusive bastard! type things.

(no subject)

Thu, Jan. 8th, 2004 11:09 pm
oyceter: Delirium from Sandman with caption "That and the burning baby fish swimming all round your head" (delirium)
Eee, Lilo and Stitch is so cute! Just got it from Netflix and I think I'll have to get it eventually. It's a very good make-me-happy movie. I love things like Lilo's voodoo spoon dolls, the entire Elvis thing, and the way she and Noni argue.

I also just love the animation style. I read one review which said it was ugly and cheap, but I love the watercolor backgrounds and the sort of old-fashioned Disney feel to it, as well as the roundness of all the characters. Nothing in Lilo and Stitch is sharp lines or corners, it's all circles and ovals and very organic looking. Everyone just kind of looks squishy.

RotK again

Wed, Dec. 17th, 2003 08:00 pm
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (eowyn)
A slightly more coherent review Read more... )

On another note: trivia night was very fun! I want to do it every week now or something. I also went out for pizza with the boy and other GSB people and socialized. I'm quite proud of myself. Of couse, this all happens on the day in which I just want to go home and take a nap so I won't be completely asleep at work after the movie....

Film pimping

Sun, Oct. 5th, 2003 07:08 pm
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Because of Aliera's movie meme and the recently watched Lost in Translation, I'm pimping some gorgeous Japanese movies:

- Maborosi (Maboroshi no Hikari, the Phantom Light, kind of) and After Life (Wandafuru Raifu), both directed by Kore'eda Hirokazu. Two movies that have the same feel as Lost in Translation, a bit lost, not sure of one's direction in life, and with a very quiet, understated sense of the deeper things. Maborosi is about a widow who remarries and moves to a rural part of Japan, and how she tries to piece together her husband's death. After Life is based on the idea that what if after dying, people got a chance to film one memory of their lives? The movie talks with the dead people and with the filmmakers who help them realize their memories. Both are beautiful, although I'm particularly fond of After Life, for which the director went out and interviewed tons of people for their memories, and used quite a few of the people for actors in his almost documentary like movie.

- Tampopo, Itami Juuzo. A movie that is basically a love affair with food and a wonderfully zany comedy. Don't watch without something to munch on.

- Double Suicide, Shinoda Masahiro. Pomo plus bunraku, Japanese puppetry, and the tropes of old bunraku plays combine. Strange, uncomfortable, and very edgy feeling.

- Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka), Takahata Isao. To be shown to anyone who thinks animation can only be cute, fuzzy Disney movies or anime porn and violence (going for stereotypes here, because have seen non-cute Disney movies, and obviously stereotypical with anime). Two children in WWII, with beautiful quiet moments (my favorite is the long shot of the brother trying to cheer up his sister on the monkey bars) and a turn into real grief. Saying it's sad doesn't even get close to it.

- Death by Hanging, Oshima Nagisa. From the avant garde movement, very conscious of narrative and of the side of WWII Grave of the Fireflies doesn't cover. Very political in nature, and feels quite Kafkaesque to me.

Got to watch these in my Japanese film class, and oh, what fun.

Not pimping Ozu, Kurosawa, or Miyazaki, because I figure those should be taken for granted. Also not pimping End of Evangelion because that's more part of the TV series than a movie in and of itself.
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Some thoughts of the movie theater: There was a series of RotK posters lining one wall of Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf and Arwen, individually. But the very slashy Frodo and Sam one was tucked away in a corner. Hrm...

Lost in Translation )

Down with Love

Sat, May. 17th, 2003 01:32 am
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (mervin)
Everyone should go see this movie! Yeah, go see the Matrix too, but everyone must go see this because I want it to get good box office press so people will make more movies like this.

Anyway, it's a romantic comedy (don't go away yet!) starring Ewan McGregor, who's absolutely wonderful in his role, and Renee Zellweger, who's, well, Renee Zellweger. And it looks and feels exactly like the romantic comedies from the sixties. And it's one of the happiest movies I've seen in a while. Not a feel good movie, but happy in that it has so much fun playing with the sixties thing and doing some things that sixties movies probably couldn't. And I also love it because things are candy colored and funnily shaped. It's almost like the anti-Catch Me If You Can. It was just lovely because it was so fully a romantic comedy, but it did the romantic comedy tropes so very well and even avoided a lot of the pitfalls.

Spoilers for the movie in here )

So yeah, I loved it and now I want everyone to go see it because it was lovely and the theater only had ten some people when me and the boy went. Which is just sad for a movie this fun, especially when almost all romantic comedies nowadays are neither romantic nor comedic and in general just a lot of schlock.

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