Tag Archives: culture

Review: Happily Ever After (2007)

Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After
Originally written June 4, 2009

Combine a moody, sullen and angry ex-Yakuza (Abe Hiroshi) with a loving, timid and hard working woman (Nakatani Miki) and you get the epitome of a doomed relationship. However, director Tsutsumi Yukihiko (20th Century Boys: Chapter 1, Memories of Tomorrow) shows us that this doesn’t have to be the case…

Not an ordinary Rom-Com at all, the film is tinged with scenes of battered wife syndrome and shows the problems attached to gambling addiction – but still manages to be quirky and funny at the same time.

We follow Miki‘s character, Morita Sachie, from her school life up to present day. It starts off with her not getting on well with any of her classmates and ending up befriending a strange girl that she would probably otherwise avoided.
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Missing Links

Recent problems with either my host or my WP configuration (my host insists that the problem was with my WP install, even though the config hasn’t changed for the last 3 years!!) meant that I wasn’t able to upload a few reviews that had pictures attached. But now the problem seems to be resolved and all those posts that I put into my drafts folder ready for publishing when it was possible to do so, well, can now be published.
So sit back and enjoy a bundle of movie reviews and Asian oriented geekyness … O(≧∇≦)O

I hope to get at least 10 pressed today, with the other 25 or so pressed over the next few days … although I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s easier said than done …

Review: Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge

Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge
You would be fooled (like I was) into thinking that this film is all about blood and gore … it’s not. In fact, although the villain is indeed a chainsaw wielding psycho, he doesn’t really make the cut (pun intended). Instead, you’re welcomed into a story about a lonely girl and a dysfunctional boy who meet by chance and end up spending every evening together trying to beat the ‘bad guy’.
It has it’s moments, the action and CG albeit sparse are pretty good, but it’s the connection between the two main protagonists that is the real treat here. Any film that has you willing the characters on has accomplished what it set out to do, this did exactly that.
This film is out on DVD now, however there isn’t an English sub version available to buy, so, my gaijin friends, you will have to hit your local fansub site to enjoy it fully.

New Japanese DVD Releases for 2009

Good news! The UK based Third Window Films will be releasing a veritable feast of Japanese movies on DVD in 2009. On browsing the catalogue it looks like they will be focusing on the Indie market with titles such as ‘Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers‘, ‘Fine, Totally Fine‘ and ‘Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers!‘ but it all kicks off on January the 12th with ‘Memories of Matsuko‘ and ‘Kamikaze Girls‘ – one of my favourite Japanese films, which just happens to star Anna Tsuchiya.

Kamikaze Girls
Kamikaze Girls
Tsuchiya stars as a hard-as-nails biker chick, Shirayuri Ichiko who has a permanent snarl on her face, however when she meets (clashes) with the girly Momoko (Fukada Kyoko) who is totally hung up on bonnets and France in the 18th Century, she agrees to tag along to search for a renowned embroiderer. This surreal comedy has pretty much everything any straight dude will deny he enjoys … so pre-order your copy now!

Third Window is a relatively new distribution company, set up in 2005 with an eye to bring Far Eastern cinema to Western audiences. It concentrates mainly on Indie and Cult film but also features releases from well established directors.

Music Tip #9 [2008-11-03] Anna in Nudy Show!

Nudy Show!
Nudy Show!
Anna Tsuchiya is back with a new album – Nudy Show!, released last week on the 29th. When I first looked at the track list I was a little disappointed as quite a few of the tracks have been previously released, so it looked a little like a compilation effort. However, after a run through it didn’t matter. The songs all work together on the most eclectic album I’ve listened to in a while. J-Pop, J-Rock, R&B and a spatter of Anime soundtrack fare are all combined to make perfect driving company.

Tracklist:
1. overture
2. Cockroach
3. Crazy World feat. AI
4. Virgin Cat
5. GINGER feat. MONKEY MAJIK
6. u
7. Dirty Game
8. Style
9. masquerade
10. BUBBLE TRIP
11. Serenade
12. Shape of your love
13. cocoon ~NUDY SHOW! version~
14. LUCY
15. RIDE ON!
16. BLOOD ON BLOOD
17. Kuroi Namida ~deep sadness version~ (黒い涙; Black Tears)

Here’s the PV of the latest single, Virgin Cat. Anna in a neko suit … awesome ..!

Music Tip #6 [2008-09-24] Shiina Ringo

Shiina Ringo
Shiina Ringo
In 2007, a movie was released in Japan called Sakuran [さくらん]. This amazing flick made an impression on me on a few levels, mostly the Anna Tsuchiya level but then I am a hot blooded male.
One of the other things that stood out was the soundtrack. I searched a long time for a CD of this elusive soundtrack until one day I happened upon a web site that stated the soundtrack was actually the album Heisei Fuzoku by Shiina Ringo.
I was quickly hooked on the music produced by Ringo and her latest offering is my latest tip for you to check out. The album, Watashi to Hoden, is a compilation of 10 years work, a 2 CD, 22 track collection of B-sides and rarities that’s well worth listening to.

Track List:
CD 1:

  1. すべりだい [Suberidai, Slide]
  2. アンコンディショナル・ラブ [Unconditional Love (Cyndi Lauper cover)]
  3. リモートコントローラー [Remote Control]
  4. 眩暈 [Memai, Vertigo]
  5. 輪廻ハイライト [Rinne Highlight, Transmigration Highlights (Susanna Hoffs cover)]
  6. あおぞら [Aozora, Blue Sky]
  7. 時が暴走する [Toki ga Bousou Suru, Time Drives Recklessly]
  8. Σ [Sigma]
  9. 東京の女[ひと] [Tokyo no Hito, Tokyo Lady (The Peanuts cover)]
  10. 17 [17]
  11. 君ノ瞳ニ恋シテル [Kimi no Hitomi ni Koi Shiteru, Can't Take My Eyes off of You (Frankie Valli cover)]

CD 2:

  1. メロウ [Mellow]
  2. 不幸自慢 [Fukou Jiman, Unhappy Pride]
  3. 喪@ CエNコ瑠ヲュWァ# [So Cold]
  4. 愛妻家の朝食 [Aisaika no Choushoku, My Devoted Husband's Breakfast]
  5. シドと白昼夢 [Sid to Hakuchuumu, Sid & Daydreams]
  6. 意識~戦後最大級ノ暴風雨圏内歌唱~ [Ishiki ~Sengo Saidaikyuu no Boufuuu Kennai Kashou~, Senses ~Singing Within the Range of a Storm of the Greatest Intensity Since the War~]
  7. 迷彩~戦後最大級ノ暴風雨圏内歌唱~ [Meisai ~Sengo Saidaikyuu no Boufuuu Kennai Kashou~, Camouflage ~Singing Within the Range of a Storm of the Greatest Intensity Since the War~]
  8. la salle de bain [Bathroom]
  9. カリソメ乙女 [Karisome Otome (HITOKUCHIZAKA ver.), Temporary Virgin (Shiina Ringo x Saito Neko)]
  10. 錯乱 [Sakuran (ONKIO ver.), Disorder (Shiina Ringo x Saito Neko)]
  11. 映日紅の花 [Ichijiku no Hana, Fig Flower]

Shiina Ringo - Watashi to Hoden

Hah!

I belong to an affiliate program run through a company called Webgains. I don’t use it that much but every now and then I might see a flick from Japan, Hong Kong or Korea that I feel is worth blogging about and at that time I’ll plug it using a link to YesAsia.com to purchase the DVD.
This morning I was watching a pretty good film and I thought I’d blog about it – and I will in my next post, however, on logging on to my Webgains account I noticed an ad builder called iSense. This clever little bit of code goes to your website, sifts through the data and then decides on an appropriate company and product to advertise. I thought I’d give it a go and it came up with an ad for an online chemist selling pain killers…. go figure!!!!

Sunday May 27th, 2007

The Internet connection I’m poaching finally comes back up today and I’m able to catch up on about 300 emails, unfortunately about 299 of them are spam. Same with the comments on the site.
Not having access to the internet is a weird thing. Once the Windows Updates have done their thing and my Podcasts have downloaded I look at the screen and can’t think of anything to do. So I just shut it down again and watch the Grand Prix.

Totally out of character for me, I’m ill all this week (!). But that doesn’t stop me going to the British Museum to see the ‘Way of Tea’ show on Friday.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony (茶道, chadō) is heavily influenced by Buddhism. The tea was originally brought to Japan from China by a Buddhist monk named Eichu. The tea plants are planted and in spring when the leaves fall to the ground they are gathered up and dried until around November. Then the leaves are ground into a bright green powder and mixed with hot water to form a drink of a yoghurt-like consistence. The learning of the ceremony is never ending. A student remains a student for the whole of their lives, always learning, always becoming more refined in the serving of tea to an honoured guest.
The museum have created a small chashitsu in the Japanese Galleries. The construction, traditionally made with no nails, resembled an actual chashitsu but was a lot smaller. Just 3 tatami mats, a small pot for boiling the water and that’s your lot. A volunteer is made comfortable and the last part of the ceremony is performed. The actual ceremony can last up to 4 hours, the demonstration here lasted around half an hour.
The beautifully choreographed event was mind blowing. Your mind is totally taken away from your surroundings as you’re enveloped into the wonderment that ensues. Graceful movements with amazing precision are performed until the bowl of tea is presented, but not before having a sweet biscuit. The tea itself is apparently quite bitter. The short but insightful event left me wanting more, but with the tea costing about £10 for 40g I’ll have to wait a while. Or travel to Japan of course…

Not dope…

I gotta get some stronger sleeping pills.

I watched a great little flick last night – ‘Initial D‘, a Chinese/Japanese collaboration based on the pretty awesome Manga of the same name. One of my favourite HK Actors, Anthony Wong, starred in it too which helped the film immensly. Imagine ‘The Fast and the Furious’ with acting. When it finished, I wasn’t tired at all, so I slapped another flick in to watch called ‘My Kung Fu Sweetheart‘, which was a bit pants.
Seeing as though I’d had a long day anyway, and add to the fact that I’d been to the gym as well, I felt relaxed enough to head for the sack. I downed a couple of sleepers, picked up a book [currently reading: Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami] lit a jostic and settled in. It was about 2 a.m. when I shut the lights off, in hope more than anything else. Luckily, I drifted off.
I awoke with a desperate need for the loo. I did the deed, got back into bed and lay there for a bit. It was light outside and I assumed it was late on in the morning. I turned over to look at the time – 4.15 a.m.
With nothing better to do I hit the bleed for some feed, plough through nearly a months worth of RSS Feeds that I’ve totally ignored, then browse various interwub outlets for stuff I can’t afford.

Monday April 17th, 2006

The blog has suffered from indifference just recently. I’ve not really felt up to making the entries I usually do, for the only reason that I’ve been in a complete downer. Reading the last week or so of entries will probably make you see that, so I suppose an apology is in order. Don’t hold your breath.

I stay up to watch the Giants/Dodgers game on Channel 5. Even though I’m not in the pro-Bonds camp, I have a little soft spot for the dude as I saw him homer in San Francisco when I visited there a few years ago. This was well before all the controversy hit with his alleged steroid use.
The game has it’s ups and downs but it’s kept interesting by the fact that Janne stays up to watch it too, and we IM back and forth through the whole game. That is until the lightweight falls asleep in the middle of the 8th inning – no staying power …

After catching a few zeds, I get up and do some cleaning (it’s something to do!). Then watch the omnibus of this week’s Doctor Who on UK Gold.
I forward Janne the rough draft of the manuscript to see what he thinks of the latest chapter. He likes it, but I think he’d say that anyway. I think I’ll pass it on to my Uncle, Mike – he’s read the first drafts and has been an invaluable source of help when it comes to the book. In fact I chat with him whilst I chat with Janne for a while via IM. He’s off to Greece for a job with the Beeb and won’t be back for 3 weeks, I’ll forward it to him then.

I hit the sofa to watch a strange Japanese war film called ‘Lorelei‘. Strange because it mixes fact with fiction in a way that works in foreign film, but would never work in Hollywood.
The film is based around the exploits of a submarine crew trying to stop the Americans dropping an A bomb on Tokyo during World War II. The submarine has a unique sonar system in the form of a girl whose empathy transmits a 3D image to enable them to navigate the submarine. Yeah, sounds weird eh?

MLB on NASN is the Atlanta NY Mets game, so I head for bed and fall asleep watching it.