Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wow! Great! Wash your face and try again... in 3D next time!

bande annonce - Battle Royale 3D バトル・ロワイアル3D 予告編
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That's right! Toei Company has converted the cult classic Battle Royale into current gimmick format 3D for a November 20th release. I suppose as a 3D skeptic and Battle Royale super-fan I should be outraged or something, but I'm not. I'm happy the movie is getting a re-release. As much as I love this movie, it's not exactly a work of art. We're not talking colorizing Citizen Kane here, and we've already seen special editions and a crappy sequel. Battle Royale is a pulp movie all the way, meant to be seen by jazzed-up audiences. So I applaud anything that puts it back on the big screen.

My only concern is the visual quality. The movie's cinematography is already on the murky side, and from what I understand, 3D conversions sometimes further darken images. Apparently, that was one of the many, many, many, many, many failings of M. Night Shyamalan's much-derided Last Airbender fiasco. What's the point of a movie known for its groovy ultra-violence by the likes of Aki Maeda, Shibasaki Kou and Chiaki Kuriyama if we can't see all the gore?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rajio no Jikan: A Movie I Need to See!

You know, I get really bummed out about the constant reiteration of the same old movie plots. Boy tries to win girl, mismatched couple with impossibly glamorous jobs fall in love while bickering about gender differences, spies and secret agents pursue each other or some ridiculous, world-changing technology or secret via dizzingly choreographed action setpieces, giant robots who talk almost exclusively in simple-minded declaratives and/or pop culture references come to earth and fight for no particular reason while Shia LaBeouf looks on, yet another shabby child-targeted cultural artifact from a simpler time is dressed up with edgy scatalogical jokes and crotch-kicks...


How about a movie where the actors in a live radio drama start demanding changes to the script? Yes. Hell yes, I say. That's the premise of Rajio no Jikan (1997), also known as Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald. Thirteen years later, and it still seems fresher than the latest Hollywood CGI-laden 3D arglebargle. That one actor renames his character Donald McDonald because he sees a McDonald's bag is enough to make me want to watch this. That the writer is horrified when the drama's setting is moved from Atami to New York only adds to my desire to own it on DVD.

Even if every other element of this film proved to be an unmitigated disaster, I'd still want to see it. But apparently, it won three Japanese Academy Awards and was nominated for several more.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

OOIOO - Be Sure to Loop

This is Yoshimi P-We's incredible OOIOO group performing "Be Sure to Loop" at 2000's Fuji Rock Festival. Since hearing this song, I haven't forgotten to loop. Not even once!

Yoshimi's "Tuna Fish Power"

This is someone's homemade video for Yoshimi P-We's noise song "Tuna Fish Power." I think. I just found it on YouTube and was so excited to share it with you, I didn't feel like doing any research. Yoshimi is a towering musical talent from Boredoms/Voordoms, OOIOO, Free Kitten (with Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth) and at least one collaboration with Flaming Lips. Plus many others of which I'm not currently aware.

My one regret about having lived in Japan was not seeing her perform live with any of those groups, or solo. Some people go to Japan with a dream of climbing Mt. Fuji. Seeing Yoshimi P-We perform is my Mt. Fuji.