March 23, 2006
linda linda linda

i just got back from seeing 'linda linda linda' at the kabuki in SF as part of the asian american film festival. this movie is about a high school girl band that is preparing for the school festival. there's love and betrayal and really not any betrayal, but you know, high school mini dramas. it's pretty adorable. it's also really interesting just as a very plain and simple look at the everyday (or at least 'everyday' for an all girl high school band in japan) lives of japanese teenagers. they go to the grocery store, the take the bus, boys tell them they love them in the equipment room, they make udon (not bukkake), they take baths--or at least this is inferred from the wet hair and towels around the shoulders. there's certainly no nudity. it's really a very innocent movie.

the thing i liked best about it was the way that emotions came across really clearly. my favorite scene occurs when the girls go across town to a studio to rehearse and the ex-boyfriend of one of them works there. the korean girl in the band who is slightly gauche and doesn't speak/understand much japanese asks the guy if he's the ex-boyfriend. there's like waves of embarrasment rolling off the girlfriend at this point and you totally feel them out in the audience. you can see the girl at the drum set just shaking with inaudible laughter too. it's brilliantly funny while being nerve-wrackingly awkward.

the story is also really interesting from a socio-political standpoint as one of the main characters is a korean exchange student at a japanese high school. the story is about her joining the band and being the vocalist and sort of learning japanese that way and gaining acceptance in the high school. of course, her korean-ness provides some interesting hilarity of miscommunication throughout the movie, but it also displays the current trend in japan to idolize korean culture. to understand this it helps if you know that during the war japan treated korea like its bitch and since the war they've basically ignored or looked down upon korea. but in recent years the younger generations have become korea-crazy and are just scarfing down the pop-stars and k-dramas (soap operas). there was this huge controversy, i think last year, over a japanese soap star kissing a korean soap star on some drama. and the two countries hosted the world cup together which didn't go swimmingly but, still, it was one more step towards a sort of semi-acceptance of each other's cultures.

my favorite korean thing about this movie is that during the festival the korean girl was in charge of a 'booth' at the festival highlighting japanese-korean cooperation. this entailed making a huge construction paper cow on the wall and labelling his various body parts. it was called 'beef darts' and the participants at the booth were given some darts to throw at the cow. the korean girl would then do this little clapping thing and name the body part in korean (on the cow there was the korean and japanese names for everything side by side). i made a little video to share this scene with all of you. and if you've read this far than you really deserve to watch the video and laugh at me.

you can buy the soundtrack to the movie!
tempting! stupid linda song is still totally stuck in my head. (especially since candy just sent me the mp3 of the original by the blue hearts.) linda linda! linda linda lindaaaaaaaa!


Posted by michele at 01:12 AM
March 22, 2006
citizen dog

after we saw citizen dog, christine, gene, and i sat around gene's apartment and squealed all over it in delight while kristen sat there with a polite face on wishing we would go away so she could finish watching aladdin. i said to gene at the time that the last good movie i had seen before citizen dog was about hemophages. this isn't saying much since the movies i saw in the interim were doogal, she's the man, and aquamarine.

but citizen dog is an amazing movie that not many people will ever get to see. unless they have the mad ebay skills and really care about ordering dvds from asia. the movie is from a thai director who did one previous work labelled a 'pad thai western'. citizen dog is about a guy who leaves his country home for the big city of bangkok, the cast of kooky characters he meets there, his various jobs, and the girl he falls in love with.

to give you an idea of the kind of movie this is, the kooky characters he meets include: his reincarnated grandmother as a gecko, a talking teddy bear who smokes like a chimney, an 8 year old girl who thinks she's thirty and plays shoot-em-up video games all day, a motorcycle-taxi ghost, and a guy whose OCD is to lick everything. the girl he falls in love with is reading a book with a white cover in a language she doesn't understand and becomes obsessed with collecting plastic bottles to the point where a gigantic plastic mountain grows in her front yard. it is a lovely setting for several touching moments in the film when the hero climbs the gleaming plastic mountain and surveys the whole city.

the official review of this movie on the SF asian american film festival page said it was a cross between amelie and chungking express which i found to be pretty true. one of my favorite parts of the film was the color schemes used to highlight different scenes. it's apparently called 'candy-coating' and is used to make different objects in a scene appear much brighter than they really are. another great thing was the narration which was generally tongue-in-cheek and just hilarious.

i'm planning to exercise my mad ebay skills and get this when it comes out on dvd, so if you ever want to see it you have only to appeal to my generous loaning side.

Posted by michele at 03:39 PM
March 21, 2006
v for vendetta

this movie is about an idea. which is amazingly similar to what the first matrix movie was. thank god there's probably not going to be a sequel to V because now i can just treasure it instead of having it ruined like ice cream with the third installment. wachowski brothers, i salute you.

obviously V for vendetta is about revenge, hence the name, though his introduction the first time with the major alliteration will give you a whole new respect for the letter 'V'.* thus comes into play some major philosophical, literary, historical, and cinematic references to the idea of vengeance. there's macbeth, count of monte cristo, guy fawkes, lies, truth, love, hate, and the political ramifications of each. it's apropos of our current political climate. there's some stunning hitler/bush references. the terrorist attacks on london's underground were the reason behind the release date being pushed back--the movie itself is an exploration behind terrorism, in fact. and not just examining the causes but lauding them as just. the lies our governments tell us are exposed through the brush of an artist's stroke. a repeating refrain in the movie is, 'artists use lies to tell the truth, the government uses lies to cover up the truth.'

and v is an artist at heart. not that theoretically he has a heart as he himself claims to be an idea and no longer a man. natalie portman's voice over says she will remember the man and what he means to her over the idea, but even she states out loud immediately after his revolution that he was her father, her mother, her brother, her friend, and you and me and all of us. even dead people apparently. he wasn't a man, he was an idea. and the idea is amazing. this movie is amazing. it made me hurt and it made me angry.

would i die for the idea? would i have gone to parliament that day? to honor guy fawkes and remember, remember the fifth of november? i don't know. but i'd sure as hell like to think so.

* "V: This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-Ã-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

Posted by michele at 10:34 PM
March 18, 2006
she's the man


i can't even write a legitimate review of this movie, i'm still so ashamed of having seen it. (but also secretly delighted).


Posted by michele at 11:23 AM

was everyone else aware that this movie was for 3 year olds? i for some reason assumed that the acting talent in it--jimmy fallon, ian mckellan, jon stewart, whoopi goldberg, william h. macy--somehow made it ok for adults too. especially since the last one by the same people was for adults. but this was just sooooo not for me and so totally for little kids. some of the jokes/blatant homages were amusing. but for the most part it was just boring. because i'm not 3. and i could just WATCH lord of the rings. and not a stupid egotistacal dog-mop.


Posted by michele at 10:45 AM

this movie is stupid. and yet it made me cry. twice. i am also stupid. splash probably also made me cry. stupid mermaid movies.


Posted by michele at 10:43 AM
March 11, 2006
the hills have eyes

what was i thinking?

jason and i went to see the hills have eyes tonight when really what we should have done was eat off our own arms. but i jest. maybe just moo cow's ear.

we saw it at the contra costa cinemas across from nob hill. which i haven't been to at night since i was in high school. it's literally teeming with young punks after the sun goes down. one kid came into our theatre, went immediately to the back door and let in 6 of his friends. this was like 10 minutes into the movie too. so impressive all around.

most amusing moment: when emilie de raven has a pillow fight with one of the mutants trying to rape her.

most disgusting amusing moment(s): when one of the mutants bites off the head of a lovebird and squishes the blood out of it into his mouth tied with when the same mutant drinks breast milk from vinessa shaw. oral fixation much?

interestingly, all those moments happened within a 5 minute time frame.

what this movie is trying to say: the dividing line between pacifism and murder is thin. beauty dies, but the beast lives. little red riding hood kills herself at the same time that she kills the wolf. all of which add up to what? innocence is dead and we're all to blame.

what this movie really says: i am crap. crap crap crappity crap.

Posted by michele at 11:45 PM
March 07, 2006

after a week of excitement in portland everytime i saw a MAX train with a billboard on the side, or a preview on the TV, or a sexy bare midriff, i saw ultraviolet on saturday with gene.

WHO was aware that she was playing a VAMPIRE? or as kurt wimmer likes to label it, a hemophage. who was even aware that this wasn't a third sequel in the resident evil series? well, i was totally cognizant of the second, but the first came as an absolute surprise like an hour into the movie. well, maybe 45 minutes. the point is, there's these people with some disease running around and finally a good portion of the way in, someone comes out and calls another a vampire. a vampire for fuck's sake. were they trying to fool us into thinking it wasn't underworld in the previews? to what purpose? milla jovovich is way hotter than kate beckinsale. and there were no lycans in this movie. so scott speedman? right out. the love interest in ultraviolet would probably be the 12 year old boy named six. you might think this would make it right up my alley. and dammit you'd be right.

the evil force in ultraviolet was actually a health insurance company. or, by easy extension, any corporation that takes away the rights and liberties of the common man. and then tries to kill the entire human race in order to keep them under control. brilliant thinking.

that was sarcasm. no thought went into this movie. also, i would say, not much money judging by the writing, the plot, the special effects, and the really odd airbrushing of colors. except maybe that last cost a lot. to make anybody's skin look that perfect might take a lot of po-pro. or concealer and powder. who knows.

(small, ashamed voice) i still sort of liked it. milla is just way too sexy.

Posted by michele at 12:01 AM