Posts tagged “Japanese

Terminator 2: Judgement Day: 5.0 Stars


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Skynet Edition   -   Front Blu-ray cover (UK)I went to see The Wedding Present play in London last night.  There’s not much point me saying anything about its performance, as it’s the 4th best band on the planet.  Instead, here’s what I remember about the gig that doesn’t include the band.  At the end of its set, the guitarist from the first support band, Dead Wolf Club, smashed his guitar on the stage; very rock ‘n’ roll, except I got the distinct feeling he does this a lot and then just glues it back together again for next time.  The other support band, TOQUIWA (formally the Pinky Piglets), was from Japan and therefore made no sense whatsoever; three Japanese women running about on stage singing about wanting a chocolate and doing a lot of things that I haven’t a clue about, confirming my belief that Japan isn’t really from this Earth.  The venue, Koko in Camden, was really cold.  Koko has the worst bar of any venue in London; nothing on draft, with tins of bog-standard cider around £4.50 a can.  Koko has the worst decor of any venue, all gaudy red and gold.  Koko is the worst venue to get out of afterwards; considering its size, it takes forever.  A few years ago Koko used to have crappy sound, but it’s now much improved.  Between each band’s set, the stage lights got pointed towards the crowd, which was really annoying; I shall be seeing yellow spots before my eyes for weeks.  The stage at Koko is too low.  (As you’ve probably gathered, Koko is not my favourite place to see a band.)  As far as I can remember, this was the first time I’d been on the proper Guest List for a gig; I’d like to say I was a ‘friend of the stars’, but in reality I just happened to get my ticket in a slightly obtuse way.  My journey there was swift and easy, as I basically walked onto all three trains without a wait; I think the track in the West Country should get flooded every week, as it seems to improve train availability, despite there being lots of cancellations and delays.  My journey back was also easy; I even had my ticket checked on the train.  The woman sitting in the row of seats in front of me didn’t have a ticket, although there’re a million ways to buy one at Paddington Station, so it was obvious she was trying to get away without paying; she had an American Express credit card too, so I doubt she’s exactly poor; I’d have thrown her out of the train’s airlock into deep space (or whatever the train equivalent is) if I’d been the ticket inspector.  I read the London Evening Standard on the journey back, as there was a copy on the seat.  The Standard is a shit paper, no wonder it’s given away free.  This edition included some dreadful rubbish about young people and claiming housing benefit; if any other group in society was so picked on and vilified, we’d all be out on the street demanding equality and new laws.  Had an interesting chat with two guys in the crowd while waiting for the bands to appear; one later decided my t-shirt’s arm would make a great way to dry the sweat off his head, but I’m sure it was a sign of solidarity; but honestly, what sort of person wears a leather jacket in a most pit?  It’s going to be hot there!  The Wedding Present has very happy fans; the guys behind me in the crowd spent half the set just laughing as everything going on around them.  The band’s fans are mostly men. The gig finished before 10:00pm; a nice, civilised time.  Like the Wedding Present, there’s little point in my trying to give any sort of objective consideration to this film, as it’s just so awesomely amazing.

1991  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

What can I really say about this movie? Everything about it is great.  It’s probably in my Top Ten films of all time.  This was the first time I’d watched it on Blu-ray and it looked and sounded fab on that.  I was also watching the Ultimate Cut for the first time, which includes a number of extra scenes, even more than the Director’s Cut, including a great dream sequence that features Kyle Reece from the first Terminator movie that was entirely omitted from the version shown in cinemas; and a not quite so great extended ending.  A modern classic and possibly the greatest action movie ever made. 

Recommended for everyone.  Well nearly everyone.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There’s a fair bit of shattering, melting and general ripping apart going on though.

Top badass moment?  “Come with me if you want to live.”  No ifs or buts there.  100% badass and good advice at any time, especially when some liquid metal freak is after you.  Trust me, I know….

Terminator 2: Judgement Day at IMDB (8.6 / 10)

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Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls: 2.5 Stars


Star of David  -  Hunting for Beautiful Girls  -  DVD Front CoverIt’s good to explore the cultures of places far away.  Doing this can help make us a lot more understanding of the views of others, better able to celebrate what we have in common and appreciate what makes us different, rather than simply go around labelling everyone else as foreigners and you know, ‘not like us’.  Looking to fully play my part in this global exploration and to help reduce my own prejudices and ignorance, I’ve been spending the past few weeks finding out all about Japan and the Japanese, through the medium of film.  First I watched “Kamikaze Girls” and discovered what it’s like to be a teenage Japanese girl in modern Japan.  After that I watched “The Masked Girl” and found out what’s it’s like to be a Japanese superhero.  Then finally I watched this film and came to understand the difficulties of being a young man in Japan, coping with a father who lacks parenting skills, (well two fathers actually).  So my conclusion?  Japan is, ‘interesting’.  (Insightful stuff I know.)  Actually Japanese films are great, because they have a whole, different set of characteristics to just about any other.  I just wish I could relate to them more, but sadly my Western brain is just too limited to comprehend most of them; I must continue my studies further…

1979  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  Japan

On some levels, this is a great, erotic thriller, with a wide range of suitably nasty, unpleasant and disturbing scenes.  On the other hand, it’s pretty distasteful for exactly the same reasons.  I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but I can appreciate it for what it is.  It did feel a little like the writer had a tick-list of ‘shocking things you can include in films’ and was going to get through the whole lot, regardless of the results.  Murder, kidnapping, rape, character assassination, incest, torture, Nazi worship, it’s all here; and I’ve no idea what the scene with the butter and the Alsatian was all about.  At times it was a bit slow, but it does have a proper plot, is nicely filmed and in a technical sense looked excellent (considering its age and small budget).  Tatsuya (the film’s main protagonist) really isn’t a very nice person!  He’s a psycho playboy basically.  Even before he turned nasty I hated him, he was far too intelligent, talented, attractive and rich for my liking; (not that I’m jealous or anything).  With all his advantages and messed up childhood, he could easily have become Batman.

Recommended for people who like to watch challenging movies and twisted movies in general; or who’re used to exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilisations.  It’s probably not worth watching if you think “Brokeback Mountain” represents the worst extremes of depraved modern cinema.

No cats and no decapitations. 

Top badass moment? Jun Yashioji (the pop singer) whacking Tatsuya over the head with a stool, in an effort to escape; (and it looked really solid on the screen too). Her singing was pretty terrible, but at least she made an attempt to get away.  Somewhat tragic timing in the end, talk about being unlucky; even though she was a bit of a bitch I did feel sorry for her.

Star of David: Hunting for Beautiful Girls at IMDB


The Masked Girl: 2.5 Stars


The Masked Girl - DVD Front CoverYou never know what life’s going to throw at you.  Today for example, I got talked into going to see a rugby match in March, the day after my birthday and the day after I’ve been to a gig; (the New Town Kings, amazing ska band).  I have zero interest in rugby.  In fact, I’ve less than no interest in it, I’ve actually got anti-interest in it.  The idea of paying £20 and then sitting in a cold, half empty football stadium, watching a load of blokes carrying a stupidly shaped ball around for 80 minutes, fills me with the sort of dread normally reserved for exams, opening my bank statement and getting a bollocking at work for not doing something I should have done.  Anyway, here’s a mental challenge for you.  Please first think of the Power Rangers in a typical episode.  Okay, hold that image.  Now replace them with two Japanese schoolgirls in school uniforms.  Still with me?  (Oh for goodness sake, keep your focus on the relevant details here.)  Good.  Now replace the ridiculous baddies the Power Rangers were fighting in your mind with a sinister organisation called The Clown, which wants to take over control of the Earth;  (unless you have a different copy of this film, where you may find that that for some reason the translation turns The Clown into The Joker, although not the Batman one).  If you’ve managed that successfully (and well done if you have) then you’re part way to conceptualising this Japanese action movie.  (Well I say movie, but it’s only actually 45 minutes long.  It does feel very much like a pilot episode for a TV series that’s never existed.) 

2008  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Japan

Despite this being an entirely absurd film it’s actually quite entertaining, for both intentional and unintentional reasons.  Join best friends Anne and Eunice (the names of the heroines in my translation of the film), as they do battle with The Clown.  We never really find out a lot about The Clown and the motivation of the girls’ games teacher makes zero sense to me too.  And I’m sorry to say this and I know it’s kind of sexist and everything, but Anne really does ‘run just like a girl’ the first time she appears in the consolidated armour.  It wouldn’t inspire me if I saw her run like that and was waiting for her to come and help me fight a group of ‘henchman’ and the weird guy in the mask and leathers.  (And before I forget, note for translators.  We normally call it “bust size” okay?  Also, you don’t have to bother to keep adding subtitles to “Mmmm”, as that’s much the same in any language).  There are plenty of silly laughs to be had in this movie and it’s really quite sweet in its own way.  I’ve not checked but I don’t suppose it was nominated for any Oscars.

Recommended for anyone who likes films at the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” level or below.  Not good for people who think a film needs any sort of depth to it.  No one’s going to drown in this movie.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment? Waking up chained to an under-lit table, surrounded by weirdos and finding out that you’ve had your body transformed somehow and you’re about to be brain-washed so you’ll do the bidding of an evil organisation know as The Clown, I imagine is a tough situation to accept.  Then finding out soon after that you’re going to have to fight to destroy this organisation before it kills you, probably makes things worse.  Still, Anne more or less takes it all in her stride.  That’s got to be badass at any age.

The Masked Girl at IMDB