stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Briefly scanned through the f-list whilst avoiding the nano and saw mention of a King of Fighters movie. OMG not another trainwreck inspired by a classic video game series. Seriously, if they're so hard up on ideas why don't they just make a movie based on Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball?

Pics and whine under the cut - sigh, I don't know why I bother )
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
1) Watchmen's Rorschach as 'Objectivist Saint' (found via [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political)

2) The best use of the Obamicon site yet )

3) Alan Moore celebrates

4) Question: I thought Nite Owl was based on Charlton Comics' Blue Beetle. How and when did the Batman comparisons creep in?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (tiny cyborg)
Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love is amazing. The cinematography's sumptuous and erotic and the soundtrack is passionate, romantic, never sleazy. Though In The Mood For Love was released in 2000, it gleefully reproduces the Hong Kong of the 1960s for the tale of two people falling in love amidst betrayal. Though I said it was erotic, there are no steamy sex scenes or any hanky-panky of the sort. In fact, the two leads never kiss. How is it then possible for the film to be the sort of love story one expects?

It's not, it's something entirely more. Unresolved sexual tension, missed opportunities, and desperate longing portrayed by the talented lead actors should convince you quickly enough. A sidelong glance, a brush of the hand will say more than words could ever. Wow. Did I mention the soundtrack? It's provocative when the actors are not, and is practically the other person in the film relationship.

Another great part in the film would be Maggie Cheung's cheongsams! I was absolutely entranced by her movements in the figure-hugging fashion delights; from large and small floral designs, to daring coloured wide stripes. I couldn't help but think of taking my old one out of the closet for a try. People sure knew how to dress back then. *whistles*

So I'm only 8 years late to appreciating this movie. But no matter, it's already one of my favourites :D
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (eek!)
Wow. I've just watched my first David Lynch film (Mulholland Drive).

A whole lot of WTFs and WOWs. But now I want a shower to wash the weirdness away.

Is this normal after watching a movie directed by Lynch?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (working)
Currently watching Blade Runner instead of Smallville. Win, television, pure win.

My two cents on this gargantuan cult classic? I must confess I have never seen it in its entirety, even though I've seen the visual references in anime and other films. EVERYONE goes on about Blade Runner and science fiction, don't they? And the spoilers. Hah, I'm afraid they mean nothing to me.

In fact, I have a copy of the directors cut on VHS somewhere in the garden shed; that's how long I've neglected watching the film. I bet it's probably dessicated now.

Oh, Deckard's just shot a suspected replicant. Poor blighter was running in heels and wearing a see-through raincoat. I wouldn't want to go down that way.

Heck, a lot of the clothing in the movie looks unwearable and distressing. The shawls and the helmet-like head covering? Nah, not my thing. Give me a trench any day.

Hmmm... It does make me wonder.

Was Harrison Ford ever this noir-cool again?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (cry)
Saw this on [community profile] scans_daily and it made me cry. It's one thing to make Sin City into a movie, but quite another to turn Will Eisner's The Spirit into Sin City. I know this will sound like a petulant fan whining about how the comics is better than a movie that's hardly completed, but we're talking about Frank 'whores whores whores' Miller here.

Someone said the trailer had a trace of humour in it and I bleakly noted he's hardly ever made anything intentionally funny (unless you count All Star Batman And Robin, and I don't). It takes a good storyteller to balance the humour, the action, and the heavy stuff -- can Miller pull it off?

Judging from what we have so far and being fair, it's too early to tell. At the same time, the tone of the trailer SUCKS. Well, there's a bunch (clowder?) of cats in the first few seconds. For a second I thought maybe we're watching Catwoman instead. Nope wait, there's Denny. And cue some lame voiceover where the city is both mother and lover to our guy (hahaha, motherlover!). This is exactly when my heart broke in two.

It looks like Sin City, sounds like Sin City, and oh dear god we're going to see whores aren't we? There's not a glimpse of the Denny Colt/Spirit I recognise other than the superficial stuff (hat, tie, suit). Just the generic Frank Miller 'hardboiled' protagonist who hangs out with cats and jumps on power lines.

What did we do to deserve this tripe? Wait, wait, I shouldn't say that just yet. There's still loads of time until the film is actually released. Maybe it won't be so bad. Right? I mean, it can still be salvaged. Right?

*whimpers*

Rashomon

Apr. 11th, 2008 05:49 pm
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Finished watching Rashomon for the first time and black and white has never looked so amazing. But let me start at the beginning:

Usually when I'm stuck in a writing rut and feeling unhappy about it, I pop in a DVD. I used to subscribe to Netflix, until there was a problem with my receiving the DVDs. Now I'm on a monthly plan with Blockbuster Online. It doesn't have the same range of genres as Netflix but it comes with coupons to rent DVDs in-store as well.

The last couple of weeks the DVDs from Blockbuster were devoted to the animated Justice League. While there's some great tales there it isn't the same as watching something more intimate. That's what Rashomon is in essence. An intimate look at human nature.

Rashomon was adapted to the screen by director Akira Kurosawa from Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story In A Grove. Earlier this year Radio 4 had broadcast a radio adaptation of In A Grove, which gave me a good idea of the mechanics of the story. Ever see the episode of the X-Files where Mulder and Scully recount the events of a vampire town, but what their accounts differ greatly? In A Grove is the genesis of that storytelling technique, but Rashomon popularised it.

The set up is as such: a stranger comes upon two people, one a priest and the other a woodcutter, who recount the testimony presented in court earlier that day. A murdered man was found three days earlier, and among those to testify were the man's wife and the bandit accused of the crime. As each character involved in the circumstances of the man's murder have their say (including the man's spirit through a medium), it becomes more and more difficult to figure the truth.

It's simplistic to say this is because people lie. As the priest notes, people lie even to themselves. It's a truth that men are weak, and can actually believe their lies. As the film progresses, the truth of what happened in the grove becomes elusive, almost a futile exercise. The stranger doesn't believe any of the accounts, being extremely cynical of any real goodness in humans. On the other end of the spectrum, the idealistic priest cannot begin to comprehend whether all if it is a lie because people cannot be so evil. As the audience, whose side will you take?

One of the things in the radio adaptation that's missing from the film is the interrogation of the bandit, who confessed under excruciating torture -- leading the listener to doubt his claims. Instead, the film has an extremely exaggerated bandit (Toshihiro Mifune) who makes the viewer pause. I say extremely exaggerated because he's the sort of fellow who, after tying up the man to a tree, laughs maniacally and jumps for joy. It gets on your nerves.

The one thing the radio adaptation greatly missed out on is the beautiful cinematography of Rashomon. The heavy, emotional pouring rain against an impoverished temple. The lush forestry of the grove where the sins are committed. The expression of the woman when she is given a choice by a bandit. This is the film for you if you're not interested in dialogue and enjoy figuring out the story by the action.

If you are interested in watching the film, do watch the Robert Altman introduction (Criterion collection) after the film. There's a lot of great insights there from the point of view of another director, particularly about how Kurosawa was said to be the first person to shoot at the sun. The fantastically sun-dappled foliage that envelops the characters inspired Altman to go out the day after watching the film and point his camera at the sky. And despite the grim beginnings, don't worry -- there is a happy ending of sorts. A bit like life.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (kissing book)
In the mood for something so spectacularly wrong and creepy, but intriguing nonetheless? Well I wasn't. Then again, Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education isn't a film you can predict outright. It starts with a desperate actor passing along his story to an old friend, now a director. Actually, it begins with a vignette of a motorcyclist who freezes to death on the highway and is carried away 30 miles on that lonely stretch of road until the police in tow realise it's a corpse they're tailing. This ought to raise a red flag right away. What kind of story is that to start the movie?

Anyway, the actor's story is based upon the experiences of his and the director's school-going days. Although the director initially had no interest in seeing the actor again, the short story piques his interest and he decides to film it. The actor agrees, but on the condition he plays Zahara, the transexual protagonist. The director says no. The actor insists, fast forward a couple of really great scenes rippling with seductive homoerotic tension, and the two go their separate ways. Eventually the two get together and film the movie, but before then the director has to figure out who this childhood friend really is.

It's definitely a noir film, as most of the action is focused on the situation building up to the actual crime. While it's not in black and white, it's got some thematic justice, yo. We're talking about a person resurfacing from the past, dredging up all these long-buried secrets, and involving drag queens, child abuse, drug abuse, hidden identity, blackmail, and more. Remember what I said about the wrong and creepy? I can no longer hear 'Moon River' now without thinking of the scene where a young boy is about to be groped by his literature professor, a priest. And it's funny at times too - not funny haha, but funny I'm going to hell for laughing at this.

While I definitely liked the way the different threads of the film was woven into the structure of the film, I gotta say I most enjoyed it for the male nudity. Uh huh. If I weren't already female, I'm sure Gael Garcia Bernal's little butt dance/pushup hybrid towards the end of the film would have turned me in half a second. Maybe less.  Plus his made-in-Spain accent?  Hawt.

Thinking of finding out for yourself? Here's the teaser trailer:

stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (lurker)
One very big perk of living in Los Angeles is the opportunity to visit film festivals.  On Sunday, the Los Angeles Italia Film festival officially opened. It's sponsored by the likes of the Italian consulate, the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, Eni, and LA Weekly. The festival offers free film screenings at the Mann Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and Highland. All you need is to make a reservation for the film you'd like to watch and show up early for a ticket.

Yesterday, I was able to watch three films; two with a few Italian acquaintances.


The Italia festival is on between 17 to 23 February 2008. Visit the website for film schedules.

PS To the actress on the television series I love to death: I'm sorry if I frightened you
From the Tom Baker Fourth Dr Who lookalike with the bloodshot eyes (my contacts were making them itch)

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