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Showing posts from April, 2010

Dr. Horribles Sing-A-Long Blog

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Title: Dr. Horribles Sing-A-Long Blog
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Series
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion
Director: Joss Whedon

“I'm Moist. At my most badass, I make people want to take a shower.”

It didn’t even cross my mind to write a review for this as its old news. Hell, it was old news when I first discovered it two years ago, but it’s nonetheless deserving of mentioning for those who missed it, and sadly missing it was all too easy to do for anyone who isn’t a crazed Whedon-obsessed fan. The writers strike in the US had some pretty severe repercussions beyond simply shorter seasons and forced repeats; many shows (Heroes and Battlestar Galactica spring to mind) were forced to cram so much into their – now severely diminished – run time that it became convoluted and unveiled too much too quickly, and during the strike it would seem most directors took something of a holiday. But not Whedon.

When the creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollho…

Sex and Fury

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Title: Sex and Fury
Rating: 4/5
Genre: “Pinky Violence” (Action, Crime, Thriller)
Starring: Reiko Ike, Agemi Negishi, Christina Lindberg
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Language: Japanese

If you’re female, this should be the last line of this review you should take the time to read as pinky violence knows exactly who its target audience are, and its not you. It’s unashamedly Japanese, and the more I learn about the culture the more truthful this seems to be. It may be most closely associated as part of the movement of ‘pink films’ in the 70s, revolving around humiliation and ‘sexploitation’ of the young female lead, but this genre doesn’t finish there. It’s a pink film with gratuitous violence and bloodshed, sword wielding yakuza nutters doing battle with our scantily clad sex crazed heroine, and this combination of random sex and violence isn’t mutually exclusive; one scene in particular sees our gorgeous lead dispatch a dozen assailants who ambush her in the bath, and they don’t exactly wa…

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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Title: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Original Title: Toki o kakeru shôjo
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Animé, Romantic, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Language: Japanese

Continuing my return to excessive film watching pleasures comes another one of those animé films that has remained on the shelf for far too long; with the chaos theory at its core, it is a theory that has long since fascinated me for the sheer implications it can impose. But not only is there this notion of creating ripples through time, but there are further amendments to this theory; one can liken time to the gentle flow of a river, and no matter how many rocks you place in the streams path the river will simply glide around it, reaching the same location. Another is rather more morbid; that every action occurs for a reason; time is almost a caring entity, and that every action that occurs happens as it is the most pain free solution.

With fate an inevitable con…

A Bittersweet Life

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Title: A Bittersweet Life
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Crime, Drama
Starring: Byung-Hun Lee
Director: Ji-Woon Kim
Language: Korean

From the mastermind who handed us one of the most powerful horror films of the past decade (“The Tale of Two Sisters”) comes his follow-up, trading his dark brand of horror for...well a new brand of darkness. One with gangsters, and a surprising absence of weaponry. The protagonist in this tale are all the more comfortable dealing with matters using their own two hands (and any items that happen to be held in them).

Following the life of a hotel owner, Sunwoo, not afraid to get his hands a little dirty for his frequent guests of somewhat questionable morals, Kang is an agent for the underbelly of society but whilst tough on those who oppose him, has a soft spot for a younger woman. Suspicious as to whether she is faithful to him, Sunwoo agrees to follow her and discover the truth under order to deal with anything that might arise; discovering her second lover, in …

Paprika

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Title: Paprika
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Animé, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Starring: Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Furuya, Kôichi Yamadera
Director: Satoshi Kon
Language: Japanese (dubbed)

"There's always an opposite, light and darkness, life and death, man and woman. And to spice it all up, you add... Paprika!"

Satoshi Kon has long since garnered my attention. I’m not sure how he managed to earn his rights as a director to create anything his mind could come up with but once again he’s found an avenue to vent his thoughts on human psychology, and where better to explore than on the intricate subject of dreams. With “Perfect Blue,” a mindfuck of a film about a pop idol descending into the depths of paranoiac madness and “Paranoia Agent,” already under his belt, you can be assured that this film will not let up his reputation, providing the perfect playground for his every whim. Continuing to secure his title as the Animé equivalent of “David Lynch;” he may be insane, but with ‘Paprik…

Noir

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Title: Noir
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Animé, Series
Duration: 25mins (26 episodes)
Language: Japanese (dubbed)
Starring: Shelley Calene-Black, Monica Rial

A clever assassin takes a child into her care. I know what you’re thinking: didn’t “Leon: The Professional” already have this pretty well covered? And whilst the initial Parisian backdrop does little to help in this regard, the similarities for the most part end here. For one thing, the master assassin, Mireille Bouquet, known to others only by the pseudonym “Noir” (though this soon encompasses far more), is rather ironically a mid-height young blonde woman who had adopted the legendary thousand year old title as her own. And then there’s Kirika Yumura, the child; stricken with amnesia with only a forged ID card and a false identity to her unknown name, her shrouded past somehow tied to Mireille, and her inexplicable expertise in this profession remaining a mystery to be solved.

But the mysteries don’t end here as th…