Dracil’s BlogJournal

June 17, 2008

Monday Outing

Filed under: personal, Reviews — Tags: , , , , — dracil @ 12:25 am

So today I took Leqi to the Metreon since she’s never been there before.  It was just as well since she has never been to an IMAX theater which she’d recently heard about in class.  And it turns out Kung Fu Panda, which was what we were here for, was being shown in their IMAX theater, so yeah.  :)

For dinner, we ate at Annabelle’s Bar and Bistro.  I picked it ’cause it was close and it had a restaurant.com gift certificate.  She had some pea ravioli with mushrooms and something else.  I had skirt steak with fries and coleslaw.  Portions were pretty small (the meat) but it was very tasty.  Though I was full afterwards so the portions weren’t too bad, but I wouldn’t go back without a gift certificate since it’s a bit too pricey otherwise.

Walked about the Metreon a little bit and then went to watch the movie.  Not too crowded and the screen was huge.  Got good seats.  Anyway, the movie was great.  Classic kung fu/martial arts/fighting story.  The one who was the outcast/weakest will always have the most endurance/natural talent and end up being the most powerful.  Fight scenes were pretty cool and the random use of Chinese in the names was a nice touch as well.  Definitely a must-watch.  :)

June 9, 2008

Dawn of the Dead

Filed under: movies, Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — dracil @ 10:55 pm

Hmm, surprisingly, this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it might’ve been.  Certainly had its suspenseful moments.  I see now where a few zombie games got their inspiration (specifically, No More Room in Hell)

It seems like the new zombie movies have fast zombies now.  Which is kinda unfair, so they also bumped up the survivor counts.  The problem is that these people have remarkable aim for headshotting such fast zombies.  That’s one of the things with the old zombies that worked.  They’re slow, so you can actually get headshots.  Realistically, all these people would be dead within the first 30 minutes of the film, given that most of them have probably never used a gun before.  :P

Give us back the old zombies.

May 27, 2008

3:10 to Yuma

Filed under: movies, Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — dracil @ 6:00 pm

I had originally wanted to see this when it was in the theaters. But I don’t think Westerns really appeal to my friends, and I don’t really go to the theaters by myself. :P

3:10 to Yuma is a remake of a film by the same name from 50 years ago, and as such, there are people who feel the original is better. I haven’t seen the original, but I certainly liked this remake. I liked the ending too, which appears to be a point of contention between those who liked the original and those who liked the remake. Sure, the film in general is pretty fantastical and requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief (it is part action film too). But the creators make a good point (in one of the special features) that Westerns as a genre, are pretty much already mythical. The setting didn’t really exist. Instead, it was all the cool stuff happening in that period condensed into a single point in time. I suspect pirate films in general are probably similar, drawing on various stories from different time periods and putting it all into one cool action-packed setting. I think it’s just part of period films.

So yeah, you may think it would be impossible for some of the things that happened in the film to happen in real life, like the relation between Ben Wade and Dan Evans, and you’d probably be right. But it is a fictional story after all, a story about two very different men who we learn are not quite what they claim to be.

May 19, 2008

Kamikaze Girls

Kamikaze Girls, originally called 下妻物語 (Shimotsuma Monogatari), was recommended to me by Karen.  Like a lot of Japanese films/anime/manga nowadays, its origin can be traced to a light novel.

At its core, it’s about two girls who are polar opposites from each other.  First there is Momoko, a super-independent girl who had no friends (and didn’t need any) and didn’t care what anyone thought.  She also goes around wearing Sweet Lolita dresses from the Rococo period in France.  Apparently, the store she gets her clothes from is a real store, and even featured a line of clothing designed by the author of the story.

Ichigo on the other hand, is part of an all-female biker gang,  She’s rough, smokes, spits all the time, and makes mistakes with her Japanese (to imply she’s a bad student).  And of course, she knows a lot about motorcycles.

Through a series of events, they become best friends forever.  :P

That’s pretty much the gist of the story, though of course other stuff happens, including a pretty cool ending.

The comedy is of the odder Japanese variety (if a girl wearing Lolita fashion isn’t odd enough for most Americans), so it really helps if you have an appreciation for Japanese media culture already.  Otherwise, you may find it stupid.  If you’re curious about what lolita fashion can look like, this would also be a good film to get a taste.  I also checked out the BABY,THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT store and all I have to say is, that’s one expensive hobby (most dresses cost between $150-$500).

May 17, 2008

27 Dresses

Filed under: movies, Reviews — Tags: , , , , — dracil @ 6:20 am

I think I watched this movie in the right mood, though it’s actually the same mood as when I watched Wedding Crashers.  The difference is the style of the film.

They’re both romantic comedies but the way the comedy is derived is different.  In 27 Dresses, the characters were for the most part, realistic, and so the comedy was similar to funny things you might do or say in real life with friends.  In Wedding Crashers, the characters were exaggerated  and meant to be funny caricatures, so you were generally laughing at the characters, instead of with them.  This made it harder to care about the characters in Wedding Crashers and I think that’s ultimately why I enjoyed 27 Dresses more.

That said, like other romantic comedies, it follows a pretty formulaic pattern.  Girl meets boy.  Bad Stuff happens.  Boy and girl get back together and live happily ever after.  This brings me to a tangent.  It seems like the Bad Stuff is always inextricably linked to something the guy does.  Of course, most of the time, the guy will try to stop the Bad Stuff from happening, but will always fail so the audience can go through the “aww, how sad” moment.  Despite that, it’s interesting to note how much effort the guy will spend to stop the Bad Stuff.  I think in most romantic comedies, this effort is pretty much nil, with most guys failing before they even start.  That’s why I think the guy in this film is actually rather commendable, as he did actually try to stop it a few times.  It shows real consideration, which most of the other guys tend to lack.

So yeah, I found most of the characters likable as human beings.  The girl’s a near saint going through the things she does in the film, and the guy’s just a generally all-round cool person.  Maybe it helped that the guy was also rather cynical about weddings and marriages given the stuff I’ve been reading.  Another coincidental thing that made me like the movie was that I had recently joked about how it might be cool to have a wedding theme where guys and girls wore the opposite gender’s clothes (people gave me weird/disapproving looks and grunts), and guess what, something like that was mentioned in the film. :P

I think most people generally feel that Wedding Crashers is a better film and it’s certainly more fun and entertaining.  But 27 Dresses, while based on an unrealistic concept, is more realistic in its execution, which helps the audience connect better with the characters, if only for the duration of the film and that really helps for romantic comedies.  I think it really depends on your mood which you’d enjoy more as they’re still both just romantic comedies with a wedding theme.

May 16, 2008

Sukiyaki Western: Django

If the trailer doesn’t interest you, you aren’t going to like the film. It really is a love it or hate it film. I’m more in the love it side, because I like weird, unique stuff.

As you may notice from the title, this film is a parody of spaghetti westerns. The film itself is supposedly a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s Django, but the story more closely resembles Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, which itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which is based on the film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key, although the plot resembled his Red Harvest book more. Meanwhile, the setting for this film is based on the historical Genpei War. These people also references the War of the Roses (which, like the Genpei War, was divided into white and red factions) with a character even reading Shakespeare’s take on it. And from watching it, the film’s style felt a lot like the Kill Bill movies. Heck Quentin Tarantino even plays a character in the film. As you can tell, this film has a very mixed ancestry (if Japanese people speaking Engrish in a Western wasn’t obvious enough).

Speaking of the Engrish. This is one of the things you’ll either love or hate. The Engrish is intentional, because the spaghetti westerns of old were supposedly badly dubbed for whichever country it was being shown. Unfortunately, without English subtitles, it can be hard to understand what’s being said unless you’re used to Engrish and/or pay careful attention. If you can read Japanese, the Japanese subtitles certainly help. That said, if you can get past the first ten minutes, you’ll probably get used to it.

I’ve heard that the American version that’s coming out, which will most likely have the missing English subtitles, will also be cut by about 20 minutes. I already predict that they will release an “extended director’s cut” later that’s really just the full Japanese version with English subtitles. Cutting the film by 20 minutes may not be so bad, as some people did feel the film was too long and had unnecessary parts (I’m guessing probably the sheriff’s solo parts, which were a little overdone).

If you’re a fan of Miike’s films (Audition, One Missed Call, Ichi the Killer), weird Japanese films (Battle Royale, Suicide Club), Quentin Tarantino, any film in this film’s ancestry, or Westerns in general, you’ll probably like this film. Otherwise, you may want to save some money and watch it at a friend’s house instead.

May 7, 2008

Evolution: The Musical! premiere

I actually completely forgot about it. It wasn’t until I was cleaning out my wallet that I noticed the ticket. Oops. Of course, I also didn’t remember where it was at. Rushed back home (was almost there anyway), then rushed back out. I was 20 minutes late, which wasn’t too bad.

They were asking people from the audience to come up and demonstrate their special talents. Blah. Then they asked for someone called Gabriel because they wanted to show their earlier works, one of which was about Gabriel (as in the angel from the Bible).

The actual one they showed isn’t on Youtube, but it’s available on their main site called Angel in the Outfield. If you’re lazy and just want a quick Youtube video, here’s one.

You can check out other stuff on the their site.

After that, one of the guys dressed up as Satan and asked people to come up and answer questions about their lives and see if they’re going to Hell. I think most people decided they would and were just saying yes or coming up with stuff. Only the first person kinda told the truth and actually didn’t go to Hell. :P

Their second video was Jelly Donut which is the following two videos:

They actually had Jelly Donut go up on stage after that and do some songs. There was one audience participation song about masturbation. Say mmm-mmm if you masturbate once a month, oo-oui if you do it twice a week, He-ey! if you do it every day, and basically yell out NoNoh-NoNoNoNoNo if you don’t masturbate ever. I think only one person in the audience said No. :P Quite a few actually said something for the others and they joked about the audience telling total strangers about their masturbation habits. Aside from the topic, the song was pretty catchy. Some people were dancing to it.

Their second video was some claymation they did, which was actually kinda funny (it’s NQSFW though)

There may have been something else, but I don’t remember, but after that was the main event of the night. The 38-minute long musical wasn’t bad. Well, it sort of was, but I liked some of the songs too. Definitely very cheesy. It’s basically one of those love stories between two warring factions (The Blesseds, who descended from Adam and Eve, and the Beasties, who evolved from primates).

After that, there was some Q&A with the people involved in the film. The girl who played the leader of the Beasties sounded pretty drunk. :P

All in all… this was definitely not my normal type of crowd or place (it’s a bar!). What is it with me and bars these days? I think it’s good I went alone, as I don’t think this was something most of my friends could probably stand (I probably have the crudest humor among my friends, and even this was crude for me, so…)

April 25, 2008

Evolution: The Musical!

Evolution: The Musical! is one of the shows being shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which began today.

Yes, it looks absolutely cheesy and horrible.  And you know what the sad thing is?  It’ll still be better than Expelled.  And you know what’s sadder?  I may actually go watch it!  :P  Well, maybe not.  Being better than Expelled isn’t exactly a noteworthy achievement.

The actual musical seems to be only about 35 minutes or so, but since the event’s listed as 130 minutes, it looks like most of it will actually be some live stuff which might be interesting too.

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