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BrunoTheThird

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Even though it didn't hold me at all, the first half is the better part of the movie, no doubt, simply because it has a personality of its own, and owes very little to Fargo. The last twenty minutes really impressed me, though, and made Kumiko stand out as a human, warts and all, and kicked the movie into the direction it needed to go. Too little too late, probably. A better balance of both acts would have done wonders I bet.

I'm with you on Only God Forgives. It has so much in common with Drive, and yet if fails to deliver any of the same intensity. It's strange that a movie with decent acting and such a flair for style can fall so firmly on its face. Repeating success is extremely difficult in the directing world, I understand. Not everyone can pump out consistent quality like Spielberg and the Coens, but Refn may hit his stride yet. Bronson and Drive are great.

Next up for me: Either Play Misty for Me, or Delicatessen. Haven't decided. Maybe both.

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BrunoTheThird

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@humanity:I finished watching it last night. On paper, the story is extremely original and interesting, and I was fascinated to see it play out. Having a huge love for Fargo added to that as well.

The way they submerge you into Kumiko's soul-crushingly dull life -- and really stretch that out until you yourself are sick of it -- is effective and real in its portrayal, but ultimately drained me too much. I've not seen many movies where the first 40 minutes is dedicated to the least interesting aspect (i.e. her day-to-day tedium). The only scene I liked a lot in that whole act was with the security guard in the library; that's where she showed some of her real self, and was vulnerable as a character, which is what all characters need to be sympathized with. That's when I got on board with her and her quest, as I found her to be a spineless no-hoper 'til that point, honestly, fueling the flames of her own failure.

When she gets to America, it does open up more. I thought the new setting and her sense of adventure would take hold sooner, but her depressing life actually follows her to America. That was frustrating. Her attitude is lousy and weak again after that bright spark in the library, and she hops limply from kind stranger to kind stranger, leaving without any gratitude, isolating herself further from them, and us, the audience. When she calls her mother for help and ends up finally severing that toxic relationship, all of those ties to Japan holding her back are removed, and she says fuck it, and just goes to fulfill her destiny. At last, some backbone! With 20 minutes left of the movie! Jeez.

I really liked the final act. She just sees red, embraces her sociopathy, and goes, barking, "Fargo!" at the cab driver, and booking it into the woods to get her hands on that treasure. That tickled me, and the movie becomes more artistic, with beautiful shots of the snowy woods, and a dreamy soundtrack comes alive.

Kumiko's inner coldness is an equal match for the coldness of Fargo; she's finally in an environment that welcomes her, and I understood why the movie was made at this point. How naive and stupid her pilgrimage is was beside the point. She latched on to something -- anything -- from that tiniest hint of adventure she glimpsed in a classic American movie, and put all of her being into achieving it. Into not failing at something for once. Putting the ambiguity of her success aside, I liked that a lot.

In the end, I was disappointed overall. I expected more life; a more rebellious spirit; more mystique; but it kind of meanders its way to an iconic scene from a better movie (Fargo), showing up the fact it had little to aim for itself as a cinematic work. The story is a great one, still, and I'm glad I watched it, but I can't help feeling it could have been so much more. Maybe the Coen brothers themselves were needed to make this as lovable as Kumiko's obsession? That would've been a more interesting meta movie...

5/10.

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BrunoTheThird

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - Awesome Iranian film with an iconic soundtrack, about a girl who stalks/intimidates the residents of Bad Town, and observes their varied interactions with one another. I'll be shocked if it's been released in Iran, as it contains blood, violence, murder, frequent drug use, sex acts, nudity. I really dug it; the acting is great, it looks great, it sounds great, and is hypnotically watchable. 7/10

Under the Skin - Didn't think I would like this, but its cold, calculated pacing and lack of all emotion in contrast to the horrible things that happen is so exquisitely executed that I couldn't care less about the negative audience response. It's an art film from open to close, and Scarlet's performance needles at the edges of the screen like a clever spider sussing you out. When she starts to become more human I lost that enthusiasm a little, and the film kind of goes lopsided, before crashing into its bizarre final act that I have mixed feelings about. It kind of becomes a TOOL music video, haha. 7/10

I also watched the Michael Crichton movie Westworld, but it had no effect on me. I liked the shiny eyes and the story idea. That's about it.

Next up: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.

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BrunoTheThird

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Girlfriend got me into Overdose by EXO-K recently. I really dug the unusual melody, and the slightly overproduced sheen on everything gave it a hyper futuristic feel, yet it was total, classic '90s NSYNC style in many ways. The dancing in the video is cool also.

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#5  Edited By BrunoTheThird

Not that poppy, but I really like some of Miyavi's stuff. Was listening to HA NA BI again just now. Awesome instrumental work. Not even slightly pop, but "Obscure" by Dir en Grey is a bonkers metal track. The vocals are sporadically booming in the verses and soaringly catchy in the chorus. Guy sounds like a dimension-jumping space warrior at times. Or something...

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BrunoTheThird

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  1. Rear Window
  2. Pan's Labyrinth
  3. The Thing
  4. Memento
  5. No Country for Old Men
  6. Stand By Me
  7. Trainspotting
  8. True Romance
  9. Battle Royale
  10. Spirited Away

Notable mentions: Heat,Blade Runner, The Conversation, Godfather II, Fargo, Marathon Man, Quiz Show, The Insider, The Exorcist, Jaws, Don't Look Now, Kwaidan, George Washington, Goodfellas, The Warriors, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, This Is Spinal Tap, Close Encounters, Harold and Maude, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Donnie Darko, Ran, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Boyz n the Hood, Alien. And soooooo oooooooon...

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BrunoTheThird

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#7  Edited By BrunoTheThird

I have a free trial of Amazon Prime, so am going crazy on their included-with-prime movie section, and watched like five films in a row.

They were:

Pacific Rim - The last hour completely changed my opinion of it. Ron Perlman is the MAN; that film becomes dope and anime as hell. The first hour is a trainwreck of acting and fumbled exposition -- the main guy is a truly bad actor. Just about soap-opera level. The rest of the cast becomes highly likable in the second act, shockingly; even the guy with the shitty Australian accent who was in a shitty soap over here called Eastenders. 7/10

Macbeth (2015) - This got a tonne of hate from Shakespeare fans for its whispered dialogue and serious tone, but I found it arresting, oppressively dark, and beautifully shot. Fassbender as the eponymous warrior is charismatic as hell. 7/10

'71 - About a young English soldier who is accidentally left behind on the dangerous streets of Belfast. the acting is so natural and real; I was genuinely scared for his life from start to finish. Gritty as fuck, as he is hounded and hunted by a small gang of youngsters who just want his English blood to satisfy their flawed ideologies. The soundtrack is also thumping and John Carpenter-esque; there's even an atmospheric Aphex Twin track soaring in the background following a particularly harrowing scene. 9/10

Gravity - It was an interesting one, and I'm glad I've finally seen it, but I found it unrealistic (both the combinations of fortune and misfortune that constantly unfold, and the special effects, actually, giving the movie a jarringly sped-up and soft feeling at times). I enjoyed Bullock's and Clooney's performances very much, though, and I'm a fan of neither that much. The scene where she talks about her daughter is one of the realest and most touching I've scene in a while; even more with the contrast of beautiful planet Earth in view the whole time. It's full of lots of good moments, and the stuff it does get right, realism-wise -- like her using the fire extinguisher and being flung backward into the wall -- is actually real good. 7/10.

Right now I'm watching The Raid. Good shit so far.

Next up, the Korean movie A Hard Day.

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BrunoTheThird

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I'm in love with Massive Attack's fairly new track, "The Spoils." My favourite since Paradise Circus. Nice to hear they still have the ability to mix modern beats with soaring strings and a female singer to create something spine-tingling.

The lyrics are a bit repetitive though.

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BrunoTheThird

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The Gungrave show is actually based on the games, too. That must be the first time that's happened, and not vice-versa. Overdose is a dumb, fun, blast of a game.

Thank you for the encouragement! When (if) I get some decent movement on the manga, I will definitely post about it here. That's a great idea.

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BrunoTheThird

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Anime that I bought on a whim: Blood: The Last Vampire (the short film). There was a quote from James Cameron on the back of the box, and I thought, "hmm, worth a try." I liked it a lot and still do. The opening scenes of Saya on the train are beautifully done. It was a complete failure, critically -- unfair, in my opinion.

Anime that disturbed me as a child: Ninja Scroll. *shudder*

Anime I used to like but now wonder, "What did I see in this?": X

Wild card: The anime adaptation/interpretation of Metropolis. A surprisingly worthy addition to Fritz Lang's legendary masterwork. I've only seen it once, but there are some gorgeous scenes.

Lesser known movie: Tekkonkinkreet. Touching tale of two young kids trying to preserve their town with mind, body, and kickass moves. Lots of funny relationships between the quirky townsfolk. Whimsical and bonkers.

Favourite lesser-known Miyazaki movie: Porco Rosso. The US dub is one of the better ones, too -- Michael Keaton excels as the loveable pig pilot.

Fave lesser known Ghibli movie: Grave of the Fireflies. Crushingly beautiful. One of the realest, most human movies in anime's history.

Fave anime with huge robot thingies: Neon Genesis Evangelion. I really enjoyed the relationship between Shinji and Misato in that series. The agile, elasticated robots really pop and flow beautifully on the screen, too -- a nice change from a typical, bulky machine. The fights are more like ballet dances with some blood and grit. (The Frank Sinatra ending song is also a nice touch.)

Anime I need to refresh my memory on: Vampire Hunter D. Not sure if I saw the series or the movie. Blood something.

Anime I need to see: Berserk. How much it apparently inspired Dark Souls has intrigued me greatly. My girlfriend says it's amazing, also, so I should check it out soon.

Anime game that is a rough but hidden gem: Gungrave Overdose.

Most disappointing anime: Devil May Cry.

Favourite western 2D animation: The Iron Giant. Hilarious and sad film, with the most gorgeous lighting and '50s stylings.

Anime my friend loves that makes me cringe: Elfen Lied. Something about it just haunts my soul. I don't get it!

I'm actually writing a manga at the moment. I hope to send it to some illustrators when I'm done; get some early sketches accompanied with a chapter; and then send it off to some publishers. Hopefully in the next couple years I'll be at that stage. Writing is hard...