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Welcome to 2016

So I wanted to take the drone out and do a high up flyover of the land to welcome in the new year.

Except I spent the night of New Year puking up various internal organs (I guess they weren't necessary), and since then the weather has turned somewhat less favourable. Unless your idea of "wheee!" is seeing how fast a small drone can be thrown into a neighbouring town...

So instead, I'll discuss a few Japanese movies I've seen recently.


Live (Raivu)

This is perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. There's a solid story lurking in here, a tale of revenge in a most interesting way - however it seems to have been made by a group of horny men who are most likely unmarried, or maybe that is the target demographic? I don't know. What I do know is that we have a group of people, each of having a family member kidnapped, each of them forced to compete against the others. This so easily could have been a tense film along the same sort of lines as Battle Royale.
Instead, we get fanservice. We get the sort of stupid over the top gore that you'd expect from a film like Tokyo Gore Police (hint - clue is in the title). We get more fanservice. And more. And either most of the female cast are porn stars, or they have aspirations of being porn stars. It is really quite ridiculous how the story (and yes, there is a story here) is so easily and quickly and repeatedly slaughtered for a cheap thrill. It's as if the people making this movie didn't have the conviction to play it seriously so decided to make something altogether crap instead.


Flying Colors (Biri Gyaru)

This is the heartwarming story of a rebellious girl who dresses badly, pays little attention, and is really rather stupid trying to change her life around at a cram school and gain acceptance to a rather prestigious university. Lovely performances from the leads, and strangely enough based upon the book of the events that happened to inspire the story.
I would recommend this, but beware - the currently available subtitles read as if they have been machine translated from Chinese. You'll need to do a lot of mental work to follow the story.


Godzilla (Gojira)

Although from 1954, this film has some pretty impressive effects. Okay, the obvious models are obvious models, but it has been assembled in a very effective way.
For those who are used to the cheesy crappy films where Godzilla is a hero, or maybe an anti-hero, I feel I should point out that the original film, the one that arguably threw the "giant rampaging monster" genre into the limelight, was intended as a strong statement against the use of nuclear weapons, war is hell, and so on. To that end, Gojira begins menacing, and takes its time to work up to full on horror. This is maybe the fifth or sixth time I've watched this, and as far as I'm concerned, this is pretty much the only "Godzilla" film worth mentioning. A hundred sequels and remakes and nothing has come close to the original.
It is worth pointing out, at the time of the film's release, most of the audience will have survived the Second World War, the two nuclear bombs and the firebombing of Tokyo.


God's Puzzle (Kamisama no pazuru)

Otherwise known as "DVD covers tell fibs!".
A hard-working student decides to go off to wander around India or somesuch, and has his slacker brother pretend to be him. Slacker brother meets the smartest girl in Japan (possibly the world) and together they decide to attempt to create their own universe.
Directed by Takashi Miike, this film was always going to be...unusual. And indeed it doesn't disappoint. The film can be roughly divided into two parts. The first, there is practically non-stop exposition and nerdspeak as the leads and their annoying teacher duke it out verbally with hardcore physics theories flying in all directions. The second, the girl - who was already fifty one cards short of a full deck - what the hell was that puddle in the floor of her room (or don't we want to know?) and all the stuff with the rubber tubing - devolves into a rather delicious mad scientist of the truly batpoop crazy kind. From there, it just goes so far off the scale that your sense of disbelief takes a real beating. There is probably a message here that I'm not getting, I just spent most of the time laughing at the end. Which...I guess is a good thing.



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