HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE [2005] review

February 27, 2006

I am of the camp that Hayao Miyazaki is the greatest film animator of all-time. His imagination is second to none. His ability to visualize the deepest parts of his imagination up on the screen makes each one of his movies something to be relished. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE retains his great visuals, but I feel does not have as strong a story backing it as his other films.

What I loved about HOWL’S were the characters, especially Calcifer. I was fortunate to get to see the movie with the original Japanese voices and English subtitles. My only very, very basic understanding of Japanese was enough to often understand what Calcifer was saying. The silent Turniphead, Markl, and later obachan all made up a nice family. Yet I didn’t really ever know why Howl himself didn’t like war. And I didn’t know clearly who the two opposing sides were or why they were fighting. Maybe these weren’t so important.

My favorite visual sequence was toward the end, when the falling stars bounced upon the surface of a lake transforming into a tiny figure than lightly danced a few steps before fading from existence. The accompanying music made for a pure Miyazaki piece of visual poetry.

DREAM: Tony Blair came over for dinner

February 24, 2006

Bedtime: 2:04am

Wake-up time: 10:57am

Sleeping time: 8 hours 53 minutes

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was coming over to my family’s house for dinner. In my dream our house was connected to our small electronics business. Just before Tony was set to arrive, a young girl was sexually assaulted in the store! It wasn’t a violent assault, but still, I was thinking, how can Tony still come over? But he did. Other details have already faded.

CAPOTE [2005] review

February 24, 2006

I have long disliked Truman Capote based on one thing, he disrespected Jack Kerouac, a sacrilege to me. Yet in the first act of CAPOTE, such is the skill of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s craft, that I was charmed like one of Capote’s many hanger’s on seen in scenes throughout the movie. I expected to dislike the movie outright because of this bias, yet I was immediately drawn into it. … At first not so much of the latter, but by the end of the movie, I was totally feeling revultion.

Since I despised Capote, I never read In Cold Blood nor even knew much of its premise. I think this greatly contributed to my fascination to watching the story unfold. … I couldn’t figure Capote’s true feelings and motivations out. They seemed to see-saw in each scene until they became very clear. Any non-clarity he felt was only superficial, and only mattered to him because it made him feel bad. … At first, the name Harper Lee didn’t ring any bells . . . .

…In the end the movie is about studying Hoffman’s performance. I found myself noticing the way he held objects, from how he held a cigarette, to how he held the phone. He seemed to be a very well manicured man, so much so that everyone he meets outside of New York is at first taken aback by it. I would have trimmed a couple of scenes from the end of the film, even though they give Hoffman a chance to show off some serious acting chops.

Early in the movie Capote said, “I don’t lie.” I didn’t realize until the third act of the movie that he lies exceptionally, especially when it is in his best interest to do so. … I wonder if that is because he was too sorry for getting what he wished for to be able to finish In Cold Blood.

BUBBLE [2006] review

February 18, 2006

Steven Soderbergh’s movie BUBBLE made headlines for being simultaneously distributed on DVD & some cable channel and in theaters. And that’s all it should make headlines for. I can’t stand movies showing people’s miserable, 1-horse town lives. How people who live lives like that don’t commit suicide, I don’t know. So maybe I am biased to not like this movie, but I wonder how anyone can consider watching 3 characters eat fast food, talk about nothing, and work miserable jobs, no matter how supposedly realistically done, even a movie, never mind a supposed “masterpiece” as some have hailed it. At only 72 minutes, it’s not even a real feature length film. The characters were played by non-actors and their real life homes were used in the film. And you can tell. Not many things made sense. Why are the two factories shown in the movie staffed by 5 and 3 people respectively? Why does no one have even the slightest emotional reaction to the news of the death of a character? I mean I act a 100 times more emotionally when I miss the elevator in my building. It was an utter waste of time. I support distributing movies in new ways, but this isn’t the movie that will open the floodgates to multiple distribution channels.

DREAM: T-Rex attacks and skimboarding

February 12, 2006

I had no skimboard when I arrived at the beach. … Then some how I obtained a skimboard and was skimming pretty well and garnering applause. … I had no sensation of getting wet at all as well. The beach felt like Chigasaki in Japan, but most people seemed to be American on the beach. Some of the youths trying to skimboard might have been Japanese.

My second major dream was also exciting, only because it was life-and-death. A T-Rex was hunting a group of us in a suburban neighborhood. … Actually, I’m not sure where the other 4 or so people (some made up of ultimate players from Futako-Tamagawa) were most of the time. They seemingly were trying to escape by getting in a van in the front yard. I made frequent ventures from the back of the house to the front, and even outside playing cat-and-mouse with the T-Rex. I calculated where I could go based on the physical size of the T-Rex; I knew he couldn’t follow me to this one area because of a kind of pedestrian bridge attached to the house. In this manner I tried to bait it to go into either the front or the back of the house so the others could escape. I just remembered that Locke from LOST was one of the people there because the T-Rex ultimately met a strange fate. There were large stones around a pond in the back yard and it picked one up in its mouth and bit into it hard. … I felt we should all get in the van and go right then, but Lock suggested we kill the T-Rex off for sure, and he said it with malice. I felt no malice toward the T-Rex, only some fear as I ran back into safety each time I dared to challenge it outside. I woke up not knowing if we all left or what ultimately was the T-Rex’s fate.

an afternoon in a MARUNOUCHI PARK

February 11, 2006

I took the Chuo line to Tokyo station planning to spend a quiet afternoon in the Marunouchi area. I was kind of sleepy and just wanted to enjoy the bright sunshine and not so cold late-winter temperatures. This took me to a small park full of various fountains.

A cluster of fountains in the foreground. I think a wedding reception was taking place in the arcing building behind the fountains. In the center-right stands the Marunouchi Building.

This fountain produced constant rainbows (didn’t show up too well).

A fountain of a wall of water behind two cake-shaped fountains with a scallop shell-shaped fountain to the right.

FLIGHTPLAN [2005] review

February 11, 2006

***WARNING SPOILERS***

I expected to be moderately entertained by FLIGHTPLAN, and I was, but not enough to ever make me want to see it again. Apparently it’s possible to bring down the newest airliner in the world by punching in a panel in the roof of a bathroom. I hope that’s not really true. Jodie Foster pretty much just goes on a tirade the entire movie, prefaced by some emoting in the first 10 minute set-up. What I enjoyed most was the procedural part of the story with Jodie citing the new airline rules post 9/11 for how the captain should proceed and everything else she said tech or spec wise about the plane.

I did everything but name the character responsible for all the bad things in this movie. I kept thinking, “hmmm, that’s funny for an air marshal to do.” “Wait, he never showed I.D.” “Ummm, why does he keep bring a hysterical woman in front of all the passengers to keep them worked up?” None of this dawned on me was because he was the bad guy. I just thought he was ignant. My biggest question about the movie is, how did Jodie Foster know the bomb wouldn’t blow up the whole plane??

now that was a LOST episode

February 9, 2006

The Official LOST podcast is a great barometer for what to expect from the next episode of LOST. Two weeks ago they said to not expect much, and the ep was possibly one of the worst ever. Tonight they said expect big things from 2×13 THE LONG CON, and I’d put this episode at least in the top 5, rivaling even 1×04 WALKABOUT as the best ever. … Everything was made to look like Jack and Locke are the major players up to this point. Both of them were rendered powerless by a masterstroke of Sawyer’s diabolical mind.

Not that I haven’t already thought of one flaw and one strange plot point. … At the end of the episode, why did Sawyer bother going out into the black car and counting then going back into the house. … I mean, after she left why not just take the money then and drive off? It seems like the writers of the show purely did it as a plot device to make use care that Sawyer might soon have a gun in his face.

…The other thing is, Sawyer is going to have to sleep sometime. Will it not be easy just to overpower him then? I thought maybe if Anna Lucia had been in on it they could sleep in shifts. But with Charlie being his one-time partner (again doing a helluva Anakin Episode III in hood impression), how can he keep everyone else at bay?

I’m really shocked he is a truly bad person too. But as both his flashback story line and the words out of his own mouth on the island state, he is just a bad person.

…Another nod to fan theories via Hurley saying, “…or another time,” as it is widely thought that they may have gone back in time after the crash.

…Still can’t believe Sawyer would give up his chance with Kate, even though Kate still seemed to be sympathetic toward him at episode’s end.

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