CHILDREN OF MEN [2006] review

November 19, 2006

***Warning — SPOILERS***

I went into CHILDREN OF MEN knowing virtually nothing about the story, and I suggest you do too, so that means stop reading this until you see the movie yourself. One also needs a good ability to suspend belief, as the premise of the movie is that in 2027 humans have been infertile for the past 18+ years. So I guess all the sperm banks dried up or something, and that no one thought of cloning, etc. So if you can put that aside, the movie starts off small and just keeps rolling and getting bigger. Again, having no expectations about the movie really helps, as I totally didn’t expect there to be any twists in the story, at least not as big and constant as there were, but none so grandiose that they seem contrived. And the issue about who to trust is an issue, but not so much that it’s distracting and inconsistent. Clive Owen as the main character soon clearly knows who he can trust, and that is just himself and the instructions of an old acquaintance.

Alfonso Cuaron is the only director I think really faltered with the Harry Potter movie franchise, so I was holding that against him going into the theater, but by the end I was very impressed with his camera work and story telling ability. He could have maybe wrung more out of his actors, as action clearly takes over in the latter half of the movie, but enough backstory is given to flesh out most people’s motivations.

This is a grim movie though, with almost no color at all on screen, the world in 2027 largely laid to waste and scenes of great cruelty fill the background action. So when a child is finally conceived and delivered, it really is a miracle transforming all around the babe. Even soldiers stay their weapons, but not for very long. The birth of the first child in 18 years does not instantly start a chain reaction of hope and peace in this world. The movie leaves us to wonder if that will ever come about.

Zeroes and Ones

November 17, 2006

  • written where: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • where exactly: my desk in my apartment
  • written with: pen & notebook
  • when: November 16, 2006 — 2:09am

I saw my dreams die,

in pixels.

Zeroes and ones commanded my fate.

That’s how it was delivered,

this time.

Nothing grandiose.

Just naughts and ones.

Zeroes and ones PUT me on this path.

Gone to one.

Gone to zero, not quite yet.

My indie film debut on the set of "Radish Detective"

November 15, 2006

So that is me on the set of the very indie movie, RADISH DETECTIVE, written and directed by one of my students as part of a series of movies that will first be shown on late night TV and then available as streaming video supposedly on Yahoo.

About the scene I’m in: I play a New York City homicide detective. I went for the Miami Vice look with the sport coat sans tie. I was given a lot of creative freedom by the director, even being able to name the character with my own surname. I was only given the script a few minutes prior to the scene, but being a professional I quickly memorized my lines, did only two rehearsals, then nailed the scened on the third take.

…”An army veteran is on a shooting spree in Central Park?”

…”Radish detective, get to Central Park!”

…When they first said, “Ok, let’s have a rehearsal,” I suddenly felt a little nervouse. I was thinking, whoa, the camera is going to be rolling. … But as soon as the director said, “action,” I was totally into it. I felt like this is what I want to do. I want to be an actor. As Oldboy once pondered, “Can 15 years of preparation make you ready for the real thing?” I always imagined being an actor, and that preparation did make me ready for the real thing.

…They said my performance was good and that I was a natural. I thanked them for the opportunity and was then driven back to the train station in a Mercedes. I hope these leads to more roles in the future.

THE LAKE HOUSE [2006] review

November 12, 2006

About halfway through THE LAKE HOUSE, Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” comes on just before the chorus of the song, and somehow I instinctually knew it, and as Carole cries “It’s too late baby, now it’s too late,” I had involuntarily sang out loud with her! I just bought the song from iTunes so I could listen to it while I write this review. What a hauntingly beautiful song. They just don’t exist like that anymore.

For the record, I like Keanu Reeves. I’ve even shook the man’s hand when he came to Tokyo once. See photo to the right as photographic evidence of said encounter. So I just like watching his acting style on screen. I liked trying to figure out the time twist of how he could be in 2004 and Sandra Bullock’s character could be in 2006. The mailbox of the lake house was almost like an instant messenger program. I can accept that bit of magic for the movie’s premise to work. For living in two different times, Keanu and Sandra have a suprising amount of interaction via overlapping letters read in the same place (different time) as well as some unknown, chance actually same time same place encounters.

I liked the tone of thie film, it’s slow pace, the way no one tells either Keanu or Sandra your crazy, or how both of them so quickly accept that a magic mailbox is connecting them somehow.

…There aer a few scenes that could use some trimming, as in the dance sequence, but overall the direction keeps things moving along and the careful viewer can begin to realize why certain things in the future did not happen that should have been, well, certain to happen.

What this movie most shows though, is that if you can wait, if you can just wait, you can be together with the person you most want to. And then, you can finally stop waiting for something better just around the corner, and stop waiting period. And hopefully contrary to Carole’s song, it won’t be…..too late.

Takigo-Yama, Yamanashi Prefecture hike #5

November 4, 2006

But, for some reason this morning there was a staff person, so no free ride this time, maybe because it was the weekend.

I intended to take my time on the ascent this time, but unsurprisingly couldn’t stop myself from trying to represent. I actually felt like I was going slower than before this time, which disappointed me, but then once I got to the top realized I might have set a new record for summit-ing. … I ate lunch at the same spot as always about 40 minutes up the start of the trail where on a clear day one can see a glimpse of Fuji.

…I sat off to the far right eating my cold sandwich (nature burger, avocado, tomato on wheat bread), a blueberry SoyJoy bar and some mixed nuts.

…This hike marked the debut of 3 pieces of gear, my sweet Salomon GCS XCR’s (pictured to the right), my sweet new Ultimate X-static socks, and my super sweet Mountain Hardwear pack pants bought in the summer but only worn on the trail now. … This is my 4th pair of Salomon’s, and my first impression of them is that they are the best. They have finally got the automatic lacing system out of the gimmick phase and into the works like you want it to phase.

…I tried to chill on the ascent, but it is damn steep and the Salomon’s were born to run. … I easily passed the two hiking groups even though they left like 10 minutes before me, but every time I found a spot to chill, the soon caught up and I felt pressure to stay ahead of them in order to not have to keep passing them.

…Still, I found a good chill spot and was far enough ahead of them to get a good 15 minutes of solitude with me just trying to listen to what a creek was saying. The whole day I couldn’t really calm my mind, which was my purpose for going, so I couldn’t tell what the creek was going on about unfortunately. … This was all on my right, on my left I was flanked by giant boulders turned green by moss and dampness, as this valley never sees direct sunlight.

…From here the trail flattened out and I ambled the last half mile or so beholding the last of the gorge, now not more than 20 feet deep. Then the trail breaks open and suddenly there’s a house and a road and I’m back in the world of Men. Well, it’s still the super country, and as I pass by a cluster of houses in a valley I consider which one I’d choose to be my 2nd house, carefully weighing each’s pros and cons (I was looking for a good view of Fuji, a nice yard with mature plants and/or a small vegetable patch, and at least the hint of the walls having insulation).

I unknowingly showed up at Hitsukari station just a minute before the super rare country Chuo-line train arrived, and even got a good seat!

Hyogo Hipster Cafe Poem Series….part 3

November 2, 2006

written where: Tajima, Hyogo, Japan

where exactly: chill, hipster cafe

written with: pen & notebook

when: Saturday July 01, 2006 — 9:55pm-ish

BOOM, BOOM THE SOUND OF THIS ROOM

Boom, Boom the sound of this room.

I came her from a natural tomb.

Bush and light cross reflections

over the low rise intersections.

Blue is glass and pink is juice

built on hill like a peregrine’s roost.

Bought were paint by obasans

gone are customer’s expectations.

Barrels house pickles of dill

all is reflected upon the

wide

window

sill.

Hyogo Hipster Cafe Poem Series….part 2

November 2, 2006

written where: Tajima, Hyogo, Japan

where exactly: chill, hipster cafe

written with: pen & notebook

when: Saturday July 01, 2006 — 9:45pm-ish

UNTITLED

I feel thoughts falling

From my eyes.

I am always alone,

Save for when I am with

The Sea.

The only constant in this world

The Sea.

It speaks to me of solace

The Sea.

It saves me from dying

The Sea.

Hyogo Hipster Cafe Poem Series….part 1

November 2, 2006

written where: Tajima, Hyogo, Japan

where exactly: chill, hipster cafe

written with: pen & notebook

when: Saturday July 01, 2006 — 9:30pm-ish

HOUSES SO CLOSE TOGETHER, ONCE . . . .

We are like houses so close together,

They share the same reflection in the water.

You are my hope, so fragile,

I can’t even reach for it.

I still may not be saved,

And you even say you can’t do only what I need you to do.

But I forgive you, because,

Once you smiled at me,

Once I made you girlishly laugh,

Once I touched your long hair,

Once you said don’t die,

Once you said you couldn’t save me . . . .

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