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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Koda Kumi - Black Cherry

I have my problems with Koda Kumi. Apart from her lacking a certain...how to put this tactfully, star quality (i.e. if she wasn't famous already...) and relying on an obvious gimmick (feigned sluttiness), I've come around to much of her music, even if it struck me as undistinguished at first. The production is often good, befitting an Avex artist; and KK is talented, even if the hooks sometimes take a while to sink in. She tried out for Morning Musume and was rejected, yet that actually reflects well on her: no one in H!P can really sing like her; their voices need to be massed together to achieve any real resonance or tone. But KK is more than capable of carrying a track, and her voice is distinctive.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Judy and Mary

Listened to their entire discography over the course of like six hours. Think I just found my new favorite band. Can't be bothered to write an in-depth entry. Just...wow. As much 'ink jizz' as a site like Pitchfork expends over a band like Deerhoof, you wonder what they'd make of JAM or (the previously discussed on this site) Ego Wrappin'. I mean, 'Judy is a Tank Girl'? Just brilliant...
Get Warp or The Power Source if you want to hear Japanese music completely overstepping national bounds and stacking up against anything on a world stage.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Craig Reviews Junichi Tanizaki's Naomi

On my recommendation, Craig of Your Opinion Doesn't Count has just read and provided a three-part review of Tanizaki's Naomi, analogizing the novel to the idol world. His interpretation is highly original and provocative, and there's definitely some kind of graduate-paper potential in there somewhere about idol-continuity in Japanese culture over the course of the twentieth century. Was Tanizaki a proto-wota?


Night at the Museum poster

Night At The Museum is the last film I saw on 2006, not a spectacular way to end the year (it's not on my top 10 favourite 2006 films list), but not exactly a bad way (it's not on my top 10 disappointing 2006 films list) either. It's just what it is, popcorn entertainment meant for an entire family.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

VIDEO: Filmmakers Anonymous, Indiescene Cafe.

Filmmakers Anonymous, at Indiescene Cafe (29th of December 2006)

Since my return from Perth more than three weeks ago, I've been stuck in limbo, like a Wong Kar Wai character perpetually stuck in a stagnant state of existence whilst the rest of the world blurs by like the flitting of a hummingbird's wings. While taking my (absolutely needed) rest after months of working on my last short film, Girl Disconnected, my filmmaking endeavours were put on hold, just so I can figure out what the local filmmaking scene is like. In Perth, I got to know how things work, how to contact actors, composers, production houses, etc. Over here, I feel like a helpless foreigner.

Top 10 Most Disappointing Films of 2006

While I'm waiting for Youtube to process my latest video (of the Filmmakers Anonymous held in Indiescene Cafe two nights ago), I'll put up a top ten list of films that left me disappointed this year despite its hype. Yes, note that this not a top ten WORST films, just top ten DISAPPOINTING ones, basically films that I heard so many good things about, expected so much from, only to end up disappointed in the end. So films that I expected not to enjoy, and ended up having my suspicions confirmed (The Da Vinci Code, Eragon, Lady In The Water etc.) are excluded from the list.

Let me begin, oh, and it's all in alphabetical order, it's too painful to relive which one was more disappointing than the other:

Friday, December 29, 2006

VIDEO: Comic Fiesta 2006... my little sister is a cosplayer!

Swifty's Sis in Comic Fiesta 2006

The Comic Fiesta is a fan-based convention in Malaysia that is meant to promote anime, comics and gaming (ACG) by allowing fans to interact amongst each other and introducing them to other aspects of ACG fandom, like fanart, doujinshi, that kind of thing. I had the privilege to serve as their committee member and as an emcee during the 2003 event, prior to my resignation. Certain circumstances forced me to leave the Comic Fiesta message boards last year, but I have nothing but gratitude and love for them.

And despite my departure, my sister remains an ardent supporter of Comic Fiesta, and actually went to cosplay (dress up as an anime/comic/video game character) in their latest event on December 17 with a couple of her friends, Jing Ling and Michelle (I'm putting their names here because them, along with my sis, were the ones who shot the video, NOT ME). However, seeing the great time they had there, I might as well help them edit a short video of what they had shot just so their memories of that day can forever be preserved.

My sister is the one in orange (in case you STILL don't know that by now). The song I used is from Kahimi Karie, whom I wrote about earlier this year.

Have fun watching.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

VIDEO: Family Vacation in Shanghai 2005

Family vacation in Shanghai 2005

This video is shot during my vacation with my family in Shanghai more than a year ago (sometime during early December 2005, but I can't remember what was the exact date). I'm actually going to Shanghai again early next January, so I was suddenly compelled to finish editing this video today. I actually had an older version which I did two months ago using the editing suites in my university, prior to editing my last short film, Girl Disconnected. But the older version was more than 8 minutes long, and it bored my sister to death, so I assumed that uploading that would do the same to my dear loyal readers, hence, the re-edit. The resolution of the video should be higher than most of the other videos I've posted here (since the video transfer was done using the comps in uni, not my own laptop... I didn't get myself a Firewire cable until two days ago... unbelievable)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Junichiro Tanizaki - Seven Japanese Tales

"Here, the exploration...leads into a tangle of relationships as bizarre and unhealthy as those of Tanizaki's earlier novel, The Key,"
-from the introduction by translator Howard Hibbett

"Unhealthy" is an apt word to describe the fictional world of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. Although now accepted as a pillar of modern Japanese literature largely on the basis of his re-translation of Genji and the sprawling novel The Makioka Sisters, Tanizaki's early work was better known for its aesthetic obsessions and outre subject matter - a typical Tanizaki story would concern something like stealing a girl's used handkerchief and licking it, or the joys of prostitution in China (John Updike memorably called him 'the most masculine writer of the 20th century'). Compared to Mishima, who dealt with characters at least as fucked up, Tanizaki's protagonists are far less self-conscious, less guilty or conflicted - where a Mishima character would analyze their neuroses in a dense psychological monologue, a Tanizaki protagonist is usually enjoying himself too much to be at all reflective.

Zhang Yimou's CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is a movie about a dysfunctional family

Curse of the Golden Flower poster

If you intend to watch Curse of the Golden Flower (满城尽带黄金甲), the latest film by Zhang Yimou, don't expect this to be a martial arts film. There's no high-flying wire-fu that you've seen in Zhang Yimou's previous fares like Hero or House of Flying Daggers (both films more well-received in the West than the East, I personally liked the former, but really dislike the latter). Adapted from a 1934 play, 'Thunderstorm' by Cao Yu, Curse of the Golden Flower is more period drama (with a little bit of fighting, and a really large-scaled, spectacular-looking battle scene in the end) set during the 10th century about the most dysfunctional Royal Family ever.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro in Confession of Pain

Three Chinese films opened in Malaysia yesterday to compete (sorta) for the Christmas week. The local Chinese film, Love Conquers All, directed by Tan Chui Mui (my review here), Curse of the Golden Flower (directed by Zhang Yimou, starring superstars Chow Yun Fat, Gong Li and Jay Chou) and finally, Confession of Pain (directed by Infernal Affairs duo Alan Mak and Andrew Lau, starring Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Shu Qi and the world's most famous Chinese blogger, Xu Jing Lei). Golden Flower is most likely going to be the top film this Christmas due to its massive promotional campaign, however, if you were going to choose between Love Conquers All and Confession of Pain, I suggest you go see the former since it's better for you to contribute to the local indie film industry than to suffer the colossal disappointment I had last night.