Dirty Pair

Russian Roulette & Coeurl

I’ve watched a bit of Dirty Pair in my youth, back when Anime as so rare that I pretty much watched anything I could get my hands on. During one of our Anime & Movie nights, we ended up watching an episode of Dirty Pair. I’ve seen the TV episodes before, but back then I didn’t have the power of the internet. So out flips my iPad and this is what I learn:

Mughi is some kind of cat creature. Specifically a Coeurl, the same kind of creature you find in A. E. Van Vogt’s “Black Destroyer”. And yeah, D&D displacer beast is also a kind of Coeurl. Mughi is better because he’s got fluffy 80s hair.

Mughi

The opening song, Russian Roulette (I’ve embedded the song in a player for you) was sung by Nakahara Meiko and sold on a 45 rpm record (a kind of vinyl disc) and it came with a lyrics sheet. Nakahara-san was a J-Pop singer who retired from show-biz in the mid 1990s. She’s got fluffy 80s hair too!

NakaharaMeiko

Sucker Punch: Makes Love to Your Eyes While it Shits in Your Brain

Sucker Punch is beautiful to watch. The dream-dance sequences are visually stunning and the fight choreography quite excellent. Much of it reminded me of some of my favorite anime.  Really, if I were to compare it to something more similar, it would be a really well done anime music video. I adore the costumes in this movie. Both from the night club sequences and the fight scenes. I can really see these as the next cosplay hit at some comicon or sci-fi con. Oh, I also have to point out that this is the only movie that I’ve watched that had the worlds “clockworks” and “steam” mentioned in the same line with “undead” and “Nazis”  — the few keywords to give me a geeky woody.

As a geeky teen age girl, I loved guns, mecha, swords, airships, and kick-ass kung-fu moves. I really didn’t connect with the standard girl movies – well, because … they didn’t have enough dragons, nor any mechas with pink skull bunnies painted on them!  If I was 14 years old, I would have absolutely loved this movie for its strong untraditional delivery of girl-power messages. The plot is on a child-like level, almost allegorical or mythical at times.  With simple messages such as “fight for your freedom,” “sacrifice for love” and “friends stick together.”  As an adult these simple ideas are cute, but not at all interesting or thought provoking. These basic concepts lead to really basic acting, with extremely mind-numbing execution. You could really watch Sucker Punch without these absurd “in-between” scenes and still get the summary of the plot. I admit that all of movie seems hazy and dream like, like one big metaphor with nested metaphors. Did they really need 2 hours to explain this? No not really, a half an hour would have been fine, but someone had enough money and some spanking cover songs.

All the characters are of singular dimension, kind of like comic book characters or children’s picture book characters. Adults are foolish and evil. The girls are oppressed, but learn to fight together. The protagonist is the catalyst with her raw tenacity.  There’s even an old man with words of wisdom such as, “Don’t write a check with your mouth if you can’t cover it with your ass.” Trivial characters typical translate into really horrible acting. Their shallow personalities have most likely made me care less about what happened to them.

I do have to ask, was it intentional that they left the real events vague and the real people involved so undefined? Perhaps; it was a dreamy metaphor of a young girl’s perspective after all.

I would say watch this movie if you want to have a good time with friends, maybe have a few beers before seeing it.  Or rent the DVD at home – I have a feeling that the DVD will have more eye-loving content.  Oh and try not to expect much in terms of story or plot, you’ll just end up disappointed.

And oh yes, enjoy the love making to your eyes, close off your brain so the shit can’t get in.

 

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance

Last Saturday, Sig and I meet up with our friends (John and Stan) and a new acquaintance (Monte) to watch Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance at the Grand Illusion. The Grand Illusion has a special place in our hearts, because it’s where Sig and I first met.  We sometimes go there for movies and of course to reminisce about our first meeting.  During the Evangelion showing, we didn’t take into account parking and cash-only tickets, so we ended up a little late to meet up and talk with friends.

First thing I noted about the Grand Illusion is that slope of seating arrangement is horrible for reading subtitles – the only seat that can really see the subtitles is the front row. Many seats in the theater had partial viewing.  John had commented that he and Monte only had partial viewing even up by the second and third rows.  I’ve seen other movies at the Grand and kind of expected it. Since I am familiar with the Evangelion anime series, I let Sig have the aisle seat where he could at least bend over slightly to see what was going on.

This is the second installment of a movie series officially, titled in English, “Rebuild of Evangelion.” There are officially four titles in the series:

  • Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
  • Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance
  • Evangelion: 3.0: Q-Quickening
  • Evangelion: Final

All I can say without giving away too much is that Evangelion is both rewarding and difficult to watch at the same time.  2.0 is gratifying because Asuka is introduced, along with a new character, Mari. I personally enjoyed the expanded workings and origins of the Evangelion “suits”. I have to warn diehard fans of the original, that a lot of changes were introduced in this sequel.  While as Evangelion 1.0 felt faithful, 2.0 took its own liberties, in a less coherent way.  Its lack of reasoning is what made it so difficult to watch. Perhaps it was the jargon or the density of narration, but even though I was familiar with the Eva series I felt like I was being roller-coastered around way too fast to grasp all of it. The ending of was far more rewarding than I expected it to be, especially after having watched the original TV, OVA, and movie.  I walked away slightly confused, but satisfied – I think because I really love the new character Mari. She’s so refreshing because she obviously knows more than the other characters about the Evangelions and acts confidently and intelligently when driving them.  I like her far more than I did Asuka, both in the old series and in 2.0.  I wished Mari had more scenes and I hope she gets more in 3.0.

If you watch the new Eva movies, here’s a bit of terminology to help you through so you can focus on the story and imagery:

  • A.T. Field – This is short for “Absolute Terror Field,” which is a nearly impenetrable force barrier. This Generated field is used by Angels and Evangelions for both defense and offense. A.T. Fields of Evas are generated by the humans driving them. A.T. Fields of Angels are generated by the “Angel’s Soul” (Soul meaning an energy or thought pattern). There is a theory that A.T. Fields also help sustain life.
  • Anti A.T. Field – a type of energy that neutralizes existing A.T. Fields
  • LCL – A liquid which allows an Eva pilot to mentally link with their Evangelion Unit. The Entry Plug of an Eva Unit, containing its cockpit, is completely flooded with LCL. Because it is richly oxygenated, pilots can “breath” the liquid.  In the original series, the fluid is amber colored.  I remember that fans teasingly called it “Tang” and that the pilot was “Tanged” when they got into the entry plug.  In the movie remakes, the LCL color is red almost like blood.  I couldn’t find a definitive source telling me what LCL stands for. All I could find was that LCL comes from Lilith and so could stand for “Lilith Connection Liquid.”
  • First Impact – The collision of a giant spherical object designated the “Black Moon”, into Earth approximately 4 billion years ago. As a result of the impact, huge amounts of debris and the Black Moon’s rocky exterior were thrown into orbit, eventually forming into Earth’s satellite, the Moon. The core of the Black Moon is said to contain the Seed of Life Lilith
  • Second Impact – A global cataclysm which occurred on Sept.  13th, 2000. This global disaster was caused by the awakening of an injured Angel. The Angle created a strong “Anti-AT Field” and caused an explosion that melted the Antarctic ice cap and caused a shift of Earth’s axis; climate changes and gigantic floods followed.
  • Third Impact – Third Impact is the event, predicted by the Dead Sea Scrolls that will “usher man kind to a new evolutionary stage.”  In the various versions of Evangelion (TV, OVA, original movie, and the Rebuild), how the Third Impact happens is different.

There are a ton more terms but most are explained within the context of the movie.

Oh I should mention that the sound track of the movie felt odd and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but John solved the puzzle and explains it quite well.

So overall, the movie was fun. I would recommend seeing it on BlueRay or DVD at home rather than a theater; having the ability to re-view parts that move by way too fast for their own good will help ease the confusion of lengthy dialogs.

Anne

2009 Movie Reviews

Best Theater EVAR:  Cinebarre
I usually don’t go to theaters to watch movies, but since Cinebarre opened in Mountlake Terrace (and much to Sig’s delight) we’ve seen quite a number of movies. I really love Cinebarre because it removes many of the factors which deter me from going to theaters:

No Kids – yes, kids are great. But really I don’t want them crying or complaining or whining or making any noise while I’m watching a movie. Why no kids? Read below.

Open Bar – This means the whole theater is also a bar, hence folks must be 21 and over to watch a movie. There have been a number of times where I’ve been dragged to a horrible bad movie, only wishing I had a drink to dull the pain of said bad movie. Nothing says yummy like Stella’s or a Guinness.

Food – the food is far better than regular theaters. I would say not great, but I like the burgers and drinks, while Sig loves the chicken tenders. Plus they have popcorn with REAL butter, not that fake stuff.

No Ads – OMG! I had those fucking ads they run before the previews. They beat you over the head with their stick of lameness repeatedly until you’re the consumer zombie they want you to be. Instead, Cinebarre has film shorts by budding film makers for their preshow. They also take effort to theme the film shorts to match the main show. For example, we went to see Ninja Assassin, for the preshow they featured 2 film shorts: one about a female samurai and one a modern kabuki singer. If you have a mobile device you can even go online and rate the short film. How cool is that? More cool than some fucking lame ads.

The Good

  • Coraline – This was just a pretty movie and the plot was cute. I really should go back and read the book
  • Watchmen – I mainly watched it because it had eye candy and decent action sequences. I’ve never read the comics before I heard of the movie, but I did go out and get the graphic novel before watching it. I was entertained by “Southern Manhattan”
  • Star Trek – I watched this movie twice. I loved it because it was different in good ways from the original series and it contained bits of fan homage to what was already known to Star Trek.
  • Zombieland – in 2009, I played quite a bit of L4D. So I had to go watch this one. I have a hard time finding movies that will make me laugh hard.  But Zombieland nearly busted my gut!
  • District 9 – though provoking movie all nicely wrapped up in some great eye-candy. The Story reminded me of the kind you find in classic sci-fi books.
  • Avatar – best movie all around. It didn’t even feel like a 2+ hour movie and was surprised it was done.

The Suprising

  • Drag Me to Hell – this movie was far better than I expected. It was written and directed by Sam Rami. It felt like a modern day version of Evil Dead. It was the first movie of the year that shocked and made me laugh at the same time.
  • Terminator: Salvation – this is the movie they should have made instead of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Guilty Pleasures

  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – I use to watch GI Joe the cartoon as a kid. I couldn’t help but giggle my way through scenes that viewed ridiculous characters in a dramatic light. Destro just made me laugh. Did I mention that I’m an eye candy fan? I like the action sequences much more than I had anticipated. Snake Eyes is hot!
  • Pandorum – It’s been a very long time since I was able to see a space horror movie. I kind of liked this one because it reminded me of Resident Evil in space.
  • Paranormal Activity – I think I only wanted to watch it in theater so I could watch other people in the theater scream or get shocked.
  • Sherlock Homes – I love the costumes! The steampunk fashion fan girl was all giddy inside.

For Netflix

  • Surrogates – intersting, but not enough to tempt me out to the theaters
  • Ponyo – I was very tempted by the newest Miyazaki Film, but they didn’t show it at Cinebarre. I wasn’t up to encounting the middle school mafia nor the elemetary echelons
  • Nine – I usually don’t go for musicals, but i hear this one is pretty entertaining.


The Very Bad

  • Brüno – I went to this movie because Sig asked me to. I’m just glad I had two beers by 30 min in the movie, because I can’t remember much of it only the parts which were horrifyingly awful. I think I laughed at certain bits, but that was the booze laughing not me. I think I was done with my fourth by the second half.