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The Dark Knight

Yesterday I went to see The Dark Knight at the cinema.  I really wanted to see the new Miyazaki film, Ponyo on the Cliff, but it would not have been subtitled.  Ironically, I will have to wait until I move back to an English speaking country (or speak Japanese better) before I can watch it.

I admit that I didn't like Batman Begins at all.  Memento seemed a little gimmicky to me, and The Prestige had so many plot twists in it that it got a bit silly towards the end.  Nevertheless, I was willing to give Christopher Nolan another chance, mainly because my other option was The Happening or some such rubbish.

Still, once again I was less than impressed with Nolan's attempt to bring psychological realism to the Batman story.  I mean, the concept of Batman is inherently ridiculous, a grown man who runs around fighting crime dressed like a bat.  The versions of Batman that work the best, for instance the Tim Burton films and the TV show with Adam West, are able to harness this campiness.  Plus, who is Batman without an ambiguous relationship to his teenage ward Robin?

Batman Begins
was simply far too serious.  If we are going to be realistic about it, even with his batsuit and voice distortion device, wouldn't someone recognise Bruce Wayne?  At one point in the film, Batman has a conversation with Harvey Dent while standing only a few feet away from him, and Dent knows Wayne.  Besides, Christian Bale is easily recognisable by his goofy veneers alone.

Moreover, the film had a really obvious and heavy handed order versus choas leitmotif that made me roll my eyes alot.  For example, at the beginning of the film Dent has a double faced coin that he uses to 'make his own luck', but when Rachel dies half of the coin becomes blackened and he starts to rely on chance to make decisions.  Also, Alfred tells a parable about hunting a bandit in the forests of Burma, who just wants 'to see the world burn'.  Finally, The Joker is just as fond of giving long, boring speeches about the relative merits of chance and chaos as Wayne is of giving ones about the merits of law and order.

To top it all off, the film is over two and a half hours long, and much of this consists of excessive action sequences that don't further the plot very much at all.  In the last half hour of the film I was on the verge of walking out, and I certainly would have done so if I had been alone.  The verdict: unless you are a masochist, don't go see this movie.

Flash Gordon

'Speed Racer' is the new 'Flash Gordon'

Yesterday I was suposed to go see Speed Racer with someone I work with, but he never showed up.  It turns out that he didn't really understand me when I told him which screening I bought tickets for, even though he nodded and said, 'OK'.  Why do Japanese people do this?  I think it is to be polite or something, but it is beyond pointless. 

Surprisingly, the cinema refunded me for his ticket.  They were really nice about it as well.  It was possibly the first time I've ever watched a film in the cinema on my own.  I tend to think of cinema going as a social activity, but it actually wasn't so bad.  I think maybe it's easier to lose yourself in a film if you are on your own.

I didn't ever watch the cartoon Speed Racer, although my best friend in high school was really into it.  I had also never seen a film by the Wachowski brothers before, but I had been told to expect something obnoxious.  I went to see the film for three reasons.  Firstly, the trailer looked pretty.  Secondly, I like some of the actors who were involved such as Susan Sarandon and Christina Ricci.  Finally, I liked the campy style of the trailer.  

In many ways Speed Racer was quite similar to Flash Gordon.  They both have the same bright colours and over the top acting.  In fact, the mise-en-scene for Speed Racer was nearly perfect, particularly the costumes.  Everything Trixie wears is fabulous, and in one scene Mr Royalton's tie is even colour coordinated to match the walls of his office.  

Moreover, Speed Racer is perhaps the first film I have seen that uses CGI creatively.  The racing sequences did make me feel sick at times, but I think that this is slightly more acceptable than usual due to the subject matter of the film. 

Like all great films, you could watch Speed Racer with the sound turned off, and it would still be enjoyable.  However, the sound was also well done.  It was alot more self aware than the sound for most Hollywood films.  For instance, in one scene Speed and Trixie go to a beauty spot to make out and there is this wierd luau music in the background.  They also remade the Speed Racer theme song, and it is incredibly mental but somehow still works.

In fact, the whole film was fairly self aware.  For example, there is one totally superfluous scene in which the entire Racer family fights with a ninja.  At the end of the scene, Trixie increduously asks, 'Was that a ninja?'.

There are also lots of really good minor characters.  I especially liked the female race car driver baddies with matching pink race cars in the Casa Cristo.  The montage showing how these two and all the other evil drivers got bought out by Royalton is especially entertaining.  Even the frequent little brother and chimpanzee high jinx somehow avoided being overly irritating.  Lastly, the film had an extremely strong if unsubtle anti-corporate message.

There were some negative points about the film, though.  Most significantly, the frequent deviations from linear narrative and overly complex storyline made the plot difficult to follow.  Admittedly, this is not a strong point of mine, but I am completely baffled as to how a child is supposed to be able to understand this movie.  It is allegedly a family film, after all.

I also don't really understand why they didn't use Japanese actors for Taejo and Horuko.  Rain is so hot that he could play Hamlet for all I care, especially in his first scene where he has been beaten up by a bunch of mobsters and has a bloody nose.  However, I just couldn't believe Yu Nan as Horuko.  It's like when they made Memoirs of a Geisha into a Hollywood film with an all Chinese cast.  They all look the same, right?

My final verdict is: if you like colourful, campy movies like Flash Gordon go see Speed Racer.  You won't be disappointed

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(no subject)

I have always assumed that the only people who would want to read about my tedious daily life were my friends, or at least people I have met. However, occasionally this isn't the case. Sometimes strangers read my journal, and some of them even take offense at what I have to say. Because I have no desire to get involved in internet politics, I have decided to make my journal private. I don't really agree with the idea of private journals, though, so if you want to be added, please leave me a comment. If you are looking for my performance blog, please visit www.myspace.com/misslalalovette/
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Sov

Lady Sovereign was filming her new music video outside our house last night. There had been notices up for a week or so saying that they were going to shoot a music video there, but they didn't say who for. When I got home, there were tons of people and equiptment everywhere, but I didn't pay any attention to it all and just went inside. I was digging the music, though, and wondered who it was. When Chris came home he informed me it was 'Sov." I looked out my kitchen window, and there she was, all 5 feet of her. She was just as cute in person as she is in her music videos. I got a picture, but she's too faraway in it for it to be really good. She came closer to our window later, but by that time it was too dark. I wish I had realized who it was earlier. If you got a blubbering text message from me, I do apologize. I was a little star struck.

The video looked like it was going to be really funny. There was one part where Sov and her hampster face off to some girl in a burberry skirt with a foo foo dog. Then someone puts a bag over her head and throws her into a (police?) van. Finally, there was some bit infront of a giant 'SOV" made out of red brick. I'll definitely be buying the single.
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Performances and Music Video

I'm performing this weekend at Sleep All Day, Drive All Night at the Olde Axe in Shoreditch from midnight to 6am on Saturday night and at the Push Bar again on Saturday. I'm not sure which piece I will be doing on Friday night, something old anyway. However on Sunday night I will be premiering the piece that I've been working on for Rockabaret on the 19th of August.

Also, my friend Dan has a new music video here:
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=974021774&n=2
  • Current Music
    'Besa Me Mucho' - Dan Sartain
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Lily Allen is Hot



I saw Lily Allen at the Big Chill festival. She was in the Lost Vagueness office. No one would go over there with me, so I drooled from afar. She was wearing a yellow evening dress and trainers. She also had the biggest gold hoops I've ever seen.
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Go-Go Dancing

So I'm go-go dancing with Gob$au$age tomorrow at Push on Dean St. We should be onstage between 10 and 10.30. I'm also dancing with them at the Big Chill festival in Herefordshire this weekend. (www.bigchill.net)
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Bejewled by Tiffany's

I went to this exhibition of jewlery at the Gilbert Collections in Somerset House on the Strand recently. If you're into diamonds it is well worth a visit, and it's free to all full time students. Some of the jewlwery was pretty garrish, but there were some lovely art deco pieces and the most goreous art nouveau orchids. The Tiffany diamond is also on display, for those who are interested.
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(no subject)

I forgot that work starts at 10.00 instead of 8.50 on Mondays, so I am here way too early.  Hence the extremely rare personal post.

I am of the opinion that anyone who lets others treat them like shit probably deserves it.  Unfortunately, I seem to be falling into this camp of late.
  • Current Mood
    tired and down