Saturday, November 27, 2004

Its uncomfortably cold this time of the year in Tokyo, but it can only get colder. There is a palpable change in the air, the seasons in gradual transition. Everyday as I cycle to school I witness the maple leaves cover more and more of the walkways and pavements but still the trees seem reluctant to lose their yellow skin for the scarlet reds. If only I wasn't so caught up with school work I could have spent an entire afternoon photographing this beautiful sight, imbued with nature's rich colours and textures. Let's hope there's time yet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It would seem at long last that the talented folks up at SquareSoft ( now Square Enix ) have decided finally to make right the debacle years ago that was to become FF : The Spirits Within. I've always yearned for a Japan tight FF film with inputs only from their own design team. FF7 - Advent Children, original planned a game, was rescripted and will soon be released as a CG film direct to DVD. I've never followed the FF games but the redesigned CG character Cloud is simply put, beautiful. Better yet, his antagonist Kadaj, ( screen shot below ) looks so devastatingly cool, been a baddie has never felt so good... *rants on like an overexcited kid*

Monday, November 22, 2004

If, Miyazaki Hayao fan or no, after a viewing of his latest animation film Howl's Moving Castle one detects a perceptible difference from his previous works, not so much with the style and visual treatment, but storyline, that's because it is - the script is an adaptation of a children's book by British author Diana Wynne Jones. Though this detail does little to hinder the film's overall greatness, I cannot but feel a sense of detachment, as if the distinctive, Hallmark Miyazaki visuals are just one soul removed from the story. It is not typical of Miyazaki to center his theme and message on the romantic relationship of the protaganists, themselves usually contributing only a certain fraction to a bigger, broader subject that is the more important message he wishes to convey.

Of course, this simply isn't a Miyazaki story to begin with. Certainly my deplorable level of japanese is also hindering my ability to understand the story fully. ( no, no subtitles for a Japanese film in Japan, it makes sense. ) Let's hope I get to see the dvd soon with subtitles and personally no, nothing comes too close to Mononoke Hime , period.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

It was only yesterday did I discover that the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park houses a most impressive collection of paintings running the gamut from movements like Romanticism, Post-Impressionism, Dada to Pointilism. ( Being able to recall these semantics, admittedly, credit must go to my Victoria School AEP teacher, who tormented us with lengthy essay assignments on art movements. ) Some noteworthy names included Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Tiepolo, Pollock, Rosetti, heck, they even had an El Greco. But certainly the highlight had to be the Delacroix ( housed in a quaint, original Delacroic frame ) even though the painting on display was a lesser known work I couldn't remember, but standing in its presence where the master had worked his magic some 200 years ago still gives one considerable kick. Now all that's left to do is to see Liberty Leading The People in Louvre.

Monday, November 01, 2004

As visual echoes of the lusciously photographed 2046 continue to course unbridled through my brain, threatening to inundate and flood out lesser, perceived inferior imagery, one lucid observation comes quickly to mind - Doyle and WKW have once again topped their personal standards of the brillant marriage of visuals and content. Pausing momentarily to evaluate recent chinese film history, with the exception of perhaps John Woo, ( with his gun totting, slow mo antics ) no director and DP have created film images so strong and intense in personal style that they are almost instantly recognizable as such. As Tony Leung converses with a character we could never see, often hidden behind a door or out of frame, we are at once cut off and unable to assert our presence, lessening the experience more akin to that of a voyeur. This motif continues from In The Mood and becomes ever more pervasive here, alienating our role as an unobtrusive, obscured viewer.

Watching 2046 gives the attuned moviegoer a collective chance of appreciating the best work of 3 masterful auteurs - Doyle, WKW and Tony Leung, all in excellent form, with the sum of their respective creative inputs culminating into a portmanteau work that is nothing short of a masterpiece.