Quote It: Mi Ho

17 09 2012

Firstly, yes, I am in the midst of playing catch-up with my Korean dramas. And yes, mother of crap am I lamenting my slothful efforts over the past couple of years in keeping up. But now I am inhaling it all at once. I don’t know how much of this extreme goodness I can continue to take.

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I wasn’t living… I was merely existing. I want to change, and fulfill my time as I live.

Mi Ho (My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho, episode 12.)

(Image  created by pink-kafka @deviantart. Please click on pic to be taken through to the awesome original animated version :))

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I think I have a new favourite drama heroine.

Pardon the mawkishness, but the above quote really resonates with me currently in my life, which is why I am reiterating this— I really do feel like all things happen for a reason. Just like how there is always a reason why you end up watching certain shows at a certain time (or am I just making excuses for being slack with my drama-watching? Errrrr, you decide >_>;;;) I know sometimes us fangirls, er, drama lovers, er, drama watchers may cop some flak for being apparently obsessively caught up with the “unrealistic” fantasies that Asian dramas create for us, but I don’t think you can deny that within these seemingly far-fetched stories lies many powerful messages and philosophies on life. Mi Ho‘s words here really make you pause and rethink just how precious life is— and how awesome it can be when you choose for it to be. Yeah there will always be ups and downs but being alive is a gift in itself and it’s ultimately up to you to make the most of it. Kinda reminds me of Abraham Lincoln‘s famous words:

It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts. “

Anyways, enough of the D&M and let’s get back to the obsessive, “unrealistic” drama-lovin’ stuff shall we? XD

I haven’t necessarily been Shin Min A‘s biggest fan in the past. I’ve always recognised the girl was equal parts spunk and hotness (have you ever seen any of her fashion shoots? She’s like a Gemma Ward cross Miranda Kerr… must be some tough genes to have there…) and she’d never really failed in any of her acting assignments et al…. but I never found myself connecting with her. Maybe it’s a jealousy/being intimidated issue, I don’t know (Fairygodmother voice: “Sloth? Envy? You are so not going to Heaven, jicksy dear!”~~) but in some ways, I kinda likened her to being the most popular girl in high school. You know, the Prom Queen, the unfairly super sassy lass who had all the boys pining after her— the girl you wished you were.

But then, I watched My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho (and did a bit of growing up in the process.) Seriously, she (and the drama) couldn’t have been more perfect if she tried. Yes, it appears that bandwagoning has become my hobby of late but, well, I. Don’t. Care. You could perceive me as a bit of a snob with selfishly lofty expectations but I like to think that I always give credit when and where credit is due. Thus, I really do mean it when I say this— Shin Min A absolutely killed it as Mi Ho. Not too many actresses can pull off such a child-like, naive girly girl role, fly off an endless array of cutesy, gimmicky phrases and hand gestures that bring about the biggest chunk of cheese ever… AND NOT ONCE get on your nerves *coughs*take note Geum Jan Di*coughs* But Min A shi was simply addictively perky-cute in this sweetest glory of a rom-com series. Bewitching, if you will. The Haterade has indeed purged itself back up my esophagus, out my big mouth and out of my body. I officially love this girl. Shin Min A was to the series what Jang Geun Seuk was to You’re Beautiful (speaking of, I totally just finished watching Ikemen desu ne i.e. the Japanese version of You’re Beautiful <3 <3 Comparison post on its way? Sure, I’m working on it~~ <3) I dare go to say that Mi Ho is my favourite drama heroine ever. I loved every part of her innocence and humanity. I loved her unconditional faith. I loved that she loved.

No doubt a huge part of Mi Ho‘s appeal had to do with the brilliance of The Hong Sisters‘ pen and incredible imagination (who, btw, if they were male, I would totes be stalking them in a wedding dress whilst caressing a Cabbage Patch doll. Yes this is a compliment. ) But of course there is only so much a wonderfully written script can take a series as, in my opinion, without the right actor or actress, it would really all just go to waste. The casting for Gumiho was so spot on it will make you never want anything to do with a series where you can imagine someone else in the role you are watching ever again (weird sentence but it makes sense. Trust me. Re-read it! Please.) Not only could I not picture anyone but Shin Min A as Mi Ho, it was impossible to imagine someone else as our gumiho-loving hero, Cha Dae Woong. Lee Seung Gi, I don’t understand it, in still pictures you don’t really do it for me, but in motion picture you just slaughter me. You have me believing. You have me loving. All I can say is, Woong ah, you can hoi hoi me anytime baby X) (and, nomu nomu nomu nomu chua !!)

And I know everyone always has to have a favourite kiss of the series, so I’ma ‘ere sharin’ mine:

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(gif credit: stelenawildsex tumblr)

*flails hard* It’s nice to see someone in a series actually look happy while they’re smooching.

One last thing— I think I am entering second fiddle mania as No Min Woo as Dong Ju in Gumiho = OH MY let me your huntress NOW. I was actually a bit ambivalent about his character early on, but the more the series developed, the more I warmed to him. And the following words he spoke in the finale episode just tipped me over the edge;

I believed that doing what the other person wanted was love. I did that, and for more than a thousand years I have regretted it. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake.

*empties tears ducts into Pacific Ocean* T_T *throws arms wide open* I’ve been sent to hug you, Dong Ju seon saeng nim, I’ve been sent to hug youuuuuu !!!!!!!

Ahem. Yes.

Oh, btw, just how hilarious was this imaginary scene? The look on Dong Ju‘s face is freakin’ priceless.

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(gif credit: Lost In The Skies tumblr)

Seriously. I feel like his character needs his own spin-off show.

I would defs watch it X)





Under The Hawthorn Tree

8 09 2012

[ Spoilermeter: I’m going to talk about one or two memorable scenes here and there but I am not going to tell you what happens in the end. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy the film’s back-to-basics storytelling in the bestest of ways. ]

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Why is it that we are often moved by the simplest things?

For a while, I was concerned with legendary Chinese director and film maker Zhang Yi Mou seemingly really only making Asian movies that the Western audience wanted to see. But then, I watched Under The Hawthorn Tree.

His 2002 martial arts epic Hero is unquestionably one of my favourite movies of all time. ALOT of it has to do with Tony and Maggie, but the film itself is also a breathtaking visual masterpiece, with Zhang executing his trademark obsession with colour symbolism in the most glorious of fashion— it felt practically gluttonous ooh-ooh-aah-aah-ing through each and every single scene. When I look at it though, given the curiosity that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had generated amongst the Western audience, the timing of Hero was undeniably there to attract further international attention to the wuxia genre.

Zhang went on to make House Of Flying Daggers and Curse Of The Golden Flower, both of which were undeniably gorgeous to look at and truly exemplified the director’s impeccable skill in faceting emotions through colour on our screen. However, as grand as the productions were, both films failed to connect with me on any sort of level other than merely being something there to be visually appreciated. The heavy political overtones and the often overworked, lacking-in-chemistry acting (sorry Your Royal Hotness Kaneshiro Takeshi. Oh, and Jay Chou in period costume? *cue John McEnroe‘s vocals* You can’t be serious~~) really created little reason for me to believe that Zhang hadn’t been distracted by the allure of the Hollywood market.

It wasn’t until recently when I heard about his 2010 film Under The Hawthorn Tree that I realised I had been being slightly ignorant. So please, accept my apologies, Director Zhang. In between the aforementioned (IHMO, lacklustre) historical swordplay epics, Zhang did produce and direct a lesser known film titled Riding Alone For A Thousand Miles, an intimate tale about a Japanese father who embarks on a journey on foreign land to rekindle his relationship with his dying son. I am yet to watch it, however I have very solid plans to because from the sounds of things, the film trails back to elements from his earlier works such as The Road Home, encapsulating exactly what I believe Director Zhang is best at doing— depicting the gentlest, most genuine side of humanity, and making us fall for all the vulnerabilities.

This is exactly what Under The Hawthorn Tree did with me.

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Based on the 2007 novel Hawthorn Tree Forever by Chinese author Ai Mi, Under The Hawthron Tree is the story of an ill-fated romance between two young lovers during the Cultural Revolution. The film is delicately shot, with Zhang highlighting the rural beauty of China using the most straightforward of camera work, capturing scenes at wide-angle and allowing the chastity of nature to simply be. The colours, muted, predominately Earth-toned and somewhat grainy, along with the understated but wistful soundtrack, only served to enhance the nostalgia that came along with enjoying the beauty of the film.

This minimalistic backdrop provided the perfect canvas for the actors to do what all good actors do— make us truly see and feel the characters. Having zero acting experience prior to Hawthorn, Zhou Dong Yu (reportedly hand-picked from thousands of teenage hopefuls by Director Zhang to take on the lead role) reaffirms to me that sometimes having “training in acting” really is unimportant. I did have a small beef with the way she would bite her lip (usually when she was crying,) however casting that aside, there is no doubt Zhou Dong Yu is the shining star in the movie. The young actress artlessly delivers an untainted, heartfelt performance that leaves the viewer convinced her character Zhang Jing Qiu is every bit the innocent, dutiful and resilient high school girl (and that skin, wow, youth really does prove invincible!)

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Under Chairman Mao‘s command, Jing Qiu finds herself temporarily relocated from the city to Xi Ping Village in the party’s propagandistic hopes of having her “re-educated.” Within moments of the film beginning, we see Jing Qiu and a group of fellow comrades gathered under a hawthorn tree proudly named by the Communists as “The Tree Of Heroes.” What makes the tree so special is that its blossoms are atypically red, which they claim to be emblematic of the bloodstain of the Chinese martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the country during World War II. Such historical and political allusions aren’t at all uncommon in a Zhang Yi Mou but, while there are several quietly projected symbolisms throughout the rest of the film, this is pretty much as weighty as such affairs go. Hawthorn remains subtle in its social commentary and chooses to focus more on the love between the our lead characters and the obstacles that they face. And while it can be a constant reminder of the unsettling times that our characters were fighting to stay alive in, for me, the tree stands to represent a love and a hope unfulfilled.

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It is in the country where Jing Qu meets our leading man, geology student Sun Jian Xin (who is referred to as Sun in the story,) and as you would have it, there is an immediate attraction (handsome boy + pretty girl = it’s a freaking no-brainer really.) And there’s no turning back. The challenges they face will give any Korean Melodrama Queen a run for their money but unlike some of the K-dramas of yesteryear that come to mind, everything that threatens to force Jing Qu and Sun apart doesn’t make you even slightly question their feasibility. Not once. Their adversities are 100% believable. For the Chinese audience in particular, it works because Jing Qiu‘s scenario rings so true to many girl’s hearts. I know I’m not the only one when I confess that I was personally “banned” from having a boyfriend during high school, just like my mother was in her younger days. Anything that didn’t directly relate to academics was viewed as a distraction to the “future,” and as the way that Jing Qiu‘s mother unbendingly insists on her daughter and Sun not seeing each other shows, this is the reality that many, if not, most, adolescent girls from traditional Chinese families continue to have to abide by.

In possibly what was my favourite scene, Jing Qiu‘s mother, Jing Qiu and Sun are sitting in Jing Qiu‘s home, which was essentially just four walls and very minimal furnishings. Jing Qiu‘s mother had pulled them inside the house after catching them gleefully riding a bicycle through town together, and was now making her intentions for her daughter— and their family— lucidly clear. She wanted Jing Qiu to concentrate on her career to ultimately put their household in a better economic position in society. In her eyes, falling in love would no doubt clutter the ambitions she had for Jing Qiu. She is uncompromising about it, and to be honest, logically, for the sake of survival, it seemed the only choice. But as we all know, the heart has and never will be ruled by logic. Sun agrees not to see Jing Qiu again but before he leaves, he makes one request to Jing Qiu‘s mother— to allow him to re-apply the bandage that had come loose from Jing Qiu‘s over-worked, infected feet (mind you, they had just come from the hospital so this was the bandage work of a professional nurse we’re talking about. My immediate thoughts were: Hontouni ? As if it would’ve unravelled so quickly ? Didn’t you guys ride a bike home as well ? But alas, what comes out of this scene kills any rationale anyone may have for… anything really~) Jing Qiu‘s mother responds, “Our house is small, there isn’t much space to give you privacy here,” and turns her back to return to making batches of envelopes to sell. Jian Xin gratefully replies, “No, that’s not a problem at all!” and leaps out of his seat to tend to Jing Qiu‘s tiny feet. He takes her shoes off and gingerly begins to re-bandage them, not once looking up at her, but gaaahh *heart breaks into a million pieces* Even without seeing his face, you could still feel every drop of his tears, and every inch of the sadness.

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And that’s a beautiful face by the way. Shawn Dou as the undyingly loyal and respectful boyfriend— heck, undyingly loyal and respectful human being— almost too good to be true. He definitely has a new noona fan in me *busty grin* (but why do the cute boys just keep getting younger and younger? O_olll) I’m not going to lie, at some stages I did think his character was borderline creepy (the way that he would just reveal he had been watching Jing Qiu from afar without her knowing for, like, 20million hours >_>;;;) but the actor’s incredible charm (and maybe those chiselled cheekbones,) plus the chemistry between him and Zhou Dong Yu, will simply just sweep you away. Sun does everything for Jing Qiu and says all the things that a girl would want to hear, and the thing is, he actually means them. It’s not merely a testosterone-fuelled strategy to get into the girl’s pants— every bit of Sun‘s heart and soul devotedly cared for Jing Qiu. His vitality depended on Jing Qiu‘s well-being, and he would never violate her into doing something she didn’t feel comfortable with. And Jing Qiu was just as devoted to Sun as well. She was every bit as supportive and went out of her way to do things to show that she appreciated him just the same.

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It was definitely this tender passion between them that fluttered my senses in a way that most of the current crop of movies of the romance genre fail to achieve. Love where holding hands is a big deal, love where simply seeing the other from afar is enough to make you smile, love that doesn’t necessitate sex, love that barely leads to a kiss… it’s not something the younger generation may be accustomed to but for me, the restraint between Jing Qiu and Sun aroused every little bit of my heart. Love doesn’t need to go through triangles and quadrangles and other boys and girls swooping in to test and prove its truth or its worth. It can simply be about two people, and Zhang Yi Mou understands this. For all that I lament on some of his more recent works, Under The Hawthorn Tree reinstates my faith by going back to the basics and reminds me just why I came to like the director in the first place.

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It may not be his biggest box office success, nor is it necessarily his technically most perfectly executed piece of work, but for me, Under The Hawthorn Tree is probably the most beautifully romantic and earnestly touching.

I certainly don’t regret any of the friggin’ tears.

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Now how could I leave you without sharing some well-earned and well-deserved eye-candy (labouring through infinite tumblr pages is a hard job!)? Boy does Mr Shawn Dou scrub up nicely. Some are saying he resembles 2PM rapper boy Taecyeon, which I can definitely see, but at some angles during Under The Hawthorn Tree when he was smiling like a goose, I saw a bit of Ju Ji Hoon. Not too bad of a combination I say. Anyways, I morphed a couple of my favourite photos of him into desktop wallies. Also throwing in a couple featuring shots from the film itself too (simply because I couldn’t resist the panoramic gorgeousness Director Zhang spoiled us with.) Enjoy :)

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That XX + G-Dragon One Of A Kind wallpaper

2 09 2012

So in one week, G-Dragon goes from this…

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…to this…

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*rubs eyes* *blinks* *chokes on spaghetti hair* O_0;;;(!)

I think I am really, shamelessly, becoming a full-fledged, er, admirer of this one fifth of Korean supergroup BIGBANG. His comeback song One Of A Kind is so unapologetically, cheekily cocky in the most Can’t-Help-But-Grin-And-Bop-Along kinda way (the MV too!) that, well, you really can’t help but just grin and bop along to the darn thing.

His just released That XX however, is at the whole other end of the spectrum. With all that slick, laid-back acoustic goodness, the song is just perfection to the ears. Looking up the lyrics (translation and romanisation here,) seeing the contrast between these first two tracks, and knowing he played a huge part in the brilliance of BIGBANG‘s most recent album Alive, really leaves me with little option but to join in on all the GD love in believing the man is a genius.

And I have formed one final verdict— I am fatefully drawn to people with bad hair -_-lll

Now leaving you with some One Of A Kind wallies I spent most of my day making. Nice comments voluntary, enjoyment necessary :)

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Have a grand day!

[ Images used at the top of this post and in the wallpapers were taken from the following blogs, not in any particular order: My Music Radar, World Through A Filter, SUPER CUTE SUPER, muuuuuuuuuses, Lady Chi’s Asian Persuasion, Asian Music Xtreme+ another site which I closed the tab on before I saved the URL. Holla at me if you in da know. ]





Well, someone’s been working out.

22 08 2012

In a word, hot.

And I will have this on repeat 922 times a day for the next 3 days.

But I really ain’t feelin’ the Bret Michaels weave, GD shi (though, only you can somewhat pull it off~ m(_  _)m)

Alas. Aug 25, 2012. One Of A Kind. Full release.

I will be waiting. X





Eita wallpaper + new avie.

19 08 2012

Because I was bored.
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Eita wallpaper, https://candyme.wordpress.com/ (created by jicks *please credit*please DO NOT hotlink*) Eita wallpaper, https://candyme.wordpress.com/ (created by jicks *please credit*please DO NOT hotlink*) Eita wallpaper, https://candyme.wordpress.com/ (created by jicks *please credit*please DO NOT hotlink*)

Okay, so that’s a part lie. The truth is I, uh, guilelessly ended up at the YOUMAKEMECRY tumblr page (my what a beautiful collection xDD)… fine, so that’s another lie. I was actually searching for pictures of Chinese actor Shawn Dou. Yes, this is the first time I have mentioned him on my blog. Why were we stalking him? More in an upcoming post!

Anyways, the moral of the story is, you just never know where life takes you so always keep your eyes peeled for the good stuff! I did not expect to see these images but I was so taken away by the rugged preppiness of Mr Bad Hair, I had no choice but to wallpaperise it (and I figured it was due time I refreshed my gravatar logo.) You may or may not notice with the wallies that I am liking cleaner layouts of late. Low saturation with one or two small pops of colour. Letting the subject’s face do the talking. Hope you guys like.

By the way, if you are interested in another nice tumblr to assist in amping up that “special” folder of “special” images on your computer (you know the one I’m referring to~~) please have a look at A Suit Distraction. Yes I had a very productive day. All this hard work eventually led me to the following discovery— Eita and Matsuda Ryuhei are slated to star in a dorama version of Mahoro ekimae Tada Benriken (!) January 2013. Bring it. Briiiiiing iiiiit. BRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNG IIIIIIITTTTTT (!!!!!!)

Lastly, just a few small formalities before I leave you alone: please do not take gravatar logo as I pieced it together really intending it for my use only ^^ Feel free to take wallies however, just try not to hotlink the file(s.) A kind little credit will also go a long way. Arigatougozaimasu :-)





Do not watch a Miike Takashi film at the cinemas in 3-D with extreme audio effects.

11 08 2012

If you go against my advice, well, good luck and power to you. And please, bring a barf bag.

[ !!!Spoilermeter!!! Mild discomfort ahead. Nah, I’m going all out. Watch film first, enjoy, try not to chuck, and then come back. Itadakimasu! ]

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I was so absorbed with seeing Eita‘s name in the MIFF guide (Melbourne International Film Festival) that I completely neglected Miike Takashi‘s notoriety in the world of film. I forgot all about the pure gory gruesomeness.

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Eita plays the role of Chijiiwa Motome in the 2011 Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai (aka Ichimei,) a young man pushed to desperate measures and ultimately arriving at a cruel and brutal death. His wish was simple— he needed 3 ryō to save his sick child and wife— but his fate would be nothing short of one heckuva gut-wrenching tragedy. I’m not trying to be a pun-jackass either. I actually fell physically nauseous and contemplated dashing for the restroom. About 30 minutes into the film, Motome is callously forced by the samurai at the House of Ii, headed by the heartless Kageyu (played by Yakusho Koji,) to commit seppuku— ritual suicide by disembowelling himself— with a bamboo sword. The sound effects, reminiscent that of a certain scene in Miike Takashi‘s Audition, coupled with the 3-D viewing, will bring you up close and personal into the extensive barbarity that unfolds inside that pristine, crisp white courtyard. It really felt like it went on for an eternity. Not since those grotesque tongue-related moments in the absurdly dark and magnificent cult classic Ichi The Killer had I wanted any scene to end more. I swear had I succumbed to the aromas at the popcorn stand earlier, without a doubt I would’ve been puking up chunks of kernels right about then.

It would have been sensible to have psychologically prepared myself going into the movie, however, the idea of Eita in a sumo wrestling diaper threw any sense that I may have had out the window. To be fair, the bloodshed in Hara Kiri does pale in comparison to many other Miike Takashi films, however, the sheer brilliant rawness of Eita‘s acting here will have you emotionally and psychologically distraught (come on, you knew I was gonna praise him.) I seriously wanted to put on my invisibility cloak (I’m not silly,) jump into the scene with a sharper blade and put an immediate end to his misery. But as difficult as the scene here was to endure, it was crucial, and burningly irrevocable as it validated our main protagonist’s thirst for revenge. Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo plays the main role of Tsugumo Hanshiro superbly, leading us to follow his heart and soul in challenging just what the label “honour” truly means.

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Once you get out out this bleak and brutal scene, a much more understated and tender stretch of story-telling pursues. But by no means does it leave any less of a mark. We learn that Motome lost his father at a young age and was subsequently taken in by Hanshiro, who was a long-time family friend. Hanshiro, a single father, has a daughter, Miho, who grows up being played by none other than Mitsushima Hikari. That’s right peeps, Eita and Mistushima Hikari, fated to doom epically again. Yay (N.)~! However, compared to the breathtakingly perfect 2011 FujiTV drama, Soredemo Ikite Yuku, I didn’t quite get the same level of chemistry in Hara Kiri between the two young talents, nor did I feel like I witnessed Mitsushima Hikari chan‘s full potential. There was nothing technically wrong with her acting, it just wasn’t as unprocessed or as transparent to the viewer’s heart as her Futaba in Soredemo (I’ve also come to terms with that fact that everytime Eita is paired with an actress who can actually act, there ain’t gonna be a happily ever after~~)

I never felt like Miike Takashi managed to flesh out the young lovers’ relationship in a way that made you see Motome and Miho as intertwined souls either. Their story was almost too simple, albeit the flashback period did take up a considerable length of time, rendering the overall film much less about the spirit of the samurai and more about the destruction and revenge for the poverty-stricken, ill-fated family. I understood Motome and Miho had grown up together, I got that they liked each other and I don’t doubt that they cared for each other— but I would have loved to have seen and felt more passion, more longing. I wanted to feel that they needed each other both physically and emotionally. I wanted my heart to bleed for them.

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Whether or not this was Miike Takashi‘s conscious intention, I don’t know, but I found myself studying and sympathising for them as individuals rather than as a whole. Motome and Miho each carried their own ideals of duty, what it meant to be a husband and a father, what it meant to be a wife and a daughter— they both felt like they had failed the other. As I watched their souls erode away, I wanted to tell them so much to stop the self-guilt. I wanted to tell them, please, stop and love yourself, as only then will you be strong enough to be there for the other. Only then could you both live on. I wanted Miho to realise being sick did not make her a burden, I wanted Motome to not feel like a failure by believing he was not “providing as a man should.” I wanted them to see all that so, so, SO badly. Yet, I could only watch on as they miserably wallowed in their own self-shame. And the more they did that, the worse things became.

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One of my favourite scenes came when Motome, after selling off some of his cherished books, handed over pretty much the last of his pennies in exchange for three fresh eggs. He nests them in his hands delicately and makes his way home, eager to cook a warm meal for his ill wife, but on his way a group of young children accidentally push past him, causing him to drop one of the eggs. The children run off, but Motome continues to stand there, staring emptily at the egg at his feet. Moments later, he falls to his knees and planks his body down, sucking up the egg that was splattered raw on the dirt ground in front of him. Nothing else is happening on screen. There is no soundtrack, no people, no special effects, no words. Yet it is the simplicity of this moment that generates the despair, and that will move even the most rigid of hearts. If there’s any one scene in the film that makes you re-evaluate your priorities in life, this is it. Do things like pride and dignity really get you anywhere? Does it feed you, does it keep you warm? More importantly, what is your definition for these identities, and would it change if you were to be filthy rich or dirt poor? For the sake of his own survival, Motome shows us that he was willing to throw in his dignity. And for the survival of his loved ones, he was willing to give up even more, because for Motome, his family was his pride (and Eita, oh Eita kun… IIIIIII♫ ♪♬♪… can give you Gaatsbyyy ♫ ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬… in return for some nice shu-shu action, ne? *wink* *wink* :) ;D :O )

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The story eventually reaches present day where Hanshiro is gracing the same courtyard before Kageyu and his men, who now realise that our main protagonist isn’t merely here for a ritual suicide as he claims. Hanshiro was here to seek revenge for my baby Eita. That’s right suckers, prepare to have your topknots sliced off. The final 20 or so minutes sees the story take a turn back to what many would come into the film expecting (or hoping) to see. Death of a samurai— is it as literal as it seems? Or is the absence of simple humanity and honour enough to certify the term? Hanshiro basically makes an enslaught through the House of Ii, knowing damn well he is outnumbered but nevertheless does not cower away from challenging their positions as noble warriors. Seeing Hanshiro send one of Kageyu‘s men flying through their grandly armoured statue of worship and all their faces drop to a sullen fright at the sight of the sculpture dispersing into pieces actually made a few people in the cinema burst into hysterics. To me, the laughable nature of this scene suggests the director’s view on honour within the entire story. Honour is not something you can necessarily see or merely talk about but it’s a way of life. You’re kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. While many are raving about this final battle though, I personally feel it didn’t quite match the emotional charge from Eita‘s ritual scene. However, I don’t question that it was majestically shot ( just as the rest of the film is.) It most definitely sustains Miike Takashi‘s reputation as a master of action choreography.

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Even without having seen the 1962 version of Hara-Kiri directed by Kobayashi Masaki, I can still say that I wish Miike Takashi had dedicated more screen-time to the samurai code of honour, or rather, somehow found a way to greater illustrate its weight and significance to society. I wanted to see more of how the samurai were viewed by everyday citizens, and get into the grittiness of the back-of-house corruption— to me, they only scratched the surface of the theme.

I also question the necessity of the 3-D— actually, I’m undecided. Overall, I don’t feel that the 3-D really served to enhance the storyline at all, however I did like the way Miike Takashi integrated the technology to create a visual sensation for the eyes. Quite frankly, the film was glorious to look at. The use of 3-D definitely minimised the distance between the characters and the viewer but then Miike Takashi would contradict this by hiding his characters behind drops of dark, muggy netting during the middle, melodramatic portion of the film. I feel like this added a dimension of guardedness to the characters and their desolate situation, and left you wanting to reach out and uncover the veil to allow the light to permeate their surroundings. I also loved the shots where the vividly coloured, lush Autumn leaves danced off the screens, the dashes of colour only lasting momentarily amidst the dark tonal hues of the film. In a sense, this reminded us that the outside world still remained a beautiful, unpolluted place.

Whether or not this film stands up to the spirit of the original, I can not tell you (at least not now, definitely some day in the future soon) but, for the most part, Miike Takashi‘s Hara-Kiri is certainly an intensely captivating film in its own right. If anything, one thing’s for sure— by the end of it all, you will look at your own life and simply breathe gratitude.

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[ Images used in this post credit to: autumnsoliloguy’s tumblr, nipponcinema, LA Eiga Fest, Genkinahito’s Blog, also screencapping trailer clip on IchimeiMovie on youtube. ]





And you thought you had me worked out.

3 08 2012

I know in my last post it sounded as if I should be fanning after Yoo Ah In, but nuh-uh, let me make things clear— Moon Jae Shin was my favourite character but actor-wise, it’s pretty-faced Song Joong Ki who has me running after his drama+filmography.

I think this largely has to do with realising that the boy is set to star in the upcoming series Nice Guy, which will be penned by none other than (revenge) “drama queen,” Lee Kyung Hee (the woman is responsible for several of my all-time favourite dramas and has made me cry around 2.3million gallons of tears~~) In a nutshell, Joong Ki will play a guy who was betrayed by a girl so he uses another girl to take revenge on the original girl. Sounding a bit doomsday? Bring on the wailing, squealing and crying-resultant nasal mucus I say!

Anyways, here are a few wallpapers I whipped up to showcase my, ah, noona love (man am I starting to show my age *fake laughs* >_>; Also, Joong Ki in wallie #01— agree with me, there’s definitely a bit of a James Dean vibe going on…)

Song Joong Ki wallpaper, wallpaper created by jicks. please credit: https://candyme.wordpress.com Song Joong Ki wallpaper, wallpaper created by jicks. please credit: https://candyme.wordpress.com Song Joong Ki wallpaper, wallpaper created by jicks. please credit: https://candyme.wordpress.com

Bon appétit! ;)

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P.S. Images used in wallies were taken from one of my new favourite blogs to stalk, The Talking Cupboard. If you click through, you will see why.

P.P.S. In other news, I have been flogging Beast‘s new track like crazy. I’ve always been somewhat of a closet Beast fangirl (I guess because they are young, like, er, Miura Haruma young~ *twitch* *twitch*) but… screw it! It’s not as if my reputation is by any means in tact these days anyways~~ I am loving their latest and greatest, Beautiful Night, which is slightly uncharacteristic of me since I’m really not a dance-pop person at all. Listen for yourself though. And watch the flippin’ MV. I guarantee you will find yourself jumpin’ jumpin’ (Destiny’s Child style?) It really is just easy, breezy, youthtastically cool.

:D