owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Is anyone surprised that the movie of The Last Airbender is getting awful, awful reviews? Well -- I am and I'm not. Because the pro reviews, by and large, did not get that there were any racial issues with that other Avatar movie. The media loved Avatar because it was big and shiny and maybe the story was a little old but it was a story that worked. And it's progressive because its message is pro-enviroment! (/sarcasm).

But with TLA, it's been made abundantly obvious that if you don't respect the care that the creators took in representing various Asian cultures, if you don't respect how the original show represented things like philosophy and writing and architecture, then you don't respect the story. And it shows. The casting decisions they've made aren't just something superficial, coincidental, something that should be overlooked because we're all post-racial now.

I like what Julius Lester says in his book "Let's Talk About Race."
Just as I am a stry and you are a story and countries tell stories about themselves, race is a story too.


It's not the only story. It's not the most important story. But you can't erase it without erasing a part of someone's story. Which is what happens when Richard Gere makes a movie about Hachiko (!) or when you pretend The Last Airbender is just another movie about Generic White Fantasyland. And no one should be surprised that when you erase part of the story for no good reason, you get a bad movie.
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owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Amazingly funny:

Trailer for The Shining as romantic comedy
Trailer for West Side Story as horror.
The Parent Trap as lesbian love story (Click on Paul LaCalandra, then Ordinary Girls).

(Thanks to Making Light, as always).

...Dangit. I think I just had Serenity spoiled for me.

Thoughts on Corpse Bride )

It does occur to me that my standards have gotten way too high, and that too many media analysis classes have had a stifling effect on me. So I'll just say, yes, it's a movie that does work at a number of levels. But, if it had just followed its own implications through, it could have been a very nearly perfect movie.
(I keep getting excited about Tim Burton movies, and for me they generally fall into that category--a couple of bad missteps away from being very nearly perfect).
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
I remember when Aoi Haru (Blue Spring) came out in Japan; it was in Tokyo right before I went back to Canada, and I really, really wanted to see it. A typhoon kept me in Nagasaki an extra day, so I never got the chance, but it turns out that's a good thing; I don't think I could've taken it.

I still like Ryuhei Matsuda, but so far, the roles I've seen him in have spanned the emotional range from beautiful stoicism to stoic beauty.

Ugly, industrial concrete block of a Japanese all-boys' high school. Desperately destructive and self-destructive students, engaged in a power struggle that's all the more intense because it's completely pointless. They have no real dreams, no ambitions, for when they graduate, if they graduate at all--or else their dreams have been crushed. All of this is presented bleakly, brutally, without the slightest hint of romanticism.

I guess it was well-made, and the ending was certainly powerful, but what a depressing movie.

Quibble: the subtitles. I can agree that sometimes, you've got to put swearing in where there isn't any in Japanese to preserve the emotional tone, because there's so much less swearing as such in Japanese. But every sentence? That's a bit much, even in a movie that is about delinquent high school students. In any case, it would take a great deal of talent and expertise to do a decent translation of a movie that has conversations like:

-Saaa.
-Saaa?
-Saaa.

Japanese schools really are that ugly, incidentally--some of them, at least. Though much, much cleaner. Which is good, because eeeeww.
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