Orphan Black on television this Saturday If you live in the United States...and have BBC America...and do not have any plans this Saturday between noon and 10:00 PM, then you can do worse than watching the entire first season. If you live in Canada, you might be able to watch the episodes legally online and catch the finale on Space on Saturday at 9:00 Eastern/6:00 Pacific. If you live elsewhere...well, the episodes are available somewhere.
So, the story. Street-tough Sarah returns to Toronto after 10 months away to get her daughter back, only to witness a woman who looks just like her committing suicide. Her first thought is to assume the dead woman's identity, hoping that cleaning out the dead woman’s bank account will solve all of her problems. Well, it turns out that her problems only multiply.
The writing can sometimes be shaky and hackneyed, the characterization can be a little wanting at times, the acting is not necessarily great across the board, and the accents are only as believable as Canadian audiences need them to be. Despite all of that, I find this show to be extremely engrossing. The story never sits still for long. And not enough can be said about Tatiana Maslany, the lead actress. I actually don't want to say much here because to do so might give away too much, but she is wonderful.
So...check it out. The finale is on Saturday at 9:00 in America and Canada.
"Sorry if you're offended" "I would like to apologize to the people of Boston & Massachusetts for the poor timing of my tweet earlier this morning. As a staunch and unwavering supporter of the individual right to self defense, I expressed my point of view without thinking of its effect on those still in time of crisis. In hindsight, given the ongoing tragedy that is still unfolding, I regret the poor choice of timing. Please know that my thoughts and prayers were with the people of Boston overnight and will continue as they recover from this tragedy."
"I don't regret the content as much as I regret the timing. I really didn't think about it going to Boston and was generally expressing my personal view of how I would have felt in that situation myself."
WTF ASIA: Memories of Matsuko AKA Ankai's Favorite Movie Ever since I saw this movie in June of 2011, it has been my favorite movie. I had known nothing of this movie when I searched for it other than there was a Bonnie Pink song in it, but I am so glad that I watched it. And watched it again. Other movies may be much better. Other movies may be a little less problematic involving its presentation of its protagonist or the treatment of its subject matter. Yet, this is my favorite movie. This is a story about the life of a troubled woman desperately searching for love, and of the misery, neglect, and abuse that she endures in order to maintain the feeling of being in love until she is found murdered. And it is a musical. WTF: ASIA presents my favorite movie: Memories of Matsuko.
I don’t know what else I can say. Maybe I will have a little more later on, but I think that I have said all that I could. It was extremely difficult for me to articulate my feelings about it, but I have tried for over six pages worth of a Word document. While I know that others may have vastly different responses to the film from my own, I would love it if everyone were to watch this movie at least twice. Of course I would, for it is my favorite movie.
WTF ASIA SPECIAL: My Top 20 Favorite Bonnie Pink Songs It occurred to me that I had not said why I made these posts now instead of at any time before or after. Simply put, Asada Kaori turns forty-years-old on April the 16th. And since circumstances will make it difficult for me to make long posts about her next week, I might as well get it out of the way now. So, here is my last post about her, focusing on my favorite Bonnie Pink songs.
It took me a bit of time to whittle it all down, but here is the list of my top 20 favorite Bonnie Pink songs. I will try to say why I like them so much, but I cannot guarantee that I will be able to. It was hard enough picking them, so I will not even try to rank them. Instead I will present them in chronological order. If you have 84 minutes to spare, I have provided embedded youtube videos for them and a few links to grooveshark and khoctham.
So, there is my list. Again, I don’t really expect anyone else to find much particularly special with any or all of these songs. And they do not quite represent the range of Bonnie Pink’s catalog. But I find particular enjoyment out of listening to them.
WTF ASIA SPECIAL: The Albums of Bonnie Pink So, this is an attempt to go through her albums and basically track her progression from 1995 to 2012. I will include one song with each description, though that does not necessarily mean that they are representative of their respective albums. And, while I like most of them, they also are not amongst my favorite songs, since that comes tomorrow. All in all, it is about 48 minutes of listening time. Basically, an album's worth of songs. For you.
It was sometime in the Autumn of 2010 that I decided to check out the manga series Gantz. I had been informed that it was one of the most controversial manga works out there due to its violence, nudity, sexual nature, and downer attitude. So, I started reading and…yeah, there is a lot of that. I decided to keep going and even thought to check out a bit of the anime adaptation to see if that was any good. Long story short, the anime was not any good. After watching a couple of episodes, I decided to skip the end just to see if it had improved. Nope. One thing that did catch my attention, though, was the theme during the end credits:
I am not sure why it intrigued me so much. The song itself is pretty good, but nothing special. I wondered whether I should do some investigating of this artist to see if she did anything else, but hesitated due to treating the song like something from “The Brilliant Green”, a Japanese band that I had been listening to since around 2002. While I like “The Brilliant Green”, at that time, I did not really think that I needed to get invested in a similar band, since I probably would not have given this song a chance had it been from an American or English artist. I think that it was my initial reluctance and my overcoming said reluctance that made my subsequent search for the artist behind the song seem much more important than it would have normally been. Regardless, this was my introduction to Asada Kaori, otherwise known as Bonnie Pink.
In any case, regardless of why I started to like Bonnie Pink, she has been my favorite musical artist for the past two years. And to the very few who might be reading this, I thought that I would share it with you. Coming up, I will talk about her albums and then give you a sample of her music.
WTF ASIA: The Housemaid (2010) Well, last week, we had a heartwarming story about a woman trying to get the apartment of her dreams. This week, WTF ASIA presents The Housemaid, a story of a woman working for a family in a really large house. It may not necessarily warm your heart, but it will warm…something. Apparently, it is sexy or something. The DVD case categorizes it as sexy and erotic. A sexy movie about a woman in a maid outfit? I will be the judge of that.
The movie was available to stream online through Amazon until about a week or two ago. I don’t know why, but it is available to rent on Youtube for 2.99 here: http://www.youtube.com/movie/the-housemaid That can be a little screwy at times, and you have only 24-hours to finish it once you start.
WTF ASIA: Dream Home Easter Sunday…or April Fools…anyways…today is a festive day as we celebrate the resurrection of the dead with the great Game of Thrones. But, if you are hoping for some entertainment that is focuses less on beheadings and crucifixions, WTF ASIA comes through with Dream Home, a somewhat difficult, but truly touching story about following your heart, and finding where you truly belong.
There are other places to watch it, but they seem to have edited out about a minute’s worth of the movie’s more risqué parts. It is not much, but still…
Dream Home is not necessarily for everyone. It takes a pretty well-told tale and changes it up in ways that may seem a little confusing or uncomfortable. The stylistic choices may be a little more varied than one is used to. The moral of the story may seem jumbled, lost, bad, or buried under the storyline. But if you just sit back and recognize that you can think two thoughts at the same time, you might be able to get used to this movie and find worth not just in its unconventional storytelling, but in the story that it is telling.
WTF ASIA: The Legend of Bhagat Singh So, after last week’s anger parade, I suppose that I needed a little bit of catharsis. And what better catharsis than a movie that I enjoyed for the wrong reasons? And I don’t mean “so bad that it’s good” reason; I mean the wrong reasons. This is The Legend of Bhagat Singh, a movie that did not do so well in India…perhaps due to the reasons why I enjoyed it. I mean, a pro-terrorist, pro-socialist, anti-White, anti-GANDHI movie? Who would like that movie? Well…
So…I am not sure if I would actually recommend this movie to anyone, as the reasons why I liked it are not really reasons that I am proud of. It was one of three Bhagat Singh films released in 2002 and none of them did well at the Indian box office, so I guess that the Indian public did not share my attitudes towards it. But, this series is not really about movies that I would recommend, but movies that I enjoy. And I highly enjoy this movie. So there.
But, hey, you are not me. Maybe you would rather watch a movie where the all-American Gerard Butler goes up against the not-at-all-American Rick Yune. Fuck you, Fuqua. $30 million at the box office? Who are these fucks?
WTF USA: Four Films Featuring Internment Camps Last Friday was the start of a really annoying week for me, which might just extend to two weeks if I am not lucky. But, since this is St. Patrick’s Day, I can be thankful for being lucky enough that things were not worse. After all, I could have been a Japanese American living on the West Coast in 1942. Yes, this week, I watched four movies dealing with the internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War Two. Why? Because why not? This has to be the 71st anniversary of something related to that. And, besides, this is my journal and I will write what I want. Similarly, these movies pick and choose the stories they want to tell and the protagonists whom they want as the center. And, again, I can focus on whatever aspects of the movies I want and judge them however I want.
WTF ASIA: Please Teach Me English Okay, so if you want the Gangnam Style of Korean movies, you can do worse than Please Teach Me English. This movie is goofy as all heck…at least the first two-thirds of it. Basically, it addresses the rush to learn English in South Korea during the last decade. Of course, it jams in a romantic comedy in there, and just throws in a few other things in there too. And it is highly enjoyable.
If you are looking for a romantic comedy, a drama about American adoptees returning to Korea, or a clever satire on the English craze in South Korea, you will probably be disappointed in this movie. If you are willing to just sit back and let the movie take you wherever it wants to take you, then you just might have a really good time. If you want something silly, this is definitely silly. And if you had to struggle learning English, you might find something in this that you can identify with. Would I have changed some things? Sure, but most of that would be solely for my benefit as a native English speaker. Taken on its own merits, I find it to be highly enjoyable.
WTF ASIA: Magnifico Hey, do you like kids? This is a movie about a kid. Okay, it is about the life of kid in a family trying to get by in a town in the Philippines. His name is the same as the title of the movie: Magifico. Somehow, I was under the impression that Filipinos had trouble pronouncing the letter “F”, but I guess that if that was no impediment to them keeping the name of their country the same, then it could not stop them from enjoying this movie. That is good, because this is a good one.
What more do I need to say about the movie? If you can get past the picture and sound quality of the movie, and maybe some questionable physics, then you may very well find a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and smile while cheering one a young boy who just wants to do the right thing. This movie is sweet without being cloying, and it is dramatically engaging with only a little bit of emotional manipulation. Without question, I definitely recommend this. And if you hate kids, you still might
WTF ASIA: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Tonight, millions will supposedly be watching a three-hour event full of Hollywood stars doing whatever ridiculous thing that they do. There may be musical numbers and fancy outfits and lots of filler material and people sitting around. If that appeals to you, but you think that it could use a little more awkward basketball with Bollywood stars instead, then I have a movie for you: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. And, just in case you were wondering, it is just over 185 minutes long. To be fair, though, a few seconds of that is the intermission.
Unfortunately, the movie is not only subtitled on that page, but also dubbed into a language that is not English. If you do not mind the mouths not matching the words or the horrible voice acting (okay, the original dialog is pretty much all ADR anyways), then that is fine. Otherwise, you may have to match up the footage with the audio from the video here: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzUxNjUxNzY4.html
Alternatively, you could watch it on youtube with the subtitles slightly off time here:
If you have a three hour block of time to kill…or two 90-minute blocks of time to kill, and are looking for a pleasant movie to watch, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai may be up your alley. If three hours of questionable quality sounds uninteresting to you, I would still recommend it. Who knows? Something could happen. If you are one to nitpick stuff, you might enjoy making fun of the movie. If you can embrace the unreality, however, then you can get a whole lot more out of it. Let the charm win you over.
And, yes, I realize that the movie has several references to other movies, particularly to Dil To Pagal Hai from the previous year, which starred the same actor who played Rahul playing a character named Rahul. I much prefer Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, personally.
WTF ASIA: I Like It Hot Valentine’s Day may have passed us by, but that does not mean that we have to stop watching movies about love and relationships, right? Also, I don’t really have any movies about presidents to talk about…at least not yet. Aaaanyways…this week on WTF ASIA, I present I Like It Hot…or Hellcats. It’s not about cheerleaders. This movie concerns three women at different stages of life and how they deal with (and struggle with) love and family. It is much lighter fare than the previous Korean films that I have talked about here, but there is still quite a bit of swearing and yelling. Because, you know, family.
If you are not yet all loved out by Safe Haven or Beautiful Creatures or whatever they show for Valentine’s Week, I would say that you might enjoy spending two hours with a trio of flawed, but likeable women as they struggle to find their way in life and love. This is not a perfect movie, but I quite like it as it is; fixing the flaws would not necessarily add much to the movie anyways. And besides, the family dynamic has to be better than the father-son stuff in A Good Day to Die Hard. I haven’t seen that movie, but I heard that it was absolutely horrible.
WTF ASIA: All's Well, Ends Well Well, today is the start of the Lunar New Year. And what better way to celebrate the new year than to be with your family as you watch a really gleefully stupid movie? This is All’s Well, Ends Well and it is the first and, hopefully last, Lunar New Year movie that I will be talking about on WTF ASIA. It is also a romantic comedy, so if you are looking for something to watch on Valentine’s Day, you could do worse than All’s Well, Ends Well. You could probably do better, too, but whatever.
If you are in the mood to see a really stupid and tasteless romantic comedy this Valentine’s Day, but are sick and tired of Love, Actually and have heard really bad things about Identity Thief, All’s Well, Ends Well may be up your alley. Or maybe one of its six sequels. Seriously, there are six of them. Maybe even seven. Personally, I have no intention of watching any of them. I would rather just watch this one again and pretend that it is one of a kind. In any case, if you want to watch something this week, All’s Well, Ends Well…is a movie. Then again, you could be like my parents and watch Chungking Express again. Pffft.
WTF ASIA: Robokon American moviegoers seem to love stories of a ragtag group of people who have to overcome their own flaws, come together as a group, and beat the odds. Japanese moviegoers seem to love those types of stories too, though it is sometimes not presented in such epic terms. The title of this week’s WTF ASIA movie may imply a story about five or six young people who control giant battlemechs, which can combine to form a colossal cybernetic monstrosity of justice against aliens or something. But, instead, the movie is about a high school robotics tournament called Robokon. And it is not even a robot combat either; the robots are stacking blocks. And, surprise surprise, there are very few nerd jokes or nerd in-jokes. At least very few that I could catch.
If you don’t mind your movies to be a little slow, a little quiet, a little inconsequential, a little light, a little…little, you may very well enjoy Robokon. There is not much huge drama, no real plot twists, and few surprises, yet there are so many little moments that slowly drew me in and made me eager to see what would happen next. It is less a sweeping epic than it is a tiny brush, but sometimes, that is what you really need.
WTF ASIA: Company Before I talk about this week’s movie, I just want to list a few movies released during the past year that were longer than this one: Titanic 3d, Cloud Atlas, The Hobbit, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Zero Dark Thirty. Okay, that was not a very long list, but it stands that if you can sit through any of those films, then you can sit through two hours and thirty-five minutes of Company, the last organized crime film that I will be talking about for at least a month. While the others were humorous in their own ways, this one is pretty serious. While it may not be as gory as some of the others, the tone of it may make for more unsettling viewing.
Some have claimed that this movie is a sequel to an earlier crime movie called Satya, but the DVD special had the actors in Company insist that it was a totally different and unrelated movie. It is just as well, since I got through only forty minutes of Satya before quitting out of total disinterest. Company, however, had my attention from beginning and kept it until the end. I am not sure if others will feel the sense of fear that I did when watching it, and maybe I was not supposed to feel that way, but it definitely made for interesting viewing for me. Even without that, I believe that this is recommendable.
WTF ASIA: Let the Bullets Fly You want to see a Chinese film with Chow Yun Fat, organized crime, and guns? I have one for you: Let the Bullets Fly. Oh, you thought that it was going to be The Killer? Screw that.
Let the Bullets Fly is an “Eastern Western” action comedy mixed in with political satire that, somehow, managed to avoid getting banned in China. “Eastern Western” is a bit of a silly term, as a lot of the Westerns were directly influenced by Eastern movies, such as the ones under Akira Kurosawa. And Kurosawa, in turn, was influenced by films coming from the West. The “Eastern Western” is just another step in this symbiotic give-and-take relationship. I have seen a few other “Eastern Westerns”, such as Sukiyaki Western Django and The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, but they seemed to into the novelty of it all and were a bit too on the nose with their homages. Perhaps my knowledge of Westerns is too limited to be a true judge, but I believe that Let the Bullets Fly managed to tell its own story and be its own movie. A mainland Chinese movie for mainland Chinese audiences that is unlike most mainland Chinese movies. In fact, instead of getting banned, it became the highest grossing mainland Chinese movie ever, even with Chow Yun Fat's questionable grasp of Mandarin. And it is quite enjoyable.
If such a cavalier attitude towards violence and human nature does not appeal to you (I actually had typed up most of this post several months before many of the...incidents took place), then you might not like this movie. But then, you might still like it. For the rest of you, I recommend it.