Lalapipo [2009]

Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Actually it was difficult to give a grade for this movie. First thing first, I really enjoyed watching this movie. It's bright, quirky and each character is interesting themselves. However, as compared to the previous Japanese movie I've commented, Air Doll, the depth for this movie is somewhat too shallow for my liking. Or maybe it isn't fair to compare this movie with Air Doll.

"Adapted from a sex-stuffed cult novel, LALAPIPO (a play on the phrase "A Lot of People") follows divergent seedy strands of sexual and narrative spaghetti through the sticky Tokyo night. The film features a "talent scout" aka pimp, a semi-reclusive freelance writer, a women who wants to be a voice actress who makes her living with a hidden camera, a female office worker whose morals are being progressively corrupted, a voyeuristic science fiction geek, and a housewife who lives in a disgusting house; these underdog characters face a fight for survival in the seedy sex industry world of porno films. No matter how sordid things get the movie never loses its sense of optimism that maybe tonight things are going to get better and this time around the sex might really mean something.. "
(credits: Japan Film Festival Singapore 2010)

Narimiya Hiroki stars as a pimp in the movie, who holds the movie together as the person who is connected with all the characters in the movie. In terms of this genre of roles, Hiroki is a natural as I've seen similar performances in J-Dramas such as Orange Days. However, that's where the problem comes in. Hiroki is eye-catching, but the rest of the cast seems to be overshadowed by Hiroki in the movie. Nakamura Yuri stars as the department store girl who was pimped by Hiroki and eventually carved out a career in the Japan Adult Industry. She just looks a bit "plain" in the show and frankly speaking seems just to add some candy in the show. Murakami Tomoko stands out more as an aspiring voice actress who chronicles her lonesome private sex life with a series of homemade sex tapes. Her performance is vintage best and I thought besides Hiroki, she stands out more with her outlandish room and costumes.

Overall, a really enjoyable movie. However, it may leave you to wonder where to place this movie that is neither this nor that.

You can catch this movie in the Japan Film Festival that is starting this weekend and ends on the 29th August 2010.


Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yoshitaka Yuriko looks just absolutely fabulous! You can catch her in this season's drama "Mioka"

Happy Birthday Singapore!

Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in | Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010

This is Home, truly. Happy 45th Birthday, Singapore!

Bangkok Traffic Love Story (รถไฟฟ้า..มาหานะเธอ) [2009]

Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bangkok Traffic Love Story or Rodfaifah.. Ma Ha Na Ther in Thai, was recently released in selective cinemas in Singapore. The show stars Cris Horwang as Ly, a thirty year old lady desperate for love when all her best friends married. Theeradej Wongpuapan is Loong, or Uncle, who met Ly when she met with an accident after trying to drive home after her good friend, Ped's, wedding. Ly was infatuated with Loong, and she was thrilled to meet Loong again when Ly caught her maid having a rendezvous with her boyfriend and so happens the boyfriend called Loong to bail him out of trouble. Ly decided that she has to take initiative to "chase" Loong if she is to realise her future happiness.

Filming of Bangkok Traffic love Story was sponsored by the BTS, and the film included many scenes depicting maintenance work on the system and its infrastructure. The film was promoted as part of BTS's tenth anniversary celebrations. The film's Thai name, Rod fai fah.. Ma Ha Na Ther, translates as "Skytrain, coming to meet you", and is a word play on Rot Fai Fa Maha Nakhon (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร), which, however, is actually the Thai name of the MRT underground system rather than the BTS. The English title is abbreviated BTS to coincide with that of the skytrain system.
(credits: wikipedia)

Usually for Thai films which made it to Singapore, there are three distinct genres: Comedy, Horror or action. Of the three, I prefer comedy as usually when I go to watch a movie, I prefer something light break the seriousness of things happening around the world. Bangkok Traffic Love Story certainly fits the bill as the laughter starts almost from the beginning till the end. The film didn't purposely produce the laughter, but it comes almost naturally to entertain the audience. Of course, having some quirky characters such as a boy who loves to jeans so tight that he can hardly lift his legs certainly helps. Oh one more thing, the Thai language plays a part too. Somehow or another, if a particular scene changes its language to say, English, I don't think the laughter will be produced.

One special mention in the movie is Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha or Pattie for short. She's one of the up and coming actress in the country and I realised she was also part of the cast in Hormones, the movie that I reviewed recently.

Overall, the acting by the cast is good, with Cris really looking irresistible in the movie. Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't carry heavy make up in the show and is all natural in the movie. ahhhh~~~

Here's a special MV from the show:

Air Doll (Kuki Ningyo) [2009]

Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, August 06, 2010


That's the verdict I will give for Air Doll. Mind my readers, I seldom watch what I consider "artistic" movies, but I happen to recognise the lead of this movie, hence I thought I might give it a try. What I didn't realise was that I did not expect that I would feel that much for a movie since I last watch "Babel".

"A life-size Air Doll named Nozomi(starring Bae Doo Na) “lives” in a shabby apartment in Tokyo. Her middle-aged master(starring Itsuji Itao) talks to her, puts her in a bath and makes love with her every day after he returns from work. This routine life is disrupted when fantasy turns into reality. One morning, the Air Doll suddenly comes to life, filled with a soul. Exploring the world around her, she soon falls in love with Junichi(starring ARATA), a video store clerk. She discovers what it means to live, to love, to be lonely. Everything is going well until one day when her hand is accidentally cut and she begins to deflate in front of Junichi…"
(credits: Japan Film Festival Singapore 2010)

Apparently when the movie was first shown during the Cannes Movie festival, the reviews for it was mixed. They critise the film for a lack of substance, but they praised Bae Doo Na for her exquisite acting. However, there are other reports that describes the film as "an achingly beautiful meditation on loneliness and longing in the city" and suggested its themes would particularly appeal to female audiences.
(credits: Wikipedia).

My take on the movie is that although the movie travels at a poetic leisurely pace, none of the scenes in the movie is boring. In fact, I like the director's artistic delivery of each scene. Also, some critics think that the movie is too long, but I beg to differ as the length of the movie is required to introduce each sub character's problem in this lonely city landscape:

- An old lady who is lonely, has dementia and always apologises to others for no reason;
- A small neighborhood policeman who yearns for big time action and satisfy his yearning by constantly renting gangster movies;
- Nozomi's master who can't communicate with woman but instead buys a life-size doll to fulfill his sexual pleasures;
- A young boy with a fetish for maid uniform;
- A graduate who gave up finding a job in the city and yet not willing to go back to her hometown;
- A father who is divorced and can't communicate with his daughter;
- A retiree whose life was lived always being a substitute for others;
- A receptionist who is past her prime and is not noticed by anyone.

These small characters is especially empathized in a memorable quote spoken by the doll in the movie:

"Life is constructed in a way
that no one can fulfilled it alone.
Just as it's not enough for flowers
to have pistils and stamens.
An insect or a breeze
must introduce a pistil to a stamen.

It seems the world is the summation of Others
and yet,
we neither know nor are told
that we will fulfill each other.
We lead our scattered lives,
perfectly unaware of each other...
Or at times, allowed to find
the Other's presence disagreeable
Why is it,
that the world is constructed so loosely?"

Another reason to give the movie top marks is the acting by the lead actress Bae Doo Na. Given the plot, Bae Doo Na is required to do quite a number of naked scenes in the movie (after all, unless the owner dresses the doll, it is usually naked). And I do mean there are a lot of nudity scenes in the movie. For that reason, I salute Bae for the braveness shown. However, I was more impressed at how she portray the expressions of being a "live" air doll. Her expression is starkly similar to the expression of a real doll and throughout the movie she has made sure that her hand movements resemble that of a blown up doll. Furthermore, a lot of scenes require her to keep her eyes wide open as well as not to blink throughout the shot.

Overall, as what most reviews mention, after watching the movie, one may leave the cinema with a heavy heart and a deep sigh, trying to feel one's long-lost soul and pondering on the meaning of ephemeral life. I did too, and I started to realise, maybe I'm not different from that air doll afterall....

If you're in Singapore, you can catch it at the Japanese Film Festival that is running from Aug 19-29. Tickets are moving real fast so do grab your tickets!

Climber's High [2008]

Posted by :: sixtwentyseven :: | Posted in , | Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010

Climber's High in a way is not your typical disaster film. Instead of focusing the main tragedy, it instead focus on the works of a fictional newspaper agency, North Kanto News, and how the tragedy shaped how the newspaper should present its news. Climber's High is based on the novel by Hideo Yokoyama depicting the human cost, the exploitation of the media and the government blame shifting on the matter. The tragedy itself though, is real as the actual accident happened on August 12 1985, where the plane crashed into the ridge of Mt Takamagahara, on Osutaka Ridge in Gunma Prefecture. Of the 524 passengers and crew, only 4 survived, making the worst single plane accident in the world.

The movie's main protagonist is Kazumasa Yukii (Tsutsumi Shinchi), a reporter with the North Kanto News but has a rebellious streak. He was supposed to go for a climb with his good pal Anzai when the accident happened. However, he stood Anzai up because the chief decided to appoint Yukii as the head for the crash reporting. However, as Yukii tries to impose his own style of reporting, he met with resistance from the upper management as office politics, external political pressure and rivalry between newspapers heats up in the math of the tragedy.

This show was last shown in cinemas a year back in my country but I've only managed to catch it recently. One principal reason of watching is that you seldom get this type of genre of shows on local screens ie. talking more about the journalistic side of it rather than the accident proper. Another reason to catch the show is that Tsutsumi Shinchi is an excellent actor who acting credentials inlcude Suspect X of the Galileo series as well as Japanese dramas such as "Good Luck!".

Overall, the movie is pretty good and well paced. However, people who watched the show may be a bit confused as it talks about his private life in present and the flashback to the main story. While the movie is trying to tell the audience that what happened during that period has caused a change in his view of life, the movie didn't exactly explain much on that. Nonetheless, the best scenes are no doubt in the newsroom where all the action is happening: the arrangements, the feelings after viewing the accident scene, the stories that each reporter is trying to tell.

After all, reporters are human.