4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

This is a 2007 Romanian film set during the days of Nicolae Ceaușescu and tells the story of a university student and her friend who is illegally getting an abortion.

So there is no need then to explain that this is heavy stuff and overall quite a downer. It is though a very well made and told film and has some very tense scenes, the final five minutes or so especially. It is all done without dramatic music of any kind, no fancy cinematography, or over-the-top acting.

The acting is superb, and for the two main female roles was obviously very difficult at times.

It was very interesting to listen to the Romanian language. It seems to be very similar to both Italian and Russian, and even a little French.

Superbness.

Date watched: May 1st
Score: 10/10
Film count 2019: 10

The Skin I Live In

This is a Spanish 2011 psychological horror starring Antonio Banderas, and directed by Pedro Almodóvar.

The story is about a brilliant surgeon whose daughter is raped by a local man. She commits suicide after undergoing psychological treatment, so the surgeon sets out on revenge. From there the story gets quite twisted, in a perverse sort of way.

It is though a bit predictable, but it doesn’t really matter as the rest of the film is reasonably well done and moves along well. The acting is good, especially from the lead actress who had a very difficult part to play, and the direction and cinematography were slick and efficient.

Recommended stuff, if you don’t mind reading subtitles.

Date watched: April 29th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2019: 9

In Search of a Midnight Kiss

This week is one long holiday for most people in Japan with the coronation of the new Emperor on Wednesday causing new holidays and much joy, along with the usual national holidays also happening this week. So this week I have decided to watch at least one film a day for the entire week, and I have started with two. This is the first, and I will report about the second film later.

Right from the beginning it was obvious this is a independent film. The cinematography was very budget-looking, but it actually worked well. The colours were very muted, and the sound recording was very natural, so too was the acting and dialogue. All good really.

It is a romance, which I normally don’t go for, but it did not make me cringe at all. It had some great dialogue and was funny in places.

It was also a good look at parts of Los Angeles we don’t normally get to see in films, or in some cases a different look at parts we do see a lot, but from a different and possibly more realistic views.

Good stuff.

Date watched: April 29th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2019: 8

Three Miles of Chaotic Fiction

I have three more Cd’s to spew forth about.

Various artists – This is Cult Fiction

This is a CD I got from my brother when I was in NZ. He kindly let me loose on his multitude of CD’s, saying I could take what I wanted, so this was one of the two that I nabbed.

As the title suggests, it is a compilation of music from various Quentin Tarantino films as well as a few others like Twin Peaks, and includes tracks such as “Little Green Bag”, “Miserilou”, “The Harder They Come”, and plenty more excellent songs.

Good listening.

Miles Davis – Seven Steps to Heaven

I found this at a Book Off somewhere, near Narita airport I think, and bought it immediately because it is Miles.

No need to explain how good the music is.

Sepultura – Chaos A.D.

I found this at Hard Off for only 108 yen. I am not really a huge Sepultura fan, but this album is considered to be a metal classic, so I couldn’t pass it up.

It has a few good songs, but most of them are too slow for my liking, I like my metal heavy and pretty fast.

Sepultura, if you don’t know, are a Brazilian metal band that have had a turbulent history with most of the original members now gone. Two of them are brothers and for years were not talking to each other, but they have made up and now have a band called Cavalera Conspiracy (Cavalera is their surname). This album was made before the brothers started fighting with each other, and was the last they made together as Sepultura.

Music count 2019: 13

An Agglomeration of Variegated Aural Pleasures

My recent trip to New Zealand was on the whole quite fruitless when it came to buying music, last time I bought a dozen or so discs. I bought only one used CD this time, and the two other CDs I got were from my brother who graciously let me take anything I desired from his large collection of CDs, so I took a couple. I did however get a brillo birthday present from him which made my day, as well as a couple of double-ups he had. And I have since added a few more after arriving back in Japan, so here is what I have in no particular order.

Burial – Subtemple/Beachfires

This is what my brother gave me for my birthday, and when he handed it to me I was quite flabbergasted. I never thought I would see another Burial release on vinyl as they are hard to get, in Japan at least, so I was extremely chuffed to get it. When I think back on all of the birthday presents I have ever received, I must say that this one takes the crown.

This is a very Burial release in that it is very atmospheric, so much so that it is pretty much devoid of actual melody and is more of a series of random crackly sounds and ghostly voices, but that is what I like about Burial. Judge for yourself though…

YouTube comment for this release: People are hating on this but it’s actually top tier dark ambient. Foreboding and uneasy, perfect to set up the stage for Beachfires, which is the epic culmination. I think they’re meant to be listened back to back, the split is just so people don’t feel too intimidated by the length. If there was a sonic representation of the coming of Cthulhu, this would be it.

Spot on.

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

Last week I went into Book Off to see what is what and found this. I was not aware of this 2011 album so I was most pleased to find it.

And it is another great Arctic Monkeys release. Not really much more needs to be said about it.

The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever

Another Book Off find, and another album I had never seen before. And also another great listen. Fun stuff.

That is all I will write about for now. There are plenty more but I have not listened to them yet, so I will do so then report back.

Music count 2019: 10

Dark Crimes

On the return flight back to Japan I watched only one film, this one. I chose it because it was a film I had heard nothing about, and it is probably a film I would not have watched otherwise. Also, it has Jim Carrey, one of my favourite comedians, but I knew before watching it that this is not a comedy at all.

The story follows Jim’s character, a Polish detective who is trying to bust Marton Csocas’ character for the murder of a businessman. The story seems pretty straightforward, but by the end it is a jumbled mess of a story, but has a nice twist at the end.

It is very dark watching, both the subject matter and the cinematography. It has very little action and just spends a lot of time making us feel really down and bummed out about life in general.

Jim was good, but all he to do really was keep that face he has in the poster throughout the whole film. Marton Csocas was great as the villain of the story.

The internet does not like this film at all, Rotten Tomatoes gives it 0%. I wouldn’t say this is a bad film, but it is not exactly riveting stuff either, just a real downer overall. It was well made and the acting was good, but the subject matter probably suits a novel better than a film. The twist at the end does give it a kind of satisfying end, even if it is still a downer.

Jim’s next project is the live action animated film “Sonic the Hedgehog”, he plays Dr. Ivo Robotnik. I think you might be making more bad film choices Jimbo.

Date watched: March 31st
Score: 4/10
Film count 2019: 7

First Man

The second film on the plane was this one about Neil Armstrong, and it was also another brillo film.

It told the story of how Neil got into the space program, his training and testing programs, and of course the trip to the moon. It also looked at his home life, or as the film would have you believe, his lack of interest in family life and his obsession of doing spacey things.

The direction was superb, and the acting just as good, although Ryan Gosling just had to look po-faced and serious all the time. The moon landing sequence was great.

As with Bohemian Rhapsody I can’t really fault this one, but it is not quite as gripping. Still, it is a very worthwhile watch.

Date watched: March 19th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2019: 6