Archive for January, 2012


Posted in Japanese Cinema with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Cristina Blackwater

Outrage – 2010


plot: The boss of a major crime syndicate orders his lieutenant to bring a rogue gang of drug traffickers in line, a job that gets passed on to his long-suffering subordinate. The plot concerns a struggle for power amongst Tokyo’s Yakuza clans, today just as likely to be playing the stock market as shaking down pachinko parlors, over which the Sanmo-kai clan holds sway in the face of constant betrayal and ever-changing allegiances. Sanmo-kai chairman Ototomo (played by Kitano himself) learns that his henchman Ikemoto has struck an alliance with the drug-dealing Murase family, and is not best pleased, to say the least. The ensuing retaliation triggers an orgy of killings, territorial invasions and score settling while law enforcement officers, too corrupt to intervene

 Kitano is fucking back with a vengeance. let’s all bow and thank the japanese film gods. after laying off the yakuza genre for nearly 10 years, master Takeshi Kitano brings us Outrage, once again starring himself as the main character. Outrage follows the ins and outs of Yakuza politics of revenge and atonement between bosses, brothers, and cohorts, and an unstoppable backstabbing bloody avalanche of awesome.




the winning recipe here is the ultra violence topped off with irresistible black humor. you gotta love it when the fatalities and horrible, blood filled yakuza situations you are presented with also make you let out an out loud chuckle or two. i mean there’s a reason why Tarantino loves this guy so much, right? right.



one way Outrage differs from Kitano’s other notorious yakuza movies, is that his character, and generally the story itself, lacks his distinctive outcast-inner struggle, the nuances in the people involved are put aside for a more straight forward kind of story telling, but after all, as Kitano remarked publicly about his making of Outrage, he is giving the people what they want – no pretense of artistic embellishments, but rather blunt, cruel acts of violence of the professional criminal devoid of any romanticism.



so sit back and enjoy the bloody ride, and then, if you’re hungry for more, remember this is the same guy who brought us masterpieces such as Brother, Hana-bi, and Boiling Point. it’s never too late for a good re-ash.


Another Earth

Posted in Sci-Fi Cinema with tags , , , , on January 1, 2012 by Cristina Blackwater

Another Earth – 2011


plot: Rhoda Williams, a bright young woman accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program, aspires to explore the cosmos. A brilliant composer, John Burroughs, has just reached the pinnacle of his profession and is about to have a second child with his loving wife. On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined. Estranged from the world and the selves they once knew, the two outsiders begin an unlikely love affair and reawaken to life. But when one is presented with the chance of a lifetime opportunity to travel to the other Earth and embrace an alternative reality, which new life will they choose? 

Another Earth is a 2011 American science fantasy/drama film directed by Mike Cahill in his feature film debut. The film stars William Mapother and Brit Marling. It premiered at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was released in dramatic competition. Variety reported, “[It] has been deemed one of the more highly praised pics of the fest as it received a standing ovation after the screening and strong word of mouth from buyers and festgoers.”

this movie is so beautiful and touching. every outcast loner will identify with some aspect of it. Rhoda is a girl who did something terrible and unforgivable, but who is trying to find forgiveness one day at a time. we watch her struggle and grow and make mistakes trying to mend the old ones. i almost don’t want to say much of anything about the actual story development. i found it somehow similar to Primer (one of my favorite movies of all times), although the two movies have very little in common.

one day a new planet appears in the sky. as time goes by, and the planet moves closer and closer, it is discovered that it is an exact mirror planet to ours, an Earth II, if you will. not only the planet is identical, but as first contact is achieved, we also find out that Earth II is inhabited by duplicate versions of ourselves who mirror our earthly circumstances. Rhoda starts a deep inner journey. did her mirror self commit the same mistakes?

i found many other reviews out there to be misleading to say the least. Another Earth is neither a cut and dry sci-fi nor a romantic movie. it’s not about a love story, and it’s not about life on another planet. the sci-fi theme is a contour for a beautiful (i know I’m repeating myself with this word but there is just so much beauty in this movie), in-depth exploration of the frailty of the human heart, particularly to the way us outcasts feel about emotions, and the world around us. is another world just the next step of running away from our problems? like changing city and start anew, but on a bigger scale? or can there be redemption, real redemption, on the other side?

from wikipedia: The idea behind Another Earth first developed out of director Mike Cahill and actress Brit Marling speculating as to what it would be like were one to encounter one’s own self. In order to explore the possibility on a large scale, they devised the concept of a duplicate Earth. The visual representation of the duplicate planet was deliberately made to evoke the Moon, as Cahill was deeply inspired by the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing. the movie was shot in the director’s hometown to cut down expenses. William Mapother consented to work on Another Earth for $100 a day, being strongly drawn by the film’s subject.

once again, indie cinema seems to pull all the right strings to my heart.