What I Watched Last Week – 17/11/14 – Some humans landed a ship on a comet. I saw a film about sexy Japanese hotels.

Hey hey, droogies. Why not check out my positively sickening write up on the methodology of the Montage Parody, linked at the end of this post. It is attracting all kinds of alarming commentary on reddit, and in one night received more attention than this here blog has or ever will garner. Not sure how I feel about that. Anyways, I’ve stopped watching (MLG) vids now* because they are silly, and I am going to stick with the whole film review thing because it quasi-validates my inexcusable time wasting every week.

*I haven’t, I just watched them for 45 minutes and drank two cocktails before writing this and I probably need CBT.

Love Hotel (2014) – 4/5

Directors: Phil Cox, Hikaru Toda

Cast: The people of Osaka, Japan

LoveHotel

Before attending a Q&A screening of ethnographic documentary Love Hotel with director Phil ‘Cocks’ Cox, the only images this writer had of Japanese recreation were those of erogenous, bubble-tea crazed karaoke singers haranguing Bill Murray in seedy Tokyo bars; that, plus the heady tales relayed to me by friends who have been there and seen dance arcade dons up close and personal – boy, can they move their feet to a beat! The only representation of the ‘Love Hotel’ that any Westerner might be aware of would be from The Wolverine (a terrible, terrible film), which provided a voyeuristic peek at this apparently verboten aspect of Japanese culture. Intimacy is not what the people of this magnificent archipelago do best – in public, that is. Behind closed doors, over two million people – lawyers, pensioners, dominatrixes, IT clerks – become the patrons of pay-per-hour hotels and motels designated to the sole purpose of love. The Angel hotel, where this documentary was filmed, is one of many thousands of such businesses which allow couples – whether they be husband and wife, prostitute and client or a pair having an affair – to get it on discreetly and comfortably, for however long they want, in whatever environment they so choose. The Wolverine mockingly depicted Mission to Mars zones and Austin Powers pads but the reality is even stranger, a full sized boxing gym being one of the more outlandish options that the Angel has to offer.

LoveHotel2

What a stupid fiction film like The Wolverine failed to capture was the humanity of the love hotel. Phil Cox and Hikaru Toda must be applauded for gaining the trust of their subjects and portraying them with such integrity. Everyone that appears in Love Hotel is very frank regarding the frustrations of cultural expectation – or rather limitation – and many do not even come for pleasure but for company. This sounds like a farce, but the film actually shows the Japanese ‘Entertainment Police’ going around shutting down Love Hotels, banning lewd decor and forbidding dancing ‘after midnight’. Everyone in Love Hotel is a right character; from the divorced sexagenarian couple who come for their weekly waltz to the chubby, chain smoking manager, they all have a stake in the Angel, and it would be a great shame to see this fascinating tradition go bust.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) -4/5

Director: Adellatif Kechiche

Cast: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos

BlueIsTheWarmestColour1

In glorious rebellion of red-lovers out there, blue is in fact the warmest of all colours. When your skin turns blue you are at the height of pneumonia and have mere seconds to live, but the combination of painkilling endorphins and uncontrollable urine leakage will have you feeling as snug as a bug in a rug made of hugs. That’s pretty damn snug. As is the relationship between Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux) in Blue is the Warmest Colour, the romance epic which set the breadth of the French Riviera ablaze with hyper-feminist indignation and critical idolisation in the summer of last year. While not a perfect film (it is too long, and not short enough) it does have to its name a magical duo of lead actresses who have no qualms about baring their souls on screen for our enjoyment. BITWC has great respect for both the insecurity of youth and the uncertainty of nearly-middle-age, both of which have their perks (not a lesbian sex reference, so shut it!) and their problems. Sort of want to go to France now. They’re way ahead out there.

Planet of the Apes (1968) – 5/5

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

Cast: Charlton Heston, RoddyMcDowell, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, Maurice Evans

PlanetoftheApes1

An absolute banger of a science-fiction film, Planet of the Apes is one of those classics so ingrained into the culture that for me to have not seen it until three days ago is an outright disgrace. Charlton Heston is the icon in the iconic role of George Taylor, a cynical astronaut and chimp off the ol’ pioneer’s block. Making use of the same scientifically accurate time-warp thing that most of Interstellar’s plot revolves around, Taylor and his flight crew come back from the void of space only to crash on an unknown rocky planet, some dozens of light years from an Earth that has apparently aged three centuries since their departure. ‘There’s got to be something in this universe better than man. GOT to be!’; the hope that the perfect culture exists on their new home is soon captured in a net and speared to death, as the men out of time discover to their horror that this is a planet ruled by -and you’d never guess this in a million remakes – APES. Dun dunn. Oh, and humans are their pets.

PlanetoftheApes2

Additional plot details aren’t necessary here: if you know the twist, then you know the twist. Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting, clanging, ethereal composition is a masterpiece of film scoring; it works perfectly in every scene, sounding as though it were drifting from the craggy valleys of the Forbidden Zone (a zone that is, yes, FORBIDDEN to you!) itself, and the use of tubas to ape the screaming of the simian antagonists is genius. If you’ haven’t seen the 1968 Planet of the Apes then stop monkeying around, invite your best primate around, stick it on, and be bamboonzled by its brilliance. Ha. If you watch it in the sun you might get an orangeutan. Stop. Stop it. It’s a fun film though, a lot of Vine opportunities. Tarzan ref. He’s not even an ape.

The Running Man (1987) -2/5

Director: Paul Michael Glaser

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchito Alonso, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura

TheRunningMan

The Running Man? More like The Punning Man! Arnie’s kill-quip writers were on absolute fire in this film, so much so that the rest of the picture is a flaming hot mess. In this dystopian future film (what future film isn’t set in a dystopia though?) Arnie’s helicopter pilot is framed for killing a buttload of innocents and as punishment is elected prime contestant of lurid, deadly gameshow The Running Man,’the most popular TV show in history, in which convicts must traverse an underground maze until they are inevitably killed by the celebrity Stalkers of the ICB network. Released in 1987, the same year as the original RoboCop, The Running Man feels like if a Paul Verhoeven film were to be sapped of all wit and narrative structure, its man vs system plot being as ineffectual as Arnie’s sham delivery of ‘I’ll be back’ (hey, audience, remember the film you actually like where the same actor said the same thing!?). This is a very camp, very bad, very unintentionally funny film. Some people do get killed in it though, so here’s a condensed video of that happening,

Cheers for reading to the end, friend. Here is that Montage Article, written for The Swagsonion information paper.

Bye bayou!

Sloth

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