Archive for January, 2011

h1

Kick Ass Controversy

January 31, 2011

“Okay you cunts, let’s see what you can do now.” – Hit Girl

Most critics responded well to Kick Ass. It received strong reviews and was hailed as a hugely enjoyable and subversive spin on superhero movies. I approached the film from a position of familiarity with the comic book work of scribe Mark Millar, whose comic book of the same name was adapted for the screen (although he reportedly raised the idea as a film initially with director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman before writing the comic itself), and subsequently didn’t find it all that shocking in terms of the kind of material Millar and other offbeat, “mature-readers”, comic book writers have produced over the years. Mark Millar was also the writer behind the comic book Wanted, the story of a young loser who discovers that he’s actually a super-villain, and it featured some truly subversive content and extreme humour. The main character there confronted a Latino gang with the line “Hey, do you know why spics smell? So blind people can hate them too.” and, later, another character paraphrased a PJ O’Rourke quip, “You say fascist as if it’s a bad thing but have you ever met a woman who fantasizes about being tied up and raped by a liberal?” Needless to say, none of this content found its way into the eventual screen adaptation with Angelina Jolie and James MacAvoy, a film that resembled the original comic in title only. I found Kick Ass overall a very fun flick (and it’s far better than the terribly shitty Wanted) but the reviews I had read beforehand had primed me for something greater and more groundbreaking.

Read the rest of this entry ?

Advertisements
h1

K-Pop Korner: G Dragon & TOP – 뻑이가요 (Knock Out)

January 24, 2011

It’s been a while since I dragged you all down to the Korner. So drag you I will, like screeching, flailing children, snatched off the streets by some Dickensian predator. Whether I do this purely for the purposes of sadistic pleasure or merely because I’ve run into one of those quiet times where I have nothing better to write about, I’ll leave entirely up to you to decide. (Little from column A, little from column B).

GD & TOP is the name given to what is currently being explained as a “unit group” offshoot project of the Korean boy band, Big Bang. What this means, in essence, is that the two far more popular members of the five-piece group have recorded and released their own album free of the dead weight of the other three guys who nobody cares about. I don’t even know the names of the lesser three, and I researched this shit for at least twenty minutes. G Dragon (Kwon Ji-young) has featured here before, the waif-like, sex-pixie prince of K-Pop, though he is now here paired with his childhood friend and fellow Big Banger TOP (Choi Seung-hyun). TOP, who also moonlights as a TV actor in various dramas, seems to have undergone a makeover for this recent project, perhaps as a means of comfortably matching the androgynous flamboyance of G Dragon. He can now be seen sporting spiked, steel grey hair, strutting around with the air of an improbably erotic, Arctic elf.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

January 12, 2011

There is a moment in Mike Leigh’s sublime 1993 film, Naked, where the astonishing main character Johnny (David Thewlis) has a conversation with a night duty security guard (Peter Wright) outside an empty office block. On the subject of clichés, the security guard remarks that “a cliché is full of truth, otherwise it wouldn’t be a cliché” to which Johnny swiftly retorts “which is itself a cliché”.

I’d hoped to avoid indulging in cliché when discussing The Disappearance of Alice Creed. For example, I tried to resist describing it with the phrase “taut thriller”. However, such a description is full of truth, the film is precisely that. It is the impressive debut of writer-director J Blakeson, a British screenwriter and director of two shorts, who shot the film on the Isle of Man in February 2009 on what would appear to be a shoestring budget (hence the favourable locale of the Isle of Man, with landscapes indistinguishable from the British mainland and a healthy amount of local government support for film projects). The film was well received on the festival circuit and appears to have garnered strong, positive reviews across the board although, undeservedly, this doesn’t appear to have translated into much box-office success. The Disappearance of Alice Creed premiered in April 2010 and was released on DVD in the UK in October 2010.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Cosplay KO

January 10, 2011

Time to get back into the swing of things for the New Year.

I’ve explained my enthusiasm for martial arts sports at length and now feel I can mine that dynamic world for amusing, frivolous stories without further adieu.

 

Yuichiro Nagashima: Kickboxer, Cosplayer

Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima is a decorated Japanese kickboxer who currently fights with the prestigious K-1 promotion in Japan. He’s also a passionate Cosplayer. So passionate, in fact, that it is said that Nagashima almost always appears in public dressed as a female anime character. In other words, he’s usually photographed dressed as a cartoon girl, turns up for pre-fight press conferences dressed like a cartoon girl, and always has elaborate ring entrances that involve a troupe of dancers accompanying him as he walks to the ring dressed like a cartoon girl. Of course, he can’t fight in these costumes and removes them before crossing the ropes but what a fabulous way to mindfuck your opponent prior to a professional fight; turn up dressed like a dancing cartoon girl. Then again, he’s a Japanese guy fighting in Japan, a land wherein standards of mindfuckery stretch far beyond the pedestrian perceptions of the average occidental. Short of arriving in the ring to stuff a small, live octopus into the vagina of squealing schoolgirl that he’s dragged along with him, there’s probably little Nagashima could do to unsettle rival fighters hailing from the same country.

Read the rest of this entry ?