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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Helter Skelter (2012)


Country: Japan
Format: movie
Genre: ***, plastic surgery, drama
Cast: Sawajiri Erika, Terajima Shinobu, Omori Nao, Ayano Gou, Mizuhara Kiko, Arai Hirofumi, Suzuki Anne, Terajima Susumu, Momoi Kaori, Aikawa Sho, Harada Mieko, Kubozuka Yusuke,
Synopsis: Lilico has gone under full-body plastic surgery and has become the most famous model in Japan, but all that falseness has also brought misery. Nothing lasts forever and so the surgery has begun to give backlashes and the new rival in beauty industry promises to ruin her little happiness she has left.
Rating: 5/5
I have not read the manga itself, but as much as I have heard, then it is a bit shallower than manga, but I really enjoyed the movie. It contains sex, drugs, violence, bad language and it is the closest thing to porno that I have ever seen and yet it was able to captivate me because of the amount of different feelings that you will get from this movie is huge. Each second was really interesting for me. But I admit that I would not let any person under age 16 watch it.. never..
No matter how hated or scandalous Sawajiri Erika is she is a brilliant actress. Everyone still thinks that she is beautiful and great actress. I think she is one actress who might do whatever she wants and it all will be forgiven, because her acts in the past have made it possible to act in movies like this. Would you imagine Kitagawa Keiko or Aragaki Yui in a role like that? Of course not, because many have said and I think so too, that Sawajiri Erika was acting as herself in many scenes.
Lilico has done full-body plastic surgery. As there is almost everything fake about her and that has
brought her enormous fame, but it has also made her soul empty. Everybody loves her but at the same time no one really loves her. "What do they love - I even have not met them or talked to them". Even now I am not sure if she was the victim or the culprit. She is selfish, does not care of other people's feelings and wants to be the best, nr. 1 forever, but at the same time she is nothing, just trying to please everyone, the sadness and emptiness are killing her!
That's why I felt sorry for her while hating her. Beauty and fame do not bring happiness especially when everything is fake - it is just a curtain before the theater stage. Fake creates fake and that's the way it is. Lilico gave people the fake they wanted and she got the fake response to it too, but you can see how she was actually looking for something real like true love and life without lies, but these things were already impossible for her. Her falseness was explained really simply "Beautiful on the outside, but eaten by the bugs inside".
The scariest part of the movie was when I found myself a little similar to Lilico. I have seriously nothing similar to her, but in some way I understood her and what she was going through. It is so strange that even though the movie shows how fake Lilico was, it also shows how fake our society is - especially woman's beauty - fake eye-lashes, contacts, nails, make-up, push-ups, hair-extensions and simple beauty injections/surgeries - they are all really everyday-ish things.
People have become so obsessed with outer beauty, that it stops being beautiful and it is really ironic when these kind of people are criticizing how others are fake. I am not against beauty products or surgeries, but I think that each thing has it's limits and sometimes people are the prettiest when they are natural. Lilico says "Beauty makes you strong", but I do not think so - being beautiful gives you more confidence, but it does not bring you more strength.
The only people Lilico really needs to have by her side are assistant Hada Michiko  and her make-up artist Kin-chan. With out them she would not have survived. But Hada-san was really weird character. She was hopelessly in love with Lilico, but sometimes she loved to stab her back. Then again she was not a lesbian, because she had younger boyfriend Shin. Shin is acted by Ayano Go and I really did not recognize him in the movie. Hada-san is used by Lilico as personal slave, who is treated like trash and then spilled over with "presents". I think that with Hada and Shin, Lilico's worst personality traits came out and it was soooooooooo sick! I almost vomited several times because of her actions.
In the end, I think that the most horrible character in the movie was Mama. Saying that Lilico is her creation and the real girl Lilico used to be is nothing. Using someone only for money.. and then ruining the original agreements for what Lilico was able to cope with all that hard work..
I think it is one of a kind movie and it is exactly "helter skelter" aka "total chaos". Even when the time has passed, I am fascinated by everything in this movie and I seriously want to know how it is shown in Japan, but at the moment my bowl of chips got empty, so only thing to say is "WATCH IT and tell me what you thought of it" :)


SPOILER-review: The end was so scary! The moment when she killed herself was so horrible and sad at the same time. For a moment everyone stopped and watched, but then they continued to take pictures - reminds me how people are now making photos and uploading them to internet before calling help. When person makes a suicide in front of you, YOU CALL AMBULANCE! -.- And then the movie went on and I found out that "HOLY SH*T! THAT WAS ALL A PLAN!!!" O.o but I really was screaming in the end "F*** THAT B***H WON'T DIE!!" (I was so scared that I was even unable to replace the words as I usually do..)

Friday, February 15, 2013

BANDAGE (2010)



Country: Japan
Format: movie
Genre: music, drama
Cast: Akanishi Jin, Kitano Kie, Kora Kengo, Shibamoto Yuki, Kasahara Hideyuki, Kaneko Nobuaki, Watanabe Anne, Ito Ayumi,
Synopsis: It is 1990-s when the Japanese music industry started its boom and many one-hit-bands were created. Asako becomes a fan of a band called LANDS after receiving their CD from her friend Miharu. Girls are struck by luck when they get their opportunity to go back stage to meet with band members after one concert. Natsu, the lead-singer of the band gets attracted to her and starts to drag her to band rehearsals and finally making her assistant manager, but that is not okey with all other band members. LANDS is moving up to their big break and stardom, but music industry dark side, unrequited love, conflicts between members and more make keeping the band together even more difficult. 
Rating: 5/5
When I said that "BECK" is great, then I do not know what to say about "BANDAGE", because it is musically and technically much better than "BECK". I have had it in my watch-list for over 2 years, I think, and the reason why I have not watched it before is that I have love-hate relationship with Akanishi Jin and I have always thought that it is long and boring and very depressing movie, but Gyoza how wrong I was.
I start with my love-hate relationship with Akanishi Jin. I do believe he was the right choice for the role. I find him so similar with Natsu - not seeing his real talent and being too confused. For me, Akanishi can be a real music genius and he has such an amazing voice that captivates me and that all makes it so sad that he has ruined himself. I am not referring to his scandals or choices what he has done - I am able to forgive all that to him - but what he has ruined is his music. Just listen to songs like "Eternal" or "A page" which are his composed and they are great ("Eternal" is even one of my favorite songs ever), but what the ramen are songs like "Califoria rock" and "That what she said.." and other drink-party-sex songs?!! Like seriously the worst thing that a musician can do. ever. EVER.
Natsu has that thinking of sex-drugs&rock'n'roll too, so that after concert he should get drunk and have sex -.- But then again, he has Asako who becomes the person who reminds him the real him as they are very similar by their soul. And with Asako, there comes really cute scenes how he tries to make everything that Asako would finally start to like him and etc, because he is unable to go on without her. They actually do not have any physical relationship and they are hardly a couple, but you can see and feel what Natsu thinks of her. I think that Akanishi is brilliant in Natsu role - he actually does not have so much lines and they do not put in words what he feels, but you can see the suffering and how he seems to drown.
LANDS music gives a new meaning to Asako's life.. actually more it's meeting with Natsu. At first she is just brought along with Natsu, even when she has something else to do, but she ends up becoming his manager. Actually, at first she was more drawn to Yukiya and that is the reason why she does not show any love-interest in Natsu at first. On the other hand, she is not using Natsu to get close to Yukiya, because she is not that kind of girl, but there are moments when each girl is very fragile and we all know that one woman can break up the whole band. Kitano Kie is really sweet in this role. I like how she played out the innocence and you can see Asako's maturing.
I find LANDS really difficult work colleagues, because every member is so individual and charismatic. Arumi first seems a real bitch and she is one of the members who has a very great talent, because she is the one who arranges the songs full and final image. Even though she at times is very full of herself, you can see how she actually is always on the edge of nervous breakdown.
Yukiya is the silent hot guy, who is introvert. He actually likes more robotic voices and electro music. Some more facts about him are in spoiler review. and of course Yukari - the manager who treasures Arumi's and Yukiya's talent more than others. At times, she is a bitch, but she has also problems with her nerves. Nobuaki Kaneko who played the part of Ryuji really played the drumms when they recorded the LANDS album.
Of course the music itself is a real ear-gasm, especially I like "Hatachi no sensou" both versions and "Genki". I also love how the movie develops and how it is built up. It made me watch since the first half second I had pressed the play button. But what else we can expect from Kobayashi Takeshi, the producer of Mr. Children. The movie made live-action movie record with selling 70000 advance tickets on the first day screening.
I feel sad that I did not watch it before, but then again maybe I would not have fully understood it back then. It is a movie, which I at least recommend. :)

SPOILER-review: What I did not notice while watching it, was that Yukiya had a crush on Natsu.. love-like crush. That was the real reason why he was against Asako. For him Natsu was his muse and inspiration of lyrics and guitar riffs and that was a big reason why he was unable to leave from LANDS. Who ever does not get the ending, then after 2 years and 7 months Natsu and Asako meet again and with high possibility of getting back together. I must say that I was kind of a impressed by their fabulous kiss-scene, but then again when I think that we still are talking about Akanishi Jin, then I could not have imagine anything less than they gave me.

BECK (2010)


Country: Japan
Format: Movie
Genre: music, friendship
Cast: Mizushima Hiro, Sato Takeru, Mukai Osamu, Kiritani Kenta, Kutsuna Shiori, Nakamura Aoi, Brett Pemberton, Todd Shymko, Floyd Lee, Cinque Lee, Mikami Kensei, Kurauchi Sari, Shido Nakamura, Furukawa Yuta,
Synopsis: Ryusuke Minami and his sister Maho have grown up in the United States, but are now  back in Japan. Ryusuke is an amazing guitarist, but his bands always seem to fall apart. After another break up, he decides to create his own band with members that he believes in. He also meets a young high school boy Koyuki who takes interest in guitar playing. Newly formed band BECK has a fast way up with getting new acquaintances, upcoming concerts and CD debut, but every road has its ups and downs and sometimes the past just does not let go of you.
Rating: 5/5
I was more than impressed by this movie - everything was over the top - actors, acting, music, technical part, storyline - EVERYTHING!
Mizushima Hiro played the lead role of Ryusuke or Ray. I love that he can speak English really well, all thanks to the fact that he lived for 6 years in Switzerland and studied in English school. Most of the time Ryusuke is fine and normal, but he gets really irritated when someone in the band isn't improving or things do not go as he plans, easily said - he's really short tempered and when irritated he says rude things without thinking. His best friend is Eddie who became famous with his band The Dying Breed Eddie is played by Brett Pemberton - a participant in America's got talent season 6, a singer and a model, and Todd is played by Todd Shymko who is Canadian man who created Japanese band called SUPERFUNKTION and is its lead-singer.
Another really good friend of Ryusuke is Chiba - a guy who is brilliant at rapping, but is unable to feel satisfied by it and does not seem to find the place he belongs to. Kiritani Kenta made a wonderful job as Chiba. So far it's my favorite role by him. I am not a big fan of rapping if I exclude Eminem and rapping in Kpop, but I really enjoyed Kiritani Kenta in it - everything came out so naturally for him. Of course Chiba has this funky personality at times too and is almost as short tempered as Ryusuke.
Taira is the bassist and he is played by Mukai Osamu - bleach blond Mukai Osamu. I already feel that each guy I really adore has had bleach blond hair in some moment in their lives - and I am not talking only about idols. Taira is the silent hot guy, who pays attention to everyone others and understands everyone the best. He also has a weird habit of taking of his shirt on concerts. His motto should be "I have a history of taking off/losing my shirt" (Thumbs up if you know the song where the sentence is taken from)-. Anyway really hot guy, who always made me go "mmmm" whenever he was on screen.
I was impressed by the fact that Sato Takeru is so much younger from all the guys I have written before in this review and I admit that in the movie he seems even more younger than he really is. He was 19-20 when it was filmed, his character Koyuki is about 16-18 and most of the time he looks like 14-15. Some things about him will be written in Spoiler-review, because I do not want to spoil. At first, Koyuki is the perfect example of goody two-shoes - shy guy, who mostly follows and does favors for others. Until he finally breaks out from his shell.
Last but not least, the only main girl - Maho played by Kutsuna Shiori. Kutsuna Shiori was born and raised actually in Australia, that's why she felt connection with her character and that has given her a great English skills. She takes love interest in Koyuki, but the same time is tracked down by idol Yoshito - who is so over-rated by everyone. She makes the best fish-kiss scene ever, because it is so innocent and it is in the right place and everything is perfect for fish-kiss. In a weird way, I really like that scene.
Sorry, I forgot Nakamura Aoi, who is playing the part of Saku - Koyuki's friend and the drummer of the band. He is always happy and sees things positively. He is really cool character, but he is left aside most of the time. Mizushima Hiro and Sato Takeru actually did not know how to play guitar so they got lessons and practiced each free minute and night and got blisters from all that, but they were very great in the movie. As much as I know then other actors knew how to play these instruments before. The concert scenes are so amazing! I wish I had the chance to go to that concert too - I seriously love all live-concerts, especially the ones taking place outside. Their music was much better than the others on the festival, because they were real,  but others were just posers.
 Really cool music movie, which is worth watching because every actor makes such a great job in it and you can see how they enjoy it, so that all makes you enjoy it too. I forgot to mention it before, but it is based on manga by Sakuishi Harold,




SPOILER-review: I do not know if you already know or not, but they actually did not put Sato Takeru to sing - you cannot hear it. It was one thing I was looking forward to find out, if they let him sing or not, but they won't and to tell you the truth, I was satisfied with that answer! Koyuki is said to have angelic voice that takes breath away and makes you just listen, but I do not believe that there is such a voice in the world that everyone would love it. Many say that they could have recorded someone else singing and then dub it into the movie or other things like that, but that just would have been wrong. In the end it would not have been "that" voice anyway. So, I really enjoyed that they left it as it was and you can think on your own how he might have sounded. For example, I am pretty sure that if he had a higher voice then I would not have liked it - I fall in love with lower voices and they make me listen without thinking, but I know that some people prefer high voices.