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A ZZWW Review of ‘Splice’

07/06/2010

Today’s horror movies have become gagged up and irresponsible. The same could be said for romantic comedies, but this review isn’t about either type of film. Splice, the latest film by director Vincenzo Natali (known for his cult favorite, Cube) is less of a horror movie and more of a commentary on the human condition wrapped in sci-fi robes.

Much like Cube, Splice has elements of suspense and certainly takes the viewer in a new direction that couldn’t be imagined. Splice is by no means a great movie, but it does not make my list of horrible horror celluloid.

At face value, Splice is a terrible sci-fi suspense film that fails at truly gripping the audience and is too bizarre even for the post-Avatar diehards. Where to presentation excels is in it’s subtext. Splice takes on a multitude of intangible topics like love, ethical morality, the mysterious web of relationships, and what it means to be “human” and to have “humanity.”

**Spoilers Ahead**
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“Throw yourself into the road, darling!”

22/05/2010

Well, it’s that time of year: graduation is upon us. I assumed it would stop meaning anything to me when I left college last year, somehow forgetting, as self-absorbed as most people, that my best friend still had a year to go at the same institution. So a few days ago I saw him off; into the same world that’s treated me indifferently over the course of the past year. He has the wanderlust (while in spite of my travels, I’m essentially a domestic creature) so I don’t know when I’ll be seeing him again; besides which, our friendship was so intense, and so tied to the miserable place in which we found ourselves, I think we both sense we need a sort of…mourning period before that relationship can become something else. Anyhow, it put me in mind of what is possibly the funniest, and certainly among the most depressing films ever made: the British cult comedy Withnail & I.

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KPop on On Demand

18/05/2010

2NE1, SHINee, U-KISS, and more all appear on Comcast’s On Demand this month, along with several Asian movies and children’s programing, in an effort to expose modern and traditional Asian culture to the West. It’s quite a nice surprise to see so much being given to the Kpop bands in the music section, each video being available for free until 6-1-10.

A little confused at the selection, though. I mean, if a major U.S. cable provider is going to put together a package labeled “Asian Entertainment” for the Asian Heritage Month celebration, one would think something from Japan would be included, yes? Apparently not if you’re Comcast. Also one would think that if you’re trying to push the On Demand purchase of Ninja Assassin, starring a world-famous Korean pop star, you’d have at least one of this songs available in the music category too. Guess again. At least there’s a Super Junior song, albeit a strange medley/lounge remix of two songs from the recent release, and at least they gave some attention to more recent Kpop acts like U-KISS and Beast, but where’s the DBSK? Where’s the Rain? Where’s anything from Japan or China or any of the other Asian country?

At least Comcast was decent enough to include some extended-play collections from the Philippines, not forgetting to count them in the Asian collection. But still…. not one song from Japan. Why not an Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, or Koda Kumi at least? Eh…. partial fail, Comcast.

We can be thankful for the mass exposure of some Asian music to the general American populace, so if you have Comcast, go check out the On Demand selections under Top Picks and show that the U.S. does care about foreign music.

What Makes The White Man Racist?

08/05/2010

I was never much of a Disney person growing up. Now it occurs to me that perhaps my uptight, liberal parents shielded me from it precisely because of things like Peter Pan’s What Makes  The Red Man Red?; which I recently stumbled across. Like the seduction of Mary Goodnight in The Man With The Golden Gun, it’s so sublimely awful you can’t look away. But at the same time it’s kind of fun; I mean, it’s a really catchy song.

Whatever you want “racist” to mean, it’s hard to argue that the above isn’t racist on some level. But where do we draw the line, and how do we respond to ambiguous racism? If you take a look at the comment thread under the video, a lot of people weigh in, surprisingly civil (though it’s not saying much) for a YouTube discussion about racism. My favorite comment involves a thesis as to why white people are white that I can’t repeat in mixed company.

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J-Rock youtube video of the day: Naked Arms

30/04/2010

So there’s this recent trickle of new music coming from the T.M.Revolution camp, and it seems to be getting louder and heavier with each flow. (A really awesome thing, in my book!)

It’s been far too long since “Mr. TMR” released a new full-length CD, but we’ve gotten a few singles like “Imaginary Ark” and “Lakers”. The next to come out is a single called “Naked Arms” which will be the intro for the video game Sengoku Basara 3, due out this summer. Being an obsessive TMR fan, I have my finger on the pulse of all-things-Takanori, so I know “Naked Arms” hasn’t been released yet. How this person got a 2 MINUTE PREVIEW of it is beyond me. I visuals in the clip are from the game, which also looks pretty sweet!

Long time TMR fans will notice that he is singing in a lower register for most of the song; something I’ve wished for him to do for years since he has such a beautiful, silken voice range even when singing with force. The rhythm is very atypical of a T.M.Revolution song as well, but incorporates some of the newer hard and fast beats he’s been toying with for the past year. Sounds like someone’s evolving his sound ;-)

T.M.Revolution debuted the song at his successful INAZUMA ROCK FES last year, of which only a few seconds of live footage have made their way to youtube, making it impossible for us to hear the whole thing. One can only assume that, since CAPCOM plans to release the game this summer, T.M.Revolution will announce and release his new single relatively soon.

That’s why this clip is special. Yes, special. A sneak peak at the newest hit song form one of Japan’s top performers. Enjoy it here.

Nerds vs. God

26/04/2010

So I guess this is the second matchup in the series? I’m going to talk about religion again, and the same disclaimer applies; I’m not talking about the truth or falsehood of any one religion, but rather, a phenomenon involving religion that seems to me pretty objective. But since I do come closer to taking sides this time, I will state obligatorily that there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd, some of my best friends are nerds and I myself am a closeted, self-hating nerd. I must really loathe myself because I am also a self-hating Japanophile and self-hating foreigner abroad. But I digress. My question is: what is the beef some (though by no means all) nerds have with God?

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We Come In Peace, Shoot To Kill

17/04/2010

How could I have forgotten how great Star Trek is? Now I’m talking about the series with the bald guy; everything else was either before or after my time. But somehow I repressed the memory of being a huge trekkie between the ages of I guess nine and twelve, until I discovered all the old episodes on YouTube (didn’t I once ask a barber for a haircut like Data’s? yeah I did). But while the acting, stories, and even production values hold up remarkably well, I’m noticing a dimension to Star Trek: The Next Generation that slipped past me when I was a kid. I’m talking about its handling of the issues of race and culture which, one could even say, is its major theme.

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