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Inception was a regular thriller pretending to be smart. Interstellar was a film with a smart background for a story that is rather simple and did not necessitate all that smart. It was pretty good.

However, the consultation and adhering to an expert physicist theory stuff felt more like an excuse than a focus to tell a simple story about a family bond. The family bond takes precedent of the science without exploring any fresh concept in terms of our relationship with physic. What does the film teach us about our human relationship with science? That gravity transcends time/space? That black hole has an event horizon? Those are more like plain information than story elements that make us implore our relationship with science. For example, Ghost in the Shell asks the definition of humanity and existence in light of full cybernetic surgeries while 2001 Space Odessey questioned the danger of AI and human morality in light of rationality. I will even argue that Lucy -even though it was an inferior film with its wonky terrible science- implored more interesting sci-fi ideas on how human won the evolution race with its ending 10 mins.

Interstellar can function without any of the accuracies. Strip them all out and replace them with magic. All it will lose is the “based on accurate physic” allure but you will still find the same regular film about family love, which is the biggest issue of the movie because there’s no great story for all that adhering to accurate science. If you don’t care(I care a bit) about the adhering to science aspect, it kinda is just a well done but not excellent movie. Good for science class, but just an all right narrative experience.

Gunbuster and Voice of a Distant Star also did similar time dilation stories so it’s not that fresh or unique of a concept, nothing mind blowing if you are a fan of sci-fi.


I watched April Story and All About Lily Chou Chou today. Both are live action film by Shunji Iwai. His only(?) connection with anime is that he’s a friend with Hideki Anno. The reason I know about “All About Lily Chou Chou” is because of a comment made on this very blog 2 years ago. I did promise in my response that I would check it out and since then, even though it’s 2 years too late, I guess I have fulfilled that promise.

But first, April Story.

April Story is this simple story about an awkward university student from Okinawa Hokkaido. The reason she left Hokkaido and went to a Tokyo University is to meet the senior she likes during high school. We will then get to see how she copes with her new life while being being awkwardly cute. She met a lot of characters along the way but all these characters are kinda just there. They were introduced then dropped off like flies after they were used to advance the plot. That’s kinda reflects how real life meetings truly are.

The portrayal of that awkward feeling of entering and experiencing something new are also very realistic. I am as awkward as her when I meet new people.

Even though it seems like April Story is striving for realism, ultimately, the whole motivation of the character is still puppy love stuff . Very naive, pure and idealistic. I can also see how people can interpret this movie as sexist since the whole motivation of our main character is driven by a boy. I am not so bother by it because I interpret it as pure and idealistic teenage romance. Some naive and idealistic shit is good for your soul if you don’t truly believe in it.

Ultimately, it’s not a film that I would recommend. It’s too quiet and uneventful. It’s also not far-fetched to say that this film is really about nothing. Honestly, nothing dramatic or eventful really happen. It’s just pathos and gayish sentimental fluff. I like it because it works on such personal level. I can’t see it working for everyone though.

All in all, I came out of the film feeling pleasant and hopeful and stupidly wanting to see more of this idealistic character and her idealistic view on romance.

Side note: Sometimes, I also can’t help but think that the whole point of the movie is to shoot these beautiful shots and show you how cute Takako Matsu is. If that’s really the case then Shunji Iwai definitely succeeded because Takako Matsu is really cute. I can see the audience falling in love with her character. She’s the ultimate moe character. Actually come to think of it, it’s truly the ultimate and most effective moe film out there, surpassing all the moe anime. Now I guess I understand moe because I definitely got moe-ed by April Story.

Oh, and I love the custom made Samurai film, the execution and emulation of that film is to the point and awesome.

Now, All About Lily Chou Chou is whole other matter all together.¬† It’s the anti thesis of April Story. It’s all about fuck up stuff and teenage angst. Its atmosphere is foreboding and just outright bleak. The whole story doesn’t make a lot of sense if you lay it down but the unrelenting view of the film is just so dark and subdue, you can’t help but think that there are something deeper and believable behind all these seemly confusing character’s personality change.

Whether or not if theres’ really something other than the obvious elements of bullying, teenage prostitution, escapism, rape, misunderstanding adults and teenage angst is highly debatable. Roger Ebert thinks that’s it’s just pretentious fluff. I, on the other end, am on the fence on this.

I can’t tell you whether there’s more subtext to this movie but the experience I got from this film can be described as transcendent. I can’t take my eyes off this movie even though I don’t quite comprehend what’s it trying to say because the mood of the film felt foreboding and melancholic. In other words, I don’t feel like I am watching a film as it felt more like an experience.

I need to let it simmer down and think more about it before I can conclude my feeling about Lily Chou Chou. I think I like it but I am not really sure since I just came out of the film 5 mins ago.

God damn it man, Adaptation was so good for 3/4 of the show but it kills it after they went on and do all the Meryl Steep taking drugs bullshit!

You see, Adaptation is clever because it’s about a real life screen writer writing¬† about a screen writer writing about a screen writer and all these 3 screen writers are the same person, Charlie Kaufman! So Charlie Kaufman is pretty much writing about himself about writing himself during the time when he really tries to adapt a book in real life. So ultimately, the story is based on a true experience of Charlie Kaufman.

The story starts with Charlie having to adapt this non fiction about flowers and orchid poacher. It’s a book that doesn’t really have any narrative structure. Charlie took the job and wanted to try something ambitious and unconventional, a Hollywood movie about flowers and nothing else because doing that is staying true to the book he is adapting.

He don’t want to fall under the Hollywood cliches of adding unnecessary romance or car chase jest. When his producer told him about shoehorning the two characters appeared in the book and add in some romantic tension between them, Charlie is opposed to the idea because he understand that that’s just Hollywood cliche.

He love the book and want to do justice to the author by not altering the true gist behind the book. The book has no narrative structure, no shoehorned romance, no beginning, no middle and no end. Charlie wanted to present the book as it is, he want to challenge himself as a screenwriter and show that this can work.

This movie’s theme of not circumventing to your Hollywood conventional structure was further fortified by introducing his fictional brother and a screen play lecturer. Both of them embodied the limitations of Hollywood cliches and writers’ boundary. They perpetuate that screen writing must have some boundaries and being unconventional is wrong. They say that a story must have rules and you shouldn’t break them. They say that in order to be a hit, you must have conventional elements and you should restrict your creativity freedom of doing something because it’s “bad”.

This idea of limitation is further perpetuate by his brother, a screen writer wannabe who came up with horrible and generic idea for a movie. The script of his brother shows lots of downfall of a poor movie: ridiculous  plot twist, childish depth, unnecessary motifs, and writers thinking that they are so fucking smart when they have no idea what the fuck they are doing.

It even took a jab on Hollywood producers because it’s shown that the producer likes his brother’s script and think that it can make millions when it’s this piece of crap story that makes no sense. It also criticize the audience because people who read his brother’s script think that this piece of crap is deep and edgy.

These mocking of Hollywood shit is 3/4 of the show. Along with it, there are moments of very real and interesting struggles of a script writers. It also has it good share of self depreciation jokes, honest to god masturbation scenes and a very interesting character study for a low self esteem genius.

All is going well and you would expect that Charlie would live up to his promise and create a revolutionary work about flowers and used a semi autobiography of himself to structure this non narrative with no overblown dramatization or your usual Hollywood shit. It’s going to show that screen writing has no limitations and is able to capture the true reflection of a normal non narrative real life.

Then all things go to hell when the movie shoehorned in drama that makes no sense, a car chase scene, romantic tension, token love interest , a conventional Hollywood like structure, a manipulative, rush and unnecessary sad scene and finally, a lame message about love and growing. All of which are Hollywood’s cliches that our main character is opposed off earlier on the show. Hell, they even make the main character implies that all those are fucking terrible. Here’s the actual movie quote:

“kay. But, I’m saying, it’s like, I don’t want to cram in sex or guns or car chases, you know… or characters, you know, learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end, you know. I mean… The book isn’t like that, and life isn’t like that. You know, it just isn’t. And… I feel very strongly about this.

Worst still, it suddenly turns things around and say that all along, his fictional brother is the correct one and Charlie is in the wrong and so he’s changing into something like his brother, which I might emphasize again, is that same brother that embodies what’s so wrong about Hollywood.

3/4 of the show is used to build up his brother as this mocking tool that was used to criticize lousy Hollywood screen writing and during the last minute, the movie tries to make him into a sympathetic character? What the fuck was that? Aren’t that contradicting the message you used 3/4 of the show to build up for?

Not to mention, it also pretty much rubbished a lot of character development because it undermines the insights of some of the characters. In this movie, there are these two characters who is the actual the author and the subject of the book that Charlie is adapting. They shared some really introspective insights on human nature and some amazing shit. But during the final act, without warnings or any build up, the movie makes them the bad guys through some unimaginative and generic means. This resulted in all the clever insights they shared being moot because they are now shallow characters and all those deep insights are a fucking lie.

Watching the final act just feel like the writer don’t know how to end what he started. He build up this huge bricks of potential but ended up crumbles himself because he tried to be too ambitious. Watching the final act is like a slap to your face because it’s telling you that the Hollywood ways of doing thing is the right one and be damn breakthroughs and creativity freedom.

Maybe all this is an allegory of how ambitious and creative screenwriters are forced to follow the Hollywood ways because he needs to feed himself. Maybe it’s a subtle mockery of Hollywood and how all these cliches are fucking terrible so Charlie Kaufman intentionally makes the final act so awful to prove a point.

Yes, that’s it! It must be it! This would be how I interpret this movie now because I truly believe that Charlie Kaufman is better than this. He fucking wrote The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind for godsake! He did the impossible and utilized Jim Carrey in a way that we can take him seriously. He made us forgot that Jim Carrey is this goofball Ace Ventura guy who makes us laugh just by showing his face. God damn it, man, Charlie Kaufman, you are a genius!

Oh, and I love Nic Cage and think that he is really a good actor. He is fun to watch even if he is always in bad movies nowadays.


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