Archive for April, 2003

Beautiful People Screening

Hello all. I had my thesis review today and all went swimmingly. I’m currently mixing my thesis film, the poster of which is below, designed by the divine Ms. Jussi Gamache. Outside from doing the sound mix, I’m putting the finishing touches on it.

For all you in the LA area, I’ll be having a screening of said film on Friday May 2, 2003 at the Bijou Theater in Cal Arts. Contact me if you have any direction type questions or questions of a more metaphysical nature.

Movie Reviews In Brief

I’m been remiss in my blogging activities of late, and for this to my handful of faithful readers, I apologize. I’m currently working on three films as I desperately try to ignore the fact that I’m being forced from the bosom of Cal Arts into the shark-infested waters of the recession job market. Or something like that.

Yesterday, I saw Lilya 4 Ever, the new movie by Lukas Moodysson. What is it about the Scandinavians that love to fuse grim social realism with the sort of religious hokum that would make Tammy Faye Bakker blush. Like the end of Breaking the Waves, this film’s ending is sappy featuring the protagonist and her only friend playing joyfully with fake-looking angel wings. This rankled me particularly because most of the film is a terrific (if brutal) critique of global post-cold war Capitalism that never feels didactic and never loses sight of its characters. The film’s swerve into Magical Realism at the end was little more than a cop out.

On a completely different note, I also saw Bulletproof Monk which — though poorly edited — was enjoyably stupid fun. Chow Yun Fat, who I think should be the next James Bond, was charismatic as ever in spite of some really insipid dialogue. The really funny thing about the film was that in spite references to America in the script and a couple stray USA TODAY vending machines, the movie was obviously shot in Toronto. Not since Rumble in the Bronx have I seen such geographic incongruity in a film.

Spring Break ’03 Part 6 — The Long Return Home

I’m bleary-eyed and back in the US of A. Today, apart from the continued illegal war, and a frightening virus sweeping through China, I learned that Hong Kong actor/pop star Leslie Cheung committed suicide today. This sad news made a weird connection with me because the Reuters article [now, sadly, offline] about the incident indirectly quotes the Barnes and Noble web site, which features a bio written by yours truly, back when I was working for allmovie.com. I guess this is an example of the decline of journalistic standards.

Anyway, R and I spent the remainder of my time in Tokyo around Ueno. It’s cherry blossom season there, so we went to Ueno park and looked at the blossoms and thought about the transcience of life. We then looked at the drunk middle-aged men gathered under the trees in the traditional picnic party/drinking marathon on a blue tarp known as Hana-mi and we thought that we should leave.

I bought some pants at the last minute at a store called Muji, which is like Ikea, Trader Joe’s, the Michael Graves section of Target and an slightly more interesting Gap rolled into one. It’s great. Contrary to popular opinion, Japan is becoming a reasonably affordable place for clothes, if you have the right body-shape. Since I’m build like a tall (if hairy) Japanese — Gap clothes look weird and billowy on me as if even pants with a 31″ waists have legs the width of cheese wheels — this place is great.

Somehow in the bizarre logic of time-zones, I arrived in Los Angeles seven hours before I took off from Tokyo. I departed from Narita at around 7pm 3/31/03 only to arrive at noon the same day. Needless to say, my body clock is still higglety-pigglety. The same sextet of loud UCSB college girls sat in from of me who same in front of me on the way over. They all filled out there sweatpants like overstuffed sausage skins as they read People magazine and brayed loudly about boys, partying and tennis. Girls gone Wild in Tokyo. Still nothing short of a projectile vomiting toddler could be worse than the Texan frat boy I sat next to that last time I ventured over the Pacific. For the entire ten hour flight, he proselytized to the guy sitting next to him about the virtues of fundamentalist Christianity and right wing politics. I was hoping the plane would crash just so I wouldn’t have to listen to the guy.

When I arrived, my heart swelled when I learned that I had seven messages on my cell phone’s voice mail. Friends and family wished me a safe return, I thought? A possible job offer to pull me out of my art school penury? No. It was some stoner who thought I was Raymond and, like, was waiting for me on the “second level.”

Anyway, I’m going to start seriously working on this autobiographical essay film that I’ve been thinking about for years and for which I shot 8 hours of footage in Japan. Instead of standard shots of scenic wonders and family, or even trains — of which I shot 14 hours when I was in Tokyo in 2001 — I shot a lot of semi-abstract images of light and reflections. I have no idea if any of them will look good or not, but I might post a few samples.


April 2003
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Jasper and coffee #javajasper

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