Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Space Battleship Yamato (2010) Live Action

First you should watch this youtube.  It's the theme song for the English version of Space Battleship Yamato cartoon called "Star Blazers" for the western world.  The lyrics give a basic overview of the plot line and the live action film 2010 is surprisingly accurate to it, even down to the character's haircuts.

When I was a kid, I used to watch this whenever it came on, so when I somehow became aware that a new live action version was in the works I knew I would want to see it.   And on a recent intercontinental flight, I finally got that opportunity.  Now you can watch the trailer which unfortunately incorporates some Aerosmith.

This film is basically what every Hollywood Sci-Fi space adventure movie that came out such as the recent Star Trek, Star Wars movies should have been.  While it had it's shortcomings it stayed fairly faithful to the source material, didn't get too bogged down in bloated storylines and didn't get sidelined by a romance or too obvious conspiracy.  Basically humans are dying and they get a ray of hope in the form of a message from another world.  So with their last star ship they set off on a mission to save the world and humanity from extinction.  Everything moves toward that goal and the relationships between the characters don't get in the way.  The action sequences could have been a bit more elaborate in my opinion but other than that it's a well  executed Sci-Fi Adventure Flick.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"I Think We're Alone Now" - DVD

 I had heard about this documentary a few years ago and was interested in checking it out but it looked like it could be really bad or really funny and then other things come up and life goes on without a viewing.  Well, it finally caught up with me last week and I have to say it’s neither of those things I expected it to be.  It’s more like a combination of the two but not enough of either to support a full-length film on.  
The documentary focuses on two overly fanatic Tiffany fans, hence the title, which was one of 80’s teen-pop star Tiffany’s hits (a cover song but what 80’s pop stars wrote their own hits anyways?).  The primary focus is Jeff Turner, a bonafide stalker with news clippings and restraining orders to prove it.  He’s middle aged, a conspiracy theorist, suffers from aspergers and delusional among a wide variety of other character flaws that are only touched on.  The movie gets to know him a bit better than the other character, meeting his step-dad and his friends (the real ones) and his pastor.  All of them proclaim he’s harmless but I’m sure it’s because they aren’t the one's whom had him show up unexpectedly with a samurai sword.  Tiffany on the other hand has gotten restraining orders against him, although she seems to not really freak out when he shows up at her Playboy magazine signing or after show autograph sessions.  Besides his Tiffany obsession, he doesn’t seem too different than the crazy guy you meet at the bus or at select coffeeshop.  Very kind, very willing to talk your ear off about things you don’t care about and where apparently the aspergers kicks in and renders him unable to gauge your interest or willingness to listen.

The other primary character in “I Think You’re Alone Now” is Kelly McCormick.  She/He is described as intersexed, how that differs from being a hermaphrodite, I don’t know.  However, she lived as a he throughout high school and then switched over to being a she after.  She looks like a tranny, and I'm sure she/he's gotten a lot of grief in life as a result.  While Jeff is sort of a sad character in the pathetic category.  Kelly is sort of a sad character in the tragic category.  Raised by his mother as a girl, then the weekend at dad’s as a boy.  The hardships of being an alcoholic intersexed person, hard on her luck.  To make matters worse, she suffers an almost fatal bike/automobile collision that’s left her with a speech impediment and resulted in an extreme desire and belief that she and pop-star Tiffany are destined for one another.  To the point that she's legitimately upset that Tiffany has married.   Sort of sad yes?  She’s moved on with her life and drinks less and spends a lot of time training for a marathon which I’m not sure if she even participates but running is something she seems to think she excels at.  She even gives a demonstration and it’s here that Kelly comes across as Napoleon Dynamite talking about his Numchuck skills.   

The documentary seems to watch these two in a manner that seems more like poking your buddy in the ribs to chuckle at the freaks, which I think is ultimately why this movie failed at being more than just an oddity.  Both characters are willing to open up but the film suffers from not digging deep enough. Unfortunately, I find it hard to believe they made this documentary without using any of Tiffany’s music as well, not even for the credits.  I’m sure it was due to licensing and the inability of the filmmakers to pay for it but it would’ve added to the overall viewing experience.   Instead it seems like they just had their buddy write the score on a keyboard .   

The one interesting thing about this documentary is when the two super fans meet and share a hotel room in vegas.  Immediately Turner tries to exert his authority over Kelly as the closer friend to the former pop-idol and tries to out do Kelly at every turn.   I don’t if she’s buying all that he’s selling but it appears that way.   There’s a point where if she was still a drunk she probably would’ve snapped and attacked Jeff but we’re a polite and boring society as is demonstrated here and by Tiffany when she meets Jeff a few more times and by the fact that the filmmakers faded to the next shot just when things started to get interesting.  All in all I can’t say this is a horrible movie because it’s amusing to watch but it’s definitely not good.   Once you get past the chuckle-worthy premise and realize that there’s nothing going on here except gawking at the freaks and having a laugh at their expense, it seems to grow tiresome.

In the end both characters are ready to move on.  Kelly is willing to accept that she and Tiffany wouldn't be together and is open to other possibilities in her life and Jeff has moved on to get restraining orders from Alyssa Milano.  Which must be a huge weight lifted from Tiffany's and her family's shoulder.  Especially if they've seen this movie and have seen that the only reason Kelly hadn't slaughtered her family was because she wasn't financially capable of doing so.

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