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Browsing Posts published on July 18, 2010

Please don’t make Inception 2

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Saw Inception last night and it was amazingly awesome.  An excellently made film with a good cast, great special effects, and most importantly, an original and solid script that’s not based on a comic book, television series, toy line, or a poorly made sequel or remake.  Apparently there are still some original films being made in Hollywood.  I won’t really post any spoilers or go into plot specifics because I’m too lazy and you should see the movie for yourself if you haven’t.  I never really thought of Leonardo DiCaprio as a good actor since I just hadn’t seen many movies with him, but Mr. Titanic is pretty impressive in this movie.  I also just happened to see The Departed for the first time last week since it was on TV here, and that was pretty good too.

So yeah, Inception was very impressive.  It was a great balance of action, suspense, SFX, philosophy, and any other words that people who actually know what they’re talking about might throw in there when discussing film.  That being said, I really hope they never make a sequel.  I know, I know, some people are probably thinking that such a great concept leaves a lot of room for a second or even third film.  And of course studio execs would love to milk this for as much as they can get.  But if you couldn’t tell from the first paragraph, I am so sick and tired of sequels and other excuses to make unoriginal films.  What is wrong with people in Hollywood?  OK not just Hollywood, since Japanese films are now almost exclusively comic book based and terrible.  Is there that much of a lack of originality?  Or is it a lack of balls to take a chance on something untested, instead going for something with a pre-existing fanbase who you hope to milk for money.  Star Trek a few years ago was admittedly a pretty good movie, but if that much money and manpower was put towards making an original space sci-fi action movie, couldn’t it have been even cooler?  G.I. Joe is a good example of  a movie that probably relied too much on building off people’s nostalgia but ended up being more or less awful.

The Matrix was an amazing movie, and I still think it is, but the sequel wasn’t nearly as good and the third movie was absolutely terrible.  Rather than make a sequel to Inception I’d love to see Christopher Nolan write and direct a totally brand new film.  Sure an Inception sequel could be great, but it could also be a reason to get lazy.  And no, you can’t improve on a crappy film by making it 3D, regardless of what every studio seems to think right now.

Also another minor note about movies: I hate sitting around until the end of the credits on the off chance there’s an extra scene.  I complained about this back when I saw Watchmen.  After writing that blog I found and commented about this site called MovieStinger that actually lists whether or not a movie has a bonus scene after the credits.  I need to remember to check this from now on when going to the theater, because I really am sick of sitting there for nothing.  Had I remembred about this site before, I would have known that Inception has nothing after the credits and I should have just left immediately.

One more moon

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This past week I passed the one-month-left mark, leaving just a matter of weeks now before I make the big leap across the pond for the who-knows-how-manyth time.  There are still a few people who have asked me about this, but yes this is a move rather than a trip.  I’m moving back to the US semi-permanently.  I don’t say “semi-” because I have any specific plans to come back to live in Japan again anytime soon, but at the same time I don’t have any plans to stay in the US for the rest of my life.  In short, I don’t have any idea what I’ll be doing even a few years from now so let’s just play it by ear and continue feeling around in the dark like I have been for the past 2.658 decades.  Things haven’t turned out too badly so far.

If moving is a pain in the butt then moving overseas is a machine gun loaded with pain bullets into the butt.  I’ve already sent a few big boxes of stuff back home via sea mail, which is the slowest and cheapest option.  Cheapest in this situation means it still costs an arm and a leg, and I probably should have actually thought about if the value of the stuff I’m sending back is worth the shipping costs.  (The answer is probably no.)  And slowest means that even the first box I sent back last month will probably arrive around the time my first-born child hits junior high school.  But again there’s not much that can be done about that.  I’ll likely send another box or two back and really figure out what will fit in my two suitcases for the plane ride(s) back.  Most of my furniture and appliances are going to be either sold on craigslist or trashed, and even that isn’t as easy as you’d think because the Japanese trash service actually charges you extra to haul off anything somewhat big.  I have to go to the convenience store to buy a special sticker, then register online to have the big stuff taken away.  It’s not really expensive though – only 370 yen for most big items or 750 for really big stuff.

I took the JLPT at the beginning of the month, level N1.  Not especially because I studied for it, but just since it’s easier to take it here than in the US.  It would be nice to have passed it but I don’t have my hopes up.  That being said, I think I did better than the previous time and passing is probably less impossible than before.  Test results aren’t being sent out until like September, and I have to have my results forwarded back to St. Louis so I really won’t know until long after I’ve forgotten about it.  My last time to take JLPT in Japan was also the best because my test site was at Chiba University, the next train stop over.  This was so much better than having to take a 1-2 hour train ride to Abiko like last December.  The week after that I also took a test you’ve probably never heard of called J-Test, which sounds stupid until you call it by its full title of the Test of Practical Japanese (実用日本語検定).  Figured that would be something to bang out before I leave the country.  It’s actually supposed to cover a wider range of levels than JLPT, and it’s pretty much the same test for everyone unlike JLPT which is sorted by level.  You can take J-Test once and get a level grade, as opposed to having to pass a test that is for a specific level.  It’s also cheaper and is offered several times a year in a bunch of locations.  I took it at some place like 10 minutes from my apartment.  I’ll know my score like right before I leave.  I don’t think I did as well as I should have, but again oh well.

I’m not really going to be having a going away party, but there will be two last Y’s parties before I leave.  Everyone should have already gotten the info.  We’ll be checking out “Bizzaro Y’s” in Shinjuku at the end of the month when NR7000 comes to visit.  Yes, there is another Y’s.  I’ve known about this place for some time and actually checked it from the outside back in 2006, but we’ve never actually set foot in it.  I’m picturing the manager there to be a Bizzaro Matsushita.  Maybe he’ll look the same but with a handlebar mustache.  Or maybe he’ll be Puerto Rican.  It will be even stranger if we run into the Bizzaro A-Team there.  You know they exist.  The following week we’ll be going back to the classic Y’s since I can’t leave without saying goodbye there.

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