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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.

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Finally went and saw the Watchmen movie on Thursday night. It didn’t come out in Japan until last Saturday, so I wasn’t that late in seeing it. It was an excellent movie, but of course it strayed a bit from the original comic. Still sweet to see a movie version of it, but yeah the comic was better overall.

After the movie ended, the credits started rolling, and I did what I usually do when credits start. I sat there. Why? Well as a lot of you probably do(?), I was thinking there was going to be some special bonus clip or something at the end of the credits. I’m not the only one, right? But anyways, I’m getting really tired of it. I don’t know what movie started this, but it’s a pain in the butt to sit there for 4-5 minutes worth of credits just because there’s a slight chance of seeing something worth it at the end. Oh, but these people worked so hard to make the movie, you should watch the credits all the way through! Yeah right. I’m already showing my gratitude enough by paying to see the movie. In Japan it’s almost 2000 yen too, so that’s plenty of gratitude. People who make movies don’t make money just by me reading their name. And who in their right mind actually reads the credits all the way through? I guess if you know someone who worked on it and you want to see their name that’s one thing, but most of the time you’re not going to sit there meticulously reading the name of every grip and assistant to Mr. xxxx. At least I sure never do.

Now, sometimes there really is something after the credits that’s worth watching. Iron Man was a good example. But most movies don’t have anything, yet I sit around just in case. I hate to hear afterwards that there was some bonus scene after the credits that I missed. That’s why I tend to sit around and sit through the credits, boring myself to death, to prevent that “I just got ripped off” feeling. I think at the very least movies should be required to post something at the beginning of the credits like “stay tuned for something worth it.” I’ve seen a few movies do that I think, I just can’t remember which ones.

Aaand that’s enough of a rant for now. Yes I am aware of the fact that I could just leave.

Phantom with ghost sandwiches

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It’s already September (say do you remember)!? Time seems like it’s been going by pretty fast recently, almost entirely due to working every day then having a pretty full schedule every weekend. A week goes by like nothing, but I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad.

I’m enjoying work a lot more than I guess I originally thought I would, with the worst part still being the long hours. I technically work a normal 8 hour day (or less), but with the hour+ long commute it feels like I’m working 12 hour shifts. I usually get home after work, relax just a little, then have to go to bed soon after so as to not sacrifice precious hours of sleep. Then I wake up and head back to the trains to go to work. But enough about that.

I saw a movie over the weekend, 20th Century Boys (20世紀少年). It’s based on this super popular mystery/sci-fi comic book which I had never read. I’m not going to go into any of the plot details, but it was a pretty sweet movie spanning several decades focusing on a creepy cult leader intertwined with a group of people who went to elementary school together. Yet somehow the movie makes sense. This is the first of a trilogy, and even still it was 2.5 hours long. It was entertaining, but still, this is getting ridiculous. Why are movies these days so long?? Even Dark Knight, which I loved, was way too long. I’d rather directors cut out some of the unnecessary action scenes or some of the retarded CG sequences and leave the movie at an hour and a half. 2 hours is acceptable, but anything longer than that is painful. Come on!

I’m still waiting for fall to fully kick in and cool this country off.

Summer-loving

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Ah, summer vacation. Japan has this national summer break kind of thing called Obon (お盆), where most people get a week off of work or school. There is all kinds of religious and other things related to this holiday that I don’t know much about, but you can read about it on Wiki. The important thing is that AEON gives us this week off, and with my normal Sundays and Mondays off, and 2 carefully used vacation days, I find myself in the middle of an 11-day vacation. Oooooh yeah.

千葉ポートタワー花火大会

Last Saturday after work, went with some other AEON people to the Chiba Port Tower fireworks show (see above), which was pretty awesome despite the ridiculous crowds and the heat outside. After the show ended, we hiked a good distance to some Italian restaurant to hang out. After that, went to the Ocean’s Eleven, or whatever it’s called, bar until last train. Sunday, I didn’t do much all day except watch TV, then headed to Tsudanuma to have a staff going-away party for one of our teachers who is retiring. That was fun and relaxing. Then headed with 2 of my co-workers to Chiba. Again, last train from Chiba.

Monday, more relaxing at home. Ate some yakiniku and okonomiyaki up in Chiba. Tuesday, more relaxing and then headed to Soga Ario. First, saw a movie by myself. Yes it is very loser-ish to see a movie by yourself, let alone the Kamen Rider Den-O movie, but it was fun and I enjoyed it. Shut up. Then ate tacos, did some shopping, and bought some cream puff things to take to everyone at school since it was the retiring teacher’s last day. Even though it was my day off, I’m not a complete jerk. Wednesday, I ran some errands around Goi, and tried this Sri-Lankan/Indian buffet near my apartment which I had never tried before, partially because the outside looks sketch and also partially because the place is called Samanara (サマナラ), which sounded a lot to me at first like salmonella. The people on the Goi mixi group said it was good, and indeed they were right. Spent most of the day at home doing job-hunting related stuff, and also watching News Radio on DVD. Went to the Chiba net cafe at night to print out some Korea-related stuff as well as some resumes, and then came home.

Tomorrow, well, really in a few hours, I need to wake up and head to Tokyo. Believe it or not, I’m going to 2 job interviews/info-session things. Nothing major yet, but it’s good to be starting this kind of thing. I’m not looking forward to waking up early to go into Tokyo though, especially wearing a suit in this heat. But at night I’m going out to dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, so that should be good.

Overall, yes, summer vacation has thus far involved a lot of sleeping and TV-watching. And that’s just perfect. I can’t imagine anything better than doing nothing during this break. If only you didn’t need money to live, I would probably sit at home all day the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so I need to get only 2 hours of sleep to go into town for the possibility of getting another job. Ah well.

Korea in about a day and a half! Annyong!

Storms, Shakes, and a Kishidan

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Two natural disasters in one weekend; pretty impressive even for Japan. Around Wednesday or Thursday we began hearing about Typhoon number 4 which was heading up the country from south near Okinawa, due for a Kanto area touchdown on Sunday. On Saturday we got some pretty hard rain storms in the afternoon and evening, but overall nothing big. Sunday in the morning it seemed pretty fine outside, but the storm was definitely on the way. I headed out to 7-11 near my apartment to stock up on supplies for the impending storm. That and I decided I would stay in my apartment all day and finish my resume, which I have been putting off for like the past month. While the storm came and the rain and wind was pretty fierce, it didn’t really seem to be typhoon quality. A bit disappointed there. At the very least, I finished my resume and have started trying to find a new job. First stage is just using the internet and a bunch of sites like GaijinPot and Monster to see if I get any responses with the easy click-and-send resume system. It was pretty pathetic actually getting to work on the resume, because I was in super procrastination mood all day. Reminded me exactly of back in college when I would have a paper or something to do. I somehow found tons of things to distract me as I slowly began the process or totally revamping my resume. I think I watched half a season of Seinfeld, napped a few times, ate lunch and dinner from my 7-11 rations, and even busted out the old Pokemon game on DS. But I finally finished it, and am pretty happy.

This morning, Monday, I awoke around 10:15AM to a strange feeling, as if I was on some kind of boat. Actually it was an earthquake, shaking the ground back and forth for a few minutes from side to side. I also noticed that a shirt I had hanging up and my belts were swaying back and forth like pendulums. It was actually kind of cool. I’ve gotten quite used to earthquakes by now, although there is always the slight fear in the back of my head that it’s going to get a lot worse and the building is going to come crashing down on me. The earthquake was really weak at my place, maybe a 3 on the Japanese quake scale, but at the epicenter up in Niigata it was around 6.6. I think it was quite bad up there, maybe with some casualties. But that was about all the earthquake action for me here in Chiba.

Headed to Soga in the afternoon and saw the new Harry Potter movie, Order of the Phoenix (Japanese title: 不死鳥の騎士団). Overall pretty good, although they have to cut out so much stuff from the books. It’s also funny how old the actors are all getting. Harry Potter looks like he could pass as a businessman in his early 30’s, yet he’s supposed to be 17 years old. Then Ron’s twin brothers look about 40 years old. I was thinking, it’s a good thing that all the teachers and other adults in the Harry Potter world are super old, otherwise it would be pretty obvious how strangely old the “kids” look.

Also, today was a holiday here in Japan, which means nothing as far as days off, since it’s another Monday holiday meaning I get ripped off. Bogus, AEON. Anyway, it was 海の日, or Ocean Day. I’m not quite sure what you’re supposed to do on Ocean Day, but oh well.

As good as expected!

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Hot chicks do not a good film makeThe sad part is not that I watched an absolutely terrible movie, but rather that I knew I was about to watch an absolutely terrible movie. Said DVD is スケバン刑事:コードネーム=麻宮サキ (Sukeban Deka: Codename=Asamiya Saki), which apparently has the international title and far-fetched translation/interpretation of Yo-Yo Girl Cop. It doesn’t really matter though, because I don’t think anyone should see this movie. There is no excuse for me watching this movie, and no real reason either. Let’s chalk it up to being bored, having a ton of rentals through Discas, and also to the promise of good looking girls jumping around. Unfortunately, even the final action scene with two chicks fighting in leather outfits doesn’t redeem this one. It’s also sad that this film was directed by Fukasaku Kenta, who wrote the screenplay for Battle Royale and directed the sequel, since I would have expected greater things from him.

Quick summary of this film, as shallow as it is. There’s a “bad girl” in police custody. She gets recruited to be an undercover detective in a high school. Her weapon is a metal yo-yo. She’s working on some case dealing with a bomber, and of course there’s an enemy who is also a hot girl who fights with a yo-yo. Before they fight though, they both happen to change into super tight leather outfits. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Apparently Sukeban Deka was a long-running series of comics, TV shows and movies a long time ago, with this being the modern remake. I hope the past ones weren’t this empty. Oh, I found a trailer on YouTube that is good but of course makes the movie seem a lot better than it was. That’s what you get when you cast all the main roles of a movie with pop-stars; Matsuura Aya is the title role and the other main parts are all similar pop-star girls.

Don’t watch this movie.

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