Thursday, March 26, 2009

Film Space schedule

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm

March is “The Month of Bad Luck Money” at Film Space. April is “The Month of Animation.”

Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. For the roof, you might want to bring something to sit on or lie on. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.

At Film Space Saturday, March 28: Adrenaline Drive / Adorenarin doraibu / アドレナリンドライブ (1999) by Shinobu Yaguchi – 112 mins – Japan, Comedy. Generally favorable reviews: 69/65 out of 100.

A parody of popular Japanese teenage girls' romances includes slapstick in a comedy of robbers versus robbers. About money, and a shy guy, and a not-so-shy girl who have the money and a handful of thugs and one real badass Yakuza dude who want it. A busy, fun, and creative little flick, by the director of the very popular Waterboys (2001), which was shown in Chiang Mai, about the travails of a group of teenage boys who seek fame in, of all ventures, the world of synchronized swimming. Generally favorable reviews: 74/74 out of 100.

Nippon Cinema: Movies that follow common formulas tend to get a bad rap, fairly or unfairly. However, sometimes a movie is able to transcend its own clichés and deliver an entertaining experience regardless of how trite or overused its plot devices may be. Adrenaline Drive is one of these films, and Shinobu Yaguchi is one of those writer/directors that can infuse cute, amusing moments into any scene. While never a guy to come up with an amazing new concept or think outside of the box, he always delivers good movies with a unique charm that’s been his trademark throughout his 15+ year career.

Satoru Suzuki (Masanobu Ando) is a timid car rental employee who hates his job but can never seem to work up the courage to quit due to his passive nature. One day his boss distracts him while driving and he accidentally bumps the rear fender of a Jaguar in front of him. Unfortunately the owner of the car is a yakuza named Kuroiwa (Yutaka Matsushige). Suzuki’s boss hangs him out to dry and he’s is forced to go with Kuroiwa to work things out (aka to get shaken down). When they get to the yakuza den Suzuki tries to talk his way out of the debt but instead talks himself into a broken thumb. Just then there’s a big explosion. Suzuki wakes up later to find himself in a pile of rubble with all the yakuza dead except an unconscious Kuroiwa next to him. A nurse named Shizuko Sato (Hikari Ishida) helps him to an ambulance with Kuroiwa, whom at this point is semi-conscious and clutching a case full of yakuza cash. After a ridiculous chain of events possible only in a movie like this the ambulance ends up in the river while Suzuki and Sato end up with the case of blood-soaked cash. And they sure don’t plan on turning it in.

Adrenaline Drive is a film that’s both disarmingly charming and funny. Both Ando and Ishida are completely endearing in their roles which start off pretty similar, but each of them experience growth in different ways during the course of the movie; Suzuki becomes more assertive while Sato learns to be more adventurous. If you’re ever in the mood for a light-hearted caper flick this is definitely the one to check out.

April is “The Month of Animation” at Film Space.

At Film Space Saturday, April 4: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea / Gake no ue no Ponyo / 崖の上のポニョ(2008) by Hayao Miyazaki – 100 mins – Japan, Animation/ Adventure/ Family. Generally favorable reviews: 69/65 out of 100.

An animated adventure centered on a 5-year-old boy and his relationship with a goldfish princess who longs to become human.

A Nutshell Review: Hayao Miyazaki's magic continues with this absolute crowd pleaser Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, his latest animated film, which turns on the usual sweetness to charm your socks off. The artwork here is simply astounding even though it's in 2D, knowing that each cell is painstakingly worked on. There are so many things going on at the same time within the same frame, that you'll probably be game for repeated viewings just to spot them all.

At Film Space Saturday, April 11: Cat Soup / Nekojiru-so / ねこぢる草 (2003) by Tatsuo Sato – 34 mins – Japan, Animation/ Short/ Comedy/ Fantasy.

When little kitten Nyaako’s soul is stolen by Death, she and her brother Nyatta embark on a bizarre journey to get it back. In the surreal dreamscape of the Other Side, they encounter many fantastic characters and remarkable, often disturbing adventures. "A visual extravaganza, a thoroughly bizarre and brilliant boat ride down the stream of consciousness." – Wizard Anime Insider. "It’s Hello Kitty on acid!"

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