Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dredd 3D: The Verdict

To start off with the synopsis: The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture – a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute-turned-drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

Ok. This synopsis about the whole having to fight up a tower block against a gang really sounded very similar to the 2011 film The Raid: Redemption, and if you haven't yet seen The Raid I highly recommend you do so this second because its amazing. On that note, I was a little sceptical in going to see Dredd because it sounded so similar to The Raid and because I didn't think it would be nearly as good in comparison. I would say for the most part they do have a similar flavour in the sense that theres lots of guns, raw violence and the directors didn't skimp on the blood and graphics when people get shot in the face. However I do feel the villains and lead characters, although both essentially similar in both films, have a very different feel from each other. This in turn, for me anyway, made the two films feel very different. 

All in all Dredd was a really enjoyable action film and I would say for those not familiar with the Judge Dredd comics it would be a very good bridge to actually reading them. I personally haven't read much Judge Dredd but I am familiar with the 2000AD characters and their concepts. Here comes one little meh: as far as I am aware Judge Dredd (in the comics) is portrayed and the quintessential badass (which this film definitely delivered) and a hard hearted personification of totalitarian law. He IS the law! He is supposed to be a bit of an anti-hero because he is so harsh, however I'd say this is true for only about 80% of the film. We see him soften a bit, especially towards his trainee Anderson.

 However this for me is only a little meh because films and comics are two very different disciplines I do feel that if Dredd had been his actual harsh, dickish self throughout the whole film it probably wouldn't have been as enjoyable; the ending would have been different from what it was in the film. If he had done a 'Comic Dredd' ending you would have gone out of the cinema hating the 'hero' which is just not the way cinema works. You want the end of films to feel concluded and wholesome because films (unless in a 
definite series of films) should give the viewer a nice compact story and it should feel resolved at the end, which this did. 

 The film definitely got across the badass aspect with all the really great one liners and Karl Urban I think was definitely the perfect choice for the roll. He had the voice right, the swagger, the way Dredd moves and of course the defining gurn. Exhibit A:

The picture above is all sparkly and glowy because (I assume) its a shot from one of the 'slo-mo' scenes. I found this bit of cinematography really interesting. Here is a clip of one such scene: WARNING! If you don't like blood or pieces of face flying at you in slow moition, don't press play :/ 

The drug 'slo-mo' makes the brain work slower and therefore time from the perspective of the user seems slower too. The director decided to play with this idea in the cinematography and I'm not 100% sure on whether it actually adds anything or not. Part of me feels that this effect was put in simply because it looks pretty in 3D and also because really fast paced action sequences aren't very watchable in 3D. So the slow motion solves the latter dilemma. This leads me to ask: did this film REALLY have to be released ONLY in 3D. Either way the slow motion does look quite cool but I'm not sure it was necessary, so I'm going to remain neutral on this point.

To conclude, this film is well worth going to see, but not if your squeamish or don't like gritty violence. At the beginning of the film the villain, Mama, has three men skinned alive and thrown off a balcony 200 floors up and they land with a bit of a splat...
There is plans for a trilogy in the works providing that it grosses $50mil in the US. Heres some other articles I found on the matter!

In the mean time I'm going to invest in the Judge Dredd comic omnibuses. I am rather taken with the concepts for the Dredd Universe and think it'll be a comic series I will rather enjoy :)


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Tea Party Club's 5th Anniversary with Juliette et Justine and GLB!

Oh. My. God. Today was just so very very epic. I am so proud of how far the British Lolita community has come. I was also amazed at how many international lolitas attended! I think there were lolitas here today from every corner of the globe!

Here are some of the pics I got from the event plus pics of the goodies I got 8D
 My co-ord for the day

Mmmm, cocktails :3
 The wonderful guests of honour! I'm sorry this isn't a great pic of them but I was sat at a really awkward angle from them D:

 Team drinking Mojitos in the middle of the day! We won the scavenger hunt!The prize is in a pic below!

On with the Fashion Show!!
What really surprised me about the above co-ord was the crown head dress. I personally really love them. However like all fashions, looks go in cycles and I think these went 'out of fashion' a few years ago. However I noticed in GLB earlier that Angelic Pretty is producing a crown head dress to go with Cinema Doll. Maybe they're making a come back? I do hope so because I want one!
 I want this print to badly! Its called La Bibliotheque.
 Same print different colourway

 So many beautiful lolitas and so many beautiful co-ords!

Now onto the goodies! I was a VIP so I got a goodie bag which came in the bag below.
 Inside was a copy of Neo, a cute note pad, a commemorative brooch for the event and a hair bow by Peacockalorum/Stocking Shock whos stores can be found here and here
 As mentioned in the V&A post last week, I intended to buy a bird hair accessory from Now Voyager which I did! Its so beautiful and I have every intention of buying from them again! The price was very good and its just really beautiful. I hope to buy one of their boat hair accessories in the future! Again the website for them is here. Suzuki san of GLB named her Chi-chan :3
 The current issue of GLB
 Postcard signed by Nakamura san and Suzuki san!
 The Scavanger Hunt prize!

I also won a wig in the raffle from Lockshop whos store can be found here. I did take it out quickly to take a look and its wonderful quality and I'm looking forward to wearing it! I didn't want to disturb it again and take it out because I'm terrible at tangling wigs!

Finally here is a group shot of everybody! Thanks very much to Anarchy Photography for letting me use this!

Today was just so very spectacular and great fun! I also got to try on a bonnet for the first time and found that they actually quite suit me to my delight! So next time I'm buying a piece I'm definitely going to have bonnets as an accessory on the brain! What was especially nice about the event was that in addition to the goods that JetJ and GLB bought for us to buy, there were also independent UK stores that were able to showcase their wares and for people to see in person and buy.

At the end the main event organiser, Kyra, got proposed to by her partner. It was so beautiful and I cried, as did everyone else! I wish them all the best for their future!

Thank you everyone who organised and attended for making this so special! Britain definitely did the International Lolita Community proud!


EDIT SUNDAY: I just found out I won the Illustration competition, so my artwork is going to be published in glb. I'm so happy :'D
I believe it is this picture that is being published!

P.S As with the V&A meet I shall post on here when others have uploaded their albums and blog posts!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pixar's Brave: and why I'm disappointed in it.

Hey guys!
I know its been a long time since I've written a review, and I know the Brave isn't Japanese related in any way, but I felt the need to write a review for this film after seeing it last night. I'm sorry this will probably be long and ranty -_-'
I'll start off on a Japanese note anyways. The Japanese title is 『メリダとおそろしの森』Which I think roughly translates as Merida and the Amazing Forest. And heres the trailer with some Japanese footage on it. I did find it slightly amusing that the Dad still has a slight Scottish accent even in Japanese XD
Right, now on with the main review. To start off with I would just like to say that I am a massive Pixar fan and have been anticipating this film for a long time. Also, I love analysing their films because the symbolism and moral message of their films are always really well woven in. That may contribute to part of the reason why I'm so disappointed.

My main qualm about this film is that it really, REALLY didn't feel like a Pixar film. It felt like a typical Disney or Dreamworks film. The main defining quality of a Pixar film and why as a studio they are so successful, is because they are able to communicate to all age groups through their beautiful story telling. Also, they normally do this story telling in the context of some bat-shit crazy unique environment. They can take a really unique far out concept, yet at the end of the film everyone feels like they can relate to what just happened. Theres always strong symbolism and the storytelling is subtle. Brave, I felt, did not have any of this. It was just a bland kids movie. Granted it was very beautifully animated, but Pixar can no longer rely on its pioneering animation to wow its audiences because now lots of other movie studios are using similar techniques. Computer animation for children's films is now the norm. Visually there is nothing wrong with Brave, but it was missing its storytelling magic that Pixar is so good at. Its also good at making epic adventure films, which Brave wasn't either.

Why didn't it sweep me away on a wonderful adventure? Well, I think it'd be hard to convey any sense of the word 'adventure' in what is essentially a day and a half. Thats how long Merida and her Mum have to transform her back. Two sunrises and she was transformed during the evening so... either way its not a very long period of time. Furthermore, they only ever go between the castle, the witches house, the stone circle, the ruined castle and the forest all of which seem to be within easy riding distance of the castle. They never go anywhere remotely far! Why? Because they only have a day! D8< This backwards and forwarding between locations overall made the film feel quite choppy and the story just didn't flow very well because of it.

Also, this film to me rang of Disney's 'Brother Bear'. The whole learning to accept another being/person by being transformed into a bear concept has already been done, and it was done better the first time round because the bear went on an epic adventure and actually did learn something by being a bear. In this film the fact that the Mother was transformed into a bear seems irrelevant to me apart from the fact that the witches spell said to 'change' her and that it meant the Dad would try to kill her at some point...come to think of it he never apologised for trying to kill her either. But the witches spell could have been a better plot device if the spell had transformed her into something that would have actually helped her relate to her daughter. All it did was make them work together to try and transform her back and not really to address the issue which was the disagreement over the marriage.

The characters... I actually really liked the Dad. He was an awesome character. The naughty triplets were fun too. But Merida wasn't the blaze of feminism that Pixar promised her to be. The mother was also a really bland, generic well, mother character. They were so bland and 2D I couldn't relate to either of them and get the point of the film which is ridiculous because all (teen) girls know what its like to disagree with their mothers about something.

Now a nit picky thing. Just because. Will o the wisps in any myth or legend have not been associated with leading people to their fates. Well, thats a lie actually. They lead you to your fate if your fate is death or danger because they stray travellers off safe paths. In an ironic way I suppose this film does reflect that, witches hut and an abandoned castle where a huge bear slaughtered everyone. So, if any of you ever see a will o the wisp, for the love of all that is holy, do not follow it. -_-' Just some mythology thing which was irritating me. But I do feel they could of played up the Celtic theme a bit more with genuine mythos and a bit more culture seeped in. The clans constantly trying to beat each other up seemed legit though.

In short, this is why I didn't like this film. Pixar needs to stick to what they do best and need to do it the way they've always done it i.e. the creative always coming exclusively from within Pixar and *cough* not getting directors from outside Pixar. Its a good children's film, but for me it just isn't Pixar.

On a high note, I really did like the short animation, La Luna, at the beginning of the film. It still had the subtle imagery in there that I so love >.< Plus it was really cute and visually enjoyable to look at. It really did still have the Pixar heart in it, so that was really lovely to see. The concept was just really beautiful and elegantly simple. My previous point still stands, its a really unique idea but you still understand the point and the message. Heres the first part of an interview with the director for that:
I've always found how Pixar works as a whole really fascinating and they do talk a bit in this interview about the role that their short films have to play within the studio.

Sorry Pixar! I still love all your other movies, just not Brave! (or Cars 2)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

V&A Loli-pop!!

Hey! As promised I will write about last night's meet!
 Unfortunately I actually didn't take many photos -_-' But when the photographers who were there upload their photos, with their permission provided, I shall link theirs on here :) Here are the pics I did get!

 My co-ordinate!
 Make up shot!
 I met up with two of my university friends and we went for drinks at Speedy's, which is a filming location from the BBC Sherlock series >.< Just on the left is 221B Baker Street. (Although this is in Euston)
 This guy is Daniel Lismore of Sorapol. He is a bit of a fashion idol of mine, he looks fabulous in whatever he wears. You can follow him on facebook!
 Felicity of Now Voyager!I just love her hair accessories and plan on buying one of those little birds in pink for next weeks meet >.< You can visit her online store here!
 Keeping it classy at the end of the evening with a burger on the way home :P
 I managed to finally put another entry into my purikura book! (プリクラ)There was free purikura booths last night >.<
One of my university friends recently came back from Japan and I asked him to pick this up for me >.< I had a major fan girl moment :3 I have been watching the DVD which comes with it today! Very good practice for Japanese as theres no subtitles!

All in all, it was a very fun evening! I met lolitas I'd never met before, and caught up with ones I had. I also met some really lovely members of the public and photographers whos enthusiasm and genuine curiosity for the fashion was very uplifting. Thank you V&A for holding such a wonderful event!

I shall be updating this post as I find albums and other links relevant to last night!

Other blog posts/photographs on this event: