Tag Archives: Movies

I’ve been crows zeroed!

I saw Crows Zero at the Sydney Film Festival 2008. I was quite excited because I’ve been wanting to see that movie for months! Not because the director of the movie is the Takashi Miike, famous for his controversial movie Ichii the Killer (haven’t seen the movie yet.. heard its way gory) or because I’m a big fan of the manga/comic “Crows” by Hiroshi Takahashi (to which the movie is based).

The real reason why I wanted to see the movie was rather shallow: cute (i mean HOT!) boy actor Oguri Shun. Honestly, I didn’t particularly care if the movie would be crap or unexpectedly brilliant. I saw the trailer on youtube and had no idea what the movie would be, except that there will be an incredible amount of fight scenes. So I paid my SFF2008 ticket and was determined that I would be happy enough to see Oguri Shun fighting in the big screen.

And what did I get in return?

A really really cool movie with bad-ass characters, incredible fight scenes, just enough humor packaged in a simple storyline.

The movie tells the story of Genji Takaya (Oguri Shun), the son of a Yakuza boss with an ambitious dream. Takaya’s dream is to be the first student ever to conquer and unify the notorious Suzuran High School, a high school filled with punks, rebels and crazy students.

To achieve his dream, Takaya must build his own army by defeating the leader of each gangs and classes to ultimately bring down the current strongest person in the school, Tamao Serizawa (Yamada Takayuki) and his gang.

The movie then follows Takaya, with the aid of Suzuran graduate and ‘B-level’ yakuza member, Ken Katagiri (Kyosuke Yabe), as he conquer the school class by class through small fights, brutal fights and even matchmaking favours. As his army and loyal followers started to grow, so does his reputation. Ultimately leading to a grand and final showdown between his and Serizawa’s army.

What I like most about this movie is how it is able to present so many different characters, without letting the audience forget about which one is which. This, I think, is the very essence and character in every Japanese fiction, be it a manga, anime, movies and tv series.

The main characters gave really exceptional performances. Oguri Shun, who started his career starring in a string of high school themed tv series, stepped it up a notch as the ambitious Genji Takaya. One of my favourite scenes in the movie was a scene featuring a badly beaten-up Genji Takaya trying to stand up and continue fighting. It was as if I could feel the pain of every aching muscles and broken bones in his body!

Yamada Takayuki also gave a surprising and great performance. I first saw him as the shy and dorky otaku (a manga, anime and figurines addict… and I mean ADDICT!) in Densha Otoko (The Train Man). His performance in Crows Zero is such a contrast! In Crows Zero he was strong, violent and daring, albeit slightly lunatic.

The movie also has cool sound and special effects that creates a perception of super-human abilities of the characters. This was shown in various scenes with Serizawa, nicknamed bakemono (monster) for his strength, when he created a massive dent on the side of a car by deliberately crashing his head on it or when he played ‘human-bowling’.

The cinematography is also brilliant, especially during the final showdown where the black wearing high school student set up such a wonderful contrast against the blue-sky background.

I also loved the songs and the original scores used throughout the movie, especially the song “Into the Battlefield” which was used during the beginning of the final showdown.

Despite all the praises that I gave, there were still some elements of the movie that I thought were simply useless. Notably the female character/almost-love interest, whose name I didn’t even bother to remember. The movie would be better off without her.

Overall, I’d give the movie 9 out of 10! And if you enjoy movies such as Kill Bill and Fight Club, you will definitely enjoy this movie. Personally, I think it’s better than Fight Club. Haha..

Move over Brad Pitt! It’s Oguri Shun time.

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Laskar Pelangi

I went to the premier of Laskar Pelangi or ‘The Rainbow Troops’ and I came out happy, curious, entertained and touched!

The movie is based on the best selling book by Indonesian author, Andrea Hirata. I haven’t read the book yet, but everyone has been telling me that the movie does absolute justice to the book with some people even saying that the movie is better than the book. I don’t know, I guess it’s a matter of personal opinion.

Anyway, back to the movie. The movie tells the story of a touching friendship of a group of poor kids living in Belitong island in the 1970s, stuggling and fighting to study and learn. It also tells the struggle of two teachers trying to keep the kids’ school open in order to give poor kids a chance to study, a rare thing in a place where poor kids just dont get an education and work straightaway as coolies at mining companies.

What i love most about this movie is how amazing all the kids’ characters are! Each has its own uniqueness and even though there are 10 kids being illustrated in the movie, you’re still able to tell which one is which.

My favourite character is definitely this little boy called Lintang. He lives in the coast where his father is a fisherman. As a result, Lintang has to ride 80 km far on his bicycle everyday to go to school, while passing by a crocodile crossing every single day. He is the smartest boy in his class with exceptional mathematical and physics skills for a boy his age.

The movie also has heartwarming and honest dialogues, set on an amazing location — the island itself, which provides a beautiful landscape scenery throughout the whole movie.

I also love the soundtrack, especially since my sister, Sherina wrote, composed and sang one of the song 🙂

The film is a huge success. After 10 days of screening in Indonesia, up to 1,1 million people has seen the movie. An impressive number for an Indonesian movie!

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