Day 249: Akira (1988)

akiraI have been doing this for 248 days before today and I realized that I have watched all sorts of films like horror, comedy action, martial arts, animated films, but I have never watched a Japanese Anime film. That is why for today, I chose to watch the film Akira which was released in 1988. In 1988, Tokyo as we know it was destroyed by a psychic by the name of Akira. 30 years later in Neo-Tokyo, scientists are still trying to figure out the psychics and what gives them their power. Meanwhile, Neo-Tokyo is in ever growing distress and people are becoming restless. One revolutionary group tries to break out one of the psychics, but it backfires when he transfers powers to a bike gang kid who goes a little violent when the powers start to manifest. Now three psychic children and one of the biker gang kids friends will have to stop him before it’s too late. The film stars Mitsuo Iwata (Golden Boy) as Kaneda, Nozomu Sasaki (Bubblegum Crisis) as Tetsuo, Mami Koyama (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils) as Kei, Tesshô Genda (Ghost In The Shell) as Ryu, Hiroshi Ôtake (Speed Racer) as Nezu, Yuriko Fuchizaki (Oh My Goddess!) as Kaori, and the film was written and directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Metropolis). 

akira 2I am not going to lie and say that I love Japanese Anime because I never really paid much attention to them. I am however going to say that I really enjoyed watching the film even though I was trying to figure out what Akira is exactly. All I know is when that dude shows up, nothing good comes from it, but total destruction which is why I can see why people want to prevent it. One of the things I loved about this film the most is the fact that it’s a very well written story and it’s executed on your screen. Here is this kid whose been picked on or he may not be the most popular member of the gang who finally gets some powers that allows him to mess people up. What would you do with them? Yeah, you would mess some people up because you can. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Tetsuo is in his room and he is visited by the three little psychic kids, but they came in the form of giant stuffed animal toys to try and freak him out. They know exactly how dangerous he is and they want to prevent him from harnessing the powers. The animation is not like what we typically see from Japanese anime because this one is very similar to that of Heavy Metal, but improved. You could even compare it to Titan A.E. if you really wanted to as far as what the animation looks like. I really did enjoy watching this film and I’m glad I took the time to watch it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 88: Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (2013)

nymphoEver since the Dogme 95 movement from Denmark (which only lasted ten years in total), there is no denying that Lars von Trier (Melancholia) was the true visionary and cinematic daredevil to come out of that. The Danish director returned in 2013 with a daring vision with his next film Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (one of two released) which stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Dark World) as Seligman, a regular man who while on his way home from the market finds a young woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying on the ground beaten. Seligman brings the girl home and he listens to her as she recounts all of her erotic sexual encounters that have happened in her life that brought her to that point in time. The film also stars Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Father, Connie Nielsen (The Devil’s Advocate) as Joe’s Mother, Stacy Martin (Tale Of Tales) as Young Joe, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Jerome, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) as Mrs. H, Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows) as B, Anders Hove (Mifune) as Odin, Clayton Nemrow (Speed Racer) as Married Man, Jens Albinus (The Idiots) as S., Hugo Speer (The Full Monty) as Mr. H., and Jesper Christensen (Quantum Of Solace) as Jerome’s Uncle.

nymphomaniacFirst off, I am going to say that this is definitely a film that would have been rated NC-17 had they tried to enter this into theaters here in America. Sex is still a little taboo here in the states while it’s not in Europe. There is a lot of sex in this film and a lot of male body parts as well as the female, but the thing that got me was that in some scenes the sex looked authentic. One scene shows Joe having intercourse with a male on the train which blew my mind that it looked that real. The film is divided into five chapters with the first one being her sexual experiences being compared to fly fishing, one chapter comparing her father’s death to Edgar Allen Poe’s or how similar they were. One chapter deals with Joe being confronted with the wife of one her lovers in Mrs. H (Uma Thurman). What happens next was absolutely brilliant. Uma Thurman stood out like a champ in that chapter and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. You’re thinking the whole time that she is going to feel bad and she just carries on using sex as a way to cope with reality. The film and it’s other volume are the last films in the depression trilogy that also included Antichrist and Melancholia. I probably should have watched Antichrist first, but oh well. Lars von Trier is a true cinematic hero and visionary in my opinion and I look forward to the next volume. The film definitely ends on a cliffhanger which leaves me no choice, but to catch the next film and see Shia once again. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.