media list - november 2023
[2023/11/16] CUNK ON EARTH
i watched some clips from this show a few months ago with my boyfriend (leo) and completely loved it. i'd been meaning to watch the series at some point, and then this month my flatmates put it on because a broken clock is still right twice a day. we watched the whole series in full all in one go - it's a lot shorter than i thought!
it's absolutely a great time, it's a mockumentary with snappy comedy that most of the time just sounds like stuff i'd say. i love how it characterizes its host within the format of a documentary through interviews and 100% definitely legit explanations of historical events, and despite its humor it still managed to get me to consider the state of the world as it is right now. like, boy, we're really living in a revolutionary unprecedented age for art and media and it's weird i've lived my whole life taking it for granted, as someone born 15 years after unrelated belgian techno anthem Pump Up The Jam
[2023/11/17] YMO PROPAGANDA
i really love yellow magic orchestra. i brought up their influence in my PSY-S video, and the article on spotify wrapped i just posted shows that they're my second most listened to artist from this year i guess. they're cool! and i like them a lot! i started listening to them last year, and only now discovered this concert film - "PROPAGANDA" - which released as the band's final project after their final album, SERVICE.
it's essentially one long music video overlaid with their 1983 concert. in the narrative they use the exaggerated symbolism of a fascist regime to represent the band, since i guess at the time their influence and popularity was really that strong. and by the end, their live set goes up in flames to represent that YMO's reign of terror has finally died out. i think that's pretty funny!
i'll admit that i wasn't entirely paying attention to the film, using it more as background noise while i worked, so majority of the narrative was a little lost on me. it's definitely a movie i need to rewatch sometime, but when it comes to the music it sort of brought me the realization that YMO live sets fucking rule.
i've somehow not listened to any before PROPAGANDA, so hearing how they variate and rearrange their music for this unique performance sorta blew my mind. i found a bunch more, including official live albums and unofficial uploads of their performances (this BBC radio LP one is pretty interesting!!!). they all rule! their 1980 tour features performances of ryuichi sakamoto's own music, as well as MAPS by kenji omura which caught me off guard at first. additionally, there's a later extended mix of the performance featured in PROPAGANDA mixed by brian eno. eno worked with talking heads, so that's a weird connection between two things i previously thought were totally unrelated, but it's also interesting because YMO PROPAGANDA was performed and released in 1983/1984 just like STOP MAKING SENSE (which i watched last month). these are two very different movies, but it's really cool that two of my favorite bands operated at the same time and have more in common than i thought. more on this further down the article!
[2023/11/18] SUPERMARKET WOMAN
this one was sudden. there's a clip from this movie that gets posted all the time in the goblin bunker, and when it was posted at one point this month i finally asked, "hey whats that from", and server member golok COMMANDED me to watch it within the next 48 hours from then and report back with how it made me feel. well, here i am 288 hours later!!!
it definitely rules, and you should definitely check it out, and i definitely understand why it was recommended with such urgency. it's possibly the best rom com i've seen (i have not seen many rom coms), with a story and setup so endearing and characters so enjoyable that i felt so strongly about their goal to make their supermarket as great as possible. there are stakes! and i actually felt things about those stakes! that car chase at the end was riveting, dude!!!
above all that though, my favorite thing about this movie might be its colours. everything's so light and easy on the eyes with low contrast that rarely changes, and it's just visually really pleasing. i should check out more from juzo itami, since my only real experience with japanese comedy (aside from videogames and animation) is still just koki mitani's stuff. i've enjoyed what i've seen from both directors!!!
[2023/11/23] BOUND FOR THE FIELDS, THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEACOAST
after the supermarket woman encounter i felt a little encouraged to check out the server's weekly film club, the same club that got me to check out WELCOME BACK MR. MCDONALD and could have brought me TRUE STORIES about a month before i actually watched TRUE STORIES had i known what the movie was when it was picked for the club. it's a good club.
this pick caught my attention because of its poster art, which i liked enough to want to check it out with no prior knowledge about it. i really genuinely went in blind, and ended up enjoying it quite a lot!!! and then the ending happened.
this movie is quaint, a little cute at times, but mostly tragic. all throughout there's mention of A War, which affects the entire town in different ways. it somehow took until the end for me to realize *which* war, and it absolutely demolished me.
it's certainly not the type of thing i usually watch, i tend to avoid movies about War and Tragedy and Whatever but this film humanizes the cast so strongly that [the thing that spoils the movie if i tell you what it is] feels so devastating. i had to leave my room and sit for a few moments just to process what had happened.
[2023/11/28] THE LAST EMPEROR
so this film was on my mind for a while leading up to when i decided to watch it. the main reason it was on my mind, and the main reason i wanted to watch it, had nothing to do with the subject of the movie or the director or the genre or because someone recommended it to me, but because of its SOUNDTRACK. regardless of what kind of movie this was, i just needed to know what a score composed by david byrne from talking heads and ryuichi sakamoto from yellow magic orchestra would sound like. (the film also has a third composer, cong su, but it seems like this was their most notable work.)
turns out, according to a very handy interview included in the movie's criterion collection release, that byrne and sakamoto didn't actually work *together*, but were both chosen for the same project. in that interview, byrne explains that the reason he was chosen for THE LAST EMPEROR was because director bernardo bertolucci saw STOP MAKING SENSE and had pretty much the exact theater experience as i did with its rerelease -- the whole crowd was clapping and dancing like it was a real, live performance. (granted, my theater was somewhat empty and only a few people clapped, but according to my sister who saw it the night before the audience was so rowdy that it was actually a little much.)
sakamoto was involved seemingly because he'd met success composing MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, along with his other successful work as a musician. byrne mentions that he was incredibly popular at this time, even after the 1984 breakup of YMO, and yeah that adds up this guy rules. music obviously isn't the only part of THE LAST EMPEROR, though, so i'll stop nerding out and actually talk about the movie.
it's! uh! it's a lot! it's a three-hour biopic about the last emperor of china, puyi, so it's pretty historically heavy and there's a lot of context involved that i, embarrassingly, know next to nothing about. that said the movie does excellent work of showing the life of this guy from his early childhood coronation to his imprisonment and death in the mid 1900s. it's an entertaining retelling of a lot of pretty nasty events, and it was so well-paced that three hours went by way quicker than i thought they would. i hope it's at least, like, historically accurate too and it didn't get hollywooded up. if it IS accurate then i can safely say yeah this movie is incredible check it out! it's like the kind of movie a history teacher would put on in school and everyone would complain about it even though you actually really enjoy it.
alright finally i got round to beating SHENMUE. i started playing this in august for a video project that i'm currently working on (hopefully it'll be out in january!) and it was my first time but i've known about this game for years, ever since vinesauce joel streamed it back in 2017, and i'm shocked at myself for taking this long to get to it. it's truly something special, and i love everything about it. except the fighting.