Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A little too on the nose...

I was telling my co-worker yesterday how I've always wanted to get a motorcycle but that every single one of my friends and family refused to allow it because they were afraid I'd kill myself joyriding. She said she wanted a Vespa scooter, which would be safer than a hog however I don't think I could ever bring myself to ride one because I'd be too afraid of looking like a Zooey Deschannel-style hipster… or, rather, afraid of looking even more like a Zooey Deschannel-style hipster. A Vespa is just a little too on the nose.

But that got me thinking. I do get frustrated sometimes when people I don't know well (and sometimes people I do) interact with me as if I am a Zooey Deschannel-type of goofy, hipstery girly-girl. And I admit, okay, I do wear glasses and lots of dresses and may or may not have made black bean brownies from scratch while wearing a funky-printed apron and listening to Belle & Sebastian in between knitting a pink and white stripped afghan this weekend but that's all surface stuff!!

Or is it? Maybe I really am a Zooey Deschannel-type hipster… I love craft beer and homemade soap. I shop on Etsy… all that stuff made by hand. I love it.

And it struck me while I was watching a movie on Sunday evening with my new roommate who is a Movie Talker. The movie was the 2012 Japanese historical fantasy film Ruroni Kenshin, based on a popular adventure comic.

My roommate pipes up during one of the fight scenes, "This looks expensive, I wonder how the studios make their money back. They don't distribute this stuff in the West, do they?"

And I thought about it. I mean, the budget was about $20 million according to wikipedia and while expensive, it's really not that expensive compared to Hollywood movies. But instead of CGI robots or whatever, the Ruroni Kenshin team spent money on people. There's the link. People-stuff made by hand-movies I like. I like watching people tell a story more than I like watching CGI dragons. And I definitely prefer Ruroni Kenshin's one-on-one sword battles to the visual vomit turned out by Hollywood FX studios. AND who finds a world more meaning in Vikram's haunted eyes in I than any of Christopher Nolan's intricately done world-building… I like watching actors do their thing more than I care about "autuer" directors with a story to tell. For the most part.

Maybe at heart I'm just one of those deliberately difficult people. I don't know. I just know that every time, if forced to chose, I will pick a charismatic actor over a "logical" story or technically stupendous effects.

Every time.

Anyway, Ruroni Kenshin: good flick. I wouldn't mind seeing an Indian adaptation of some sort. It has an interesting premise--set in the early Meiji period as Japan was being forcibly modernized, the titular Ruroni Kenshin, a wandering samurai, is a relic of the earlier feudal age. Very regretful of earlier battles, he has sworn never to kill again but gets swept up into events that may make him break his oath. There's an EVIL opium-selling corporate magnate only interested in cash, a spunky girl who has taken over running her father's sword training school, another girl on the run from the EVIL corporate baddie, and a few other odd guys who find common ground with Kenshin and decide to join forces to fight the baddie.

There's a handful of big battle scenes, many more one-on-one fight scenes, some nice costumes, a couple really detailed sets… but the main attraction was really the actors. Perfect type of movie for me~ There's two sequels. I should check them out, too.

And coming up, we've got Shamitabh (YES!), Badlapur and… Anegan and Yennai Arindhaal depending on what comes to my theater.

I'm also looking forward to Broken Horses. WOW! The trailers look so epic! And just my style, talking about people-driven, actor-driven films...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't think of Vespas as being all that hipsterish, because I mostly saw them when I was living overseas as an expatriate kid, and associate them with "practical people who can't justify owning a car" rather than trendy young Amreekans. However, one could always try painting it black with flames or something. :)

I don't know what Indian historical setting you'd use for a story about wandering warriors dispossessed by Modern Times...maybe the Pindari warrior/raider culture post-Anglo-Maratha wars?

Agreed on the star power thing. I can put up with all kind of inept filmmaking, as long as the stars are people who float my boat and aren't playing complete jerks.

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