January 14, 2024

While I watched quite a few movies this week (including a screening of Until the End of the World with Wim Wenders being brought in for a Q&A), a majority of my time was spent on reading White Album 2 and its large amount of supplementary content. I think I’m growing into a hopeless romantic with how many sappy romances have been making me sob lately!

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010 Movie)

Image credit to Glasstire

Even 30,000 years ago mankind wanted to create art. No, not just art, but motion. We wanted to show others the world as we see it. Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams emphasizes that above all else. These primitive paintings are brought to life in such an honest, expressive manner that could’ve only been pulled off by a master of non-fiction storytelling. Ernst Reijseger’s score is incredible, too!

The Feast of Amrita (2023 Movie)

Image credit to Fantasia Festival

I’ve been waiting for The Feast of Amrita ever since I saw the chaotic, gorgeous Aragne: Sign of Vermillion. Even moreso than its prequel, I was gripped to the screen throughout all the gory madness on display. The animation, while rough, is extremely aesthetic and elevated highly by creative camerawork and some truly nasty sound design. B-movie brilliance in animated form.

Mysterious Skin (2004 Movie)

Image credit to Projected Figures

Agonizingly stark and authentic, Mysterious Skin is nigh impossible to watch in its darkest moments—although that may be something of an inevitability. What’s just as inevitable is that there’s a sense of comfort in the midst of all the pain it puts you through. Gregg Araki’s nostalgic atmosphere infused with a tinge of Americana ensures this element of healing even further. Gordon-Levitt is at his absolute best. There are some memories which can never fade away, but they alone don’t define you.

Nanook of the North (1922 Movie)

Image credit to Britannica

Not a documentary as much as it is a rumination on life in the wild. Nanook of the North isn’t particularly truthful, but the strength of its characters and the nonthreatening harshness of its setting make for what can only be described as a testament to the human spirit. Every hunting sequence is portrayed with elegance, and the tribe members’ lives with absolute respect. Not sure how much it deserves its status as a historical artifact.

The Rocking Horsemen (1992 Movie)

Image credit to IMDb

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s eye for homeliness even through the surreal is completely unmatched. The Rocking Horseman is one of the most warm, enveloping pieces of art I’ve ever seen. My expectations were massive from the get-go and they were only exceeded. An age-old coming-of-age tale of Japanese high schoolers starting their own band, the film chronicles the boys’ journey throughout their musical career with no less love and care than that of a doting mother. Contains one of Hisaishi’s best scores, too!

Until the End of the World (1991 Movie)

Image credit to The Criterion Collection

A road trip of epic proportions. Wim Wenders’ Until the End of the World was a treat to see on the big screen, especially with the man himself being there afterwards for a Q&A! While I was loving the first four hours, it’s that final stretch which really pulled me into the point of no return. There’s not much to say without getting into spoiler territory, but this is ultimately a film about dreams and what they mean in the context of our broader reality. It’s also a romance, an adventure, and a love letter to the soul of humanity. A true accomplishment.

Rascal the Raccoon (1977 TV Series)

Image credit to Crunchyroll

Definitely not as good as Marco, but Rascal the Raccoon still held my interest for over fifty episodes. Rascal is adorable! However, what makes this show interesting isn’t its contents as much as its real-life consequences. People began importing raccoons to keep as pets directly because of Rascal, most of which were let into the wild after their owners realized that they were a pain in the ass to take care of. As a result, racoons are now a large agricultural threat in Japan, with the government even having planned mass-extermination tactics against them. 

White Album 2 (2011 Visual Novel + Related Media)

Image credit to Zerochan

Melodramatic, cliche, predictable, and repetitive. All of these words can be used to describe White Album 2 with innate accuracy, yet absolutely none of it matters. When you have characters this well-defined and writing this human, the fact that you’re reading a gigantic soap opera fades away into a non-issue. This is a story where it’s impossible to blame anyone and that’s exactly why it works as well as it does.

The heroine routes in Closing Chapter that aren’t Setsuna’s, while good, do ultimately feel rather superfluous. Chiaki’s route is shockingly brilliant in its own way, though? While not as heartbreaking as the main narrative, it’s easily the most exciting part of White Album 2. There are tons of clever little structural details, setups, and reveals that had me on the verge of cackling. It almost feels like a completely different VN!

For You (1982 Album)

Image credit to Wikipedia

Pure gold as far as I’m concerned. Tatsuro Yamashita is nothing short of a God when it comes to city pop, and this incredibly crafted album could very well be his masterpiece. I can’t pick a favorite or least favorite song, everything in For You is fantastic.

Another wonderful week! I’m so glad I’ve exited the phase where I thought it was necessary to watch things I knew I wouldn’t like. Sure, going out of your comfort zone is important, but there are so many works of art I think I’ll love and can’t wait to get to! If your family is forcing you to watch another crappy blockbuster for the billionth time, maybe it’d be best to offer them an alternative.

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Previous posts

February 18, 2024

Back yet again... as always. Every single Sunday. The cycle of death and rebirth must occur!

February 11, 2024

It's time for another round-up! I saw two major Oscar nominees, some amazing 35mm screenings, and continued my Shenmue journey!

February 4, 2024

More movies! More anime! More games! More books! All of them good! Well, almost all of them, at least. Thankfully there weren't any stinkers this week.