Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Year 2014: The pen scribes on, the lens sees all.

The new year has come and gone. Thank god. Other than it being some agreed upon break from normal routine, I’m not the biggest holiday fan. I don’t work a conventional job so it doesn’t affect my lifestyle too much. Besides, I work based on deadlines, so holiday or not, the work has to get done even if it is Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Actually, my “holiday period” was one of great work pressure. I had to wade through thousands of set photos for the Shusuke Kaneko film “iDolls: Battle in the Parallel World” (which is what I’m calling it until the company decides upon an official title), and I had two big articles to write. One of which was the annual “best/worst” write up for Eiga Hiho magazine.

First, since director Kaneko put this shot up on his blog, I'm guessing it's OK for me to do the same. This is a shot I took during the shooting of “iDolls: Battle in the Parallel World”. Can't wait to write about that set. It was a lot of fun.

As for Eiga Hiho... Honestly, it’s always hard to find ten films from recent years that I like. Not that they aren’t out there, just that I don’t watch movies in the volume I once did. And as an old fuddy-duddy, it’s much easier to come up with “worst” than “best”. As un-luck would have it, the “best” list requires 10 titles and the “worst” a measly 3. Oh, well.

My best list was topped by “Pacific Rim” and the worst by “Man of Steel”. In fact, the overall polling by all the writers put “Pacific Rim” at #1 in the best category, with “Man of Steel” as second worst. The worst film of the year, according to the average tally, was “World War Z”. I would have put that down too if I didn’t hate “Evil Dead” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” more. As I said, I wish I had 10 worst to write about.

My favorite section to write for is one called "He Who Must Die". In this you pick one person in the movie business you would like to see "dead". My choice last year was Seth Rogen, who would be my choice again this year if people "died" more than once. So, I went with Zack Snyder. Not only for "Man of Steel" but for, well, everything he has ever made. In all fairness, I didn't hate "Watchmen" and quite liked its opening sequence and thought setting Doctor Manhattan's background story to  music from "Koyaanisqatsi" quite brilliant. But as for the rest of his work... This section is kind of a joke, and I do not in any way shape or form want Seth or Zack to suffer from a lack of life.

The other piece I labored over during the holidays was for a mook on kaiju. It was a fairly big piece and I didn't have as much time to do it in as I would have liked, which can probably be said about any writing job. Still, I got to say a lot of things I'd wanted to about how I perceive the state of kaiju fandom in Japan. Not all of what I wrote about Japanese fandom is very pretty. Hahahaha... Ugh, I hope I don't get lynched when I attend Wonderfest next month. Mostly the piece is about what it was like as an American growing up on kaju films, both Japanese and American, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Here's the link to the mook on Amazon Japan:

I'm back to subtitling films and finished two features this month. One is Iguchi's upcoming film, which I don't think has been announced so I'm not going to do it here. I'll say this, as always, I enjoy Iguchi's movies and although they seem a bit silly on the surface, there is always a decent life-philosophy running under the surface. I'm now working on the subs for an upcoming action film and once that's done and if I can remember, I'll post something here about it in the near future.
Speaking of director Iguchi, his new movie "Nuiguruma Z" opened in Japan yesterday. For this one I did the subtitles, naturally. I also have a small part in it as a priest. I guess it's a priest. They dressed me up in some religious garb that I'm sure means something to those into the Christian religion. In my scene I'm supposed to oversee the marriage ceremony between the film's bad guy and heroine. Shooting was way back in March of last year. As with all Iguchi sets, everyone was having a great time and just letting their hair down.

Best of all, I got to work with actress Rina Takeda again. We're even in a shot together! Rina is always fun to work with as she's totally down to Earth and a bundle of energy. In fact, she's one of the stars of Kaneko's “iDolls: Battle in the Parallel World,” so I got to work with her twice in one year!

As for "Nuiguruma Z", I made the set a couple of times and enjoyed taking photos and just hanging out, especially for the big zombie day. As a big chatter box, there are always lots of people to talk to, old friends and new ones. The latest issue of Eiga Hiho features a set report of mine on the film. 

Well, that's about it for this blog entry. I'm on my way to Akihabara tonight to see a friend I haven't seen in 15 years. Her daughter is singing at a club. I don't think I've ever seen anyone sing in Akihabara so this should be kind of interesting...

And finally... Here's a nice shot I took of Rina when the two of us snuck off set for a couple of minutes. "Nuiguruma Z" is an awesomely fun film. I hope everyone will have a chance to see it in the near future. And don't give me a hard time about my acting!!!

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