[movie] Ghost in the Shell

Poorly mushed together script, pulled by good actors, anyone? Or how Hollywood Edition 3 movies out of 1 script became 1 movie out of 5 scripts.

Ghost in the shell is something colossal and wonderful. Every anime season/series, every movie, manga – each one went deeper, each one had a gigantic moment of WOW. And this movie took them all and made a smoothie blending together strawberries, bacon, and sushi, if you please.

From small things as Major Mira Kusanagi pursuing her history, with everything in the plot dragging her towards it, except herself. To meh things, like the “bad guy”, who considered people like Major – his arsenal property, being so very bland, that I can’t even recall his name. To gigantic unforgivable things, like Ghost surviving in Net, and being presented like a dry sponge with hardly anything to make you wonder of who, how, why, and what’s next, or at least: what happened to those involved? “You’re so beautiful, beautiful, so beautiful, they really did a great job making you beautiful, you’re so beautiful, beautiful… I’m not that beautiful.”

BUT. Please read on, this is where I give you my positive take. While I was not so pleased with Scarlett Johansson being my beloved Major Kusanagi, I think she did a great job playing a robot with mere memories of what it was like being a human inside. Her robotic walk, her scary looming, that was all beautiful, very well done. I loved other team mates too, and how they got drawn together in the end, making perfect intro into what would be normal GITS entry.

So. All in all I am happy that people will like this movie. I like the choice of actors too, because they took it serious, and did a great job of it. But script is a terror. It’s crammed to the point where all the huge things became bland norm, and left little to no impression.

DISCLAIMER: My opinion may very well be biased due to being a fan, don’t take my word for it, please watch it.

[series] Samurai Gourmet

SamuraiGourmetMini series based on essay and manga of same title of “Samurai Gourmet” by Masayuki Kusumi got recommended to me by a friend, and, having little time, I still watched it whole in two days. One can really manage with one day if one has time. Series can be found on Netflix, or wherever else you might be watching your things.

Takeshi Kasumi (played by Naoto Takenaka) retires, and has to learn to live as a free man, without constricting himself as working people do. Pretty much, he has to learn to not jump out of the bed in terror of being late, or that he can indeed have a beer with his lunch in the middle of the week. Learning all this he walks in search of what to do with all this free time, and stumbles upon different food places, with hilarious adventures just waiting for this timid old mister. Cold noodles and poorly cut seaweed? It’s not like he’d dare to complain. Loud customers bothering his reading? He doesn’t want a fight. Rude chef scolding foreigners for eating his food wrong? Well, it’s his place…

But here comes the fun Samurai part. Mister Takeshi slips into a daydream of “what would samurai do?“, samurai, as I understood, being his favorite type of hero. Would he be shy to slurp his noodles in a fancy restaurant? Oh the hell he would! He’d appreciate food, and wouldn’t be afraid to show it! And that constantly complaining man beside him? Nah, enough is enough!

Now, the funny thing here is, that this is a very Eastern / Asian / Japanese story. Because while mister Takeshi daydreams and is building up his courage to ask those damn loud men to tone it down a bit, for they’re bothering everyone else in the place – he loses it the moment he stands up, and gets shy about standing up. Often he doesn’t say a word, someone else does for him, and instead of taking away the proud moment of “I did it!” he takes away no less great treasure – humble moment of “this other person inspired me”.

It’s a foodie series, as I understood, and Naoto Takenaka makes every bite look like it’s the best dish he’s ever eaten, but as someone who almost never watches anything about food – I found it very amusing, and not bothering at all. Episodes are short, filled with lovely little stories, and good humor. And I can proudly say I took a humbling lesson from this too: it inspired me, and I hope I can someday have the time on my hands to take a detour too.

Ghost In The Shell: 5 minute clip

In the end, even if I am not a fan of Scarlett Johansson, I understand why she was picked for the role. Ghost in the Shell is a one of a kind, heavy-duty cyberpunk, and cyberpunk was never a genre that took the scene easily. It was always exceptional, it is always something you remember and carry with you afterwards (like, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Transmetropolitan, Logan’s Run, Matrix, you name it; Sci-fi is fairly easy to absorb, while CP has something within that pulls you out of your own body; it changes your view to the world, it leaves a mark on you, and you can’t just be the same as you was before). And cyberpunk in Japan? It’d be just so out of the general flow of minds, that yes, in the end, I understand why they picked a caucasian, famous action movie actor for the role of Major Kusanagi. They had to give the link to the masses who are not yet familiar, to whom this might be too heavy, and also those who might ignore this if it was “oh, just another sci-fi, some kind of Japanese movie based on their cartoons or whatever“. She’s a link of normality in a cyberpunk world that is anything [but normal?…] (in the end, anything can be justified, anything can happen, limit no longer exists in the glory of Makers, 3D printers, and cell labs, and when everyone’s a God – what’s there to ground the believers? And what a nonbeliever is in a society where there is nothing to believe in in the first place?)

Jack the Ripper, German, filmed in Vilnius; Lithuania

Imagine that. German Jack The Ripper movie, filmed in Lithuania, Vilnius. Naturally I was stoked to see it. But here’s a catch: it’s a bit tough to get into German side of television.

But as my friend said: when there is a will, there is a way.

This was one of the coziest, and oddest ways to watch a movie. With her kind offer, and a rig that made me worry of how am I such a pig to burden a friend like that, we’ve watched a movie on her television, together. Laptop on a chair, chair on a table, pushed to the tv, and turned to the screen for us to see.

The movie was great, aprox. 90 minutes as all, but felt really short. Both I and her have troubles watching movies just like that, and yet we both agreed that this felt short. Actors are wonderful, costumes were beautiful, and the idea was fresh, and appealing.

Thank you lots for this opportunity!