Whew!! Well it certainly took me long enough to get this one written, but here we go with your Favorite Catgirl’s impressions of the new Chambara drama by cult director Takeshi Miike, “13 Assassins”. Flashing swords, bloody death, and a brave stand of a few brave men against seemingly impossible odds…..
Our synopsis? How about this: “The year is 1844. A vicious nobleman rapes and kills with impunity, shielded from punishment by virtue of his political connections. Although the era of the samurai is fading and coming to an end, one honest government official is still able to enlist the aid of thirteen honorable swordsmen in secrecy. Their mission? Nothing less than to assassinate this sadistic lord whatever the cost, before he can seize even more power and become untouchable…. above anyone’s power to keep in check and a threat that would poison the nation’s very soul. With time running out and against impossible odds, these assassins lay a deadly trap for the lord and his army of bodyguards in a booby-trapped village of death, culminating in one of the bloodiest, muddiest sword-fights ever put to film.”
Sound a bit “Seven Samurai” to you too? Yep… this one seems to want to channel the spirit of that old Kurosawa film and lots of other 70’s Chambara classics. You know the ones… lots of stern faced Japanese guys (and even a few girls..) facing the idea of inescapable death to achieve Honor and restore Justice. There’s something primal and heroic about that…. and it resonates through the Chambara film in a way that only the best Spaghetti Westerns ever seemed to truly understand. Mind you… most of the best of the Spaghetti Westerns were even adapted from these old Japanese swordplay films. But… at their heart, both genres were about staring Death right in the face without flinching and going for it full on… even knowing you probably wouldn’t succeed.
So does this one have the “warrior spirit”? One way to find out, and that’s to follow this crazy Catgirl on a journey to Feudal Japan, where perhaps Death came easy… and life was sometimes cheap… but Honor and Duty were priceless treasures beyond value.
There are days… while surfing about the Web that I come across something that tickles my fancy and brings me back to memories of the days when I was just a wee lil’ girl, who more than anything in the whole wide world, wanted to be all “kung fu-y” and badass…. just like all those amazing women in the cheesy kung fu films that filled my Saturday afternoon TV watching.
Sure… there was always a Hero in those films….but the girls….. they looked just like me!! They had the same dark hair… the same eyes… the same tiny delicate build…. but nobody, and I mean nobody, ever messed with them (except the Evil villian of course… but then that’s his job, Hehehe!!). For a little Asian girl growing up in the US…. and the only Asian girl in my school at the time… these were potent images that always reminded me that I too, could one day grow up to be both exotic, pretty, as well as kick serious butt… just like the boys. (Maybe even better… 😉 )
In that spirit…. I was always a bit disappointed that I never did gain any of those crazy mad martial art skills, becoming instead a cook in my Grown-up years. Outside of some Tai Chi classes waaay back in college, I’ve never ever had the opportunity to study anything as amazing as that. Usually… except for a movie now and again… I almost forget the fanciful dreams of a little girl and her “Kung Fu Princess” aspirations…. But then…. along comes a cute, nifty lil’ cartoon to remind me that there are always possibilities that you can somehow manage to still be both…. 😉
Monday has rolled around again and given yours truly another well needed rest from the workaday existence of my ordinary routine. I should be doing another review for “13 Assassins”…. I really… really should. But… darn it all…. it’s a warm sunny afternoon and despite my very mature and logical desire to buckle down and write one, the breeze keeps blowing through the window…. Ting-ting keeps clamoring for me to play with her… my tummy keeps telling me it wants spicy Thai curry noodles, just like they serve at my local Thai restaurant… all these things distracting me and begging me to be naughty and play hooky from all my responsibilities.
Given this… I’m going to give in to my “inner kitten” and sneak away for a walk in the park while the weather is nice and I can still wear a nice light summer dress and feel the wind on my legs, arms, and shoulders. Fall is here to stay… I can feel that for certain in the crisp, cold mornings we’ve been seeing lately. Soon I’ll be breaking out my pea coat and several more pairs of sweaters to ward off that chill, but for now… that seems far away. (Yeah, right….. 😉 )
What else am I up to lately? Well this wouldn’t be a proper “Diary” update if I didn’t let you in on that, so let’s not dilly-dally around any longer… It’s time for all my Regular Visitors and Gentle Friends to “Read On”… and find out.
This time out, a look at another sweet, romantic comedy… with vampires… in Malaysia. Hehehe… just the kind of sweet, nutty horror/ comedy mash up that always makes your Favorite Catgirl Princess giggle and smile. I’m just a sucker for these things…. and this time it’s James Lee’s new Malay film, “Tolong! Awek Aku Pontianak!” aka “Help! My Girlfriend is a Vampire!”.
Our synopsis goes: “Tolong! Awek Aku Pontianak” follows the naive yet kind Bob (Zahiril Adzim) who moves to a new apartment in a run-down building after having his heart crushed by his longtime girlfriend Ina’s decision to break up with him. He and his friend settle in to their new home and then he meets and falls in love with a peculiar woman neighbor named Maya (Sazzy Falak). Maya, who lives alone with her sister (Liyana Jasmay), harbors a dread secret and many of the others around her are beginning to suspect, that despite her pretty face, modest and shy behavior, she just might just be a vampire….”
I know… I promised to get around to reviewing “13 Assassins” by now, but this cute lil’ movie came along, and charmed me with it’s Trailer, so how could I not give it a look? With it’s resemblance to the Philippine film “Ang Darling Kong Aswang”, which your Favorite Catgirl watched a while ago, I confess I was itching to see the Malay take on the forbidden romance between Mortal and Monster. Ahhh romance…. Isn’t it always sooo much better with a few creepy moments thrown in to spice things up? Let’s waste no more time…. “Read On”!!
It’s a crisp Fall day… not Summer, no definitely not that anymore. The days are getting that cool crisp edge to them that no amount of warm sunlight can completely banish. I expect the leaves to start to turn in the next few weeks, but for now…. if you really want, you can still pretend that Summer will never end…. Sigh.
Given that I’ve another day off by myself…. and a pantry and refrigerator full of goodies… I’ve been inspired to spend the day cooking up something new and yummy for a delightful dinner surprise. This time out? How about an African inspired twist on pasta? All thanks to a wee bit of luck I had finding some spicy Tunisian Harissa paste.
Harissa paste? What’s that, you ask? Well, harissa is a type of hot chili paste common to North African cuisine and most closely associated with the countries of Tunisia and Algeria. It’s primary ingredients are hot bird’s eye chili peppers, Serrano peppers or other sorts of hot chillies and normally also contains a mix of other spices such as garlic, coriander, caraway seed, cumin, as well as some vegetable or olive oil as a preservative. I’ve had it before, but never actually found any to play with myself. Till now….. 😉
So just what sort of tasty mischief can a lil’ Asian Catgirl get up to with a big ol’ jar of African Hot Chili paste? Guess you’ll just have to “Read On” if you want to find out…..
This time, it’s off to Japan for the recent live-action big budget blockbuster remake of an old Anime classic, “Space Battleship Yamato”. If you are as big an Anime fan as this lil’ Catgirl, then you’ve already heard about this one, and have probably been waiting for it as eagerly as me… well, it’s finally out on Hong Kong Region 3 DVD (and even Blu-Ray) with those ever so handy English subtitles we all cross our fingers and hope for.
The story? Well, if you aren’t familiar with the old Anime, then here it goes: “In the future, the human race stands on the brink of extinction at the hands of unknown and unstoppable alien invaders the Gamilas. Enduring ceaseless bombardment from deep space has left mankind trapped on a radiation-soaked, nigh-uninhabitable Earth. But one hope remains, the message of a device supposedly capable of cleansing the poisoned Earth sent by a benevolent alien race, located on the distant planet of Iscandar somewhere far beyond our galaxy.
Earth’s only remaining hope is the last giant star-cruising battleship in her possession, the resurrected WW2 Japanese battleship Yamato, now refitted with a warp engine and armed with the Wave Motion cannon capable of incredible mass destruction, the first help from far off Iskandar. To accomplish this seemingly impossible task, the Yamato is hastily launched with a ragtag crew of personnel, including angst-ridden fighter pilot Susumu Kodai (Takuya Kimura), Captain Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki), and sexy fighter pilot Yuki (Meisa Kuroki). With them, the Yamato must race against time and battle it’s way across enemy controlled space to find Iskandar, save the dying Earth, and ultimately defeat the evil Gamilas once and for all.”
Yep…. that’s pretty much the way I remember the plot of the old TV show. So will such a classic Anime successfully translate from the animated small screen to the big budget movie screen? Guess your truly will just have to take a look and find out. 🙂