Tug of War! / 綱引いちゃった!(2012)

From: Japan

Director: Nobuo Mizuta

I just love it when I get to watch something that I know nothing about. I’m always in for a surprise, whether good or bad. Tug of War! was no different. I did not know it was a comedy; didn’t know it was literally about tug of war. Wasn’t aware I was up for a light heartwarming ride. Didn’t even know the title. Just sat there and waited for it to reveal itself to me.

The movie was okay, satisfactorily entertaining with all its slapstick humor and caricatures. I enjoyed it. But the surprise hit to me was Tetsuji Tamayama who played Kimio the coach. He was introduced as a shy clumsy tug of war competitor immediately smitten with the female lead. I paid no attention to him at first, as he coached the team and ludicrously professed his affections in secret. He was deliberately awkward and clumsy. Didn’t really pay no mind.

BUT NO. He was a surprise hit. I was surprised by the way his gorgeousness hit me. After the film. TWO DAYS after the film. He’s a revelation. Can’t get him out of my mind. I watched the film during Eiga Sai last week and still, I keep thinking about his face. When I looked him up, lo and behold, he’s more gorgeous in Google. I mean, come on. I keep researching his movies, looking for videos. I am smitten.

Okay, so this is more about a crush than about a movie. I’m sorry.

Tetsuji in Tug of War!

Tetsuji in Tug of War!

What Google gave me

What Google gave me

Thank you internet

Thank you internet

What this film holds for me:

Who: TETSUJI TAMAYAMA, that’s who

What: nothing else I’m afraid 


The Normal Heart (2014) / Shame (2011): Saturday Sadness

From: USA (The Normal Heart) / UK (Shame)

Director: Ryan Murphy (The Normal Heart) / Steve McQueen (Shame)

I don’t even know if I can finish typing this, so no promises.

My face is hot and crusty with dried up tears. My heart is slowly throbbing with memories of devastation. My mind is cloudy and heavy with teary fog. My writing is melodramatic. This is all because of these two frickin movies.

5PM – Shame

Even Michael Fassbender’s glorious nudity is not enough to distract you from this movie’s seeping ache. It’s just there, underneath their shoes, between the cracks, in the ruffle of their hair. It’s not abrasive but it’s throbbing.


7:32 PM – The Normal Heart

I saw The Normal Heart a week ago and the whole week succeeding that was a just a heavy blur. I watched it again to desensitize my emotions but all it did was squeeze my heart until it bled salty tears. Now I believe I’m not a crier when it comes to films, but this one just gets to me. I’m not even talking about sickness scenes, but just the plain scenes where they hug or lie on the bed. I had to hash it out numerous times with my best friend to make it into something casual and not a protruding thorn in my brain.


I knew I shouldn’t have watched two movies in a row, more so two devastating movies. My heart broke into two, one half for each movie I watched.


What this film holds for me: 

Who: Matt Bomer, you are one dedicated son of a b*tch. And your angles leave me gasping for air

Who: Mark Ruffalo, only you can make the Hulk disappear completely

What: the wedding

What: running scene in Shame is no-cut gorgeousness

Rushmore (1998) / Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Anderson Double

From: USA (Rushmore), Germany and United Kingdom (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Director: Wes Anderson

I think I’m a Wes Anderson fan without me knowing. I don’t particularly scour collections for his work.  I don’t anticipate the release dates. I don’t know all of his characters or even what he looks like (but now I do, because I just looked him up). They just come along through friends swapping movies or an attractive DVD cover. Sometimes, it’s just because there’s a trailer on TV and it’s so golden and very curious-looking that it made me curious.

But I must say, whenever I watch a Wes Anderson film, I feel like I should be fan. I feel like everybody should be a fan. Why?

Because Mr. Anderson’s scripts are simple but ornate

Rushmore is just about an overachieving kid who develops a crush on a teacher. That’s it. The whole movie can be summed up in one sentence but it takes the genius of Wes Anderson to make you want to watch it for 93 minutes.


Because Mr. Anderson gives a whole new meaning to movies being moving pictures

In Grand Budapest every shot is a post card you want to send to someone. The actors even pause for a millisecond every time, as if they’re being photographed on set. There is too much attention to detail, if there is such a thing. I literally kept saying wow, that’s f*ckin gorgeous. You know that every pattern, color, object is deliberately put on that screen. You don’t only want to watch the film, you want to be in the film.


Even if you ignore the fact that his go-to cast includes an iconic representative from every generation, you cannot ignore how masterful everything else is. But really, you cannot ignore that cast. You cannot ignore Wes Anderson.


What this film holds for me:

Who: Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer – he’s so good he’s irritating

Where: Republic of Zubrowka should be real must be real

What: Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat- they even teach you how to make it here



Music Vid: Arcade Fire’s We Exist

Although Arcade Fire isn’t really my cup of tea when it comes to music preference (but they are genius), I must say they make the best music videos. Scenes from the Suburbs is a notable one. That’s just in another level.

This one is another. Andrew Garfield, your commitment to a role is astounding.


What this video holds for me:

Who/what/how: Andrew Garfield and those stilettos


The Milk of Sorrow / La Teta Asustada (2009): Bi-level rare disease

From: Peru, Spain

Director: Claudia Llosa

This is the perfect example of how innocence is easily marred and beauty easily disfigured.Fausta, played painstakingly brilliant by Magaly Solier, has one of the most beautiful faces I’ve seen but the film does not give room for its appreciation since she herself despises her womanhood because of fear. She tries her best to disallow herself to receive any attention from people because she thinks it’s a way to protect herself. She lives in fear but it is not her fault. She is pure of heart but her mind is tainted with fear of sin. What a single sin can do to a whole generation of women. What years and years of tradition can make you believe. Although she suffers from a rare disease called Milk of Sorrow, I think it’s more of self-inflicted sickness of the body brought about by a sickness of the mind due to solemn fearful conditioning.

The slow deliberate pace makes me feel like I’m  hauling a huge trunk of mommy issues but with heart wrenching spikes. But in the end, I realized it’s a slow revelation of emancipation.


What this film holds for me:

What: potato potato potato

Where: in a place where potatoes aren’t supposed to be

Who: actors who are non actors

Her (2013): Paintings of Photographs

From: USA

Director: Spike Jonze

When I started this, I made a quiet pact with myself to avoid writing about current films as much as possible. I am amending that contract now with a clause: UNLESS SUCH FILM HITS YOU SO HARD IT CANNOT BE UNDONE.

Her hit me so hard. It cannot be undone. I approached it with caution and I told myself it would be a melancholic ride. I came prepared. When the credits rolled I did not feel sad. I felt I was not allowed to feel sadness. The whole 126 minutes was like a series of painting that look like photographs – looked immaculately real but really was not. It fools you into thinking it is real but you do not care.

The whole principle of Her is not a reality at the moment but it looks and feels so tactile and relevant. Samantha, she who does not exist, is more real and more significant and more sufficient than anything and everything in Theodore’s life.

I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to feel sadness. Her would leave you hurt and confused and content, but in the end both lost and found.


What this film holds for me:

What: Theodore panicking and running around like the human that he is

Who: Spike Jonze and the first time I encountered his high-tech melancholia in I’m Here (note: must write about I’m Here see I’m Here entry here)

Never Let Me Go (2010): Like a Slow Triple Incision

From: UK/USA

Director: Mark Romanek

A book started all of this, so a book has re-started it all over again.

This was an unclassic case of film-book-film experience. I saw the film in passing, could not forget about it, looked for and ate up the book, then just had to watch the film again. That triple decker experience was like a slow incision, thrice done precisely. I felt like a slasher because I could not take their subtle pain, but I could not walk away from it. I needed to feel it, in words and in pictures. It was beautiful hopelessness, gradually gracefully unraveled.

What this film holds for me:

Who: Kathy H. and Tommy D.

What: plastic bags in the wind as heavy-lidded symbols