Sci-fi London 2010 Manga All-Nighter

It is Sunday evening, and I’m now still processing all I saw last night at the Apollo cinema in London. A fantastic night of entertainment, liked some of the films, didn’t like others, but the overall evening, and the organisation deserves mentioning as being wonderful, everyone that set up the night deserves props for the hard work they did to make it such a good night.

Okay, props done, lets get to reviewing what I saw there. Let’s get the disclaimers out the way now, I really am not an expert on Anime, I’m just reacting to these films as a cinema goer, what caught my interest, what didn’t.

Redline

Blimey this was good. Redline is the ultimate car race of the future, held every five years. If I’m being harsh, it minded me of Rollerball, in so much as the races are everything, and the rest was filler just getting you to the races. But feck me they were stunning. Visual treats drawn in an amazing fashion, with a earbleed soundtrack, echoing through every inch of your soul. Nothing subtle about this, all action, all entertainment. Loved it.

Bleach 2.0

Not for me, bit weak. Mysterious bloke appears that bloke is a bit worried about, runs away, needs help to beat mysterious bloke, beats him in the end. Lots of battles, nothing outstanding in the animation, just didn’t engage me.
Musashi

This was odd, and in many ways very unsuitable for 4am in the morning. However it was very engaging for me, a documentary of a 17th Century swordfighter whose techniques laid the groundwork for what became the Samurai. Quite a lot of explanation of historic texts by essentially a Wii avatar. Strange, but it worked, because the source material was so engaging. When I have more energy tomorrow I’m looking up loads about this legend, because the detail just got to me. If you’re awake and up for a bit of learning, this will be even better.
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

Rubbish. Really bad. In wrestling, they have the term Spotfest where two wrestlers don’t link together a match, don’t work hard to draw you into an engaging match, they only concentrate on trying to do cool moves. This was a spotfest, but the spots weren’t that good. Everyone changed sides a hundred times. I’m told you need to know the anime to get it, know all the backstory, and this was entertaining fan service for people that know what is going on. Even with that in mind, this was just a load of spots, and ones that weren’t that good.

In summary, see Redline. Rocked my world.

This is England

I’ve been watching This is England tonight, a 2006 film by director Shane Meadows. Brilliant. One of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. Hilarious and horrifying in different measures. You have to start with the performance of the star, child actor Thomas Turgoose. He’s just incredible in the role. If I remember rightly, he didn’t really have any acting experience before he was picked for the film, which makes it all the more remarkable.

It deals with the story of a young boy being accepted into a gang of older lads in 1983. Everything is faithful, dour and grotty for the time, right down to him being bullied for wearing unfashionable clothes that made him look like a hippy (the worst thing possible in the early 80s, as I remember). I think it may have rung home particularly for me as I’d have been about the same age as the young lad that year. The gang are a group of happy tearaways, a bit violent, dressed as bovver boys, but just really up for a laugh. The leader Woody takes him under his wing, looks after him, gives him a sense of identity, almost a father figure.

Things change when Woody’s older brother Combo returns from prison, determined to get the group to follow his new-found belief in the ways of the National Front. Shaun (Turgoose) leaves the protective friendship of Woody (a surprising appearance from Emmerdale’s Eli Dingle) to follow Combo and his gang. The mood changes somewhat from this point on, and it becomes quite difficult viewing, as Combo leads a series of racists actions and attacks. It’s difficult in part because characters you’ve already become fond of start behaving in an abhorrent way (whilst in keeping with their character, being led along, looking for acceptance by the others.

It is in no way a glorification of their actions at all, it is all the more jarring because of the confused sympathies for the viewer. Overall it finishes as a sad tale, bitter, with hurt and pain. Well told, raises many memories of the eighties, good and bad. Well worth watching, and makes me keen to seek out some of the other Shane Meadows films I’ve yet to see.

Foot on the pedal – never ever false metal

We saw Run Fat Boy Run at the cinema this past Saturday, starring Simon Pegg. Not that great to be honest. Dylan Moran was alright in it. And there were a lot of Nike logos, which was annoying at first, but after about the 20,000th I grew into a state of tacit acceptance, and at about 30,000 I realised that it was in fact the greatest symbol in the history of mankind, and that life was all about the mantra “Just do it”. I’ve since sold all my possessions, bar of course my Nike trainers, and now live a life of simplicity devoted to the worship of the swoop. If I find where I can get Nike underpants, I’m going to get arrested a lot less now.

Speaking of mind control, I was rather disturbed by an advert for The Alpha course. This was a cinema full of young teenage kids (woooo. Actually they weren’t that bad, the ones next to us that I thought would be a pain actually tutted when some younger kids down the front talked a bit during the film). They’re not allowed to have ads for alcohol, or fags, or indeed many things shoved down their throats, so why should religion be allowed to sell itself to them? When they’re old enough, fine. Although I personally go to the cinema to have naked consumerism pushed to me, and I have no desire to instead have my moral values questioned instead. If I do, I’ll watch a good documentary on the sofa. Questioning morals should always be done in a familiar chair with a cup of tea.