Real Clothes: The Devil Wears Prada as a Japanese TV Series

Real Clothes was a Japanese TV Drama series that played last fall. Starting on October 13th, its last episode aired on December 22nd, a few days before Christmas, and just a little more than two months ago. The DVD  will be released in the middle of next week on March 3rd. Simply described, the story has everything you ever wanted to know about high fashion or more exactly – it is about selling high fashion which is really the selling of dreams.

Karina has the lead role and is just one of many Japanese beauties lighting up the screen in this 11 episode series. She does a superb job as Kinue Amano, a girl who was doing quite well selling bedding in the fictional Echizenya Department Store in Tokyo. Then one day she finds she’s been transferred to the Women’s Clothing Department.

Karina as plain Jane – Kinue Amano in Episode One

Kinue is clumsy, klutzy, and without any fashion sense what so ever. That’s her in the above picture by the River Seine in Paris, France which is where the series begins. She’s  just like the Andy Sachs character in The Devil Wears Prada. Her new boss is Chief Manager Miki Jinbo who is played by Hitomi Kuroki, and this role is styled to be like Meryl Streep as the world’s numero uno fashionista, Miranda Priestly, in TDWP.  So the stage is set. This looks like it is going to be The Devil Wears Prada remake Japanese style.

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The Line (aka La Linea)

The Line (aka La Linea) is another movie about drug lords and a cocaine cartel. There are plenty of bullets, blood, and even a babe who is really a hooker with a heart of gold. There are assassins, priests, and a shadowy CAI presence. And to top all of that off, there’s a deal brewing between the cartel and some Afghan terrorist.

Written by R.Ellis Frazier and directed by James Cotten, this 2009 action film was released on the 10th of November, 2009 – likely straight to DVD.

The movie is filled with planning and plotting much of which is presented in a straightforward manner, and logical in the narrative. But some of it comes out of nowhere, or seemingly out of nowhere, so pay attention. The film is dark visually as well as dark thematically. The locations are pretty much dreary, but this is to be expected as all of the film takes place in Tijuana, Mexico and in dark, out-of-way areas in Tijuana , and for good reasons, such as drug deals, assignations, and assassinations. The film says that Tijuana is now the MOST dangerous city in North America. Continue reading

Shutter Island – Marty’s Mind Games

Just back from catching an early showing of Martin Scorcese’s new thriller – Shutter Island. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to watch a brand new film for just $5 per ticket.

It’s also a beautiful thing to watch a Scorcese film. I often wonder about this director. We know he is a man, but sometimes it seems that he’s a human film projector. At the core of his being, instead of a heart he’s got a film projector, instead of joints he has a series of cogs, and sprockets, and instead of blood – what flows through him is pure celluloid. His brain is an encyclopedic vault of film history, styles, and experiences.

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Dance Subaru

Dance Subaru is not an animated cartoon about dancing Japanese cars. It is a 2009 film about one girl’s climb into the world of ballet; a place where deception, lies, back-stabbing, and using people to get ahead are considered the norm.

Subaru Miyamoto is played by the beautiful and talented Meisa Kuroki. As is usually done in the movies – to achieve success one has to have previously suffered. Subaru and her twin brother Kazuma are introduced to ballet at an early age by their Mom who soon passes away because of a cancerous brain tumor. But not before ballet had taken hold in the children.

The kids loved ballet and shared a dream about becoming ballet dancers. They could be seen in the street practicing some classical dance movements from Swan Lake. However their conservative father discouraged them, But again, death intervenes. Kazuma dies at the age of ten from a brain tumor, just like his Mother.

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May my life’s breath find shelter in your heart
Destroyed in your love, may my life … depart

Pretty nice words to begin the review with, wouldn’t you say? While they don’t begin the movie. they are from the movie. And they do sum up what the theme of this film is about.

Zooni, played by India’s sweetheart, Kajol, in her first starring role back on the silver screen after an absence of about five years, and Rehan played by Aamir Khan,  are the star-crossed couple who light up the screen in this 2006 film, Fanaa.

Directed by Kunal Kohli, this is the story of the blind Kashmiri girl, Zooni, who ventures out into the world, on her own for the very first time without her parents. She’s a member of a dance company (yes, she’s blind and a dancer in this tale) and the troop travels down to New Delhi for a performance.

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Dil Bole Hadippa

Boys vs Girls? People have been arguing about this in the sports world for years. Indian media moguls Yash Raj Films put this question up for discussion in their September, 2009 release Dil Bole Hadippa (The Heart Says Hurrah!).

This was an entertaining film that begins with a rather unusual wager. The American baseball equivalent is that one batter (batsman) would hit six home runs (balls hit beyond the boundaries) on six pitches (thrown balls). But since this is India – It is not baseball – instead it is cricket. But the premise remains the same as each game is played with a batter (batsman) trying to  hit a ball thrown by a pitcher (bowler). Needless to say that since this all happens in the opening minutes and is before the credits and so-forth even roll, it is okay to tell you that the batter succeeded.

What makes it intriguing is that the batsman was actually portrayed by Indian female film star Rani Mukherjee as Veera Kaur, a Punjabi beauty who is obsessed with cricket. In a series of sensational introductory shots, Rani approaches the ball field oozing confidence. She is a self proclaimed world-class batsman and she handles the six pitches with ease, even changing from batting right-handed to her weaker side left-handed for the last thrown ball.

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Staten Island

Staten Island (2009) was directed by James DeMonaco who I don’t know much about other than he also directed Assault on Precinct 13 which starred Ethan Hawke. But I do know of the co-producer of this film – Luc Besson.

The first lead is Vincent D’Onofrio who performed in 131 episodes of TV’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Detective Robert Goren. Here D’Onofrio, as Parmie Tarzo, changes teams and portrays a small time mobster/hoodlum who wants to go big – as in take over all the criminal action in Staten Island. Instead of just running a small neighborhood crew, he wanted to be a boss of bosses. He might have looked better and had a more menacing persona had he not chosen to wear glasses similar to those worn by Elliot Gould in Oceans 11,12, & 13.

Ethan Hawke plays Sully Halvorsen who works in a shit job (literally) cleaning septic tanks. He and his wife played Julianne Nicholson, who also played a detective in 24 episodes of  L&W: Criminal Intent, are finally ready to have a child together, and when they visit a fertility clinic, they hear of a program that can alter the genetic structure of the fetus. Amp up the smart genes, diminish the dumb genes, and give birth to a genius. Only it costs a suitcase or two of money which they don’t have.

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