It’s easy to attribute the Bourne films to Bush-era America, what with their paranoid conspiracies of government agencies running amok and sacrificing American soldiers to pursue shady aims in illegal intelligence-wars.

Salt poses a question that could come from a Tea Party conspiracy-nut. Are there double agents in the fabric of American society ready to wreak havoc? Recent events say possibly. It also poses a question I’ve never thought about; to wit, is the incredibly beautiful Angelina Jolie as a blonde still the incredibly beautiful Angelina Jolie or will I buy her performance in what was once a male action lead?

Angelina Jolie as SaltEvelyn Salt is in a North Korean prison charged with being an American spy and tortured. Her husband orchestrates her release by heading a public campaign that pressures her CIA boss. Two years later, a former FSB agent accuses Salt of being a sleeper-agent who will assassinate the visiting Russian President. Counter-intelligence agent Peabody wants Salt in custody but she’s more concerned with her husband’s safety forcing her to go on the run.

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The hiragana posts were quite easy to write (I don’t know about reading them, you’ll have to give me feedback) but an important precedent has been set – I have got into a regular release schedule for Japanese lessons. I’m finally taking this blogging thing seriously and using it to teach.

Yay positivity, eh? I feel like that guy off Half Nelson but without the drugs. Or the pressure of regular students. Or the good-looks. Sigh.

Continue reading “Katakana”

Satoshi Kon has Passed Away

What a way to start a day. It was going to be one of those, nothing happened, today, days. Then I found out that Satoshi Kon had passed away last night.

The director of Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent and Millennium Actress was only 46 when he died due to pancreatic cancer and was working on his latest feature Yume-Miru Kikai (The Dreaming Machine).

I have to say a few words because this chap was inspirational for me.

If you were to ask any reasonably versed anime fan the name of key auteurs within the art form, then his name would invariably come up because his films were always striking and individual. Let me pile on more relevant adjectives: his work was always creative meaningful, deep, vibrant, beautiful, imaginative, and most of all important.

He was one of the chaps you could name-check in any discussion about films. You could hold his work up as being just as important as live-action films and show those who still believe animation is simply a children’s game that it can be much more.

The first film I watched was Perfect Blue, late night on the Sci-Fi channel. As far as I was concerned, it was the perfect thriller much more to my tastes than 99% of other works in the thriller genre and was worth staying up late for.

The last film I watched was Tokyo Godfathers earlier this year. Like all of his work, the two were deep, beautiful and humane with genuinely interesting themes that spoke to my imagination and those of others.

The anime world and the creative world has just lost a dreamer. Thank you for the entertainment.

Japanese – Hiragana

Well it has been a long time since my last post about anything to do with the Japanese language. This can be attributed to a combination of job search, cinema, anime and a little laziness.

My apologies (let us pretend you care).

That said, I have added quite a few things to my おもしろい です ね (Omoshiroi desu ne) page so check that out for some bizarre and cool stuff.

Anyway we shall tarry no more! Back to Japanese! I have gone over a list of websites that would be beneficial for any student at any level (look at my blog roll) and I have gone over the basics. With this post I introduce a shorter and snappier lesson that is easier to swallow. Starting frooooooom…


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Gainsbourg – Vie Heroique

2009 was a good year for biopics: An Education, Me and Orson Welles, Public Enemies, the two Mesrine films and Coco before Chanel.

They try to teach us something of the subject and world by focussing on landmark events (Welles’ version of Julius Caesar) or key moments that shaped the life of a character – Mesrine’s military service and daring crimes.

France seems to be gripped by a fever for biopics with Mesrine and Chanel. Now we have Gainsbourg.  

The film follows the life of Serge Gainsbourg from his childhood in Nazi occupied France through to his blossoming dominance of French music relationships and his marriage to Jane Birkin.

A picture from the film Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique

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