Archive for the ‘Kimura as Tom Cruise’ category

Film Review: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

August 15, 2011

Moviestardom: The Final Frontier

by Ender’s Girl

 

The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Kuroki Meisa, Yanagiba Toshiro, Ogata Naoto, Yamazaki Tsutomu

Directed by Yamazaki Takashi / Toho; TBS Films, 2010

In a Nutshell:
A single battleship and its doughty crew are mankind’s last hope against an invading alien race!!!

The Real Nutshell:
Kimura Takuya makes a bid for international moviestardom!!!

(SpoilLert: Well it’s that kind of film, so can there really be anything to spoil?)

It’s 2199 and there’s something straaange in the solar system: Earth is this close to getting nuked out of existence by an invading alien race – SO WHO YA GONNA CALL?????????????

KIMUTAKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Did the Ghostbusters theme song start playing in your head just now??? It did, dinnit??? Hahahaha)

The last time a cocky, nonconformist hero saved the world from imminent destruction while a Steven Tyler power ballad blared in the background, the year was 1998 and the movie was Armageddon. It’s 2011 and (a newly relevant) Steven Tyler is still caterwauling the same tune (well, almost), although the crew nationalities have changed from Eeemrrican to Japanese, the Earth faces a different kind of threat (enemy extraterrestrials! instead of giant asteroids!), and the hero (Kimura Takuya in full-on Moviestar Mode) has way more hair than Bruce Willis did in Armageddon (or anything he starred in since 1987, for that matter).

I don’t know if the producers of the 2010 Space Battleship Yamato remake intentionally hired Steven Tyler as a nod to Armageddon – and, by association, that other celestial-body-on-a-collision-course-with-Earth-OHNOES!!! flick from 1998, Deep Impact (whose plotline the Bay/Bruckheimer/Willis mega-production reportedly cribbed off, tsk tsk). Strictly speaking, Yamato isn’t a disaster sci-fi flick like Armageddon or Deep Impact, but it runs on the same basic premise: A motley crew of spacemen sets out on a hail-Mary mission to [insert planetary body], which they must [destroy/steal an alien device from] in order to save the earth. Chances of success or survival seem dire, but the intrepid officers and crewmen are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our planet!!! *cue [insert Steven Tyler song]*

Beam me up, E.G.! MOAR!!! after the jump. (Because… you don’t wanna miss a thing.)

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Drama Review: Engine (Fuji TV, 2005)

November 19, 2010

Bless the (Sexy)Beast and the Children

by Ender’s Girl


The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Koyuki, Ueno Juri, Toda Erika, Kaho, Ishida Hoshi, Ohira Natsumi, Arioka Daiki, Nakajima Yuto, Kosugi Moichiro, Sato Miku, Hirota Ryohei, Komuro Yuta, Sakai Masato, Harada Yoshio, Matsushita Yuki

In a Nutshell:
Former F3 hotshot Kanzaki Jiro returns to Japan and finds his hands full of an entire foster home of Troubled Children living under the care of his father and sister. While juggling his new (and unwanted) responsibilities as the home’s designated driver, Jiro reconnects with his old coach (and an old flame), hoping to reignite his racing career and get his life back on track.

(SpoilLert: All the way to the finish line! *waves checkered flags*)

[Recommended companion track: “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff]

“‘Ohana’ means family, and family means nobody gets left behind… or forgotten.”
– Lilo

“This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”
– Stitch

from Lilo and Stitch (Disney Pictures, 2002)

First, a Meta Moment:

Half the fun of whipping my grossly underpaid elves into cranking out passable reviews for this blog down in their dingy little sweatshop… uh, uh, gomen. Let’s try this again: Half the fun of whipping up reviews for this blog… is thinking up — the title!!! (Yeah I’m shallow, SO WHUTT.) I think the reason I waited so long to write about Engine (and thus complete my Kimura as Tom Cruise “review anthology” yay) was that I wanted an interesting — and inspiring — enough title to get me all fired up to do the rest of the review, haha. None of the possibilities that had left the gummy interstices of my little blue brain to park themselves on the top left corner of my blank Word doc sheet, right above the byline — seemed to work.

To tick off a few: Daze of Thunder? Promising, and it was a riff on that Tom Cruise racing movie, but… who exactly was in a daze? Me? Kimura? Had not the faintest, so… pass. Dude, Where’s Your Car? Boarrring. And too strong a reference to Ashton Kutcher and that doofus from American PieKimuTaku: Cruise Control, then? I would’ve settled for this had my inspiration completely dried up, but the images that the term “cruise control” always triggers are from that ’90s movie where the unbelievably dhuh-hulllll Jason Patric tries to stop the sluh-howwwest moving cruise ship known to man from pluh-howwing into some unsuspecting seaside village. (And if you’re too young to remember Speed 2: Cruise Control, then too bad, ‘coz that would mean you’re also too young to remember a young ‘n’ hawt Keanu Reeves in Speed, ahahaha.) So, “Cruise Control” = no go.

Then I realized that I was barking at the wrong dog — er, tree, I was barking up the wrong tree. (Lol, these silly Eeenglish eeedioms!!! *shakes fist*) Why was I stubbornly trying to milk the racing/car stuff from Engine when that wasn’t even my favorite part? After all, it was those kids at the Kaze no Oka foster home who OWNED the show — and my heart. Not the actual “Engine-y” stuff. And even if an old Carpenters single entitled “Bless the Beasts and Children” (actually an anti-war protest song, lol) happened to be the only pop culture reference that perfectly encapsulated how I felt about the drama, then so be it. (And YES BABY YES, the “Beast” in question WAS definitely sexy! Vrrrrooom vrrroooom! See Stanza 4 of my “2009: A Kimura Odyssey” hahaha)

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Favorite Halu+Aki Moments: 16 Vignettes from Pride

February 11, 2010

We Were Born to Love You…

(Favorite Halu+Aki Moments: 16 Vignettes from Pride)

by Ender’s Girl

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[Related Post: Pride review]

I thought I’d go light on the commentary this time, and just allow these lovely scenes to do the talking. (Besides, it’s so much easier to describe things than analyze them. Higher-order thinking skills make me brain hurty!) To be honest, I don’t even know why I had to do a blow-by-blow when we can all easily look them up on file or on the streaming sites. Catharsis, I guess. (But I thought my review had already taken care of that… Damn you Halu damn you!) MOAR! catharsis, then! Heh.

There were supposed to be just ten scenes (a nice round number, yes?), but I didn’t have the heart to pare down my original list of sixteen. So, sixteen it is! Arranged in chronological order.

In celebration of the Season of Hearts. Enjoy!

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Episode 1 – First Date, aka Some Enchanted Evening

Iconography: lollipop, skating rink, peas
Magical Moment:
when he carries her on the ice!
Romance-o-meter: 10/10

The Blow-by-Blow:

She’s waiting at the bus stop. He pulls up in his gray pickup and sticks his head out, invites her to hop in. She hesitates at the passenger door — this whole thing is a misunderstanding, she begins awkwardly — but the impatient honks behind them give her no choice. And they’re off. On the road, she tries to make him see — that it was a friend who sent the reply, that she expected nothing of this sort when she gave him her number, that this is all a mistake. He blithely ignores her stammered explanations and very wisely switches tack. Proper introductions are in order, he says, something they never got to do at their first meeting. Sucking on a lollipop (oh, that lollipop), he notes the funny connection of their names, Spring and Autumn. The change of subject throws her off, and before she can return to the (pressing) matter at hand, he has shifted gears anew: He asks about a boyfriend, and she warily replies that she could either say that she has one or she doesn’t. If her prevarication is meant for him to take a hint, she is dead wrong. He is charmingly relentless, asking if this so-called boyfriend (who may or may not exist) would object if they dated. She thinks she parries his question well, but he is just too good at this, turning her own words against her.

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review: Pride (Fuji TV, 2004)

January 28, 2010

The Iceman Cometh
(…and ohhhyes, is he smokin’ HOT!!!)

by Ender’s Girl

[Related Post: Favorite Halu-Aki Moments]

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The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Takeuchi Yuko, Sakaguchi Kenji, Ichikawa Somegoro, Sato Ryuta, Sato Koichi, Nakagoshi Noriko, Megumi, Ishida Yuriko

In a Nutshell:
Pro hockey player Satonaka Halu meets Aki, an “office lady” from his company. The two fall in love amid the challenges of their personal and professional lives.

(SpoilLert: Extremely! I’m going for the whole schmear!)

[Recommended companion track: WHAT ELSE — “I Was Born to Love You” by Queen]

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For Love of the Game: The Nitty-Gritty of Sports Fiction

There’s something about SPORTS in general (and transitively, sports shows) that appeals to our primal nature. Nothing can unlock our raw, pent-up emotions or vicariously slake our bloodlust the way a live game, or match, or race can. Just picture this: hordes of screaming fans watch a handful of players battle it out in the arena using the most fundamental of human instruments: their bodies. (Plus a few other accoutrements, like say, a basketball, or a hockey stick.) Yes there are rules to follow, lest things degenerate into a complete free-for-all, but as each split-second ticks by on the shot clock, it is pure instinct that edges out rational thought, and a game’s final outcome —victory or defeat— is often decided in a single heartbreaking instant.

Regardless of country of origin or athletic category, sports movies and dramas almost always conform to a universal template, as is characteristic of any genre. The following clichés have become the hallmarks of the sports drama paradigm (I can think of only ten, but there may be more):

1) The gifted but emotionally conflicted HERO who, after a series of failures and much soul-searching, must DIG DEEP to unlock that SOMETHING inside of him — and only then can he go on to win that elusive CHAMPIONSHIP;

2) The seasoned COACH/MENTOR/SENSEI who pushes all the Hero’s buttons, but who understands his athlete like nobody else can, and is instrumental to the Hero’s eventual triumph — in his sport as well as in Life;

3) The loyal TEAMMATES who, together with the Hero, must overcome the odds stacked against them through sheer grit, determination, and even personal sacrifice;

4) The LEADING LADY who stands by our Hero through thick and thin, and who serves as his moral compass and emotional recharger throughout the story;

5) The arrogant hotshot STAR PLAYER of the RIVAL TEAM, who jealously defends his reigning championship title and who may (or may not) engage the Hero in a battle for the Leading Lady’s affections;

Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!

Drama Review: Good Luck! (TBS, 2003)

October 30, 2009

KimuTaku: Full Throttle! aka The Aerodynamics of Luuuuve

by Ender’s Girl

The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Shibasaki Kou, Kuroki Hitomi, Takenaka Naoto

In a Nutshell:
Commercial pilot Shinkai Hajime sets his sights on earning another stripe, but must first navigate through workplace issues, personal dilemmas, and unexpected romance at All Nippon Airways.

(SpoilLert: Moderately spoilerish, but nothing to lose sleep over, haha.)

Aerodynamically Challenged

On the surface, Good Luck! looks as sleek as a newly minted airbus, with all the modern trappings of a workplace renai. But the plot encounters some, uh, turbulence due to contrived situations and mediocre writing in the first half.

The opening sequence is promising enough with its brisk editing, modish music and saturated tropical hues (very One West Waikiki… look it up, heh). But after the initial thrill of watching a tan, toned, topless (!!!) Kimura Takuya sprint through downtown Honolulu in the first few minutes, the rest of the first episode, well, never really takes off.

The pilot *wink, wink* episode is usually a pretty reliable gauge of how the rest of the drama will play out. There are some exceptions, of course, as some dramas get progressively better and end up surprising you, while others get progressively worse after a pretty promising start. Good Luck! is no such exception. So why does this drama fail to, uh, leave the ground? *more winking* Hmmm, let me count the ways…

Good Luck! may be technically smooth and glossy (TBS certainly didn’t stint on the production values and overseas shoots, I’ll give ‘em that), but the story also suffers from faulty writing and (amateurishly) tries too hard to string together what the writers must have thought were Cute Rom-Com Moments and Cool Pilot-y Moments (they must have been contractually obligated to include at least 3 of each per episode, heh). Many situations have a manufactured feel, and seem like they were written in as mere springboards to An Important Moment in the story.

Case in point — Important Moment # 1: Guy meets Girl for the first time.

The Springboard: In Episode 1, Kimura’s character (the rookie co-pilot Shinkai Hajime) makes a rather bumpy landing after the captain (a dear old man whom we see far too little of) is debilitated by back spasms mid-flight. As soon as the plane is on the ground, a visibly PO’d member of the technical ground crew (who is obviously a SHE, and obviously the Main Love Interest in the story) confronts Shinkai and berates him for, er, not taking better care of the frickin’ plane. I’m not a pilot, but any knucklehead would know that in an in-flight emergency, a SAFE landing is better than a SMOOTH one. A “lowly” mechanic telling a pilot off for any negligence (real or imagined) immediately triggered a red flag for me. Dude, it just doesn’t happen. In the airline industry, you can’t change the pecking order anymore than you can tow a Boeing 747 ten inches using your teeth and a metal chain. So this encounter was obviously contrived to create sparks between the two. Goshdarn, I hate it when the writers do that. Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!