As I’ve mentioned on here in the past I have always been a Batman fan when it comes to the super-heroes and there were a fair few items of memorabillia relating to that franchise in the London Film Museum. The most noteworthy item may well be Christian Bale’s batsuit (lower left) from ‘Batman Begins’ but myself and Richard Richard were probably happier to have our pictures taken with a plastic Batman mannequin.
In addition to all that I also visited a couple of filming locations from the last couple of Batman films. Below left is Criterion at 224 Piccadilly which is visited by Bruce Wayne in ‘The Dark Knight’ and is actually a French restaurant owned by Marco Pierre White. The eye-lid entrance of CityPoint (below right) on Ropemaker Street was the shooting location in ‘Batman Begins’ where he arrived with a couple of playmates.
I’d never even heard of the London Film Museum until one of my friends here in Tokyo took a trip there in the Summer on his visit to the UK. I decided then that the next time I was in England that I would go there so having arranged to meet my mate Richard Richard I thought I would combine the two. On an afternooon back in December we turned up at the museum which is next to the London Eye and diagonally opposite Big Ben. Richard Richard even managed to haggle the price down (usually 12 pounds) with the man selling tickets outside which was something I’d never dare to do in England but I was very grateful to save a couple of quid.
It was a huge place but I wouldn’t say it was as chock-a-block full of stuff like I expected. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Star Wars and Batman stuff I’d have been a bit disappointed. Those two franchises will get their own article in the following couple of blog entries. Apart from them highlights included being able to sit on the sofa with the Simpsons, the tardis and daleks from Dr Who (iconic things but a show I’ve never really got into), a room to make you feel like you were tiny and various costumes and framed exhibits from the likes of Jason Bourne, Superman, Terminator, 007, Austin Powers, Indiana Jones and so on.
Of course there were lots of other exhibits and special areas designated to ‘Charlie Chaplin’, ‘myths & legends’, ‘London on film’, ‘Zulu’ as well as special horror, war and comedy rooms.
It may be called ‘Monster’ but this 2008 movie was anything but a hit. It went straight to dvd release and having watched it the other day it is very clear to see why. The film revolves around two American reporters who are in Tokyo to interview some guy at the Ministry of Environment about global warming. During this interview, what they think is an earthquake occurs which it turns out are caused by a monster reminiscent of a giant octopus that has been dormant for centuries. This film supposedly takes place in January 2003 but the two girls are dressed as if its summer wearing sleeveless tops. The film is told documentary style as if the video tape has been discovered after the whole ordeal which means you get 86 mins of grainy youtube-style handheld footage with the damaged film effects kicking in every few seconds by way of static and jump cut distortions. This kind of filming may have worked elsewhere but it just gets annoying here and even gives some people epileptic seizures.
I wasn’t aware of the storyline before I watched it so it’s just a coincidence that it has earthquake links given the tragic circumstances relating to the catastrophe on 11th March. There are scenes at the start of the film which are obviously filmed in Tokyo (Shibuya and at a hotel, probably in Shinjuku) but the caption giving the location is clearly not Shinjuku Gyoen as there is no giant wooden torii gate there. It can only be Meiji Shrine and it is there that you get to see people in the background walking around normally which is a little strange surely when the girls are in such a panic whilst the city is supposedly being terrorised by a monster. Talking of which, you can see more of the monster (though you can sure hear it by way of sound effects in the background constantly) on the dvd cover below than you do in the whole film where you only see a tentacle or two swinging about for a few seconds here and there. The two girls switch camera from time to time and fill out the movie by running around “Tokyo” (which looks more like L.A.), crying, panicking, getting their faces dirty and generally running for cover in a country where the language barrier does them no favours. The plot is paper-thin, the camera-work is awful (even by amateur standards), the ‘effects’ are repetitive and it relies far too much on gimmicks (its a tape of lost footage remember!) to try and cover up its many flaws with the main one being that this is a monster movie without much of a monster in it.
Just before last Summer I bought some white Adidas Stormtrooper trainers and the other day I was in a second hand shop near my house when I saw a pair of black Adidas Darth Vader trainers which I just couldn’t resist getting even though I didn’t really need any new ones. They were in pretty much new condition and reasonably priced so I thought why not.
‘The Tourist’ comes out in Japan on March 5th but as is the way (most of the time), it came out elsewhere last year. It is set in the beautiful location of Venice and its two stars; Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp aren’t exactly eye-sores. Having finally been to the
Italian city last August I was keen to see which locations would appear. It’s difficult to really pinpoint the exact places most of the time apart from one. That was the Hotel Danielli which I did go to as it was also used in ‘Moonraker’ in 1979 and can be seen here.
The plot of this romantic thriller revolves around Elise (Jolie) using American tourist Frank (Depp) as a decoy on a train going to Venice. She chose him to make the tailing police believe that he is her lover who is wanted by both them and a mobster who he stole money from. What ensues is the two stars evading the police. Despite its many negative reviews from the critics I did actually enjoy the escapist fun element of it as well as some amusing twists. My main gripe is that there are far too many rooms of people turning their heads as Jolie’s character walks by which may happen in reality given her beautiful looks but I don’t really want to see that in so many scenes. The ultimate compliment I can give it is that it held my interest for its entirety which is rare for me as I have poor concentration when it comes to watching both films and TV shows.