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 a young person's guide to cinema 
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Good writeup.

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Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:43 pm
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Shield of Straw (Takashi Miike, 2013)

This would be amazing if he had removed all the moral pontificating/spelling out the themes and just focused on the mission itself. This could've been on some Drug War-shit, but because of the protracted dialogue/death scenes, it's merely good. That said, this is still a ton of fun.

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Lesson of the Evil

This is the real deal. Some of the most taut and disciplined filmmaking I've ever seen Miike employ. The pacing, camera work and color sense in this thing are just incredible. All of it at the service of a truly amoral, frequently risible film. That said, this is maybe the most unnerving and disturbing horror film since Halloween II. Here we have an incredible slow burn that unleashes into a full-on blood bath that methodically erases any bit of hope that we may have (there's none, our point of identification gradually shifts toward the demented protagonist throughout the film). The film's questionable decisions are basically what make it interesting, too (the totally bizarre English flashbacks, the invoking of a greater evil, the incredibly in your face ending song which has to be one of the sickest punchlines in any film in recent memory); so much of it shouldn't work, but Miike makes it stick through sheer verve. Great film.


Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:46 pm
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I was really impressed by Lesson, if perturbed. Then over the following days I started to turn against it more and more.

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Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:52 pm
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haha, i eat this sort of thing up. so fucked up.


Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:54 pm
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Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:57 pm
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That video is full of spoilers for the film, btw.


Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:01 pm
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lol

Such a weird film. The nude, creepy kid at the start with the worrying parents? The flashbacks? The promise of a sequel?

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Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:37 pm
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I thought the nude creepy kid was a flashback to the teacher.


Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:43 pm
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Ah, possibly.

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Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:31 pm
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I used to be so on top of Miike's stuff, but I've fallen off hard with his stuff for a few years - those are both online now, yeah?


Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:01 pm
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Watched Bartas' Freedom.

Need to watch a Ford or Hawks immediately to undo this film. Blergh.


Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:03 pm
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The version with words can be found here

Discoveries

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Street Scene (King Vidor, 1931)

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Young America (Frank Borzage, 1932)

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Heroes for Sale (William A. Wellman, 1933)

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Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (Frank Capra, 1939)

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Portrait of Jennie (William Dieterle, 1948)

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Fixed Bayonets! (Sam Fuller, 1951)

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The Long Gray Line (John Ford, 1955)

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There's Always Tomorrow (Douglas Sirk, 1956)

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Great Day in the Morning (Jacques Tourneur, 1956)

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Love in the Afternoon (Billy Wilder, 1957)

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Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962)

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Starman (John Carpenter, 1984)

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Year of the Dragon (Michael Cimino, 1985)

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Celine (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1992)

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Moving (Shinji Somai, 1993)

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Dangerous Game (Abel Ferrara, 1993)

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City Hunter (Wong Jing, 1993)

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Maborosi (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995)

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Comrades: Almost a Love Story (Peter Chan, 1996)

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Leila (Dariush Mehrjui, 1997)

Contemporary

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Harmful Insect (Akihiko Shiota, 2001)

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Blue (Hiroshi Ando, 2002)

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Main Hoon Na (Farah Khan, 2004)

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The Lake House (Alejandro Agresti, 2006)

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Kamome Diner (Naoko Ogigami, 2006)

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The Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2007)

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Speedy Scandal (Kang Hyeong-Cheol, 2008)

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Oki's Movie (Hong Sangsoo, 2010)

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Villain (Lee Sang Il, 2010)

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Himizu (Sion Sono, 2011)

Miscellaneous

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Three on a Couch (Jerry Lewis, 1966)

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Excitement Class: Love Techniques (Noboru Tanaka, 1972)

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The Spook Who Sat by the Door (Ivan Dixon, 1973)

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Erotic Diary of an Office Lady (Masaru Konuma, 1977)

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Night of the Hunted (Jean Rollin, 1980)

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Burger Cop (Sammo Hung, 1995)

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No Love Juice: Rustling in Bed (Yuji Tajiri, 1999)

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Teenage Hooker Becomes Killing Machine (Nam Gee-woong, 2000)

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Empty Rooms (Tokishi Sato, 2001)

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Singham (Rohit Shetty, 2011)


Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:48 am
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Pretty. I don't really get the Miscellaneous/Discoveries distinction, though.


Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:42 am
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Tons of great stuff in there. Shinji Somai rulz. Maborosi, Empty Rooms, Erotic Diary of an Office Lady all give me a film boner (and for the latter 2, a real one).

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Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:29 am
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Nice to see a new list de rou. I like Young America a lot, but I can't help seeing it as training wheels for the gobsmackingly good No Greater Glory


Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:52 am
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I gotta get on my Borzage grind. Big City is the only one I've seen so far.

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"your review shows me only that you dont understand anything about movies and that you are a untalented wanna bee filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. you dont see courage because you are nothing. and no go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years ..so she deserves it." — Uwe Boll


Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:56 am
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rouj did you go see Highway yet?


Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:36 am
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Saw it last weekend.


Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:24 am
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Harmful Insect is great. I've now bookmarked some of these others.

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Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:47 am
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Tons there I want to see via the tantalizing screencaps, as usual for your end-of-the-year recaps. Especially love the love for The Night of the Hunted, which could very possibly be Rollin's most underrated film.

Can't fuck with ur classic Hollywood/contemporary Asia hustle.

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Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:12 am
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roujin wrote:
Saw it last weekend.


How was it?


Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:35 pm
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roujin wrote:
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Speedy Scandal (Kang Hyeong-Cheol, 2008)

Make it stop looking at me, roujin.

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Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:31 pm
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i plan to return to this.


Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:30 pm
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i plan to read


Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:42 pm
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quick rundown of some notable viewings round 1 (sans images for now):

Hercules and the Captive Women (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1961)

Cottafavi's direction is wonderful, and the effects are pretty great (the red filter is a highlight). Also features a surprisingly hilarious opening brawl. The best thing might actually be how Hercules is pretty much depicted as being a brawny asshole that doesn't really care about anything.

Les seiges de l'Alcazar (Luc Moullet, 1989)

Pretty hilarious cinephile catnip that playfully (and gently) depicts the auteurist wars of the early 60's as small-scale romantic conflicts. It's pretty much made for me.

White Wedding (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1989)

The most conventional of his 80's films, relying mostly on archetypes and eschewing his more mystical/fantastical elements. That said, Brisseau's touch to the material is wonderful, letting poetry and gentleness offset the melodrama.

Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955)

I don't understand why the rather repetitive structure of meeting/conflict/separation got me as much as it did (maybe I was reminded of Pialat's We Won't Grow Old Together?), but this was completely beautiful in its emotions, actions and most importantly Takamine.

The Sicilian (Michael Cimino, 1987)

Christopher Lambert takes a giant dump all over Cimino's sensibility and ruins whatever emotional pull the material might have. And flashes of his brilliance are there, but it's such a distractingly bad performance.

Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960)

I might need to look at some other Kazan films. This is all social progress melodrama tied to this incredibly sensitive and beautiful romance (Lee Remick's performance is nothing short of incredible) that displays a psychological acuity that I was completely unprepared for (and yet the film is willing to sacrifice this for moments of startling poetry).

Hollow Man (Paul Verhoeven, 2000)

Verhoeven uses his studio man tricks to turn a conventional horror film into a total atmosphere of sexual violence. It's exhaustingly sadistic and awful. I also wished it went even further. How are there not a million pinkus based off of this? Are there?

Up the Down Staircase (Robert Mulligan, 1967)

It would be a mistake to lump this in with other "inspirational teacher" movies since there's no real point in the film when she rallies the class around her to accomplish anything. Most of the film is honestly just dedicated to the simple reality of muddling through. There's rarely a time when something goes "right," and when education does seem to be happening, it's unconventional and strange and frequently loud (I remember a former colleague telling me that there's a difference between "noise" and "productive noise," which instantly came to mind while watching this). The film is about those hundreds of little failures and setbacks and annoyances that make the whole thing not worth it, and about struggling to find the positive in a situation that doesn't seem to merit it. I could relate.

Mulligan's self-conscious "realist" take on this subject, with handheld camerawork and real location shooting, struck me as surprisingly novel and interesting.

Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa, 2006)

This guy will never be a favorite, but this was good. I actually preferred the shabby, neverending coughs vibe of Vanda's to the more exalted compositions he uses for Ventura, but are both are high watermarks for the digital cinema.

Mother (Albert Brooks, 1996)

My favorite part may have been the opening credits bit with him rearranging his furniture, but this was very solid. Brooks' personality is the irritant as always, like some Brechtian device that always removes the emotional element, or rather makes us question the "sentimental" angle to the material. I don't how this works with Defending Your Life, though. Is that film about accepting sentimentality? Hollywood romance? I dunno.

In the White City (Alain Tanner, 1983)

Aimless blahness beautifully photographed AKA Bruno Ganz drunkly stumbles into getting some bartender snatch then mopes around pretentiously filming himself. It's tedious and kinda boring.


Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:28 am
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Disagree on the Tanner, it's a beautiful meditation on the nature of travelling and how it both washes away your ingrained behaviour and pulls it into sharper focus.


Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:43 am
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roujin wrote:
Les seiges de l'Alcazar (Luc Moullet, 1989)

Pretty hilarious cinephile catnip that playfully (and gently) depicts the auteurist wars of the early 60's as small-scale romantic conflicts. It's pretty much made for me.

this is the only movie i've seen from this update but yeah it's really good, maybe it wasn't MADE FOR ME, but y'know...


Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:21 am
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i don't like meditations on anything.

quick rundown of some notable viewings round 2 (sans images for now):

Carlito's Way (Brian De Palma, 1993)

Pretty much a perfect movie. There's zero of the ironic critical distance of his more playful efforts. Instead, it's a completely sympathetic portrayal that begins with what appears to be doom and ends at something like acceptance, or even contentment. An extraordinary film.

Small Soldiers* (Joe Dante, 1998)

Rewatched Little Soldiers, read the Rosenbaum essay, agreed a few times, shook my head a bit, too. Probably the only film of his that is actually a childhood favorite of mine so I'm proud to report that I still think it's pretty fun. Dante is known as a satirist (and this is true), but his love for the props and creatures in his films seems too genuine to dismiss. Instead Dante simply attempts to depict his relationship toward the pop detritus his films are addressing (lambasting the culture that created them, and loving the creations themselves).

The Truth About Charlie (Jonathan Demme, 2002)

Saw The Truth About Charlie, which is as much a remake of Charade as it is a perversion of it. Instead of reproducing everything as it originally was, Demme basically spends the film invoking the spirit of the new wave, riffing on the original story, and turning Paris into his own personal cinematic playground (featuring cameos from Agnes Varda, Anna Karina and Charles Aznavour). I like it more than the Donen, but I don't think either are all that great.

Spanglish (James L. Brooks, 2004)

What I value about this film (and about the Brooks films I've seen, I suppose) is his tendency to populate his film with relentlessly odd characterizations. How Do You Know works because its characters are constantly engaging in self-analysis, the film rubbing them up against characters don't really require that level of introspection. It makes for an interesting frisson, if you will.

Spanglish is similarly interesting for the peculiarity of the reactions. Sandler is something of a small miracle here; every action and facial tic is constantly unpredictable. The way he handles things or doesn't handle them constantly surprising. Paz Vega's character is more conventional in how she's portrayed, but is also given her own eccentricities (the way she admits that she was being hypocritical is maybe my favorite scene, or her final scene with her daughter...) Tea Leoni's housewife character draws the most interesting and ambiguous responses; she's proof of Brooks' self-conscious attempts at complex characterization and neurosis, but her performance almost reaches kabuki-levels of stylization and weirdness (I've never seen someone with such a pained/strained look on their face) that constantly push the film into territory that's uncomfortable and strange.

I don't know what this all means, but it's kinda good.

One Way Passage (Tay Garnett, 1932)

One Way Passage Into My Heart.

Shanghai Blues (Tsui Hark, 1984)

Feel wildly unprepared to disentangle the various narrative and thematic threads in this enormously entertaining film, but whatever. The war separates fated lovers, the big city is full of opportunity (from marriage proposals, beauty pageants and the hustle of clown acts), various misdirections in love in chance in everything, skillfully juggled, never breaking a sweat, another comma, another fragment on some nonsense. It's a good one.


Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:20 am
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Godddd I love Carlito's Way. I watched it when I was... 14? 15? and it totally blew my mind. I've mainly just seen detractors of it so I'm glad you liked it too.

Also, James L. Brooks shaped a lot of The Simpsons' secondary characters so your point about his odd characterizations is totally on point from what I've seen.

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"your review shows me only that you dont understand anything about movies and that you are a untalented wanna bee filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. you dont see courage because you are nothing. and no go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years ..so she deserves it." — Uwe Boll


Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:24 am
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roujin wrote:
Carlito's Way (Brian De Palma, 1993)

Pretty much a perfect movie. There's zero of the ironic critical distance of his more playful efforts. Instead, it's a completely sympathetic portrayal that begins with what appears to be doom and ends at something like acceptance, or even contentment. An extraordinary film.


Shanghai Blues (Tsui Hark, 1984)

Feel wildly unprepared to disentangle the various narrative and thematic threads in this enormously entertaining film, but whatever. The war separates fated lovers, the big city is full of opportunity (from marriage proposals, beauty pageants and the hustle of clown acts), various misdirections in love in chance in everything, skillfully juggled, never breaking a sweat, another comma, another fragment on some nonsense. It's a good one.


We've rarely been more in sync than rinow

Carlito's Way is maybe the best film.

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Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:28 am
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aww i love charade. where's ribbon when you need her


Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:09 am
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MrCarmady wrote:
aww i love charade. where's ribbon when you need her
Yeah, I can't even understand not liking that one.

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Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:49 am
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#teamroujin

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Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:55 am
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fuk roujin and anyone who love em, head up his ass imma have to headbutt him

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"your review shows me only that you dont understand anything about movies and that you are a untalented wanna bee filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. you dont see courage because you are nothing. and no go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years ..so she deserves it." — Uwe Boll


Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:59 am
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it's true


Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:00 pm
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Have you seen Married to the Mob? Maybe my favourite non-doc Demme after Something Wild and Citizen's Band.


Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:01 am
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so, so good. i should watch citizen's band and melvin and howard


Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:38 pm
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melvin and howard is pretty cool


Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:34 am
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roujin wrote:
02. Orange Days (2004)
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i understand now


Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:04 pm
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crying now


Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:41 pm
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washed my bitter oldness away


Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:14 am
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rouj, have you seen Ryuichi Hiroki's M?

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:13 pm
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Banana drink <------Cass 2x beer-----------------City Hunter--------------------------------------------------------->Gangnam Blues

Lee Min-ho got that range, homie.


Wed May 20, 2015 2:56 pm
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I forgot to check if that was available...


Wed May 20, 2015 9:36 pm
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querido joven,

is there anything noteworthy you're planning/wanting to see at the Asian Film Festival next week that I can copycat and/or you can rec so I can have a new Sunny in my life?

going to the 745 Girl at My Door Thu 7/23 if you want to pee next to each other again?


Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:34 am
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i was going to watch flowers of shanghai, but i work during both screenings

i probably will watch happiness of the katakuris, an old favorite i haven't seen in a long, long time
dearest, latest film from peter chan
maybe women who flirt since seema really liked it
wild city i would watch but work during screening


Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:36 am
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roujin wrote:
maybe women who flirt since seema really liked it


has valuable lessons on how to take a good selfie, rourou!!

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Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:39 pm
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(will probably watch none of them)


Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:04 am
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