Archive | July, 2012

What the Hell is Tenseicoalition?

29 Jul

I’ve had this asked a few times. “what the hell is Tensicoalition?”, “what does it mean?”, “is it really a coalition and, if so, how does one join?”.

Let  me take you back to 1973…What happened in 1973…Well, for one, I was born. Also and I’d humbly say more importantly, The first installment in Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles without Honour and Humanity was released to the unsuspecting world. Holy shit Batman! The finest in Yakuza films was born that year (as well as your truly).

Known in the US as Yakuza Papers, the series would go on redefine what audiences should expect in Japanese gangster films, spawning 4 sequels just as good as the original, thanks to the on screen brilliance of an  empathetic bad ass named Bunta Sugawara and the mastery brush strokes of Fukasaku-sans direction. Kinji was one of those filmmakers that you’d wish could live forever for your own selfish gain. Because every film he’s made…And I can’t say I’ve seen them all but I’ve seen all I can get my hands on, every film he’s made raised the bar for that particular genre and he did it all…Comedies, Horror, Suspense, Dramas, even love stories. Of course his best work in my humble opinion is the Yakuza Papers and Battle Royale. Between him and Akira Kurosawa Japan was able to export some of the finest cinema on earth.

But I promised to answer the original question. What is the Tenseicoalition? In Yakuza Papers Volume 4 the Hamazaki and Komori families are continuing their feud but the increased police pressure is threatening their entire underworld (called police tactics) so Yoshio Yamamori of the Hamazaki family is allowed to set up his own family and legion of goons and he attempts to legitimize by setting up a politcal group called the “Tensei coalition Political Organization”. The group doesn’t really go into fruition until the 5 chapter but the workings are established in the 4th. At least that’s how I remember it (I’m going off muscle memory but I’ve seen the films half a dozen or more times each).

So..there you have it. My pen name was inspired by a faux political group set up by a bunch of thugs “Without Honour and Humanity”. If you like complex stories and tons of testosterone loaded violence definitely check out Yakuza Papers. It makes the “Godfather” look amateur and that’s saying a lot because I never, in a million years, thought I’d see anything be able to trump my all time favorite gangster family saga. scusa Don Corleone!

– Orlando G Acosta

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Politics in film kills! Maybe Machete Kills as well!

29 Jul

Before I commence down the path of telling you about the potential Robert Rodriguez’ next installment into his pseudo-exploitation-esque series Machete, I will take us back to April 6, 2007, the release of the pseudo double feature “Grindhouse”. Being a fan of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, I had a lot of heightened expectations for “Grindhouse”. And the film delivered in spades. Both ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Planet Terror’ were distinctive enough bookends to really simulate the double feature days of days long gone. But what caught everyone by surprise were the mock trailers that were sprinkled in between like seedy polyester magic. Machete, Werewolf Women of the SS, Thanksgiving, Don’t!… While I had wished that Werewolf Women of the SS would be the feature film fleshed out, I was happy to see that Mr. Rodriguez was going with Machete and at least one of the 4 mock trailers was getting a feature length treatment. Then all the political hyperbole with Arizona’s SB1070 came out and Mr. Rodriguez did something I did not expect…He released a trailer that tied the film at the hip with current politics. If it’s one thing that gets to me is when artists choose to use their own media to force feed, down my throat, their political viewpoints. I could care less that you’re illegal immigrant friendly Robert I just want to go to the theater to lose myself in a fictional world of murder and mayhem. But no, you had to make a movie with a plot-line that mirrors your own liberal views. I could not, for the life of me, enjoy “Machete” after that and to date it is the only Robert Rodriguez film I do not own.

But alas, fast forward to present day. After reading about “Machete Kills”, Senior Rodriguez may have redeemed himself (with the exception of his casting of Lady Gaga. I hope she get’s decapitated during the opening credits). I like the plot-line, thus far, on this one. Machete (homeboy Trejo) gets himself recruited by the US President to blast and slash his way through Mexico to take down a lowlife drug dealer who looks to launch a weapon into space. I love the fact that Mel Gibson is cast (although what the hell Mel? You’re supposed to be working on “Berserker” for me!). I’m not a huge fan of Michelle Rodriguez and her ‘chick with balls’ attitude (You will never be half as good as Angelina Jolie and that’s not saying much). I am keeping an open mind on this one and my fingers crossed that someone will remind Robert Rodriguez that he’s not running for office and that he should keep politics out of exploitation. They do not mix well.

And Mr. Rob Zombie….If you happen to read this…Where’s my Werewolf Women of the SS damn it!

– Orlando G Acosta

Hobbiton in 3?

26 Jul

How far can the man that brought us the greatest ‘High Fantasy epic novel to film’  translations stretch a single novel? A just question/concern I think. Lets do the numbers:

The original Lord of the Rings trilogy clocked in at a whopping 1045 pages (not counted appendixes and synopsis pages) and that spawned 3 great films…one to a book. The Hobbit; 300 pages. When it was made know that it’d be broken into 2 parts that was expected, after all, this is Tolkien we are talking about. Not some quack novice author who pulled some half hearted story out of his butt. Peter Jackson gets Tolkien. It’s his respect for the original source material that would make him really do the Lord of the Rings justice. But now the word on the street is that this may end up a 3 parter (by what Peter has revealed in his production blogs it’s looking like a reality) one has to ask the question “Can he stretch it that far?”. My answer to that would be buried in my previous statement. Mr. Jackson has loads of respect for the source material and the talent to pull it off. There was also a lot of uproar by Tolkienites when it was revealed Legolas would be in the film version, among other characters not in the novel. Just how much creative liberty did Walsh, Jackson and Boyens take? I actually welcome the additions. I feel the trio feel more comfortable on revisiting Middle-Earth and figured they could expand the universe while having some more popular LOTR tie ins. My take is that if you want a straight adaptation of the novel, just read the novel then. The Original trilogy also took many creative liberties and characters were fleshed out a bit differently or were introduced out of sequence with the books. No one seemed to mind. These guys get it!

What I wish the dynamic trio would do though, instead of stretching 300 pages to a 3 parter, is do a book to screen adaptation of “The Children of Hurin”. Having read all the Tolkien books including The Silmarillion, I unanimously say the “The Children of Hurin” is the novel that lends itself to celluloid the most. It has all the elements we’ve come to know and love with the Lord of the Rings universe, but with a more straightforward story that is just as dark in tone, if not darker, than anything Tolkien has ever committed to parchment. If I could rub a genie lamp and get 3 wishes 1 of them would be “Hobbit in 2 parts, the 3rd Hurin”.

So really, forget the Hobbit in 2 or 3 parts. Who cares, it’ll be awesome no matter. What has me more concerned though is the 48fps HD projection nonsense. When I sit down to lose myself in Hobbiton I do not want it to look so slick that I feel like I am watching a high def home movie. I really have mixed feelings about high definition and I hope the film is released like the footage that was shown in San Diego, in good old fashioned 24fps.That would be my 4th wish!

Now…Who’s ready for some Hobbit action?

-Orlando G Acosta

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s….a new Superman!

26 Jul

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s….a new Superman!.

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s….a new Superman!

26 Jul

By now I’m sure a lot of you have witnessed the new “Man of Steel” teaser trailer. Like, I’m sure, some of you, I was very skeptical about the whole project. New director, new direction, new actor. I’m a big fan of Dick Donner’s Superman’s and I even enjoyed Bryan Singer’s 2006 sequel with Brandon Routh. While there was the timeline issue with Superkid, Mr. Singer’s mastery of direction as well as John Ottman’s retooling of John William’s original score, really tied the film together nicely with the originals I grew up knowing and loving as a child. I too, for one, would’ve like to have seen the son’s story arc played out. The powers that be over at WB thought otherwise. That being said, we must judge not yet. The teaser trailer does not do much to reveal anything. Teasers seldom do. In it we are treated to ‘disposable scenes’ that really do not do much to get anyone pumped up for ‘The Man of Steel’. I would’ve liked to have heard the John Williams or John Ottman score over the Howard Shore score they use from Lord of the Rings ( for the record I love Howard Shore’s Middle-Earth tunes it just doesn’t fit to me). The last few seconds of the teaser is really all one has to see though to see the potential this project has. Now let’s hope Zack Snyder can deliver the goods come next summer. He did wonders with the Dawn of the Dead remake but all that damn slow motion in 300 really irked me. Slow motion is meant to accentuate a scene not become a scene Zack.

So…In the end. While we may never get a chance to see “The son become the father and the father become the son”. We may never get to see what Brandon Routh mature into a role he was very fortunate to land in the first  place. We stand a very good chance in being treated to excellent escapist fun and I am cautiously optimistic that we will get a kick-ass Superman come next year!

– Orlando G Acosta

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Can’t wait to see!

23 Jul

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This flick looks too fuckin’ cool! I really enjoyed Duke Mitchell’s Massacre- Mafia Style (review forthcoming)

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A picture is worth…one word!

23 Jul

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