Archive for February 29th, 2012

Site Update

Over the next couple of months I’ll be creating an index for this site – putting the movies I’ve reviewed into alphabetical order on a new page which will make it easier for site visitors who want to click on a specific movie review rather than trawl through the whole site. Whilst I’m doing that I’ll revisit most of my old reviews and expand on them. I know a lot only had a couple of lines about a movie so I definitely want to improve them. Also some of the trailer links have expired so I shall update them also. I can’t say when the new page will be up – juggling a full time job and also updating my other website will take up most of my time but I’m hoping at the end of Spring/beginning of Summer it’ll be ready.

EDIT: The alphabetical movie index with links is now 100% complete.

EDIT 2: There’s about 200 or so Asian movies which I’ve seen during the past couple of years but haven’t written a review for them yet so in addition to updating the rest of the reviews already up on this site, I’ll try and do them as well.

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Paradise Kiss (2011)

Yukari Hayasaka is a teenage girl who isn’t too bright but with hard work and determination has managed to fight her way through into one of Tokyo’s most prestigious high schools. One afternoon whilst shopping in Omotesando, she is scouted by a young man called Arashi Nagase, a student who attends Yazagaku fashion school. He wants Yukari to be a model for the school’s 3rd year fashion graduation assignment which will see a participating group and their model of choice parade up and down the catwalk in their design. Arashi is a part of an independent fashion label called Paradise Kiss which is made up of 4 members. It is led by flamboyant rich boy fashion designer George Koizumi, transsexual Isabella, Arashi and his girlfriend Miwako. Yukari takes much persuading to become their model but she relents in the end. But Paradise Kiss have a battle on their ends in the assignment. With the label’s clothes failing to sell on the open market, the only hope for the label to survive is to win the assignment competition otherwise they will have to break up. George’s female rival is determined to win with her group. Fate doesn’t seem to be smiling for the group as during rehearsals, Yukari botches her catwalk appearance – strutting up and down like a robot. George isn’t happy at all. As the clock ticks down to the fashion parade proper, can the team overcome the odds and win the assignment competition or will Paradise Kiss close it’s doors forever?

Paradise Kiss is a very popular manga by Ai Yazawa. She was also behind the hugely successful Nana manga which spun into 2 movies so it was only a matter of time before Paradise Kiss was going to be turned into a movie. The story isn’t that original but it’s competently done. The character of Yukari is torn between carrying on studying in high school or ditch it for the glamour and fame of the catwalk. Having had to study hard by her mother from a young age, this is Yukari’s chance to forge her own path in life. I guess this is the message of the whole movie – do you live your life on your own accord or through other people. A lot of the fans who enjoyed the manga/anime version of Paradise Kiss have said that the movie is so disappointing. Without reading and watching either I can’t judge whether the movie is inferior or not but I liked it. There’s some comedy of sorts, drama, romance – something that the target audience of the movie which was young teenage Japanese girls would like.

Keiko Kitagawa makes for a great Yukari Hayasaka though I can see many viewers disliking her pouty, icy attitude at times. I thought she fitted the role pretty well. She’s a very appealing actress and one that I’ve enjoyed watching for many years. The supporting cast was fine apart from Osamu Mukai who I didn’t think was that good as George Koizumi. He was quite dull from the get go (a stereotypical rich kid of the likes I’ve seen in other movies) but at least the others especially Isabella were better. Seeing her backstory in a small flashback sequence was nicely done. I felt sorry for the very young boy actor that had to wear a dress for that! The characters are unique and highly likeable. For fashion fans, there’s plenty of interesting fashion creations for them to enjoy. Paradise Kiss should appeal to those that this movie was intended for but as for the rest I’m not too sure. I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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