Monday, January 19, 2004

Lost In Translation

Ignore the time stamp - this was written late on Saturday night.

I’ve just had a very satisfactory Saturday – bar the fact I tore my left calve muscle, in bed of all places. It must be something to do with sleeping in a bad position, because it happens once a month or so, and it’s absolute agony when it does happen – like having a hot knife stuck in the back of your leg. One day I might figure out what’s causing it.

Despite that, Fleur and I toddled off to Camberley to drop off her glasses at the opticians to have their lens replaced. I bought a lovely new blue-grey suit from the Officer’s Club in their sale for all of £55. We met my good friend (and PC Format freelancer) Paul there in Ottakars, and took a swift jaunt down the Hogs Back to Guildford to do a bit more shopping.

I picked up 2 DVDs in the HMV sale for £20, Solaris – one of my favourite films from last year – and Thief, one of Michael Mann’s first films. I love Michael Mann. I don’t know where he got his Cops ‘n’ Robbers obsession from, but Mann does these character led crime dramas so much better than anyone else. I missed this when it was on BBC1 before Christmas (why do the TV networks always put on the best films at 2am in the morning when the only people who can watch them are chronic insomniacs?) so I’ve been after this for a while.

I managed not to spend any money in GAME, which is quite an achievement, considering I normally get two or three games a month and I’ve not bought anything since before Christmas when I got KOTOR and Hordes Of The Underdark on the same weekend. Of course, I’ve not actually played much of HOTU yet, so there’s not really much point buying anything else yet – not whilst I’m still playing KOTOR so much anyway.

The real reason for going to Guildford was to go to the cinema – to see Lost In Translation by Sofia Coppola. The opening shot of the film is provocative to say the least. It’s a shot of Scarlett Johannson’s back, lying down in bed wearing only a slip and some semi-transparent pink knickers. From this single shot, I was able to determine that, to use a Gillenism, Scarlett Johannson has a fine, fine ass. She’s a very engaging leading lady – with an ethereal exoticness to her beauty, rather than the traditional fine chiselled features of a Michelle Pffifer or a Julia Roberts – this is a young actress with a stellar future, methinks.

Lost In Translation’s main attraction is the ever superb Bill Murray, however, and I was amazed at the strength of the on-screen chemistry between the two principle actors. It really carries the film along, despite the leisurely pacing. Coppola doesn’t overplay the fish-out-of-water hook, though there are some lovely scenes demonstrating the sheer strangeness of Japanese culture in comparison to Western “normality”. Charlotte’s exploration of a videogame arcade is as colourful as you’d expect, and the scene in the Japanese lap dancing bar is nothing short of classic, as is the karaoke bar scene. The cinematography is wonderful – if Amelie was a Parisian tourist board film, then Lost In Translation is the Tokyo equivalent. Tokyo looks like an amazing place – the density and intensity of having such a large population in such a small space truly makes it unique – I’d love to visit it someday. It’s a very pleasant film to watch, even if nothing truly exciting really happens, and the humour is quite low key. If you’re a fan of Bill Murray, I can highly recommend it.

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