Masokaiju Tendencies: Those American Godzilla Movies

Godzilla is a metaphor for the atomic bomb in a film from Japan, a country struck with the atomic bomb by America, so when Godzilla shows up in America, how do you want me to take that? Hollywood has a concise answer: “I don’t give a shit.” A seemingly inevitable statement made as consequence of international intertextuality is forfeited upon the altar of I don’t know what. Three American Godzilla movies have been released so far, and I understand this to be a controversial statement, so I apologize in advance, but none of them have been good. Granted, Godzilla movies are usually not good, but this is different. At least, I think it is. … More Masokaiju Tendencies: Those American Godzilla Movies

Your Guide to the Politics of Shin Godzilla

I’d wanted to write this story about a giant monster attack and realized I didn’t know how it would play out, point by point. Which government organization would do what, at what moment? Who are the key people? And then it struck me, with the power of discouragement: that story already exists, and it’s one of my favorite movies, Shin Godzilla. So onto the shelf that story went, but the question stuck: what would have to happen if a giant monster attacked? I imagined there’d be a treasure trove of resources for “speculative crisis management” or something like that, but maybe some things are too silly even for the Internet. We’ll have to go straight to the source: how do co-directors Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno answer this question? A closer look at the bureaucratic drama of Shin Godzilla might help us understand their political critique. … More Your Guide to the Politics of Shin Godzilla

02/25/2021: You Are the Product, You Feeling Discomfort

In the inarguable blog post for With Eyes East — a feature I’m hoping will equate to semiregular content on this, you know, blog site — I got some problems. Number one being the sexual confusion I experience while watching Steven Seagal movies, but that’ll be our last item because it’s horrifying. First, and only appropriately so, Irene’s movie Double Patty came out (at the domestic box office), and no, netizens are not over “the Irene thing.” Via email alert, I was greeted by this happy headline the other day: “K-pop idols, such as Red Velvet’s Irene, are bombing at the box office as they seek big film careers,” over on the South China Morning Post (or Korea Times?). The article cites a number of idols trying their hands at acting, apparently poorly, but I only recognize Irene here, and as previous posts on this site have well-established, on this I get a little touchy. … More 02/25/2021: You Are the Product, You Feeling Discomfort

2009: Lost Memories

By the time 2009: Lost Memories exposes itself in the final third, forgoing language and subtlety for foaming rabid nationalism, there may be a sense of relief, as its interpretation of the police procedural was laborious: a mystery unfolding poorly. This is an alternate history action-thriller which posits that Germany, not Japan, was hit by the atomic bomb, and as a consequence, Korea was never liberated. In the present day of near-future 2009, the “Japanese Bureau of Intelligence,” or JBI, battles an underground Korean terrorist cell in what would’ve been Seoul, digging up old ghosts for ethnically Korean agent Masayuki Sakamoto. … More 2009: Lost Memories

Top 10 YouTube 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again, where we count down the best YouTube videos of the past 12 months (I’d already used “year” in this sentence, so I couldn’t use it twice). What do you mean “again” doesn’t apply in this case? Well, true enough this site and its correspondent YouTube channel launched this year — and what a year! So exciting, wow. Primarily, what helped me through was YouTube, and what a year! Seems like everyone, from Yoona and Yuri to Hayoung started up their channels, providing so much wonderful c-o-n-t-e-n-t to pick up and watch. … More Top 10 YouTube 2020

The Conquerors: Nomad and Mongol

So, the mission of With Eyes East is to promote Asian cinema and culture, and a very easy way for me to do that is to look at movies which are already cultural outreaches, movies like The Raid: Redemption from Indonesia or Furie from Vietnam. I don’t have to crane my neck; in fact, I might only have to look as far as an episode of The Amazing Race. I’m gonna stop you right there, Phil, because I’ve had my share of tet a tet with CBS copyright lawyers in the past. Well, just one; he thought my name was Josh. But basically, Phil’s saying that KazakhFilm is one of Kazakhstan’s major studios, responsible for a Ghengis Khan movie nominated for an Oscar. And I said, “Bullshit,” because I know Nomad: The Warrior was not nominated for an Oscar. After cursory research, I discovered I’m half-correct. KazakhFilm’s first blockbuster production was Nomad: The Warrior, co-directed by Sergei Bodrov, and it was submitted to the Academy as Kazakhstan’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film, but was not nominated. Two years later, Bodrov returned with a movie called Mongol — the one actually about Ghengis Khan — and this was indeed nominated for that same award. So today, I want to take a look at what goes into film as ambassadorship, with these two Kazakh films as our example. How did they successfully introduce an international audience to the culture of… who? … More The Conquerors: Nomad and Mongol

Battle of the Warrior Queens Part II

Something that strikes me is the notion of international law as it pertains to imperial conquest, that you have to contrive a legal basis for something morally illegal. The British East India Company wouldn’t annex Jhansi unless Rani Lakshmibai’s heir was considered illegitimate. But why? Were they worried about a rebellion? Either way, I think that speaks to the time, the mid-19th century — that even empires were run by gentlemen, and that’s either inherently contradictory, or more true than they realized. But first, I think a recap is in order. … More Battle of the Warrior Queens Part II

Bomi III

In case the last post needed context, and in case I needed more and further procrastination / littering this supposed Wordpress with Tumblr content (R), graciously allow me to allow you a greater scope of Bbom, who is, I’m discovering, perhaps my favorite of all idols. At the very least, she is the most fun to watch do anything, as we’ll see. But first, if Bomi was so soft in “Only One,” she adopts a cool and fierce look for “I’m So Sick,” my current obsession. … More Bomi III

Bomi II

Videos for December underway: “Battle of the Warrior Queens Part II” and “The Conquerors: Nomad and Mongol.” In the meantime, I just need to point out how soft Bomi looks in “Only One.” … More Bomi II

Permission to Exist

The film Permission to Exist releases December of this year, into a pop culture climate where documentary films and miniseries are bingeably popular, but its journey to screen traces far back, to a time before Tiger King and the Fyre Festival. An independent, crowdsourced production directed by Kelley Katzenmeyer, this broad look at the human cost of South Korea’s intense education system has a personal touch and an empathetic eye, but loses narrative momentum in its hard balance of styles and subjects. Katzenmeyer introduces herself within the film early on as a Korean exchange student dating a boy named Dabin who’s under extreme pressure to rate a perfect score on the national exam and gain access to a prestigious university. Though she keeps the focus of the story on others, her presence is felt as a curious outsider making sense of a foreign concept for the rest of us. If you’re interested in Korean culture, Permission to Exist is a no-brainer, a definitive film document on the subject to stand alone should Netflix or Hulu one day replicate it, because of the director’s unique perspective. … More Permission to Exist