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

Audition | Scariest of All Time?

There was this TV special that aired on Bravo in 2004 called The 100 Scariest Movie Moments, and the number 11th most scary moment came from this movie called Audition. You had these talking heads, including three American filmmakers: John Landis, Eli Roth, and Rob Zombie, and they’re going on about how disturbing this movie was. Landis found it so unsettling he didn’t even like it. This is still profound to me. First of all, there’s no better word of mouth for a horror movie, I think, but more than that, I boyishly appreciate this very open appreciation by Americans of foreign cinema — I’ll take that anywhere I can get it. So cool did I find it, it must have rattled around in my brain for long enough that I turned it into an issue. Wait a minute, why this one? What makes Audition different? … More Audition | Scariest of All Time?

And Have Another Irene

Still me, still trying to make sense of this — my feelings as we spiral toward the end of the United States. I just feel awful. I’ve been thinking about this all day. Barely got any sleep last night. There’s a lot of stressors in my life — like with everyone — but this has been the most vibrating needle in my eye, and that’s my fault. I made the mistake of reading as many news stories about it as I could, including from gossip site AllKpop. What I couldn’t stand about that one was how much people seemed to delight in the thought of Irene’s end. How do you even find out about someone like Irene and decide you don’t like her? There are K-pop groups I don’t really like, but I don’t even think about them. I wrote up that last post before I had a sense for people like that. … More And Have Another Irene

My Statement on the Irene Situation

Christ, a finger wag in word form. Words don’t have hips or hands to put on those hips, and yet, there they are: “My Statement on the Irene Situation.” Your reaction to that is my reaction to the whole thing. And what is the “whole thing,” even? How far does this frustration stretch back? To the beginning of cancel culture? To Tiger Woods on the television apologizing to you for his infidelity? I don’t want to be one of those people who gleefully “cancels” until the canceling becomes inconvenient. Donovan and I have spoken extensively on the subject on our podcast Questions: We Don’t Have Answers — inconclusively, as you might expect. But here’s a collision of cancel culture and idol culture that I need to untangle before I spontaneously combust. … More My Statement on the Irene Situation

So Close

I’m a talker. I talk to movies, I talk at the screen. It’s weird, but I do it. I was fully expecting to come into a review of So Close focused on how it’s the guiltiest guilty pleasure, how its predictability is disarming on purpose and that purpose is just north of lurid, but then it pulls a turn with 30 minutes on the clock that had me shouting. The climax plays out and I’m sitting there with “Here she comes.” “This is where she comes in.” “She’s coming back.” “Could they really…?” and then the credits roll and I am just “What the fuck?” “Are you fucking kidding me?” “What the fuck?” It’s the next morning as I write this [diary entry] and the sting resounds still. … More So Close