Sunday, December 20, 2015


tags: adventure, documentary, wild horses

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Sixteen mustangs, four men, one dream: to ride border to border, Mexico to Canada, up the spine of the American West. The documentary tracks four fresh-out-of-college buddies as they take on wild mustangs to be their trusted mounts, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Their wildness of spirit, in both man and horse, is quickly dwarfed by the wilderness they must navigate: a 3000-mile gauntlet that is equally indescribable and unforgiving.
I read about this documentary way back in September when one of my favorite American actors, Jensen Ackles, mentioned on Facebook that he liked it. I agree with him. It is entertaining and a tad educational. The movie was financed through Kickstarter pledges of over $170,000 and the producers hired a first-time director who did an exceptional job.

It's admirable that the four young men chose to ride adopted wild horses instead of cars for their after-college American Wild West adventure. It's a beautiful film showcasing not just breathtaking scenery and friendship, but also promoting awareness of wild horses adoption program and wilderness preservation. There are lots of laughs and a few sad moments. I was charmed by the stubborn but lovable donkey, Donquita.

Highly recommended. Currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Detectorists And Atelier On Netflix Streaming

Netflix is currently streaming 2 multi-episode drama-comedy series that are both witty, smart, and funny. Highly recommended.


tags: British, comedy, drama, metal detecting, relationships

Season 1 - Six 30-minute episodes

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Two quirky friends share a passion for metal detecting and a dream of unearthing Saxon treasure that they're certain is buried in a local farm field.
The smart and often hilarious dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and superb acting by all the actors (leading and supporting) make this series a true gem, one of the best I've seen this year on Netflix. It's a light comedy with a touch of drama and a little romance. The script is 95% "clean" with just a handful of foul words uttered and no nudity or sexual situations. The second season unfortunately is not yet available on Netflix. I'll have to find the episodes on YouTube or other streaming service.

Update: 12/22/2015

I watched the second season. There's a little bit more drama, just enough; it's as brilliant and funny as the first season, and most important, it has a very happy metal detecting ending worthy of "the dance". Search for streaming services available online. It'll be worthy of your time. I'm also looking forward to the Christmas Special which is scheduled to be shown in The U. K. on December 23.


tags: comedy, drama, Japanese dorama, luxury lingerie manufacturing

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Thirteen 45-minute episodes in Japanese language with English subtitles
Mayuko finds a job with a high-class lingerie manufacturer in Ginza. It is the story of a woman experiencing confusion, struggle and growth in a world with a new set of values different from any she has ever known, and seizing the Japanese dream. Atelier is a workplace-based coming-of-age novel drama, written to present the story of a working woman, with the setting of a glamorous world of lingerie manufacturer.
One word: amazing! Although the idea of manufacturing custom-made luxury underwear doesn't seem to be an interesting premise for a dramedy, the script and acting make this such a wonderful series. It's light comedy and not overly dramatic. The series also shows the Japanese culture, most notably their attention to the tiniest of detail, from the actual product to the packaging. I love the materials they use for the underwear but most specially I dig their Juki sewing machines.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld

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In the ruthless underground world of the Yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire - a bloodsucking Yakuza vampire boss! Among Kamiura's gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin. One day, assassins aware of boss Kamiura's secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: Return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza. As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama's desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate's mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader!
Takashi Miike's latest gorefest comedy, Yakuza Apocalypse, is as insane and entertaining as Gozu. It's a mashup of violent bloody gang fights, eye popping martial arts, vampires, and fantasy with several shout-out to other movies from Yojimbo and the original Django with the coffin, to Revenge Of The Nerds, to ET or maybe Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, to The Island Of Dr. Moreau with a half-man half-turtle character, to Eddie Romero's bat-man character in Twilight People (the hero vampire's costume and the ending remind me of TP's ending). The weirdest but fun part is the giant Kero Kero Keroppi frog lookalike and its bulging eyes death stare. I enjoyed the movie in all its craziness. Only Takashi Miike can pull off this kind of extremely weird movie.

Streaming on Amazon, DVD only from Netflix

Recommended for Takashi Miike fans.