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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: December 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cabin Fever
By BA Tortuga
Published by Torquere Press

Review by Lynn Loper

I’d think that staying alive in the Rockies in a snowy winter would take more effort—effort at things besides sex, anyway—than the two characters in "Cabin Fever" put into it.

We have the mountain man character, Horace, big and hairy and muscular; we have the slight kid trying to find his way over the mountains, not realizing how fast winter will set in. (And in this book it sets in in five minutes flat. Since these characters would never approach each other unless they were snowed in, lay that snow down thick!). [more]

Posted by Lynn Loper @ 09:27 PM PST [Link]

Death Note
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Screenplay by Tetsuya Oishi
Based on the manga by Tsugumi Ôba and Takeshi Obata

Review by Ginger Mayerson

I've never read the "Death Note" manga, but I sure liked this TV movie. Not only did I enjoy it, I understood it! The writer and director didn't cut any corners setting the story up. There's about goodly opening stretch of tense music, shifting scenes of bad guys dying, news reports, public reaction, and some very tidy handwriting in a lined notebook, and then (cue the tense music) Light Yagmi is introduced as the person writing in the notebook, therefore being Kira, the person able to kill at a distance, and this serves as a great prologue. It's a pretty good hook—it worked for me—and it sets up a flashback to the pre-Death Note Light at collage. An innocent, optimistic youth, Light is tall, good looking, an ace at pick-up basketball, has a hot girlfriend named Shiori, and has just passed the bar exam. He adores his police detective father and is all set to pursue justice in the legal system. Unfortunately, after criminally hacking into his father's police database account, he is shocked to discover that the legal system is much less effective than he thought it was and becomes horribly disillusioned. Just to further torture himself, he goes out and finds some criminals in a tacky strip bar who were set free by the courts, and they freak him right out. And then, on the way home from this traumatic experience, he finds the Death Note. For a brilliant legal mind, I think he should have been a little suspicious of finding a bone-dry paper notebook in the pouring rain that was in its own circle of dryness. I, personally, would have been very disturbed by that, but I don't write manga, so maybe Light's was the normal reaction. Anyway, he takes it home, laughs indulgently at the weird directions for killing people in the book and watches a little TV. While watching TV, Light decides to try out the Death Note directions on a crime in progress. And the rest is history. Or something. [more]

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:07 PM PST [Link]

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ping Pong
Directed by Fumihiko Sori
Screenplay by Kankurô Kudô
Based on the manga by Taiyo Matsumoto
Distributed by VIZ Pictures

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Japanese boys playing table tennis should not make a grown woman get all misty, but that is what "Ping Pong" did to me. I'm also very glad I haven't ruined my mind with so much yaoi culture that I can't just enjoy and be touched by friendship between two boys who are not having sex with each other (or anyone else, for that matter). The two lads in question are the confident and dashing Peco and his gentle, self-effacing friend, Smile, so called because he never does. Or did once, as Peco recalls, "he looks real cute when he smiles." They have real names, but I'm too lazy to look them up right now. Oh okay, Peco's name is Hoshino and Smile is named Tsukimoto, I think they get called by those names once or twice in the whole film, but now I feel less lazy. They are freshmen at an average local high school and play on the table tennis team. But, as always, there is back story: as little kids, Peco rescued Smile from being bullied and taught him how to play ping pong. There are little flashbacks on their childhood that give a vivid sense of how their friendship has evolved to the film's present. There is another kid, Demon, who plays ping pong in this story, too. The place they all play ping pong as kids and into the film present is a run-down ramshackle joint called Tamura Table Tennis Dojo. I say Tamura is one of the great ladies of Japanese film. In Noir, she'd be the serene goddess of a certain age behind the bar of some shady saloon, dispensing wisdom with wisecracks. In this film, she's a cross between a burned-out Lauren Bacall and Mr. Miyagi. If you detect some hero worship going on here on my part, I can only say, oh, hell, yes! The other adult in the film, and there really are only two, is The Coach, a disillusioned former champion ping pong player formerly known as Butterfly Joe. He's okay, nowhere near Tamura's league of cool, but okay. [more]

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:54 PM PST [Link]

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