Live Action Movie Review

White on Rice – Movie Review

A while back, I reviewed a movie called “Big Dreams Little Tokyo.” The director just released another film, “White on Rice,” and sent me a review copy.

White on Rice is another story about Asians in America, though this one is not centered on an Anglo protagonist. Jimmy is a man-child who lives with his sister and her husband and child. He was recently divorced, and apparently is planning on moving out once he gets remarried. The problem is that Jimmy isn’t exactly marriage-material. He goes on a ton of dates, focusing on women in the office he works. First observation: Jimmy – you’re doing it wrong! Never go for the office romance! Things get more complicated when his sister’s friend(?) Ramona moves in for college. Jimmy decides to go after her, causing scene after scene of awkwardness.

There are also a few subplots involving Jimmy’s sister and her much older husband and their nerdy little kid. The kid, Bob, does not speak Japanese like the rest of the family. As a first (or second, depending on how you classify it) generation Asian American, I totally see this kid in most of my cousins who were also born in America. Bob is studious at school, has numerous part time jobs and pretty much fades into the background when his parents are around. He’s probably the most entertaining character since he’s so dead-on stereotype but also very real.

Jimmy, on the other hand, is sort of less believable. How did he get married in the first place? What led up to his divorce? He’s about one step away from being Pee-Wee Herman in his man-child behavior. I can’t decide whether to like him or whether to think he’s extremely creepy. He’s kinda mean to his super tall date, and he also totally ignores a girl in a banana costume who really likes him. He also stalks Ramona while she’s dating someone else. Granted, the guy she’s dating is a douchebag Asian (note to women, this is the wrong kind of Asian man to date), but still. I think Hiroshi Watanabe really shows his skill in acting, since he can play this socially inappropriate dude and get away with it simply because he looks so innocent when he flashes that smile.

Some of the acting is a big rough. I can’t tell if Hiroshi Watanabe is speaking broken English on purpose for his character, or because he’s really not that good at English. It’s kind of like how it seems like Jackie Chan doesn’t really know any English at all in his movies and basically speaks the syllables he needs to in order to fake it. I had to rewind a few times to understand what people were saying. This is bad, because I should technically be pretty good at deciphering Asian accents (my parents have strong accents). Besides the language barrier, I thought the movie was really funny most of the time. The thing is that the actors all seemed sincere in what they were doing, even if what they were doing seemed just plain wrong.

I also had a few issues with the pacing of the movie, especially towards the end. Some random character appears out of nowhere and saves the day with his car. I don’t recall seeing him earlier in the movie. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention? There were also random plot holes here and there, but that’s to be expected when you have a bunch of overarching plotlines and a short amount of time to tie them all in. A fun easter egg that I noticed was in a funeral home scene. Bob goes to play the piano by a dead guy. The dead guy looks like Boyd from Big Dreams Little Tokyo. In the credits, the young corpse is listed as being played by “Boyd Wilson,” who is the character that Dave Boyle played. So he got a small cameo in his movie. It’s kind of sad to see that Boyd died so young. Hopefully the sumo guy realized his dreams.

One detail that I appreciated was that the native speakers spoke to each other in Japanese. It always confuses me when two people who can communicate with each other in their native language, when it’s just the two of them, decide to speak in broken English. Tim (the douchebag Asian guy) even makes a note that Bob doesn’t speak to his parents in Japanese, though he can understand them when they speak to him. It’s a small touch, but makes a difference when it’s something that is culturally obvious.

I don’t think that anyone would argue that there are too many movies on Asian American culture. Any addition to the genre is quite welcome, and when it turns out to be funny and genuine, that’s a major bonus. I originally thought the storyline was going to be about an Asian guy going after a white woman because of the title. “White on Rice?” I think it would’ve been a more interesting story that could’ve highlighted culture clashes and brought up more about Asian American self-identity. Jimmy could’ve totally used this book. While I think it plays it a bit too safe, White on Rice still serves as a voice for the underrepresented minority of Asian Americans. I think it’s an important step in showing that Asians can star in movies that don’t have the word “ninja” or “kung-fu” in them. Overall it’s a solid Asian American indie movie that’s fun, uplifting, quirky and charming in its little imperfections.

White on Rice hasn’t had a wide theatrical release yet, but it has shown up in some film festivals. Apparently you can buy the movie already for a “sneak peek.” Hopefully it gets a wider release at some point. You can get more info at the official website.

Anime Live Action

Thoughts on the NYAF Anime Blogging Panel

I watched the NYAF Anime Blogging Panel while on a plane, so I haven’t had a chance to write about it until now.

I really do sort of miss the Anime Nano Podcast. And the panel had 2/3 of the original AN Podcast cast. jpmeyer and Hinano!

Anime Live Action

Death Note II Movie Screening: Win Free Tickets!

So like Kabitzin, I was offered some free movie tickets to Death Note II for my faithful readers. Just go here and see if the movie is playing in your town. There are tickets for October 15 & 16 showings. Then um… Hmm… I guess I have to make this into a contest. Okay.

Leave a comment with a haiku about Death Note and I’ll pick two winners from random. Or maybe I’ll just pick the most entertaining haiku. Either way, I’ll contact the winners via email on 9/29/09.

DVD Live Action Review

Honey And Clover: Live Action Movie Review

Holding a special place in my heart for stuff that’s natsukashii, Honey and Clover is one of my favorite series. It’s the timeless story of a group of college kids figuring out how life works. Basically, Honey and Clover makes me want to stay in college forever.

Blu-ray Live Action Review

Shinobi – Heart Under Blade: Blu-ray Review

I got this Blu-ray disc a while ago from Funimation but I was never able to watch it since I didn’t have a player. Recently I bought a Playstation 3, so I test drove its high definition video skills with this movie. Unfortunately, I forgot to set the display to 1080i! orz

DVD Live Action

Big Dreams Little Tokyo Release Date: 07/22/08

A while back, I reviewed a movie called “Big Dreams Little Tokyo.” I liked it a lot, and I’m happy to announce that the film is actually on its way to a DVD release. I used to be a film (media arts) student, so I’m pretty psyched whenever an indie film gets some support behind it. This film is about a likeable weeaboo, so that’s gotta be double-support from me.

Anyway, the movie is available for pre-order on Amazon, so check out my review and if you want, pre-order it!

P.S. I wouldn’t really endorse this movie unless I liked it. Sure, there are some flaws in the acting and writing, but from what I recall, the movie was pretty entertaining to me from the perspective of an American who has an interest in Japanese culture.

DVD Live Action Review

Love Com (Lovely Complex) The Movie – DVD Review


TallRisa is Tall!!!

Live Action Review

Big Dreams Little Tokyo – Movie Review


Big Dreams Little Tokyo is not an anime, manga, or live action dorama. It’s an American indie film with a huge dash of Japanese culture references. Basically, fair game for review on this blog. Or so I declare.

Also, this review is based on an advance screener copy of the film. Apparently it’s going to be released in theaters and on DVD in early ’08. So you can’t watch this yet. Gomen.

Anime Live Action

Negima Live Action Drama in the Works!?

This is just some random cosplay image I found on sagbooru, or danbooru 2, or whatever the new danbooru is.

So according to ComiPress, there’s going to be a Negima live action drama! And that’s about all the news there is.

Personally, I dunno if a live action Negima can work. I don’t know if there’s any real life kids who could fit the Negima role well. Plus with all the girls, I’d have a feeling it’d be hard to tell them all apart (unless they actually had pink hair, etc).

Also, would you really want to watch a 7 year old boy get into ecchi situations with 13 year old girls in real life? The anime version works because the girls at least look like they’re older than that. You can sorta suspend your disbelief when it’s anime and manga, but with real life? I think it’d just be creepy.

Anime Live Action

The Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 – Haruhi Meets The Box

Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 01Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 02Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 03Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 04Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 05Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 06Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 07Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 08Adventures of the ASOS Brigade 005 09

So the next episode of The Adventures of the ASOS Brigade has come out! For some reason this one is number 005. So they’re skipping around like the original Haruhi anime? Great… In this episode, Haruhi gets a tip about a secret alien base. She, Mikuru and Yuki go to Area 42.

They stalk around and find a real life alien closet! The closet is some kind of clothes changing one. So Yuki gets the witch costume and Mikuru gets the bunny suit from Asahina Mikuru no Bouken. Would it have killed them to get Patricia Ja Lee in a bunny suit? Seriously, that’s how you sell dvds!