Movies

That Time When Raph Actually Used the Sai Properlly

AZM Ally Shin found a clip of Raph using the sai as they were intended and sent it my way along with this:

I just had to say something about Raphael never using sai correctly and I agree completely. The TMNT influenced my little nerd brain so much that as I got older I forced myself to learn how to properly use a katana, beat myself stupid with nunchaku until I could get form and technique correct, worked with a wonky bo staff and finally got to my favorite turtle and started learning to use sai. And it was boring. As. Shit. Nowhere near as much fun as the way Raph uses them and even attempting to use them that way is so…artificial and impractical when being a sneaky ninja. However, I was completely impressed by the 2007 movie for a multitude of reasons, but none moreso than when the whole sibling rivalry of Leo and Raph came to a head and they finally got all that anger out on each other. And the best part, Raph uses a different weapon before switching to his classic sai and actually relegates them to defense while he uses hand-to-hand to fight Leo. So he does, in fact, actually learn to use the sai correctly!

Thanks, Shin!

I’d be willing to give the Bay produced TMNT flick a pass on the origin change if there is some semblance of proper weapon usage. To me, that’d be an worthwhile update.

Prospective Live-Action Tetsuo Shima Actor Confirms Our Worst Steve Fears

AZM Allies Mark and @nerdycanuck sent over an interesting story about Toby Kebbell, reported to be the number one actor in line for the role of Tetsuo Shima in Warner Bros live-action Akira thing. Though he was initially excited about the prospect of playing the character, there were things about the production that didn’t sit well with him:

They were like, “This is going to be a big franchise!” So I said, “Then in that case, understand that I’ve read the comics, and I’ve read the comics that got turned into the annuals, and then the annuals that got turned into the one-off anime. So if you really want to do it, then why don’t you look at the six comics and just put two into each film?”

That way my character, Tetsuo, is not the lead. He’s not the second lead, and he’s not the third or the fourth lead, because there are eight major characters there. You’ve got great young actors, and you could get them in there. That’s the way to do it if you want to do sequels.

They were like, “Welllll…” So I told them, “Then this is a remake [of the animated movie], and I don’t want to do a live-action remake of the cartoon, because [the cartoon] is perfect and you’re not going to do it dark enough — so therefore, I don’t want to do it.

One of his biggest problems was one of my biggest problems, casting Tetsuo and Kaneda as brothers:

The other thing they wanted to do was make [Tetsuo and Kaneda] brothers. I was like, “The point is that Tetsuo can’t comprehend how someone who isn’t his brother could love him so much — and that’s where his wrath and his rage come from. Do you not see that? Why have you made them brothers? What the fuck are you doing?

It’s refreshing to hear such honesty from a young actor who could potentially be burning many bridges by not only saying such things in studio meetings but to also put his concerns out there for the general public. Toby’s got some stones and I will be looking for him in the future.

As it stands now, I doubt that we’ll ever see the live-action Akira in its current form. I suspect that if it gets revived, it will get a total re-work which may be a good thing. Probably not, but I’m hopeful. It sounds like there are enough people in Hollywood familiar with either the manga or anime or both to know that as it is now, this movie is nothing like Akira.

From: IFC

The Racist Games?

Never expected to be talking about The Hunger Games in the context of racism, but here we are.

AZM Ally Kenneth Lyons, Jr. writes in with word that apparently, there is a select group of people who saw the movie this past weekend who were surprised to see Amandla Stenberg play the character of Rue. In the book, Rue is described as having “dark brown skin and eyes” so to me it makes sense that cast someone who has, um, dark brown skin and eyes. Apparently, it doesn’t make sense to everyone.

Hunger Game Tweets popped up over the weekend to document tweets written by people who are incensed that Rue is black. Funny enough, some of these people actually read the book!

One of the powers of literary fiction is that your mind gets to cast the characters in any way you see fit. Sometimes, even if the description of a character is explicit, your mind swaps in your personal ideal. I guess some people read “brown skin and eyes” and thought, hey, Rue’s a cute little blond. I mean, I guess Snooki has brown skin, well, brown-orange skin. Were they thinking Rue was a Snooki with blond hair? So confused.

If there were no physical descriptions of skin tone in the book, I could more than understand the confusion. I don’t understand why it would ruin the movie, but I could understand some of the surprise. I think a few of the tweets that have been posted were ones of genuine surprise. Maybe some read the bit about Rue looking like Prim just glossed over the brown skin part.

I suspect that this reaction to Rue is a minority opinion. Until Kenneth sent over this tumblr, the only thing I ever heard about The Hunger Games was ZOMG FUCKING HUNGER GAMES HAVE YOU READ THE BOOKS THEY ARE THE AWESOME SAUCE HOLY SHIT THE MOVIE AND STUFF! A quick search of twitter now comes up with a whole lot of people making fun of those who are surprised that Rue is black. The box office numbers clearly indicate that more people did not have a problem with Rue than did. That gives me a lot of hope.

Turtles…In Spaaaaaaaaaace…

Word has gone out that Michael Bay is producing a new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle flick where instead of mutants, the turtles are actually aliens. Fans are understandably upset. But honestly, alien makes about as much sense as mutant. I honestly don’t care either way.

My problem with the turtle movie franchise goes deeper: will Raphael ever learn how to properly use the sai?

For years now, Raph has wielded a weapon he has no fundamental understanding of. Neither does Marvel’s Elektra for that matter. Both are ninjas yet neither have any idea how to use the weapon they are most readily identified with. In the hands of Raph, the sai are fancy daggers which he uses to swat at opponents because you gotta do something when everyone else has a ranged weapon. In reality, the sai are a defensive weapon and completely inappropriate for true ninja work.

Here’s Fumio Demura showing us how to properly use the weapon:

Very powerful yet terribly boring to watch. The sai is one of my favorite weapons, but it’s honestly the least flashy of the Okinawan weapons which makes it terrible for film. The bo is nice and flashy. The camera absolutely loves the nunchaku. Swords, fuck, there are whole movies about just swords. The sai is really the loser in the bunch. It’s actually one of the most effective weapons to counter a sword, but it doesn’t film well at all. So instead of using it properly, every iteration of Raph just swings it around like a fancy dagger thus making him look like a rank amateur.

I know it will piss off the hardcore fans more than the alien thing, but Raph needs a new weapon. Something that films well. Something that’s not a defensive weapon. Chinese whip would be my first choice. It’s a gorgeous weapon that films extremely well and kicks so much ass. Check this shit out:

Yeah, it’s not a Japanese weapon therefore a ninja probably wouldn’t have trained to use one. But fuck it, they’re going to be aliens. Raph needs a proper Hollywood weapon and I think the nine-section whip is an excellent candidate.

Jonah Hill Brings a Gun to Prom



Photo by David Strick

I have to say, I was not terribly impressed with the idea of a 21 Jump Street remake. I wasn’t much of a fan of the original and the notion of turning it into a buddy comedy with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum did not fill me with confidence. However, I’ve been hearing many surprising good things. Maybe not good enough to get me into the theater, but possibly good enough to get me into the Arlington Cinema and Draft House when it inevitably visits us there.

Photographer David Strick caught a number of candid moments of the cast and crew during filming. You know, that’s the one thing that’s missing from the streaming experience. We don’t get any of those behind-the-scenes features when we stream movies. I guess not everyone wants to know how the sausage is made, but I love seeing actors screwing around back stage just being themselves.

Thanks to David for sending this my way.

From: The Hollywood Reporter

Street Fighter x Tekken: The Devil Within

AZM Ally Mark Watford sent this amazing Street Fighter vs. Tekken fan film my way starring Mark Musashi as Kazuya Mishima, Daniel Southworth as Ryu, and Reuben Langdon as Ken. The Thousand Pounds Action Company once again proves that fighting games are actually filmable. I love that all these independent companies are putting the big studios to shame by producing films based on fighting games that completely blow away the big ass Hollywood versions.

The only complaint I have is that we’ll never be able to see these things on the big screen. It might be cool to put together a fighting film festival showcasing all of these awesome shorts.

Can Hipsters Save Us From Steve?

The Lumberjack Films crew came up with a way to finally put an end to the live action Akira film.

You know, there’s part of me that’s cynical enough to believe Warner Bros would release something this shitty despite poor testing.

Thanks to AZM Ally Solkana for the tip.

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