Tuesday, June 29, 2004

"No...THE...Captain THE Yellow."
One and One-Half Hours in a Hotel Room

At some point, at some time I talked about a movie called Sharkskin Man & Peah Hip Girl. I'm sure I mentioned how it got compared a lot to Tarantino and his assorted knockoffs. I claimed that while I understood what they meant, I didn't see it that way at all.

Party 7 pretty much convicted me that they were wrong...at least about Katsuhito Ishii being nothing but a knockoff.

Let's put it this way, if you've got five people in a hotel room and two other people watching them from an adjoining room, you better have a d@mned interesting movie to keep my finger off the fast forward button.

This movie delivered.

It was fun. Plain and simple. And that's all I ask lately.

Not brainless. I can't take that.

And not so painfully, dreadfully hip that it can't laugh at itself.

The Story: Low-level yakuza Miki holes up in a hotel room after stealing money from the mafia. First an ex-girlfriend finds him wanting to settle up a debt, then her current boyfriend comes looking for her, and finally Miki's best friend and fellow gang member arrives to whack him. All the proceedings are watched over from a hidden room by a young pervert and the hotel's owner Captain Banana.

The Review: Now the above doesn't tell you a whole lot. It's one of those things. If I start explaining one thing, I'll have to explain something else, and it'll just snowball from there.

I've written several more lines since a certain two words, and I'm sure that at least some of you are wondering: "Captain Banana?!?"

Well, that brings me to the best part of the movie...

Tadanobu Asano, whom I've mentioned my admiration for, has played a pretty steady stream of bad@$$es in the movies I've seen him in thus far. That includes the aformentioned Sharkskin Man role. Here we see him a little differently.

I've never seen in any film a quicker character establishment than featured in this film. Asano is a peeper, but not a garden variety pervert. To show you the extent of his madness, on the way to his dying father's bedside (from jail), he badly fakes a fall in order to look up a nurse's skirt. I couldn't believe it, and hence spent the next few minutes laughing about it.

Oh, yeah, Captain Banana.

Where to begin....? Well, he's bascially a super hero looking guy with a banana yellow helmet on with huge lips and robotic eyes. He's bizarre. He was Asano's dad's friend, and is a fellow pervert. At one point he tries to convince Asano that his dad played the part of Captain the Yellow. There's an accompanying suit, and I can't even begin to describe what it looks like when you see it in action.

There's a also a giant manga polar bear, but I won't get into that.

Of course Miki is played by worldwide indie film champion Masatoshi Nagase. Way back when he played the rockabilly Japanese fella with all the lighter tricks in Jarmusch's Mystery Train. The girl (there had to be one somewhere), Kana, is played by the beautiful Akemi Kobayashi. Akemi may have the biggest lips I've ever seen on any woman, much less a Japanese actress. Somehow, though, she's got one of those faces to pull it off.

The last thing I'm gonna comment on this movie is that the arrival of the 7th and final character in the movie is priceless and oh-so-over-the-top in the right way.

I know it's not much of a review.

My mind, as always, is forever roaming these days.

You can call it childish, but it's something many of the greats have gone after. How to see and do things like a child. Well, I want that again. I want to be able to watch stuff like I did when I was a kid.

It's not easy.

I give up for today.


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