3 Poetic Movies I Watched

I’m becoming a bit lazy with my introduction or maybe I don’t have much esteem for the fast pace society we have become. Not all of us like reading drawn out long rambling paragraphs. So I will spare you the trouble and give you my list. Perhaps, you might find something worthwhile to watch.

Roman Holiday (on Amazon Prime)

  • Release date: September 2, 1953
  • Director: William Wyler

What is a real holiday? A one without a schedule? Being able to breathe and enjoy the simple things in the present moments that is. This film sure captures it –black and white breathtakingly beautiful shots, especially Audrey Hepburn who looks like a flower with her tiny waist. The male actor, Gregory Peck also look quite handsome pairing up with the actress. It’s quite wholesome, sweet, and just like a dream to watch two people flirting. It’s one of those feel good films where you just want to take a short break from doing whatever you are doing and relax with a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine, depending on your preference. Just let the stress melt away. Like a photograph, each scene was mesmerizing and I just realized movies are just moving photographs. Ah…I am dreaming of a holiday in the comfort of my living room.

Rear Window (on Amazon Prime)

  • Release date: August 4, 1954
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock

I don’t think I have seen an artistic suspense film which occurs in one view, sitting by the window. I love the concept and I believe Silent Hill 4, a survival horror game for the Playstation 2, may have been influenced by this idea of being trapped in an apartment. The plot reminds me of the board game Clue, which involves solving a murder mystery. It’s far from scary but suspenseful enough to be entertained. A news photographer plays the detective and watches his interesting, colorful neighbors going about doing their business until he suspects a murder has been committed just from watching them from his window. The whole feel about the film reminds me of staring inside of a doll house. It’s very staged and I sort of like that. Try the film, you might enjoy watching a glamor ad. The film actually did end with a fashion magazine Bazaar. Fashionably bizarre film indeed. Now, I really want to live in one of those apartments, but I definitely don’t want to be spied on by a peeping tom news photographer.

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (on Netflix)

  • Initial release: July 22, 2021 (Japan)
  • Director: Kyohei Ishiguro

This cute animation made me realized teenagers these days must have it hard growing up with social media and smart phones. It only amplifies low-esteem and depression. At that age, I remember I was trying to find my identity through music. There weren’t a lot of distraction from the outside world called Cable T.V., especially not in my household. We get our entertainment from video cassettes and public channels. So, I can only imagined feeling overwhelmed if I were a teenager from this time being exposed to so many influencers from all over the world. The result would be to hide in poetry. Like the male protagonist, I was a shy kid too. Some of us don’t like to draw attention to ourselves because we want to avoid involuntary blushing. Overall, the animation is vibrant and stylish. It feels old but new. Same teenager issues, but just set in a different time.

That’s it for my list of three. Hope you found something worthwhile to watch as well.

My Husband Won’t Fit Review (2019): Let’s Talk about Sex

I’m a few days late like usual. Valentine’s Day has passed. I could learn how to prioritize my blog posts to sync with the holiday, but I guess I missed the opportunity. In my mind, I thought reviewing Cuties was more important. But at least I got my punctuality right. Punctuality is a great trait to show people we care. On a second thought, I don’t know. Throwing panties at any sexually starved man will make any man punctual. Okay, maybe I am stretching a bit there. You can blame the media for my bias views. Enough exposure in the media will make anyone believe that all men are hungry wolves who jump at any piece of meat they come across.

So let’s talk about the birds and the bees because that’s what love birds do during Valentine’s Day, right?! I heard in Japan, many couple are in sexless marriage. If you are asexual, this is probably the perfect type of relationship you want to be in. After all, for some folks, there is more to relationship than just sex. But for the majority of people–sex is important in a relationship. This quirky Japanese TV show explores the concept of love, relationship and sex. What does it all mean? I found this show amusingly fun to watch and I think you should give it a try too.

There are 10 episodes total, which is the perfect length for nowadays shows–not too short, but not too long. The amount of content in this TV show is decently covered. I found myself binged watching the show because it was entertaining enough even though I did not agree with its content. As a westerner, I find the relationship between the couple quite unique. They successfully separate sex from love making. So cheating is not really considered cheating if feelings are not involved. Do you agree with that? Now that is hot discussion for couples! We all know that most women don’t like their men having secret affairs behind their back. But the protagonist in this TV Show has no problem because her husband simply doesn’t fit! She just wants him happy. She is the perfect wife for those men who have big appetite for variety of women. Who can say no to a sweet timid, considerate wife who does not object to her husband’s external affairs? She’s always thinking about her husband’s happiness. How honorable…not! I hope you could tell I was being sarcastic! For most women, it’s a deal breaker that sex is out of the equation and there’s is a lack of respect for the marriage when one seek others to fulfil sexual needs. Not being able to satisfy our significant other sexually could cause a severe blow to one’s self-esteem. In fact, this is what led the female protagonist to seek comfort from other men. In this show, both husband and wife are guilty.

So this brought up many questions about relationship: What is love? Isn’t love about the other person? Think about it, does that sound rather heartless and harsh if people get into relationship to fulfil their sexual gratification only? This show explains how unique one marriage can be between a couple. It’s biggest argument in this show is that sex is not everything for a lifelong partner. Clearly, both main characters are always thinking of each other’s happiness.

Well, I hope I’m not the opposite of cupid. Hope I did not spark a heated debate between lovers. I just thought this show is worth watching. I like its lighthearted approach to asking tough questions on what marriage and love is. I found myself experiencing different emotions–shocked, anger, happiness, and sadness for the couple. Isn’t love supposed to make us feel like we can be our true selves and our partner is always having our interest in mind and vice versa? It’s a sweet little show.

As my final thought, the only love we need is self-love if you ask me. Once we love ourselves, we can love others in a healthy way. So pop those self-loving pills and Happy belated Valentine’s Day. And if no one loves you, Halsdoll loves you. So come back again for some more insightful reviews!


Painted Faces (1988) Review: Never Look Down on Yourself Even if People Do

One thing I love about Hong Kong films back in the 80s to mid 90s is that it has the tendency to praise hard work and perseverance. Netflix did a great a job at recommending Painted Faces to me as I really enjoyed watching martial arts films but not all of them are made with passion and care. This film really depicted the rigorous training behind the scenes as a performing artists which paid its tribute to the Chinese Opera School, which later brought out the best in Hong Kong martial arts films. I can testify because I was about three years old when I got my first exposure to Hong Kong action films and I remember begging my mom to watch more of it. The choreography and the fighting scenes were highly addictive to watch on top of the intriguing plots that always kept me on my toes. But I think what made me really liked those films is how it teaches virtuous ideas and Painted Faces is no exception.

In this film, we follow a young boy called Big Nose. His mother had to join his father in Australia for work. Most parents would rather have their kids go to a university and become a scholar. It’s more prestigious than a performing artist. The young boy, Big Nose was handed over to Master Yu Jim-yuen, a strict Chinese Opera instructor who takes in young boys who are abandoned by their relatives for financial reasons or children who happen to be orphans. In return for lodging and food, the boys have to go through rigorous training to perform the Peking Chinese Opera and make money for the school. It’s a fair situation, putting the boys to use while providing shelter to them. Pretty much they are a property of the school. It sounds kind of bad, but not so bad at the same time.

What I really enjoyed about this film is watching how well behaved and dedicated the children are to their teacher. Likewise, the teacher cares greatly for his students. But most importantly, the film taught me to never look down on oneself regardless of what others think. Master Yu earned my respect. Overall, it’s a heart warming film that reminds us to respect those who come before us. If you are looking for a feel good film to watch, I highly recommend this one.

Netflix Social Dilemma Review

I spy on people and tech companies spy on me on social media. “We are all connected to each other in a circle in a hoop that never ends,” I quote from Pocahontas song Colors of the Wind. I think we are becoming very intimate. It is kind of making me blushed in fact.

I was working when I watched (more like listening to) this documentary. It was insightful and frightfully scary. The sound effects made the future felt like it’s going to be all doom and gloom run by out of control AIs. To save our sanity, we must unplug and delete our social media accounts for our mental health sake. Let’s be frank, we are accustomed to comparing each other success. It’s a real thing–even I feel shitty from time to time. I am dull. I like boring stuff. I am like an old lady because I like flowers and prefer to stay in door despite what my zodiac sign says about me. Traveling is fun but traveling in my mind is more fun. The question “what is wrong with me” pops up occasionally. But it’s just part of human nature. It’s hard to look into ourselves and accept who we are when we can’t see ourselves, we need people to validate us and that’s why social media can be so addictive and detrimental to one’s health. We are a product of our time. I know that I am addicted to my phone. Google Map app is my boyfriend. He gives me direction so I don’t get lost when I go out. When it goes missing, I feel as if one of my internal organs got ripped out from my body and I am about to bleed and die. Yeah it sounds dramatic because I can be quite dramatic.

Overall, the documentary is quite educational and I am glad I watched it, however I feel that limiting oneself from using any technology related is impossible. It is so ingrained in our society. Technology is good and bad. We become narrow minded and further away from the “truth” when what we see on a daily basis becomes our reality. This can make us feel quite isolated and lonely. Just understanding this concept makes me feel better and I hope you feel the same. Well I think I am getting used to this blogging thing. In a way, I am kind of glad I don’t have a lot of followers. My content might shift towards the audience and my own voice will die. I will leave you folks with one of my favorite songs by Depeche Mode because sometime silence is best.

For other tech films related topics, check out my review for EX-Machina.

Romance Doll Review: Love Is Remembrance

Sometimes I think the term feminism is just a Western product. Over the years, it has carried such a bad connotation. I think vocal feminists are confused these days. Just because I am on the quiet side, it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in gender equality nor do I condone femininity. Do I have to throw away my femininity to demand equality? Objectification is cringy, no lie, but Romance Doll proves it otherwise.

My first initial impression when I found this show on Netflix, I thought uh oh, it’s sex dolls for lonely men because I heard that single men prefer 2d girls/dolls over real women these days. Real women can’t compete with timeless beauties. So I was expecting the film to be political. To the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised that the film is nothing about the politics of dolls and how it may affect society in a negative way. Instead, the film explores the meaning of love by objectifying woman in the most respectful manner. It’s oxymoron, I know.

Like most art graduates, it’s difficult to find a job that utilize one’s skills. The male protagonist Tetsuo happened to graduate from an art school specializing in sculpture. A friend recommended him a job without letting him know what it is. He later found himself employed to the industry of making sex dolls. It’s not the most prestigious job, but it’s not entirely bad as it seems. In fact, he hit the jackpot! The job not only allowed him the opportunity to meet his future wife Sonoko, but it also allowed him to hone his artistic skills in creating a breathing, realistic love doll. It is his passion that ironically made Sonoko fell in love with him. He pressed his hands on her breasts to feel the texture, claiming he was creating breasts prosthetic for medical use. You might be thinking, what a sly, unethical pervert. I thought the same. But this section of the film was well executed. There is a great amount of respect for the woman’s body. It’s almost sacred-like, which explains why Tetsuo couldn’t tell Sonoko that he creates love dolls for a living.

As they say, man falls in love with image, and woman falls in love through how she feels. Out of impulse, Testsuo and Sonoko agreed to marry. Sounds like a fairy-tale doesn’t it? But it’s far from a happy story. As time progresses, secrecy between the married couple unfolds and both learn about what it means to love and to trust. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.

What I find so pleasing about this film is that I was not offended by the notion of love dolls and what they are used for because the film did such a great job at illustrating how it can help lonely men. Think about it, why do we hold certain objects more important than others? Why are diamonds valuable to women? In this case, Testuo creates his SONOKO love doll out of remembrance for his love towards his wife who then helps fill the void of lonely men. The doll is far from trash. She is made with love and quality.

As for my final thoughts for this film, the irony of SONOKO love doll is that she was mold after a perfect wife (caring, patient, and obliging) but she is also “nice and horny.” Sounds like a wish come true to lonely men. I am pretty sure Sonoko’s soul feels content knowing that she is helping lonely men even after she is long gone from this world. After all, human companionship is part of human survival needs.

I’m not surprised that this film was directed by a woman: Yuki Tanada. The undertone of Romance Doll is far from trashy. It is typical of a woman to hold her female kind with high regards, especially if it involves sex and her body.

Love and Fortune Review: Sometimes the Other Half Is Literally Half Our Age

Have you ever eaten anything that tasted sweet and then the more you bite into it, it became bitter and tangy? I just described my emotions for Love and Fortune. Love and marriage is a happy ending for most women. But some are just unlucky–meeting the wrong guy at the right time, and meeting the right guy at the wrong time. The maternal clock is always ticking for us women. Women have one shot at finding happiness and many of us never find it. Oh the pain of having a period in life (no kidding sometimes it hurts that we need to take medicine)!

Love and Fortune
picture courtesy

If this show sounds all doom and gloom, far from it, it’s a sweet little horrifying show that would make any normal woman cringe but laugh because she is so shocked at the situation that her eyes would be glued to the screen. The show is about a 30 year-old woman who is conflicted with societal expectations (e.g. getting married, having children, being successful) and who happens to fall in love with a 15 year-old boy. Now, I know what you are thinking–she is pedophile. She is gross, but let’s look at her situation with a magnifying glass–the details.

Wako Taira, the protagonist, is aware of her age. Like any normal woman, she wants to get married, but her relationship with her boyfriend of three years is in limbo. The romance is not there. He looks down on her, constantly nagging her to quit her part-time job at the cinema and find a real job. She does all the housework. He comes home late drunk wanting to have sex–but never returning the favor when she wants it. So what happens to a neglected woman? She finds love and hope elsewhere, and that’s where Yumeaki Iko (the high-school boy) comes in. Can you say no to a rare opportunity, especially when the person has the same interests and hobby? She found her other half, who is literally half her age! If men can fall in love with younger women, why can’t women fall in love with younger men? Take that equal gender rights, patriarchal society (I’m just echoing the film’s message)!

Don’t be fooled though, this show is more than what I just described. The characters are complex creatures who are innocently in-love but are rejected by society’s standard and for practical, biological reasons. The same dilemma can be said to the opposite sex. How can a high-school girl have a relationship with a man twice her age? It’s an interesting show worth watching if you are looking for something horrifyingly comical, but at the same time uncomfortably real because love can turn people into fools and no one is immune from it.

Netflix Series Atelier: It’s Not Just About Underwear

My mother once said, you can tell a lot about a person’s personality based on the shoes he or she wears.  From looking at the picture below (yes it’s my shoes), that’s not far from the truth.

I’m plain, practical, and environmentally conscious.  Rain or shine, I love to walk. I’ve had these shoes for over 12 years! The more I wear it, the more comfortable it feels. As much as I adore my beaten-up shoes, I do feel self-conscious about it, especially around other women.  Not everyone finds my shoes adorable, especially my mother who often scolded me for my unkempt appearance.  They might even associate it with the lack of funds in my bank account after seeing me wear the same shoes every day, or what is worse, they might see me lacking in confidence as a woman. Unfortunately, women do care a lot about their appearance and there is a good reason why.

After watching a chic Netflix show called Atelier, the concept can’t be more true–women often choose clothes to express their inner beauty.   In this case, the show uses lingerie and not shoes to illustrate this point.  Lingerie is a metaphor for beauty.  After all, lingerie is not meant to be displayed because real beauty, according to the show, is hidden and each woman defines it differently.

You are probably thinking it’s just a show about women. Not entirely true.  It’s about creators who wish to express themselves a bit more freely apart from doing business.  Making money and creating art are two different things.  The show clearly pointed that out.  If you are an artist, or a creative person, I think you can empathize with the characters very well. We often struggle with creating things we don’t always want to do, but we do it because there is a market for it. It’s like a show that cheers all the creative people in the world: “You can do it as a struggling artist! Make money with your art!” I was so moved by the scene where one of the characters subtly insulted businessmen and their mass-produced products. Businessmen/women have the tendency to follow what is popular—they research a product just to secure a profit. I get it. Money is the backbone of a functioning society, however, starving creativity, kills the human soul. We begin to ask ourselves what’s the meaning of our existence if we can’t create the things we want.

Another thing I liked about the show was watching the main character (Mayuko Tokita) and the side character (Mayumi Nanjo) interacting like mother and daughter. They don’t always agree with each other. The mother-like character was always scolding the unruly daughter.  Overall, I thought the show did a great job with characters development. They all grew and as a result, I learned something very valuable along with them.  Maybe it’s time for me to have some self-confidence. Get a new pair of shoes and run after my true passion (sorry ancestors if my passion brings you shame).

I am surprised how much I enjoyed the show. I didn’t expect much from it.  I recommend this show, especially to female audience or if you are one of those people who are in tuned with your creative side.

Note: Originally posted on Mar. 29, 2019, revised Jul. 20, 2020.