Film Review: From Up On Poppy Hill

“I was expecting more talking cats” was what one of the people I went to see From Up On Poppy Hill came out of the film saying. Studio Ghibli have become famous in the west for surreal fantasy Anime like Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. What a lot of westerners don’t seem to know is that they are also famous for making emotionally charged films that are set in the real world.

There are no talking cats in this film, no sentient fires, no giant forest spirits just people. And that’s not a bad thing.

From Up On Poppy Hill is based on a Japanese serialized comic by Chizuru Takahashi  and is the story of a high school kid in 1960’s Japan, the Olympics are just around the corner and the school club house is being threatened with demolition. Also she’s fallen for a boy with whom circumstances arise that make her feelings a little awkward.

It’s a whimsical tale, heart warming at parts and laugh out loud fun at others, the incidental characters make this film as much as the leads, I think I could watch an entire movie starring the head of the philosophy club, or the bespectacled artist sister of the main character.

If you come into this film expecting talking cats, you are going to be disappointed, the only magic in this film is in the interaction between the characters. If you come into the film expecting character growth, good story telling and an insight into what it was like to be a kid in 1960’s Japan, then I don’t think you will be walking away from it in the slightest bit disappointed.

Lodnon 2102 Oimplycs

Oimplycs Squares

I love the idea behind this, I’ve personally not been effected by LOCOG’s draconian policy of turning the Olympics from what should be a celebration of human achievement to a stinking pile of over commercialism but just hearing about it annoys me.

What started as a joke by a clothing company has turned into a movement protesting against LOCOG and the way it treats anyone who doesn’t give them money as complete shit.

Wine merchant Oddbins are apparently offering a 30% discount to anyone who comes into an Oddbins branch who wearing Nike trainers and has in their pocket a set of Vauxhall car keys, an RBS MasterCard, an iPhone, a bill from British Gas and a receipt for a Pepsi bought at KFC.

Ayo Akintola, the managing Director of Oddbins has issued the following statement(Via the Drum):

“The London Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the whole of the UK’s business community to come together to support our fantastic athletes and celebrate an awe-inspiring festival of sport.

“But thanks to LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), any business without the tens of millions of pounds required to join the cabal of multinational brand partners for the Games are reduced to the status of beggars on the gilded streets of the Olympic movement.

“We have taken steps to ensure our planned window displays do not flout any of these asinine rules, but we are doing this primarily to highlight the absurdity of the fact that the British people – who are paying for these games – are at the same time being subject to ridiculous rules. Even though our window designs will be within the rules, we would not be surprised if LOCOG goes loco.”

You can keep track of the goings on of the Lodnod 2102 Oimplycs on their official site.

Dream Journal: Olympic confusion & Alien avatar

I just wanted to log this before I completely forget about it I had either two dreams last night or one that lead into another.
I the first I think I was on a family holiday somewhere in the far east probably China and somehow I got myself inducted as part of the American Olympic team for some kind of sword based martial art. I think this was slightly inspired by my having seen Scot Pilgrim the other day, in the dream I was a lot younger than I am, possibly in my teens and I remember getting in trouble for something; I can’t for the life of me remember what. I seem to remember something    about me sliding down some slidey thing into a crowd, not sure what was going on.
The second dream involved Aliens who took control of people and used their bodies in sporting competitions. I think the aliens possessed the people and trained them to compete like it was a video game. Don’t remember much else, the aliens might have been worms, or snakes that lived inside the people they controlled, not sure.
That’s it, I’m off to bed to do some more dreaming now.