Monday, December 7, 2009

The Itaewon Murders

Hey there everyone! Not much new to report, I don't think, but I wanted to suggest a movie for anyone interested, and I'll blub about movie tickets/movie theaters here in Japan. But first of all, my movie recommendation of the month. I just watched a Korean film (something I do in moderation), called The Case of Itaewon Homicide, which is a movie about a true story from the late 90s where two Korean-Americans, in the Itaewon area of Seoul, Korea, were accused of brutally murdering an innocent Korean guy. Both of the guys maintained that the other did it, and the movie follows the examination and trial of the murder case. Now that, in and of itself, doesn't sound so thrilling, but the movie was quite well done (though the English wasn't 100%), and it's easily the best Asian movie I've seen in months. I'll attach the trailer, though it isn't subbed, so, watch it if you get a chance.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about the experience of going to the movies here in Japan. First of all, one should come knowing that going to the movie theater is an expensive luxury, as one adult ticket costs $20 (more if it's 3D). But, that being said, the theaters give you lots of chances to save a buck, which is nice. Every month, on the first of the month, tickets are $10. Also, if you're a woman, every Wednesday, tickets are $10. Many theaters also have 'couples days', 'senior days,' 'senior couple days,' and other special days for card holders. Movie theaters here have concession stands, like back home, which sell fountain drinks and popcorn, but often have other selections like Haagen-Daaz ice cream stands, croissant sets, etc. depending on the theater. Also, all theaters I've seen sell merchandise specific to the movies out at the time. This merchandise almost always consists of a pamphlet/photobook, a cell phone strap, stickers, folders and a variety of other things depending on the movie. Also, the merchandise here is not the same as stuff you find in the states. For instance, New Moon just came out here and there is a wider selection of merchandise (and a better selection, if you ask me), which you can conveniently buy whenever you come out of the movie. The movie theater itself, at least the one I go to, has things called double seats, which are very like loveseats, and you buy tickets for the special, and they cost a bit more. There are also special reclining chairs that cost more, but which are much nicer. Outside, there are cushions of two sizes for you to choose from in case your seat isn't comfortable enough. And, the theater I go to has assigned seating, so when you purchase the ticket the attendant will ask if you want middle or back, then show you seats on a diagram which you can approve or not until you get ones you're satisfied with. Even so, not every cinema operates like this. The movie theater I speak of is a plush one, part of a chain called 109 Cinemas, owned by the 109 corporation. The other theater I went to didn't have assigned seating and didn't have cushions, but was otherwise more or less the same. Of course, as in America, they have previous, warnings not to smoke or talk and turn off your cell phone, and then a rather ridiculous anti-piracy video, which I'm sure is rather threatening if you can understand it. But anyways, I've found the movies to be a welcome escape when I get overwhelmed by the Japan-ness of Japan, and go more than I thought I would (even if most movies are in Japanese). Another interesting thing to note, before I sign off, is that kids' movies (like Disney and Pixar) are always dubbed in Japanese (since, like me, the little kids can't read kanji), and of course the Japanese films are in Japanese, but American live action films are often in English with subtitles, though on TV they are often dubbed. Anways, I guess that's all for now. Talk to you all later!

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