This post’s title is inspired by a skit from Azumanga Daioh which has for some reason stayed with me, even if it’s been more than 10 years since I watched the series in 12th grade – proceeding to draw Sakaki-san on the Eastpak school backpack I used to carry around back then.

I don’t remember who says what, but the characters make fun of the fact that “Bruce Lee” sounds exactly like “Blue Three” in Engrish: both are in fact pronounced buru suri. Just give me a second to google that and have something to back up my words with.


So, how come? Last week some indomitable urge to rent a movie took over me. Yes, rent one. Legally. Amazing, right? I couldn’t remember how many years it had been since I had last actually gone to the video club, browsed the available titles, having to weigh in rent duration as a factor – to decide if I should rent a newer movie for a single day or a slightly less recent one for three.

In an age of instant gratification and unlimited libraries (Steam, Netflix etc) small limitations such as these can be truly relieving. It’s the same kind of ease of mind you get when you only have one book to read and all the time and energy you would otherwise put into deciding which book to read is converted into actual time for reading!

But, as usual, I’m being overly romantic about anything that does not exist in purely digital form or exclusively on the internet, or which had already existed before I was born: only while typing out the lines above did the numerous instances of the same archetypical memory of arguing about which movie to rent with the same, but different, friends, in the same, but different, video club, come rushing back. So, you might disregard all the nonsense I wrote above, if you wish.

Anyway, what inspired me to go out and watch films legally was that I suddenly realised that I have a Bluray player (my PS4) sitting under my television, but I’d never actually watched a fim in Bluray, something I realise is not entirely unsimilar from declaring in 2011 I’d never watched a DVD. “Why not get with the times”, I thought.

I didn’t go to my neighbourhood movie club, Video Blue, which I must say would have been rather apt, but chose Seven instead. Looking around for a bit, I saw that they had an offer for three movies for three days for only 5€. Their advertising offer worked on me and rent three movies I did.

Without further ado now then, here are my brief opinions on what I watched. If you are to keep something from this post, may it be that media consumption can be more beneficial and memorable if done mindfully and with some kind of artificial limit placed on it.

Ex Machina (2015)


I’ve been meaning to watch this since Autómata, which dealt with similar themes: true AI has come about; what do?

I’d like to divulge as little as possible about this one. The pacing, the dialogues, the setting, the characters, the music, the feelings, the effects, the acting, the twists… all top-notch, no beats missed whatsoever. I really can’t think of a single thing I didn’t enjoy about it. If you like soft science fiction and a slower film that will give you a lot to think about but even more to feel about, give it a shot.

While you’re at it, watch Arrival, another sci-fi film I watched recently, that one at the cinema, which single-handedly made it very close to the top of my list of all-time favourite science fiction films.

Boyhood (2014)


Richard Linklater, maker of Waking Life and the Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight, started filming Boyhood in 2002, when the movie’s main character Mason was only 5 years old. He kept filming as the boy grew older, and what we got by the end is a movie about the mundane little moments of growing up.

It’s true that Boyhood could have been a lot more than the uneventful story it turned out to be, namely about a kid more or less like any other American kid, but watching it I didn’t get bored at all. Apart from the fact that it worked as a real-time recap of events that marked the ’00s and my own earlier years, it was fun watching characters develop and age, and I could more than relate with the whole broken family and mother-in-search-of-replacement-father thing, even though I must say I did feel pangs of jealousy at the appearance of so many (step-)siblings.

It was a long movie at ~150 minutes, but in typical Linklater style, the most banal conversations were somehow the most engaging and I didn’t feel it draw out at all.

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


This one’s probably the best known out of my buru suri films. Grand Budapest Hotel is an experience, like all Wes Anderson films. Intense colours, over-the-top aesthetics, completely wild situations, humouristic, heart-warming, clever little touches that challenge and reward the viewer… it’s by no means a bad film. On the contrary.

However, there’s something in Wes Anderson’s work I can’t quite put my finger on that I find obnoxious. I would like to look into what it is exactly that puts me off films like this, give it a name, cause I think it’s fascinating how a film I should theoretically quite enjoy didn’t work for me – how whether you’ll like a movie or not depends on such little factors that work together to create a satisfactory feeling… or not.





Got out of my local The Force Awakens premiere and I can’t stop thinking about it and how Star Wars has grown, changed, or not. I’m not sure if TFA was a “good film”, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. All this talk about good films,  fun films, blockbusters and the rest… What is the connection, the overlap, between a film being “good”, well-made and without plot holes, and being enjoyable and fun?  What’s the perfect balance between nostalgia, fan service and introducing actual novelties that made the original movies so special in the first place?

I don’t know what it is, but TFA pulled off what three years ago we thought was ridiculous to even think of: a respectable sequel to the original trilogy that changed the world of cinema forever. It could have gone wrong in a million different ways, but then again… was that so difficult? If anything, I’d say that the we, the Star Wars crowd, have certain buttons that at the end of the day should not be so hard to find and push!

Then again, in retrospect, when Episode III came out I was pretty hyped as well. Only later did I realise that it was a mediocre movie at best and that it could have been so much more. Funny how this all works. Probably has a lot to do with growing up.

EDIT: I made another realisation: Star Wars is like a fairy tale, right? Fairy tales don’t go by the same rules other stories go by, e.g. novels. Plot holes don’t have the same gravity, if they have any at all. There is no reason to suspend disbelief, because disbelief is suspended to begin with.

The Prequel Trilogy as well as The Force Awakens wouldn’t stand critical scrutiny as novels or ordinary sci-fi flicks, but if you just follow them through as you would a fairy tale, then yes, they work well no matter what. If you left it to fans on the other hand, it seems they would turn it into something more complicated than it’s meant to be.

Would a truly properly plot-thick Star Wars work?  Maybe the spin-offs will give us an idea.


The new trailer for Star Wars VII came out just yesterday and it’s racked up more than 30 million views already. Not bad eh?

Here it is for good measure.

I used to really, really love Star Wars. It was about the same time I really, really loved Harry Potter and Pokemon, give or take a few years. Today, as a more or less adult man, in the same way I will still enjoy but find it difficult to really get into Harry Potter and Pokemon for prolonged periods of time—even for nostalgia’s sake—,  I cannot really get Star Wars the same way I used to anymore. It feels comfortable, it feels familiar and easy, but comfortable and familiar is not necessarily what I need or want. Of course I’ll enjoy the movies anytime (I had a blast re-watching A New Hope on VHS a couple of months back—seriously, give let’s VHS a chance— and listening to Verily, A New Hope immediately thereafter) and I’m sure that the SW fan lying dormant somewhere inside of me just waiting to be Awakened will duly do so two months from now, hand-in-hand with the rest of geekkind and the very Force itself, apparently. That much is a given.

But sometimes I do wonder what the world would look like without Star Wars. There, I said it.

Jodorowsky’s Dune. Here’s a link to the full movie. I can’t recommend it enough. Watched it on the train from Belgrade to Thessaloniki. The thumbnail with ole Alejandro sticking his tongue out doesn’t do it justice—or maybe it does. Depends on you.

Imagine a world where there was no Star Wars yet, no original sci-fi blockbuster. Imagine a world where Moebius, Pink Floyd, H.R. Geiger, Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger, Orson Welles and others  had all been gathered together by pioneering film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky with the ambition to create a film that would change the world. A film to “simulate an LSD trip” and change young minds, redefine what was  possible for cinema at large visually and thematically. A movie that would play the same technical and cultural role Star Wars played for us, just taking us down a completely different road. A more spiritual and artistic road if you will.

Even though it  got as close to production as a film can possibly get without actually making it to the other side, Jodorowsky’s Dune indeed was never shot because of financing troubles: basically nobody in Hollywood possessed balls big enough and the right shade of gold to support the astronomical $15 million budget and all the associated risk. I don’t blame them really.

View over Arrakeen
View over Arrakeen

Think about it though. Star Wars is great, of course, we all love it, but it’s true that as a film it doesn’t exactly have any kind of message, it’s just a superbly made fairy tale with a generic fairy tale good vs evil plot. In fact it has grown into a marketing and merchandising monstrosity, especially in the last five years or so where you can’t throw a rock without having the rock come complete inside a Darth Vader helmet or better yet have it transform inside your hand into an overpriced Lego brick.

What if our Star Wars had been Dune? The documentary above draws all the parallels, ultimately how this spectre of a movie influenced Star Wars itself as well as other significant films in ways we’d never suspect—another reason I would encourage you to watch it. But get this: the universe where Jodorowsky’s Dune was made is the universe where not only Star Wars would have been completely different, if it had been made at all, but also one where we’d never have seen Alien or Blade Runner.

Would you rather stay in our universe with Star Wars, Blade Runner and Alien, or move to one where Jodorowsky’s Dune had been as successful as Star Wars in ours and had spawned all kinds of stories and ever genres we had never thought possible? If you believe that life imitates art, it would definitely be an interesting universe to experience in a broader sense. Would Muslims be seen under a different light? Would psychedelics or ecology play a more important role in pop culture or even make people vaguely more environmentally-conscious? Will we ever be able to traverse parallel universes and find out for ourselves?

If you enjoyed going down this mental path, I would recommend reading Replay, the book that inspired Groundhog Day, but basically spanning the 26 years between 1963 and 1989 instead of just 24 hours. There is a film in it too that gets big instead of Star Wars and changes the world.


Haunting music. The scene where it plays during the film does give off masterfully the otherworldliness, the raw hit to the senses that are Grenouille’s perfumes. Here it is — it’s very close to the end of the film, so spoilers, obviously.

Tom Tykwer directed the film and he was in the composing team for the OST. Talk about a man of many talents. Between this and Lola Rennt, he’s made two of the films that rank very high in my list of favourites—as well as worked on their soundtracks.

Also, here’s my review for the book. If I had to choose between the book and the movie, I’d say “who’s to say we can’t enjoy them both?” As is the case with Game of Thrones, it’s one of these cases where book and visual representation each stands on its own merits. I haven’t actually read the GoT books because they’re stupidly long, I already know the main plot and people have told me that the series follows the books closely, but I’m sure that, in a parallel universe where I had read them, I wouldn’t regret it a bit and I’d try to convince my present-universe self to take the plunge. Still, I don’t feel inclined. Does that make sense?


Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did GoodTough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first came into contact with Kevin Smith’s work many years ago when I watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back with my old friend George. It took me many more years still to listen to the same friend’s advice and actually watch Clerks, the film that launched the guy into the biz head-first. I did so a few months ago and greatly enjoyed its quirky and hilarious direction and script but also somehow profound message. After that, getting to this book wasn’t a step so far removed, especially since I had marked this as to-read after reading Anelis’ review. This time following her advice, I found it on audiobook form and listened to Kevin Smith narrating his little biography of sorts for almost six hours.

I enjoyed Tough Shit and Kevin Smith’s writing style, just like I enjoyed his first film. I appreciate it when people are this honest about their life and work. There’s something to be said about leaving pretensions this far behind. Sometimes, only sometimes, I thought his style was a little too much like something I would enjoy more if I was still in high school, but this is precisely this man’s appeal. I did laugh out loud at his retelling of the first time he had sex with his wife and the pains of dry-humping, the plane incident, or his experience of what a complete cock Bruce Willis is and what it means to work with such divas of the film industry. Talking about the film industry, I thought it was also a great candid look into the innards of what’s often portrayed as a great monolith of a business. So who am I kidding? I gobbled this shit up, man. I’m not better than that. Thank the gods.

Kevin Smith is equal parts funny, vulgar, down-to-earth, a source of inspiration and a valuable voice reminding you what’s important in life and living out your own role in it, not an imaginary one or somebody else’s. I think it’s time I watched more of his movies or looked into Smodcast.

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Midway: a Message from the Gyre

MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.

I dare you to watch this without having it pluck at your heart. Heeey, it’s okay to shed a tear or two, no-one will think worse of you.

Häxan & No Clear Mind

There was a screening of a 1922 film called Häxan on 11/09 at LAIS. It’s a silent film and as used to be the tradition, a live band was invited to score the film. Greek post-rock group No Clear Mind were there to do the part.

It was one of the most intense audiovisual experiences of my life, comparable in recent memory only to Baraka and maybe the 21/12/’12 Eugenides Planetarium dome show with gravity says I. Is it a coincidence that the entrance for the Planetarium show and tonight’s screening was in both cases free? The best in things in life are, aren’t they?

The movie itself was a rather bizarre -in this awesome and captivating way- presentation of the story of witchcraft in medieval and more modern Europe. I don’t know if it sounds exciting to you -for me it didn’t really-, but the mere fact that this film was in cinemas (probably having already been banned or censored) around the time period my great-grandma was pregnant with her daughter, just made me lose myself in the implications. I imagined people from the future similarly watching contemporary films and getting a glimpse at today’s society. It was breath-taking: I made the realisation that I had moving pictures in front of me that enabled me to have a look at history. What an amazing thing, old films… Of course, not all old movies have this effect on me. In Häxan though I could somehow feel the creators’ need to tell this story, I could see through the techniques they used, I could imagine them working on the film, editing, acting.

The film really made me travel to the 15th century, it made me imagine life then perfectly: dominated by superstition and the church, anything out of the ordinary (whatever people would deem ordinary 500+ years ago, that is) pinnable on these satanic women. “Those people were my ancestors – it could have also been me!”, I thought. Every single person alive in Europe today most probably has predecessors who were burnt at the stake (8,000,000 million suffered this fate, the film claimed), people who had the same needs as us: the need to believe, the need to know, the need to love and feel loved… It was less a film and more a timeless window through which I had a good time recreating the past in my mind with the help of moving pictures. Mission accomplished, right?

And then there was the music. No Clear Mind is a Greek post-rock band I first found out about through Maria Kozari Mela – the girl to whom I more or less owe my meeting with Dafni, by the way. I liked this group before; you know, I would occassionally listen to this one album Maria sent me back then and I’d think “yes, that’s pretty solid music”, maybe also wondering just how many more Greek true quality bands simply get drowned down in the sea of noise we call popular music in this country. But that night, it was something else entirely. I don’t know exactly what happened, if they had written the score for the film or if they were just improvising while watching the it. Whatever it was, it was something else. I already mentioned that it was one of the most intense film & music experiences I can remember having. Crying is the qualifier for these moments for me. I usually cry when the beauty, not the sadness alone, is too much to bear; tonight it was both seperately and both together. It was sublime.

The biggest problem is that it was also probably something I won’t ever be able to share with anyone, unless No Clear Mind have recorded the concert somehow. The film on its silent own or with a different soundtrack would probably not have evoked the same reaction in me; it’s the staggering combination that made it so special.

I realise there are too many words above trying in vain to describe or convey something that required so few of them to make its impact. Here’s to more unexpected, serendipitous moments of beauty…



Samsara Trailer

Το Βaraka με εκστασίασε και με συγκίνησε όσο ταινίες μετρημένες στα δάχτυλα του ενός χεριού ενός ανθρώπου που του έχουν κόψει μερικά δάχτυλα. 20 χρόνια δεν αμφιβάλλω ότι θα έχουν προσφέρει στον Fricke αρκετή σοφία ώστε να καταφέρει να ξεπεράσει ακόμα και τον ίδιο του τον εαυτό του με το Samsara. Πολυαναμένουμε!


Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the ButterflyYou’re the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine. You’re living it pretty much large, not giving a second thought to anything in your life — like most of us. You consider yourself successful — and you are. One day, as you’re testing that new BMW for the magazine, entirely out of the blue, you have a stroke. This stroke leaves you completely paralysed. Completely? The only way you can communicate with the world is by blinking your left eye and slightly moving your head.

This is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby and how this stroke changed his life. He writes about his experience in the hospital, how he spends his excruciatingly long hours frozen in his bed, what his family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues make of his situation. Almost everyone is frightened of him. I’d be frightened of him; I only hope this book might have made me think twice about my reflex reactions.

Every word, every page counts, when the only way to share it with the world is by blinking once for “YES” or twice for “NO” at a series of letters recited to you for every letter, of every sentence…

It didn’t have as much an impact on me as the film, probably because I came in contact with the latter first. But the film shocked me. I’m not sure which medium would be better suited for this story. Picturing the loneliness and disability through the written word in your own head is one thing, of course, a very powerful thing. But watching the masterfully shot film that gives life to Jean-Dominique’s daydreams, his only form of entertainment, as well as taking it away from his stagnant reality, showing how terrible it can really be, moved me in a whole different way (pun unintended).

Every time I catch myself being bored nowadays I think of Jean-Do and what he could be doing in my body instead of me. It works — for now. We humans are notorious for our exceptionally bad memory and how it comfortably lets go of the things that matter the most.




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Enter the Void

Yesterday I watched Enter the Void.

This film tells the story of a drug dealer-addict in Tokyo that dies while tripping on DMT. He subsequently has the “longest and biggest trip of his life”, together with an Out of Body Experience. After his death, he flies around in Tokyo, watching his sister and close people and how they have dealt with his death.

Some say Enter the Void is meant to be an experience, like a LSD or DMT trip would (even if some say DMT is misrepresented in the film) and is not made to make the audience feel empathy, serenity or any kind of feeling apart from disturbance or boredom. This movie had way too much needless sex — I mean, if you had died, why would you go around looking at your sister fucking? Yes, our… hero does that a lot. And other people fucking of course, lots and lots of them. Then, the question arises: has he really died, or is it just the biggest DMT trip of his life? For starters, it is said (and stressed in the film) that DMT is secreted in every person’s brains when they die. Apart from those unlucky few who have their heads pulverised by a shotgun or something, of course. We get a good look at Tokyo’s underground (strip) club and drug scene and many emotional or startling moments from which we feel detached.

I cannot decide what to think about this movie. It’s way too long and the last part is a long, redundant, boring trip (some compare it with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Just throw some sex in there). The technical aspect of it though is top-notch. I asked myself “how the hell did they film that?!” many, many times over.


The psychedelic effects are also very intense (if you suffer from any kind of epilepsy, avoid ever EVER watching this film. You will probably have several fits, possibly at the same time). For the rest of us, it’s quite a trip.

Which leaves me wondering: is the whole point of the film merely to emulate a psychedelic trip? It sort of succeeds doing that. But it fails being a cohesive cinematic experience. If you want to look at this as an experience –no added adjectives–, you might find it enjoyable. If you’d rather look at it as a film with a particular structure, the common meaning of the word, you’ll be itching to press the fast forward button.

I don’t know what to make of this. It’s a film you can’t not feel strongly about, one way or the other. It’s so unlike anything I’ve ever seen but I wouldn’t feel like watching again some parts of it which were absolutely frustrating in their repetitiveness. A part of me hated it. Another part of me hates to kind of liked it. And another part of me absolutely loved it. This trichotomy, for me, is an indication that at least there’s something about this movie that might be easy to miss or you just need to be in the right (very possibly altered) state of mind to fully appreciate.