I was resigned to the fact that my KL visit would, for a change, be missing the usual DVD stash that’s been part of my journeys everywhere (even in Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia.and Vietnam). I have scoured the usual shops that I kept frequenting during my last KL visits. This time around, I stayed at Video Ezy (1st floor, green-coded store # 55 – corner store, beside Borders and facing the Golden Screen Cinemas) which produced none. It was tough trying to buy something when nothing catches your fancy. I saw several Tagalog titles including Joanna Palermo’s “Barang” and several Star Cinema and Vic Sotto movies. I finally left empty handed and decided to check out the rest of the mall. I had one hour to spare prior to watching a movie.
As I made my way up the 4th floor, my heart suddenly fluttered with excitement! I found a DVD shop by the escalator area! The shelves facing the shop were filled with a dizzying number of titles I haven’t seen elsewhere. They were mostly Asian titles – and lots of Japanese films! I skimmed through them and couldn’t stop myself from hyperventilating. Haha. The shop had a simple and erroneously punctuated name – hold your breath! – “DVD’s Shop (Pearl Fashion)”. It is located at the 4th floor, shop # 20. The DVDs weren’t exactly cheap. But, they accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard only).
In my moment of weakness, here are just a few of the titles that I bought!
The Blue Bird Kids – aka Aoi Tori (Japan, 2008)
A middle school is still reeling from the suicide of a student who was a constant victim of bullying. As a new school year begins, a stuttering substitute teacher (Hiroshi Abe) is introduced to the affected class. Despite his speaking problem, students are drawn to him. But his first order of the day – put Noguchi’s (the suicide kid) desk and chair back! The film also stars Kanata Hongo and Ayumi Ito. Direction by Kenji Nakanishi.
Tokyo Sonata (Japan, 2008)
I bought a VCD of this Cannes-winning, Oscar-nominated film from Bangkok, but it didn’t have an English subtitle. Later in the year, I got a DVD copy from Tokyo, but this again (unfortunately) didn’t have an English subtitle. This time around, I made sure I have the needed subtitle from my favorite Japanese director of the bizarre – Kiyoshi Kurosawa, treading the unfamiliar with a dramatic film! An ordinary Japanese family slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company.
Door to Door (Japan, 2008)
Arashi's Kazunari Ninomiya stars in TBS network’s “kandou drama series” – a trilogy of success stories involving young men who have overcome debilitating illnesses. "Door to Door" is the third and last in the series, which includes last year's "Marathon" and 2006's "Sukoshi wa, Ongaeshi ga Dekita Kana." Ninomiya starred in all 3. "Door to Door" is inspired by Bill Porter, an American door-to-door salesman who achieved the highest sales for his company despite suffering from cerebral palsy. Porter's story became a successful book, and was turned into an Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movie on the TNT network in 2002.
Hormones (2008, Thailand)
“Dorm” director Songyos Sugmakanan comes up with 4 stories of teenage lives one summer vacation. Two guys make a bet on who gets a girl’s number first; another boy prepares a surprise for his secret crush; a star-struck girl is busy learning Chinese to meet a Taiwanese pop-star; and a girl-crazy boy fights the temptation to remain loyal to his girlfriend. Sirachuch Chienthawom stars. The film grossed 80 million baht at the box office and is the 3rd highest grossing Thai film in 2008.
Syurga Cinta, aka Love Heaven (2009, Malaysia)
I'm not too fond of Malaysian movies, but I always buy several titles every time I'm in the capital. Syurga Cinta stars heart throb Awal Ashaari (he was Carmen Soo’s rich Malay suitor in the TV series “Kahit Isang Saglit”) and newcomer Heliza Helmi. Westernized Irham (Ashaari) places a bet with his friends to make ultra conservative Syuhadah (Helmi) fall in love with him. But what if he falls into his own bait? Religion and romance get tested, with hilarious consequences. Ahmad Idham directs.
Tea Fight (2008, Japan/Taiwan)
This dramedy about an ancient tea curse is a low-key manga movie that's as entertaining as it is completely bizarre. Tea Fight is amusing if you don't take it seriously. Wang Ye-ming directs. It stars Teruyuki Kagawa, Erika Toda and Vic Chou (of the original Taiwanese sensation “F4”).
During the Song Dynasty, two groups of thriving tea-makers are introduced – a bellicose male Black Tea Tribe and a peace-loving female Black Tea Tribe. The two groups kept to themselves merrily producing black tea until a male Japanese apprentice from the female side provokes members of the other group by taunting them about the quality of their tea. In response, the male tea tribe massacres the female tribe and destroys its tea plantations.In present day Japan, Yagi, a descendent of the Japanese apprentice, shuts down his tea shop after his wife’s death, which he believes was caused by a curse invoked by his forefather. Anxious to help her father get back on his feet, Yagi’s daughter Mikiko sets out on a journey to Taiwan to find a descendent of the male tribe after she learns that the only way to break the curse is to beat him in a tea-making competition. Meanwhile, in Taipei, Yang is the ruthless kingpin of an underground tea market and a descendent of the male tea tribe who schemes against Ruhua, a descendent of a member of the female tea tribe who miraculously escaped the massacre.
Rough (2006, Japan)
Ami (Masami Nagasawa), a diver on the university team must decide which of her two childhood friends she loves – rich boy Hiroki (the team’s champion swimmer, played by Tsuyoshi Abe) or standoffish Keisuke (Mokomichi Hayami) who hails from a rival family. Kentaro Otani directs. Don’t we just love the complexities of adolescent love? LOL
Dive!! (2008, Japan)
One summer, 3 boys are hooked on the thrills of diving! Naoto Kumazawa directs. It stars Kento Hayashi, Sosuke Ikematsu and Junpei Mizobata.
Tomoki (Kento Hayashi) is your average junior-high student. Fascinated by the diving skills of Yoichi (Sosuke Ikemaytsu), an elite athlete born into a family of former Olympians, Tomoki joins the Mizuki Diving Club (MDC) where Yoichi trains. However, the club’s survival is under threat. New coach Kayoko (the beautiful Asaka Seto) joins the club, intent on saving MDC. Her goal is set on producing an Olympic-caliber athlete. She brings in Shibuki (Junpei Mizobata), a skillful diver with a wild streak. His labile personality and fierce competitiveness change the club’s atmosphere. Tomoki, Yoichi and Shibuki have to overcome personal problems, and struggle through setbacks to achieve their dreams. Is the Olympic dream in their midst?
Berjaya Times Square is located at 1 Jalan Imbi (corner Jalan Pudu) in Kuala Lumpur. Its contact number is Tel: (+603) 2117 3111. Visit its website at http://www.timessquarekl.com/home.html.
This is the Eye in the Sky.