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SCREENING ROOM; Offbeat, from Japan
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Motion pictures
Author: Thomas, Kevin
Date: Dec 2, 2004
Start Page: E.12
Section: Calendar Weekend; Part E; Calendar Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Gonzo Japanese Cinema Night will present Takashi Miike's "Andromedia" (1998) and Minoru Kawasaki's "The Calamari Wrestler" (2004). Although "Andromedia" has its bizarre aspects, it stands in vivid contrast to Miike's best-known film, the notorious "Audition," which would be hard to match for being at once so horrific yet compelling. Miike is nothing if not venturesome, and this film represents a venture into science fiction that is more technically imaginative than entertaining.

It features the all-girl band Speed, with Hiroko Shimabukuro cast as the film's star, Mai, and the other band members as her friends. Mai is in the midst of her first onslaught of teen romantic angst when she is fatally struck by a car. Her distraught widowed father (Tsunehiko Watase) is a scientist-computer whiz who has figured out a way to load Mai's memory into a computer, which enables him to create an artificially intelligent replica of Mai. (Appropriately, she calls herself Ai.) Her father is comforted greatly by being able to summon Ai on his computer screen but realizes that he must keep secret his technological breakthrough.

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