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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Gravity

November 20, 2013 2 comments
GravityDirected by: Alfonso Cuarón
Produced by: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Edited by: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
Cinematography by: Emmanuel Lubezki
Music by: Steven Price
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen, Paul Sharma, Amy Warren, Basher Savage
Year: 2013

 

I actually got around to seeing this on its opening weekend, but due to the film releasing in October, I never got around to reviewing it because I was so focused on doing Halloween-themed movies. Just this past weekend, however, I decided to go see it again while I still had the chance to see it on the big screen, thanks to some free passes I had received from my birthday – this time in 3D. It also presented the perfect opportunity to reflect on the film again and write a review with a more “fresh from the theatres” perspective, especially now that I had also now seen it in two different formats (once on a massive screen with Dolby Atmos sound system, and then on a smaller screen in 3D). Read more…

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REVIEW: From Up on Poppy Hill (コクリコ坂から)

November 13, 2013 1 comment
From Up on Poppy HillDirected by: Goro Miyazaki
Produced by: Toshio Suzuki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (screenplay)
Edited by: Takeshi Seyama
Cinematography by: Atsuhi Okui
Music by: Satoshi Takebe
Starring: Masami Nagasawa, Sarah Bolger, Junichi Okada, Anton Yelchin, Keiko Takeshita, Christina Hendricks, Jun Fubuki, Jamie Lee Curtis, Yuriko Ishida, Gillian Anderson, Takashi Naito, Bruce Dern, Shunsuke Kazama, Charlie Saxton, Teruyuki Kagawa, Beau Bridges, Rumi HIiragi, Aubrey Plaza, Emily Osment, Goro Miyazaki, Ronan Farrow, Ron Howard
Based on the manga by Tetsuro Sayama and Chiziru Takahasi
Year: 2011 (Japan), 2013 (US)

 

A friend of mine pointed out soon after he read this review that it’s important that I specify that I watched the English dub — not due to the dub’s inherent inferiority (it is very good), but due to a stylistic choice in the English dub’s voice casting of a character during a pivotal dream sequence. I will not spoil it here, but after having this brought to light, I feel it is necessary that I point this out. I actually really like the thematic depth the English dub adds, whereas he did not. Either way, my rating stands.

I’m normally an admirer of his reviews, but I must say that it’s a shame that Roger Ebert regarded From Up on Poppy Hill as a disappointment, especially as he was such a notable fan of Studio Ghibli’s, and this would, sadly, be the last film of theirs that he would ever review. While it may not reach the same sort of visual spectacle of the studio’s more fantastic and popular films – Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind among the studio’s most notable – From Up on Poppy Hill is no less a visual masterpiece and is one of the more touching, quieter films that have come out of the studio. It may not go on to be their most memorable or most favorited film among the studio’s throngs of fans, but as director Goro Miyazaki’s second film after the disappointing Tales from Earthsea, which actually was more like what you would expect from an anime studio, to criticize this dramatically superior but more intimate film for being something that it never aspired to be in the first place feels like doing the film a disservice. Read more…

REVIEW: Thomas and the Magic Railroad

November 9, 2013 2 comments
Thomas and the Magic RailroadDirected by: Britt Allcroft
Produced by: Britt Allcroft, Phil Fehrle
Written by: Britt Allcroft
Edited by: Ron Wiseman
Cinematography by: Paul Ryan
Music by: Hummie Mann, Mike O’Donnell
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Cody McMains, Michael E. Rodgers, Eddie Glen, Neil Crone, Didi Conn, Russell Means, Kevin Frank, Susan Roman, Colm Feore, Britt Allcroft
Based on the TV series Shining Time Station and the books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry
Year: 2000

 

Pardon me, as I have been absent from writing for over a week. Much of that was because I had had a pretty busy and/or stressful few weeks, and, on Halloween, I celebrated my 27th birthday, which meant that, on top of working, I was churning out a final Halloween 2013 review of Alien and then also getting my apartment in presentable condition for my family to come celebrate, so I took it upon myself to take a week off and enjoy a couple days of no obligations other than work. I did decide to work on this review sooner, but then my birthday present to myself arrived – a shiny new Nexus 7 – and I got a bit carried away with playing around with it. But, I’m back and writing again, and I figured what better way to pick up again than with a completely offbeat, unexpected, and completely unrelated-to-Halloween movie?

Funny enough, though, was that, when I was soliciting some suggestions for Halloween movies, one of my friends – the one who had suggested Oscar – jokingly suggested Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Apparently, while the world had almost immediately forgotten that this movie existed, his little brother would go on Magic Railroad binges on a regular basis, so I can kind of understand why such a suggestion would creep up on him with my request, even in jest. I agreed that, while I wouldn’t actually do it for Halloween, however, I’d be more than happy to review his oddball suggestion afterward. Read more…

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