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The Empathy Machine

June 11, 2015 Leave a comment

There was another version of this article that actually went on quite a bit of a rant, but I had to scrap it. I scrapped it not just for you, my reader, but also for myself, as I was writing more out of impassioned irritation than I was to make a coherent article about my relationship with film, as I had originally set out to do. I think this is a bit more focused, and a bit more biographical than that lecture, which I am honestly glad I had second thoughts about – and I do mean lecture as in “scold,” not “educational speech.” Part of what I almost lost sight of was an expression of my love for the medium of film, which, let’s face it, is the main topic of this blog is, after all!

Wall-E - Watching Hello Dolly

Wall-E

I do love film, though. I even admittedly sometimes love watching bad films, when the mood strikes, despite the fact that I usually end up griping about how awful they are by the time the credits begin – oftentimes earlier. I guess I’m a part time hate-watcher. That being said, however, I am admittedly an amateur when it comes to film appreciation. I’m rarely driven by more than gut instinct when it comes to analyzing the individual parts of a film, so I’m often left feeling quite inadequate to judge things like the composition of shots, the quality of the score, and the inventiveness of certain other techniques unless they really stand out to me. And, honestly, so long as those elements are either so well done that they either don’t call attention to themselves or are so transcendently novel that I can’t help but notice, I’m largely okay with that. For me, film has always been more than just the sum of its parts and more about what it’s actually saying on behalf of the artists involved and the subject it’s covering. (And, sometimes, films are mostly just entertaining, and that’s honestly okay, too!) Read more…

Review: “Macross II: The Movie” (“超時空要塞マクロスII -LOVERS AGAIN-“)

August 3, 2013 6 comments
Macross IIDirected by: Ken’ichi Yatagai
Produced by: Shinichi Iguchi, Hiroaki Inoue, Hiroshi Kakoi, Hirotake Kanda, Keiji Kusano, Minoru Takanashi
Written by: Sukehiro Tomita
Art Direction by: Hidenori Nakahata
Cinematography by: Kazuhiro Konishi
Music by: Shirô Sagisu
Starring: Tsutomu Takayama, Hiroko Kasahara, Yumi Tôma, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Bin Shimada, Yukio Satō, Ryūzaburō Ōtomo, Takeshi Kusao, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Tōru Furuya, Ryōtarō Okiayu, Takeshi Watabe, Aya Hara
Year: 1993

 

This is honestly the first non-Studio Ghibli, non-video-game-related anime movie I’ve ever really sat down to watch with the intention of actually watching the thing all the way through to the end. My friend who had suggested K-PAX a while ago had originally suggested the original Macross movie (actually a TV program edited into a movie which is more accurately named The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but… well, we’ll just stick to Macross for this review), but, upon browsing Netflix, it looked like all they carried was the series version that spanned 8 discs – and there was no way I was going to watch all that. Hence, the coaxing of his left field suggestion of K-PAX. But, lucky for me, my friend had figured out that, yes, there is actually a Macross movie I could review, and he just so happened to own it: Macross II: The Movie (a.k.a.: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again, though, again, we’ll just shorten it to Macross II). Read more…

Special Review: “Psycho” (1960) – Analysis Through Freewrite

October 4, 2012 3 comments
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: Joseph Stefano (screenplay)
Cinematography by: John L. Russell
Music by: Bernard Herrmann
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Janet Leigh
Based on the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch
Year: 1960

 

Here’s something I’m going to have to admit, up front: Psycho is going to be hard for me to review. That I’m even writing this review is kind of intimidating to me, as I’ve always recognized it as a good film, but never really could pin down what it was that made me think this. I don’t find it all that terrifying, and the symbolism that others find laced throughout the film is not all that obvious to me. I’m not even all that impressed with the once-visceral nature of the violence. It’s hard to really analyze a film that I don’t fully comprehend my feelings for, and yet I feel oddly drawn to it, nonetheless. It’s not like the film digs into the inner depths of who I am and touches some emotional nerve with me, and yet I know that I’m relating to something in the film that still seems compelling, all the same. Because of this, please consider this “review” an exercise in exploring my own feelings towards this classic in what is basically a formalized freewrite. (I will avoid retreading over all the same important plot points that so many more qualified people have, as a result.) Read more…

Review: “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” The Original Uncut Version

March 23, 2012 7 comments
Directed by: Curt Geda
Produced by: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Written by: Paul Dini (screenplay); Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm (story)
Starring: Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Angie Harmon, Dean Stockwell, Teri Garr, Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong, Mathew Valencia, Melissa Joan Hart, Michael Rosenbaum, Frank Welker
Music By: Kristopher Carter
Year: 2000

 

Batman: The Animated Series was and remains one of, if not the greatest animated adaptations of a comic book character ever put to screen. Premiering around the same time that Tim Burton’s Batman Returns released in 1992, the series could have easily been an easy cash in on the latest Batman craze, an episodic commercial for a heavily hyped and star-studded sequel to the 1989 film that shoved aside the campy Caped Crusader persona Batman held in the mainstream public’s eye and replaced it with the reinvigorated Dark Knight that had been making a comeback in the comics. Read more…

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