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REVIEW: Tokyo Godfathers

December 24, 2013 5 comments
Tokyo GodfathersDirected by: Satoshi Kon, Sh­­ogo Furuya
Produced by: Masao Maruyama, Masao Takiyama, Shinichi Kobayashi, Taro Maki
Written by: Satoshi Kon, Keiko Nobumoto (screenplay); Satoshi Kon (story)
Edited by: Takeshi Seyama
Cinematography by: Katsutoshi Sugai
Music by: Keiichi Suzuki, Moonriders
Starring: Aya Okamoto, Toru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Satomi Korogi, Shozo Iizuka, Seizo Kato, Hiroyama Ishimaru, Ryuji Saikachi, Yusaku Yara, Kyoko Terase, Mamiko Noto, Rikiya Koyoama
Year: 2003

 

It’s funny how so many Christmas movies are about rich, good-looking people celebrating this time of giving together and learning life lessons and/or finding love together. You would think that more movies would focus on those who are most in need, right? I think the problem is that somewhere in the movie making system, someone thinks that nobody wants to watch a story that might potentially depress them during a time of year when a lot of people actually are struggling and suffering, and so instead we get tripe like The Family Stone, wherein a rich awful family emotionally tortures a rich career woman who is dating their golden boy son in the confines of their ideal home, and somehow we’re supposed to grow to like these snobs. (I thought of reviewing the film this year, but I gave out so many negative reviews, I couldn’t possibly bring myself to subject you and me to that, so let this be a little teaser, perhaps, for next year.) Read more…

REVIEW: Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブル)

October 9, 2013 4 comments
Perfect BlueDirected by: Satoshi Kon
Produced by: Hiroaki Inoue
Written by: Sadayuki Murai (screenplay)
Edited by: Harutoshi Ogata
Cinematography by: Hisao Shirai
Music by: Masahiro Ikumi
Starring (Manga Entertainment English voice cast): Bridget Hoffman, Wendee Lee, Barry Stigler, Lia Sargent, Steve Bulen, Jamieson Price, Frank Buck, Steven Blum
Based on the novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Year: 1997

 

Review contains moderate plot points which may be considered spoilers, but are included for the sake of analysis. No plot twists or revelations are exposed, however.

Yes, I’m reviewing another anime film, this time a scary movie for Halloween! As previously noted in my review of Macross II, I was never really a fan of anime outside of the mainstream Studio Ghibli fare, but, thanks to the suggestion of my friend, Matt, I ended up going outside my comfort zone and wound up mostly enjoying what I saw with that quasi-film (assembled from a TV miniseries). I’m really going to have to start trusting my friend a bit more with his suggestions, though, ‘cause his latest suggestion (he clarified that this was not necessarily a recommendation, due to the contents of the film he suggested, so I guess I’ll honor his wording) was actually his best one yet. Yes, far better than K-PAX. Read more…

Review: “The Animatrix”

August 23, 2013 1 comment

The AnimatrixThe Matrix has remained one of the most influential action films ever created. Naturally, its financial success and popularity with critics and audiences meant that Warner Bros. would most certainly capitalize on their new property. The lead up to the sequels saw a big marketing push, leading to plenty of tie-in products, such as Nokia’s cellphones that resembled the ones in the films and PowerAde’s infamous product placement. This also meant that the Wachowskis gained a lot of clout with studio execs, who seem to still think that the sequels’ poor critical reception should be ignored in the name of hoping that, one day, the duo would once again deliver a Matrix­-level franchise for them.

Not all of the marketing for the films consisted solely of cynical product placements, however. Though it was a complete disaster, the video game Enter the Matrix was still one of the first efforts on behalf of filmmakers to synergize the film and video game mediums and tell an even bigger story than you would get from having just seen the films, a tradition that would continue with The Matrix Online, which functioned as a direct, totally canonical follow up to the final film, The Matrix Revolutions.

Similarly, the Wachowskis, who were influenced heavily by anime, also commissioned various animation studios to produce a series of shorts that would tie into their universe – some of them directly into the movies, others giving us an even greater perspective outside the narrative of how Neo would fulfill the prophesy of The One. The resulting collection of nine shorts (eight, if you wish to see the single two-parter as a whole work) was The Animatrix, a collection that was deemed so essential to the overall Matrix narrative that it’s included in every iteration of the films’ box sets, including the cheap-o barebones 4-film collections you see on Walmart shelves every now and then.

Below you will find eight mini-reviews of the shorts, each of them being rated and reviewed on their own merits, followed, in the end, by an overall rating of the complete Animatrix anthology.

Please note that clicking on the titles before each reviews will lead you to a free and legal (but admittedly low quality) streaming version of the shorts straight from TheWB.com (the embedding doesn’t work on WordPress), so feel free to watch the shorts on your own and see if you agree with my assessments, too! Read more…

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