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There is something almost magical in the way this television series
re-captures the angst of the teenage years of high school. The finely
nuanced fusion of the innovative depiction of rich and creative humor
and the edgy and sharp poignant drama is a testament to the layered
depth of the Japanese psyche. Good Morning Call takes liberally from
the American character and plot outlines of the highly praised period
television series of Anne of Green Gables (1985) along with the
outlandish comedy series of Calista Flockhart in Ally McBeal (1997)
which won both Golden Globes and Emmy Awards.
Even though perhaps the Japanese treatment of a female girl in Japanese society may be a little on the traditional old American dominated male perspective, Good Morning Call reveals and adds a rich depth of the adolescent emotions and bewildering thoughts that seem almost universal in high school. The loudest message coming from this compelling and very appealing Manga-derived television series is that being a teenager in high school is truly both an awful and wonderful experience.
While the acting isn't as polished as a feature film, with the exception of the television news reporter, the amateur nature of the performances actually seem to lend some authenticity to this movie short. The tone of this short movie is somewhat confusing as most of the beginning scenes seem more light-hearted and comical and later the tone seems to become more edgy and transforms into a sci fi thriller. There isn't anything new, but the storyline is complete within the limitations of screen time and includes with a nice reveal towards the end. The use of the concept of superhero support is taken seriously in this movie and how it is handled is entertaining along with the splash of suspense. While not brilliant, it is certainly worth of look.
It's really too bad that Christoph Waltz brought his Inglorious
Bastards (2009) Oscar winning performance of his sophisticated Nazi
character without more and Samuel L. Jackson brought his typical big
screen persona to his luscious period film. Instead of relying on the
powerful script and the dominating presence of the lead character
played by Alexander Scarsgard and an original evil character, it would
speculate that concerned producers and industry backers required some
well known actors to help ensure audience turn out. What Christoph
brought was a by none a staid and fixated performance while Samuel's
screen presence seemed to be his own screen persona that didn't really
fit with the period nuance of the times instead of the other way
around, Samuel fitting into the movie.
The movie suffered slightly from some jarring editing, especially one where Margot Robbie asks a question of Christoph Waltz each isn't never really responded to and likely edited out and later where Christoph Waltz and his crew suddenly appear out of nowhere to confront Alexander Scarsgard later on in the movie. Additionally the special effects and technology or budget limitations prevent the climax of the movie to be truly amazing and authentic.
What this movie does bring to the screen is the continuing legend of Tarzan and expanding on the typical Tarzan legend. The director is one of the few who apparently can handle the difficult and challenging use of flashback technique. He also brings a fresh and touching vision of Tarzan to the big screen. While the movie doesn't quite have the extended suspense of Michael Crighton's Congo (1995), The Legend of Tarzan brings a more intimate, and character focused perspective of Tarzan, a more emotionally touching and revealing vision of Tarzan rather than the over-used mystery adventure.
"Find Dory" stands out because of the of difficulty of developing a
script that focuses primarily on a character who has short-term and
long term memory loss. In some ways, like the challenging script of "50
First Dates" (2004) where Drew Barrymore plays Lucy Whitmore, a human
who also suffers from memory loss, in a live action comedy, the ability
to maintain interest and a delicate balance of respect for such
characters is definitely not easy to accomplish. Nevertheless in both
instances, both comedies accomplish a continuing series of fumbles and
ironic come backs that offer both humor and sympathy for their female
characters. "Finding Dory" offers up some great comic lines, a fast and
involving pace with captivating and emotive interest. More involving
with its extensive character portrayal more so than the classic "The
Incredibles" (2004) as a close collection of family members, the
audience gets to experience a more personal, intimate voyage much like
those found in the animated dog move "Bolt" (2008), the lonely sci fi
robotic waste collector "Wall*e (2008), even the live musical drama
"Moulin Rouge" (2001), the lonely adventure of a woman in "Wild" (2014)
or the personal blacker demons of "Black Swan" (2010).
Except for a rather abrupt and not fully developed scene regarding Dory's parents later in the movie which doesn't come across as smoothly, this animated film stands out for its compelling interesting pacing and engaging comedy revolving around a rather peculiar but very likable lead character.
With a great sound track, this documentary style drama about a Welsh horse bred by commoners doesn't quite have then flash and sizzle of a Secretariat (2010) feature length drama. The documentary style format using extensive personal interviews while insightful and sometimes quite humorous seemed to slow the pacing of the movie at times. The movie succeeds mostly because of the story which had an unnecessary voice-over at the beginning which almost gave away the ending. The movie picks up about two-thirds through the movie offering a fascinating personal experience of anticipation and dread. There was some effort to offer some insight into the high and low class of society, but it didn't have the classic feel of snobbery and reaction from the upper class. And some of the footage used in the movie also seemed choppy at times and edited too much when the races were going on or there were a lot of skipping over such exciting outcomes.
The Giver offers up a simple but focused and thrilling sci fi
experience including two A-Listed Actors: Jeff Bridges and Meryl
Streep. The script appears to take elements from the vicarious you are
there experience of Natalie Wood's Brainstorm (1983) sci fi thriller,
the black and white motif of the fantasy comedy of Jeff Daniel's
Pleasantville (1998), and the out of place youth in the more recent sci
fi move of George Clooney's Tomorrowland (2015). The Giver also include
concepts from Charlize Theron's sci fi thriller Aeon Flux (2005) of
seemingly contented world with a dark underbelly or the different boy
in a seemingly rational futuristic world in Harrison Ford's sci fi
action adventure Ender's Game (2013).
What's unusual about The Giver is that the plot is concentrated on a boy who is offered to become a special person in a world where nobody is supposed to special. The really doesn't depend overly on exciting action so much as the more fascinating mental challenge of opposing cultural norms and experiencing an entirely different worldview. The movie's theme is consistently on display and the emotional ties in this more of less uplifting movie is pleasant and thrilling on the senses. An enjoyable, worthwhile movie about the willingness to go beyond and believe in something more.
Adam Alecca, writer and first time director, has put together a
brilliant psychological thriller of difficult proportions. Using mostly
a house for the primary set, Carter, a former military sergeant, played
by Thomas Jane and Bird, a girl who witnesses an assassination, played
by Ella Ballentine must try to stave off a murderous assassin played by
Laurence Fishburne. The director sustains the psychological tension and
edge throughout the movie using the most difficult of movie techniques
in a psychological thriller dialogue instead of primary action
scenes. There is something both compelling in the movie's simplicity
and avoidance of the typical special effects, stunt work, and
unbelievable action sequences. Instead the audience is riveted more by
the unknown outcome, the various sarcastic witticisms, the manly game
playing, and the emotive humanity that is on display during this movie.
Even the ending has a human temperament surprising in the typical kill
and burn action movie.
Standoff resonates with echoes even more so than Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart in Panic Room (2002). It is also suggestive of an intense thriller version of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay of Room (2015) and rivals John Cusack and Malin Ackerman in The Numbers Station (2013) and its creepiness or the classic psychological thriller of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark (1967).
The particular difficulty of time travel movies is how such movies
address the time travel paradox. Oftentimes, the paradox is either just
brushed over so the action part of the movie can be on full display
like The Terminator (1984) or Timeline (2003) or there is a simple
effort to explain it away or to simply demonstrate its odd effects like
in Time Cop (1994) or The Philadelphia Experiment (1984).
What Synchronicity brings to the big screen is a brilliant use of quality looking visual set design and a sound track that readily borrows from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982). In addition the script has attempted to delve more deeply into the twisting confusing nature of time displacement and eerie time contradictions resulting of moving back in time than movie time travel movies even more so than the elegantly presented The Thirteenth Floor (1999). The Thirteenth Floor had a more focused and coherent script outline of distinctive time periods thus less challenging than more confusing, shorter contemporary loopy time jumps like found in Synchronicity.
The weak part of the movie that likely prevented this movie from becoming a classic is the like of chemistry between the two leads and the various endings which seemed to come off a little too confusing. But overall this sci fi thriller results in a bold effort to delve into the possible convolutions of time travel with amazing low-budget sights and sounds along with an interesting and possibly haunting ending.
Before Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998) and its vicarious
and explosive war during World War II opening, there was Full Metal
Jacket that revealed a glaring look into boot camp and the prolonged
isolating and deadly experience of patrol in Vietnam. Stanley Kubrick
brings his classic stark look to the war film genre not with action but
with storyline and the use of real time to expose the audience to a
vicarious experience of war through the eyes of Marines. At times
documentary in feel and at other times an artistic expose into the
harsh realities of basic training and the frailty of life in real field
of battle. As opposed to Saving Private Ryan's big canvass, Kubrick
focuses on the more narrow but intimate smaller scope of the personal
experience of small battles that are likely to have been more prominent
in every soldier's experience.
Full Metal Jacket ranks among the war classics of Platoon (1986), more authentic than Apocalypse Now (1979), less use of exciting action and less personalized presentation of Black Hawk Down (2001), less political satire of that Kubrick directed in his own Dr. Strangelove (1964), Full Metal Jacket introduces a more raw and realistic look at war that an earlier film Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe (1964) or the later films such as We Were Soldiers (2002) or Jarhead (2005).
The visual delight of sharp colors bombards the eyes with amazing, creative, feast for hungry film goers. This palette of rainbows and geometric magical forest of sites brings Alice-like wonder to the optic nerves. This sequel bursts with vibrant life developing its primary characters further in a strong female led role. This fantasy come to life offers a script filled with a meandering thread of life and death, of space and time, and weaves it magic in tender and sometimes action-filled circles. Predictable for the most part with a not completely developed tie up between sisters, this film is entertaining to the visual senses and a matured bed-time story for the imagination. The close-ups of Johnny Depp's character are sometimes the highlight of the movie.
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