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Wonder Woman (2009)
Certainly one of if not the greatest animation ever made
You probably know the basics of the story. The secluded island that is invisible to the outside world is inhabited by the greatest female warriors who ever walked the earth. They have removed themselves from the evil normal world. They are acquainted with many Greek gods. These gods and their offspring cause problems for the Amazons.
Then the unthinkable happens. Events occur beyond their power that require them to send a warrior to the outside world. The action is nonstop. The dead walk again. Monsters arise. The storyline is very strong and it is absolutely thrilling.
You never really know for sure how things will go. The entire thrilling movie is touch and from start to finish.
Tian jiang xiong shi (2015)
magnificent awesome spectacular (Wanted all caps for this)
As you can tell from my summary, I liked this movie a lot. First of all, it has an excellent and unique storyline. It is based on historic factual events which just makes things even more interesting. In other words, its not just some Chinese fantasy tale.
The story is set in the desert on the silk road. The silk road was the road between Europe and China. Then along comes a legion of Roman Centurions. Of course battles ensue, friendships are created, people are betrayed, etc. There's enough good and evil to go around for everyone to enjoy.
Oh, and by the way, the fight sequences as well as the vast legions of armies running around the desert are truly awesome. For some reason I found myself thinking about "Lawrence of Arabia" while watching it.
a complex character study
Many folks wouldn't think that a Japanese silent film from long ago in black and white with sparse subtitles would be much good. They would be wrong, very wrong. It's a interesting character study of two young brothers and the trials and tribulations they experience after moving to new area. The area they are now in is populated by a gang of young wanna be thugs.
Their dad is a businessman who always wears a suit to work. When the boys discover something completely unexpected about their dad they are devastated. The movie provides an endlessly fascinating look at suburban Japanese life complete with a loving mom, dad and two brothers from long, long ago. It is quite funny in places and is always interesting.
Stan Lee's Mighty 7 (2014)
An excellent original story
As you can see from the credits, Stan Lee plays himself. That's very, very cool. The story is original in all respects. The characters are all original. The story depicts how Stan Lee came up with his ideas about some of his stories about superheroes. It also slyly comments about some of the problems Stan Lee has experienced over the years getting his publisher to print his work.
Unfortunately the excellent story is marred by less than stellar animation. Nearly every scene, even many scenes that were in the dark, had a white haze effect swirling around for no apparent purpose. It was as if a camera was aimed with the sun at the edge of the picture. The detail in the drawings lacks clarity.
That said, it is still very worthwhile to watch it.
The Man Who Saved the World (2014)
Absolutely positively wonderful!
This amazing story about a man, a Russian, in charge of the nuclear missiles followed his heart. Because of his decision to do that all of us, and I do mean every single one of us, is here today.
He's a crusty, cranky old guy without much humor or pleasure in his life. It was very irritating to see certain individuals keep bugging him about a certain thing they felt he should do. He didn't put up with any crap from anyone. He's a tough old bird that's for sure with a will of iron.
The movie captures the events via reenactments that are excellent. The reenactments were just about as scary as the real thing. As a retired military guy myself I must say the reenactments appeared to simulate the real thing quite believably.
It's a pity we can't force every world leader to sit down and watch this wonderful film.
Kaguyahime no monogatari (2013)
Terrific story but that's about all
I love anime. I own several anime DVDs. This will not be one that I buy. It has one really terrific thing going for it: the story. The story is excellent, compelling and fascinating. But that's all that's wonderful about it.
I did not like the artwork a single bit. I hope it doesn't start some sort of new faddish trend in anime. I believe they used the drybrush technique. That technique has it's place in the art world but I don't care for it in anime. This anime looks like it was drawn with chalk on rough paper by children. Very few outlines are closed and few if any areas are completely colored.
All the voices are OK except for James Caan who, with his harsh Bronx accent is completely inappropriate in any anime. I like his work but not here.
An excellent start of a 3 part documentary
Kate Humble travels to Peru and Australia in addition to Afghanistan to visit shepherdesses in those countries. The Afghanistan trip takes place in the absolutely remotest part of Afghanistan. That area has a very unique history.
The documentary details the incredibly harsh life the people suffer under in that region. It details how important the animals, yaks, sheep, etc. are to their existence. They must migrate over mountains at various times of the year just to get some meager food for their animals.
It's a brutal existence but you soon realize they are much better off where they are than anywhere else in Afghanistan. Kate Humble does an excellent job on the documentary experiencing all the stuff they eat, riding a yak, living among them etc.
Dark Resurrection (2007)
I would have probably paid to watch this...it's that good.
First the bad news. Well, it's in Italian, however, the English subtitles are excellent. In fact the subtitles are better done than many theatrical releases I've seen. The lead actress isn't very strong or dynamic. The plot is a bit murky but not so much so that you can't figure things out.
Now for the good stuff. The location in the Italian mountains is absolutely top notch. In fact I found myself looking at the scenery as much as I was watching the movie. Ancient Roman ruins are evident everywhere. That was a terrific choice. The actors are generally skilled, dynamic experienced actors. They can deliver a line and mean what they are saying. Technically the film can barely be faulted. A few scenes were overexposed but that may have been intentional for effect. This flick has a large cast. There are plenty of actors which gives it a big budget feel. The fight scenes are top notch. I guess this is just part one of a two part flick that I watched. It makes me want to watch the second part very much. Well done folks.
Seikai no senki (2000)
This begins sequel to Crest of the Stars, one of the greatest anime of all time.
Banner to the Stars begins with a reunion of Lafiel and Jinto after three years of separation. They are aboard a warship and a nasty war is on. There is interesting crew to interact with. There's even a cat. As with nearly all wonderful love stories a war constantly intrudes into their yet to be consummated intimate relationship.
Lafiel is in command of the ship but she doesn't possess all the skills necessary to make a great captain. So there's lots of training going on initially. That allows the crew to get accustomed to each other. Lafiel starts out a bit on the cranky side because of her lack of skills. The crew is basically terrified of her because when the Imperial Princess is cranky another location would be nice to go to but their aboard a space ship so.... Don't miss this wonderful saga.
It's good enough to watch and enjoy
First the good news. The storyline is excellent. The music is excellent. The outer space shots are excellent. The chicks are gorgeous Swedes. Unfortunately there is only one good actor in the flick. That's the guy who plays the Sith Lord. I suppose playing a bad guy does a give an actor more meat to chew on.
The guys playing Jedi both had the most annoying habit I have ever seen in a film. They walk about in nearly every scene with their hands clasp together in front of them. They appear as if they're covering or supporting their dangly bits. Someone should have yelled HANDS at them every time they did it. I can't think of habit I've seen an actor have in a film that was more irritating. These folks are stoic Swedes acting in this film so they have little energy or charisma. It's not their fault. That's just the way they are. If another movie gets made by the same crew I would recommend requiring the male actors to shave daily. Having a few days of beard on the face of every male that's old enough to grow a beard is not becoming. If you ever use that king again, get him a crown. He might clean up nicely with a shave and a crown.
From there I'm afraid things get a little worse. As a photographer I was constantly annoyed by the lighting and cinematography. For some reason the light was constantly spilling over into the scene around the edges. Nearly every scene had haze and smoke and fog for no apparent purpose. That constant light spilling in from the edges coupled with the particles of fog and smoke or whatever it was made many scenes blurry which is to say pretty awful. Many scenes appeared to have been shot through glass that had reflections on it's surface.
Still, when all is said and done, I enjoyed the movie. It was apparently the herculean efforts of one guy and a few other people. They are to be commended for the efforts. I hope they make another film and get better acting, lighting and cinematography.