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20 reviews in total 
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The Family (2013/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This is a movie about making a movie, 4 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

De Niro's playing a caricature of himself pretending to be a writer talking about the mafia as if he were on the outside while really being in. The plot moved foreword by coincidences and timing which only happen in pulp fiction. The cast is irredeemable, stereotypical down to the love of peanut butter and the local is tweaked for an American audience.

The writers and director made the film this way on purpose.

There are parts of this film I really liked, and one day when I re-watch it I'm sure I'll appreciate more. For now, I'd like to think out loud about what they were creating. I felt like we're watching the creative process of writing a mafia drama (De Niro and his memoir). And it seems to me that the artist/actor/writer are in a cycle with the audience creating the stereotypes which the world imitates to be taken back again by the artist/actor/writer (the son recreating his fathers persona necessitating him to rewrite his memoir).

I get it that a lot of people aren't going to like this film, but there's a lot going on if you think about it. Watch it, if only for the performances, and when it gets cliché by the end ask yourself why instead of dismissing the film.

Ted (2012)
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
I hated this film, just despised it, 4 January 2014

I can not tell you how much I loathed this movie.

It wasn't funny. It was vile. The plot was obvious.

To be fair, the acting was good and the lines delivered as they should. There was nothing wrong with the cinematography, the editing, the sound. It was simply not my movie. It was boorish, vulgar, toilet (attempted) humor.

I had the displeasure of watching this in Japan where they do not speak English well enough to understand the jokes, have no hope of understanding the references, and imagine America is a land of hookers and stoners.

I just can't tell you too many times that I hated this movie.

What would happen if we were less indifferent and afraid of each other?, 3 January 2014

You have to decide. You can chose to be someone better than who you are, or you can give up and be a walking corpse. You can either help, or stand in the way. These are the core ideas Warm Bodies is built around.

Personally, I love extended metaphors, all the better when they're written as a comedy/horror.

If you've read this far, you know what the movie is about. What I want to tell you is how good the performances are and tell you that when the zombies don't live up to the rules they laid out, that it ties back to that central theme.

If you watch this -- I hope you do -- remember that this is the first zombie film that isn't a statement about consumerism or retribution for everything humanity has gotten wrong, rather it's a film that says we have within us the ability to change the world even after the apocalypse.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
What could have happened to Harry Potter., 1 November 2013

The Percy Jackson (probable) franchise is a hint as to what Harry Potter might have looked like were it made in the Hollywood studio system.

The writing is terrible and the lines read, not acted. (Listen for how the writers try to punctuate every moment with an attempt at wit or humor only to fall flat and disrupt the pace of the film.) The special effects are ladled on without point and while the ideas for some of the creatures and scenes are well realized, I couldn't help wonder if they were a nod to or theft from better films.*

Still, if you're tween or just looking for a cinematic escape and nothing else is playing, it's not the worst film you could watch. They set up the ending for a sequel and, depending on the reviews, I might suffer through another if my date cancels or I am very bored.

I do not recommend Percy Jackson unless your either into bad fantasy, a junior high student or younger, or want to play Mystery Science Theater 3000.

*spoilerish -- I'm speaking of a cab scene and something they find at sea.

Intruders (2011/I)
the story hinges on a twist and how you think about that twist determines the genre, 2 October 2012

I don't want to give away anything.

This is one of those films you watch and think you could have made it better if you did X and Y in place of A and B. If you have friends with whom you can sit around later and talk about how you would have approached the subject, it's a great film. If you want something straight forward, you'll dislike it.

I watched it because I was mislead by the trailer and assumed the story would be good because Clive Owen signed onto it.

The performances are top notch, but the editing is weak and so the story telling drags in places. (Most people will complain about the priest's role in the film.) If you reflect after the twist is revealed, you should understand why certain scenes were not throw away but reveal something about the characters (for example, when a man at Clive Owen's character's workplace nearly falls).

I recommend Intruders for people who enjoy talking about or thinking about (different from picking apart) films. There's a strong message here and it's worth exploring.

Freud (1962)
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
a strange collaboration, 25 August 2011

I found this film by accident. A happy one? Montgomery Cliff, John Huston, Jean-Paul Sartre and an image of Marilyn Monroe are purposely put together though it comes across as accidental.

On the plus, it is educational to see how something mainstream presents material which should be avant guard. The dream sequences are interesting for that reason as the film would have been much better if they pushed the envelope. Instead, the film maintains a balance in the imaginings of what an Oedipal Complex were, of what dreams are like, and, I suppose, the images are as developed as they could be for 1960's America. For that reason I recommend it: The film is a bit of time capsule in how films were made.

Against the film, the pacing is unnecessarily slow and the acting is wooden or melodramatic for todays audience. The dialogue presents the Freud's ideas with ease but there 's no art in the language.

6 Souls (2010)
65 out of 103 people found the following review useful:
Plays like Ring without a video tape., 4 April 2010

It's really rare for an American film to open in Japan before America, so I rushed to see it. Well, I might not have rushed had it not been for Juliana Moore who does deliver despite huge gaping plot holes littered throughout the film.

I won't give anything away about the story. There is a lot of development in the first half of the movie which might make the film seem s l o w for some viewers. When the mystery is revealed it is surprising but even given the careful buildup you might still have to make an effort to suspend your disbelief if only because of the plot holes (which I can not mention with out enumerating spoilers).

There are quite a few logical disconnects, too. In a age of cell phones when you're a busy psychiatrist why would you drive across town to do something which would take ten seconds by phone? Because it's a plot device.

Still, I enjoyed the film. I can not recommend it to my Japanese friends as there is a lot of talk about God and Faith which is lost on a truly secular country; but I can recommend it to people who like films like The Ring or The Exorcist. There are some interesting characters and a lot of good acting especially by the male lead who, well, you'll see.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
If you're interested in 1960's Japan...., 5 June 2009

Not the best film for it's time; I've not seen anything else from this director, so I can't comment on that aspect of the film....

I had to remind myself several times while watching that this film is almost fifty years old. Elements of the story remind of today, especially the "scams" and the gritty aspect of teenage relationships and sexuality; at the same time I could never suspend my disbelief over the age of the actors -- they in no way resembled a high school girl or a college boy. The editing is a mess; I'm guessing that the director was attempting something artistic. The story, however, is very good. (Unfortunately the translation I watched mistranslated several scenes and so took the punch out from the delivery.)

I could recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see some of the grime of post-war Japan. But if you watch this film leave your modern sensibilities at home: Joan Collins said that she was rapped by the man that later became her husband and that seemingly topsy turvy attitude about sex and relationships is a large part of this film: the definitions were different, sex was novel on the big screen and peoples perspectives were not the same as today and I see no point in complaining about the gaps; I feel it's better to acknowledge them, think about how they might have been viewed and then look past them to the story the director was trying to tell.

Ken (1964)
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A pure hearted soul in world that's corrupt, 2 January 2009

The movie is set in a Kendo club at university and has, as it's primary conflicts , the struggles between Kawaza and Kokubun, Kokubun and the world; there are two subplots involving a novice Kendo player and Kokubun; and a woman and Kokubun.

Kokubun represents Japans innocence, its virtue, its purity, its purpose (his name means "a part of the country). He is unknowingly engaged in a battle to be the leader of the kendo club with an equally talented rival, Kazawa, who lacks Kokubu's focus and self possession.

Kendo is the epitome of the traditional Japanese spirit; pay attention to how Western "things" are presented and juxtaposed to traditional values (I'm thinking of a gun, a café, and a dance scene) and compare how the characters are different in the city versus at the temple.

It's a subtle story. Kazawa is unable to discipline himself and Kokubun is unwilling to bend himself to the future or the "ways of the world". How will it play out? Watch it and see: it's a fine film where kendo is a metaphor and the story is chance to think on something more.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not as good as the Western films of the period but very good!, 2 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a very short film, well worth the time it would take to watch it. It is funny and I laughed aloud during several scenes unsure exactly how each scene would play out, I was genuinely surprised and very amazed at what seems like advanced film techniques for a 1922 film. Interesting for me is that is was filmed with English and Chinese subtitles, suggesting either a large foreign audience or the potential at international distribution.

Spoilers The film is about a young fruit merchant who, to earn the hand of his love, must increase the fathers business; the father is a doctor and so the only way to bring him business is to devise a way to hurt people. That's all I'll say. Very cute movie.

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