Reviews written by registered user
cteavin-1

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20 reviews in total 
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61 out of 83 people found the following review useful:
What would happen if Godzilla appeared in 2016 Japan? This is the answer., 30 July 2016
10/10

The film takes a somber, serious tone as to what would happen if Japan were attacked -- in this case, by a seemingly unstoppable foe.

At present in Japan, there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not Japan should amend it's constitution to allow for an offensive military and this Godzilla film plays to exactly how powerless Japan would be in making it's own decisions during an attack of any kind. The reality is that the Japanese Prime Minister would have to ask for permission from the United States President before making an offensive move against a foreign threat and this film plays to that hard reality.

This new Godzilla starts out as an homage to its former man in a monster suit so that when you first see Godzilla, you'll disbelieve what you're seeing, but this Godzilla evolves into something majestic and utterly awe inspiring in its power.

What's more, this film makes it clear people die. In the Japanese release there's a lot of word play about how the government officials up high (on the fifth floor) make decisions that get passed down to people on lower floors that eventually hurt the people. I'm not sure how much will be translated, but the film is deliberately showing the disconnect between the political and day to day realities.

Overall, the performances are good. There is one character who they, for whatever reason, decided to make speak English in odd an inappropriate times.

This isn't a film for US audiences. The aesthetics will turn off a lot of non-Japanese young people accustomed to CG reality. But if you're open to learning about another culture, this is an excellent film, one of the best kaiju-films you'll ever see.

48 out of 58 people found the following review useful:
Excellent live action adaptation of an anime, 23 September 2014
9/10

I really enjoyed this film.

I've seen the anime a few times, but I could never get into it. The film leads someone with no experience carefully into their world while (according to my friends who've seen it) pay a nod in all the right places to the original work.

I can see where a non-Japanese audience is going to have problems with the film:

How do you shoot a film with an international cast which live in a world where Japanese is the lingua franca? You dub it. I came close to leaving the theater to tell the staff the tracking was off but it quickly became obvious what they were doing. Honestly, it could be distracting but if you think about it, every animation works on the same principle.

(One benefit to the dubbing is that they could use actors with animation quality voices to fill the voice roles for many of the actors, or allow the principals to animate their voices in a way that would look unnatural in real life.)

Also, they shot the film in HDR (high dynamic range) which really animated the facial expressions and heighten the the boundary between real and imagined scenery -- a huge plus in this kind of film, and especially beautiful to watch on the big screen.

Oguri Shun's performance was top notch. He nailed the role. The other characters hit their character's tone, too. And when you see the situation the characters will find themselves in, you'll see they are not played as one dimensionally as the typical anime/cartoon to live action film. Their situations are complex and multifaceted.

I recommend this film. It's entertaining, beautiful to watch, presents the genre in a new way, and gives you a dose of Japanese-isms.

6 Souls (2010)
64 out of 104 people found the following review useful:
Plays like Ring without a video tape., 4 April 2010
7/10

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.

Ken (1964)
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A pure hearted soul in world that's corrupt, 2 January 2009
8/10

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.

Freud (1962)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
a strange collaboration, 25 August 2011
5/10

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.

Ted (2012)
10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
I hated this film, just despised it, 4 January 2014
2/10

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.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
25+ years later, it still delivers, 8 January 2014
9/10

It's a tight script for Touchstone, a comedy of errors where three plots and serial killer meet in a happy end.

I saw this during its original release and loved it. I still love it. It's nice to see a movie without a lot of toilet humour and f-bombs. The dialog is filled with memorable lines but the humour is in knowing what the characters don't and the on screen charisma of Di Vito and Middler.

Pay attention and you'll see the L.A. cityscape during the 80's along with all that was bad in 80's design along with Santa Monica Pier before the redesign in the 90's.

Great film for a rain day or a bad mood.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good for lazy evening on the sofa, 5 January 2014
7/10

If you've seen enough movies you know exactly how this is going to end a few minutes in, so the fun is watching how they work the plot towards that conclusion.

It's an enjoyable movie with humor that sometimes made me cringe and other times laugh out loud. Jason S. is typecast in this role, but he has good screen chemistry with Jennifer A. The two kids play their roles well, the boy maybe too well.

If you like sexually charged humor, or want something to tune out with, I can recommend it. The biggest compliment I can give it is saying I hope they make a sequel.

The Giver (2014)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Good movie, not a copy of the book so warrants a watch just for that, 15 November 2014
7/10

I read the book when I heard it was going to be made into a movie. As I was reading I wondered how they could film it. The answer is that they can't. Instead they took the concept and worked out a three act story line with hero and villains. I'm sure the dissatisfaction I've read here is partly due to trying to make something that is almost unfilmable a movie. It's well made. If you've read the book, it's worth seeing how they made it into a film.

I've shown this to my high school classes several times and they have loved it. It presents a simple idea that resonates. The characters might behave differently than you'd expect given their upbringing, but if you're going to watch a movie whose premise is that two people can collectively hold the memories of the world in their minds, roll with that discrepancy and enjoy what the movie has to say.

It's weakest point is the ending, not in the outcome but in the physical distances they cover. If you pay attention to the timing the film makers went too far in trying to be cinematic given the time frame they had to work with. Again, given the premise, it's forgivable -- and beautiful.

House (1985)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Does not hold up well over time, 7 January 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film follows an author who is in the middle of writing a book about his experiences during the Vietnam war. His son disappears in The House. Through a convenient series of events he decides to live in the house which is populated with 80's latex monsters. Riffle shots, screams, all sorts of loudness and only one neighbor notices. (It's that kind of movie.) Eventually he comes to realize that the mental monsters he's been dealing with in writing his book have become reality -- The Boss Fight is with the zombie/monster/ghost of a soldier he betrayed. He finds courage, gets his son back, his wife comes, happily ever after.

I saw this on its first release when I was boy. I really can't recall how well I liked it, but I definitely do not like it now.

The actors read their lines off each other; the script has a complete arc but there's no craft but formula in this movie; the monsters are ridiculous, even for the 80's; and it takes itself seriously too, too often.

Oddly, House Two, The Second Story is a much better film. It's more a comedy with a few monsters you can laugh with. House wants to be a serious film but the creators didn't have the skill.


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