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Meari to majo no hana (2017)
A wannabe-Ghibli which misses the most important ingredient
The creators of "Mary and the Witch's Flower" try hard to make a Ghibli-style movie, but they end doing something generic and ultimately annoying, even if visually beautiful. What they miss are real characters, as the protagonist is bland and anonymous, and the other characters are basically totally empty, with no personalities nor motivations. So the movie is all about action, with pointless dialogues, no poetry, no emotions and no soul. A missed opportunity.
This movie is not for everyone, as it is clearly targeted to a very young audience (3 to 10 y.o.) BTW it is hard not to apprecciate the D'Alò touch in the very classic (and classy) animation, the rich backgrounds and the inventive character design, as well as the gentle, soft, poetic narrative style. A little jewel.
Fails to be funny
I had some expectations about this movie, but ultimately I regret the 1/half hour I spent seeing this mess. This film is just a one-woman-show with Tomlin in three roles (two of them completely pointless), but the jokes are at best worth of some cheap sitcom and the movie fails almost each attempt to be funny. Grodin is super-lazy and the introduction of a man in a gorilla suit in the second part of the movie cannot revive a predictable, banal plot with a moral not more complex nor subtle than a Saturday morning cartoon. The few PROs (some nice F/Xs, an authentic 1980s flavour and an excellent Ned Beatty in a thankless role) are not enough to save the movie.
What the Health (2017)
Let's face the truth even without getting vegans
I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian. I grew up eating cheese, meat, processed meat and so on. For me, and many of our generations, is so hard to the point of impossibility giving up to grated cheese, ham, tuna or a mozzarella-filled pizza. While in the last years I certainly reduced my consumption of certain products (especially some I ate more for habit and mistaken beliefs than for a genuine choice), I kept on consuming some others (particularly dairy products) the same way than before.
That said, I am not going to vote 1 this doc as others do only because it helps my guilty conscience or my lack of strength/will in becoming a vegan. First, because it is a well-made movie, not annoying as others in this genre, it's a doc which goes in-depth and it has a good editing. Then because it says the truth, even if the truth hurts everyone, including me.
P.S. Some reviewers complained about the lack of different POVs/ adversarial opinions about the matter. They ignore (or pretend to...) that the filmmakers tried to get them, and the caught-on-camera refusals of discussing the matter from members of these "health organizations" says more than a thousand words to me.
Hostage to the Devil (2016)
The controversial figure of (former?) priest Malachi Martin would had been, and still would be an easy topic for a good documentary. This is not.
To be clear, 99% of the doc consists in interviews to disciples, demonologists, "religious demonologists", occult investigators, reality TV pseudo-stars. Except for a dying Robert Kaiser, there is no contradictory in it. With such ingredients, you can hardly have a decent result.
The criticism Martin faced during his life is barely mentioned, but never explained nor contextualized. His most bizarre theories and revelations are not mentioned, let alone discussed or rebutted. His contradictions are left out. Disputed events of his religious and private life are either completely left out or (more rarely) vaguely hinted, but never deepened.
Ultimately, Malachi is a fascinating and ambiguous figure who would deserve an in-depth, more neutral, less sensationalist movie. This one, is just a missed opportunity.