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Tsukiji Wonderland (2016)
Tsukiji Wonderland is a documentary that will amaze you with the awesomeness of all the people working at this fish market. I had seen some documentaries about Tsukiji on TV before, but they focused on the fish auction. Tsukiji Wonderland, on the other hand, shows you the complete process including before and after the auction – from the arrival of the fish at the market until the fish being served at restaurants as sushi. The areas where visitors are not permitted are also filmed, so it is really interesting to watch.
The film centers on the intermediate wholesalers at the market. It shows their incredible knowledge about fish and how significant they are in delivering the best fish to the customers which include top-notch sushi restaurants. I have just learned from this film that fish taste different based on the season and even how they got caught! Their knowledge about fish is just amazing.
Sekai kara neko ga kietanara (2016)
If cats disappeared from the world, how would the world change?
..."If cats disappeared from the world, how would the world change? If I disappeared from the world, who on earth would mourn for me?"...
"Sekai kara neko ga kietanara" is based on a popular novel of the same name and centers around a young postman (played by Sato Takeru) who learns that he has a terminal illness and is soon going to die. Then, a devil appears and offers to extend his life on the condition that one thing the devil picks will disappear from the world in exchange for him living one day longer.
Things which seems not essential to life turn out to be more crucial than expected, as they affect the relationship he has with his ex-girlfriend, friend and family
As the story evolves, it reminds me to think about what is actually essential to life. Existence or essence?
The story is meaningful, and Takeru is a great cast in a great film. He perfectly delivered the role with his talents. The film is also shot so beautifully that I had to add Hakodate, the filming location, to my list of must-visit cities in Japan.
Inside Out (2015)
One of the best Pixar films
I almost gave this film a pass because its trailer looked uninviting. I'm glad I did see it. To me, this is the best Pixar film since Wall-E!
Inside Out depicts the complexity of human emotions in the simplest way ever - through the five characters that represent core emotions; Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. It shows the significance of all of them. One would not forever live with only Joy, and Sadness could sometimes be meaningful to life. Fear, Disgust and Anger are also basic emotions that can save us from danger or unwanted situations.
Apart from emotions, Inside Out shows how our memories are stored and recalled. The part of Riley's memories with her childhood friend, Bing Bong, had me crying hard because it reminded me of my childhood friends too.
There are many good things the audience can get from viewing this film. They may understand their emotions better. Parents and kids may communicate more effectively once they have seen this film. In any case, a sure thing this film has contributed is a masterpiece to the animation world.
Before Midnight (2013)
The best romantic film I've ever seen
Before Midnight is Richard Linklater's third sequel after Before Sunrise and Before Sunset and, in my opinion, the best!
This film brings you back all memories of Jesse and Celine, and the story of 9 years after Before Sunset unfolds thru Jesse and Celine's conversation. They cleverly tell the story of what happened exactly after the ending of Before Sunset. (I would love to read Jesse's books! Have they ever thought of publishing them for real?)
The dialogues are still witty and funny as always. Brilliant performance of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy! It did not look like they were acting at all. It's more like I was observing the real scenes, real argument, and I felt deeply engaged to them. I particularly like the hotel scene where their conversation flows so realistically and greatly reflects mindsets of men and women. (Though Celine is a bit too feminist. ;) )
I love the ending of this film as much as the ending of Before Sunset, which I regard as the best ending a film could ever have. Therefore, it deserves 10/10.
An act of true love can thaw a frozen heart
It was long since I last saw a Walt Disney animated film, as I am now more into Pixar and Ghibli. I decided to see Frozen simply because of word of mouth like many other people. It turned out to be a good decision.
Frozen is fun to watch. The story is about the princess sisters Elsa and Anna. Elsa has magical power which she cannot control and unintentionally hurts her sister and turns her kingdom into eternal winter. The film has good character development. Besides, I quite like the idea of true love in this film which is different from Disney classic fairy tales. (You've got to see it to know what I mean. ^^ )
Frozen is also accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack. There are two songs I love especially: 'Do You Want to Build a Snowman?' and 'Let It Go'. Elsa was voiced by Idina Menzel, who played the original Elphaba in Wicked the musical, so the song is really powerful like the power of Elsa.
It's just a pity that the pace of the film is a bit too rushed. Anyway, the film overall is still far better than Pixar's Brave that won the Oscar last time. With such good reviews, Disney clearly has to win the award this time.
Soshite chichi ni naru (2013)
Like Father, Like Son
'Like Father, Like Son' is the latest film from Hirokazu Koreeda that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Like 'Nobody Knows' and 'I Wish', Koreeda's previous films, it deals with family conflicts and children. A successful businessman discovers that the boy he has been raising for 6 years is actually not his son, as his son was switched with another child after birth. Now he needs to choose between his biological child and the child he has raised
The actors in this film are great, not only Masaharu Fukuyama as father but also the young actors who play Keita and Ryusei. Koreeda always works well with kids. Keita is so adorable. The film handles the conflict very realistically and well reflects how the way of upbringing have influence on the children. It is quite emotional at the end of the film, so be prepared you may shed some tears.
The root of evil
The White Ribbon had been on my wish list for a long time, since it won the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. I had thought Haneke's films were mostly intense and violent, not at all a mainstream. But winning the Golden Globe Award gave me a feeling that this film should not be too difficult to watch. And it is really so, though the film is still intense and somewhat violent anyway.
The White Ribbon depicts society in a German village before the outbreak of World War I, where a series of mysterious violent events happened. The village was still under feudal system and religion had strong influence. The higher class used their authority over the lower, not just in the society but also in their families. The lower had no right to argue. Could the mysterious violence be a result of the pressure on them?
The White Ribbon is not as sadistic as Haneke's latter film 'Amour', and thus easier to watch. Perhaps also because it doesn't use lot of long still shots like Amour, and it's in a narrative story-telling style, so the audience do not feel so involved and so tortured. Both films are great, but in my taste I prefer Amour a bit more.
History comes alive
Rush is a very well-made film about F1 racing that is not to be missed for any F1 fans and also highly recommended for everyone.
The film is based on a true story of the rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruehl) and the famous near-fatal accident in 1976. It accurately depicts F1 racing in those days which was packed with thrills. Not just focusing on the race battle, it also captures the characters' details and presents their different ways of thinking interestingly.
Daniel Bruehl is always my favorite, and this time he has done a great job playing Niki Lauda. The way he speaks (with accent), the way he acts, really resembles that Lauda I'd seen on German TV. He portrays the character really well that I hope he will get nominated for Oscar in Best Supporting Actor.
Other than Bruehl, the film is also awesome in sound and cinematography. I loved the engine revving sound as well as the way they made the film in the 70's look, just like we were watching the real racing scenes.
At the end of the exciting racing scenes, the film shows us how the friendship comes out of the rivalry. How they have a true respect for each other, although they were battling to death in races. Fortunately, F1 safety nowadays has improved tremendously from that time, and Senna remains the last driver to die in race.
Les Misérables (2012)
Great cinematic experience except for the wrong Javert
First of all, I love Les Miserables. I've read the book, seen the film and the musical. So I've set high expectation on this musical-film version but also knew the film will present nothing new to me.
Overall, the film was a great cinematic experience. The story is touching and dramatic as always. The film stays quite faithful to the musical. However, I am not so happy with the casts. Hugh Jackman is okay for the role of Jean Valjean, though I still far prefer Colm Wilkinson and John Owen-Jones, the stage version's Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway as Fantine has done a better job than I had expected, especially during her powerful solo 'I Dreamed a Dream'. Russell Crowe, however, is the worst cast! Javert is such an important role to the story, but he made it nothing. And his singing ability was too poor for a musical film. I really wondered how he got casted.
My favorite cast of this version turned out to be the little kid who played Gavroche. He is probably even the best Gavroche I've ever seen! The guys who played Enjolras and Grantaire also stole some of my attention, while Marius never.
There are some scenes I liked in particular (e.g. the barricades) and some I really disliked (e.g. the last scene of Javert), so I still have a bit of mixed feelings here. I think Tom Hooper has done a fairly good adaptation of Les Miz, anyway also not the best.
Great film that could keep me depressed for days
There are some great films that I will deny a second watch because they are too depressing. Amour is one of them.
The first ten minutes I felt sleepy and thought this Haneke's film could be too boring for me. However, after that, once the film gets to the main point, it seized my heart throughout the rest of the film.
Amour tells a story of the love of an old couple, Anne and Georges, which is severely tested. Haneke directed the film really realistically, with long still shots and not even have a music score to make sure that you will feel uncomfortable for the 2-hr period! ;)
The film is also accompanied by superb, realistic acting of the two main protagonists. Special respect to Emmanuelle Riva; she has done a really incredible job.
The feeling I had for this film can be compared to the film Dancer in the Dark. They don't just make you cry while watching. They can keep you depressed for days, and you find your tears still running out when you think about it.
Different from the book, Still a good adaptation!
I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on its opening day and it totally made my day. Firstly, I must say it is quite different from the book. All the middle chapters are there, but the details are different, and there are many additional scenes apart from the book. The additional scenes of Gandalf and Legolas served well as a connection to LOTR, while the addition of Tauriel character seems to serve fan girls and add some love story to the adaptation. In my humble opinion, the additional scenes work pretty well. However, let's wait and see how it will unfold in the third film.
Now that I've seen the film in both HFR3D and 2D, I'd say I recommend the HFR3D. The images are far crisper. The action scenes look more thrilling, especially the spiders scene and the barrel-riding scene. However, the 2D version is also good for the dramatic scenes. I tear up a bit when watching the dwarfs finally back in their home, Erebor.
I can say that fans of Legolas, Thranduil, Kili and Bard will be happy watching this second Hobbit film. They have lots of scenes. A little disappointment may be for Beorn fans (actually myself included). Beorn scene is quite short, compared to his long chapter in the book. But that's understandable because film is different from book. Anyway, it would be better if they reduced some air time of Smaug and give it to Beorn. The Smaug scene, though important, is somewhat overlong.
Overall – 9.5/10 This is a great film, so please go watch it with your own eyes. :)
Worth watching for the brilliant Toma & Gakky
There are many reasons why Hanamizuki is considered a must-see film. 1. It is directed by Nobuhiro Doi, director of great romance films and series such as Be With You and Nada Sou Sou. 2. It is starred by Ikuta Toma, Aragaki Yui, and Mukai Osamu. OMG!!! >0< 3. It is based on the most beautiful song of the same name by Hitoto You. ... and so on.
I almost screamed out of joy when knowing that it would be released in Thailand at Apex and House cinemas and managed to get some tickets to the Thailand film premiere at last.
Hanamizuki tells a tear-jerking love story similar to Be With You and Nada Sou Sou (but not as much tear-jerking as the two Doi's previous films). The film is sad, but I found it encouraging rather than depressing. Kind of encouraging people to be true to love.
Toma, Gakky, and Osamu have all delivered such great performances. So talented and natural as they are, fans will not be disappointed. The scenery in the film were also very well-chosen. On the other hand, the plot of the film is a bit too 'soap opera' and has pulled down the film somewhat, pity.
All in all, the film is definitely worth watching for the brilliant Toma & Gakky, just don't expect too much of the plot. ^^
*Notice* Please continue watching the end credits to see various nice pics.