Thursday, August 24, 2017

your name. | 君の名は。Movie Review

The Pitch

your name. ( 君の名は.) first caught my attention with it's miraculous records on the Japanese Box Office. This anime stayed on the top of Japanese Box Office for 12 non consecutive weekends and was the second largest domestic film in Japan (behind Spirited Away). This movie kept getting mentioned on the Japanese News sites that I frequent and I am curious why did this anime about body switch would fare so well.

Later on, I found out that the director Makoto Shinkai also directed the Garden of Words. Garden of Words was one of my fave anime that I saw in recent years and that made my anticipation for this movie grow even more.

The Plot

Taki, a Tokyo city boy woke up in an unfamiliar room and in a body of a girl. Meanwhile Mitsuha, a teenage girl from a mountain village wished that she living a life of a handsome Tokyo boy instead and got her wish. They soon realized that they are not dreaming and they have been switching bodies intermittently. The problem was that their memories of each other fade away like dreams. They begin to communicate by leaving notes to each other, helping each other tide over the mysterious phenomenon.

As the bright blue comet passes Earth, their body switch comes to a sudden end. Taki tried to call Mitsuha for the first time but wasn't able to reach her. He decides to visit her hometown but he doesn't know his name and his memories are fading away. Will this star crossed lovers ever get to meet each other?

The Perspective

 your name. was an enjoyable anime. It started off as a fun body switch movie that kept me glued to the screen while subtly setting up the foundation for an unexpected twist in the middle of the movie. The twist worked as it accelerated the pace of the anime and the desire to see the two main characters get their happy endings.

But however the final resolution of the movie was a little let down. It came rather suddenly and lacked the grandeur that it seemed to be promising through out the movie. The emotional draw for the two main characters was also slightly weaker than The Garden of Words. It could had been the anime of the year for me but it just lacked something in the end to make it a home run.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Anabelle: Creation Movie Review

The Pitch

I was a fan of The Conjuring but I had very little interest to catch it's spin off, Annabelle. It felt like a cash grab for the company that is behind The Conjuring series. The critical reaction to the first Annabelle movies seemed to confirm my gut instinct about this spin off. I wasn't expecting another prequel to the first Annabelle movie (but it made a lot of money) and I wasn't expecting to hear so many praises for Annabelle Creation (from both the critics and my friend).

The good vibes made me curious about Annabelle: Creation and I heard good things about Annabelle: Creation director's previous movie (Lights Out). You know what they say ... Curiosity kill the cat.

The Plot

A doll marker and his wife lost their daughter in a tragic accident. 12 years later, they invite a group of young orphans girls and their nun from a shuttered orphanage into their home.  They soon realized that there is something sinister going on the new place and the doll marker's creation.

The Perspective

Annabelle Creation was a freaking disappointment. If this is an improvement over its predecessor, I am staying the hell away from the first Annabelle movie.

What went wrong with Annabelle Creation?

For someone who watched one too many scary movie, it was plodding along with cliche scare scenes and this movie seem genuinely afraid to tell a good origin scare story. Annabelle Creation was skimming through it's origin that when it was finally revealed, it was short and failed to have any impact. In fact the movie felt like it was just created to snitch some scare scenes together and they had to hasty slap a  origin story to this demonic doll saga. Or perhaps they want the audience to buy another ticket to watch another prequel to the Annabelle series.

The next issue I had with this movie was how the characters were handled in this movie. The characters felt disposable and it's really hard to root for them or feel for them when they are in a terrible situation. The six orphan girls could be reduced to two and the movie could focus on making them relatable (instead of setting up another meaningless scare scenes with one of their character).

Last but not least, I been told that Annabelle Creation was "wickedly terrifying" and it "manages to conjure some effective scares". The cliche scare scenes were quite boring for me. They offers no genuine surprises or decent scares at all. They were predictable and I found myself listening to the next boo scare. For a real scary atmosphere in a horror movie, it's still the Conjuring and Insidious that tops that category in recent horror movies.   


Annabelle: Creation (2017) on IMDb

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kung fu Jungle | 一个人的武林 [ Movie Review ]

Pitch: I wasn't keen on watching Kung Fu Jungle. Donnie Yen's previous action flick Special ID and Wang Baoqiang's villainous role in The Fairy Tale Killer were pretty disappointing. But after a fellow movie buff friend's recommendation, I decided to this movie a chance and see how bad can it be.

Plot: Three years ago, Mo Hahou (Donnie Yen) surrendered himself to the police for accidentally killing marital arts opponent. In prison, he saw a news report about an unusual murder case and offer his aid to Inspector Luk Yuen-Sun (Charlie Young) to capture the killer in exchange for his freedom. Will they be able to stop the killer (Wang Baoqiang) who is on a vicious killing spree?

Perspective: Kung Fu Jungle turns out to be much better than I had anticipated. Right at the start, I knew that there's something special about Kung Fu Jungle. The numerous cameos and the manner that this movie romanticize with martial arts / kung fu made viewing this movie a wonderful treat. The end credits confirms my suspicion that this is a homage to the unappreciated crews that gave us years of enjoyable Hong Kong action movies. It was heartfelt and long overdue, specially in an era that Hong Kong action movies are even more at risk these days.

Donnie Yen performance was much better in Kung Fu Jungle than Together and Special ID. It was mainly due to the fact that the filmmakers in this movie knew how to play to his strength. It also made me realize that Donnie Yen has limited acting range. He tends to excel in roles that calls for a restrained personality (eg. his characters in Ip Man and Peter Chan's Wu Xia). But when he tries to take on emotional roles or a wilder range of personality (like a undercover cops), it tends to end up as a awkward mess.

Wang Baoqiang was surprisingly good too. His craziness was well control and it didn't go over the top like his previous role in The Fair Tale Killer. It made it easier to sympathize with his character.I don't think he is an action star but there were some scenes that I wonder how it was filmed. Did he performed the stunts or was it expertly choreographed / edited to make him look like a menacing martial arts killer?

However, there are some faults with Kung Fu Jungle. Realism in police procedures was obviously threw out of the window and certain aspects of the story was skim through without much thoughts. It felt like the focus was to tell a Silence of the Lamb-ish story with Kung Fu. It's not grounded in reality but Kung Fu Jungle provided an entertaining homage to the personals that made Hong Kong action movies great and for that, I am not going to nitpick much.

Rating: ***

Kung Fu Killer (2014) on IMDb

Monday, January 19, 2015

Timecrimes | Los Cronocrímenes [Movie Review]

Snap review

Pitch: Timecrimes has frequently pop up whenever I search for a good time travel movie. The ironic part was that i never found the time to watch it. After having a great time watching Predestination and Triangle, I finally found the urge to seat down to watch this.

Plot: Hector just moved into his new home with his wife. Little did he know that a casual Saturday would become a strange turn off events involving voyeurism, a masked slasher and a complicated time travel.

Perspective: Timecrimes is one heck of a ride. Lots of twist and turn that worth rewatching. It might be a low budget movie but it didn't stop Timecrimes from being a solid sci-fi entertainment. Lastly,  Barbara Goenaga provides the drool factor that makes this movie even more engaging.

Rating: ***1/2

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Uzumasa Limelight [ Coming Soon ]


Uzumasa (Kyoto) is considered the Hollywood of Japan. It has produced many "jidaigeki" films (period dramas with sword fighting) that are loved by many Japanese, and are highly praised all over the world. 

These films wouldn't be what they were if it weren't for the "kirareyaku" (actors who's main job is to be killed by the lead star). Men who are killed, without ever being lit by the limelight... This story is about those men, the unsung heroes of classic jidaigeki films. Actors who loved and respected the art, even when the production of classic jidaigeki films began to dwindle. 

Using Charlie Chaplin's film "Limelight" as an underlying theme, the admirable story of these men dealing with a new generation and fading craftsmanship is told with melancholy and soul.  


Japan's most-killed samurai stuntman wins immortality at last
Seizo Fukumoto, 71, has supposedly acted out 50,000 screen deaths; now the samurai movie specialist's first lead role has won an international prize

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron [Coming Soon]

26 / 07 / 2014

Marvel been releasing exclusive San Diego Comic Con 2014 concept art posters for Marvel's upcoming "Avengers: Age of Ultron". Together, they form a massive poster. Pretty awesome don't you think?

Marvvel SDCC 14 exclusive concept art posters for Avengers: Age of Ultron - 
 Quicksilver, Thor Black Widow, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye

Thursday, November 21, 2013


'Gravity' Spinoff: Watch the Other Side of Sandra Bullock's Distress Call

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Man from Earth [ Movie Review ] ****

The Pitch

While going thru some low budget movies online, I stumbled upon The Man from Earth. The thing that stood out for this movie was that it had a 7.9 out of 10 rating on imdb. Usually the low budget movies with unknown actors n director are rated around 4 - 5 out of 10 on imdb. 7.9 was definitely outstanding for a low budget sci fi. The 73,175 votes also sound pretty substantial and unlikely a bid to push up the rating by the production team (or fans) .

The storyline had a intriguing hook. At a farewell party became an intense interrogation when the retiring professor reveals to his colleagues that he is actually 14,000 years old. One of the imdb user reviews mentioned that this movie was "a seriously engaging film ... A sci-fi film with absolutely no special effects" ( from United Kingdom).

All these reminded me of Cube. A low budget Sci Fi movie with limited special effect, small cast and limited sets production but it remained one of my favorite sci fi movies to date. It's a sci fi movie that brings something new and different to the plate. A risk taker that leaves the viewers something to think about after the credits rolled.

Something tells me that The Man from Earth could be my next fave sci fi movie. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 Lego Poster (16 Apr 2013)
Iron Man 3 poster in Lego form. Nuff Said

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rurouni Kenshin | るろうに剣心 [ Coming Soon - 29th Nov 2012 ]

 Rurouni Kenshin るろうに剣心
The Pitch

Rurouni Kenshin or perhaps better known as Samurai X originated as a manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The tale of the wandering protector with a dark past went on to get it's anime series treatment. Both the manga and anime were so popular that even someone like me who is not really into manga or anime had a rough idea about this series about.

But for some reasons, it was difficult for me to follow this series properly. It was either catching a few episodes of Samurai X anime on television or sampling some of Rurouni Kenshin manga at the library. So when the news of Rurouni Kenshin getting a live action treatment by the Japanese, I was pretty excited about watching this movie. Finally there's a chance for me to get started on the Rurouni Kenshin's series.

Given the popularity of this series, the cast and director of this live action film have a lot of expectation to live up to. Will they be able to capture the essence of Rurouni Kenshin without boring the fans with repetition of materials from the manga and anime? Will they be able to hook newbies like me to this series? Will it be good?

On 29th Nov 2012, Rurouni Kenshin will be shown exclusively at Film Garde cinemas in Singapore.  It's just a couple of months after It's general release in Japan. A good incentive to catch this on the big screen.

The Plot
Nearly 140 years ago, in the last days of the Shoguns, there was a man known as “Battosai the Killer,” feared as the most powerful assassin.

He was faster than a god, stronger than a demon, and had a leading spirit of the Meiji Restoration.

In a flash he downs any number of opponents. Once he pulled out his sword, nobody survived against him.

As the war ended and the new Meiji era came, Battosai vanished from the world.

The only thing that remained was his legend.

10 years later, a man appeared in a world still in disarray.

His name is Kenshin Himura, a wanderer who saves people with a back-blade sword that cannot kill.

This is Battosai the Killer, who has taken a pledge never to kill again.

In order to bring peace to the world so that his loved ones can live safely,

Now Kenshin’s battle begins!

(Plot from Filmgarde's page)

Trailer (from Encore Films)