Mobile Suit Victory Gundam

gundam-victory

fpastar020TO START

In 1979, Yoshiyuki Tomino inadvertently kicked off an entire subgenre of mecha anime with Mobile Suit Gundam (or 0079 as it’s sometimes referred to), deemphasizing the seemingly integral aspects of unrealism and ‘logistics that simply work because it’s a cartoon’ wanton disregard for physics and gravitas in favor of a more hard science fiction approach to mechanical warfare and dealing with living or fighting in outer space.  For the next decade, anime producers and directors would mimic and explore the things he introduced with that landmark show, creating works varying from Ryosuke Takahashi’s Armored Trooper Votoms to Sh­ōji Kawamori’s famed Macross franchise.

Mobile Suit Gundam went on, more or less, to be the subject of twelve more series and numerous OVAs, specials, & films.  Tomino directed the next three sequel series, up to Victory Gundam in 1993, continuing to work within the Universal Century timeline he’d created with the 1979 series.  After Victory Gundam’s broadcasting, UC timeline wouldn’t be wholly revisited again in series format, as future directors and creative teams would focus more on alternate scenarios and universes that happened to feature Gundam suits. Read more of this post

A Perspective from Within

I’d thought I’d take the time to not review a movie.

“Why’s that,” you ask? As a critic myself, I love to review movies and tell others what I think of them. But my criticisms come mainly from my experience in the film industry itself, which makes my view different from most other’s even if only slightly. A viewer will watch a movie and think “Oh, this movie was good,” or “I just hated this movie.” I, on the other hand, see every film ever made as a result of a miracle. It staggers the mind how so many people can agree on a project, produce said project, then release that project to a number of people. (It’s even more staggering if it’s a bad movie with a poor premise.)

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The Tree of Life

If I were to describe this film in one word, that word would be “overrated.”  On further reflection, however, words such as “disjoint,” “muddled,” “confused,” and “pretentious” would suffice as well.  The only problem is that none of those words carry the same weight of disappointment that came upon me after the final twenty-some minute long climax and dénouement had finally croaked its weariness into the comforting blackness of the closing credits.  Then again, perhaps that simply describes Terence Malick’s game face in general. Read more of this post

The 24th Helsinki International Film Festival

Just like last year, I recently attended the biggest film festival in Finland, Helsinki International Film Festival. It’s held annually in September and this time it started on the 15th and ended on the 25th. My stay at the festival was limited to 5 days, but I managed to see 10 films before I left. I’ll do my best to summarize my thoughts on each film in this article. Read more of this post

La Noire de…

Sembène’s treatment of voice in La Noire de… is established at the film’s outset by coordinating Diouna’s question, “Will someone be waiting for me?”, with the back and forth movements of her searching head. This traditional rhythm of back and forth, question and answer, is expressed again in the film’s overall narrative structure: Diouna’s immediate experiences and troubled interior dialogue find answer in her memories. In this sense, La Noire de… is a film that—although markedly imbued with a rare primacy of the present—holds truth in its own prefigured past. Read more of this post

Sucker Punch

2011, 110 minutes, Action, U.S.; Directed by Zack Snyder; Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder; Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films; Dist. by Warner Brothers

Usually good and solid films, even ones that are considered “intelligent” or “intellectual” in nature, are presented in the fashion that even someone with the I. Q. level of a third grader can understand what’s going on. I’m not discussing a third grader’s level of experience, as there are a lot of situations presented in some films that a third grader would have never had the opportunity to know about. But a third grader could understand the way it’s being presented.

For example, if a film shows a shot of the outside of a large mansion, then cuts to another shot of a large group of people sitting at a long dinner table, it’s suggested that the large group of people sitting at the table are also inside of the large mansion. This technique has become a common tongue in the language of film is used naturally all of the time in modern filmmaking to present all sorts of situation in a fashion where everyone would be able to understand what’s going on.

For better or for worse, Zack Snyder attempts to push those boundaries of editorial story-telling in his film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl trying to escape from the confines of a mental institute where other perfectly sane girls are commonly given in the care of and lobotomized in order keep them out of the way of those who don’t mean well in society. Read more of this post

Whip It

2009, 111 minutes, Comedy, U.S.; Directed by Drew Barrymore; Produced by Barry Mendel, Drew Barrymore; Fox Searchlight, Mandate Pictures, Vincent Pictures, Flower Films, Rye Road

I’m not sure if this is a weakness I’m finally revealing to everyone who might read my reviews. This might be the one thing I take interest in that would make you roll your eyes and not take any of my opinions seriously. (Like my use of color wheels in that ginormous 2.22 Review & Analysis wouldn’t have done that to a few of you guys already.) Though seriously, this might prove to be a weakness in any film in which this element is used. And that element is, of course, the use of Ellen Page.

Her “normal” and even “alternative” look appears to be a very natural beauty, something that I miss in light of the slew of Victoria’s Secret lingerie models that have begun to plague our screens.  (Even though we all know that Ellen Page is like every other performer in that she requires the customary touch-up for the camera, and is starting to be selected by studios to attract the “alternative” crowd half of the time anyway.) And her performances aren’t bad, either. In much of what I’ve seen her in, she has the same basic approach to her work. She usually plays whatever character in a somewhat timid fashion, which kinda figures since most of the cast in whatever movie she’s in towers over her.  It would be nice to see her break out into something more tough and rebellious, but she doesn’t appear fake or shallow in her roles as timid people either. So I can’t complain. I’m not saying she’s the Actress Goddess Extraordinaire, but she can hold her own in a film and even add to it quite often.

In Whip It, the low-budget Fox Searchlight “indy” film directed by first-time director Drew Barrymore, this talent seems rather typecasted into a role that the viewer is assumed to simply fall for anyway. And let’s face it, it’s hard not to fall for a lead when she looks like a wet puppy who wants to come in from the rain. But aside from the “puppy eyes”, this film only has some minor quirky charms to offer. Read more of this post

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