Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Plus Some

If there is anything that can be said succinctly about Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is this: don’t buy into the hype.  Maybe that includes a corollary “don’t buy into anything you read about it, either,” which would even include this very review.  That’s up to you.  While I wouldn’t call it a polarizing series in the slightest, it’s certainly something that seems like it would leave an impression on most people.  A lot of director Akiyuki Shinbo’s output with Studio Shaft is like this.  Some love it, some hate it, and others—particularly in the case of Madoka—find it entertaining but not worth the unreasonable amount of praise it seems to garner. Read more of this post

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Osamu Dezaki: In Brief Rememberance

No doubt, some of us will probably be saying “The King is dead, anime has died, there is no point watching cartoons anymore,” when Hayao Miyazaki eventually passes on.  And certainly, when Mamoru Oshii kicks the bucket, countless anime fans, pretentious film buffs, and intellectual wannabes will spend some time in mourning (others will likely breathe out a long-awaited “finally,” I’m sure).  We’ve already witnessed the reverberations of Satoshi Kon’s untimely demise just last year, and those who were around will remember the sorrow left in the wake of Osamu Tezuka’s death.  Other accredited figures associated with anime will surely leave remarkable hollows in their wake, at least for those familiar with their works. Read more of this post

Tribeca Film Festival 2011: Opening Night with Sir Elton John

Well, treat this as my glorious return to film blogging, I guess, after an absence of a few months. From 4/20 to 4/30 is the Tribeca International Film Festival in New York City, and thanks to that bank associated with American Express, I got some rush tickets, VIP seats to major talks (how’s Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn sound?). But for the time being, let’s center ourselves around a rather star-studded night of celebrity to kick off the festival’s tenth year.

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My Sassy Girl

Jun Ji-Hyun & Cha Tae-Hyun... possibly the two biggest reasons to watch this movie.

Directed by Kwak Jae-Yong

South Korea; 2001

137 min. (director’s cut)

Starring Cha Tae-Hyun and Jun Ji-Hyun

In Short: Based on a series of blogs, this romantic comedy is quite possibly South Korea’s most internationally popular film, and it’s not hard to see why. The two leads make for memorable characters, and much of the broad humor and melodrama actually work. However, the film is much longer than it needs to be, and there are a few embarrassingly bad sequences that really should have never made it out of the editing room intact.

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Alternate Perspective: Summer Wars by JH

“Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!” or “Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons full of sex and violence?” are probably the two most common responses by “normal” people when they find out that someone watches anime; I can’t help but find the polar opposite associations rather hilarious. Nobody would ever say “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about flowers?” or “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about wars?” The Association stem from the confusion that anime is a genre rather than simply animation from Japan; it’s no more a genre than French films are a genre. Once I’ve explained that to people unfamiliar with anime the next question is inevitably “why do you watch cartoons?”.  Indeed, the stigma against animation has something only suited for kids or outrageous satirical comedy is pervasive in most of the West. The simple answer behind why I watch it is that the creative freedom inherent in animation, and frequently expressed through animation, far outweighs that in the vast majority of live-action films, and Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars is a prime example of that imaginative explosion. Read more of this post

Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

Also known as "Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break"

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.] Read more of this post

(Not) A Guilty Pleasure: Raptor

You don't really care who made this, and to be honest, neither do I. So instead here's a snarky rebuttal to the above poster about stock footage never being extinct either.

No "Guilty Pleasure Quality" this time. I really hate this movie. Only in the category for consistency's sake.

I’m really not sure how to introduce Raptors, the 2001 spin-off film following the Carnosaur Trilogy. Other than that it’s low production values and mindless casting were even too much for me, as I’m knocking this film out of The Guilty Pleasures. That’s right. It was so bad I couldn’t even enjoy it as cheap and silly entertainment. The way it was shot, the way the actors walked, and the clues to major cop-outs later on down the film just turned me off from the very beginning. I would say that Roger Corman should have stay Executive Producer rather than moving to Producer for the film, but that would suggest the other Carnosaur films were any good. Raptors was just as bad but simply far less enjoyable.

I shouldn’t be criticized for not knowing how to introduce such a film, as even the filmmakers didn’t even seem to know how to introduce the movie. So rather than trying, they simply re-used footage from the first Carnosaur film to show a bunch of teens in a Jeep getting slaughtered by the dinosaur. In fact, much of the story is recycling a lot of elements from the first film simply so the filmmakers could reuse old footage when needed to cut down on production costs. The plot revolves around a mad scientist trying to clone dinosaurs back to life. Sound familiar? (I’m not even referring to Jurassic Park.) Read more of this post