Movie Review: Lost in Translation (2003)

Life is quite a strange thing. The way it can change, the ups and downs we go through, the memories we make… such a strange and interesting thing that we just kind of take for granted. And sometimes we need the help of other people (or in this case a movie) to start examining our choices.

Ladies and gents… “Lost in Translation”.

Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), two very people. Bob an aging actor, Charlotte a young woman who’s feeling a bit neglected. When these two cross paths in Tokyo, they form an interesting connection. And we follow them as they hang out. That’s kind of it. There’s no big, dramatic arc. It’s kind of just them going to a few different places in Tokyo and hanging out, discussing their lives, and just kind of enjoying each other’s company. To some this kind of minimal-ish storytelling could be off-putting. But I enjoyed it, because it’s a simple yet nuanced look at some people finding a spark in their lives again.

The characters in this are layered, charming, and just overall interesting. Bill Murray plays Bob, the aging actor who has come to Japan to try and get some work. He’s charming and nice, but can be a bit sarcastic and such at times. He’s funny, but he also gets some decent dramatic moments as well. And Murray is great in the role. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a college graduate who’s feeling a bit neglected by her husband. Not gonna say much more as a lot of her character comes forth throughout the movie, but let’s just say that she’s quite interesting. And Johansson is great in the role. I also wanna mention that these two actors share some really good chemistry, I loved watching them interacting.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Shields and it was really good. It has a sort of ethereal “what is the meaning of life?” kind of feel that works for this movie, really playing into the two lost souls story. Then there are a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout that work quite well in their respective scenes.

This movie was written and directed by Sofia Coppola, and I think she did a really good job with it. Her direction is very tight and intimate, bringing us closer to the characters and their inner turmoils. I also really liked Lance Acord’s cinematography, I thought it looked really good and had a really nice and interesting style to it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his Great Movies list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It also got 3 more nominations in the categories of Best picture, Best actor (Murray), and Best director.

“Lost in Translation” is a very well made and highly engaging little dramedy. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Lost in Translation” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Lost in Translation” is now completed.

*Whisper*. 

Movie Review: Batman Ninja (2018)

I like Batman. I like anime. I like DC animated features (if you didn’t already know that from all the DC animation reviews I’ve done). So hopefully this’ll be something pretty good. Let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman Ninja”.

After he tries to stop an experiment by the villainous Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore), Batman (Roger Craig Smith) finds himself transported to feudal Japan. He soon finds also finds out that multiple of his allies and enemies have been transported there too. So we follow him as he tries to find a way back home, while also having to deal with the villains who infest Japan. So this plot is batshit (pun intended) insane. I’m okay with doing different things with established characters, it can lead to some really cool stuff. And at first I thought the ninja Batman thing sounded kind neat. And at times it is. But the plot has a really weird pace, often feeling very start-stop in it’s approach. When a part of it gains momentum, we cut into the next part, with no natural transition. It’s not a bad plot, as it has some fun ideas to it, but overall it’s kinda messy.

The characters in this I will not rally go into, as they are all just as you know them. There’s established Batman heroes/villains here, and only like one new character. And the already established ones act as you would expect ’em too. Roger Craig Smith plays the caped crusader. It’s his second time in the role after the underrated “Arkham Origins” video game, and I think he’s a great Batman. He does sound a bit like a younger version of Kevin Conroy, and that is just awesome. And the fact that he still makes the role his own is even cooler. So yeah, he’s great. Next up we have Tony Hale as the Joker… yes, really. At first I was unsure about him, as he just sounded like some high-pitched goofball. But as the movie went on something happened. I started enjoying his performance, which starting sounding a bit more sinister and more like the god damn Joker. So yeah… he’s pretty good. Then we have Grey Griffin as Catwoman, doing the same sexy and confident performance she has given the character in other things. And she’s great. Then in other roles we get people like Eric Bauza, Adam Croasdell, Will Friedle, Fred Tatasciore, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, and Matthew Yang King, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Yugo Kanno and it was good. I like how it blends the typical superhero brass with some more Japanese sounds to create something that gives the movie a more unique feel. Not gonna say that it’s one of the best scores I’ve ever heard, and it’s not one of the most memorable, but it certainly works well for the movie.

The movie was directed by Junpei Mizusaki and I have mixed feelings. The movie takes on a cel-shaded 3D animation style, and I don’t like that style. It looked bad in “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters”, it looked bad in the trailer for this, and in this finished product it’s a mixed bag. When it’s mostly talking or slow walking or just generally “calm”, it doesn’t look great. It’s a weird style that doesn’t quite work, especially since it is quite jittery. But when we get to the action scenes, it looks kinda cool. Fast-paced fights between characters in this look interesting and they are are fairly enjoyable. Then there’s a scene with a sudden and weird shift in art style that I didn’t like too much. So I’m not sure what to say… Good action, meh everything else? Sure, let’s go with that.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception (based on the limited data I go by). On Rotten Tomatoes it has no critic rating, but the audience score is at 55%. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Batman Ninja” is a fucking weird movie that has a few good things going for it. It has a meh plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, mixed direction/animation, and good action. Flaws (as previously mentioned) come in the form of a messy plot and the animation being weird. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman Ninja” is a 6,45/10. So while very flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Batman Ninja” is now completed.

Why do they keep insisting that they should use cel-shaded CGI? Stop it.

Movie Review: Death Note (2006)

With the recent release of the American Netflix movie adaptation of “Death Note”, I thought it was time for me to check out the first live action adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba’s manga. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Death Note”.

Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) is a highly intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him. And one day he finds a notebook that just fell from the sky. And it turns out that Light can kill pretty much anyone he wants by writing the person’s name in the notebook. So he uses this opportunity to become a mysterious vigilante simply know as Kira, killing criminals and fugitives left and right. This attracts the attention of mysterious investigator L (Ken’ichi Matsuyama), triggering a game of cat and mouse where they try to figure out each other’s identities to eliminate the other one. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? For the most part, sure. And I say that because it’s not without it’s flaws. The basic premise is great, and a lot of the developments in the story are good. Problem is that the plot at times also manages to drag, rush, and feel disjointed… all at once. This happens of course happens because they try to cram about nine episodes of anime into a two hour long movie. So some scenes feel like they’re rushed through, and some parts don’t have the smoothest transition which is the reason for some bits feeling a bit disjointed. And the dragging is because some scenes are just a bit slow, and not in a good way. But there’s still enough intrigue in the plot to keep it from being all out bad. It’s fine.

The characters here are pretty interesting. Light (like I said) is a highly intelligent young man, top of his class. So what happens when you give such a person a notebook that can kill people with the stroke of a pen? A really fascinating, smug, and slightly scary guy. I was rooting for him, but I also felt that he was a bit of a smug ass… which is what makes him so interesting. And Tatsuya Fujiwara is really good in the role. L, the eccentric and highly skilled detective that is hunting for Kira. He’s weird, he’s funny, and he’s just an interesting character. And Ken’ichi Matsuyama is really good in the role. Then we have Ryuk, the apple-loving god of death following Light around. He’s as cartoonishly hyper as he should be without sacrificing any of the creepy aspects of the character, which is great. He’s voiced by Shidô Nakamura, and he does a really good job capturing the feel of Ryuk. Then there’s a whole bunch of supporting characters/performances that I won’t go over in detail because I don’t have the time or will to do so, but let’s just say that they do a good job.

The score was composed by Kenji Kawai and I think he did a good job. The score is pretty eerie and helps create a feeling of unease in the movie. And it’s just overall well composed. Now, mild spoiler I guess, though it isn’t about a story scene, but rather the end credits. During the end credits they play the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Dani Calfornia”. I have nothing against it (it’s a great song), but it felt a bit random and I just had to bring it up. I have no opinion about it being used other than… weird. Oh well.

This movie was directed by Shûsuke Kaneko and he did an okay job. His directing feels a bit bland for the most part, though at a couple points he uses some pretty nifty camera tricks elevating those moments. But for the most part his directing was pretty bland. Also, can we talk about Ryuk? Not as a character, but his look in this movie. They decided to make him a fully CG character, and while his design is spot-on from the manga and anime, it doesn’t look very good. It’s like bringing a cartoon into a serious live action set… bit jarring. It’s not the biggest problem for me, but I did feel like it was worth noting.

While this movie doesn’t have too much of a presence on the sites I use, it does exist to some extent. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Death Note” is a pretty good live action adaptation of the manga/anime. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, good music, and okay directing. My only flaws with it comes from the plot feeling a bit messy (as I explained earlier), and Ryuk looking a bit… meh. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Death Note” is a 7,77/10. So while flawed, it is worth a rental.

My review of “Death Note” is now completed.

Don’t expect a review of the sequel. Maybe expect a review of the Netflix movie… maybe.

 

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)

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Here we are people. The final movie in my “Mangoldathon” series of reviews leading up to the release of “Logan” this coming week. I’ve had fun going through this director’s movies, and I hope you enjoyed reading the reviews that came out of it all. But now we’re here… the last one. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Wolverine”.

After the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand” we find Logan (Hugh Jackman) at his lowest low, hiding out in the middle of nowhere. But one day he gets summoned to Japan by a man (Hal Yamanouchi) he once knew. And soon Logan gets dragged into a conflict which will test him both physically and mentally. And I honestly thought the plot here was really solid. It’s a pretty serious action-drama that touches upon a lot of interesting things regarding the character of Logan, including the themes of mortality and love. And I thought it was pretty damn great… except the last 20-ish minutes of the movie. I mean, that part was entertaining, but it’s such a weird shift in tone from the rest of the movie. Again, the majority of the plot is great, and that final bit of the movie is… fine.

The characters are interesting and entertaining to watch. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Hugh Jackman is awesome as Logan/Wolverine. I mean, the dude’s always been great in the role, but I feel like this might be his best outing as the character (Keep in mind that at the time of writing, I have not seen “Logan”). Here he gets to stretch some of his acting muscles a bit more, getting to show more emotions while also being more of a vulnerable/troubled character. Rila Fukushima plays Logan’s new ally Yukio, and she’s really good in the movie. Tao Okamoto plays Mariko, a young woman that Logan seems to be forming a bit of a romance with, and she’s really good in the movie. Svetlana Khodchenkova plays the character of Viper and while the character might feel a tiny bit out of place, Kodchenkova still did a really good job. And then we also get some great performances from people like Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was pretty great. It was exciting, it was badass, and fit the location very well. The movie is set in Japan and to help with that, the score did feature some Japanese instruments, and I thought that was pretty cool. And overall the score just fits the movie very well overall.

As stated in the intro of the review, this movie was directed by James Mangold and he really did a great job. He directs the movie with a certain intensity that the other “X-Men” movies kind of lack. Especially the action scenes, which are all really badass and also fairly realistic. Or well, at least compared to other “X-Movies”. And the movie is just gorgeous, there were seriously shots in the movie that made me go “Wow”. Also, this is pretty violent for PG-13… yeah, it’s definitely one of the more violent PG-13 movies I’ve seen.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Wolverine” is a really solid action movie with some great character stuff for Logan/Wolverine. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. However, I am deducting some points because of that weird shift in tone near the end of the film. Time for my final score. *Snikt*. My final score for “The Wolverine” is a 9,01/10. I’d say that it’s worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “The Wolverine” is now completed.

And that’s it for the “Mangoldathon”… Hope “Logan” is good.

Movie Review : Godzilla (2014)

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Monster movies…they are…usually a hit-or-miss type of movie. It’s kind of like Russian Roulette, if you understand how I mean. Either it clicks and survives, or it will go bang and die. That is what happened back in 1998 when Roland Emmerich tried his hands at making his own “Godzilla” movie. The revolver went bang. But 16 years later we get a new “Godzilla” movie. And how is it? Will it be as shit as its 1998 counterpart or will it be the “Godzilla” movie we have all been waiting for? Let’s find out.

Monsters and monserettes…”Godzilla”!

Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) works at a nuclear plant in Japan. He lives in Japan with his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and his son Ford (CJ Adams). One day when he goes to work they get some unusual readings. His wife goes down with a team of science-y people to take a closer look. Suddenly there is a bit of an earthquake (which it had been earllier as well). But Joe doesn’t really think it are earthquakes mentioning that earthquakes are “random” and these were not. But something goes wrong and a toxic gas thing leaks out, almost even chasing Sandra and her team. Before she and her team arrive at the big heavy metal door, the gas almost reaches the door and Joe has to close it…with his wife still inside that tunnel. Then after he had closed it on time…she arrives at the door. Her suit can’t keep her from the gas and she will die. And she does. Joe of course cries about it. Then the entire plant crumbles together. Sure, Joe gets out…but his wife fucking died in front of him…ON HIS BIRTHDAY! His son, with the rest of his class gets away from school since a nuclear plant crumbling together will cause a new Chernobyl-ish.
Cut to 15 years later. Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is coming home to his family (Elizabeth Olsen & Carson Bolde) after serving in the army. But his happiness doesn’t last too long since he gets a phone call regarding his dad Joe getting his ass arrested for going somewhere he should not have. So of course Ford goes to Japan to help bail his poor old man out of jail. After that situation they go and do the same thing again because…why not? And of course they get captured, but this time taken to a military base. Where the people there tries to kill off a…thing in a cocoon. But they only wake it up and will come to KILL US ALL. And it feasts on radiation. So the story is very well set up. And it goes on and it never gets me bored. Something is always going on! Even if it’s something as small/simple as two people talking to eachother, this movie makes that interesting. Maybe it’s because Ken Watanabe does a good amount of talking in this movie…who knows. The only complaint I have with the plot was that there was not enough Godzilla. When Godzilla had any story stuff in the movie it was very interesting and entertaining, but it was not enough. But still, very good story.

The characters…they are very good for a monster movie. Ususally when I watch a monster movie I don’t give a shit about the characters. Seriously. But here I actually kinda felt for them…especially Godzilla. Call me a fanboy if you want, I don’t give a shit. But if we count away Godzilla for a second…major prasie to Bryan Fucking Cranston as Joe Brody…so much emotion and just good ol’ great acting coming from his way. Too bad he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. He was fantastic in it. The only character complaint I have is for teh character of Ford. They could have fleshed him out a little more. Otherwise, good characters and fantastic acting in this movie. And Godzilla is the best character no matter what all people consider “characters”.

The music is just…perfect. The score by Alexandre Desplat is just fucking magnificent! It is perfectly orchestrated and just fits the movie so damn well! It just shows how epic everything is! Not kidding, just listen if you watch the movie.

This movie looks…fucking amazing. It is so well filmed. This movie looks beautiful. Not just in its CGI, but how it is filmed. Gareth Edward knows what the hell he does behind a camera! Also, if you look closely/pay attention, you will notice many easter eggs that refer to old “Godzilla” movies. This movie is full of them. Go look for ’em. Here is a clue for ya…glass cage with a type of bug.

Reception for “Godzilla” was overall pretty good. Rotten Tomatoes holds the rating of 73% on it and have certified it fresh. Metacritic has given it a 61/100 score. And no Roger Ebert thing (since he passed away over a year ago).
imdb.com currently holds the rating of 7,9 on the movie.

So I have given some fairly good opinions on different aspects. Here is my score: 9,76/10. This movie is worth watching on the cinema…and the 3D isn’t actually that bad. Also, when this movie comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray, it is a must buy for not only monster film fans, but also people who just like movies. This movie gets the “Seal of Approval”.Image

 

Review of “Godzilla” is now done. And for once I reviewed something that just came out.

Oh no, they say he’s got to go, Go Go Godzilla!

Anime Review: Psycho-Pass (2012)

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Cyberpunk. Who doesn’t love that!? It is something different than most genres of media. It mixes sci-fi with…a bunch of things. Another good thing that is cyberpunk is the “Ghost in The Shell” franchise. As a fan of cyberpunk stuff and science fiction in general, I love myself a good sci-fi anime every now and then. And suddenly I found this…a sci-fi police show. But how did it hold up for this reviewer? Is it as good as “Ghost in The Shell”? Or is it as shit as “One Piece” (please don’t kill me One Piece fans!)?

Ladies and Gentlemen of varying ages…Psycho-Pass!

The story of our show is set in the 22nd century. People are judged by an odd computer system named “SYBIL”. The story mostly follows the new recruit for an elite police force, her name is Akane Tsunemori. This force looks up different tougher cases, these people don’t go for regular convenience store robberies.Oh no, the are like the “BAU” team from “Criminal Minds”…only more futuristic and not as much focusing on trying to get into to the heads of the criminals. The scanning of the brains is done through the “SYBIL” system. This elite force got special guns that are linked up to their brain and the “SYBIL” system at the same time. And were they to to point their gun at a person, they can scan that persons “Psycho-Pass” (Roll the credits!) and see how clouded their mind is. That clouding is shown by different colors. And I don’t mean that they just use the different colors of the fucking rainbow, oh no. This system is very specific. For example it is not just green, it can also be “swamp green”, “lime green”, etc. A very specific system. And if the person’s Psycho-Pass would be too clouded they would not only have permission to shoot since the basic mode of the gun is a paralyzer, if it is too clouded it will go into lethal mode that will fucking annihilate you. But this team is not just police officers, it is also based on latent criminals called “Enforcers”. And Akane gets interested in a specific Enforcer. The one named Shinya Kougami. The story of “Psycho-Pass” is very different from what you usually see in anime and is one that interests me…a lot. I like it, it’s compelling and fairly complex at some times. I love it.

Characters are flawed and just plain great. They are very varied and that is what really works out for them. I especially like the character of Kougami since he is a fairly complex character that can not only be a ruthless Enforcer but also lighthearted and kind at times. So yeah, I like them.

The soundtrack is one that I like, but it is forgettable. It is a mix of techno-based songs that is perfect for the sci-fi aspects. And at other points it uses some more rock based songs that work good for the action parts (and just works with me in general since I love rock music). The dub is good, well done Funimation. Not many names I recognize, but that does not matter since I like it. The original version is good as well.

Animation is made by Production IG who also happened to make everything “Ghost in The Shell” (hence why I have referred to that every now and then). So the animation for “Psycho-Pass” is fucking excellent. It’s smooth and just looks generally great. 

Got nothing special extra to say.

Reception was good. People liked it.

So based on my opinions I am willing to give “Psycho-Pass” a 9,12/10 and a reccomendation to buy it when it is fully available everywhere. 

Another Anime Review for once…wow.

Bye now!