Archives For Reviews

I don’t think I’ve seen too many Russian films. At the moment, I can remember The Russian Ark — because it’s got Russian in the title — and I just did an IMDb search. I’ve also seen 12, Night Watch… and I guess Mongol is kind of Russian, even though it was the Kazakhstan Oscar entry.

So this is actually my 4th official Russian film.

Despite having very limited on-screen time on Good Bye, Lenin!, Chulpan Khamatova floored me. Plus, I love how Daniel Bruhl says “Lara!” So I was always meaning to watch all of Khamatova’s filmography. But do you know how difficult it is to find Russian films on actual DVD? Anyway, I finally got hold of Luna Papa. I had literally no idea what is was about, so I went in blind. This is what you should generally do. No expectations, good surprises.

Luna Papa tells the story of a 17-year-old named Mamlakat whose love for theater and the arts lead her to one of the theater company’s presentation. She misses it by a hair, as she is walking in the dark paths only lit by the moonlight, she is mysteriously seduced by a no-face man. Next thing she knows, she wakes up in the morning with her torn dress… no longer a virgin.

Now, you may think this is all serious business and that the film gets all drama from this point forward, but it doesn’t.

Luna Papa is actually the fantastic tale of a young mother from the point of view of an unborn baby. Whatever your opinion on pro-life or pro-choice is, you can’t just dismiss this simply as either of those.

Unless I really REALLY suck at math, Khamatova should be in her 20s while shooting this role, but actually looks like she’s about 15. She’s terribly endearing, and terribly sassy.

Khamatova’s mentally-ill brother is played by German actor Moritz Bleibtreu… who I thought was going to be playing a talking role in Russian, but he mumbles one-words. It isn’t bad, he’s actually very effective and quite endearing as an over-protective older brother. As well as the father, who despite cultural prejudice in the town, does a lot for her daughter and son.

I have no idea if it was the lack of any knowledge about the film, but that ending came from nowhere. It didn’t feel like cheating, because there were a lot of things that came left field since the beginning. Luna Papa — I still have no idea why it’s called like that — was just a pretty nice blend of wacky comedy with some high tension moments.

My only real big issue with a highly entertaining film like this is that Khamatova — who is of Tartar origin — doesn’t look like she’s a Tajik girl. Not like I have any grasp on ethnicity, but she felt so out of place from where the movie was taking place.

My favorite scene’s got to be Mamlakat at the abortion clinic, as the doctor tells her to lie down.

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*EDIT*

Gonna share this on the 2011 YAM Blogathon

Let’s see, I missed posting yesterday! Coding is such a mess~ Please, if you know anything about WordPress plugins, programing, and crazy coding talk – HELP ME!

Anyway, to clear my head from that problem, I was having a debate on whether or not The Kids Are All Right is anti-male or not. The participants? The Film Snob (snobbyfilmguy), Kevin Ketchum (KevinnK), Johnny Splash aka. filmcave, Benjamin Vargas aka. bensower, and MovieBungalow.

When the film first came out, a lot of the critics and bloggers were singing praise left and right. TKAAR is my flare, light drama with bits of comedy. Plus, it’s got Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, of course I was going to watch it. However, with positive feedback, there’s also the few that can’t help but feel disappointed… or outraged.

While reading IMDb (battle zone!!), and some comments on AfterEllen.com, you could find lesbians saying the film is “anti-lesbian” because no way Julianne Moore’s character would sleep with a man, saying that it makes it seem like lesbians can’t live without c*ck – their words not mine.

That’s like saying Imagine Me & You is “anti-heterosexual” because no way Piper Perabo’s character would go for a woman. Hmmmmmkay.

Let’s start with the basics. The Kids Are All Right is the story of a lesbian couple that’s going through a rough patch. Nic (Bening) is a doctor that’s spending more time tending to her patients, than her wife Jules (Moore) who’s a stay-at-home mom, whose string of career switches fill her with insecurities.

After years of marriage (ten?), they’ve got two kids, almost-18-year-old Joni (Wasikowska) mothered by Nic, and 15-year-old (16?) Laser (Hutcherson) mothered by Jules. They seem you’re average white upper-middle class family with no kids problems, no money issues. Since Joni is about to turn 18, her brother asks her to contact their sperm-donor father — Enters Paul (Ruffalo), and all hell breaks loose.

WARNING: LOTS OF SPOILERS~~~

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If you remember, there was a negative (and the only) review for FLOWERS that I ran into. I didn’t look for more… because I was lazy, and I forgot. However, I ran into this info:

The 14th Sydney Japanese Film Festival is showing FLOWERS and Otouto.

As I rant that every film festival gets more up-to-date stuff than my local festivals… I also read a sweet quite glowing positive FLOWERS review, which resembles uzaigaijin‘s thoughts on FLOWERS.

But the single biggest thing that makes “Flowers” so remarkable is the authenticity of its feel from a cinematic viewpoint. It is an experience tailored to the psychology of moviegoers as a class. As such, it functions as a tribute not only to the growth of Japan as a society, but to the development of movie-making in general.

And I love that they mention that Yu-chan is one of the most talented and bankable actresses. (see Why Raiou Needs to Reach #1, which it didn’t)

Koizumi-san, at least, shares his vision of the 1930s in gorgeous antiquated tones as he beautifully captures Yu Aoi, one of Japan’s most talented and bankable actresses, in crisp black and white. Aoi-san comes across delightfully in vintage; the part well suits her subtle and subdued acting style. She flawlessly looks the part of the Yamato Nadeshiko, resplendent in various kimonos and decked out in traditional bridal regalia. One of the most memorable scenes in the film sees Aoi-san running through a sakura (cherry tree) grove in full bloom with mountains visible in the distance, a wide shot reminiscent of some old time silver screen epic.

You can read the full review over at the Japanese Film Festival blog.

It’s begun. The beginning of the end. After the 7th book came out, and left me unsatisfied — a feeling carried over the 6th book and the 5th film — I swore to never see Harry Potter at the cinema ever again. A promise easy to keep with the 6th film, but then… it was hard to keep it when the first promotional materials for HP7 were released.

Well played, Warner. Well played.

Deathly Hallows is perhaps Yates’ best attempt at a Harry Potter adaption, but considering the other two – it isn’t saying that much. In the greater scale of things, it might follow on Azkaban’s footsteps as an interesting film filled with anguish and desperation… of I guess, the teenage sort. If the book didn’t work for you, the film seems to improve on action and characters. It’s also of great comfort to say that The WB’s decision of splitting the film in two parts was hardly a bad commercial or creative choice… at least for the fans of the books, who will savor each an every detail.

But then again, considering how many chapters were crammed into this first part, one has to wonder what’s left for part two if not only the “last battle” which, in the book, happened off-page… and that epilogue that’s ripped out of the most poorly written fanfiction.

For the non-readers or those who haven’t seen HP6… well, you’re screwed. It really doesn’t work without the background, and you’re better without watching it, if you’re going to start complaining. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows feels like made for the fans of the series only.

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Second day of Wildground’s Japanese Cinema blogathon!

First of all, let’s do a recap of the first day~~~ My favorite piece comes from Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow Blog and their post on the first movie theater in Japan. A very interesting read about the ole times xD Plus, Nihon Cine Art has a poll running asking What’s your Favorite Japanese Cinema Era, and What’s your Favorite Japanese Cinema Genre~~~

And a bit on art director/production designer Yoshiro Muraki~ by Nishikata Film Reviews~

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