Kedi (2017)

Kedi Movie Review

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Kedi Movie Review

Kedi is a 2017 Turkish documentary film directed by Ceyda Torun. It is the best documentary of the year and such a fascinating look at the cats of Istanbul.

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Communication with a cat is the same as having an alien friend.

You make a contact with a different form of life,

open a portal and start a conversation.

They are weird to us, different,

yet we are capable of making a connection

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Kedi Movie Review

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So the film follows the various cats who live on the streets of Istanbul. None of them live in houses or have masters, but most of them have people who care for them, cuddle and feed them. The film is thus a simply fascinating look at Istanbul’s wonderful obsession with these felines and how they also enrich everyone’s lives there.

There are a bunch of memorable sequences here and the highlights include all of the wide shots of the city itself as well as cat fights, cat cuddling and of course their various hunts for food. The film so perfectly and thoroughly explores cats that even I as a dog person loved every second of it. I loved that it was filmed from their point of view and that we got to see their way of living and relationship with humans. Only the history of cats and the city was missing.

Kedi, however, is even more fascinating as a look at humans than as cats. Let me elaborate. The movie showcases cats beautifully, but it also shows how they impact the lives of humans who live with them or care for them. Or live in their vicinity which is the closest depiction of these Istanbul’s relationships.

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Kedi Movie Review

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Every one of these interviewees has a very personal reason for loving and caring for cats and that was beautiful to witness. They fixed their broken lives by caring for these animals and thus enriched their lives and had a better understanding of the world and the cats made them better people and helped their relationships with humans too.

The film features a variety of excellent interviews, but most importantly a bunch of memorable quotes and beautiful, truthful messages that ring true and are important for everyone to hear. The one which states how people who do not like animals don’t really like humans too is such a great observation. It showcases how having a relationship with an animal is intertwined with having a relationship with a human being and how both enrich people’s lives significantly.

And I also loved the comparison with aliens as having a loving relationship with animals would almost certainly be comparable to that with an alien. We are very different from each other, extremely different even, but we can still manage to find a unique, shared language and communicate together and help each other. I loved that comparison. The film truly has smart, sophisticated speeches and many beautiful quotes.

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Kedi Movie Review

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Kedi is also beautifully made. It is not all too greatly paced and some scenes are more memorable than others, but the direction from Ceyda Torun is excellent and she has a bright future ahead of her as she made such a terrific first feature here.

But the highlights are the score and the cinematography. The soundtrack is absolutely fantastic as it is the kind of Turkish pop that is universal in its appeal, catchy and quite charming in a way. It accompanied the imagery on screen so well. The film is gorgeously shot and even inventively as it follows the cats from their point of view and that lent a lot of authenticity to the picture. And again those wide shots of the city are amazing.

Wonderfully scored with such a charming soundtrack and inventively filmed with a lot of amazing shots of the city and the felines, Kedi truly is a fascinating look into Istanbul’s relationship with cats which is fueled by a lot of insightful interviews, observational quotes and some beautiful messages as well.

My Rating – 4.5

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Hobo Gadget Band (1939)

Hobo Gadget Band ReviewHobo Gadget Band Review

Hobo Gadget Band is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a very weak short.

As the title so clearly suggests, in this film we follow a group of hobos singing and dancing together on the street. That’s it. There is no story or message or inspired ideas here whatsoever albeit I really liked the animation and the character design of all the hobos. The music is also pretty solid and the film has its fair share of charming moments.

But the gags are almost non-existent, at least I never found any. I never laughed once and it is a bore to sit through. It is one of those musical shorts from the first half of the thirties and I do wonder why they are still continuing to make this kind of film from time to time when they are obviously much better suited for gag comedies.

Hobo Gadget Band is charming and well animated, but a dull, pointless musical which is too old-fashioned and unfunny.

My Rating – 3.3

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On Body and Soul (2017)

On Body and Soul Movie Review

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On Body and Soul Movie Review

On Body and Soul is a 2017 Hungarian romance film directed by Ildiko Enyedi and starring Geza Morcsanyi and Alexandra Borbely. It is a very good film.

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I was a deer in a forest

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On Body and Soul Movie Review

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Endre and Maria are two misfits who work together at a slaughterhouse. They share the same dream every night in which they are two deer who meet in a forest. Eventually, the two realize that, befriend each other and start a relationship. He has given up on love and she doesn’t know what love is and they have to get over that.

Endre is very endearing and caring and of course Maria is also quite sweet and likable although very weird and troublesome. Both are odd and their relationship is frequently quite weird and even awkward at times and that makes them different and interesting to follow. The performances from Borbely and Morcsanyi are both excellent as well.

On Body and Soul features a very unique, interesting premise. I would have liked more dream psychology and more drama, but the dream sequences are moody and elegant and of course the romance is superb. Some of the slaughterhouse sequences bothered me and were disgusting, but still that setting brought authenticity to this picture as it is different and quite interesting.

The film takes its time to get there owing to a slow start and I did not like the scene where she tried to kill herself, but overall the entire second half is where the movie shines and especially their conversations stole the show as they are either intriguing or very sweet.

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On Body and Soul Movie Review

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The dialogue here is fantastic and the script is phenomenal. Some of the film’s execution isn’t great and the pacing is particularly troublesome, but overall the film is very engaging to watch and in the end an unforgettable, very original viewing experience unlike any other.

The direction from Ildiko Enyedi is very good and one of the film’s highlights. The film has a very cold, yet at times heartwarming mood to it plus it deals with the kinds of oddball, misfit personalities with whom I personally identify and thus I loved following these two.

On Body and Soul is weakly paced and sometimes too odd, yet incredibly authentic in its very original, weird and ultimately very interesting storyline. The direction and the performances are terrific, the film is very atmospheric and the highlight is the wonderful romance between its two endearingly weird and sweet characters.

My Rating – 4

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Polar Pals (1939)

Polar Pals ReviewPolar Pals Review

Polar Pals is a 1939 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very good short.

Porky Pig lives in the Arctic with polar bears and seal, but trouble arises when one poacher arrives and starts shooting the animals. The icy setting here is put to beautiful use, not to the fullest extent, but still in a very good manner with a lot of clever, quality gags. I wanted a longer runtime, more memorable music and a better ending, but the ending was still endearing.

Porky is the star here and I loved him and the emphasis on him. His singing in the shower, the entire shower scene as well as some of the lines are very amusing. The villain is solid, but the bears are particularly memorable here. As for the gags, probably the highlight is that wine shooting sequence which is hilarious and yet incredibly dark and mature which I loved.

Polar Pals features a bunch of terrific, clever gags and a great use of its star and setting.

My Rating – 4

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Loveless (2017)

Loveless Movie Review

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Loveless Movie Review

Loveless is a 2017 Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. It is a very good, interesting, but also somewhat problematic film.

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I have never even loved you

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Loveless Movie Review

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It follows two separated parents who hate each other, but have to put their animosity aside when they set on a journey to find their missing son. The story here is excellent and the execution is mostly really good, but it is just such a terrible, depressing and awfully cold viewing experience for better and for worse.

I honestly found its characters overly terrible. Yes, there are some good people in this film, but most of them are horrible people and that was somewhat unrealistic. The kid is memorable for the short screen time that he got. I really liked both of their partners and they are the only good people in this film.

But the two main characters are awful people. He is cold and uninterested in his own son and this entire terrible situation whereas she is horrible toward him and almost everyone else and is such a major bitch that it was difficult to watch her in this film without wishing to punch her in the face.

Loveless is, well, loveless. That is the point of this film. Nobody here loves anybody and they are all cold, selfish and hollow people. The police themselves are not well organized and the entire country seems to be a horrible place to live in.

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Loveless Movie Review

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That is one of my gripes with this film. I do think that the film is great for the entire cold world, but I am not entirely sure that it was meant for the world or to just portray Russia. If the latter one is the case, I find it unfair and I totally understand why Russians would object to this film.

But as a critique of the entire world and the time we live in, it succeeds in spades. I found its entire second half overly slow and although the first half is also slow, it was very involving to watch still owing to excellent build up, characterization and many fine conversations. But the second half featured too many wordless, somewhat slow sequences and it lost its steam during that period.

But the ending stuck with me nonetheless. Loveless basically showcases how a kid can go missing and nobody can find him as in the end he remains missing and everyone just resumes their lives as if he had never existed. It was a terrible, non-human ending that rings true for this cold, selfish and utterly hopeless world we are living in now and that is why the ending haunted me which was the intention of the director and he succeeded in that quite a bit.

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Loveless Movie Review

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Loveless is gorgeously shot. I loved its very cold, but memorable imagery that accompanied the desperate, hopeless mood of the film remarkably well. The performances from Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin are both excellent, but the direction from Andrey Zvyagintsev is terrific and although his previous film is better, this one also ended up being very good and quite memorable for sure.

Loveless is an awfully depressing, cold and hopeless film for better and for worse. Some of the scenes in the second half aren’t as riveting and the film might be too cold with too unlikable characters who are such horrible people who make this viewing experience rather difficult. However, that is also the point here and that ending in particular showcases hauntingly well how cold this world is. The cinematography is terrific as is its chilly mood, the performances are excellent and the direction from Andrey Zvyagintsev is superb. It is a very good film, but not as great as his previous film.

My Rating – 4

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The Barnyard Olympics (1932)

The Barnyard Olympics ReviewThe Barnyard Olympics Review

The Barnyard Olympics is a 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a phenomenal entry.

The film was released to coincide with the 1932 Summer Olympics and thus it features Mickey and all of the barnyard animals competing in various Olympic sports. The premise is naturally awesome and the execution is superb as well. The film isn’t particularly funny, but it succeeds in terms of the action to compensate for that. The animation is also remarkable for its time.

And we have here a lot of excellent action sequences with the entire cycling part being the standout one for me. It was a lot of fun, exhilarating and beautifully executed from beginning to end. But the entire cartoon is so entertaining in its variety of games, characters and competition. I loved Mickey here and this is his cartoon which was great to see, but Pete is also excellent as the villain and their race was so well done with the ending being quite amusing.

The Barnyard Olympics executes its top-notch premise remarkably well with a lot of terrific action sequences leading to one of Mickey’s best movies so far.

My Rating – 4.3

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The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises Movie Review

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

The Wind Rises is a 2013 historical romance anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of Studio Ghibli’s worst films.

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Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams,

waiting for the sky to swallow them up

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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Yes, this one is pretty weak for the studio’s standards. When I first watched it, I thought it was solid, but now upon second viewing, I find it only okay and nothing more than that. The film is about a plane designer during the thirties and WWII and the fact that this movie is a failure overall is honestly pretty baffling to me on two fronts.

Firstly, you would think that for a director who is literally obsessed with aircraft and flight that he would at least make one great movie during his career in regard to that subject matter. But as evidenced by this film and also ‘Porco Rosso’, he never managed to make use of his greatest hobby and turn it into an all-time classic which is a shame and a puzzle to me. But maybe that is exactly why this film failed because it has too many of those airplane details that are nowhere near as interesting to us than they are to Miyazaki himself. The mechanics of flight bored me here.

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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And secondly and more importantly, I cannot understand how he did not utilize on this particularly effective premise. You’ve got a guy whose dream is to make aircraft and he ends up making them for war purposes and the movie could have given us his personal dilemma and the struggle between art and profit/bad usage and the question of whether or not he did the right thing. But the film never gave us any of that and what we got are instead are endless boring conversations, overly detailed plane descriptions and too many dream sequences.

The character development is pretty weak. Jiro is pretty bland for a protagonist and not particularly interesting or likable. But Nahoko I definitely liked quite a bit. She is charming and very likable. The relationship between the two is actually the strongest point of this film and whenever it centered on romance, the movie was charming and pretty good. But as a historical or war drama, it failed on multiple levels. The other characters are all forgettable, but the voice acting is certainly very good.

The Wind Rises is gorgeously animated, there is absolutely no denying that fact. This is actually one of the best animated Ghibli films in quite a while as its animation is frequently breathtaking, very detailed, consistently polished and beautiful to watch plus above all else it is colorful and very pleasing to the eye. The clothes, the sky, the planes, the flights and especially the various imagery on that hill and some interiors are all lovely to behold.

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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This film is extremely boring. I have to be honest and say that. Not only does it last for two hours, but it is also extremely slow paced and uneventful with not too interesting conversations and a very standard historical storyline that doesn’t delve deeply enough into its themes. That is why the film bored me tremendously and it is actually one of the dullest animated films that I have ever watched.

The Wind Rises has simply breathtaking animation with frequently gorgeous imagery and the romance is quite appealing. However, everything else is either standard or mediocre historical period piece. The film features a very intriguing premise, but it never delves deeper into its themes as the characters are bland and the conversations are mostly uninteresting. It is one of the worst Studio Ghibli films and frankly one of the most overrated and dullest animated films that I have ever seen.

My Rating – 3

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Believe It or Else (1939)

Believe It or Else ReviewBelieve It or Else Review

Believe It or Else is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a flawed, interesting short.

Egghead stars in this cartoon where he is a non-believer and in the spirit of the titular column they try to make him believe. However, the film doesn’t really make use of its admittedly awesome premise all that much. Certainly Egghead is pretty good and this is actually his last cartoon. I will not miss him too much, but he was a fun character in his own right. I loved the ending gag here.

But the rest of the cartoon lags and drags. I definitely liked some parts and the animation too, but the runtime of over eight minutes is just too much and the overall action and humor are subpar for sure. This is a pretty great example of how a very mediocre execution can ruin a perfectly good premise.

Believe It or Else has a great story, but weak conclusion ending up being a weak last entry for Egghead.

My Rating – 3.4

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Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 (2002)

Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

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Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

The sixth season of Pokémon is titled Advanced and it is actually one of the weakest seasons so far which surprised me.

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It’s Team Rocket!

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Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

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I was honestly very disappointed with Advanced. This season was supposed to be the new start of a fresh new era for the show with a new region, Pokémon and new characters but it ended up being a bore for the most part and ultimately pretty weak.

The problem with it is that it contains even more filler episodes than before with some episodes being entirely pointless and boring with no plot progression whatsoever and even the adventure element lacked in those episodes. Team Rocket also surprised me as they were also not all too amusing this time around.

Pikachu is okay as is Ash but they need better stories. Brock is back, but I honestly want Misty to return to the show and I am pretty sad that she went away as she was probably the most interesting character in the previous seasons.

As for those new characters, well they are a mixed bag but for the most part pretty mediocre. May is honestly very disappointing in comparison to Misty as she has no knowledge of the Pokémon whatsoever and is overall too weak and uninterested in all this. As for Max as her brother, he is that bratty, annoying and overly talkative kid whom you just want to slap.

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Pokémon (Advanced) Season 6 Review

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Torchic is the cutest of the new Pokemon quite probably, but I also really like Treecko and I found his story probably the best of all the creature stories so far. I want more Mudkip in the show and they should be more present. Seviper was an obvious new addition to Jessie’s roster to replace Arbok. Overall, I liked the new Pokémon from the Hoenn region quite a bit and I like that the old ones are mostly absent here. I just want better stories for all of them.

This season ended up being a bore with some very good episodes, but too many filler episodes and the new characters are actually more annoying instead of likable. This show desperately needs more fights in it and I hope the next seasons bring them.

 

Worst Episodes: Three’s a Crowd, A Corphish Out of Water, Just One of the Geysers and Abandon Ship!

Best Episodes: A Tail with a Twist, All in Day’s Wurmple and A Three Team Scheme.

My Rating – 3.2

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Doctor Who Season 19 (1982)

Doctor Who Season 19 Review

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Doctor Who Season 19 Review

The nineteenth season of Doctor Who is a slight improvement over the previous couple of seasons. It is still far from great, but at least it has its great moments.

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Why do I always let my curiosity get the better of me?

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Doctor Who Season 19 Review

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Castrovalva started off pretty well but then the second half became not particularly interesting or good. Here we are first introduced to the Fifth Doctor played by Peter Davison. I find his voice too similar to Tom Baker’s but he is a different and for now at least more interesting and likable doctor, at least in my opinion. I have good hopes for him.

Four to Doomsday has a typical but still very interesting premise, especially back in its day. However, the execution is so weak and the villain is ineffective that it ultimately ends up being a lost potential.

Kinda is an interesting tale of a possible Earth colonization. I really liked its very intriguing setting and its atmosphere is very strong, but its typically monster-oriented storyline bored me honestly. I do realize their appeal to others, but to me the monster stories are the weakest from this show.

The Visitation is set in 1666 London during the Great Plague and is one of those alternate history episodes and those are my cup of tea and thus I ended up liking it quite a bit. It isn’t great, but it features a very interesting story and a great setting/time period well explored.

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Doctor Who Season 19 Review

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Black Orchid is actually one of the strongest Doctor Who serials in quite a while thanks in no small part to its very different than usual story which basically serves as an Agatha Christie-like mystery set in the year 1925. I really liked the mystery, the slow pace and the villain – all really well done.

Earthshock is another Cybermen storyline and thus I lost my interest pretty quickly as those are the famous Doctor Who villains alongside the Daleks whom I have never cared for at all. Time-Flight is an overly convoluted and complicated time travel nonsense that serves as a weak conclusion to this season which is overall a pretty solid starter for Peter Davison with some very solid and even competent serials, but overall it remains uninspired for the most part with dull monster or alien stories.

 

Worst Serials: Earthschock and Time-Flight.

Best Serials: Black Orchid and The Visitation.

 

Worst Episodes: Earthshock Part One, Earthshock Part Two, Earthshock Part Three and Earthshock Part Four.

Best Episodes: Black Orchid Part One, Black Orchid Part Two, The Visitation Part One and The Visitation Part Two.

My Rating – 3.3

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