Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Review

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Kiki’s Delivery Service Movie Review

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a 1989 fantasy anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is Studio Ghibli’s forth film which is solid, but pretty overrated.

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Flying used to be fun

until I started doing it for a living

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Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Review

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It follows a young witch in training. She hits her teenage years and moves to a new town where she starts earning money by delivering packages with her broom. She meets a lot of different people and experiences adulthood. It is a coming-of-age flick which should prove awesome for children and most especially little girls, but it is in my opinion too childlike and girly and it doesn’t have the adult appeal that childlike movies such as ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ have.

That is mostly why I didn’t love it. I liked it more upon my second viewing, but I still think it isn’t better than solid. The plot is somewhat non-existent except that it is a coming-of-age story and although it is too slow at times, I mostly liked its casual approach which is the director’s signature direction. He directed the film really well, that’s for sure.

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Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Review

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Of course Kiki not being able to talk to her cat eventually and losing her flying ability was a metaphor for becoming an adult and losing your innocence and I loved that, a very elegant and heartwarming way to state that transition. The movie is slow, but certainly quite sophisticated and although seemingly too sweet, it does portray many different types of people and some not all that good so it does become more mature at some points, but too rarely.

I’ve had a big problem with its ending. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film that is leisurely in style and pace and thus its climactic ending felt way out of place and honestly quite ridiculous. It is a typical action-oriented finale that should be reserved for all those stupid family flicks made in USA and seeing Miyazaki resort to that was unfortunate.

Kiki is a good character, though a bit too good natured and somewhat forgettable when put against other strong Ghibli heroines. Jiji’s sarcasm proved to be a lot of fun and again I really liked that only she could talk to him. Their relationship pleasantly reminded me of Lyra and Pan’s relationship in ‘Northern Lights’.

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Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Review

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Osono is charming and Ursula shared a really great scene with Kiki and I loved her artistic background. As for Tombo, he is your typical Ghibli male love interest, but their relationship was admittedly quite sweet and touching. The voice acting is expectedly very good here.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is as superbly animated as you would come to expect from the caliber of this studio and its famous director. The character designs themselves are good, but it is the backgrounds that prove to be a real treat here. I absolutely loved how gorgeous some of the imagery was here. I always loved seaside towns and this town being European in style was refreshing to see in an anime film. I loved how the town looked and it felt so cozy, but the house interiors, the food, of course the nature and every little detail was beautiful to witness and Ghibli’s early films from eighties and nineties really do give hand-drawn animation a great reputation.

The score is also very good and grandiose and different in its style which I loved. Its opening and closing number was also quite sweet. The film is definitely wonderfully made technically and both the script and the dialogue offer some gems in terms of the scenes. My favorite scenes are Kiki’s discussion about art and flying with Ursula, her first scenes in a new town were all phenomenal and her scenes with Tombo and Jiji were all big winners.

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Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Review

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So the film is pleasant and charming, but admittedly too slow at times and I honestly thought that the film was way too simplistic and it definitely ended in a very mediocre, frustratingly annoying manner. It is a movie that is perfect for kids and little girls, but it never has that universality to it that other Ghibli classics have. It is the weakest Ghibli outing from the eighties by far and definitely one of its most overrated films. It is solid, don’t get me wrong, but I’d come to expect much greater things from this magnificent studio and this one is certainly way too overrated for my taste.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is expectedly gorgeously and meticulously animated, very well scored, pleasantly leisurely in pace and style with a good metaphor and it is a charming coming-of-age film that is great for children and especially girls, but it isn’t all that appealing to adults, I found its ending annoyingly too climactic and out of place and although the film is definitely sweet and solid, it is far from great and is actually one of Studio Ghibli’s most overrated works.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The Last Temptation of Christ Movie Review

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The Last Temptation of Christ Movie Review

The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 epic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Willem Dafoe. It is one of the director’s best works.

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What’s good for man isn’t good for God!

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The Last Temptation of Christ Movie Review

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I absolutely loved this movie and it is in my opinion Scorsese’s most underrated work. Again this is one of those spiritual films where being an atheist such as myself helps and surely I loved it, but I can understand why people of faith would object to it. It does change too many of the story parts and it doesn’t follow the Gospels faithfully.

But it is its own thing, its glorious own thing. It wonderfully explores the temptations of a religious person and in my opinion Jesus here is not just Jesus, but he can be any spiritual person and thus I think the film should be relatable to all of them. We see doubt and depression, but most importantly lust plays a big part here and that struggle within his being was so well explored and it gives the movie immense strength.

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The Last Temptation of Christ Movie Review

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That is why The Last Temptation of Christ is a true spiritual film unlike Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ which is too literal and straightforward. This film is wonderfully artistic and ambiguous at times and I always felt its sense of spirituality which is not easy to accomplish but is expected from a deeply religious person such as Martin Scorsese (‘Silence’ is another great religious film of his). It is both emotionally and thematically deep and sophisticated and of course I loved that ending. It was out there and bold, but different and unique and the titular last temptation only strengthened and deepened an already deep and moving film.

This Jesus is excellent owing in no small part to Willem Dafoe’s terrific performance. He truly shines in this role and almost becomes Jesus. Judas is a great character, but I am not a fan of Harvey Keitel and another actor would have done a better job. Barbara Hershey is so good as Mary Magdalene and her performance truly elevated the role. The problem with this movie is that it sounds too American, but that is the only flaw in an otherwise strong and realistic period piece.

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The Last Temptation of Christ Movie Review

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The Last Temptation of Christ is superbly directed by Scorsese and it is one of his best directed and most elegant works. The same goes for the editing and pacing as the film is surprisingly engaging for such a long running time. It is also very well filmed and I liked its fantastical scenes which featured solid effects work. And the technical highlight has to be the score. Wow, Peter Gabriel’s work is terrific here. Surely, the more timely musical pieces helped bring a sense of realism to the film, but the more contemporary cues were also great as they elevated the more emotional and beautiful scenes even more.

So well acted, wonderfully scored and being emotionally and thematically deep and spiritual, The Last Temptation of Christ is one of the best religious films ever made and one of Scorsese’s finest films. The ending is out there, but very interesting, temptation is so well explored, this version of Jesus is phenomenal and there are a lot of scenes here that are unforgettable. The movie is also very engaging which is commendable given its long running time. A hugely underrated film.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

The Witches of Eastwick Movie Review

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The Witches of Eastwick Movie Review

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 fantasy comedy film directed by George Miller and starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Susan Sarandon. It is a solid, funny flick.

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Who are you?

Just your average, horny little devil

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The Witches of Eastwick Movie Review

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It is about a devil who comes to taunt three single women. It is an original film I have to say as I have never seen anything quite like it. It is mostly a comedy with strong fantastical elements, but at its core it is supposed to make you laugh and it did make me laugh a couple of times as its humor is quite strong. Most of the lines spoken by Jack’s character and his behavior and seduction scenes were hilarious.

Yes, this is one of the best performances that he has ever given and certainly his most underrated. All three of these actresses are very strong, but he is easily the standout actor here in my book. Pfeiffer is forgettable and I have never been her fan, but Susan Sarandon is very good and Cher was actually a good actress around this period in time which is crazy. And Veronica Cartwright was overrated and over-the-top here.

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The Witches of Eastwick Movie Review

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I wasn’t so crazy about their characters. Daryl was awesome and the mix of devilish and seductive with flamboyant and eccentric definitely led to a very authentic presence. But the women are not the greatest. They easily fail the Bechdel Test as they never talk about anything other than men and I didn’t mind it much as it is a comedy and that led to many funny scenes, but it was troublesome because the movie somehow presented itself as a feminist picture when in reality it is exactly the opposite.

The Witches of Eastwick is very well directed and it is crazy that this was George Miller’s work as it doesn’t resemble him at all. But he did a nice job with this crazy material. The film is well shot and the special effects are typical 80s effects, but far from terrible.

I loved the first half of the movie as it was sinister in tone and filled with hilarious scene after scene. Except the beginning which was somewhat dull, the whole first half was stellar and very good. However, the movie falls apart after that tennis match between the foursome as the fantasy elements came too late in the game and the battle wasn’t the greatest.

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The Witches of Eastwick Movie Review

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But it mostly fell apart as it was too slow in its pace and it featured way too many music scenes. Those scenes ruined it for me as they significantly slowed the progress of the film and its storyline. It was a wasted potential as the film could have been much better, but ended up being just solid.

The Witches of Eastwick features a crazy, original storyline, many funny scenes, a great, underrated comedic performance from Jack Nicholson and the first half is terrific, but the second half is slow in its pace and much inferior in plot, the movie is somewhat sexist and it never succeeded as a fantasy as much as it did as a comedy flick.

My Rating – 3.5

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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 family fantasy anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of Studio Ghibli’s loveliest offerings.

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Well, I’m not sure,

but I could’ve sworn that I saw

both of the girls up in the treetop, laughing

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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This has to be Ghibli’s most childlike film and that is okay as it is wonderful and so pleasing and gentle that you gotta love it no matter the age. So basically we follow two sisters as they explore the country and the forest while interacting with friendly wood spirits. Yes, this film apparently doesn’t have a clear storyline, but I have to say that I liked it all the more for it.

In real life, rare are sudden conflicts and there are no villains so this film ended up being rather realistic and an original take on an animated film as I cannot think of any other animated flick that did this. It is a wonderful slice of life story for children and their parents and I myself sympathized with the characters and I loved the country setting. Despite not having a clear plot and goal, the film still explores some themes and the most emphasized are those of sibling love, benefits of living in the country and of course the film is as ecological as you’d come to expect from the director. It reminded me pleasantly of my childhood and seeing the two sisters explore the house and the forest is exactly what I did as a kid so it was relatable to me.

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the characters. Satsuki and Mei are such wonderful child characters whom I really liked. As with ‘Grave of the Fireflies’, the film showcases realistically and nostalgically the powers of childhood and how children really interact. Everything is a wonder to them, their thirst for exploration is never-ending and they even portrayed realistically how boys and girls do not get along at an early age and how boys are much more shy. Very well done.

Satsuki having  to care for Mei also reminded me of the aforementioned film and it again shows us how responsible the role of an older child really is. Mei is cute and sometimes funny, but also at times annoying. A very grounded in reality four-year-old. I loved Kanta and his shy interactions with Satsuki were very amusing and of course the grandmother is lovable.

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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My Neighbor Totoro is a family slice of life film but it is also very much a fantasy flick. Its creatures are so original in design and authentic that they deservedly stood the test of time and are iconic to this day. The dustbunnies are very interesting and the Catbus is such a fantastic creation that is zany in the best way possible. It obviously influenced J. K. Rowling for her Knight Bus. And of course Totoro is such a lovable creature and the mix of cute and large is memorable and he is cute while also being very funny at times.

Hayao Miyazaki directed this film really well and you cannot deny his strong sense of space and time as both the setting and the fifties are very well portrayed here. I just loved everything about this country. The house is quite memorable and of course the forest is beautiful to behold. I loved how we got to see the country jobs and the various amounts of vegetables and fruit shown here can definitely make you hungry.

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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Yes, the animation is simply gorgeous as is expected from this magnificent studio. The character design of the humans is very good, but it is the creature design that really makes an impact as it is simple, yet unforgettable. The film is beautiful to look at and again highly advanced for its time as both the water and the light are so realistically portrayed.

As for some of the flaws, sometimes the kids yelled a bit too much for sure and the film can definitely be too simplistic and childish to some. I don’t see how a lot of people can like it. I myself did, but it isn’t for everyone. And even though I really liked the inclusion of their mother’s illness and the third act was more emotional and dark while still ending on a very positive note, I still wished that it was a bit darker and more emotional. I loved the film’s ending for sure, but maybe a more ambiguous ending would have been better.

And I loved the properties of the creatures such as the Catbus flying and Totoro making a tree grow to full size in a matter of minutes, but I still would have liked a bit more explanations and more concise rules for the powers as an adult. Again, that is where being a kid really matters as it leads to a better viewing experience of the film.

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My Neighbor Totoro Movie Review

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My Neighbor Totoro is very well paced and although it may be too slow for some, I actually loved its languid pace and that meant that you can enjoy the power of the animation much more. The level of detail in this movie is truly staggering. The dialogue is also solid and some lines are quite memorable. And I have to mention its score as it is beautiful per usual but this time containing a song and its theme song is so endearing catchy and ultimately fantastic. The film has a big heart and very much a timeless appeal to it. It is one of the most wonderfully childlike films that I have ever seen and certainly one of Ghibli’s best works.

My Neighbor Totoro is a gentle, leisurely, simple slice of life film that offers you a heartwarming look into the eyes of a child without ever succumbing to clichéd conflicts and villains and thus it led to an original, more realistic take on an animated film. The characters are lovable, the creatures even more so and the animation is as brilliant as you would come to expect from the studio with a painstaking level of detail. It is a beautiful movie that is timeless in quality and it’s one of Studio Ghibli’s best.

My Rating – 4.5

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2010 (1984)

2010 Movie Review

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2010 Movie Review

2010 is a 1984 science fiction film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren and John Lithgow. It is a pretty good sequel.

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All these worlds are yours, except Europa.

Attempt no landing there.

Use them together. Use them in peace

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2010 Movie Review

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2010 is a sequel to Kubrick’s ‘2001’ and is based on Clarke’s (this time) previously published sequel. So let’s compare the novel to the film and the film to its predecessor. First, let me say that it is of course hugely inferior to its classic movie predecessor, but I am not going to take a grudge towards this film for that as ‘2001’ is one of the best films ever written and almost no movie could ever compare to it so any comparisons are ultimately unwarranted.

Yes, it is certainly much less poetic, ambiguous and artistic in quality and I thought the film’s special effects were infinitely weaker this time around. But this is still a very good, albeit not great movie that does most of the things clearly right and is a very satisfactory cinematic experience.

It is actually very faithful to its source material which I just loved. I was nervous as I do not like changes in movie adaptations, but thankfully they did not change any major thing and they mostly followed the book very closely. Some scenes were even fully recreated from the page both in imagery and in dialogue.

The only gripe I have with it is that they took a Cold War approach with the film whereas in the book that aspect was certainly absent. The book is great for having Russians and Americans for once work together and although here we have that collaboration too, the political climate on Earth is at the brink of a war which was annoying.

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2010 Movie Review

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I would have liked to have seen the Chinese and their failed mission on Europa as they were excluded here, but that was a good choice as it eliminated the poor portrayal of Chinese and made the story much more coherent for the film. But the epilogue was sorely missing here as it was the most fascinating part of the novel and here they just did not film it which was unfortunate.

But the storyline is mostly very well adapted in 2010 and I loved its beginning, ending and especially the Jupiter mission sequences. The action is great here. The special effects are great for the most part, but the explosions and light are poorly done and felt dated. The score is very good and the movie is well paced and actually somewhat more emotional in tone than its source material.

The character development is also a bit better than in the book. I still don’t love these characters, but they are more memorable and I loved the ship dynamic and that the two nations worked well together. Heywood Floyd is very good as the protagonist and so well portrayed here. I loved those Dave Bowman sequences, very eerie in atmosphere and so well done. The same goes with HAL.

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2010 Movie Review

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Chandra is well portrayed and Walter Curnow is much more memorable here thanks in large part to John Litgow’s presence. It is great seeing him and Helen Mirren so early in their careers and their huge talent was obvious back then as well. Her Caroline is actually one of the more interesting characters here and her relationship with Floyd is very well established.

2010 cannot be compared to ‘2001’ as its special effects are a far cry from its predecessor and it is much less poetic, artistic and ambiguous in nature, but that comparison is not fair as the original is one of the best films ever made and rare are those who can rival it. As it stands, this is a good sequel that, despite an annoying Cold War addition to the story, actually adapts the novel really well. I wished that they filmed the book’s fascinating epilogue, but the plot is otherwise faithfully adapted, the characters are actually better developed here, the performances are excellent and some scenes are fantastic leading to a satisfactory cinematic experience.

My Rating – 4

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 anime war drama film directed by Isao Takahata. It is Studio Ghibli’s second film and one of the most heartbreaking animated films ever.

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Why must fireflies die so young?

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

It follows two siblings as they try to survive during the final months of World War II. It is a very serious film and is actually one of the most mature animated films of all time as even live-action war films rarely are this tragic. To me the film does not have a high rewatchability factor and surely I do not plan on seeing it again soon as three times is quite enough for now. Watching it for the third time, I was again overwhelmed and even disturbed and the film is definitely better to be taken in small doses which is not a problem as some films are too tragic to be watched many times and this is such a film.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

The film is so deep and heartbreaking in its ending and that wouldn’t be achieved had it not been for the previous two awesome acts. Grave of the Fireflies acquaints you with its two protagonists so well and it gives you many touching, sweet and even beautiful moments before overwhelming you with tragedy later on. And that was essential as it made the tragedy all the more powerful and everyone should feel it.

I am one of the rare people who did not cry during this film, but it came pretty close to making me cry. I loved its structure with the same beginning and ending. The highlight was definitely the burning of the body sequence as it is so terrible and fueled by that haunting score, it manages to totally crush you. The same goes for the scene where she wants to eat rocks out of despair and of course the part where we see Setsuko run around their place and disappear like a ghost. Those three scenes are so horrible, but they are not cheap and manipulative because, again, they were earned through some extensive character work and built emotion before.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

I am talking about the firefly scenes, especially the one where they find a bunch of them. Visually arresting and simply beautiful in every way, that was the only truly happy scene in the entire film and it made the rest of it feel like an even bigger nightmare. The quote about fireflies dying so quickly is also deep and truly phenomenal as the film’s theme. Fireflies area  a great metaphor here, but the visual detail of that box of candies was an even better and smart touch as it came at just the right parts in the story and it always felt important. To me it just might be the most memorable thing about the entire film and that says a lot.

Seita is excellent and Setsuko is so sweet. I just loved their relationship and it goes to show how terrible it is for parents to have children with big age gaps as the responsibility of parenthood befalls to the older child and he becomes a third parent in a way. But it also shows us how beautiful that can be and truly Seita’s love for Setsuko and her dependence on him is truly moving to witness. They share a great, evident bond and the huge power of this movie mostly stems from that bond.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

There aren’t a lot of supporting characters in Grave of the Fireflies as we only see their aunt get a significant role and she is good at first, but becomes horrible later on. She seemed realistic, but my only gripe with the movie is the fact that that farmer did not want to give Seita food even after he told him his sister is gravely sick. That felt unrealistic in my opinion as even the biggest piece of shit person would help two children, not to mention during wartime. But maybe I am mistaken. However, that part still felt not real to me personally.

Their father dying in a battle and of course their mother dying in front of our eyes was a terrible thing to witness. That scene with her entirely bandaged was just horrible and one of the most disturbing and maybe a bit too realistic scenes in all of anime, not to mention animation. But it was still needed as Seita needed to get used to the horrors of war quickly. It shows us how the effects of war can be horrible to children and pitying the innocence of children against the horrors of war has been done before, especially in the world cinema of the fifties and sixties (‘Ivan’s Childhood‘ and ‘Forbidden Games‘ immediately spring to mind), but it was never done in this great a manner and this just might be the best war drama ever made as it is that strong.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies is technically superb as the voice acting is excellent and Isao Takahata’s direction is amazing and he certainly is one of my favorite anime directors. The score is so powerful and haunting in quality that it propelled those tragic scenes to even more difficult to watch and exhausting parts. Its theme is truly gorgeous and unforgettable as it sticks with you long after you’ve heard it. The editing is also great as the film is slow, but never boring. As for its animation, it is awesome as the beauty of fireflies is definitely brought home in that arresting scene, but the war horrors are also conveyed well through the use of realistic details. I loved the look of the characters and in particular its attention to detail and color palette were great.

With many simply horrible to witness sequences that stick with you long after you’ve seen it, Grave of the Fireflies truly is a deeply tragic, devastating film that is all the more powerful as the emotion in the last third is earned thanks to its great character work, build up and many beautiful bonding scenes between the two siblings portrayed before. The animation is excellent and the direction from Isao Takahata is superb and he is one of my favorite anime directors, but it is its score imbued with a haunting quality to it that makes those tragic scenes even more unbearable to watch. It truly is one of the best animated films of all time and it might be the finest war drama ever made.

My Rating – 5

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Castle in the Sky (1986)

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review

Castle in the Sky is a 1986 animated adventure film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the first Studio Ghibli feature and one of their best in my opinion.

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There’s nothing worse than having your pigtails shot off!

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

The plot is so good here. The film is a fantasy, but above all one grand adventure film and rarely have I seen this spectacular an adventure before. Such an amazing experience this movie provides. As is the case with most Miyazaki films, this one features a strong ecological theme and message to it which was great. The film is admirable for being very long, clocking in at two hours which is quite a lot for an animated film, but here it was worth it as the story is so majestic and big that it needed this much time to be told.

The beginning is intriguing and I liked how it started briskly and with an action sequence. Then the rest of the first act was a bit slow, but that was essential for providing character development, atmosphere and build-up. The second act is very good and that is where we get some of the best moments from the pirates. And of course the third act is the highlight as we finally see Laputa. It was fascinating to see the entire island and city on the sky. The details are remarkable, but more on that later. I loved the ending with the spell of destruction being used. It was dark, tragic and yet necessary.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

The character development in Castle in the Sky is solid, but not the greatest. To me Sheeta is a typical protagonist, but an interesting case of a strong female character and sort of a Studio Ghibli princess. Pazu is a bit boring and too good, but he serves his purpose. The two are too heroic and sometimes bland, but the relationship between the two is sweet and they got some charming moments together.

As for Colonel Muska, he is a typical over-the-top and power-hungry villain. However, the fact why I liked him quite a bit lies in the twist in his background which was well executed and in his actions which were capable and he actually was a very competent, strong villain who posed some serious danger for the protagonists.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

But Captain Dola is easily the highlight. Her entire pirate team is a lot of fun and I love her dynamic with her sons and husband. But she is so interesting and unforgettable not only in her looks – pink pigtails is a refreshing look for an old woman – but also in her character as she is good, but still treasure-hungry and she ended up taking a lot of treasure from Laputa in the end. She is simply hilarious and all of the film’s humor comes from her and her many funny lines. She is certainly one of Ghibli’s best and most endearing creations.

The animation in Castle in the Sky is something extraordinary. As I said before, the world building here is simply amazing and the attention to detail is unprecedented. But the animation is so great that it managed to give us all of this world in the best way possible – through old-fashioned hand-drawn style. The character designs are good, the use of color is great and Laputa is breathtaking to witness. I loved its original look, those robots also have an authentic look to them, the nature is beautiful here and the city and its magical properties are so well explored. Everything looks gorgeous in the titular castle, but Pazu’s village is also beautiful to witness and very cozy. This film honestly has one of the best animations ever, that’s how powerful it is. Not only wonderful and detailed, but also stylistic and even artistic. It’s certainly miles above anything Disney produced during this time.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

Castle in the Sky sometimes has overwhelming action for sure, but still that action is surprisingly well executed and it is in fact one of the best action oriented animated films. A lot of the set pieces such as the train scene and the final confrontation on Laputa are instantly recognizable and so well done. The movements are polished and the action is as exciting as the story is engaging.

And the score, oh how wonderful the score in this movie is. It is honestly breathtaking and timeless in quality as it lifts the material and animation to even greater heights and having in mind that both were excellent to begin with, the end result is nothing sort of astonishing. A perfect, well rounded package this film is. The entire score is great and I loved the song in the end, but naturally its theme is the standout here – simply gorgeous and unforgettable. Whenever it appeared in the movie, I was mesmerized.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

So it has its problems such as the protagonists and the dialogue should have been stronger as the script demanded it, but the message is great and this is an ecological movie done right. To me this is one of Hayao Miyazaki’s finest movies and a proof of how strong his direction could be. It is also one of Studio Ghibli’s best and such a phenomenal first feature for this amazing studio.

Castle in the Sky has weaker main characters, but the villain is solid and Captain Dola is one of Ghibli’s funniest and most endearing characters. The story here is excellent, so well told and with a great ecological message. The score is simply beautiful, the world building is extraordinary and the animation is artistic, meticulous in detail and simply mesmerizing leading to one of the best animated films ever in my opinion. It is such an epic, grand adventure that is one of Miyazaki’s best and such a terrific first feature for wonderful Studio Ghibli.

My Rating – 4.5

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Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Do the Right Thing Movie Review

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 drama film directed by and starring Spike Lee. It is one of the best films about racism that I have ever seen.

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It ain’t never too hot or never too cold for fuckin’!

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Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

It is about the racial tension in a Brooklyn neighbourhood where on the hottest day of summer a tragedy strikes. This is one of those movies that deserve to be proclaimed important by critics as it surely is a textbook example of how to properly do a movie about this subject matter. It is probably the most realistic film I’ve seen where everyone is racist – both blacks and whites. That honest, brutally honest approach is what sets this film miles apart from the rest of the similar flicks. And it is made in a way that you never know what to think. I didn’t know who was guilty of starting this conflict and that was great. That uncertainty is palpable and again realistic as in real life conflicts are never black-and-white, but much more complex and difficult to grasp.

As for the characters, my thoughts are twofold. On the one hand, I certainly respected the movie for portraying characters that feel like real people and sure enough, this entire neighbourhood is recreated and portrayed in such a manner that it almost feels real and as if you are watching a documentary. That was certainly admirable.

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Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

But on the other hand, the film deals with too many characters and thus none of them are as memorable or as well developed as they needed to have been. Mookie and Sal are the best and their relationship is quite strong. Their moment at the end is certainly my favourite scene in the movie – the one that showcased that the two ethnicities can get along after all. But Italians are still stereotyped here along with those minor black characters and thus they all blend in the crowd a bit too much.

The acting is excellent. Certainly Danny Aiello gave the best, deservedly Oscar nominated performance, but the others are all pretty good too and Spike Lee is pretty solid for a director. But his direction is very strong as the film is phenomenally directed and put together. The editing is fantastic and I loved how the film flowed well and perfectly led to the tragedy owing to a great build up.

Do the Right Thing isn’t a comedy to me. There are some funny scenes in the first half, amusing and filled with really well painted, memorable minor characters (Mother Sister and Da Mayor are such a charming duo), but it never made me laugh or chuckle and I would still call it just a drama. Another problem here was that climactic third act. It was needed and very dramatic and difficult to watch in a good way, but it still lasted a bit too much and the entire film has too much yelling, cursing and is just too loud.

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Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

But it truly is a shame that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture when it easily should have even won in that year. It is one of the rare movies with the subject of racism that is also a very good movie in its own right and not just an important film. ‘In the Heat of the Night’ is another one of those that comes to mind.

Do the Right Thing is a rare film with the subject of racism that is not only important, but also very good in its own right. The film portrays realistic characters, the direction from Spike Lee is superb and the build up in the first half is so good that it deftly led to the brutal conflict that arose in the second half. This is the film that portrays racism from both sides, it treats its subject matter in a brutally honest manner and is executed in a way that you never quite know who is to blame for the conflict which is exactly how real life works and why this film is so important and admirable in its realism.

My Rating – 4.5

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Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!) (1980)

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!) Movie Review

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is a 1980 animated family film which is the last and to me the weakest of the first four Peanuts feature movies.

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The last time you went away, big brother,

your team won three games in a row

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Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

I don’t know about this one. I have to admit that I wanted to give a four star rating to every Peanuts sequel and unfortunately I just can’t do that this time around as this is a solid film, but definitely weaker than all the rest of the Peanuts entries.

Charlie Brown along with his friends goes to the French country side where he was invited by a girl to stay in the chateau. Eventually, the mystery is revealed – Charlie Brown’s grandfather helped the baron during World War II. That’s it, that is the story here.

Naturally it is interesting and the mystery is handled well, I guess. Plus the setting is a lot of fun. But it isn’t suited for a Peanuts adventure and I just always had the feeling that it lacked the entertainment factor almost entirely. There are some gags here and there, but the film is mostly devoid of humour and adventure, but rather settles on this mystery. So disappointing.

Another disappointing thing about Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is its very narrow set of characters. I mean a Peanuts movie without Lucy isn’t a Peanuts movie in my book. And Sally is basically not here either. Of those characters that went on this adventure, Charlie Brown is the most disappointing as he is never the loser he is supposed to be here. In some scenes he is pathetic and funny, but mostly he is too dull.

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Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Linus is also pretty forgettable. Pierre has his moments and that girl Violette is likable, but also forgettable. Peppermint Patty and Marcie, but mostly just Patty, save this movie. The highlights were all of Patty’s sequences here for sure. The one where she is sitting with Chuck in the class and tormenting him is hilarious and of course the final scene where Snoopy kisses her is also very funny. Marcie is an expectedly great sidekick too.

Speaking of Snoopy, surprisingly enough, he is another one of the highlights here. He and Woodstock of course. The duo has some surprisingly hilarious scenes here and none of them stall the movie as usual, but add a lot of the charm and pleasant humour to the table. The airplane scene is the funniest, but then again each scene with these two was very good this time around.

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Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is well directed and edited. Some of the lines cracked me up and as I said the characters here are half-good as half of them deliver, but the other half is thoroughly lacking. I liked the French and chateau setting quite a bit and I liked the journey to there with the driving and flying sequences being a lot of fun. And the mystery is fine, but I wanted this flick to be more of a comedy adventure and it too many times failed in that department. So it ended up being a solid flick, but easily the weakest of all five Peanuts features.

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown has some very funny sequences, the mystery is interesting, the setting is nice and Peppermint Patty stole the show this time around along with Snoopy, but all of the other characters were lacking in my opinion and the film is rarely as adventurous and as comedic as I would have liked leading to unfortunately the weakest Peanuts feature.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The Breakfast Club Movie Review

The Breakfast Club is one of the most famous coming-of-age films directed by John Hughes and released in 1985. It is regarded as a classic in this genre by many and I have to agree with that sentiment.

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We’re all pretty bizarre.

Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The story is simple. It follows five teenagers bonding while in detention and getting past stereotypes. And yes, it seems clichéd and awfully familiar in the beginning, but the movie somehow progresses past that point and becomes its own thing in the progress. The five characters definitely are regularly seen stereotypes, but that is also the point the movie tries to make, there is more to a person than just a label given to him or her by the others. That is a perfect message in a satisfying and entirely endearing conclusion that can bring a smile to your face. It is a wonderful statement that rings true and is very relevant and relatable, which is incredibly rare for the genre.

The pacing and editing are excellent. It starts off perfectly, fast-paced and introducing you to all of the characters in a great way. Then it goes to many comedic elements, then to action sequences in the hall and afterwards to singing parts ending it all in a bonding, hard-hitting drama. The soundtrack is superb and of course Don’t You (Forget About Me) is a very memorable, famous song which is catchy and fits the mood and story of the film wonderfully.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The tone is masterfully done, shifting from comedic to serious sequences smoothly with great direction, editing and script. As for the humor, it is charming with some scenes which are truly funny and serve to counteract those dramatic sequences to have come and that would come later. And both dramatic and comedic moments are delivered in evident realism with realistic characters and situations and the dialogue that is grounded and simplistic because that is the way teenagers talk in real life.

Acting is not the greatest, but given the fact that most of the cast were actually teenagers or young unknown actors, it turned out to be rather good and even stupendous at some points. And I have to add that the authentic factor is a great plus in this film because there are so many iconic sequences, especially the conclusion, the beginning and of course the dance and singing sequence which is a wonderful comedic and light moment that is so endearing and eases you a lot for those difficult dialogue sequences to come. The movie is definitely extremely memorable.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

And there are of course the characters, all of whom superbly developed, realistic and, most importantly, very likable. All are stereotypes, but all of them are more than that which we learn in the third act. Bender is a typical problematic teenager, a criminal and with the tendencies to constantly impress everyone around him. He is a typical character, everyone knew someone like him from school, and he is great in giving speeches and of course as a comic relief. Andy is my least favorite character, an athlete abused by his parents and although he has his moments including the dancing sequence, he is largely forgettable. Brian is the geek and his relationship with parents is truthful and poignant. Claire as the most popular and beautiful girl is also an archetype of course, but her character arc is wonderful near the end and she definitely influenced Angela’s character from ‘American Beauty’. Ally is the outcast, introverted and rarely speaking till the end. And she is definitely the most relatable and fascinating character to me because I was like that in school, extremely shy. She is the most likable and warm character here. The character development overall is amazing here which is necessary for this kind of film and thankfully the filmmakers realized that and made it happen.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The final scene with the emotional dialogue is wonderful. And it feels forced in some parts of it, but is nevertheless a mature and insightful approach to a mature subject matter. All of the characters get their moment to shine here and it all gets so warm and relevant owing to excellent script, direction and characterization. It is a wonderful conclusion to an endearing movie.

The Breakfast Club is forced and clichéd at times, but this is an 80s classic that deserves its status and is one of the rare movies from that period that aged remarkably well. It has superb and likable characters, charming humor, excellent screenplay and moving ending. It is overall a stupendous film and one of the finest genre movies of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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