Movie Reviews

Lessons From Wonder Woman

“You can do something or do nothing.”

Midnight Diner

Netflix has come out with a 10-episode season of Midnight Diner, which began as an award-winning manga, then a Japanese TV series and feature film. Like the filmAn this series is quiet, quirky, and offbeat…mixing food, of course, with characters a bit on the edge of Japanese society but entirely recognizable as classic Japanese characters. Tokyo is said to be not so much a big city as a collection of small villages

An (Sweet Bean)

“We were born into this world to see it and to listen to it.”

Carol

After our talk about great films*, I decided I needed to go out to the movies more…because I used to enjoy the experience of seeing film in a cinema so much and somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit of it. So I walked over to the Violet Crown and got the last seat for Carol. I was underimpressed. The acting was fine, the period sets and

The Martian

Adapt or die.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

かぐや姫の物語 I was lucky to see this in the original Japanese-language version at the +Alamo Drafthouse.  From the info I could glean on the Internet about the limited release in other American cities, I was afraid it was going to be the dubbed version. So a big thanks to the +Alamo Drafthouse for showing it in the original language! Taken as a whole (story, visual, and graphics) I think Princess Kaguya is the

Guardians of the Galaxy

Bottom line: Great fun for 8-year-olds of all ages and genders.

Boyhood

“We do not seize the moment. The moment seizes us.”

Lincoln

The difficulty with making films about historical characters is that the audience comes armed with prejudice. The face is familiar to us in a way that creates rather than closes a distance. It is a face that stands for something so that the person the face belongs becomes a kind of shorthand for an ideal or a moment in time. That person ceases to be a human being. He is

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I had heard great things about Tilda Swinton’s performance. She is a mother racked with guilt and duty. She lives her life in a hollow-eyed state of post traumatic stress. What I wanted most from this movie was a character arc. I was disappointed. In an interview with Swinton that played before the film, she said she most enjoyed playing characters whose basic foundation was shaken–who were forced to change.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is straight forward action from beginning to end. In fact, it is very much like The Adventures of Tintin and I like them both for the same reason: simplicity. The good guys are good and the bad guys must be stopped. There’s a job to do and our heroes get it done. The focus is on the method not the motive. I also appreciate that Ghost

Hugo (3D)

Any sense of wonder was more cerebral than heartfelt

Maps of the Sounds of Tokyo

This 2009 Spanish film starts out very promising and so is all the more disappointing when it doesn’t fulfill its promise. Watching the first third of it I became deeply aware that the way a film is shot and edited, the language of film-making, has a distinctive national accent. I’m used to the flavor of Japanese films and American films set in Japan. I think Map of the Sounds of

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Do-overs.

Super 8

As movies go, 2011 is the summer of the aliens. Of the three I’ve seen this month, I think that Super 8 captures a kind of innocent magic that is lacking in Attack the Block or Cowboys and Aliens. Maybe it’s manufactured Spielbergian magic but, somehow, J.J. Abrams never falls completely into the schmaltz that the man he’s paying homage does. (Spielberg produced and Abrams worked with him on earlier