EvaGeeks' Most Watched Movies of 2011 [1]

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Postby Bomby von Bombsville » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:01 am

Pang Ho-Cheung's Isabella was solid but somewhat of a disappointment. He seems less imitative of Wong Kar-Wai's visual style than in his previous films, but the energy and mood of the film isn't quite right for its plot and subject matter. I enjoyed it for what it was, but wanted a bit more from it. The cinematography was still gorgeous, and it makes me wish Isabella Leong hadn't retired so early.
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Postby Oz » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Yoshifumi Kondo's Whisper of the Heart: Still as charming and heartwarming as on the first time. Marvellous background art. Great animation. Stunning imagery. Flawless pacing. Sweeping soundtrack, magnificent voice acting. Ghibli magic at its finest - too bad Kondo never got the chance to direct another film.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:42 pm

Blue Spring - 6.0/10 - OK, Oz, maybe I wasn't in a mood. I've been in a real funk for about the last week or two which is why I haven't watched many films or written any reviews, but I'm utterly lost as to what in this film blew your socks off. The "clapping" scenes were interesting but, geez, how could you NOT see that ending coming from a mile away?

Also, in general, one thing that bugs me about so many of these modern Japanese cult hits (Battle Royale, Love Exposure, Blue Spring): where the fuck are the parents? I mean, I know the main dude has parents in LE, but it's like they're so absent and/or divorced from reality that the kids just get to run completely free. All of these films seem to verge closer to anime levels of reality exaggeration than most LA films and it's something I never can really swallow. Anyway, maybe I'll give it another look-see when I'm in a better mood.

View Original PostBomby von Bombsville wrote:Also, I watched Young Frankenstein today.
What did you think? It's in my Top 100. One of my all-time favorite comedies.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:27 pm

View Original PostOz wrote:Yoshifumi Kondo's Whisper of the Heart: Still as charming and heartwarming as on the first time. Marvellous background art. Great animation. Stunning imagery. Flawless pacing. Sweeping soundtrack, magnificent voice acting. Ghibli magic at its finest - too bad Kondo never got the chance to direct another film.

Love. That. Movie!

+1 on many of your points. Though I personally felt that the whole "Let's get married later" part at the end felt a little tacked on. I'm not saying it didn't emotionally work. In fact, it felt very emotionally satisfying to see that end. But I would have liked to see that dialogue prolonged a little more. But I'm just being over-critical in my nit-picking. I love that movie.
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Postby Xard » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:29 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Love. That. Movie!

+1 on many of your points. Though I personally felt that the whole "Let's get married later" part at the end felt a little tacked on.


That's because it was. It was Miyazaki's middle finger to the uncommitting, flimsy modern youth :lol:

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:40 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:That's because it was. It was Miyazaki's middle finger to the uncommitting, flimsy modern youth :lol:

Well, at least it was honest. I guess part of that emotional satisfaction for me at the end of the movie was a sense of the innocent and positive naivety that comes with youth.

Still- AH, never mind. Regardless I should watch that movie again soon. I love it. :toothy:
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Postby NemZ » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:06 pm

Felt like going back to the classics today... Dr. Strangelove.
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Postby Bomby von Bombsville » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:08 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:What did you think? It's in my Top 100. One of my all-time favorite comedies.

Not the first time I've seen it, but I did enjoy it quite well. Especially since I had just seen an absolutely atrocious stage version of it not too long before... it was nice to cleanse my pallet with the knowledge that the movie was, in fact, funny.
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Postby Xard » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:15 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:Blue Spring - 6.0/10 - OK, Oz, maybe I wasn't in a mood. I've been in a real funk for about the last week or two which is why I haven't watched many films or written any reviews, but I'm utterly lost as to what in this film blew your socks off. The "clapping" scenes were interesting but, geez, how could you NOT see that ending coming from a mile away?


The original manga is supposedly pretty good but I can't say I had ever heard of the film either.

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:Also, in general, one thing that bugs me about so many of these modern Japanese cult hits (Battle Royale, Love Exposure, Blue Spring): where the fuck are the parents? I mean, I know the main dude has parents in LE, but it's like they're so absent and/or divorced from reality that the kids just get to run completely free. All of these films seem to verge closer to anime levels of reality exaggeration than most LA films and it's something I never can really swallow. Anyway, maybe I'll give it another look-see when I'm in a better mood.


Generation gaps and stuff like this is supposedly big problem in modern Japan. Besides, Blue Spring is apparently film dealing with notorious delinquent kids. Such family background is pretty much given.

idk I haven't even seen the film.

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Postby Trajan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:24 pm

The Passenger a.k.a. the only Antonioni film that I like.
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Postby Kutta » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:25 pm

What impressed me in Whisper of the Heart was the detailed and touching depiction of Tokyo suburb (Ghibli sampling real places and probably using entire existent streets and landscapes) and all the wonderfully realized interiors, with Shizuku's room and house reaching an almost documentaristic realism. Aside from this I was rather underwhelmed and put it in the vicinity of 7/10. The love story in the center of the plot was just too maudlin and the heartwarming-intended scenes were rendered ineffective because their artificiality. I also felt that the story with the cat figure was a failed attempt at inserting some Miyazaki-esqe style and did not gel with the other parts of the movie.

I would compare Whisper of the Heart to Kare Kano because both deal with love, socialization and the realization of potentials in a setting of young people. However, while Kare Kano succeeds at being heartwarming and conveying a deeply humanistic and positive message, Whisper of the Heart is just too saccharine and simplistic.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:31 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Generation gaps and stuff like this is supposedly big problem in modern Japan. Besides, Blue Spring is apparently film dealing with notorious delinquent kids. Such family background is pretty much given.
I guess it's the "pretty much given" part I don't get.

View Original PostTrajan wrote:The Passenger a.k.a. the only Antonioni film that I like.
Booooooooooooo! I like every Antonioni I've seen so far. The trilogy is a masterpiece and so is Red Desert.
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Postby Xard » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:32 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:I guess it's the "pretty much given" part I don't get.


parents virtually absent from their children's lives isn't all that shocking

of course the fact I haven't even seen the film means I don't know the specific details what you talkin' about so I'm just going by vague impressions from your comments idk

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Postby Eva 02 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:00 pm

Seen:

Black Swan - 4 times

End of Evangelion - 3 times

Duck Soup (Marx Bros) - 2 times

A Day at the Races (Marx) - 2 times

Animal Crackers (Marx) - 4 times

Predator - 2 times

Cromwell - 2 times (weird, I know. A surprisingly good Alec Guinness (Obi Wan) movie)
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Postby Trajan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:16 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:Booooooooooooo! I like every Antonioni I've seen so far. The trilogy is a masterpiece and so is Red Desert.


I appreciate them academically, but they're boring, dull, overindulgent, and pretentious films. I understand their place in film history, but I would do almost anything to avoid watching them again.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:37 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:parents virtually absent from their children's lives isn't all that shocking
Not shocking in the abstract but weird in these contexts considering the kids are still in school. Why haven't they just completely abandoned all forms of structured society and completely live in gangs? It also bugs me that there's really no sense of day-to-day life, as if all their days consist of doing delinquent things. I guess I'd summarize that there's a weird mix of reality and unreality.

View Original PostTrajan wrote:I appreciate them academically, but they're boring, dull, overindulgent, and pretentious films. I understand their place in film history, but I would do almost anything to avoid watching them again.
Well, I don't find them boring, dull, overindulgent or pretentious. Plus, c'mon man, those are adjectives which could apply to every film from the 60s European art-house movement if one was so inclined. I'd much sooner apply them to Melville (especially boring/dull) and WKR (Overindulgent and pretentious). At least Antonioni was actually innovating and finding new ways to say things visually, building on the techniques of Dreyer, Bresson, et al. More than anything, his films are visually and aesthetically engaging, very rich in their details, very complex in their structure. Yes, there's plenty of intellectual/academic substance there, but I think too many overlook the aesthetic/visual sublimity of them without any academia crap attached. I've still never seen anything like the genius ending of L'Eclisse or his use of color in Red Desert or the mountains of unspoken tension in La Notte or the nihilistic black hole of apathetic misery that is L'Avventura.

FWIW, L'Avventura was one of the first foreign art-films I ever saw where I was very conscious of watching something completely different to anything else I'd seen. Sure, I'd seen Kurosawa and some Bergman and others, but L'Avventura was a different beast. It's hard to describe the affect it had on me, but before I knew about the historical importance, originality, and all the artsy inclinations, I just knew that the film created an atmosphere of such depth and mystery that I just wanted to wrap myself up in it like a blanket. Almost every subsequent Antonioni film has had the same affect on me. I think that's what I'd describe his films as; there's a real depth of atmosphere that pervades them like few others. Even directors that have pushed his aesthetics to extremes, like Tsai Ming-liang, I don't think have ever replicated how densely immersive his works are.
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Postby Guyver Spawn » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:09 pm

Forbidden Planet (1956): I saw this today in my film class and I like it. I think it was a very well done movie, even for a B movie. I love the art direction that the movie and the movie did had some pretty deep themes for a 50's movie. This was the first time that I saw this movie in years and I give it a 4/5.

Drive Angry 3D (2011): I saw it last friday and I think it was a very fun movie. Sure it's not a Oscar winning film or a great film but the movie is so much fun to watch. The action was over the top, the dialogue was silly as hell, and the 3D was not too bad neither. I think it was a nice throw back to the older action movies from the 70's and 80's.

I wish the movie was longer though. 3.5/5
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Postby Bomby von Bombsville » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:48 pm

Norwegian Wood (Tran Anh Hung)
Ugh... where do I start?

Alright, so I'm a die hard Haruki Murakami fan, and while Norwegian Wood isn't my favorite of his novels, it is nonetheless a book that is very near and dear to me. With that, it's hard for me to judge Tran's film as a film, if you know what I mean, but more as an adaptation, because if there's one thing that really bothers me, it's people who complain about the changes made in the process of adapting a book into a film. Simply put, not every little detail is going to make the cut. Some things just simply don't translate well from written word to the screen. The most important thing, however, is that the events of the book are covered with the same spirit of the book, and evoke the same emotional or intellectual response that the written word captured.

This is where Norwegian Wood fails as an adaptation. I understand the cutting of certain scenes in the book, but Tran trimmed exorbitantly from the first half of the book. The first five chapters (out of eleven, if I remember correctly), which truly build the characters and are some of the most entertaining parts of the novel are skimmed through in about a half hour. This was a frustrating experience for myself.
Major disappointment for anyone who has read the book.  SPOILER: Show
Storm Trooper is barely even in this damn movie, and Nagasawa is barely introduced. The latter comes back for the infamous scene in which he admits to Hatsumi that he and Watanabe had once traded girls.

I imagine some of the skimming will probably frustrate those who have not read the book, too. For example, there is a certain scene around the halfway point of the film, which involves a character who is barely introduced in the beginning of the film. Without this previous character development, the significance of this scene is diminished. The ultimate crime is that it contains possibly the best acting in the film.

So that's what Tran's film did wrong. Here's what it did right:

The second half of the novel is covered beautifully. Ultimately this means the mood is pushed almost completely into melancholy territory, but what a beautiful melancholy it is.

The actors are well cast. I had previously thought that Rinko Kikuchi would have been better cast as Midori rather than Naoko, but her performance is spectacular, as is Kiko Mizuhara as Midori. Kenichi Matsuyama (a.k.a. that awkward guy who asks out Bae Doona in Linda Linda Linda) is as detached as he needs to be to pull off Watanabe.

Johnny Greenwood's score and Mark Lee Pin-bing's cinematography are spectacular.

Overall, Norwegian Wood was an extremely ambivalent experience. What is in the film is great, but there needed to be more for it to be a fully satisfying experience. I'd be curious to see the opinion of someone who has not yet read the novel to truly gauge how successful it is as a film rather than as an adaptation, though I really recommend reading the novel first to fully appreciate its beauty.

I've always hated that old adage "the book was better than the film," because the book and the film are two separate entities. Well, here's a case in which it's definitely true.
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Postby Trajan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:17 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:Well, I don't find them boring, dull, overindulgent or pretentious. Plus, c'mon man, those are adjectives which could apply to every film from the 60s European art-house movement if one was so inclined.


Dullness / boredom is subjective. What may be invigorating to you may be sleep inducing to me and vice versa. Also, I have absolutely no problem with intellectual thoughts in films. It's just that with Antonioni nothing seems to happen, nothing changes, there is no meaning, no message to the point it sucks the life out of the visuals. It's the same reason I dislike Marienbad (which, if I recall you also seemed to like. Again, it's a taste thing). If I want to watch people sit around and contemplate life for an hour and a half, I'll call one of my buddies and we'll go sit in a coffee house for two hours, talk, and film that. But yes, 60s-Euro stuff is mostly hit or miss with me.

I'd much sooner apply them to Melville (especially boring/dull) and WKR (Overindulgent and pretentious).

Hey, don't go shitting on my favorite directors just because I don't like one of yours.

At least Antonioni was actually innovating...


Just because I don't like his films doesn't mean I don't appreciate what he did for the visual language of film. There's a lot of directors I feel that way about.

FWIW, L'Avventura was one of the first foreign art-films I ever saw where I was very conscious of watching something completely different to anything else I'd seen.


If my post sounded like I was unduly harsh, I'm sorry. We all have personal favorites and I meant no disrespect. That said, let's just agree to disagree and move on. TSDA will probably be proud of me for not being a sheep person.
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Postby schismatics » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:19 pm

Marathoned Jin-Roh and Grave of the Fireflies.

Jin-Roh was really legit actually, I particularly liked Red Riding Hood motif used throughout the whole thing. My only bug is that like it seems to have Oshii's trade mark main character: a person who doesn't talk much and stares off into the distance a lot. Solid movie otherwise.

As for Grave of the Fireflies. ;_;


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