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Archive for the 'Books/Films' Category

Tokyo Sonata Review

I really prefer the approach that Japanese directors take with dramatic films.  While I haven’t seen every Japanese film in existence, the ones that I have seen, both old and new, take a very subtle and low-key approach with less dramatic music or cinematic cues.  This allows the script and actors to speak for themselves instead of being coated with stylistic effects.  Personally, I find this affects me more than watching overproduced dramas because you are less aware of what …

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Up! Review

Pixar, in my opinion, shares some similarities with Studio Ghibli – they both put out, rather consistently, well-made films that are miles above the competition. Now, I wouldn’t say that Pixar has ever managed to reach the heights that Ghibli did with Mononoke-hime or Grave of the Fireflies, but all the same, their movies are enjoyable and imaginative without insulting your intelligence. Just like with many Ghibli films, while they may seem like children’s films at first glance, they …

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Review: Ima, Boku Wa (Now, I…)

Ima, Boku wa is a debut film by Yasutomo Chikuma, who also stars in the title role. It revolves around a short period of time in the life of 20-year-old Satoru, a "NEET". NEET is a term originally used in the UK that refers to young men who are Not engaged in Education, Employment or Training. Fans of anime might be more familiar with the term "hikkikomori". To put it bluntly, these are people who are not really engaged in anything productive and leech off their parents who provide them with the money and food to survive.

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Banshun / Late Spring Review

The longest poems stretch for pages while the shortest are a few lines, or even syllables. Yet regardless of the length or verbosity, the effect of a poem and the amount of work which went into making it can be the same. If we were comparing films to poems, I believe that "Banshun" would be one of the shorter ones, seemingly simplistic and undetailed at first but powerful when reflected upon. There are no excessive details or overdirection - scenes are kept simple and the story itself isn't filled with dramatic plot revelations and twists. Rather, it is filmmaking in it's purest form - a communication of an story between the director and his audience.'

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Book: Hōjōki ( 方丈記 )

I ordered this short novel through Amazon after stumbling onto its very brief page on wikipedia. The premise interested me, and its status as a work of classic Japanese literature only cemented that interest, as I have always had a deep interest in historic literature from India, Japan, and the rest of Asia. Hōjōki is a short work by Kamo no Chōmei, written in Japan in 1212. It is the account of a man who witnesses several disasters that plague the people of Kyoto. Eventually, he becomes a Buddhist monk, a recluse, and lives his final days alone in a ten-foot hut. Through the story, we see how he becomes disillusioned with society and life - but he concisely sums up the general theme of the book in the opening lines, which have, I believe, become famous in Japanese literature......... Read more

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Pixar’s WALL-E review


Since the summer has started I've been catching up on a few films I've been meaning to watch, and there's one thing that I've learned about myself in the process. I would never make a good critic. The reason for this is that if I watch a bad film, I will probably forget all about it within seconds of leaving a theatre. If there is nothing memorable about it, then I would find little reason to waste more time writing or talking about it. So I would't find much enjoyment in negative criticism that many others enjoy writing and reading. However, the opposite is true of good films. If I come home after watching a great film, I will probably promptly suscribe to the IMDB message board and continue to post and check it periodically. In other words, if the film is a memorable one, I'll never really stop writing or talking about it. Films like "Princess Mononoke", "Ratatouille" and "Shawshank Redemption" are found in this long list, and now "WALL-E" takes its place as the latest addition....... continued) Read more

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