Tag Archive: movie


This review is about a 46-minute short film by Makoto Shinkai, ‘Garden of Words’ (2013).

As in any other Shinkai’s work, ‘Garden of Words’ is very beautiful in terms of its graphic, and its script.

‘Garden of Words’ is considered a romance and a drama, about the encounter between the 15-year-old student who aspires to be a shoemaker, Takao Akizuki, and Yukari Yukino, a 27-year-old woman who skips work most time, enjoying beer and chocolate. The plot develops as they continue to meet up in the Garden during every rainy morning.

Unlike his previous work, ‘Garden of Words’ is rather light, it doesn’t spend too much time on the setting, and leaves more time for the development of characters. This can be seen as improvement of Makoto Shinkai. So this short film probably provides Shinkai a valuable experience for him to produce his most famous work up to date, ‘Your Name’ (2016).

The plot in this film is very, very simple and common, just like some other romances. But the feelings of the two main characters are finely portrayed. In a short 46-minute film, audience can expect to feel more than they can feel from many more lengthy films. It perfectly describes ‘love can hurt people, but can also give hope to people’. I also like the ending: if Takao gets on with Yukari, the consequence may not be good due to the pressure from other people and the fact that Takao would not be able to pursue his dream; but if Takao pursues Yukari again when he has become a shoemaker (his dream), that would be a different story. So this film, in my opinion, is quite positive.
Rain comes too quick, for them to meet;
Yet leaves too soon, for them to leave.

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Today’s review is on the film I have watched many times, ‘Sex Drive’ (2008). This film is definitely a chill watch, and I would recommend to teenagers. At the time, there weren’t a lot of teen comedies, so ‘Sex Drive’ was definitely one to stand out.

The story is pretty basic, an 18-year-old virgin Ian hopes to get laid for the first time, so he tries to get know to girls online, and he finally meets a sexy girl (Ms. Tasty) online one day. In order to get laid, Ian arranges a meeting with the girl, and the meeting is quite far away. So, Ian asks his friends Lance and Felicia to go with him, driving his brother’s 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge. Then, they are on their journey!

The film itself is full of dirty jokes, which are normally the features of teen comedies. Nothing much to comment on this film, but i would say it is quite a funny film. If you like films of American style, I think you will probably like it.

Loneliness is probably not a new thing to everyone. I believe everyone has experienced loneliness under different circumstances, especially during the Valentine’s Day (sigh)….

Today’s review is on Makoto Shinkai’s ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’ (2007). If you have heard about or seen the film ‘Your Name’, you probably have heard about Makoto Shinkai. As a Shinkai fan, I think ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’ is one of the most important work of his, as the film provides crucial experiences for him to create his later works, such as ‘The Garden of Words’ and ‘Your Name’.

The film itself is composed of 3 acts, and is set in Japan from the 90s to the present days (2007), with each act centered on a boy named Takaki. Briefly, the story is about Takaki and a girl named Akari. Takaki and Akari, due to similar family background and common interests, kinda get together during their childhood. However, reality checks in, that they get separated geographically as they have to move houses. They then decide to exchange letters as that is the only way they can communicate (when mobile phones are not common). After being separated by reality for many years, Takaki and Akari have already stopped their communication with each other at some point. Akari becomes someone’s wife; while Takaki still dwells on chasing the ‘shadow’ of Akari’. It is a shadow indeed, as Akari is not the Akari he knew before after time. But the ‘Akari’ in his heart is just irreplaceable. So it is like chasing a fairy.

Comments about this ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’ are pretty polarised: some people think the film is rather descriptive than progressive (not much plot); but some others think that the atmosphere Shinkai created in this film is effective to bring the audiences into the story.

I agree that the plot in the film is rather simple, and the film is very viewers-unfriendly. The excessive use of monologue makes the film much more descriptive than progressive. When the viewers don’t get enough information from a film, they get bored easily. However, I still like this film a lot.

Whether you like the film depends on how much you feel in it, Shinkai leaves space for you to fill your experiences in the film. Different people will interpret the ending differently. Some people would think that the smile of Takaki implies that he has finally given up chasing the ‘Akari’ in his mind, and the girl at the other end of the railway is just his imagination; while some people think that the smile is comprised of helplessness and bitterness, but not a smile of giving up. This is exactly the value of ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’, leaving spaces for audience’s imagination.

Although this film has so many problems regarding the progression of the plot and the excessive use of monologue, I would still recommend this film to everyone. Most other films aims at delivering ideas and messages to the audience; while this film requires you to fill your own experiences in it to get whatever you can get from it.  Well, hope you will enjoy the film!

P.S. the name ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’ refers to the falling speed of Sakura (a kind of flowers living on the trees)

 

“One doesn’t have to experience death, to understand the preciousness of life’

This is the sentence that popped up to my mind after watching the film ‘Colorful’ (2010), an animated film, but also one of the deepest films I have ever encountered. The story is set from the protagonist’s point of view: the ‘I’ in the film is a dejected soul, who got a chance to go through life although he didn’t want it. He was placed in the body of a 14-year-old boy named Makoto Kobayashi, who committed suicide before the dejected soul entered his body. No spoiler here, but this setting is pretty interesting.

As a film about suicide, ‘Colourful’ portrays precisely how and what makes people suicide (problems from schools, and family mostly), and ultimately brings out the theme that ‘humans are not just comprised of a single colour, but with so many different ones, whether they are bright or dull’. Compared to the school problems, I would think the family problems in the film are relatively more worth mentioning.

Makoto’s family is comprised of problems: the dad rarely goes back home for dinner; the mum is caught ‘cheating’; the brother only cares about himself…. However, after the suicide of Makoto (eventually not dying as his body is then occupied by the soul), there are observable changes in the family: the dad comes back for dinner everyday; the mum cooks all the meals and becomes a full time housewife. They seem to realise that family is a crucial to a person’s mental health. Family, friends, and everyone we encounter in our lives, make us who we are, giving us the colours of our lives. A person’s existence is not ONLY related to himself, but also the people around him.

To conclude, ‘Colourful’ is quite an outstanding piece of work in my opinion. In a 2-hour period, I felt like I had attended a lesson about life. Sometimes, life can be tough, but we should never forget that there are always people supporting us, and those challenges are what make our lives colourful. “One doesn’t have to experience death, to understand the preciousness of life”, I did not jot this down right after the film. But I will always remember it.

So today I’d share my piano cover of the song ‘Through the Years and Far Away’, it is from the short film called ‘Voices of a Distant Star’. Hope you guys would enjoy it

Lyrics:

Hello, little star
Are you doing fine?
I’m lonely as everything in birth

Sometimes in the dark
When I close my eyes
I dream of you, the planet earth

If I could fly across this night
Faster than the speed of light
I would spread these wings of mine

Through the years and far away
Far beyond the milky way
See the shine that never blinks
The shine that never fades

Thousand years and far away
Far beyond the silky way
You’re the shine that never blinks
The shine that never dies

Hello, tiny star
Can you hear me call?
I’m so blind as everything at birth

If I could flow against these nights
Straiter than the string of light
I would lay these hands on time

Through the years and far away
Far beyond the milky way
See the shine that never blinks
The shine that never fades

Thousand years and far away
Far beyond the silky way
You’re the shine that never blinks
The shine that never dies

Through the years and far away
Far beyond the milky way
You’re the shine that never blinks
The shine that never dies

So a few days ago, I was listening to 90s/ 2000s music while studying (probably not the best idea ever!), and I came across the song ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. This song reminded me of my ‘prime’ time in my second year, partying every night. I dwelt back into the time, and watched the MV. I found that the song is based on the movie ‘Loser’ (2002) (or the other way round, just that the two things are connected!) Anyway, so the song and MV initiated my curiosity for the movie, so I watched it yesterday.

Well, no spoiling for the plot here, but despite all the bad comments about the film, I have to admit that I found it quite sweet. Generally it is a high school, teen romance. There’s nothing very fancy about the film, the plot is simple, the soundtrack is quite good….. but sometimes simplicity is the beauty. I wouldn’t say the plot is very realistic, but for certain parts, you can really link yourself into it: there must be a moment in anyone’s life that he feels he does not fit in his social group, yea? Once again, it is a very simple film, but it did warm my heart a little. So, give it a go!

I also think Mena Suvari stood out from the film, she did a great job in being a pure, cute, cheeky, but struggling girl. I will definitely watch more of her films in the near future.

Lastly, here is the Teenage Dirtbag song for you!

It has been quite a while since the High School Musical (HSM) trilogy, but it’s always been one of the ‘Brightest’ series of films I’ve ever seen. Brightest? Yes of course, it gives you fantasies that rarely come true: like meeting a girl from a karaoke and it lasts from high school age to university. Not saying it’s impossible but it’s just not the usual case.

Well, although it’s not quite realistic, it still has its value in my opinion. I would think HSM is actually quite romantic in its way. It’s not like a very very cheesy ‘you-jump-I-jump’ that sort of stuff, but just the scenes like the dancing/ music scenes are romantic. Here’s one example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCa8pxUtN1s

Also, it’s not only the relationships portrayed in HSM that makes me like it, the friendship too. The struggle of friendship and relationship in HSM can somehow be quite realistic I guess. Sometimes when you want to get something, you have to give something up, so….. but of course in the film it all gets settled at the end. But it’s not quite easy in real life. And of course, there are much more struggles for students that are entirely not mentioned in HSM. But well, it makes the audience happy, and that’s what films are supposed to do! 😀

‘La La Land’ won a lot of prizes at the Golden Globe awards. So yesterday, I went to see the film with my awesome friend. It was already dramatic at the cinema as we went to the wrong screen, feeling shocked and seeing people being so focused as if they knew all the plot during the first 5 minutes of the film….. well of course at the end we found the right screen!

So the film itself is, to my mind, good. Everything in terms of the effects, such as the music, camera angle, special effects…. are all great, all the hard effects are great. The song is definitely impressive, it is always on my mind now. However, I do believe the plot can be developed a little bit more. The story itself is quite simple: a dedicated jazz musician trying to set up his own jazz club somehow comes across an aspiring actress, and they encouraged each other somehow. They are two ships which passed in Sheep Meadow. Just a simple story with a ‘sad’ ending (as many viewers would say).

However, while some people don’t like the ending, I do find it quite okay, although it could be better. At the ending bit, you see when Emma Stone and her husband going to the jazz club set up by Ryan Gosling. When Gosling start to play the piano music, the scene go to the imaginary scene in which Stone and Gosling get together. After the scene, it takes us back to the reality of Gosling finishing playing the song, and Stone leaving with her husband. It is good, but I thought if it ends at the imaginary part, then it may be more open to interpretation and would be more interesting? That’s just what I think. But overall, it’s a good film, showing how some small decisions in your life can end up giving you a big change, just like if Emma Stone does not go away for her career, then she and Gosling would be together. Is it a happy ending or sad one? I don’t know, dreams or love, it depends on how people pick.

‘The Fault in Our Stars’, in my opinion, is an average film. Probably because of the fact that I’ve seen ‘Love Story ‘ (1970), then the it will be too predictable to me. Trust me, they have the same formula, just that not many people know ‘Love Story’ so they get so touched by ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ But to be honest, the book is better than the movie, and there is a scene which I particularly like.

If you know the plot, you know the two main characters do not really treat their relationship too seriously (because they are afraid that the death of one of them would hurt the other too much) until the dinner of a trip they go together. After the dinner, the boy declares his love for the girl for the first time.

‘I am in love with you’ (p.153)

As a male, when you declare to someone you love, you cannot be like a moron. If you are not ready, don’t do it just yet; if she is not ready, don’t start it just yet. Once you’ve decided to do, go do it. You have nothing much to lose. His simple but direct statement goes through to give the girl a shock, before he continues to say ‘I am’, meaning ‘I do NOT care how much time we have left but I have to say it!’

‘I  am in love with you, and I am not in
business of denying myself the simple
pleasure of saying true things.’

He refers the reason for his declaration to the simple pleasure of saying the truest things in his heart, which he refuses to deny. He is like ‘I ONLY WANT TO SAY THE TRUE THINGS!’

‘I’m in love with you, and i know that
love is just a shout into the void,
and that oblivion is inevitable,
and that we ‘re all doomed and that there
will come a day when all our labor
has been returned to dust,
and I know the sun will swallow the only
earth we’ll ever have,
and I am in love with you.’

He keeps repeating the sense that ‘I am in love with you’ to strengthen the mood, but this is not the main point here. Here, we can see an interesting point of view. Yep, life is too short for anything to be left unsaid. There must be a day when the earth is doomed, and human race gets extinct, and there is no point not to express yourself while you can. ‘A shout into the void’ is similar to Shakepare’s ‘Macbeth’ when he wrote ‘Life is but a walking shadow’It’s a pessimistic point of view for life, but it is somehow true. No matter how much you achieved in life, there must be a time, when your existence is no longer available, not even in anyone’s memory. However pessimistic the world seems (even the boy knows that), he literally ‘does NOT give a shit’, because he is in love with her. What a very courageous, and great, way of declaration.

Whatever we have in life just happens on Earth, on the mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam (Carl Sagan). Do we live in a world in which we can touch? Or do we live in a world in which we create our own mind? No one can ever answer that. Life is too short for anyone to find out the answer. All we can do is to do our best, to leave nothing unsaid, undone, while we can. Don’t be afraid to fail, because no one can even remember what you have done forever.

I rarely watched old films since I came to university. A few days ago, I heard the song ‘Up Where We Belong’ on Youtube as it came up as a recommended video. Then, I decided to watch ‘An Officer and A Gentleman’ as it was recommended by my mum for ages. Indeed, I think it’s a very good film.

First, in terms of actor/ actress, it was already amazing. Richard Gere, is like George Clooney, as he is what many guys would want to be when they get older. Although his acting is not that great (I would describe his acting as a piece of wood0, he looks great enough for the film. Debra Winger, as the main actress, is what I would describe as proper fit (Of course back at that time). She looked pretty and sweet. She definitely attracted me to the film even more!

Soundtrack-wise, ‘Up where we belong’ (or ‘Love Lifts us Up Where We Belong’) fits  into the theme of the film so well. Why? Because it’s about how the love relation of Richard Gere and Debre Winger kept Richard going with the U.S. Navy training camp. Well, sometimes when you do things for someone rather than yourself, you might do it better as you don’t wanna disappoint the other party.

I kinda like this film. I found it both realistic, and idealistic. It tells the truth that, some women at that time only wanted to marry navy pilot for the sake of the title. They would even set a trap (get themselves pregnant with the pilot) so the pilot have to marry them. It might happen in this modern world somehow, as in women seducing rich people for the sake of the wealth. They might set the same ‘trap’ too. Why is it idealistic? Debra Winger in the film is the idealistic character. From the first half of the film, we can see she loves Richard Gere so much, that it is nothing much related whether he is a navy pilot. She supports him through the tough time, and finally till Richard succeeds. Is this unrealistic? I don’t know, finding a girl who would support you through the tough time like she did, seems to be difficult in nowadays world, as there are too many choices for them that they don’t really have to stick to you. Well, this film got me, made me wanna go back and live in an earlier time. Well, if I were born earlier, it would mean, easier immigration, more romantic, and probably better, and simpler life, where freedom and warmth are everywhere.

‘Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong’, yea, that’s how people get good.