Review: In its 130-min duration, Koe no Katachi a.k.a. A Silent Voice tackles a complex coming-of-age drama of consequences, self-alienation and reconciliation. Sometimes it staggers, sometimes it falls into melodrama; but, in the end, it passes a meandering way with subtlety and grounded intricacy.
Naoko Yamada’s first feature is adapted from a manga series by Yoshitoki Oima. The story orbits on a bittersweet connection between Shoya Ishida (voiced by Miyu Irino) and Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami). As a kid, Shoya, not knowing the consequences of his deeds, bullies and abuses hearing-impaired Shoko. When consequences finally catch him up, all he has done to Shoko return to haunt him – excommunication, persecution, and all. Since then, he decides to prefer solitary, avoid contacts with people, and alienate himself from society. Continue reading A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review
Review: After hitchhiking and helping to save the day in The LEGO Movie (2014), Will Arnett’s self-obsessed Batman finally gets promoted to his own spotlight as the lead role. In his solo, brick-world spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie, Batman is the feeling-less, insensitive, heavy metal and beat box loving, lone vigilante of more-vibrant-and-frenetic-than-Tim-Burton’s Gotham. However, he’s not some taciturn, shy Dark Knight; Batman has embraced Bruce Wayne’s narcissism personality disorder and turned into a superstar of the crime-lair city.
Things go south when Jim Gordon retires and his daughter, a Harvard for Police alumnus, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) steps in. She insists that the city doesn’t need Batman for the Caped Crusader, although succeeds in quelling city’s most notorious villains, cannot really wipe them off completely. At the same moment, Batman’s rejected arch-nemesis – the Joker (Zach Galifianakis, in a more sensitive role than Jared Leto’s swagger version) surrenders himself and his band of criminals. Fearing that it’s Joker’s mere villainous agenda, Batman aided by his cute adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) determines to stop Joker at whatever cost. Continue reading The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) – Review
Review: The “Makoto Shinkai is the new Hayao Miyazaki” buzz embarks again when his latest feature, Kimi no na wa, or as known as Your Name storms Japanese box office recently. Shinkai (5 Centimeters per Second, Children who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words) is always known for his penchant in crafting picturesque, hyperrealistic 2D animation with heart-wrenching story and viable imagination, which transcends in his natural approach.
Shinkai’s works often radiate idyll from the inside, simultaneously emanate visceral, candid narrative. Kimi no na wa / Your Name is no different; only you might bet that it comes from Shinkai’s wildest dream, rather than from his sober contemplation. It might initially look like a usual gender-swapping drama, but as it goes, it unravels more: from time-travel to disaster-drama and quest for love. Continue reading Your Name / 君の名は。/ Kimi no na wa (2016) – Review
Review: Second animated feature from Illumination Entertainment (the studio who brought you Minions and, recently, The Secret Life of Pets) in 2016 brings tons of happiness and a whole playlist ranging from the 80s to recent hits in SING, an absurd blend of X-Factor and lots like Zootopia. While the plot is muddled and the comedy is outdated, most elements in SING really works. Just work.
The plot is pretty basic, juxtaposing a generic restoring the good ol’ day quest and formulaic zero-to-hero storyline. There’s an enterpreneur, a koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) with minimum koala-fication to actually run a theater. His business collapses and he’s tangled in debt; to save his business (and his theater), he proposes an X-Factor-esque singing competition with total $1000 prize… initially. Continue reading Sing (2016) – Review
Review: Sailing over idyllic seas with tropical islands as background, our self-proclaimed non-princess Disney Princess is going out of her comfort zone fulfilling her lifetime obsession and, most importantly, saving her world from famine. She is Moana—daughter of a Polynesian chieftain—who voyages to the wilderness to find a demigod Maui and restore what-so-called diamond of Te Fiti back for a quest of a lifetime.
In short, Moana manifests Disney’s commitment into stripping off their Disney princesses’ stereotype. The ‘princess’ character is versatile; she even embodies the ‘sense of empowerment’, shooing away the sexism commentary about prince-charming-centered characters from the golden era. Moana is not an interpersonal love story; it’s more than that; and it’s what makes it unravel a completely new era for Disney. Continue reading Moana (2016) – Review
Review: More than just merchandise-oriented bonanza, Dreamworks’ toy-based Trolls is surprisingly a simple, fun reflection of happiness. Child audiences will find this candy-colored, scrapbook materials amusing; while at some points, it serves as a working treat for adults, who happen to see it, too.
I might mention ‘simple’ here, but that doesn’t mean Trolls is a dumb, witless story; it only serves its purpose as a PG entertainment. Not at Pixar’s emotional and/or intellectual depth, but it still emanates good vibes. Simplicity in Trolls is about making people happy in any simple way.
Speaking of happiness, the titular trolls are little creatures of happiness—they sing, dance, hug and even fart glitters. Trolls might be the happiest creatures ever; unfortunately, they’re also edible. They’re foods for Bergen, hideous creatures which cannot be happy… until they eat a troll. Continue reading Trolls (2016) – Review