Female Filmmaker Friday: Tremble All You Want (Katte ni furuetero) (2017) [Fantasia 2018]

A young woman who has never dated lives in her imagination and in memories of the one boy who made her teenage heart flutter. As she tries to reconnect with him, another option opens right in front of her. What will she go for and how will it affect her life?

Directed by Akiko Ohku who also wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Risa Wataya, Tremble All You Want is a sweet story about holding onto the past, looking for what one wants, having standards, and learning to let go. The way to film is built and written is sweet but not overly so, the lead of Yoshika has an active imagination and it adds a big chunk of whimsy to the story and makes it about more than just a girl chasing a boy who may or may not give her a second thought. Some of the scenes have a bit of a feel similar to that of Amelie while not having a similar color palette and shooting style, something that is definitely good in establishing mood but also in establishing the director as doing her own thing here.

Continue reading

Female Filmmaker Friday: Marie Antoinette (2006)

A look at life, loves, and losses of Marie Antoinette, a young girl sent to marry the future king of France at 15, who began her reign at 19, and lost her way in luxury and decadence soon after.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the film makes a case for the viewer to see Marie Antoinette in a better light than what they have learned in history class. Here she’s painted as a teenage girl sent to marry a man she’s never met, pushed to produce heirs to the throne, while given a lavish and decadent lifestyle which led to her life feeling unfulfilled and thus making her do all she could to make her life as interesting as she could with what was offered to her. Here the take on Marie Antoinette is almost friendly, showing her as a complex person who was raised in luxury, married into more luxury, and thus completely disconnected from the French populace that ultimately took her and her husband down. The film approaches this without judgment and an interest in humanizing without glorifying a woman who’s often only known for a single quote.

Continue reading

You Have to See This! Cool World (1992)

“Sweetheart, I’m the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world, and that’s all I’m going to say.” – Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” is a movie without a specific audience in mind, and doesn’t seem to know who it’s appealing to. It’s too dark and adult to be considered another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and much too juvenile to be taken as an adult film. I vividly remember collecting comic books as a kid and seeing full page ads for “Cool World” in every single issue I bought, and yet the movie clearly was not intended for a nine year old, and was too underground for teenagers. In a decade where everyone was trying to be Disney, I doubt many audiences were in the market for a dark erotic animated neo-noir satire involving an animated seductress trying to have sex with her creator so she can become a human.

Continue reading

Flower (2018)

Probably the most disappointing movie I’ve seen all year, I probably would have shut “Flower” off midway were it not for the great turn by Zooey Deutch. Deutch has become a rising star in film, never failing to be charming, charismatic, funny, and beautiful. She’s one of the survivors of Disney television whose managed to convey some genuine humanity and appeal in a variety of roles ever since. It’s just a shame she got saddled with such a mean, vicious, and despicable dark drama romance that’s about as demented as it gets. “Flower” feels like the writers tried to combine Diablo Cody and Larry Clarke in to one twisted freak of a film, and man does it suck.

Continue reading

Skyscraper (2018)

I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson. What ever he’s in, I’m automatically going to watch no matter what as he packs a star quality that’s been missing in movies for fifteen years. I guess with every action star, it’s an oath they take that they must have their own “Die Hard” in their repertoire, and “Skyscraper” is that inevitable point in Dwayne Johnson’s career as a big screen hero prone to playing men staring down impossible odds. I’m sad to see that “Skyscraper” is about as bland and forgettable a vehicle as it gets, which is a shame since the premise has at least some potential to be quite an exciting twist on a creaky, worn formula turned sub-genre.

Continue reading

Ready Player One (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “Ready Player One” is a fantastic, mind blowing amalgam of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Tron,” and “The Matrix” all rolled in to one multicolored strobe of pop culture. You’d think with the rapid fire barrage of pop culture nods and winks to video games, anime, and television series that “Ready Player One” would lose sight of its narrative. In the end, though, Spielberg keeps a firm grip on the novel by Ernest Cline, never once losing sight of what made the original novel such a must read in 2011.

Continue reading

Aragne: Sign of Vermillion (2018) [Fantasia 2018]

Saku Sakomoto’s “Aragne” is a real stab at anime horror that embraces its nonsensical story, and never actually delivers a narrative at any point during its run time. “Aragne” is thankfully a merciful hour long film, but one that’s a disorienting, and incoherent experience. And not in the artistic way. More in the realm that Sakomoto seems to have half assed a lot of the film and kind of took it in to the realm where he makes it looks intentional the whole way through.

Continue reading

John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (1994): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

John Carpenter has always been about transcending what ever form of storytelling he pursued. Even when paying homage toWesterns or remaking something like “Village of the Damned,” Carpenter never approaches it conventionally. With “In the Mouth of Madness,” he had every chance to repeat the same meta-beats as “They Live,” but he ends up delivering a genius, beautifully loony, often brilliant piece of cinema that’s both a tribute to literature, a meditation on the power of the imagination, and our own state of being and reality.

Continue reading