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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Case of Hana & Alice (2015) Japan

The legend of Yuda.






Original title:
Hana to Arisu Satsujin Jiken (Japanese)


Genre:
Anime, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 5-minute read.


Review:
     It is a prequel to the 2004 film 'Hana and Alice' from the same writer, director. So I had to watch that before coming to this one and I found both the films were pretty good. Usually to watch a sequel, you have to be familiar with the original. But for a prequel, it's not necessary as the story wise it would be the original, despite not the first to release in the series or franchise. Either way watching both the films is good for the better understanding, and chronological order is the best way to go for.

     The formats are different, as well as the time gap between the two films. After all it was not a bad decision. This anime was like any other neat and cute anime you had seen. Yeah, I liked the smooth animation. The sketches were not very detailed, yet very detail in the motion presentation. If you are an anime fan, it will be a treat. I'm not saying it is the best anime ever, but surely a little gem and not be missed by the fans of the 2004 film.

     I don't know whether the final scene of this film and the opening of the other film are same (because of the different mood), but to me it looked like that way. This film is to reveal how Hana and Alice first met and become close friends. But it all begins with the Alice's new school's legend, the death of Yuda. Destined to meet Hana who was a classmate of Yuda, is now her neighbour. So their adventure begins to find new details about Yuda's life, but ends up with misadventures.

 I won't forget that pain as long as I live. 

     The perfect characters, I mean two young teen girls. Also a perfect storyline, which is about finding the truth behind a mystery. But it's not thrillerised as everything about the film suggest, including the title. Very much dramatised with lots of fun filled often tense moments. The first act was good, but it was the remaining film that keeps getting better till the final scene. I liked the second half of the film, especially the quest taken by Hana and Alice was simple yet entertaining.

     There are some off the track adventures, like for a brief moment an old man enters the narration, but that added an extra flavour to take us in a new direction. Soon it reinstates to its original path and that's where the ultimate friendship blooms between two title characters. It's always about a boy between them. Their friendship was tested in the other film over a boy, but here joining hands to solve the mystery surrounding a boy's death. Like the first film, the ballet had its part, though not a main draw, except being a part of one of the main characters.

     The original cast from the 2004 film rendered their voices for the respective two lead roles. So except watching it in the anime version, the appeal is almost the same. As per some sources, a manga series is following after this. But I hope the story continues with the third film, either in live-action or in anime. This is an under-noticed anime, but well appreciated. I really surprised of its quality and theme. For me, it's definitely slightly ahead of the first film and this my review briefs why. So surely worth a watch and I recommend it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Hana & Alice, Ocean Waves, The Anthem of the Heart, Your Name, The Garden of Words.


External link(s):



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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Conspiracy of Faith (2016) Denmark, Norway

With an old clue, a new hunt begins.






Original title:
Flaskepost fra P (Danish)


Genre:
Crime, Thriller.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     The third film in the 'Department Q' series that adapted from the book series of the same name. For this the director has changed, the one from 'In Order of Disappearance' and I think it was a good move, but the result was not as expected, at least not for me. As the sequels proceeding, it's losing its charm. Yeah, for me still the first film was the best one. That following parts were just okay, which rely highly on the great foundation that laid in the first.

     Actually this story was good, despite like any cop-and-kidnapper-chase-thriller. But it was developed on the sensitive issue like faith which made the film a little shy. Because they don't want to bring in any serious debate, but wanted to balance everything as much as possible to be neutral from all kinds of this film series' fans/viewer's perspective. So you will be entertained as the title promised, but at the end if you consider it just a film, then it's okay. Otherwise, particularly from the atheist's viewpoint, its not any favourable.

     The story has a clear explanation for whatever happens, especially about the film character who commits the crime. So it is a challenging time for what Carl Morck believes in. So far we saw him as a tough cop, but this particular case he's dealing with is like he had never encountered before. There are some great scenes, like chasing a train which is actually a turning point in the narration. But the rest of the film was mostly has cliche like any cop who tries to solve the crime.

 With that attitude you'll never enjoy a pork roast. 

     The plot for the crime was focused on the initial stage of the tale. The following narration was highly influenced by the cops and their attempt to resolve the issue. But before coming to that, an intentional connection between the two cases was not definitely a masterstroke as I expected. Although it looked something new on the screenplay, which might have worked so good in the dark and slow paced crime-thriller.

     While they are, Carl and Acid are looking to decipher the puzzle they have got which is dated back nearly a decade, now they come to know that two kids were kidnapped in a similar fashion. They begin to dig deeper from the previous clue for the new incident. If they are right, it is much closer than they have thought to solve it. But how it helps to plan for the fight and their full efforts which told in the final act with a fast pace.

     Little disappointing was they wanted to remain those two cops as the heroes. So all the heroic acts were a build up from them alone in most of the accounts for the cinematic edgy moments. Especially how the finale turns out, is not appreciable from the writing perspective, other than giving satisfactory episode to the hardcore fans of the film franchise.

     For me the locations were awesome, all the scenes shot at the right time of the day and its light that sets a fine tone regarding all the developments taking place. A decent follow-up and surely worth a watch if you had liked previous two films, but don't expect it to be the best in the series. Anyway, still some people think it is the best one so far. Now I think it's time to wait for 'The Purity of Vengeance' if they are on to it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
The Absent One, The Keeper of the Lost Causes, Easy Money, A Second Chance.


External link(s):



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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Graduation (2016) Romania, France, Belgium

A father's desperate attempt for his daughter.






Original title:
Bacalaureat (Romanian)


Genre:
Crime, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     From the director of 'Beyond the Hills'. I have not seen many Romanian films, but a couple of his films, so I had an anticipation and it fulfilled that. If you are familiar with his works, you will love it too as well. It is an Oscar material like 'Toni Erdmann', but Romania had sent a different film. The film had achieved multiple things, including majorly highlighting the social issues and the education system, particularly from the parent's perspective. But it is basically about a father and his desperate attempts for his daughter for her better future. So it is something like 'Fathers & Daughter', but on one particular topic and the on-screen presentation was so realistic without the background score.

     Everything revolved around what the title suggested. A father who is professionally a doctor wants to provide a better education for his daughter. While facing a series of vandalism, his family gets a major shock after an unexpected terrible event. It was just before the daughter's annual exam. So it seems they're all disturbed by it, but the father is still not giving up on his daughter's exam, which requires a better score to get into the best university in the world. Apart from that, his other side of the personal and professional life takes some major turns. The film reveals all his struggles while breaking some moral laws.

 Sometimes, in life, it's the result that counts. 

     The tale was told from the father's perspective and that character was seen almost in every frame. A good father knows what's best for his child, but sometimes crossing limits is what they do because of love and care. On the other hand, growing up kids, especially turning eighteen means that's when they actually begin to meet the real world. So basically they want to lose their parents' influence in their life as much as possible like when a baby bird starting to stretch its wings. Those stuffs were not prioritised here, but understandable from the developments we witness.

     From the social aspect, the corruption and educational demands, that's especially in the high scoring contest were the deriving plots from the main. The film could have been 10-15 minutes shorter if the father's professional side of the tale was not covered. It looked unnecessary, but fairly the part of the story when a slice of his life was what this film is about. I think not everybody sees the film's intention which is definitely not entertainment, nor inspiration, but kind of fact based on the parents.

     Yeah, I would have done almost the same as what the father has done in this. But due to some parallel developments in the main story, he had to face extra pressure from his own family. So unexpected way the narration takes the turn towards the final section. That's disappointing if you had supported the father from the very beginning. But a lesson he had learnt for his approach to deal the affair that he thought is slipping away from his master plan.

     Overall, a very good film, something you will learn how some people plan to deal a difficult stage of their life that's impacted by other surrounding developments. My only, slight disappointment was the crime part of the story which did not meet my expectation, but in most of the case that's how reality would be. So this is for particularly the drama film fans, because coping with the pace requires a little patience.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Toni Erdmann, I Daniel Blake, Beyond the Hills, Elle, American Honey.


External link(s):



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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tower (2016) USA

About the first such incident in the US history.






Genre:
Documentary, Animation (2D), Crime, History.


Length:
Approximately 4-minute read.


Review:
     It was like another documentary film that I saw one last week. But this time it was an even bigger scale. This, the original event took place exactly 50 years ago and first of its kind. Since then hundreds of similar events have been recorded. Many of them were made into films, but I don't remember this one was ever turned into one. This is about a raged gunman on the college campus, where many people got killed and injured. A shocking incident, even cops did not know how to handle it at first.

     So, the film reveals one of the most horrific episodes ever happened in the American soil. Like everything has a first time, this is where it all began for this kind of event. The filmmakers used some of the original archive footage to tell the story, but the majority of the film was the animation. Since it was a documentary film and was made under a tight budget, the visuals were not that pleasant, but the notion was well achieved.

     Documentary films and interviews are like thunder and lightening. So there are interviews in it, but most of them were made-up of. I mean they were real, though not with the real people, except their recorded voice interviews in most of the cases. It was challenging to bring back the original event on the screen since it is not a feature film to recreate whatever way they want, especially that occurred half a century ago. But very appreciable for even giving us this much of detail to feel the vibe.

 One of the truths I have learnt is that there are monsters that walk among us. 

     It was like any other normal day on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. But the scenario has suddenly changed when two student couple fell on the ground not aware of what just happened, and so the people around. After some time, it became clear that a gunman open fired on them and many others from a nearby tower, but the real issue is nobody could see him. Soon it reached the radio and television, and alert has been circulated. Then the cops got involved to solve the matter and how it all ends covered in the rest of the films.

     This is a good film, revealed most of the parts as much as in details, but I'm not fully convinced. Because the concept of narration was quite similar to feature film style where they want to keep the mystery. It all begins with one perspective and multiplies as it progresses. Except not focusing enough on the negative character. I understood the situation of the event, but I did not get enough detail about the gunman. It was like one side of the story. So mysterious and it stayed that way.

     Shorter and well paced. This is definitely worth checking out, though not a must see. To learn the history, the bad one. I had no idea about it prior to watch, but at the end, I felt it accomplished everything on its capacity to give out the truth. No matter it is a documentary film, along with the suspense, the tension was well balanced. So, more or less it is same as like watching a regular crime film. That's especially for those who are not into documentary films. I hope someone would make a feature film out of it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
The Witness, Taxi to the Dark Side, The Imposter, The Act of Killing.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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