Kyoukai no Kanata: I’ll Be Here – Kako hen is the first part of the movie series. This part is a complete recap of the original anime series. It does a good job getting you up to speed as to what happened in the original series and is only dedicated to the events surrounding Kanbara Akihito and Kuriyama Mirai and doesn’t indulge in side stories. This is a really good summary of the original series. No new scenes are used. It reuses the scenes from the original anime to make this summary. The story of Kanbara Akihito and Kuriyama Mirai is explained. It does not go into the side stories like with the Nase Family, Inami Sakura and Fujima Miroku.
Since it uses the same scenes, it has no change in art. It’s the same KyoAni which you’ve already seen. The artwork is amazing. Both the opening and the ending are really good songs. They are played near the end of the series. The opening is played when Kanbara Akihito reaches Kuriyama Mirai when she is fighting Kyoukai no Kanata near the end of the movie. The ending is played at the end and is a full version. It is played through the credits. If you haven’t seen the original anime and watch this movie only, you’ll miss out on many characters. As I said before, this movie focuses on Akihito and Mirai so the other characters get very little to no screen time. The only side character to have some play in this movie is Izumi Nase.
I loved the original anime and I liked watching the summary too. Even though it is a summary, some comedy bits are placed in it. And there are some emotional rides too. It’s a really good summary and for fans of the series, it is a good way to catch up and remember what happened. But, lets be honest. Compared to the series, this movie tried to cram 12 episodes worth into an hour and 20 minuets, completely omitting half of the series all together. The only reason I could hold the movie story together was my previous knowledge of the series. Vibrant colors and well used cinematic scenes that made you think “My that looks beautiful”. The characters are drawn in a style I like and the battle scenes do not hold back.
I would have loved to put this higher because I know the characters have so much more going for them if you watch the series. But purely based off the movie, you hardly have time to learn about anyone other than your two main protagonists. And even then, you only learn very limited details about them. The movie does not give them enough time to blossom, as it seems to skip weeks or possibly months at a time. Only thing I am going to put here is the movie does not do the series justice, and the only reason to watch it is to refresh yourself as to what happened in the series. The second part of this two part movie however is hopefully going to improve dramatically. Overall, I liked it.
This is the Dragon Ball Z Movie experience I always wanted. While Battle of Gods was an amazingly fun light-hearted adventure, this is the badass action-packed DBZ that we wanted since the Cell Saga. Goku and Vegeta have now ascended to Gods with a new master. I absolutely loved the exploration of Goku and Vegeta’s character dynamics and development throughout the training scenes, with the new master not only being a physical mentor but a spiritual one as well.
Immediately striking about Resurrection ‘F’ is the strong plot, which is certainly not always the case with Dragonball movies. For the majority of the events and decisions throughout the film, is a statement that often precedes the already mentioned subtle, can be found. Even the great gap between Goku, who grew tremendously throughout the seasons and movies, and just revived Frieza, are more or less credibly explained. Even Goku’s immaturity attitude will not lead to yet another victory, but be punished here.
The enormous technological progress made since Battle of God, the return of Frieza, as well as the usual voice actors who resume their task and do what they do best, make the connection completely seamlessly with the wider Dragonball / Dragonball Z canon. Yet it is not nostalgia that the clock strikes. Thus Toriyama and company learned from their mistakes. Unlike Battle of God’s, Resurrection ‘F’ for example, much less becomes the great Goku show. Finally we see Gohan, Piccolo and especially Vegeta action. A full glory moment for the Saiyan prince comes and the other not, as usual, occupied by Goku. Also includes fan-favorite rascals Goten and Trunks nowhere to be seen…
Bills provides much of the comedy in his own unique manner as one of the best new DBZ Characters ever. Speaking of new characters, I’m pleasantly surprised by Frieza’s new minions, especially Sorbet as he’s actually useful throughout the movie and not just fodder like the rest of Frieza’s army. The invasion scene was amazing as it put the Z warriors back in the spotlight and gave the movie some much-needed tension. Especially Gohan; not since his fight with Cell has he been this badass! Speaking of badassery, the very definition of the word, Vegeta, finally gets his time to really shine – it is straight up brawls in that over-the-top fashion we all know and love delivered by the Prince of all Saiyans. In the end, the 15th DBZ Film featured the return of the greatest Anime villain of all time: Frieza in a Battle of Gods with the Super Saiyan God Goku. It’s just classic!
Skin Trade is an upcoming Thai-Canadian action-thriller film directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham. It was written by Dolph Lundgren, Gabriel Dowrick, and Steven Elder; John Hyamsperformed uncredited script revisions. It stars Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa as cops who try to take down a human trafficking ring in Bangkok. After his family is killed, Nick, a New York cop, tracks the Serbian mobsters responsible to Bangkok, where they are involved in human trafficking. Nick teams up with a Bangkok cop, Tony, to stop the operation. Their paths cross after Viktor is let loose upon diplomatic pressure and skips town, seeking refuge in a corrupt general’s mansion near the Cambodian border. Unfortunately for Nick, Viktor’s sons manage to get to his family before fleeing town, so after regaining consciousness from an RPG strike on his house, Nick decides to take his quest for revenge to Viktor. Thanks to Michael Jai White’s rogue government agent Reed, Nick is framed for the murder of Tony’s partner soon after setting foot on Royal Thai soil. Of course, who’s good and who’s bad will become clear quite quickly, but Lundgren and his co-writers have specifically engineered enough twists and turns precisely to fulfil their audience’s expectations to see each one of the marquee action stars have a go at the other.
Much of the heavy lifting here is done by Jaa, whose speed and agility has not dimmed one bit since his ‘Tom Yum Goong’ and ‘Ong Bak’ days. While his Hollywood debut in ‘Fast and Furious 7′ may have been overlooked because of the crowded ensemble, Jaa’s lead turn here will definitely not go unnoticed. His one-on-one with Lundgren in an abandoned warehouse is the film’s halfway high-water mark, pitting a lean mean warrior against a much hulkier opponent – though there is no question in our minds just who is the one that is the better fighter.
It is no wonder then that Jaa is the one chosen to take on Jai White, the latter a much worthier opponent than Lundgren skilled in the art of kickboxing not unlike Jean Claude Van-Damme in his heydays. The fight between them is brutal and ferocious, choreographed specifically to illustrate the strengths of either actor, and next to the noisy and overblown finale at a remote airstrip that it precedes, is easily the climax that the film deserves to be remembered for. Indeed, while a sizeable amount of the limited budget on which the film is made for has been reserved for explosions and other fireballs, it is the raw thrill of seeing these natural born fighters go at each other knuckle-to-knuckle that is where its charm lies.
Feature film adaptation of the the TV series, “Triumph in the Skies.” Entrepreneur/pilot Branson (Louis Koo) has just taken over Skylette Airlines. (Unbelievably) he has the time to fly one of its regular commercial routes, where he bumps into old flame Cassie (Charmaine Sheh) who is a flight attendant on his flight. They continue to bump into each other on subsequent flights and they rekindle their old romance. But will Cassie be able to trust him after he had dumped her in the past?
Given that Triumph in the Skies is based on a TV series of the same name, it’s worth noting that Matt Chow and co-director Wilson Yip provide the film with slick visuals and an interesting use of colors that help make the experience aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. The same can be said about the use of music. Although the film does deal with serious themes, it’s handled in a light way with fast enough pacing that makes it an entertaining albeit somewhat slight date movie.
Apart from Kenneth Ma and Elena Kong, the same cannot be said with the rest of the cast. Even the superstar appearances of Louis Koo and Sammi Cheng does little with their underdeveloped characters other than looking good the whole time. However, the biggest disappointment of all in the cast is Francis Ng and Julian Cheung. Both of them were great in the second season of Triumph In The Skies, but traces of their solid performances from the TVB series are hardly found in this movie version. Sure, we still get to see Francis Ng’s stoic appearance and Julian Cheung’s charismatic personality that we have grown accustomed from the TVB series. But beyond that, there is nothing much to recommend about their characters.
A mixture of prime-lens blurred-out-backgrounds, saturated colors and even old-school tobacco graduated filters for the outdoor scenery. Jackie Chan needs to grab this guy for his next movie. The songs aren’t too bad either and the six leads look good on screen. If that’s good enough for you, by all means go enjoy yourself. Aside from the visuals, what struck me was how at ease director Wilson Yip (Ip Man) and writer/director Matt Chow were with the England setting of the movie. Instead of showing cliched English landmarks; they chose quirky, bohemian, hipster locations. Recommended.
Set in the distant past of 2011, when the Occupy movement was still roaring and all hope was not yet lost, Vladan Nikolic’s Allure struggles to make sense of an uprising that didn’t ascend to the heights many had hoped. It doesn’t help that the docudrama is arriving neither in the heat of the moment nor with more than a few years’ worth of hindsight on a movement whose full implications have yet to be sussed out. Nikolic does contribute to that effort, however, with a multicultural portrait of several women either directly involved in or tangentially affected by Occupy; the more he expands beyond this core element, the more interesting Allure becomes.
Inspired by true stories, ‘Allure‘ focuses on five women in NYC, who have come from different countries and settings. Each one struggles to overcome her personal conflict, set against the backdrop of greater political struggles and the global Occupy Movements. These separate, but intersecting multi-ethnic storylines touch and inform each other, and create a larger narrative, about gender, emigration, power, class, and personal politics. Crudely and pretentiously put, in hollywood’s pitch-language, it’s early Godard meets a 21st century digital anarchist cinema; more accurately put, it is an artistic rendition of intersecting multi-ethnic stories in present New York City, centered around women, and mirrored against the upheaval of economic and political unrest, the Occupy World Movement.
The filmmaker, originally from Serbia, has a sensitive understanding of the immigrant experience shared by many members of his cast — some of the strongest moments here are also the simplest, with people simply recounting their experiences. Of vital importance to this process is Aleksandar Kostic’s roving camerawork and grainy, black-and-white cinematography, though the camera’s agile movements often prove more kinetic and engaging than the halfhearted plot. At times there’s no way to be sure whether what’s on screen is scripted or candid, a formal tension that keeps the film on its toes while also underscoring that it’s more effective as an experiential mood piece than it is as a drama.
Chasuke’s Journey represents Sabu’s return to mainstream cinema, though it is in parts a typically quirky and off-the-wall piece from the innovative Japanese filmmaker. The titular journey man, Chasuke, is heaven’s tea servant; he provides herbal infusions to the robed screenwriters in the sky whose plots are then lived out on earth by their characters. One day while dishing out the tea, he gets entangled in one of the plots involving Yuri, a mute woman for whom he develops a fondness, and so is sent down to earth, where his celestial powers enable him to rewrite the script for the people he meets.
Which is perhaps why Sabu’s film degenerates quickly into nonsense – with faith healing, yakuza and a rather anodyne brickbat of a message, that we can change our destinies at any time. There are some impressive visual touches, such as the prismatic flares that light the screen in heaven, or the glittering dust that surrounds Chasuke when he harnesses his powers of immortality to cure the sick and ruin the scenarios of miserable scriptwriters, or the finale of black soul projections rising heavenwards. And it’s funny too, rattling through life stories, quoting other movies such as Ghost,Titanic and Gloria – a derivative shorthand blamed on lazy screenwriters. But its momentum peters out into a bloody yakuza comedy with nowhere to go. A confused and at times tedious muddle after a promising start, Chasuke’s Journey is a fun but haunting disappointment.
The film takes advantage, too, of the opportunity to land a few sly digs at bad writing in cinema through several well worked jokes. This helps to bed the themes of metaphysics and self-determinism into a lighter atmosphere made up of humor and action. If the film falters anywhere it would be where, despite its imaginative and charming execution, its central message is a little worn. The notion that our lives are ours to live and that we determine our own fates is nothing particularly original, and consequently the edge is slightly taken off an otherwise engaging and charismatic effort from Sabu.
Na Moon-Hee initially stars as the titular Granny…she portrays a woman in her golden years who soon finds herself becoming less & less relevant to the family she helped raised and the world she now lives in. While reflecting on her life on one particularly bleak day, she accidentally stumbles across a means to turn back the clock 50 years. Nothing else has changed with the world, but she’s now stuck in the body of her former 20 year old self. The majority of the early part of this film plays like a straightforward drama about the life of a granny and her surrounding family. Na Moon-Hee is a fine, fine actress whose primary job is to set this entire film in motion by portraying the prototypical Korean entertainment matriarch; she’s wise and kind and cares for her extended family, but she’s also stuck in her ways, nags a lot, and seemingly doesn’t have much left to look forward to in life. Na Moon-Hee spends most all of her screen time simply establishing these basic familiar traits & familial relationships, while endeavoring to provide a good deal of viewer sentiment towards the plight of her ever-aging character.
A little while in, the change from 70 year old woman to 20 year old girl occurs, and a new actress takes over in the Granny role. Shim Eun-Kyung gets the role of “Young Granny” and is ultimately the star of this film. She’s dually tasked with playing an adorable young girl from the past mixed with a modern older woman from the present, while frequently having to call upon and blend the traits of both. It’s a rather juicy part (for a rom-com melodrama) that is crucial to the overall success of this film, and Eun-Kyung does not disappoint…she is very impressive throughout this film right from the moment she bursts onto the scene. Things get pretty amusing as soon as Young Granny shows up and starts to realize what has happened to her. After some initial shock, then acceptance, she quickly gets busy taking full advantage of the opportunity at hand; Young Granny moves right back in with her family under the guise of an anonymous young boarder, and sets off on completing a proper ‘Fantasy To Do List’ (i.e. go on a shopping spree, join a band, find romance, etc…). After soaking in all that her newfound youth has to offer, and avoiding detection as long as possible, Young Granny has to eventually choose between continuing on as a 20 year old or reverting back to her older self. And, this being a Korean film, there’s probably going to be some melodrama involved with her decision.
All in all, everything falls into place quite well with this little flick. It will occasionally meander along from one set piece to another, but everything is kept moving along expediently enough. All of the auxiliary characters were relevant and solid when called upon and there are no real antagonists to speak of to get in the way of things. This movie does tend to play like a mostly lighthearted Korean fantasy TV melodrama that’s condensed and edited up into a two hour format, and, it is shamelessly sweet and sappy whenever it gets a chance to be so…but, it’s also occasionally poignant & quite charming overall, and, it is often hilarious once it starts to heat up. The film does benefit considerably from a combination of several stellar performances and some sharp writing/editing/direction when necessary…And, perhaps this film’s biggest attribute lies in its own ability to be somewhat self-deprecating; it often seems to delight in chiding a number of well-worn genre specific themes and common industry motifs, while simultaneously embracing many of those very same aspects in order to produce a simple, fun, & entertaining movie.
I’ve seen far better films this year; more original films, more exciting films, more important films, etc…Nevertheless, I can’t think of too many movies that I actually enjoyed more than ‘Miss Granny’. It’s solidly recommended no matter who you are or where you’re from, but, you’ll most definitely get more mileage out of it if you’re a fan of &/or are familiar with the Korean entertainment industry to begin with.
Chow Yun-fat is back as the titular gambler, Ken, with the magic hand. This time, the movie exaggerates his skills with CGI poker cards until it almost becomes a fantasy. But that’s to be expected in a Wong Jing’s movie. This time, the location is shifted to Thailand where Mark (Nick Cheung), an accountant in a money-laundering syndicate, DOA, is chased by Interpol and DOA. Ken has to save him and help his protégé, Vincent (Shawn Yue). Wong Jing tries to pack in everything that is entertaining into a 2 hours movie. Though it feels bloated, expect a lot of crazy and random fun. Don’t expect a coherent story and character development and it will be an enjoyable entertainment. Action is ramped out. The action scene in the middle sees a break-in of the safe house with lots of explosion and gunfire. The movie’s climax turns into a CGI set where a fight breaks out in an airplane. Music is serviceable. Direction and acting is fine too.
Compared to their scenes together, the rest of the film unfolds with the usual Wong Jing bombast. Clearly given a much huger budget, Wong Jing ups the stakes in every conceivable way. Opening with a shootout on the high seas where Ken is greeted by bikini girls with guns in jet-powered flippers, Wong Jing proceeds to blow up an entire low- rise apartment building in Bangkok and shortly after almost completely annihilate an Interpol team at their safe house with drones, machine guns and even RPGs. Certainly, that is the attitude with which Wong Jing has approached the jaw-dropping climax, which sees Chow and Cheung transported via helicopter in an elevator cab to Aoi’s fortress in the skies.
Yet, even though there are plenty of visual distractions, Wong Jing wisely keeps the movie focused squarely on Chow. He is its very lifeblood, its very heart and soul, and even though not all of Wong’s jokes hit the mark, Chow’s comic timing every single time is absolutely impeccable. He knows just the right tongue-in-cheek tone to take with each line, such that no dialogue or scene ends up being caricature. Besides Cheung and Lau, Wong also surprises fans of old- school Hong Kong cinema with a brief scene of Chow at the mah-jong table with Eric Tsang, Natalis Chan, and himself. Still, nothing can quite prepare you for the final tease, which not only sees Chow reprise his ‘God of Gamblers’ get-up but also introduce Andy Lau as Ko Chun’s disciple for a ‘blast from the past’ that is worth the price of admission alone – and sets up the possibility of a sequel we already are standing in line for.
Overall, it is an enjoyable movie for the Chinese New Year holidays. There isn’t anything new served but if you are looking for a low-brow funny action-packed movie, I don’t see why this won’t fit the description. With everything ramped for the sequel, fans will be able to enjoy the second outing. With where the movie ends, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wong Jing returns for a third outing.
Kazama Kenji was feared as the worst delinquent of Fujou High, but after certain events led him to peek in on the Game Development Club, he witnesses the outbreak of a fire. While the members inside manage to succeed in putting it out, they all attack Kenji to erase his memory and hide the incident. Kenji desperately tries to escape from them, but when their president Shibasaki Roka rescues him he ends up joining their Game Development Club. If you’re looking for a hidden gem comedy anime then D-Frag is what you’re looking for. Kenji is somewhat of a delinquent, or at least he think he his. He and his buddies are on a mission to rule the school. That’s until he is forced to join the Game Development Club run by four pretty psychopaths.
Clearly the characters in a comedy have to stand out to be funny, and everyone introduced so far fits a niche that will find a fan. You have your crazy, feared student council president (Chitose), a mysterious but silly game club president (Roka), the aloof tomboy (Sakura) and the club member who acts like a student…is a teacher (Minami). The other characters introduced range from a student who constantly has her boobs referred to as melons by…another girl, a VP that should admit he’s an M instead of letting us see that he is, and a cross-dresser. The characters are actually hilarious. With hilarious characters, this allows the stories to actually work out and be entertaining. This is what D-Frag! was for me — entertaining, hilarious, and paced properly.
However, the art is pretty much the worst aspect of the volume. Characters are drawn awkwardly at some points, with anatomy not really a factor for most of this volume. Sometimes it works since it enhances the comedy, which is the most important part, but oftentimes it leaves a bit to be desired. But aside from that, this volume is a good debut. If you need some humor and are in need of something that’s good, D-Frag! looks like it’ll be good for you.
If you’re looking for a hidden gem comedy anime then D-Frag is what you’re looking for. Kenji is somewhat of a delinquent, or at least he think he his. He and his buddies are on a mission to rule the school. That’s until he is forced to join the Game Development Club run by four pretty psychopaths. I can’t remember the last time an anime made me laugh so much, but on top of that the animation style is one of the best I’ve seen in years too. There’s just so much color in it that matches the situations in a prefect way every time. Furthermore, each episode is packed with hyperboles and innuendos, but are never over used. They are so well placed that all the hyperboles have become one of my favorite parts of the show. Even the characters all flow together perfectly, which makes them all very likable, especially Kenji and Koka. Bottom line is if you like comedy anime that exaggerate on almost everything then you’ll probably like D-Frag.