Tag Archives: children

Never Let Me Go (The Film)

I have to admit, this movie completely missed my radar. And its only come up because of an independent study class on dystopias that I’ve learned about movies like this. And let me tell you, this one’s a doozy. A love story and depressing dystopia all rolled into one characterizes Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Let me try to paint a picture for you of the world created in this movie. Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are three young

An impressive child actor cast.

individuals who live a sheltered life in an alternate reality. It’s the 60’s and all major illnesses have been cured. The last great obstacle is death. And with organs failing, a solution is needed to push people far past their early 100’s.

In what appears at first to be an unrelated issue, young girl Kathy (Isobel Miekle-Small), young girl Ruth (Ella Purnell), and young boy Tommy (Charlie Rowe) are all attending a boarding school that doesn’t seem that odd. Run by Madame (Nathalie Richard) and Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling), these ominous figures keep a tight grasp

Shaggy and bohemian is the way to look in the 70’s I guess.

on the children. They’re not allowed to leave the grounds, not allowed to break the rules, and must always remain healthy. This may seem odd, and the big reveal doesn’t come until maybe 30 or 40 minutes into the film. It may shock you a bit.

What really impressed me about this movie was the cinematography. It was dreary, and at the same time surreal in the way it looked. And coming from Mark Romanek, a usual music video director, this was quite surprising for a slightly different presentation medium. The music was done hauntingly well on the trilling piano, with a British background landscape that made everything seem desolate, from school to farm, farm to beach.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot, but I do have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the naivete of all the characters in the film. The child actors were very mature and experienced for

Oh hey, Peter Parker…

as few productions as they’ve done, coupled with great performances by Mulligan, Garfield, and Knightley. You do have to understand that all of these characters are socially isolated and it reflects well in the acting they all deliver. (More Garfield than anyone else.) His painful cries and Knightley’s haunted witchiness makes for a great combo in comparison to Mulligan’s calm and collected motherly figure.

I’ll leave the rest of the film up to you to see for yourselves, but it is worth a watch because of how well Kazuo Ishiguro’s books translate into films (i.e.¬† The Remains of the Day). I wasn’t wholeheartedly into it, but it wasn’t disappointing either. It was simply a movie about love and loss, between innocent characters. A love triangle for the dystopian ages. Worth checking out. 6.8 out of 10.


The Good Son: Home Alone Meets Frodo Baggins

If I had to consider this movie anything, I would consider it the precursor (or inspiration) for Orphan. It has that same feel of mentally disturbed children and always that one person who’s never believed by anyone. You bring together two ridiculously good child star actors and you have to expect some sparks to fly on camera. At times

Evil has a face. Kevin McCallister.

you even feel like they’re competing for who’s a better child actor. But at some point, this movie falls flat.

So we begin with Mark (Elijah Wood). His mother has died and he’s taking it pretty hard. His dad (David Morse) has one last business venture to undertake, and then he and Mark will be set for the rest of their lives. In two weeks they can be together again. But not before Mark stays with his dad’s brother. Susan (Wendy Crewson) and Wallace (Daniel Hugh Kelly) are nice parents and all with two wonderful children. Henry (Macaulay Culkin) and Connie (Quinn Kay Culkin) are nice little children. But Henry seems to have a mature and sadistic mean streak in him. And he only shows it to Mark. So it’s up to Mark to prove to Henry’s parents that they are in danger. But Henry’s parents won’t believe him.

Hey Mark, don’t f@$%k with me.” Best. Line. Ever.

This movie has all the same plot points as Orphan. Treehouse, snowy winter home, a baby lost, and add to all that a sadistic child. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were copyright infringement on this at all. But what Oprhan did better than The Good Son is it didn’t have such a ridiculously unbelievable and evil ending. When you see it, you’ll know. That just ruined the entire movie for me. And Roger Ebert can settle down. “No kids should ever see this movie”. Yeah, you’re right, that’s why it’s rated R, stupid.

So set aside the bad ending and the uncomfortable scenes of evilness.

If we hide here Sam, Macaulay Culkin can’t find us.

What are you left with? A pretty decent cast, and two child stars that go on to do some great things (I’m hinting at LOTR and Party Monster). Three of the Culkins are featured in this movie, and that ain’t half bad either. There’s really not much else to say, you might just have to check it out for yourself. As far as 90’s movies go, this one is pretty down there. It may be a laugh at times, even. But don’t be expecting anything grand from The Good Son. 5.6 out of 10.


AnoHana: A Title Too Long, An Anime Too Sad

The characters of AnoHana

Okay, the title is far too long. Ano Hi Mata Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. Roughly translated, We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw that Day. (Probably actually translated) I’m no expert in the Japanese language, but… Why? Anyways, that’s besides the point. This was a phenomenal show. It was also phenomenally sad. With angst and tears in hand, this show could do no wrong. For the most part.

First recommendation about this show. Watch this by yourself. No groups

The Haunting by Menma.

allowed. Unless you and another few people really wanna attempt to cry and connect with your emotional side, then do so by yourself. It’s well worth it. Second, watch this subbed. The dubbed version is not out, may take a while, but make sure this is watched subbed. The Japanese voice actors in this show give a whole new meaning to emotional acting. And third, whatever you do, love Yukiatsu. He is the most fantastic character in this anime. Not a jerk.

The cute children of AnoHana!

To the plot. This show is about a group of friends who, when they were children, called themselves the Super Peace Busters. Slightly strange, but they were for justice and peace, not for busting it. (Or were they?) Jintan, Menma, Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko, and Poppo would hang out all the time playing Nokemon and playing in the forest in their amazingly built clubhouse for a bunch of small children. One day tragedy strikes and Menma dies. This horrific accident separates the group forever.

Until one day, Jintan starts seeing Menma and what appears to be her poltergeist apparition form. Menma is now older and has aged like all the others to their high school age. Acting  just like she did when she was younger, she now stands in stark contrast to those who lost her so many years ago.

Unconrtrollable tears!

Jintan has become a shut in who no longer attends school, Anaru has become what appears to be a snobby slut, Yukiatsu and Tsuruko have become cold hearted people, and Poppo is the only one who has remained the same.

Giving Menma appearing to him as an illusion of the summer heat, Jintan continues to go about his usual life. Having lost his mother, his father and him have seemed to grow apart to a superficial level. But, slowly but surely, Jintan begins to connect with Menma and starts to remember the emotions and feelings of his childhood. With Menma not knowing what exactly is her purpose on “haunting” Jintan, Jintan must try and grant her wish and send her to Heaven.

Yukiatsu, my love.

There is one thing and one thing only to say about this show. Tears. This show trys in every capacity, every episode, to make you cry. Not even the frequent intermissions of comic relief can attempt to dry your eyes of the sadness. The ending song itself functions as a key to emotionally end every episode on a revelation/sadness scene. And it is so damn effective. You become entirely attached to all the characters and want them to come to terms with Menma’s death and become friends again. And it doesn’t look possible. The alienation of growing up and high school, coupled with traumatizing death seems to leave them all hopeless. You wish the best for them and cry when things turn out all right. Just not in the way you’d think.

The comic relief needs to flowww.

With all the emotion and revealing scenes of twist and turns, this show just deliver and delivers. It spares not a minute of its short 11 episode run. The story is told and you’re left with a feeling of warmth beside a feeling of loss inside. And that makes it worth it. But you know what? I don’t want to cry every episode. I don’t mind spilling my man tears, but when you’re beaten over the head and told to cry, does the act of emotion and sadness really become an effective anime in the end? With the characters, I would say yes! Please for the love of God, Yukiatsu is the person I wanna be! (Wink wink) But with the plot and short period of time it has to function, give me a break every other episode. Let me dry my eyes and not feel this is kind of stupid in the heaviest melodramatic Lifetime movie way possible. Don’t try to make me cry for the sake of crying. Make me happy to shed tears for those I care about. Not unecessary tears of circumstance.

That being my only contention with this show, it takes it down heavily from the 10 out of 10 category and down into the 8 out of 10 category. But based solely on Yukiatsu, give it the 10 out of 10. Final verdict, 7.9 out of 10.


Invisible Target: Jackie Chan & Son

Jackie Chan has officially passed on his torch as the #1 stunt fighting action star in Asia. And who has he passed this gigantic burden of fame and stardom onto? Why Jaycee Chan of course! With this lineage created and the dynasty struck, good things can only come from Jackie and Son. And this movie, Jacyee Chan’s first debut on the big screen, Invisible Target promises great things from the son of a master.

In this cop vs bad guy film with a resonance of Police Story, Jaycee and fellow action stars Nicholas Tse and Shawn

3 Badasses right there.

Yue (the first name thing must be a sign of Chinese stardom) battle hand to hand and guns to guns with 7 of the most feared ex-military/con demons known in Shang Hai (or wherever this movie takes place. Bangkok?) After the intial heist of a armored truck that killed Carson Fong Yik Wei’s (Shawn Yue) fiance, three detective/inspectors are hurled together from differing pasts and fighting/justice styles to band together for one stand against some of the worst crime China has seen.

Filled with corruption of the police force and some badass roundhouse kicks, this film promises actions scenes at an almost intermittent pace, mixed with a few car chases and explosions. I mean, come on, some guy is forced to eat bullets with a straight leg to the face. This movie delivers hard with at least a 35 minute lull between action scenes in one section. For you action fans out there, this may prove hard to move past, but all-in-all there are at least 4 action scenes that are worth checking out, most importantly the final battle. Through this entire 2 hour, 20 minute movie, a plot of intrigue unfolds among scenes of unnecessary violence.

Look forward to a lot of this.

As far as the good and bad things, nothing necessarily sticks out to me. Jaycee Chan, as far as Chinese and English acting, seems to excel in the former and it is yet to be seen if he excels in the latter. Hopefully he’ll be given the chance. What’s strange is that it seemed that Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan all gave children to star in this movie, following their very particular fighting styles. Amazing, if you ask me. Decent, yet semi-cheesy special effects and digital graphics, a decent foreign cast, and some fantastically orchestrated fight scenes. I give Benny Chan (relation?) and the whole crew of this movie a 7.3 out of 10.