Tag Archives: touching

Ip Man 2: The Grandmaster Returns

I was happy to sit down and watch the second Ip Man after having watched the first, enjoying the story with interspersed martial arts fight scenes throughout. With more of a focus on story over choreography, this one didn’t catch my attention as much as I would have liked. It wraps up like Cinderella Man and makes you feel all good inside, but I didn’t have any of those jaw dropping moments. Let’s just get to the plot, shall we?

In this one, Ip Man (Donnie Yen reprises his role) has moved to Hong Kong after beating back the Japanese years before. He has plans to start his own martial arts school, but no disciples seem to be interested. With money problems and a

Two masters goin’ at it.

suppressive British government, Ip Man must maneuver his way through life, following his principles and maintaining a happy family. But it’s not all easy going for the Ip Man.

I really was surprised how this film focused more on story rather than substance. It had all the elements of a triumph of the will story without all the fight scenes and technique. My impression of Wing Chun from this film is one of precise and calculated moves, more than the clever and wily style of other martial arts styles. There aren’t flashy kicks or the use of elbows or knees, it is all more in the quickest

Donnie Yen, as refined as ever.

way to take someone out. I do appreciate that though. Donnie Yen shows off how quick he can be in a flurry of punches I’ve never seen demonstrated in a Kung Fu movie before. I give him his due for that.

The acting is just as good in this film as in the last. But I’m talking more about the Chinese actors than the English speaking ones. Although I’m pretty sure that Brian Burrell is living my dream of being a white man from America living in an Asian country. My country of choice, though? Thailand. Gotta give it up for the Muay Thai and Thai food. (Volcano chicken all the way.) But anyways, the English speaking actors (with as few of them as there probably are in China) just took things over the top and need to work on delivery. This is a common problem though in foreign films, so I don’t blame them too much. They were better than some.

I do appreciate the message the Ip Man films send to a wider audience than just China. The oppression felt in China has

I gotta get me one of those…

been quite prevalent in the last 100 years by foreign countries and bigger world powers. It has been a triumph over the bully in the last century, and China knew how to depict that. I give props to Wilson Yip for doing a good job in that department. I feel for the Chinese in this film and the way that most people look down on Chinese martial arts. Hell, martial arts in general. But I’m pretty sure, other than stamina, that any martial arts expert could take out a boxer with the right moves. Like me and all the other martial arts enthusiasts out there, I appreciate martial arts in all its capacity. Asia will always dominate in my heart.

Dope.

In a different twist I wasn’t expecting in this film, I was touched more than inspired to do martial arts. The music was good and uplifting, the cinematography wasn’t bad, and the Wing Chun kept it brief and brutal. Not much to complain about, but I still do love the fight scenes from the first movie more. 7.4 out of 10.

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Eve no Jikan: Time of Eve

Wow, it’s been a long time in the making, but this is my 201st post, just passing my 200th. I am now, after this, completely caught up and ready to go on to new up to the minute update sort of things. What I mean is my posts will be more raw and fresh in my mind because I just watched it. My list of updates/posts is done and it’s time to revitalize this old beast. So strap in for this last amazing little anime review and then get ready for Misfits Season 3 afterwards. You’re gonna have no idea what hit you with that one.

In Eve no Jikan/ Time of Eve, the world has been revitalized by robots. And, most recently, it has upgraded to androids who can act and look like humans. It’s your basic I, Robot issue right here. Right down to the 3 laws that govern robots. This might have taken some cues from the novel I, Robot was based on. Anyways, Rikuo Sakisaka is a

There’s only one rule here in this saloon.

teenage high school boy who has an android at home, Sammy. She cooks and cleans and makes one mean coffee. Upon updating her one day, Rikuo comes across some odd place that Sammy went in his phone. Inviting his friend Masakazu Masaki to come along, they both stumble on something that it taboo for both of them.

All the wonderful characters and images!

Time of Eve, this hip little cafe is made for robots and humans. And the only rule is that you are not allowed to discriminate between them or call the other out. The only real difference between the two of them is that androids have halos above their heads. But in the Time of Eve cafe, it goes away and both become human (in a way).

At first, Rikuo and Masaki are horrified at what they find. They know that treating a robot like a human is a stigma among humans, known as dori-kei or adnroid-philia. To treat or love a robot like a human is wrong to these boys, and that’s what makes this cafe so frightening. Over time Rikuo finds he likes coming to the cafe and a gap is bridged between robots and humans. Analyzing the loopholes of the laws that govern robots and what it means to “protect humans”, Rikuo and Masaki’s lives are changed by the Time of Eve.

Can there be love? Or constant separation?

This anime is very character driven and very touching. It has its funny moments when the music stops and the camera zooms in on an awkward moment or something, but overall heartwarming. The regulars of the cafe are humans and robots, and there’s no need to try to tell the difference. Every episode focuses on a different regular, eventually coming full circle. There’s a wonderful little girl named Chie who thinks she’s a cat. Some wonderfully old school robots who just want to be treated like humans, and Sammy, a robot who just loves her master.

I’m glad to see a movie was created after this anime came out. Found only on the internet as an ONA, this anime has been lucky enough to become popular enough to be made into a full length feature. (I have yet to watch it, but I would probably say the same things about this that I would about the movie.) It’s one of those quick anime that

A touching scene, one right after the other.

passes you by, but leaves a warm spot in your heart that stays with you, long after you may forget the character’s names. This anime sends a message about the future of our world and whether or not it is okay to discriminate now and in the future as well. And I would say that’s an emphatic no.

It’s quirky at the same time that every episode ends on a small tear streak down your cheek. The animation style is fluid and breathtaking, combining 3-D animation with 2-D humans and characters. This technique makes the characters stand out being flat in this futuristic world. The camera rotates around the cafe as if it is a real life scene, speaking to the movie lovers in all of us. Coming from a sci-fi background that has only seen flat and unemotional characters, this future set sci-fi genre anime breaks the rules and makes you feel. There may be hunks of cold metal onscreen, but they have warm hearts. That’s what I found cute and appealing about this 6 episode anime. It sucks you in with these short episodes with a trilling and romantically inclined music score, and leaves you feeling good at the end. Any anime like that deserves an 8.8 out of 10.

And here’s a cool AMV to prove my point.

 

 


Creation: The “A Beautiful Mind” of the 1800’s

So I just finished this movie and, I have to say, I was blown away by its simplicity. I’m pretty sure this movie had about 5 shooting locations, and this simplicity alone was touching and dramatic. This film about the entity that is Charles Darwin and the theory that changed the world through conflict, was one of anguish, inner turmoil, and alienation. This movie may have been pure speculation about the life of Darwin and his quest to write “Origin of the Species,” but it is rare to encounter a film that makes you believe that the actor who is Darwin must have known Darwin. Must have been Darwin.

I had heard about this movie a year or so ago and have always had an affinity for Paul Bettany. All of his

Paul Bettany as Darwin with his Wife Jennifer Connelly as, well, his wife.

work is top shelf stuff. And Creation is no exception. Another amazing piece from across the sea, and it kept me entranced in Bettany and those around Darwin. The 1850’s was a time of religious dominance and this film portrayed that quite clearly. It is this conflict between science and religion (still ongoing) that frames the film. It is not all encompassing of the purpose, but gives substance to the interactions between work, family, and the past.

Martha West as Emma Darwin. What a relationship they had.

There are two amazing relationships that also frame this movie. The first is between Darwin and his daughter Annie (Martha West). The conflict between the live Annie and the memory of her past self haunts Darwin throughout the film. Annie loves her father and his dedication and fervor for life. And at the same time, she loves her mother and the devotion she shows to her religion. As Bettany says ever so touchingly, “I thought we were making the perfect child.” But it is this child that causes the loss of faith as well as the devotion to his soon to be world changing book. And, with every painful interaction, Darwin is forced to face the demons of his past and the issue that this creates with his family, most importantly his wife. And therein lies the second best relationship portrayed in the film. Between Darwin and Emma (Jennifer Connelly), there is an ocean. Emma’s religion and Darwin’s science seem to be the issue at the heart of the problem, but in a surprising and touching twist, it is the daughter that causes the rift. And the resolution is worth the watch in itself. It is rare in films that a leading man and lady would be married in real life. This is one of them. And I give that credit to whoever cast a married couple in a role like this. It’s absolutely amazing to watch two people with chemistry that is based in life to interact on film. Every scene with their interaction is so fluid and natural that I was blown away by how wonderful it must be to be those two in love. Quite literally the best part of the film.

Quite similar.

And there are a few notable mentions to make about minor acting parts. Freya Parks does a great job as Etta, the oldest of Darwin’s children, fighting for the attention of her father who is perpetually focused on the memory of his dead daughter. Her scenes are touching and tragic in the way that she tries and seems to flounder without any affection from her father. The last scene, something to see. Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s current Sherlock) gave a great minor performance as Mr. Hooker, one of Darwin’s confidantes and emotional support in his hour of need when it comes to writing his book. And Martha West, bless her heart, gave it her all as Annie, the focus of Darwin’s obsession and past regrets. Having to play a protagonist and antagonist simultaneously must be quite hard for a child, and she pulls it off with aplomb.

You may have noticed the title of this blog. And I would have to say this plot reminds me of A Beautiful Mind, the great Ron Howard award winning story of another theorist who could see figments of his imagination, John Nash. All of the dramatic elements are there and its done with the same grace. I gotta give credit to Jon Amiel, a director who I’ve not seen do anything like this before, directing with all he has. Throw in some scenes straight out of The Fall with their exotic nature, and you have a recipe for a great movie. 9.5 out of 10.


The King’s Speech

What more is there to say about this academy award winning film that hasn’t already been said? It’s touching, it’s moving, it’s inspiring, and it’s also funny. I found it quite funny at the same time that it was moving. I didn’t get a chance to see this film in theaters, but after watching it on DVD, I wish I had. I did enjoy this movie, and, as much as I hate being part of the crowd in my opinions, I have to give this movie credit. Tom Hooper did a great job directing and every line was well crafted and delivered and gave The King’s Speech its comedy and intellectual gravity. (Thanks to David Seidler for that.) So let me just point a few things out and get this film out of the way.

First of all, scenes and costume. The 1920’s/30’s era is one of my favorites. I know a lot about it. And this movie holds true to

You got something to say?

how that era looked quite well. I’m not as familiar with the English aristocracy, but this film really seems to draw on the way in which British royalty functioned and looked. It was a nice touch, seeing as I have a great appreciation for the British, as well as my mom. (Whose appreciation is bigger.) I especially liked the scene in which King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) comes in to England via plane. That plane was niiiiiiice.

The actors. Top-notch. We got Colin Firth as Bertie (King George VI). I don’t have to say it, but I think he was great. And it shows in the fact that he won Best Leading Actor. Now Geoffrey Rush, he’s one of my favorite actors of all time. I fell in love with him as Captain Barbosa in Pirates and Peter Sellers in

You will always inspire me, Geoffrey Rush.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. And as Lionel Logue, he is funny, inspiring, moving, and everything else this movie provides, embodied in a character. Helena Bonham Carter is quite good as Queen Elizabeth and brings her homely, sensitive, caring nature to the role. Guy Pearce, another of my favorite actors, was great in his small role as Bertie’s brother, King Edward VIII. Although he’s seen as quite the jerk in this film, I loved his character and sympathized with his pursuit of love over duty. Michael Gambon (the current Dumbledore) also makes a nice appearance as King George V, and Timothy Spall makes a nice little appearance as Winston Churchill, a perfect fit out of many who have portrayed Churchill in the past.

And that’s really about all I have to say. Yes, it was an amazing movie. It deserved the awards it got. And I will, this once, tend to agree with critics. 8.9 out of 10.

For the win, Colin Firth. The win.