Blade of the Immortal (Japan, 2017)

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Takashi Miike is known for trying his hand at any film genre. His penchant however, tends toward the macabre, the violent and the humorous. In recent years, the director has focused on live action remakes of animated series and manga. Blade of the Immortal is his 2017 offering, and marks his 100th feature film. Rather fittingly, Blade is about a samurai known as Hundred Killer. With 100 kills to his name, Manji won’t stop until he has destroyed every cranky crook and every moody mercenary. He has revenge in his spirit, and worms in his blood that keep him alive no matter how much he wishes to die.

If one is familiar with the animated series, the interestingly casted Takuya Kimura (who is normally cast in drama roles, and is part of recently defunct boy-band SMAP) pulls off a convincing Manji. Stylishly coiffed and scarred, he is a lone wolf cursed with Continue reading

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The Square (Sweden – 2017)

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Our series on Oscar contenders continues…

When the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced, next January, Cannes’ Palm d’Or, Ruben Östlund’s The Square, will probably be one of the lucky five in the ‘Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film’ category.

After humble beginnings with intriguing contemporary low budget character (and behavior) studies, Gitarrmongot (2004), Involuntary (De Ofrivilliga, 2008) and Play (2011), Östlund hit it big on the festival circuit in 2014 with the celebrated Force Majeure (Turist). A career build up that led to this more sophisticated new opus.

In the acerbic comedy-drama, The Square, Christian, a big time modern art museum curator in Stockholm, faces crisis on multiple fronts, both professionally and personally. By trying to create controversy, the young public relation team of the museum get plenty of what they asked for. Too much of it. And while trying to handle the situation, getting out of control, Christian must also Continue reading

Lady Bird (US – 2017)

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When the tricky Oscar buzz is at the gate, there is usually one or two Indie contenders. This year, actress Greta Gerwig’s second film as adirector, Lady Bird, falls into such category. It is praised in almost every lists around.

An partially agreeable coming-of-age comedy drama boosting lovable performance by lead actress Saoirse Ronan ( Hanna, Atonement, Brooklyn), Lady Bird introduces us into the world of Christine a young adolescent woman, in Sacramento, year 2002. Bored by how life goes on in her city, she dreams of going to college in NY.

Through one year in the life of Christine we get episodic honest drama and humor with friends, parents, teachers, etc. Nice.

But…

The Oscar buzz for this film is beyond me. We’ve (approximately) seen this Continue reading

Animation Summits 2017 – Montreal

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The 2017 Animation summits begin today in Montreal and go from November 22-26 at Cinémathèque Québécoise and Centre PHI.

The opening film is Benjamin Renner (Ernest et Célestine) and Patrice Imbert’s enjoyable (and family oriented) slap stick feature (the Oscar contender) The Big bad fox and other tales, full of loony and sympathetic animals trying to be bad but with not much success.

Cam Christiansen’s The Wall will close the fest with Continue reading

Roman J. Israel, Esq (US – 2017)

 

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Another Oscar contender of this Fall season is Dan Gilroy’s follow up to Nightcrawler (2014), Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Denzel Washington is idealistic defense attorney Roman Israel. He is also an odd object, a social misfit. A series of events will operate a drastic change in his life and mentality. Obviously the producers aim to obtain Oscar nod for Denzell Washington or maybe Colin Farrell for a supporting role. It is probably all they could get.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. starts as a court room drama, a tradition in Hollywood film making. The social aspect of it, in the beginning, is quite engaging.  Washington portrays a visionary with no social ability. In a way he lives in Continue reading