Archive for Drama

Studio Ghibli,

Nobuo Tobita, Toshihiko Seki, Yoko Sakamoto, Yuri Amano, Kae Araki, Jun’ichi Kanemaru, Ai Satô, Aya Hisakawa, Tomokazu Seki, Hikaru Midorikawa

Taku (Nobuo Tobita) is a young first year college student who returns back home to the seaside town of Kochi a little town on an island in Japan. When he arrives home for his high school reunion, he is reminiscing of his Junior year in high school and the young beautiful city girl Rikako Muto (Yoko Sakamoto) who transferred to Tokyo to his school. Stuck by her immediately, both are young and inexperienced in life, and have to go through many trials and tribulations, fights and disagreements, but when she doesn’t return to the reunion, Taku finally learns the truth and sets off for the city to find her again.

This is one of the most stunning films from Studio Ghibli which brought us 2001’s Spirited Away, 2003’s academy award winner for Best Animated film, and 2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty [CLick Here for Ed’s Review], this is an older film (1993) but every bit as good or better than the previous ones (and more) from Studio Gibli. This one has received a great makeover and is now available on DVD in the Unites States, and it’s not dated or old in the least. In fact, it’s one of the greatest coming of age stories of a young couple who don’t know they’re in love than any live action film I have seen that tries to touch the subject. Everything is simply spectacular. The story is very touching and the word that comes to mind is subtle, as it’s never pushy or in your face, but very tactfully told. The animation is completely stunning, and many of the scenes, especially in the city, you will forget that you’re watching animation. It’s animation is simply amazing. The movie is in Japanese, with English subtitles, but I think that was an excellent choice as the background music and score of this movie is as good as any Hollywood has done. If you are a lover of animation, this is simply a must see film, and is very, very worthy of the 4.5 stars I have given to it. The only problem is that you will have to focus and read the subtitles to get the touching story, but it’s well worth it as you need to pay attention to the detail and beauty of the animation. This is a love story as good as any, and well worth the extra effort to really pay attention to what you are seeing. I highly recommend this movie.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Transfilm, Archery Pictures, Canal+ Distribution,

Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a Washington D.C. power lobbyist who is the best in the business. Everyone wants to work with her, but this time she’s taking on a gun control bill and is facing an uphill battle which may turn out to be the biggest in her career. She’s set on winning at any price, but the price may be too high as she may destroy herself along with lots of good friends along the way in this look at the lobbying profession and the special interests and corruption at the highest levels of government.

This movie brings out all kinds of opinions from the folks that see it. That’s one of the good things about it. This is about lobbying and political blackmail, and though it’s revolving around a particular gun control bill, it’s not about gun control, really. With stunning dramatic scenes and courtroom scenes as the attempt to bring Elizabeth down once and for all, it makes for a very exiting film right out of the pages of the newspapers. From the sly back deals that cost us millions as the Democrats bought votes for ObamaCare, to the corruption in California where Governor Jerry Brown just did completely illegal on the side pork barrel deals worth a billion dollars or more to get enough votes to increase gasoline taxes by nearly a half a buck a gallon and a new car registration fee of about 50 bucks a year on every car registration to help raise money to pay the government pension deals that we are being sunk by. In California it’s completely illegal to offer bribes or funding to influence the vote of a legislator, yet it was very publicly done. The final vote waas acquired by convincing a Republican legislator who is being termed out a deal to protect the business he is going back to getting him to break ranks and vote for this devastating bill that cannot be overturned by a referendum. That’s the kind of thing this movie is about, and it’s a good look at the bribery, blackmail, and much worse that goes on in the lobby business every day. For that reason, I found it an interesting film, but even without that, there is very good dramatic and suspenseful story going on as well, even if you are not interesting in the lobbying stuff. Especially the courtroom scene that comes in the last part of the story is very well done. This is a role that was built for Jessica Chastain, and with a whole crew of backup actors who also perform very smartly, this is a very well told story and probably worth watching. It’s quite a change of pace from the usual stuff, and interesting to watch.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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FilmNation Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Faliro House Productions,

Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern

Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) and Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) were brothers who opened a drive in restaurant in San Bernardino, California. They were struggling with all the problems that come with Drive Ins, with the clientele and the car hops themselves, and the difficulty of keeping each of the menu orders straight. But the brothers came up with an idea they called Speedee Service where they trimmed down the menu to just Hamburgers, Fries, Milkshakes, and Soda, nothing else, but also a redesigned kitchen that allowed them to fill orders at the walk up window in about 30 seconds. Additionally they did away with all the silverware and dishes, and packaged everything in disposable wrappers in a bag designed to be totally disposable. Meanwhile Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) was a salesman, struggling to eke out a living selling milkshake blenders on the road. But he was a big dreamer, and when he heard of the success of the McDonald brothers, he set out to see it for himself. They made a tenuous partnership and struggled to bring to fruition Kroc’s vision of the largest franchise in history, with a restaurant in every town, the McDonalds we know today. This docudrama tells the story of the recognized franchise king Ray Kroc from the eyes of the two brothers who actually invented the system.

The main character all are excellent actors. Michael Keaton did an excellent job as did Nick and John as the McDonald Brothers. Laura Dern also brought a lot to the movie with her role as Ray’s wife. She added quite a bit to the story as her role is very complex, but but she pulled it off very well. This is one of the better docudrama’s I have seen in a long time. I think most everyone is aware that Ray Kroc was the founder of McDonalds, but few people know the background of where the golden arches came from, originally. This movie is rather interesting because of the unusual path it took. Everyone wanted to tell the story of the McDonald brothers and how Ray Kroc ran over them with a steam roller, but this producer, director, and screen writer realized early on that Ray Kroc is the center of the film, and that it’s not all black and white. Without taking sides, it’s told from the McDonald Brothers point of view, but as you go through the film, there are no heroes and not bad guys, really. Everything is really grey as we come to understand how things happened the way they had to do. I highly recommend this film as I found it very well made, well told, and quite interesting. Give it a shot.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Fox Searchlight Pictures, LD Entertainment, Wild Bunch,

Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant, Max Casella, Caspar Phillipson

November 22, 1963, President John F Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Jackie (Natalie Portman) Kennedy brings us into her life right after the assassination to portray the confusion, sorrow, fear, and grief that she has to go through during the days and weeks after the event in this fact based docudrama of the days following Kennedy’s death. Without taking a huge chunk of her life, the screenwriter chose just one event. With the unique style, this film is a story told by Jackie to a writer about the events surrounding her husband’s death and burial told after some time passed, but it also mixes this with footage of the famous tour of the White House TV show that was made shortly after they arrived in the White House.

This is a rather interesting story of how it all happened. I was in gym class when the principal broke into the P.A. system and broadcasted the news directly over the speakers so we could hear. I remember the three or four days where nothing was on television other than the news of the shooting, the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the funeral procession. I saw hours and hours of people filing past the casket day and night, and rehash of the events on every channel. There was nothing else to do, and it was a bit overwhelming, but a whole country was in mourning. We were also afraid. We didn’t know what would happen next. But Jackie and her two little children lived though it in a time that must have seemed surreal. We never knew what Jackie was doing behind the scenes other than when she would pop out in front of the cameras from time to time. But this movie covered the time in depth, and I found that quite fascinating. It’s heart tugging, and it’s difficult to imagine sometimes, but is is interesting. I couldn’t help but see and hear Natalie Portman though, and it certainly made me painfully aware that we were not watching Jackie. I think she did an excellent job, but it is very difficult to pull off portraying such a well known celebrity as she was. But I have seen other movies that covered Jackie’s life after the White House, but it was the first time I have ever seen someone attempt to pull off those few days where time stood still. And as a child of Camelot, I remember the assassination like it was just yesterday. Well done film, and well worth watching if you’re interested in what happened.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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CBS Films, Closest to the Hole Productions,

Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze, Melissa Benoist

April 15, 2013 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two pressure cooker bombs went off shooting shrapnel into the crowd of people watching the race and even the participants in the race. All of the law enforcement agencies came together to put together the pieces and to quickly identify the terrorists as the Tsarnaev brothers, home grown terrorists who wanted to bring mayhem and death to the city. When they realized law enforcement was closing in on them, they made an attempt to escape to continue their mayhem in the largest city in the United States, New York City. The whole crew pulled out every trick in their arsenal to try to defeat these two.

A very well told story of the horror and the brave first responders who cane together to bring the city together is very well told. It stars some great actors like Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, and J.K. Simmons to tell the story clearly and completely. We heard the story in the news as it was happening, but this movie gives us the opportunity to get to know the men and women who worked together to solve this case. With the help of the public and with all the tools at their hands, and a little luck we get to see how the teams work. Of course, I don’t know how accurate this all is, but it seems a great deal of effort was put into making this as truthful as possible. The pace of the story is fine. It takes it time to set the stage, then show the explosions and the horror after the bombs went off. Then it goes through the efforts of each of the teams, and the difficulty of determining who’s in charge at what time. The acting is really good, and the reenactments are very well done. All in all this is an exciting and inspiring story that seems to fairly show the difficulty in trying to prevent things like this from happening. Very well done, and I am glad this film was released to see in the theater, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s now available on DVD and well worth watching.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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