By day, Makoto ' Bubblegum' Kido(Kenji Sawada) is a mild-mannered high… MoreBy day, Makoto ' Bubblegum' Kido(Kenji Sawada) is a mild-mannered high school science teacher. By night, he steals a gun which he then uses to steal plutonium from a nuclear power plant. His plans get interrupted when a World War II veteran(Yunosuke Ito) hijacks the full school bus he was trying to sleep on. Thankfully, Makato and Inspector Yamashita(Bunta Sugawara) are able to subdue the hijacker, allowing Makato to return to his plans.
You must forgive "The Man who Stole the Sun" for being a little on the long side, for it has a lot of territory to cover. Among the issues that it explores that are important to Japan when this was made in 1979 and no less relevant today are standardized testing, baseball games being interrupted on television(apparently Japan has never had its Heidi Bowl), nuclear weapon proliferation, nuclear power in general, the lack of decent rock music, treatment of war veterans, and the general stagnation of society. This is nowhere near as dry as it sounds, as the movie handles such difficult topics in a frenetic and suspenseful fashion that is also deliberately over the top at times. All of which is in the service of also showing how heroes can also be villains and vice versa.
If you have ever wanted to see a documentary about paint drying, then… MoreIf you have ever wanted to see a documentary about paint drying, then check out "Over Your Cities Grass will Grow." Otherwise, do yourself a favor and steer clear.
When the spaceship carrying Kitai(Jaden Smith) and his father… MoreWhen the spaceship carrying Kitai(Jaden Smith) and his father Cypher(Will Smith) crashes, they are the only survivors. To make matters worse, the emergency beacon is in the other half of the spaceship, several days hike across a hazardous planet full of things that want to eat them. That becomes increasingly necessary considering Cypher suffered a compound fracture in the crash which even 30th century medicine has no quick fix for. And that big alien thingie they were giving a ride to might still be alive and waiting for Kitai out there.
Even if "The 100" had not cornered the market on post-apocalyptic generational and parental issues, there would still be little reason to recommend "After Earth." That's how heavily contrived and predictable it is. Yes, yes, we get it. Kitai really needs to prove himself to his father. But at the same time, you don't have to travel half way across the galaxy to find an emotionally remote father. All of which makes for a waste of perfectly fine production design.
This is a phantasmagorical, yet nonsensical, coming of age story about… MoreThis is a phantasmagorical, yet nonsensical, coming of age story about Valerie(Jaroslava Schallerova) whose fears as she grows up are represented in not only the changing world around her but also the magical changelings who populate it. Some of whom might be related to her, but on the other hand, maybe not.
In "Shootout at Lockandwala," Justice Dhingra(Amitabh Bachchan) would… MoreIn "Shootout at Lockandwala," Justice Dhingra(Amitabh Bachchan) would really like to know from Police Commander Shamsher Khan(Sanjay Dutt) what led to a violent shootout involving his elite unit in an apartment building in Mumbai.(He would also like to know why Shamsher did not arrest Maya(Vivek Oberoi) and his gang while they were singing and dancing.) For Shamsher, the moment of truth came when a trusted subordinate was brutally gunned down in the street. After which, he recruited Javed(Arbaaz Khan) and Kavi(Sunil Shetty) to be on his elite task force.
On the surface, "Shootout at Lockandwala" is an entertaining police procedural. Even more importantly is how it implies that rogue units like Shamsher's are little better than the gangs they are intent on stopping. That is before it goes 180 degrees in the opposite direction to say why such shoot first units may be necessary in order to cut crime.(The movie is 'based on true rumors.') Not only is such weak thinking based on shaky causation but it can also lead to civilian deaths and such intense blowback that would make the police department's job that much harder than before.
"Eden" might not be the deepest or most evocative movie ever,… More"Eden" might not be the deepest or most evocative movie ever, especially as it concerns the house music scene over a twenty year period. Of interest however is the way the movie captures the passage of time as Paul(Felix de Givry) never seems to age(cue obvious reference about him having a photograph that ages while I look around for an appropriate "Penny Dreadful" reference) while he pursues his dreams. At the same time, life seems to be passing him by, as lovers come and go, first Julia(Greta Gerwig), a married American, and then Louise(Pauline Etienne). The frightening part is when Paul's friends start having kids, instead of trying to defend "Showgirls."
After being enrolled at a school for the deaf in the Ukraine,… MoreAfter being enrolled at a school for the deaf in the Ukraine, Sergey(Grygoriy Fesenko) has lunch with a random student. Suddenly, he is plucked from the social depths of this society to hang out with the cool kids who rudely introduce him to Anya(Yana Novikova) and Svetka(Roza Babiy). After which, he is formally initiated into this new society. And then finds out exactly what they do after classes and what he got himself into.
"The Tribe" is a constructive movie about perceptions. That is fueled by the way it is filmed, namely all in sign language without the benefit of subtitles. This goes beyond being a simple experiment with its exquisite long takes. All of which gives the viewer an opportunity to interpret the actions of the various characters involved, some of which may seem desperate to outsiders, especially as depicted in such graphic fashion. Into this milieu is thrown Sergey, an innocent at first.
Through the use of archival footage, concert footage, interviews with… MoreThrough the use of archival footage, concert footage, interviews with those who knew her, especially Nina Simone's daughter, Lisa, and Nina Simone herself in interviews conducted before her death, the documentary "What Happened, Miss Simone?" not only answers that very question but also constructs a complex portrait of a very complicated person who was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. While she sought personal and political liberation, she was also married to an abusive husband.
As a child in North Carolina, Nina Simone(nee Eunice Waymon) trained to be a classical pianist but was blocked from attending a prestigious academy by the racism of the time. So, she played nightclubs in order to support herself and her family. That brought her to the attention of record companies, followed by fame and hit records. In return, she leveraged that in support of the civil rights movement, even though she did not agree with the pacifism of Dr. King. Her activism was reflected in her music, especially in the song "Mississippi Goddam."
Every couple has a story to tell from their vacation. For Dave… MoreEvery couple has a story to tell from their vacation. For Dave Flannery(Joel Edgerton) and his pregnant wife Alice(Felicity Price, who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Kieran Darcy-Smith), it is an unhappy one. Their fellow Australian and friend, Jeremy King(Antony Starr), has gone missing in Cambodia. When Alice's sister Steph(Teresa Palmer) is finally allowed to return home, she not only reports no fresh news on that front, but also some disturbing news on the domestic front.
"Wish You Were Here" is a well-acted and modest psychological mystery that works as well it does thanks to an unsettling vibe and half a neat mystery. Once that has been resolved, my only question remains why people behave so recklessly on vacation like they do in this movie when they are on very unfamiliar turf.
"The Law in These Parts" is an insightful documentary that looks into… More"The Law in These Parts" is an insightful documentary that looks into the way the law has been enforced, often unevenly, by Israeli military authorities in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. To the filmmakers' credit, they go directly to the source which is military judges who presided over cases and in some cases created that law. That is especially interesting considering the obscure Ottoman law that led to the creation of the controversial settlements.
Considering the judges seem to be interviewed of their own free will, it does seem at least a little rude for them to be questioned as hostile witnesses, especially the one guy in a wheelchair. Plus, you are bound to get more information in a pleasant environment, anyway. That's not to mention the documentary being unnecessarily meta. I mean, yes, if the witness is still alive and can shed some light on the case in question, by all means interview her and not just talk about her.