The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Non-anime/manga-related TV, movies, books, and comics, especially but not limited to pre-2000 titles
ParaParaJMo
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by ParaParaJMo »

American Sniper just came out in Japan. I want to see it and I have read the book. Unfortunately, I am busy with my personal life for various reasons and don't have the time.

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greg
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by greg »

llj wrote:In a way, I understand how authors are protective of their properties. But in another way, a large part of me believes that literal cinematic adaptations of books does a disservice to the people involved in making the movie.
I agree. Actually, when I first read the Hobbit and LOTR books, I'd heard that there was going to be a movie series made and I wanted to hurry up and read the books before those movies came out. So as I read the books, I thought about what would and wouldn't work as a movie. As I read the books, I always kept that in mind. It is very difficult to translate a book into a movie and simultaneously make it exactly like the book and make it an interesting movie to watch. I do agree that the action could have been turned down a bit and I still wouldn't mind, but I think Peter Jackson's Middle Earth movies did a good job in portraying the original material.
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greg
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by greg »

Midway. My WWII mood continues. I've never seen this movie, which came out the year I was born ('76). The musical score is by John Williams, but it's pretty forgettable. Having suffered great losses at Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea, the United States started out losing to Japan. However, Japan developed a bit of overconfidence. When the code was broken and the US discovered that their target was the Midway Islands, they moved their fleet there to intercept. Japan thought that they could just attack Midway with their most inexperienced pilots first, and figured that they could just easily send a second attack wave later if necessary. But since they failed to move swiftly and did not involve their entire fleet (the flagship Yamato remained way behind), their carriers were constantly under attack by American dive bombers. Wave after wave of American planes were destroyed, but the carriers could just not launch another attack on Midway. Short on pilots, Captain Matt Garth (Charlton Heston) leads the bomber squadron to victory, but doesn't make it back and crashes on the deck while landing.

Toshiro Mifune stars in the movie as Admiral Yamamoto and commanding the fleet from the Yamato. Oddly, his voice was dubbed by Paul Frees, the voice actor for Bullwinkle. While watching the movie, I kept thinking, "Hey, I don't remember his voice sounding like this. His voice sounds different than everyone else's." Pat Morita plays Rear Admiral Kusaka, the guy they should've been listening to. While watching the movie, it seems that if they had followed his advice, Midway could've been taken by the Japanese navy. Hey, according to Wikipedia, Tom Selleck is in this movie, too. I didn't recognize him. Robert Mitchum plays an admiral in this movie. He played a very similar character in the old late '80s TV drama series Winds of War and it's followup, War and Remembrance. I watched those when I was in junior high.
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greg
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by greg »

Eien no Zero (The Eternal Zero) I finally got around to renting this movie. It's been a big success here in Japan, spawning a series of Zero plastic models by both Tamiya and Hasegawa, and a TV drama 3-part mini-series. I could understand the regular conversational type of dialogue, but as always I was lost on the military talk. But overall, I could get the gist of the film. A brother and sister are talking with their grandfather about their real grandfather, who had died in WWII. He tells them that he wants them to investigate and to find out more about him. They find a few surviving pilots from the squadron, and through a series of interviews with them, the narrative unfolds.

Without giving away too much of the movie, it is about a man's struggle between his duty to his country and keeping his promise to his wife hat he would return to her and their baby daughter. It goes without saying that you cannot expect a happy ending, but it is far more touching than just a typical tragic story.

The visuals are pretty well-made, at least as far as Japanese movies go. The Zeroes taking off from the aircraft carrier in the beginning of the movie did not look very convincing, but the CG seemed to improve as the film went along. The dogfights with the P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings were pretty cool and it's interesting that the movie does not really prompt you to to root for the "enemy" and the music does not manipulate your emotions to do so. There is no triumphant fanfare as American pilots are shot down and killed. Any accusations that this movie was made to glamorize kamikaze pilots and to make them heroic were made by idiots who've never even seen the film.

I really want this to get an international release so that I can watch it with subtitles. Apparently there is a fansubbed version floating around somewhere, but I wouldn't dare try to download it. My friend in Canada is a huge Zero fan and constantly builds Zero models, and he's seen the fansubbed version. I have the first two episodes of the TV drama recorded on my DVR I've yet to watch, but I missed recording the third and final episode.

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys Growing up as a Star Wars kid, this documentary was a fun watch. I found it for a decent price on Amazon and just bought it on the recommendation of others. It's only about an hour long, but there are mini-featurettes included as bonuses on the DVD. They interview men who worked for Kenner back in the day, as well as die-hard collectors. It only briefly discusses the goofy, muscle-bound figures that were introduced in the '90s, and didn't go too much into the prequel merchandising. (If you want to watch something on that, I'd recommend watching The People vs. George Lucas.) I was only a year old when the first Star Wars movie was released, so I am too young to remember the initial wave of action figures. It was released in May 1977, and it was a runaway success that people were not anticipating. It is interesting that Kenner was given a rush deadline to get a toy line started in time for Christmas. They couldn't get it finished in time, so essentially they sold an empty box at Christmas with the promise that the figures that were bought would be available by spring the following year. It worked. Perhaps we had longer attention spans and a larger capacity for anticipation back in those pre-Internet days. A marketing scheme like that would probably not succeed in this age, I imagine.
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llj
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by llj »

Robin Wright at The Congress--Just thought I'd give this flick a shout-out here, as it has some unique qualities that might interest some posters here. This is basically a science fiction flick starring Robin Wright (of course) who plays a fictional version of herself in which she agrees to let herself be the first "well known" actor to be fully digitized so that the studio can use her computer image in all future films and advertisements indefinitely. In return, she is given a large sum of money in return to "go away" to some faraway place forever to retire with her riches. So far, a standard science fiction concept here. Then the film jumps about 20 years into the future, which is where things get REALLY weird.

In this future, almost everyone is on some weird drug to escape from reality. Robin Wright is called back to civilization to renew her contract. Before entering a city, Robin is told by the border officer that according to law, she must also take these drugs before being allowed to enter civilization. When she takes them, everything around her basically turns into a 2D cartoon, including her. The next 60 minutes or so of the film is completely animated. With this drug, everyone is able to present themselves as what they want themselves to look like in cartoon form (basically, like online avatars). So there's a hodgepodge of animation styles, from Bosko-type characters to more modern-looking cartoon characters (although, alas, there were no anime styles that I could spot, which seems to be a big oversight on the part of the director--I think there would be A LOT of people around the world who would opt for an anime avatar if given the choice)

This film was directed by the Ari Folman, who did Waltz with Bashir.

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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by greg »

Wow,that sounds interesting! I like quirky movies like that, such as A Scanner Darkly.
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_D_
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by _D_ »

Just saw "Chappie". Interesting take on artificial intelligence, robots, etc. Was interesting to see Hugh Jackman as a villain for once. I thought the film was good for what it was. Getting low Imdb scores though. Will probably do well overseas.

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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by usamimi »

I saw "It Follows" yesterday in theaters, since I'd heard good things about it and I love seeing horror movies in theaters. It was pretty good--simple, had great creepy moments, and was deeply rooted in 80s/90s aesthetic. I enjoyed it a lot.
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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by _D_ »

Furious 7. Was a good movie. The stunt work was OMG good. Ending brings a tear to your eye.

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Re: The Latest Movies (Non-Anime) You Are Watching Right Now

Post by greg »

Fury. In all the classic war movies, they would just paint up American tanks with German paint schemes and pass them off as German tanks. This movie used an actual restored Tiger I tank, which is pretty amazing. According to Wikipedia, The Tiger I tanks in Saving Private Ryan were actually cosmetically manufactured on top of the chassis of functional Russian tanks.

Anyway, about the movie. I found it one of those movies that was stressful to watch. Very engrossing. It's not a movie to take lightly. I made the mistake of watching the movie right before bed, late at night. It really gripped me and I couldn't stop thinking of it. I turned my computer off at around midnight, but I couldn't fall asleep until sometime after 2:30 because my mind was racing. It is very gritty and did not Hollywood-ize the action. I had the concept that the American tanks were outclassed by the German tanks, but this movie really demonstrates this well. In one scene, it takes four Shermans to finally take on one Tiger. American shells would bounce right off of the Tiger, while the Shermans could be destroyed in one hit.

I saw some people on another forum objecting to the depiction of killing enemy soldiers who had surrendered, but it's naive to think that this didn't happen. They show how SS were especially targeted. The Germans hated the SS, too. This movie doesn't show Germans as evil or anything, which was nice. It actually shows how cruddy the Americans could get. With being pushed deeper and deeper into Germany to get the war over without being resupplied, and the stubborn Nazis refusing to surrender and instead are conscripting women and children to charge the US soldiers, the frustrations of these soldiers are certainly felt in this film. There is one scene that was particularly uncomfortable, and for a while I was afraid that Brad Pitt's character was going to have to resort to violence to protect a German girl from his intoxicated men. Fortunately, they are interrupted. Some have criticized this "dinner scene," but I think it showed the frustrations of these men and the toll the war has had on them. If you want to watch a rather unsettling and engrossing war movie, then I certainly recommend this one.

Full Metal Jacket. Yes, another Kubrick Movie I've never seen before. I'd already seen the "What is your major malfunction?" scene before, but that is all I knew about this movie, other than the Vietnam war scenes were actually filmed on a set in England, go figure. Knowing that, I could see how they just planted a bunch of palm trees randomly and said, "Well, that's pretty much Vietnam, I guess." One little detail that I noticed that is really cool, but which is always overlooked in most movies, is the delay in sound. In the scene where the American tanks are shelling the distant buildings from about a kilometer away, you see the explosion, and then a moment later you hear it. Have you noticed in movies you always hear the thunder at the same time as the lightning flash? It isn't that way in real life, however this is how it is portrayed in movies because they figure people aren't clever enough to realize that this is the way it is.

Anyhow, it was an interesting movie. Unfortunately, the DVD I rented was stuck in 4:3 ratio. I often wonder how truly disorganized things were in Vietnam, since that is how it's often depicted. So for my next Kubrick fix, I plan to re-watch my 2001 DVD. I got in the mood for that one a few weeks ago when I used a bit of that movie for a informal, conversational English lesson. I've seen Spartacus and A Clockwork Orange before, and I'm not too motivated to re-watch those. Maybe Barry Lyndon? I've never really heard of that movie before.
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