‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017) Review

shost-in-the-shell-trailerI’ve made it no secret that I struggle with a lot of anime, even the classic, universally acclaimed titles of the genre. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s cultural differences, but I often find myself having difficulty understanding films that, on paper at least, sound like I’d really enjoy. Case in point; 1995’s Ghost in the Shell, noted as a key influence on The Matrix no less, when I first watched it, I found it more or less incomprehensible. I saw it again a few years later with similar results, finding the material surprisingly inaccessible for such a landmark, beloved movie. Anyway, I think I’m more of an outlier here, so maybe I shouldn’t be taken too seriously when I say that one of the few positive things about this American, live-action Ghost in the Shell remake is that I didn’t find it especially confusing at all. Continue reading

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The Difficulty in Ranking the Films of Quentin Tarantino

pulpAs I casually checked my Twitter feed one day last week, I noticed a number of people were talking about Quentin Tarantino and his movies. As it tends to nowadays, my mind immediately jumped to worrying if he’d died, but no it was just his birthday. Not even a notable one at that (54). Anyway, it got me thinking about my favourite movies of his, and a thought I’ve been having for a number of years; I guess the title of this piece is a bit clickbaity, as it’s not so much the difficulty in saying which ones I prefer that’s got me wondering, but what actually counts as ‘a Quentin Tarantino film’? Continue reading

Director Months: February – Abbas Kiarostami

taste-of-cherrySo, only two months in and I’m already behind on this, I’ve got to stick with it though, my aim is to publish these within the first week of the month, and I must try harder next time. Anyway, a couple of years ago I wrote a piece about what I considered my top ten movie “blind spots” – the most famous movies I had never seen. At the end of the list I wrote down a couple of names of famous directors who I hadn’t seen any films from, one of whom was acclaimed Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami. I had intended seeing all my blind spots to be a challenge for the following year but then unfortunately forgot all about it, though I might resurrect that post next month. I did want to include Kiarostami in my ‘director months’ project though, particularly after his death last year led to a number of articles highlighting his work, reminding me just how respected he was among critics and fellow directors. Continue reading

‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017) Review

beauty beastI’ve made no secret of the fact that possibly my least favourite trend in studio cinema today is these live-action fairy-tale remakes. It’s particularly egregious that most of these inevitably are coming from Disney, who have all the money in the world yet apparently wish to just recycle their old material, slapping a fresh coat of paint on it to re-sell to the public on mass. This one though, was a little different; I have to admit that for the first time for one of these films I was mildly excited about seeing a new take on Beauty and the Beast. Not that I thought it was a good idea especially, just that the original was so ubiquitous when I was I kid I couldn’t help but get sucked in the moment the familiar tinkly piano refrain kicked in on the first teaser trailer. Continue reading

‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review

kong-skull-island-kongIt makes sense that a studio would want to attempt a giant monsters cross-over again in the current trend for desiring shared universes, and considering that the Japanese production King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) is one of the earlier examples of such a movie. So in case you didn’t know, Kong: Skull Island takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla, but at a completely different time point so they are generally more unrelated, save for mentions of the mysterious Monarch organisation, and while the two most iconic movie monsters of all time are clearly being positioned for a future confrontation, Skull Island is its own story and not all a big set-up. Continue reading

‘Split’ and its Unprecedented Ending

splitI saw M. Night Shyamalan’s new film Split last week, and considering that it took a few weeks to be released where I am, and the amount of time I spend reading movie coverage online, I’m honestly quite surprised that I managed to get to the film unspoiled. But Split is a film that I just can’t discuss without spoilers because of everything I want to say, so if you’ve also managed to avoid spoilers for the film, I’d advise seeing it without knowing anything more, and please consider this a FULL SPOILER WARNING for this post. Continue reading