All posts filed under: Film

Film Review: Inside Out

“Emotions can’t quit, genius” – Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Inside Out Ah, the film of the century. Or at least, so the numbers led me to believe. Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out, opened to a record-breaking weekend of $91.1 million in revenues, the highest grossing for a Pixar original and the biggest debut ever for a non-sequel movie. Judging a film by its numbers is (shocker) not always the best way to gauge the quality of the film. It turns out, however, that even being the highest-grossing film of all time means diddly-squat, now that nearly every new blockbuster ends up the most successful film of all time (for a few weeks, until the next one comes along). I recently attended a lecture on the economics of the Hollywood blockbuster, which presented Mark Harris’ theory on about the exploding blockbuster trend in Hollywood. In a nutshell, Harris posits that Hollywood’s obsession with the formulaic blockbuster and its ensuing, unending parade of sequels is precipitating the gradual, choking death of the art form. My primary objection to that fatalistic theory was Pixar – a studio that produces hit after hit with nary …

Film Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

So I think that part of the reason I have such a thing for superhero movies is because I can actually tell the characters apart. I don’t mean to suggest that I’m truly faceblind or to compare my issue with those who actually are. I’ve never had to worry that my family has abandoned me, or any of the terrifying experiences faceblind people must deal with. But I really do have a hard time telling some individuals apart, with embarrassing consequences in my day-to-day life. I have introduced myself to one particular colleague at work no less than three separate times. And these weren’t introductions in passing; three times I overheard him talking about our mutual alma mater and struck up a conversation, thinking he was a complete stranger each time until he corrected me. Sober. At work. This sort of thing happens with some unfortunate regularity. I know there’s a stereotype (or possibly a truism) about white people not being able to tell PoC who belong to the same ethnic group apart. But my problem is white dudes. Something about my brain is more likely …

CAAMFEST Film Review: Cicada

This review originally appeared on AsAmNews  In Japan, the raucous sound of the cicada is synonymous with summer, when leaves take on the dusty green of full maturity and insects molt into adults, leaving empty shells behind. Cicada, directed by Dean Yamada and written by Yu Shibuya, captures that feeling of summer, when we shed another layer of our former selves and take on a more mature form. Our transition is led by Jumpei Taneda (Yugo Saso), who discovers that he is infertile during a pre-marital medical checkup and must figure out a way to tell the woman he wants to marry. Paralleled with Jumpei’s struggles are those of his sister Nanaka (Hiroko Wada), who desperately wants to protect her son Ryota (Houten Saito) from the bully in school. However, only Jumpei has the uncanny ability to find what Ryota really wants: cicada shells.  Cicada uses the discarded insect exoskeleton to propose a metamorphosis for the adult who has forgotten he was also once a child. From the beginning, children are central to the film – …

Film Review: Amira & Sam

I love romantic comedies. Like sitcoms, I believe the romcom has that special, low-budget power to stretch Hollywood’s narrow beliefs of who might be portrayed on screen. Unlike sitcoms, however, romantic comedies usually do not. Amira & Sam, directed by Sean Mullin, is a film in the tradition of the romantic comedy. As in any good romcom, the movie chronicles the intersection of the lives of two people in love:

Film Review: Big Hero 6

My first review is an animated Disney superhero movie – who’s surprised? If you haven’t seen this one yet, you should. It’s still in theaters, and it’s great. Big Hero 6, directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is based on a lesser-known Marvel comic that Disney dug up and reinvented. Ryan Potter and Daniel Henney lend their voices as brothers Hiro and Tadashi Hamada, who are half-Japanese-half-Caucasian American (Potter and Henney are themselves of mixed heritage) living with their aunt in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo. While the brothers’ mixed background is implied, both Hamada parents are deceased and never shown. I suppose actually depicting an AMWF couple on screen would have been too much awesome for one movie…sigh.