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"An idyllic childhood in World War II Japan."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Like many in the audience for Nobuhiko Obayashi's "Noyuki yamayuki umibe yuki" (the English title of "Bound for the Fields, the Mountains, and the Seacoast" was not on the print projected), all I had seen of the director's work was "House", which re-emerged as a cult favorite a few years back, and as a result I spent some time watching it through that prism - how is it like "House", how is it different? That's perhaps inevitable but unfair, as there is a fair chunk of time and work between the two, and this is in many ways a far more impressive work, less randomly strange but still eccentric, with a different sort of sting to its jokes." (more)
TRUMBO (2015)
"A pretty good movie about an all-or-nothing genius."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Trumbo" has what is really a distractingly good cast in more ways than one, especially for those who love movies and as a result have a sharp eye for those involved. Right away, you've got to decide whether you accept Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward G. Robinson (it's kind of hard at first); later on, even small roles seem to have noted character actors like Stephen Root in them. The result is a bunch of people who don't quite disappear into their roles no matter which way you look at it, although it's also two hours of talented people doing things that are worth watching." (more)
"Insert Boxing-Related Quip Here"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "When it was announced about a decade ago that Sylvester Stallone was going to reprise his star-making role of Rocky Balboa for the first time since the disastrous "Rocky V" sixteen years earlier, few observers saw it as anything other than a desperate attempt to revive a career that had been floundering in recent years. Besides, even though Stallone was far fitter than most people, regardless of age, could claim to be, wasn't he just a tad too old to credibly appear in the boxing ring? Therefore, it came as a shock to nearly everyone to discover that the ensuing film, "Rocky Balboa" (2006), was a genuinely entertaining movie--easily the best of the franchise since the 1976 original and the first sequel in 1979--and the first one in the series since those initial installments to really have an understanding as to why we liked that particular character in the first place--we liked his sweetness, his humor and his basic decency, not his musculature. To make things even better, it managed, against seemingly insurmountable odds, to cast away memories of the dire "Rocky V" and find just the right approach to bring the story full circle and end things with the dignity that it deserved and which had gotten lost in some of the more cartoony later films." (more)
"The Lord was with Joseph. Too bad DreamWorks wasn't."
3 stars
Jaycie says... "The Prince of Egypt set the bar for 2D animation about as high as it will ever go. Not only was it visually gorgeous, it had top-notch casting, a beautiful soundtrack and a creative but faithful spin on a very challenging story. It's almost unfair to compare it to its own prequel, but what choice have we?" (more)
"The best Pixar and best dinosaur movie of the year despite the competition."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I'm not sure at what point during "The Good Dinosaur" I started leaning forward, eagerly anticipating whatever was going to appear on screen next, but it happened, and by the end, I was as delighted with this movie as any I'd seen all year. It's a rare combination of visually stunning, creative, and surprisingly heartfelt. Given that those are words that could also be used to describe Pixar's other exceptional film this year ("Inside Out"), it almost seems like an insufficient description. This movie delighted me, pure and simple." (more)
"A dinosaur loves his feral dog"
4 stars
alejandroariera says... "Is it fair to expect of every Pixar film the same high creative, visual and intellectual standards of its predecessors? Can we, once and for all, acknowledge that Pixar, like every major Hollywood studio before it, is bound to stumble once in a while? In other words, is it fair to walk into “The Good Dinosaur” —a film that took six years to make and whose release date was changed twice— and expect it to be as visually and intellectually challenging as the film that preceded it, “Inside Out”? Of course not." (more)
"Some good ideas sewn to some rancid tissue."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "My expectations weren't high for "Victor Frankenstein"; the preview made it look like the very worst example of Hollywood trying to make evening younger, sexier, and more action-packed imaginable, and I had something more extensive to that effect outlined in my head even before sitting down. Those problems are there in the actual film, to a frustrating extent, but it is at least ambitious enough to be interesting, which is a rather pleasant surprise." (more)
"Sacre Bleu Movie"
2 stars
Charles Tatum says... "The only thing really notable about this navel gazing documentary detailing the life of a French pornographic film actress (sorry, "erotic" film actress) was its acceptance forty years ago into the mainstream New York Film Festival. While scandalous in its day, the film is an exercise in tedium, but with occasional explicit sex to wake a snoozing audience." (more)
"Ducks suck together!"
2 stars
Jaycie says... "The second film in the Mighty Ducks trilogy was released in 1994, the year that also gave us 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Little Big League, Angels in the Outfield, The Next Karate Kid and Little Giants. So if you expected anything other than a crapstorm of sports movie clichés, you’ve come to the wrong year." (more)
"Beautiful and meticulous, but you have to grab it rather than vice versa."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""By the Sea" is the sort of movie I would have called boring as a younger man, and I wouldn't back away from the word here but for the craftsmanship being so impeccable. It's a film that often seems to encourage dissection rather than reaction, paradoxically demanding close attention despite not always doing much to seize it." (more)

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