[EXPRESSO] Broker (2022) | “Your Baby, Delivered To You, In A Box”

I was miraculously able to watch a preview screening for this one, which competed in this years’ Cannes Film Festival, and is a South-Korean drama directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda, better known for Like Father, Like Son, Shoplifters, Maborosi, also director of The Truth/La Veritè, a french film starring a very international cast and his first movie not set (or filmed) in Japan.

Given the director’s well known penchant for family dramas, it’s not surprising his new film it’s about the theme of family, but here touched upon in a more unique way, as it involves a woman who leaves her newborn in a baby box, only to be stolen by child traffickers with a proven scheme.

The mother of the child does come back, tracks down the two traffickers, but instead of ratting them out or worse, she decides to go along on a roadtrip with them so to interview potential new parents for the baby. But eventually this unusual crew is finally tailed by two police officers that are also investigating a murder…

If you’re expecting this to turn into a Hangover style roadtrip movie, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the premise i just wrote, because rest assured that Zach Galiafinakis isn’t gonna show up and play a mentally challenged manchild, as Broker deals with the themes of child abandonment, criminality and family as seriously as you would expect from a movie that touches upon such serious and real situations.

Though, it manages to sport a surprising amount of levity and tender moments, quite needed in this delicate drama about murder, pregnancy, adoptions, etc, because Broker it’s good & depressing. Quite depressing, but not entirely hopeless.

My kind of movie… though Broker felt a bit longer than necessary, for me.

Still, a solid, good drama.

[EXPRESSO] Moonage Daydream (2022) | Sovereign Supreme

There are many kinds of films based on and featuring music behemoths, but when we step outside of fully fictionalized retellings with a proper plot, we often see two specific kinds prevail, the docufilm, the mixture of live recordings with some talking heads providing hindsight and opinions on the importance of the band/artist at various points in time.

Sometimes it will be something else entirely, be it the full lenght silent anime film/music video of Interstella 5555, or the mix of a music video-style narrative wrapped around live recordings done in Metallica: Through The Never.

But usually, the promotional pieces will tut about this not being another docufilm based on a popular, world-beloved music legend, as if the word “docufilm” itself has become dirty.

Though, in the case of Moonage Daydream, the claim of this not being labeled as “just another music docufilm” is actually true, as this it’s a full on experience, a proper spaceborn roller coaster into the life of David Bowie, trying to understand the nature and intimate essence of the chameolonic rockstar, helped by the privileged access of director Brett Morgen (Crossfire Hurricane, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck) to the complete catalogue of archive footage and with full blessings from Bowie’s estate.

It’s a tall order to make justice of the incredible, majestic and ever transforming figure of David Bowie, but Moonage Daydream actually manages to do it, marrying rare archive footage, previously unreleased live performances, stunning visuals (that i feel benefit from the IMAX treatment) and depth without being bond to a strict linear narrative or having things overexplained by other people telling what they think David Bowie was as a person and rockstar,

It’s also incredibly well edited, with a delightful smorgasboard of movie references that are just the cherry on top. Masterpiece? Masterpiece.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #11: Straw Hat Chase 3D (2011)

Strong World was such a step up in terms of One Piece movies, such a big deal that in 2010 they didn’t release any new One Piece film, but that can be – partially – attributed to the fact Strong World was delayed to December 2009 from its original spring release windom that same year.

Clearly it was a bit too good or too much, as for the next installment Toei basically went back to the roots so hard it did a 360°, heck, arguably even more, since this is the shortest One Piece released so far (and probably will forever hold that distinction), just 30 minutes, to the point one would struggle to even consider it as such, despite being included in many One Piece films collection.

Even the first 3 movies were each longer than this, still films, but we’re basically back to that type of dealio, complete with the fact it was a double bill screening, so you would see this and Toriko 3D Kaimaku! Gourmet Adventure, which also marked the first movie for that series, but not the last time One Piece and Toriko would crossover with each other, and some space ape warriors too…

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #11: Straw Hat Chase 3D (2011)”

[EXPRESSO] Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (2020) | Eternal Pyre

Fuck it, i’m reviewing this one as well, since it did eventually arrive just now in theathers here in Italy…. after being made available on Amazon Prime Video months earlier, but i’m willing to watch it again to support anime cinema releases, and to properly assess things further for a review.

Since the series it’s the more recent shonen manga success story, i doubt i need to introduce Demon Slayer/Kimetsu No Yaiba, even more since i feel its success lies in being pretty straightforward and easy to connect, as its set in a fantasy Japan of old, where demons lurk at night and feast on people, but are fought back by a secret order of samurai with mystical blades and techniques, the Demon Slayer Corps.

The protagonist, Tanjiro, becomes a Demon Slayer in hopes to undo the curse that made his sister Nezuko a demon, and along the way befriendes the cowardly lightining fast swordman Zenitsu, as well as Inosuke, a wild boy wearing a boar mask.

The plot revolves around the trio being tasked to – alongside an experienced demon slayer called Rengoku – embark a train and protect the people on it from eventual demon ambushes, and this isn’t an original story, a mostly disconnected one-off adventure, as most of these shonen anime movies are, but actually bridges the events of the first and second season, and has some important stuff happening in it, so i wouldn’t recommend jumping into this if you haven’t seen the first season (or red the equivalent manga chapters), for spoiler reasons.

That said, it can be watched fine on its own, and rewatching it made clear it’s a pretty good shonen manga film, with excellent animation from ufotable as expected, funny moments, good drama, likeable characters and intense fights with high stakes.

[EXPRESSO] Exhibition On Screen: Sunflowers (2021) | Now Available On CDi

Yeah, i changed my mind and on a whim went to see this limited screening event release.

This is actually the latest in the Exhibition On Screen gallery series of art documentaries, which already featured the dutch master painter Van Gogh twice (Van Gogh In Japan and Van Gogh: A New Way Of Seeing), which makes sense as many other films (documentaries and fiction) based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh and his art were and are still made regularly, with various degrees of quality.

So i was surprised by this one, as it centers on an apparently both specific and banal subject of Van Gogh’s output, his series of Sunflowers paintings, often mistaken as a single work but actually consist of 11 variations-iterations, and exploring the reasons why these prove to be incredibly iconic and popular for decades, the factual events (and theories) under which Van Gogh painted them, and some narrative inserts with actor Jamie de Courcey as Van Gogh.

Honestly, it explores the subject quite well, avoiding most of the obvious and beyond well known facts, and it being just a glorified advert for a museum (as they can be, like that one documentary about the Hermitage narrated by Jeremy Irons), while we do travel across the globe to see the 5 publicly owned pieces of the series (one in the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum, of course), in what they differ from each other, and we go a bit deeper in the matters of restauration, of critique and preservation of these painting, as well into connected topic of botany, and the persisting popularity of what are – at first glance – very simple and almost banal in terms of subject.

Not great, but definitely a good art documentary, one coming in a comfortable 90 minutes package.

What is Christmas without an Ice Cream Bunny?

Think watching The Star Wars Holiday Special each year it’s not the hipster “christmas tradition” it was before? If so, i will propose something that’s also not new, as it has a cult following, but very very smaller in comparison, since it doesn’t have the Star Wars branding.

Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny.

If this didn’t trigger a PTSD-like reaction, i’m here to share my cursed knowledge upon you, because in a way this fits the Christmas period, and its deranged insanity.

Continua a leggere “What is Christmas without an Ice Cream Bunny?”

#E32021 Conferences Recap/Review/Thing

As already pointed out, E3 coming back this year was kind of a big deal, as the pandemic made it impossible to be held as usual in 2020, and even with the usual croc of shit that the event is and promotes… it’s a ritual, it’s a tradition for many people with huge interest in videogames, it’s a communal experience.

But i wonder if one year of non holding the event made many companies just forgot what the hell the expo was even supposed to be, like old people forgetting something they usually did out of habit because they had to stop doing it for a reason or others.

Mind you, E3 history is full of cringy – and often legendary – conferences often full of people that barely could speak english or had any PR experiences, overblown lies and hype for everything, announcements of announcement without nothing to show for titles of interest, so it’s telling this year’s output was a complete mess.

I don’t think that’s too hyperbolic to say.

Continua a leggere “#E32021 Conferences Recap/Review/Thing”

#E32021 Nintendo Direct & Bandai Namco [Highlights]

The final piece of rambles-recap-highlights i’m gonna write about this E3 edition… before the actual “final piece” of considerations and overall evalution.

First the long awaited Nintendo Direct, often topped only by the community basically setting themselves up to expect the moon and bitching about when they don’t get it…. or when they get it, because a certain set of people enjoy ranting and being miserable about the videogames they say to love so much, instead of actually playing said interactive entertaiment. You can’t please people that don’t even know what they want.

Continua a leggere “#E32021 Nintendo Direct & Bandai Namco [Highlights]”

#E32021 Capcom [Highlights]

I was gonna include the Take 2 Interactive showcase…well, it wasn’t called a “showcase”, but a “panel”, but still, i went in expecting to see something about the games, but it’s not that.

It’s a long panel where various figures from the company and not discussing equity and representation in games…. and that’s it. Important topics, absolutely, but why even bother letting people assume it was gonna be a showcase, when you don’t showcase nothing? Why bother tricking The Gamers (TM) into watching this, when you already know they are still offended by a random woman existing in videogames?

Continua a leggere “#E32021 Capcom [Highlights]”

#E32021 XBox-Bethesda & Square Enix [Highlights]

Still haven’t fully digested that Microsoft did actually buy Bethesda, but i didn’t have much interest in their games before… with the exception of Doom, Wolfenstein and pretty much anything they published but not developed, but still, it is a big deal.

Cared more than i could ever care about Microsoft’s offerings this last generation (and if anything so far into the X-Box One X is indicative of something, make it two), but whatever, let’s see if the two companies can offer a proper conference, at least with the standards we expect from “AAA” publishers and console makers.

Continua a leggere “#E32021 XBox-Bethesda & Square Enix [Highlights]”