Weathering With You – A Must-Watch Japanese Anime

This weekend, I took my wife to a cinema and watched Weathering With Me. To be honest, I did not know how this would turn out. I am a big fan of Japanese anime. The Japanese have a wild imagination. Out of the world kind of wild imagination. It is a story about a runaway boy, looking for a job and earned a living by writing stories in a magazine. Soon he came across a girl who can control the weather. A special bond was developed.

I must confess that the beginning of the movie was a bit slow (the rain didn’t help) and I was trying very hard not to fall asleep (my wife did initially). As the story developed, it got more and more interesting. Exciting too. The artwork is beautiful. The story is very well written. A strong recommendation from me. My wife loves the movie a lot, which is a bonus.

Chico And Rita – A Spanish Animation Film Of Love And Music

A Spanish animation film

The 8th Spanish Film Festival in Singapore is ending soon.  See if you can catch Chico & Rita (2010) at The Arts House today.  Admission is free on a first come basis.

Chico & Rita is a Spanish animated feature-length film.  The first that was nominated for the Oscar.  The artwork is beautiful.  Each frame could well be made into a wall painting.  The soundtrack throughout the film is equally beautiful, especially for the jazz music lover.  Set in Cuba, a pianist called Chico meets a singer called Rita.  And they have fallen in love.  However, circumstances seem to often get into their way.  Chico & Rita is a journey of love and music from Cuba’s Havana to New York and Las Vegas in a span of five decades.  Due to the rich history behind Chico & Rita and the fact that many of Havana’s pre-revolutionary buildings had decayed, the filmmakers have looked into the photograph archive in order to recreate the era and the mood.

This story is rather dark.  So is the mood.  Perhaps it is the pain the gives forth such beautiful music and inspires such exquisite artwork.

The drawing of Chico & Rita is exquisite.

One Piece Film: Z

A film originated from manga.

I have not heard of the manga One Piece until I watched a movie adaptation of the manga.  Naturally, I love anything that is Japanese.  When I first saw the gigantic promotional poster displayed at one of our beloved cinemas, I said to our buddy TK, “Let’s watch this!”  To that he replied, “On!”

Apparently, One Piece is a very popular manga series in Japan, for a very long time.  In this particular movie One Piece Film: Z, there are pirates the supposedly protagonists (I think).  There are the marines who hunt down the pirates.  And there is Commander Z who was a marine, went rogue, and now rages war against the pirates as well as the marines that get into his way.  Each pirate, meanwhile, seems to possess at least one unique power (think X-Men).  As you can imagine, there are tons of combat scenes between the characters.  More or less like a video game.

Unlike other more artistic Japanese animations Cynthia and I have seen, One Piece Film: Z does not require too much thinking.  Just sit back and enjoy the humor and the action.  I am not entirely convinced that the English subtitles convey the original essence well.  I wish there were Chinese subtitles as well.  Usually, for Japanese animation, Chinese subtitles work better than the English ones.

One Piece Film: Z is not a story exploring the abstractness of nature or the emotional vulnerability of character.  It is a film with a decent amount of humor and action that entertains.

Wreck-It Ralph: It Touches Gamers’ Hearts For Sure

What a heartwarming movie!

I had no idea what this film was.  Imagine my surprise when I realized that Wreck-It Ralph is about video game characters.  A villain who gets tired of being the bad guy, for a decade, inside an arcade machine.  He too wants to win a medal and be a good guy for once.  That sets him into a journey into a first person shooter machine and later on, an arcade racing machine.

As a passionate gamer, I love how this film portraits different aspects and eras of video gaming.  Plenty of game references.  As for the story, Wreck-It Ralph seems a bit slow in the beginning.  I wish the Hero’s Duty segment was a lot longer.  Fortunately, the pace does pick up once we get to the arcade racing game Sugar Rush, when the villain Ralph meets the adorable Vanellope.  There is even a moment when my heart weeps a little.

Puss In Boots – Too Cute To Even Think

Life can be like scenes from your favorite movies.  Take today as an example.  I felt like being Rachel McAdams in “Morning Glory“.  I was excited to face the day, with added responsibility as one of our colleagues was on compassionate leave.  No problem.  In our team, we watch over each other’s back.  We are there for each other.  I entered into a multiparty conference call, with close to zero knowledge of the specific work this colleague of mine is doing.  After some harmless introduction, we entered into a moment of silence.  Then all of a sudden, questions were shooting from everywhere, and onto me.  That scene, reminded me of Rachel McAdams’s first day of work in that movie.  Coupled with the meetings that were within my domain of work, I had half a day worth of non-stop meeting.  On the last meeting, my reaction time was so slow that I had to apologized.  My brain was fried.  Fortunately, I have so many nice people around me at work.  They understood.

After watching “Puss In Boots”, Cynthia asked if I know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  I said no.  What about Princes and the Pea?  I said no.  Rapunzel?  I asked, “How do you spell that?”.  Red Riding Hound?  I said, “Like the movie by Amanda Seyfried?”  Cynthia gave up.  Well, in Hong Kong, we studied legends of the Oriental.  The culture is different there.

Back to “Puss In Boots”, it is loosely based on some well known fairly tales that of course, I am not familiar with.  That does not bother me.  This movie is hilarious.  Puss is mightily cute.  Cynthia observed that “Puss In Boots” has a strong reference to Banderas’s Zorro.  I do not disagree.  It is one of those movies that by the time a week passes by, you would not remember much about the movie.  Is there a moral to the story?  I really can’t think of any.