“Big Fish & Begonia” Review

Big Fish & Begonia Poster

Big Fish & Begonia (2016)

This fantastical tale is about Chun, a girl who is a member of a tribe of mythical beings (“neither humans nor gods, but others”) living underwater, capable of controlling tides and knowing the secrets of nature. As part of her rite of passage, Chun turns into a dolphin to visit the human world. There, Chun makes a contact with a boy who loses his life “because of her”, and Chun vows to sacrifice a part of her life for him, seeking help to turn the boy into a fish which must grow big enough for his later transformation. The story sounds a bit complex; it requires certain open-mindedness; and the layering is quite deep. However, with the stunning visuals (better seen on the widest possible screen), the simplicity of the main theme is quite evident and heart-warming. The meticulously-constructed scenery, and the relatable themes of the cycle of life, and the importance of friendship and of not losing hope, all make this animation more than worth your time. Moreover, “Big Fish & Begonia” has already done extremely well at the Chinese box office, and, being a huge leap forward for the Chinese animation industry, it may be a contender in the next Oscar season.

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“The Shape of Water” Review

the-shape-of-water-french-movie-posterThe Shape of Water (2017)

Words lie, but looks don’t…When you fall in love, you fall in love, absolutely, all at once, all-in. It’s a miracle” (Guillermo del Toro).  

“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere” .

This tale of unlikely love between the Princess without Voice or Elisa and the creature from the Amazon has been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and there are good reasons for this furore. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)) has finally made the movie he wanted to make for a long time. Del Toro merges different cinematic genres (fantasy, drama and romance), while paying tribute to black-and-white Hollywood musicals and B-movie monsters, to produce a movie which is almost faultless in its directional execution, acting and emotional content. The director draws on a number of sources to tell the unlikely love story which, among many other things, portrays and sympathises with the lives of the “underdog” minority, and engagingly sets out the high-pressure conditions of living in the times of the Cold War. 

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“Coco” Review

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Coco (2017)

Coco” is a simply delightful Pixar-produced Academy Awards nominee of 2018. Taking the Mexican folklore and tradition on board, it tells the story of Miguel, a boy living with his family of zapateros or shoemakers in Santa Cecilia, Mexico. Years before, the family imposed an absolute ban on music, because a father of some previous generation left his family to pursue a music career. However, in this present time, Miguel, unbeknown to his family, dreams of becoming a musician, practices music secretly and worships his music idol Ernesto de la Cruz. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel desires to enter a local music completion to fulfil his dream of becoming a musician, but, trying to do so finds him in the secret Land of the Dead, where his adventures only begin.  

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“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” Teaser Trailer

“The Shape of Water” Trailer

Film Review: A Ghost Story (2017) — Film Blerg

A-GHOST-STORY-via-A24

A Ghost Story” (2017) reunites director David Lowery with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck. I gave a very high score to the director’s previous film “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (2013), involving these actors, because it won me over with its embedded poeticism and creativity alone; see my review of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints here, and/or read a fair take on “A Ghost Story” by Film Blerg below: 

Films about ghosts are usually scary, jumpy and spine-tingling. David Lowery’s latest feature, A Ghost Story, carefully avoids boxing itself within the horror genre by proving itself an elusive poem on topics as various as life and death, time and perception, and the purpose of human and universal existence. Without doubt, it is one of…

via Film Review: A Ghost Story (2017) — Film Blerg

Dan Callahan: “Beauty and the Beast” flounders most on the miscasting of several crucial roles

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This is a review of “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) by Dan Callahan published here. As for me, I cannot agree more. 

“The 1991 Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” was perhaps the best and most melodic hit the studio had during its renaissance period for animated features, and it in turn spawned a long-running stage musical. This new mainly live-action Disney version of the often-told story directed by Bill Condon feels largely perfunctory. Where it flounders most is on the miscasting of several crucial roles.  Read more of this post

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