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Conner Dejecacion


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One of my favorite films of all time. The gritty, yet slick world Oshii constructs is a testament to the cyberpunk genre, down to the smallest detail. I think constantly about invisibility cloaks and machine guns coming out of briefcases. Criminality and politics in Oshii's world intersect in a way few films, let alone science fiction ones, do. The philosophy of the film hits you like a truck - even though there's plenty of action the quieter moments where discussions of humanity, memory, embodiment and reality take place are the real "ghost" of the film.
Certainly more confusing than its predecessor, but still a slick cyberpunk thriller that's as thoughtful as it is brooding. GITS looked great in 1995 and it looks breathtaking in 2004 - 20 years later few animated films come close to GITS 2. I do chuckle a bit at the absurdity of our cop characters nonchalantly discussing complex philosophical topics in between murder investigations. It seems at points half the film's dialogue is just quotation from esoterica. The politics, crime and action are still juicy, but perhaps a little overripe.
I don't have much experience with Korean cinema but it's obvious PARASITE is a winner. The most compelling and incisive class commentary film to come out in decades, this film is a Shakespearean tragedy disguised as a crime comedy. We might admire the artfulness of the Kim family but the underlying darkness of the film -- and its shocking and violent climax, underscore just how powerful it really is.
No country does action better than Indonesia. The grimy setting and stomach-churning brutality of the relentless melee combat blows near every other movie on the water, while the indomitable endurance of star Iko Uwais cements him as an all-timer titan of action. Sure, the gun combat falters in comparison to the hand-to-hand combat but the real focus is on the violent artistry of fist, blade, and whatever random object happens to be lying around. The Raid and its sequel prove definitively there can be a kind of artistry to violence.
It's a shame this failed at the box office because it's a great action film and a great cyberpunk film - hard to come by. The mundanity of Dredd's hyperviolence -- the fact that the raid on Peach Trees is just another day in the life of a Judge, is a narrative wrapper that perfectly encapsulates its confined, tense setting. Locking down an apartment building and just trashing it never gets old. Slo-Mo is a genius technical tool as well, allowing the creators to go ham on the violence. Lena Headey shines as the antagonist in over her head, but no star shines brighter than Karl Urban, perfectly cast as Judge Dredd. Just give him a sequel already, or the TV show I keep hearing about.
The Raid 2 ramps up the insanity of the first film, mostly by just adding more people to kill. Like a video game, The Raid 2 has levels, minibosses, power weapons. It's two and half hours of punching, kicking, shooting, stabbing, sometimes in verges on exhausting just how bloody this film is, but the sheer beauty of the individual fight scenes more than make up for any numbness it might induce. I'm always up for more Raid films - just put Iko Uwais up against increasingly larger hordes of criminals -- and larger criminals, for that matter.
Miyazaki holds life as infinitely sacred and precious, presenting every loss of life, every potential loss of life, as a tragedy. That doesn’t stop him from putting to the screen some of the most beautiful war machines ever conceived of. Miyazaki’s planes are penned down to the rivet, his weapons detailed down to the rifling of a barrel and the particular shine of a spent shell casing. Part of the wonder of watching Nausicaä as a kid was the allure of these machines, especially the hulking gunships bristling with turrets and missile launchers. For all my infatuation with Nausicaä and her dreamy idealism, I was equally amazed by watching futuristic flying machines shoot each other to pieces and go down in flames. I can draw from memory the gunship Nausicaä flies throughout the film, have memorized the antiquated, yet elegant profile of her rifle and still laugh at the chunkiness of the brass Torumekian tanks. Miyazaki’s craft is in machines just as it’s in people, and the way he’s able to imbue such beauty and terror into cold metal is a hallmark of his mastery of animation. Only Miyazaki is able to grieve over technology, the sheer waste of craftsmanship when something as beautiful as a plane is used to drop bombs, the waste of life when it’s shot down, death rippling through the skies as the grief travels like a shockwave from those aboard to the ones they loved. The effort Miyazaki puts into his creations proves everything has life, and everything can die. We’d best remember that.
British crime has always had a bit of a distinct flair compared to American crime. It has an air of refinement, and sophistication. Class. Gangs of London dispels this air with a gunshot to the head. Weaving a complex web of crime family politics and tensions that fracture on generational and racial lines, Gangs of London is a pressure cooker of a show. Created by Gareth Evans of The Raid, Gangs of London plies in brutal violence as much as intrigue. One sequence - almost an entire episode dedicated to one continuous gunfight, is particularly impressive.
The original Godzilla remains a fascinating post-war study of nuclear destruction and national tragedy. Even in the age of Oppenheimer which seems to be the definitive meditation on the atomic bomb, Godzilla's enduring legacy is a testament to the creature's cultural resilience and adaptability to metaphor. Godzilla's been a symbol for the atomic bomb, yes, but also government bureaucracy and, most recently, guilt. Even a film as old as this manages to capture the horror of atomic destruction and the sheer loss of a life a superweapon can enable with the wave of a hand - or claw, or foot.
I watched this on a whim after seeing it described in an a Polygon article about Korean action cinema. The film is slick to a fault - the colors are hypersaturated, giving the characters and environment an oily sheen fitting its grimy setting and gruesome subject matter. The action sequences are excellent, and dancelike, but not as elegant as the title suggests. Rather, the swerving and swooping melees take on the quality of a hip-hop music video, getting the blood pumping as it spurts from gun, blade, and fist.
If "The Raid" was your introduction to Indonesian action cinema, you would be excused if you thought that there was no way to make a film crazier and more violent than that. The Night Comes For Us would prove you wrong. Balls to the wall crazy, wincingly-painful looking action sequences where dirty combatants fight dirtier, taking up any random sharp or rusty object and using it to tear flesh. The fistfights are so gruesome the gun action seems almost tame in comparison. Eccentric assassins, yelling dudes with cleavers, Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim - this movie's got it all, if you have the stomach for it.
A beautiful and oft-overlooked companion to The Matrix, celebrating its 25th anniversary today. Decades later, most of the shorts still hold up. As with any anthology, you'll have your outliers, among them the dubiously erotic Final Flight of the Osiris and Matriculated among them. The rest, however, tell thought-provoking and gorgeously-animated standalone stories in The Matrix universe. My favorites are "Beyond" and "Detective Story," the latter directed by the amazing Shinichiro Watanabe. Also props to "Second Renaissance" to doing the machine apocalypse more justice than the live-action films ever could.
I always say Guy Ritchie's films are best when his budget is smaller, not bigger. Put him with some stylish British blokes in London, add in some guns and stolen property and you've got yourself a film. The film bounces around with a manic energy, a comedy of errors and diamonds. It's great fun, and I hope Ritchie can replicate its success some day.
I think Neil Blomkamp might be a wizard. His expertise has always been in cinematography and SFX, and it shows in District 9. His alien future is a dump, but it's a supremely believable one. From the media circus surrounding the aliens to their treatment by humans and the mechanisms of military technology, District 9 feels real even if it's stretching the limits of what's possible to put on screen. Also, Sharlto Copley is a treasure.
3D CGI anime is usually ... not great. I was skeptical of the new Lupin III movie having grown up with Hayao Miyazaki's timeless Castle of Cagliostro. While this film doesn't reach the former's bombastic highs, it does provide a zany adventure worthy of Lupin, and the 3D CGI complements, rather than detracts from the film. It suits Lupin's rubbery movement and bouncy demeanor, as well as the ridiculous physical antics he and the gang get up to. I watched the film in English - a mistake, given the lip mismatch - but everything else was technically wonderful. Shout out to the insane plot point involving Lupin disguising himself as none other than an elderly Adolf Hitler - only he could pull off something as goofy as that.
The story of how I watched this movie is actually pretty funny - I was fresh off "Parasite" and remembered Bong Joon-Ho had made another movie about a train. That's "Snowpiercer," obviously, but the title eluded me at the time. Instead I watched "Train to Busan," which turned out to be one of the best zombie movies ever! Confined spaces, plenty of gore and limited access to firearms made the violence all the more intense, and the fact that our characters are just regular people trying to survive makes every death all the more gut-wrenching. Glad I found this one by accident!
I've seen this movie so many times, for fun and for a class. It's visually, thematically and emotionally rich, managing to make the cold future of technology so much warmer. It's about family, by blood and otherwise, and the triumph of the human spirit over all. I find that I always cry a little bit when I watch this movie, and it's grown on me in the 15 years since its original release.
This anime retelling of beauty and the beast is a cyber-musical epic. Mamoru Hosoda never fails to make me cry, and I don't cry very often when I watch movies. There's something about the earnestness of the way he treats technology as the fulcrum of our relationships with others that makes his films especially powerful. While I think this movie doesn't have the staying power of Summer Wars - I think Belle is just a tinge sappy - it's still a great film that will make you think and feel.
This movie was my introduction to Hong Kong action cinema and it was a great one. I was surprised how much character drama was crammed into a film with so many over-the-top crazy shootouts. I felt the connection between Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung's characters. The final hospital shootout is absolutely incredible, and the warehouse shootout is great as well. Tequila is not a good cop, but I guess that doesn't really matter.
I watched this in the theater for the first time for its 45th birthday. Just like Sigourney Weaver, Alien has aged extremely well. The design of the Nostromo ship, the alien ship, and of course the Xenomorph are all immaculate, and in the theater I found myself noticing just how the soundscape of alarms, beeps, and industrial noises heightens the tension even if the titular alien only attacks a few times. Ripley is of course one of the best protagonists ever, and I found myself paying more attention of Parker and Dallas this time around. 'm not normally a horror fan, but Alien is fantastic even for scaredy-cats like me.
I'm super late to the party but I'm really glad I watched this. The intersecting narratives of guilt and the diminishing returns of the question "did she do it" kept me enthralled in my seat. Add to that the juicy courtroom drama propelled by the devil-like prosecutor and silver fox defender (though who is really the good one there?) and you have a gripping drama about family, justice, and guilt.
I'm super surprised this show hasn't gotten more attention. It's basically Filipino "The Wire," which should be enough to excite basically anyone. It's violent, shocking, and, at least purportedly, based on a true story. The political backdrop of the show is super interesting, especially for someone only vaguely familiar with Filipino politics and history. The dual perspectives of both the criminals and the cops definitely brings the show close to "The Wire" in tone and feel, if not always reaching its highest highs. Definitely worth a watch.
I'm a Cyberpunk 2077 superfan and this anime series did not disappoint. Night City got the luscious animated treatment of Studio TRIGGER while remaining absurdly faithful to the game. Everything from guns to cars to the locations presented to the show have in-game analogues. The anime's hyperstylistic hyperviolence lends itself well to the wild wild west that is the world of Cyberpunk, and the brutal storyline reinforces something that's hammered into us time and time again in the game and in the genre in general: "Happy endings? For folks like us? Wrong city, wrong people."
Cowboy Bebop is one of the best anime of all time, and the perfect anime to introduce to people who have never seen one before. The gritty space-western sci-fi world grounds the show, and its lovable cast of motley rogues are at this point iconic figures in pop culture. The show effortlessly weaves between the comedic and the serious, the action-packed and slower-paced. Intense character drama plays out between (and during) thrilling gunfights. Plus, the English dub is awesome.
The film packs a big story in a small package. The noir plot really serves as a skeleton supported by heady philosophical concepts such as the nature of technology and its purpose in an advanced society. Humans protest robotic rights in the streets, pundits debate android sentience on television and the line between subservience and freedom is blurred. If all that seems a bit tropey, it’s true. Mars Express wears its influences on its sleeve. Chief among them is the cyberpunk anime classic Ghost in the Shell, also featuring techno-mysteries and androids with a tendency to wax poetic. Mars Express even features a climactic gun battle with a quadrupedal battle tank like the iconic scene in Ghost in the Shell. Mars Express’ interrogations don’t quite reach the provocative heights of Ghost in the Shell, but I do think it’s the more accessible of the two films thanks to its more concrete arguments.
I'd call it Miyazaki's most abstract movie - I found myself grasping at compelling themes but the film doesn't give them up so easily. As usual, the film is gorgeous, and the fantasy elements light up the childhood wonder neurons like a Christmas tree. (Highlight: Fascist Parakeets).

Mahito is the rare Ghibli boy - he marches resolutely forward with a look of grim determination on his face for swaths of the movie, but there's a tenderness underlying his efficiency that softens him up for us.

For a movie set in WWII Japan, the conflict is remarkably mute in the film. Mahito's father is an industrialist, able to bring home canned delicacies and cigarettes from his job at the warplane factory. Both Mahito and his father don't shy away from violence and are quick to reach for weapons but their soldier-like gusto falters in the face of the fantastical. We see images of marching infantrymen and tanks but Miyazaki reaches for a quieter sort of tragedy - one where an empire falls with a whimper - maybe this is how four year old Miyazaki saw things.

The titular Heron is similarly hard to pin down. I'm not sure what he's supposed to represent, if anything. He plays comedic relief, and his relationship with The Boy seems to take side stage with The Boy's relationships with other characters.

Lots of cute little guys! (Just had to put that out there, wouldn't be Ghibli without cute little guys)

There's something Grecian about The Boy and The Heron. Miyazaki's no stranger to Alice in Wonderland-style adventures, but this one's lighter touch and heavier subject matter tinges the whole experience with a kind of Euyrdice-and-Orpheus sadness, like a watercolor painting where the water is mixed with tears. In loss, Mihato gains something valuable. I'm just not sure we're given full access to what that is, but maybe we don't need to.
Is this movie funny? I don't know. Iannucci's satire of Soviet bureaucracy and institutional violence is certainly as acidic as its premise suggests, and it's delightful to see the variously slimy middle aged men squirm around in the fishbowl of their own design, yet the stone-cold executions that punctuate the film give me pause. If the Death of Stalin is a black comedy it's black in the sense that the void of space is black, or a black hole is black. The Death of Stalin's comedy is an angry sort of comedy, sharp enough to cut both ways.