ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Yoshitaka Yamaguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Yayan Ruhian, Lily Franky, Hayato Ichihara, Riko Narumi

 

Plot: In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire-a bloodsucking yakuza vampire boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin. One day, assassins aware of boss Kamiura’s secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: Return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza. As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama’s desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate’s mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader!


Tagline –  Once bitten, you’re a yakuza.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bonkers Revenge Thriller

 

Story: Yakuza Apocalypse starts with Yakuza boss Kamiura (Frankly) showing his kindness to the civilians in his neighbourhood, removing any members that wrongfully harm any of his people, with a new understudy Akira Kageyama (Ichihara) we start to see the tension from the rest of the Yakuza before assassin Kyoken (Ruhian) is set to murder Kamiura who just so happens to be a Yakuza vampire that in his dying breath turns Kageyama.

Kageyama must learn how to survive his new abilities to become strong enough to extract revenge on Kyoken and the rest of the Yakuza who turned on his boss by turning everyone into vampires.

 

Thoughts on Yakuza Apocalypse

 

Characters – Akira Kageyama is a member of the Yakuza, he is a good man not following traditions of tattoos and never hurting anyone innocent, which has raised him up the ranks under his current boss. When his boss is murdered, he takes his ability of being a vampire to continue his good nature in the battle while taking out the men that killed his boss. Kyoken is the stranger in town, the assassin sent to kill Kamiura, deadly in combat, he knows how to blend into a crowd.  Kamiura is the respected Yakuza boss that keeps the city in check not letting anything get out of hand, which has made him enemies within the Yakuza with his secret being revelled.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are good throughout, there is a stand out performer in Yayan Ruhian because we know just how amazing he is at combat, Hayato Ichihara is good too in the lead role, but some of the small supporting performances do feel over the top.

StoryThe story here as far as I could tell, was a Yakuza boss being murdered and one of his men seeking revenge with a vampire filled twist, which just makes things bigger and crazier through everything that is unfolding. Then there is the frog costume, well things get crazy here, this is a story you remember, not for being great, but for being weird as they come.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is big and gives us plenty of martial arts material to watch unfold, the horror comes from the different styles of vampires that become Yakuza and the comedy comes from the craziness going on through the film.

SettingsThe film keeps everything in on location of a small city which is now under control from Yakuza, first the kind type and soon the deadly type.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work well because they show the blood splatter at its very best.


Scene of the Movie –
The frogs arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tone of the film changes too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is truly a crazy movie which has blood splatter throughout the film even though it does follow a simple revenge plot.

 

Overall: A movie you won’t forget.

Rating

 

 

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Writer: Lynne Ramsay (Screenplay) Jonathan Ames (Book)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette

 

Plot: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Divisive to Say the Lease

 

Story: You Were Never Really Here starts as we meet Joe (Phoenix) a war veteran that has his own nightmares that uses getting bag over head trick to show him what life is worth being a part off, he lives with his insecure mother (Roberts) and works as a fixer, tracking down missing girls for a living.

Joe’s latest job is to help Senator Albert Votto (Manette) find his daughter Nina (Samsonov) who has a habit of running away. When this latest mission gets out of hand, Joe must seek revenge on the people responsible in the bloody way possible.

 

Thoughts on You Were Never Really Here

 

Characters – Joe is the veteran that is suffering from his own nightmares, traumatised from his time at war, his outlets include a mix of legal highs and searching for missing girls. He is excellent at getting the job done and can get his hands dirty where needed, he has a close relationship with his mother where he tries his best to care for her, but his latest job will show us just how deadly he can be. Joe’s Mother is the one person Joe opens up to, she is the only one that can keep him grounded through his troubles. Nina is the teenager that went missing, the one he promises to help, we don’t see too much from her other than he is part of his motivation.  

PerformancesThere is no question that Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant in the leading role, we know his struggles he is showing us and watch eagerly to see what he does next. As for the rest of the performers, they are good as they are not trying to take the spotlight away from him.

StoryThe story follows a struggle war veteran with the ability to track down missing people getting involved in a bigger picture that he just wasn’t prepared for. As things get out of hand he continues to question his own sanity as he looks to do the right thing for the latest victim. Well I think that is what I read from the movie, I am not going to lie when I say I feel I may have missed what makes this such the iconic special movie people have been talking about. It just seems to go into the you will need to understand every scene to make the answer to what happened as most of the interesting scenes do seem to miss the point.

MysteryThe mystery parts of this film come from just not knowing just where things will be going, just like Joe who is waiting to see what he has gotten himself into.

SettingsThe film shows us just where Joe can stay away from the public eye but can be in the middle of the scene searching for the answers.


Scene of the Movie –
Goodbye.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This movie has been overhyped for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is disappointing for me, because all I have heard is how great this movie is, but by the end of the film it does end up falling very short for me.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating

 

 

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

youveDirector: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron (Screenplay) Miklos Laszlo (Play)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns

 

Plot: Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Romantic Comedy

 

Story: You’ve Got Mail starts as we see two complete strangers Joe Fox (Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) who chat online every night even though they are both involved in relationships with Patricia (Posey) and Frank (Kinnear). The two set up the rule of not knowing anything about the personal lives of each other and remain friends in New York City.

Kathleen owns a small book shop that is going to have a giant book shop open around the corner from it, Fox Books which just so happens to be run by Joe. When the two business rivals meet the tension between begins but when the two mail each other they still think they are talking to just any stranger.

When the truth comes out the love they feel towards each other online must go against the hatred they have for each other in real life.

 

Thoughts on You’ve Got Mail

 

StoryThe old story of falling in love with someone you have never met through conversation. The idea of not knowing who you are chatting to makes this story have this extra spark. We do get a smaller story about business how small family businesses can be closed by dominating force. I will say this story has now become outdated because of the next level of technology but the fantasy idea still works wonders for this film.

Comedy/RomanceThe romantic side of this story is all good showing how you could fall in love with someone you least expect. We do get small laughs throughout the film without them overshadowing the romantic story.

Characters/PerformanceJoe was the new age business man, he does care about people outside of work but is happy to squash them when it comes to business. Kathleen was one of the dying breed of shopkeepers who cares about their customers offering them the best service in New York. We do have supporting characters who are mostly all involved to advise our Joe and Kathleen.

This film has two brilliant performance from Hanks and Ryan who showed they have excellent chemistry together and you can see that in the romantic or the arguing scenes. I do think everyone else does everything they need to do working with the leads.actors

SettingsLooking in the settings we are have New York which is perfect choice because we get to see how small business would suffer next to the big store, it also plays into the effects of meeting someone even in the busy streets.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies you will have seen, it is accessible for all and will bring a smile to your face.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy this sweet charming love story.

Ratingcard

 

 

Your Name (2017)

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Writer: Makoto Shinkai (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita, Aoi Yuki, Nobunage Shimazaki, Kaito Ishikawa

 

Plot: Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. When a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Wow

 

Story: Your Name starts as we meet small town girl Mitsuha who dreams of getting out of the town and moving to the busy Tokyo, we also meet Tokyo school student Taki who has found himself looking after himself searching for his next stage in life.

With an incoming comet passing over the strange event starts to happen for the two strangers who find themselves swapping bodies and lives, the two start communicating through messages to inform the other what they have been doing, some good other bad, but when the communication is lost, the truth about their connection comes out.

 

Thoughts on Your Name

 

Characters Taki and Mitsuha are both fantastic characters, they both come off like normal high school students in the lives they are living, both dreaming off things outside what they see as their reach, both confused but adapting to the body swapping lives they believe to be dreams. The rest of the characters who are part of both lives which does work for our main characters story arc.

StoryThe story brings a fresh approach the body swapping sub-genre, we become invested in the lives of both of the students and the bigger story going on which I don’t want to get too detailed but this story will make you go through a full range of emotions and you will be left shocked with the final outcome of the story.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy side of the film comes from the body swapping elements which does get increased when you learn the twist within the film’s story. the romance comes from how these two people from different worlds can fall in love being part of the others life.

SettingsThe settings for the film show the different worlds the two come from, we get to see the busy streets of Tokyo and small town where families work to support the next generation filled with tradition.

AnimationThe animation is as you would expect almost flawless for telling the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I have heard only wonderful things about, those things were not wrong, this is a wonderful story with great leading characters, that will pull on the all the emotions you have through the whole film.

 

Overall: Truly special animated film.

Rating