ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – O -Okko’s Inn (2018) Movie Review

Director: Kiraro Kosaka

Writer: Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay) Niroko Reijo, Asami (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seiran Kobayashi, Nana Mizuki, Satsumi Matsuda, Rina Endo, Etsuko Kozakura

Plot: After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko starts living in the countryside with her grandmother who runs a traditional Japanese inn. While she prepares to be the next owner of the inn, Okko can somehow see friendly ghosts.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Okko’s Inn starts when young girl Seki Oriko, or Okko for short loses her parents in a car accident, forcing her to move in with her grandmother in her welcoming Inn. Okko is lined up to become the junior innkeeper.

Okko finds herself meeting Uri-bo a ghost that lives in the inn, one that used to be a friend with her grandmother, when they were young. She soon starts meeting another ghost Miyo who is the older sister of her rival, as she learns how to make people happy in their stay, while dealing with her own trauma.

Thoughts on Okko’s Inn

Characters – Okko is a recently orphaned young girl that must move in with her grandmother, an innkeeper in the city. Okko becomes a junior innkeeper, where she starts to meet ghosts around the area, ones that will guide her, as she learns what the importance of an Innkeeper is, facing the grief, she hasn’t let out yet. Okko is such a beautifully written character, one that will be showing us just how difficult it would be to lose their family. She is filled with the positive attitude to help the guests along the way, with how she deals with problems. Uri-bo, Miyo and Suzuki are different spirits that visit Okko, that will help for, guide her through the next most difficult part of her life.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl who gets orphaned and finds new hope with her grandmother as a junior innkeeper. The grieving process for this character is different to anything we have seen before, showing us that we could see the goodness in someone motivating them to improve everyone around him. We do get to dive into cultural learning, as Okko hasn’t always known about the importance of this position and must learn just how much it means to the community around her. There will be an emotional gut punch in the end, as we see she deals with the change all together.

ThemesOkko’s Inn is a beautifully drawn out animation, that shows the compact lives next to the cultural importance of the area, the different shades for the ghosts, show us just how important there wait has been in life too.

Okko’s Inn is a beautiful, power and rewarding animation that will both break and make you smile.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – In This Corner of the World (2016) Film Thoughts

Director: Sunao Katabuchi

Writer: Sunao Katabuchi, Chie Uratani (Screenplay) Fumiyo Kono (Manga)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ava Pickard, Kenna Pickard, Karen Strassman, Melodee Spevack, Michael Sorich

Plot: Set in Hiroshima during World War II, an eighteen-year-old girl gets married and now has to prepare food for her family despite the rationing and lack of supplies. As she struggles with the daily loss of life’s amenities she still has to maintain the will to live.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Little Animation

Story: In This Corner of the World starts as we meet Suzu a young girl turning into a woman that works for a kind family as a maid, she ends up getting married young filling the wife void in the family, as World War II starts to rage on, coming close to home for the family.

With the war coming to the town, they family must get used to rationing with the lack of supplies and the constant bombardment coming their way.

Thoughts on In This Corner of the World

Final Thoughts In This Corner of the World examines the troubles that are being experienced during World War II, as a young family that are usually getting through the days with ease, see themselves thrown into a war they aren’t prepared for the battle, with the new reality making life hard, we see the world through the eyes of the innocent young girl as she lets her mind wander, while letting her kindness become the most important part of her character. While this does show us the heartbreak of war time in Japan in the later stages of the film, it does focus too heavily on building the family relationship for an hour, which does show us how together the family are, but it doesn’t give enough on the pain suffered, compared to another animated movie in the same genre, The Grave of the Fireflies. Does get the important message of the pain caused by war over, only it ends up focusing on the positive people who were the victims of the war.

Overall: Dramatic Animation

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – H – Weathering with You (2019) Movie Review

This is under Ho because of the main character Hodaka.

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Writer: Makoto Shinkai (Screenplay)

Starring: (voice talents) Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Shun Oguri, Sei Hiraizumi, Yuke Kaji

Plot: A high-school boy who has run away to Tokyo befriends a girl who appears to be able to manipulate the weather.

Tagline – An impossible love made possible by the changing weather.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Weathering with You starts as we meet Hodaka, who is running away to Tokyo, when he gets to meet a stranger Keisuka Suga on the ship taking him there, where he ends up working for him and his niece Natsumi Suga. They are searching for a sunshine girl, that can change the weather, bringing sun to the rainy Tokyo skies.

The search takes them high and low until Hodaka meets Hina, the sunshine girl, who looks to start helping the resident of Tokyo enjoy the sunshine on a rainy day.

Thoughts on Weathering with You

Characters – Hodaka is the teenage runaway who finds himself in Tokyo, looking for something more from life. He gets more than he bargained for, meeting the Suga’s that offer him a home, shelter and job, searching for a sunshine girl. He will fall in love in the most unlikely way, as he learns to grow up in the world. Hina is the sunshine girl that the people have been searching for, she has the ability to turn the rain into sun, something she does to help people in the city, but it is coming at a price. She starts to get involved with Hodaka as the two look to open up the world to a better place. We do also meet the adults that are trying to guide the young couple to try and find the right path, each one will give advice and show what life is really worth.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage runaway that heads to Tokyo and falls in love with a sunshine girl, a girl that can control the weather, bringing the sunshine back during the rainiest days. There journey will not be easy and they will be drawn together by love, the biggest driving point of their relationship. This is a story that does following in the steps of Your Name of a fantasy love story between two young people that doesn’t make logically sense, but is drawn together to make sure it doesn’t sound out of place. We do get the message of learning about hope through the darkest moments in life, which will show how difficult to be without someone in life will cause problems or help you grow.

ThemesWeathering with You is the latest animation from the director that bought us Your Name, it looks amazing with their creation, turning to a lot of weather conditions. The romantic side of the film that will give us a chance to see how far life will drive you for love. The Tokyo backdrop shows us just how the city will be filled with people looking for something more.

Final Thoughts Weathering with You is a beautiful animation with a moving story of love through the weather.

Chance (2019) Movie Review

Chance – Eye Opening

Director: Kenny Roy

Writer: Kenny Young (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Cannon, Peppur Chambers, Simone Baker, Eddie Goines

Plot: A peaceful pit bull struggles to maintain his values while surviving in the brutal world of dogfighting.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Chance starts as we see Chance a pup in a pit bull litter, he is a dreamer still looking to learn from his mother before he gets bought and thrown into a pit bull fighting home. Here Chance befriends Sugar and Hannibal, where they learn to fight, looking to survive in this world.

The old Chance gets, the more determined he is to escape and live a life of freedom after seeing the horrors of the fighting pit and heading to haven, a place where dogs can live in peace.

Thoughts on Chance

Characters – Chance is the puppy taken and thrown into the world of dog fighting, he just wants to return to his life away from this world, one where he doesn’t want to fight and even in the ring, he finds a way to not kill. He spends his life searching for freedom to save other dogs, despite seeing the hopelessness the other dogs show in this world. Chance shows us just how innocent the dogs thrown into this world are before they are drained into become the dangerous fighters humans make them. Hannibal and Sugar are the two friends he makes in the pit, they both see his vision and want to support him, but know they must prepare for what could come next. Thor is the dog that teaches Chance how to fight in a deadlier manner, one where he won’t expose his weakness for the other dogs.

StoryThe story here follows a pit bull puppy that is taken from his mother and forced into dog fighter, despite trying to hold onto his dreams of being free from this world. This is not an easy watch for anyone, but it is an important watch, it shows us the brutal reality these dogs will face if they are thrown into the dog fighting world, forced to fight to the death, not given a chance to live their normal life an animal should. This does show the barbaric behaviour humans do towards dogs, giving them little chance of a life, they should have where they can be loved. We do get the clear message here that this film is here to try and help make a change, to stop these horrendous actions happening.

ThemesChance is an animated movie that might not have the standards of animation we would be expecting from the major studios, but it does get over the horrific side to everything that these dogs are being put through, the cuts, wounds and damage show the scars these animals must live through without proper treatment. With the locations being shown as fortress like yards or the fighting pits. Each one will give the dogs little hope of a bright future.

Coming to streaming & cable platforms May 4 and DVD June 8

Chance is a hard hitting highlight to the horrendous actions people do to dogs.

A Dragon’s Adventure (2021) Movie Review

A Dragon’s Adventure – Kid Friendly Dragon Film

Director: Anthony Power

Writer: Mark Slater, Gabriele Walther (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Teresa Gallagher, Jimmy Hibbert, David Holt, Emma Tate

Plot: Coconut the Little Dragon goes on a summer camp adventure which turns into a disaster when the wild Water Dragons and carnivorous plants come along to create chaos.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: A Dragon’s Adventure starts when Coconut and Oscar two young dragons are going on their first summer camp, they sneak their best friend Matilda the porcupine along with them and on their journey they find water dragons.

As the boat they are travelling sinks, the baby dragons must search for Matilda, while the parents must look for the young dragons, only to discover the land is filled with carnivorous plants.

Thoughts on A Dragon’s Adventure

ThoughtsA Dragon’s Adventure is an animated family film that will be one that shows the adventures of a group of young dragons and their porcupine friend, as they go on a summer camp away from their homeland, clashing with water dragons who haven’t seen other dragons in generations. This is one of the simple and entertaining for the younger generation, one that might not hit as well for the parent figures watching. It is all harmless and is getting the clear message about learning to accept others for being different. The animation technique does make the world look smaller than it is, but we never get the feeling to see more of it. This is in fact a sequel, so you can always go on to learn more about Coconut and friends adventures in the future.

Signature Entertainment presents A Dragon’s Adventure on Digital Platforms 2nd April

A Dragon’s Adventure is a nice animation that will keep the kids entertained.