Category Archives: Movies

Kiki’s Delivery Service (Movie Review)

Studio Ghibli does it again, this time with “Kiki’s Delivery Service”. I’ll go ahead and place this somewhere up in my top five Ghibli films.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a 13 year-old girl, who also happens to be a witch. All witches, once they’ve reached the age of 13, are expected to leave home to train as a witch. Kiki ends up in a faraway city, running her own delivery service. Just about the entire film takes place in this city.

Kiki’s Delivery Service makes use of that famed Ghibli style that the studio is known for, made even better by the fact that I watched the epic Blu-Ray version. The story may be the movie’s greatest flaw. It’s very, very predictable. I was told that the film is based off of a children’s book, so that may be why this flaw exists.

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I recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service for any Studio Ghibli fans, or for a family looking for a good family-friendly movie. Aside from the story, it is an excellent film.

4- Pretty k

Jobs (Movie Review)

Jobs is a biography. Steve Job’s biography. The movie does a great job of making Steve look like a completely cruel person. Although I didn’t really appreciate that, the rise of Jobs and Apple to its current glory was well done. They did a great job of showing many of the early aspects of Apple, starting from Steve’s employment at Atari. However, many of Apple’s major creations were not even mentioned in the movie. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad were not even mentioned, and I believe they played a large part in how Apple is today.

The pace of the movie was incredibly slow, really, really slow. This may have been why many aspects of Job’s life after re-joining Apple were left out, entirely due to constraints in movie length. Many of the movie’s scenes would start up and finish abruptly, all stringing together into this one large mess of of a movie. The movie made few attempts at emotional appeal, and when executed, they were done so in a poor fashion.

Jobs is not a really well-executed film. It has its moments, but overall, its just a compilation of random scenes from throughout Job’s early career. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re really interested in the history of Apple, or personal computers.

3- Moderately k

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Movie Review)

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug is the next film in the Hobbit trilogy. I went and saw the movie in 2D the other day and thought I’d do a quick write-up on it.

It felt like the entire movie was rushed. Many of the scenes took place quickly and although they did flow well, it was at a very fast pace. There were a few sequences that were very cool, like the dark forest sequence, in which the characters were under the influence of this “unpure air”, causing drunk-like behavior. The action sequences in the movie were great, no complaints there, just your generic action scenes. The movie did end rather abruptly, but left this massive feeling of suspense, which was great.

I do recommend the movie if you liked the first one, but be prepared for an unsatisfying ending, paving the way for the third film.

3- Moderately k

Frozen (Movie Review)

I went into Disney’s “Frozen” expecting something completely different from what I got. I had no idea that this would be a love story/musical, you know, what you’d normally expect from a Disney movie.

Before the movie started, there was an excellent short developed in the style of classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. Black and white, letterbox visuals. I liked this short better than that of the movie

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The movie had that Disney charm throughout, but that did not save it from it’s ultimately generic storyline, from the likes of earlier Disney films. The animation was top-notch and the music was fairly well-done. A few of the characters were also very charming, especially the snowman, Olaf. I’d recommend this to those that enjoy cute musicals, but this is more for kids than anyone.

2- Somewhat k

Ponyo (Movie Review)

Ponyo, another amazing film by the team at Studio Ghibli. I watched the Disney english dubbed version with my sister and we both loved it.

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Ponyo can technically be considered a love story, and if so, an interesting one. The film opens with Ponyo, who is bigger than her other sisters, swimming out to sea in a very Nemo-esque way. She eventually finds herself washed ashore, ending up in front of a 5 year-old boy, Sōsuke. I don’t want to spoil the story in any way, so I won’t go into any more detail than that. Considering this is a love story, I do question why it has to be between a couple of five year-olds.

The story unveiled slowly (as the movie is technically a children’s movie), following Sōsuke and Ponyo. The pacing felt right for this type of movie, not too fast, but not considerably slow too, like I said, this is a children’s movie, after all. It may be a little too cute at times, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

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While this may not be Miyazaki’s best film, it certainly makes use of his excellent anime style that he has perfected over the years. The movie has memorable moments, and certainly a cute story, but, like I said, it may be a little too cute for some. I recommend this movie if you like charming stories or Ghibli films.

4- Pretty k

My Neighbor Totoro (Movie Review)

I’ve seen quite a few Studio Ghibli films recently, including my previous favorite, Spirited Away. With a goal to watch all of their movies, I decided to watch this one next, as Totoro’s Internet presence was immense. I would see Totoro scattered all across the Internet, not knowing what he was or where he came from. The fact that I found this film is awesome by itself, but I now see why Totoro is such a celebrated character. Keep in mind that my reviews are spoiler-free, no need to worry.

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My Neighbor Totoro begins with a family, consisting of a father, Tatsuo Kusakabe, and his two daughters, Satsuki and Mei Kusakabe, moving into an old house in a rural area, surrounded by forest. This house is nearby a hospital, where their mother, Yasuko Kusakabe, remains while she recovers from an illness or an injury perhaps, the movie never gives a backstory to the family. I would like to have known why the family moved out in the first place, or why their mother was in the hospital. You’re immediately introduced to the personalities of these two girls when they arrive at the house, curious and playful.

The character named in the title of the movie, “Totoro”, is nowhere to be seen until he is discovered in the forest with his two furry companions, resembling a smaller version of himself. Totoro is any child’s dream; a large, furry animal that appears to always be in a happy mood, possibly explaining the Internet’s love for the character, which I could totally understand after watching the movie all the way through. There was also a catbus. Seriously, who doesn’t like a catbus?

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The story develops rather sporadically, some segments being slower than others, while others speeding on right by. Avoiding giving out too many details, I can say that the climax of the movie was quite generic, but Totoro gives it a twist, setting this movie apart from others. Without the introduction of Totoro, the movie would have been quite bland. Although his name is in the title, Totoro does not sow up in nearly as many scenes as I wished he had, but instead made small appearances that, for the most part, did not have a serious impact on the direction of the movie.

I should also mention that the style of animation here was excellent compared to other 80’s anime. That’s debatable considering the fact that I’m watching it in glorious 1080p. Heck, it even seemed a bit better than some of the stuff I’ve seen in the 2000’s. I don’t want to directly compare this to Spirited Away, but the fact that I liked the animation better in this film than in Spirited Away, which was released about 20 years afterwards, really says something.

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Although the movie may have been an enjoyable ride all the way through, it ends quite abruptly, leaving a fair amount of loose ends untouched. We never knew why their mother was in the hospital in the first place, which you can learn using outside resources, but I can’t recall that ever being mentioned in the actual movie. Overall, the charming characters, combined with the expertise of Ghibli animating and a cute story, make this one enjoyable package. I encourage you to watch the film and experience it for yourself, especially if you’re a fan of Ghibli films.

5- Highly k