Train to Busan Review

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Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie thriller that came out in 2016. It follows a Dad and his daughter as they try and survive a zombie outbreak on a train. This movie reminds me a lot of Snowpiercer. Both are apocalyptic, both take place mostly on a train, and both have similar themes.

The acting in this movie surprised me quite a bit, as it’s very good. The overall cast is great. In particular, Kim Soo-Ahn stands out as the daughter. She’s fantastic for a child actor, and is very believable. This movie is also surprisingly funny, both in dialogue, and in funny moments with zombies. There were times I actually laughed out loud at this movie. Unlike a lot of other zombie movies, Train to Busan actually has a good, satisfying ending.

There’s also a theme of whether to help others or yourself in this movie. The main character starts out selfish and really only caring about himself. However, as the movie goes on he starts to sacrifice himself for others. The main villain is the antithesis of the main character at the end. The villain is an older businessman who often uses others as zombie bait.

I really liked Train to Busan. It’s a great movie, and there’s really nothing wrong with it. If you’re a fan of zombie movies, thrillers, or foreign films, watch Train to Busan

Synecdoche New York Review

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Synecdoche New York is without a doubt one of the strangest movies I have ever seen, and it’s very hard to describe. But that’s be expected, since this movie was written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Both of which are also weird movies, although maybe not on the same scale as this.

Synecdoche follows Caden, a playwright suffering from an unknown illness, who receives a MacArthur fellowship. With this money Caden decides to direct and produce the biggest play imaginable. There are sets within sets to the point where Caden essentially builds his own city. In the play, actors are portraying ordinary people, and other actors portray those actors. The movie also has sub-plots involving Caden’s multiple families and children in Berlin and New York. This is one crazy movie.

The acting in this movie is phenomenal, especially from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Samantha Morton. Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing as Caden, and you really feel for him. Samantha Morton is incredible, and gets across her impulses through subtle interaction on camera.

Throughout the movie, weird stuff happens. Such as a woman living in a burning house, books describing things happening in real life, or main characters aging while everyone else stays the same. At the beginning of the movie I tried to figure out why these things kept happening. I gave up trying, and found that I enjoyed the movie a lot more. After giving up I also realized that this movie is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

That’s not to say this movie isn’t deep, because it is. I found myself relating to Caden’s problems many times throughout the movie, such as when he thinks about his future or his own morality. I’m also not ashamed to say I was crying a little at the end. This is a very weird movie, and most people don’t like weird things. I can see where a lot of people will have a problem with this film. That’s fine. For those that are okay with it, Synecdoche New York will become one of your absolute favorite movies.

Donnie Darko Review

Donnie Darko is undoubtedly one of the weirdest and most confusing movies I have ever seen. This is an indie film about a schizophrenic high-school boy who is told that the world will end in 28 days by a demonic rabbit named Frank. Now, that’s a very interesting premise, and it could’ve been a really good movie, but it’s weighed down by an unclear pretentious script, and dumb unnecessary ponderous moments. 

The plot of this movie is very hard to understand, but not because it’s overly complex. The plot is so hard to understand simply because the movie just does such a bad job of explaining everything. After I finished the movie, I had to look up what it was about. Apparently, a lot of the plot is explained in the director’s cut, which I didn’t watch, so maybe that’s my own fault. Despite the plot, the movie kept me going all the way until the ending, which is completely awful. The movie falls apart at the end and wrecks what little good there was in the overall experience.

This movie does have some redeemable qualities, Jake Gyllenhaal is very good in this movie. He really sells Donnie’s deteriorating mental state, and makes the character almost scary to watch on screen. This movie is also very scary. The demon bunny Frank was a creepy character for me, but I’m scared easily by movies so others may not think the same.

Overall, this movie could’ve been much better if it just got rid of it’s pointless messages and made itself clearer. This movie has themes of death, and teenage perversity that just don’t go together very well. For some reason, people consider this one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. I have no idea what they are talking about. Despite this, Donnie Darko is still worth watching for Jake Gyllenhaal’s stellar acting, and the fact there’s a demon bunny in the movie.

Moon Review

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Moon is a 2009 film starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. It was also the first film directed by Duncan Jones, the son of the late David Bowie. Moon takes place on a lunar base in the near future, where humanity uses helium found in the moon’s crust for energy on Earth. An astronaut named Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell,) and his robot companion Gerty (Kevin Spacey,) mine helium to send back to Earth for energy. Their usual operation changes however when they discover a clone of Sam Bell in the wreckage of a lunar rover.

This movie is absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time. Moon is very intriguing, and it keeps your riveted the entire time. Only one person in this movie really acts. The rest of the cast either does voice-overs, or appear for very brief scenes. The acting that does occur is great however. Sam Rockwell is amazing in this movie, especially considering all he has to do. Such as acting with himself, which he does in many scenes. Moon also has an excellent soundtrack, and the main theme is still stuck in my head as I am writing this.

One thing I don’t like about Moon is that it never really picks up from it’s original premise. It’s very interesting to watch, but it doesn’t have a definitive “plot,” at least not in the traditional sense. An event happens and most of the movie is the repercussions of this event. This does not detract too much from the movie, and it’s still a joy to watch.  For fans of sci-fi movies, movies in general, or even David Bowie, this film is a must see.

Goyokin Review

Goyokin Review

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Recently, my friend Eric and I watched Goyokin. Goyokin is a relatively unknown samurai movie from 1969. Goyokin is excellent, and although it is not as critically regarded as The Seven Samurai, I personally like Goyokin better.

The movie follows a ronin, named Magobei, trying to stop his former clan from stealing Shogunate Gold, or Goyokin. This movie was originally supposed to be a part of the Yojimbo series. However, the star of the Yojimbo series, Toshiba Mifune, quit because of the cold (most of the movie was shot in snow.). Tatsuya Nakadai, who was also in Yojimbo as the villain, was cast as the main character of Goyokin instead.

The acting in this movie is excellent from the entire cast, but especially from Nakadai. He is great as Magobei, and is very interesting to watch on screen. The main villain, Tatewaki, is great too because has an understandable goal, and is very captivating. He also functions as an antithesis to Magobei. Magobei is a very honorable Ronin, whereas Tatewaki is a dishonorable Samurai.

A major misconception people have about samurai movies is that they’re all completely serious and not funny at all. That is not true with Goyokin, as characters like Samon and Oriha are hilarious in this movie.

The action in Goyokin is very similar to other samurai movies of the time, and is exhilarating to watch. This movie also features a fantastic final duel between Tatewaki and Magobei.

Goyokin is a amazing film, and my all time favorite Samurai movie. It’s a real shame no one knows about it.

 

Top 5 movies

5) The Sting (1973) Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman

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Being one of the two movies Robert Redford and Paul Newman did together, the Sting is a fantastic film. It focuses on two grifters trying to con a major mob boss. (Robert Shaw) The Sting is great for a number of reasons, it features a great story, great acting, and great music. The main theme of the movie is The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, something most people have heard, but cannot name. There are very few problems with this movie, the only major one being that the plot is complex, and can confuse some viewers.

 

4)  Blade Runner (1982) Starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer

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This movie is based off of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and follows a cop in the future hunting down synthetic humans. Blade Runner is probably my favorite sci-fi movie, mainly because of its setting and style. It takes place in a future industrialized Los Angeles, where synthetic humans called replicants do menial tasks for humans. However when these replicants go rogue, a special cop called a Blade Runner must track them down and “retire” them. Blade Runner is an excellent movie and a must watch for any fan of sci-fi or dystopian.

3) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was the very first part of a movie I ever saw, and to this day it is still one of my favorites. This movie is a prequel to “A Fistful of Dollars”, and follows three outlaws searching for confederate gold during the Civil War. Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef are both excellent, but Eli Wallach steals the show as Tuco (the Ugly.) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is in my opinion, the best western of all time.

 

 

2) Adaptation (2002) Starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep

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Adaptation is a movie written by Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Being John Malkovich. Kaufman was supposed to write a movie on a book, The Orchid Thief, but instead wrote a movie about Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin brother trying to write the script on The Orchid Thief. Adaptation can put off many viewers in the first act because of it’s weird sense of humor and plot. However, stick with this movie and you will love it.

 

1) In Bruges (2008) Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson

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This movie can be summed up with one sentence. “I didn’t expect to be moved by In Bruges, but I was.” In Bruges is a movie about two hitmen laying low in the Belgian city of Bruges (pronounced broozh) after a botched job. The father-son dynamic that the two hitmen have is great, it’s very interesting how each of them respond to the city of Bruges, and the people they meet. I don’t wanna spoil too much about this movie, but it really is a must see.