Sunday, 12 August 2012

REVIEWS: Millennium Actress (2001), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) & The Godfather: Part II (1974)

My excuse for not posting for more than a month is that I've been obsessed with watching the Olympics. Well I guess that's not really an excuse since it's only been on for over a fortnight.... Anyway I shall not ramble on too much and quickly cruise through the three movies I've consumed in the last few weeks.

The first is Millennium Actress, a Japanese animated film that I watched because I love the director Satoshi Kon's more famous feature Paprika. The plot is a lot more demure and less ambitious, recounting the lovelorn life story of a now reclusive actress.

Sadness weaves in and out of the roles the actress plays and her real life

I say demure, but being a Satoshi Kon film it still retains all the whimsical surrealist imagery that I actually sometimes find more refreshing than Studio Ghibli's features *shock horror*. I feel that this film tries to say a lot about the main character's tragic romantic quest, but is buried under too much symbolism and left me a little befuddled, even more than usual with Japanese cinema. I guess I was hoping for more of Paprika's smorgasbord of visuals.

TL;DR VERDICT: 3.5/5 stars, tugs on my heartstrings but left wanting something more

Second off the list is none other than The Dark Knight Rises. Is there really anything to say? Everyone who hasn't been living under a rock has seen it already, and even those who haven't have already formed their own opinion of it.

Christopher Nolan reunites his Inception buddies to party down in Gotham City and does a pretty good job of it. Ed Hardy as the calculating brute Bane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young police officer and Marion Cotillard as Batman's socialite girly.

Yes we made fun of Batman's voice as usual afterwards, and even pretended to speak like a maniacal Bane as well (how inaudible was his voice?). But everything is as you imagined, being the last installment of Nolan's amazing trilogy. I was even impressed with Anne Hathaway's Catwoman, and a very clever rendition of her cat ears that made me go "Ooohhh I get it...". Only thing I could comment on was the slightly rushed ending that seemed to try and round off everything too quickly.

TL;DR VERDICT: 4.5/5 stars, nananana nananana BATMAN! ie. it's very good, almost better than The Dark Knight

Lastly I decided to continue on my Godfather journey and watch Part II (Roman numerals so fancy) of the trilogy. OH MY GOD, Robert De Niro, I have a whole new outlook on you. Since when did you ooze so much class and become so smooth? I know I sound like a complete film bimbo for not realising your acting potential beyond imposing dads in B grade romantic comedies.

A behind the scenes shot but look at this suave father-son duo

De Niro portrays young Vito from Part I as part of the parallel storylines with his son Michael's story as the new Godfather. To be honest I enjoyed Vito's rags to riches story a lot more than Michael's. It was a lot more empowering I guess, than the progressively more depressing descent of his son's.

The juxtaposition between the two storylines just makes it even more heartbreaking as the Corleone family dynamics shift ever more towards dysfunction. I think breaking it up also made the length of the movie more bearable (although I did watch it in two sittings because my movie buddy fell asleep....). Now I just have to watch Part III for closure, and ignore the huge plot points I accidentally spoiled for myself. *sigh*

TL;DR VERDICT: 5/5 stars, two epic mafia storylines in one movie make sitting on your butt for 3 hours worthwhile

That's all for now, I'm very excited about a few upcoming trailers and such, will probably post on them soon!


  1. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Girl crush fo' sho.

  2. Ahh...Satoshi Kon is ever so talented. I've never seen Millennium Actress, but I'd definitely like to. Have you watched Perfect Blue?
    The Dark Knight Rises was truly a beast of a film, though The Dark Knight was better for me ( Heath Ledger's Joker was perfect ). Is it strange if I liked almost all the side characters more than I did Batman himself? Especially Bane, Alfred, and Catwoman? I thought Tom Hardy was amazing as Bane; I actually really like what he did with his voice. It really just throws you off, and the more you think about it, the more it fits ( for me at least. XD ) - it's gravelly and eerie, with that ever present hint of menace. I loved it. ^^

    ♥ xixia |

    1. No I haven't, but it's next on my list of Satoshi Kon movies to watch! =D

      Yes I agree the Dark Knight was better and the minor characters really make the franchise, but I think that's the case with a lot of comic franchises? The villains are always more interesting =P.

      Haha I have to say his voice was very unique.

      Thanks for checking out my blog! =)

  3. hhaha love your comment on ghibli. i totally agree though! have you watched arriety? ( i think it's the newest one?)
    still reckon howl's moving castle is the best of the newer ones....

    i need to find more japanese animations apart from his/his sons! i'll get to watching paprika first :)

    1. No I haven't! Haven't watched much of new Ghibli except Ponyo, but that was mainly for kids. It's based on The Borrowers isn't it? Is it good?

      I personally love Grave of the Fireflies even though it's super sad =C.

      Yes please watch Paprikaaaaa! And for something a bit epic/existentialist try Akira as well =).

    2. i need to watch grave of the fireflies! i heard it's quite depressing and definitely his most 'serious' work.

      i'm mainly used to his more light hearted ones like totoro, kiki's delivery service.

      yep it is based on the borrowers! it's all right. Howl is a lot better though (it's also based on a old book). if you like paprika, you'd like howl and spirited away! they're a bit more "surreal"

    3. Grave of the fireflies is depressing but actually made by other people in ghibli, not miyazaki, I guess that's why it's different.

      Yeah I liked howl and spirited away, which were both nice, but I preferred the book to the movie version of howl. Maybe Japanese surrealism is still a bit hard for me to understand. Did you like paprika? =)