Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (Metoroporisu) (2001) – Steelbook Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I saw Osamu Tezuka’s “Metropolis” back in 2002, and I vividly remember not being a fan at all. Maybe it was because I was more ignorant toward anime, then, but either way disliked it and openly avoided it for years. It was until recently I had to sit down to re-watch it. I don’t know what I was expecting then, but today I can safely describe it as merely an okay anime film.

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V/H/S/94 (2021)

“V/H/S/94” comes at just the right time in just the right climate. Right now the found footage sub-genre is experiencing a small resurgence, while Analog Horror/ARG’s is all the rage on Youtube right now (e.g. “Local 58”). Horror fans love being immersed in to alternate realities and “V/H/S/94” offers up a bevy of original, creepy, bizarre, and damn scary tales that re-introduces us to a horrifying world where the darkest demons can only be found on VHS. It keeps true to its roots though, bringing back Simon Barrett and Timo Tjahjanto for another great go around.

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The Sadness (2021) [Fantasia Film Festival 2021]

Director/Writer Rob Jabbaz’s “The Sadness” is easily the starkest and most depressing commentary on humanity that’s been produced in the last ten years. Humanity during the COVID era (?) has revealed a lot about itself during a pandemic that’s almost proven apocalyptic, and Jabbaz jumps on true events to deliver a message to his audience. Sadly, the message isn’t hopeful. Or optimistic. And no, it’s not at all cynical. It’s truth. It’s a clear cut exploration of civilization, and how easy it is (and can be) for everyone within to turn on each other, and descend in to absolute chaos, sadism, and delirium.

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Yakuza Princess (2020) [Fantasia Film Festival 2021]

Many times whenever a movie is adapted from a graphic novel, the movie should have a good jumping in point where you can easily follow along. The problem with “Yakuza Princess” is that it feels like you almost have to read the original graphic novel to understand almost anything going on here. “Yakuza Princess” isn’t a bad movie per se. It’s a beautifully filmed adaptation with excellent visuals by Vicente Amorim, it’s just that you will probably have a tough time following along with the mythology and motivations behind the characters if you never read the original material.

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Earwig and the Witch (2020) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I’m one of the traditionalists that think Studio Ghibli should have stuck to hand drawn animation, but sometimes there’s just no fighting change. With “Earwig and the Witch” there’s so much new, that you’re almost tricked in to forgetting that the movie almost has no real narrative. At all. This is one of Studio Ghibli’s more aimless movies that doesn’t have a whole lot to it. Substantially, the movie packs in some great animation, and it’s quite startling how some of the motion for some scenes looks so realistic. I’m not going to say that the movie is an accomplishment in regards to Ghibli because Pixar has pulled off so much better.

Hell, Dreamworks has accomplished so much more with this medium.

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Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020) [Fantaspoa Fest 2021]

As we’ve all come to experience at one time or another, our perception of time can vary based on situations and circumstances. Two hours can feel like a day, while two days can fly by like minutes. But through and through two minutes, while sometimes feeling like an instance, can be the deciding factor between life and death. Fortune and poverty. And often times it can be what helps us either escape fate, or confront it head on.

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Tapei Suicide Story (2020) [Slamdance Film Festival 2021]

Director KEFF’s ‘Tapei Suicide Story” is one of the most somber dramas I’ve ever seen. It’s a film about life affirmation but also about the inevitability of death. Do we have control over our lives if we can control our own deaths? Are we merely embracing fate and are oblivious to it? “Tapei Suicide Story” is a very quiet and quaint drama that works on a very dark and inherently morbid premise.

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The Wind Rises (2013) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.

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