Departures (Orukibito), a 2008 Japanese drama film directed by Yojiro Takita, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009. Also, Roger Ebert added the film to his "Great Movies" collection. You can watch it HERE.
That out of the way, I'm gonna be straight to the point. The first 50 minutes or so, in my opinion, could have been trimmed a bit. Of course there were several powerful scenes, some cute, some tugging at your emotions, but it was also a bit slow and I felt that some scenes could have been edited out. I mean, it's a little over 2 hours where basically nothing happens in the first half. Twice or thrice I whispered to myself "Is something gonna happen soon? Why is nothing happening?", I wasn't really bored, but it was slow. I hate to admit this but at one point I half-wished that some ghost will pop out of nowhere, just to see something actually -wait for it- happen. That's saying alot because I hate paranormal horror.
But then something did happen. More than halfway through the film, it just hit me. It made me cry. Hard. For more than five minutes straight. I was sobbing and almost choking and I was clutching my hotdog pillow, tears streaming down my cheeks, wrinkles having a party all over my pug-like crying face. And when I thought I was done sobbing, another scene comes and I totally break down again. And I kept on crying until the end of the film. It wasn't a nice sight to see. I felt dehydrated after that. lol.
It's not heavy drama, it's not even an in-your-face emotional scene. Everything is subtle, so you never know when it hits you. And I totally forgive the slow first half, because it emotionally prepared you for the third act and it was all worth it.
This film makes me see death (and everything around it) in a different light.. This Japanese ritual and its reverence towards death is something that I don't regret seeing and learning about... it's almost beautiful, but all the more painful.
My rating: 4.5/5
So after that emotionally-taxing film, I don't know what got into me, maybe I went crazy because of my dehydration but somehow I found myself watching JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (2013). I almost pressed BACK to look for another movie, but I said what the heck, why not balance a good movie with a potentially crappy one? Now, now, I'm not a prejudiced movie-watcher, I always try to start a movie with an open mind (if you don't believe me, read my review on Movie 43, if that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. LOL) but with year after year of Hollywood vomiting plotless movies overloaded with CGI, it's bound to make me suspicious of this genre.
And boy was I right. All I can say is - I'm impressed with Ewan McGregor, not because of his acting (although his character is one of the few that stood out, and that's nothing to be impressed about given that his character is a bit distracting or out of place) but because of his perfectly-styled hair. Every scene he's in all I can think of is "is that gel in his hair?"
The giants are just icky, not because their dirty (again, I was questioning myself, if these giants can speak English, can't they also brush their teeth and take a bath??) but because these CGI monsters are just so useless.
Jack and the princess have absolutely no chemistry. I don't like Nicholas Hoult and this movie only made that sentiment 10x magnified. The title is Jack the Giant Slayer, and Jack only managed to kill three giants basically by sheer luck.
This movie is so utterly predictable and the main character unlikeable. Bryan Singer, I have one word for you: UGH!
My Rating: 2/5 - this may be a bit better than the other equally crappy CGI borefest, but it still sucks. Would rate it higher though if they added the goose that lays golden eggs, and the harp. -_- All these movies do is spit & pee all over my beloved childhood fairy tales.
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