A real moviegeek or a tired old cynic?

Some of you have pointed out that in the last few months it seems like I was disappointed by most of the stuff I saw in the cinema.

This came just at the time when I was about to choose which film to review next, of the ones I’ve seen in the last couple of days: “The Roommate” (A thriller, which is usually a genre I love), “the extraordinary adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec” (By Luc Besson who made La Femme Nikita and leon, 2 of my favourites ever!), or “Hachi” (By the director of one of the film I love the most, What’s eating Gilbert Grape)… And you know what?! I really didn’t like any of them!

It made me think: when did I become such a cynic?

It is so unlike me… I’ve always been the positive one, the smiley person who tries to look for bright side…

I love going to the movies and there’s nothing I cherish more than loosing myself in a good flick.

Whenever I go and watch something, I’m always hoping this might be the one that makes me go back to being a kid, or makes me cry or laugh with tears in my eyes, or forget about my deadlines at work and my worries at home…

The fact that I have not liked a lot films recently is probably indicative of the way cinema is today. Most of these films are just products”: they are made by a committee of advertisers, or people who need to balance their books at the end of the year.

There are very few mavericks, or real storytellers out there… Most of them prefer to play it safe and give us what their recent surveys told them they should give us.

Or is it me who is just getting pickier and pickier? Why do I seem to be the only one who thought “The King’s Speech” was a pretty average film crowd pleaser?

Why didn’t I like Scream 4, when in fact it did exactly what the “tin” said?

Should I have got lost in the colours of “Rio”, forgetting about the fact that the story line was so damn predictable?

Why wasn’t I swept away by the quirkiness of “Rubber“?

Why was I so cold in front of that tragedy that was “Rabbit hole“?

Why couldn’t I just laugh watching “The Dilemma” while everybody else was in tears around me in the theatre?

Why couldn’t I just go with “The Adjustment Bureau“, instead of looking for all the plot holes?

Why wasn’t I enchanted by Submarine?

And why am I more terrorized than excited by the idea of the forthcoming Tintin movie by Spielberg (a director I love making a film about my ultimate childhood hero?) … Why am I so afraid I’ll be disappointed?

Am I growing old and just tired of movies or are there just fewer and fewer fresh good things our there?

Still Walking – (Criterion Collection) Review

STILL WALKING (2008) 

Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. Starring Yoshio HaradaHiroshi AbeYui Natsukawa.

This is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but by the end of it, I found it incredibly rewarding.
Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda might be a slightly niche taste, but he had already struck a chord with me with a little film back in 2013 called “Like Father Like Son”, a film which I absolutely adored (and I urge you seek out!). Ever since then I think I liked every single one of his films. “Nobody Knows” killed me to tears. And the latest of which, shoplifters was nominated for all sorts of awards (including the Bafta and the oscars) and then won at Cannes 2 years ago.

“Still Walking” is a small, intimate, charming family drama done with the lightest touch and the most naturalistic approach. Yes, some might find it slow, but this is one of those films that stays with you, long after the credits have finished rolling.

The film clearly aims to capture how people relate to each other within a family environment. Particular attention is given to the family’s daily routine and the small details.
With my “western eyes” I found some of the details of Japanese “normal country life” absolutely fascinating and almost mesmerising: all the business of taking off the shoes, or the pouring of water over the tomb stones makes it all look like a complete different world, but then things like the ordering of take away sushi or the little boy mixing sodas in the same glass gives it a strange sense of familiarity.
Some of it does feel a bit too indulgent (The preparation of the food for example seem to go on for quite a long time) and take you away from what’s really the key of the story: the interaction between all the characters, which is where the film really excels.

The plot revolves around a man visiting his elderly parents for the 15th anniversary of his brother’s death.

Koreeda is a master of building a scene that seems absolutely normal but hides something completely different underneath. It’s as if the picture told you something and the dialogue something else…
People sit around the table, eat their food, make small talk: everything seems normal in the gentle summer breeze as the static camera frames the action in almost unedited sequences and then all of a sudden comes a line of dialogue (sometimes even off camera) that makes you see everything in a complete different light

As the film unravels the audience gets closer and closer to each member of the family, starts to hear their thoughts and feel their pain and at the end, the fact that it was a Japanese family is pretty irrelevant.

 

7.5/10

Still Walking (Criterion Collection)comes out on February 8, 2011

SPECIAL FEATURES:
  • New high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Hirokazu Kore-eda and director of photography Yutaka Yamazaki
  • New video interviews with Kore-eda and Yamazaki
  • Making “Still Walking”
  • Trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Dennis Lim and recipes for the food prepared in the film

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