Mini reviews of Free and Easy, The House of the Disappeared, Shock Wave, The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, Napping Princess, Love and Other Cults, Rage, Extraordinary Mission, Night is Short Walk On Girl.
Junk Head (2017)
Directed by: Takahide Hori
Written by: Takahide Hori
Review: This is a dystopian stop-motion animated film from Japan. There is a short by the same name that was finished in 2013 and took the creator 4 years to make in his spare time. I haven’t watched the short but I believe this is a full length extended version of it. Humans have achieved longevity at the price of losing their ability to reproduce. Clones were created to solve this problem but they rebelled and now live in the depths of what appears to be an underground industrial facility while the humans live above. A human decides to travel to the lower levels for reasons that are revealed later in the movie. The human (whose name we don’t know) actually loses his memory upon arriving in the lower levels and is found by a resident who reassembles him with “junk” robotic parts. The characters speak in an imaginary language that is subtitled in the movie.
Have a Nice Day / 好极了 / hǎojíle (2017)
Directed by: Liu Jian
Written by: Liu Jian
Cast: Zhu Changlong, Yang Siming, Ma Xiaofeng, Zheng Yi, Cao Kai
Review: This is an animated film by an independent studio. Despite its size and art history, China isn’t known for animation at all although I’m sure they have local stuff that caters to their own region that never gets released outside of the mainland. This is a crime film for adults that’s drawn in a realistic style. The plot is pretty simple and it takes place in a small empty looking town. A guy steals a bag of money and his boss is not pleased. In a series of events, other people discover the money and each one tries to keep it for themselves but ends up losing it.
The Senior Class / 졸업반 / jol-eob-ban (2016)
Directed by: Hong Deok-pyo
Written by: Yeon Sang-ho
Cast: Lee Ju-seung, Kang Jin-ah, Jeong Yeong-gi
Review: This is another mature animated film from South Korea. Although it’s a coming of age love story it has some explicit nudity and brief sex scenes. At art school, a young man becomes intrigued by a fellow female classmate and begins to like her. By chance, he discovers a secret of hers but when it gets spread and distorted, jealousy and stupidity lead to grave consequences.
Your Name / 君の名は / kimi no na wa was a smash hit in Japan (4th highest grossing film in that region) and is currently the highest grossing anime film world wide. It will start screening in Montreal at Cineplex Forum starting April 7, 2017 courtesy of Funimation. It will also screen at other theaters across North America.
Window Horses is an interesting looking animated film that was just released in Montreal theaters (Cineplex Forum, Cinema Beaubien, Cinematheque Quebecoise) on March 17, 2017. It is written & directed by Ann Marie Fleming (Asian Canadian director) and the main character, Rosie Ming, is voiced by Sandra Oh (Korean Canadian actress). Gloria and Stephen are Rosie’s grandparents and are voiced by Nancy Kwan and Eddy Ko (Chinese Canadian actor).
New Super-Man is a comic book about a Chinese Superman. The original Superman, Clark Kent aka Kal-El, is still around so this one’s not a replacement but understandably the idea of making an “insert race here” version of an iconic superhero is a controversial one. The only reason I even considered buying this was because of the writer that was hired for this series. His name is Gene Luen Yang who is an award-winning writer & cartoonist who wrote American Born Chinese, a graphic novel that achieved much success. It is also one of my favorite graphic novels ever. Even Mr. Yang himself initially rejected the job of writing a Chinese Superman but after some further thought he came to realize some of the storytelling potential. Issues 1-6 comprise the first story arc titled, “Made in China.” How did the team, which includes artist Viktor Bogdanovic, behind New Super-Man do? First, I’ll write a brief plot summary of the issues, which will contain some spoilers (but no major ones) and then proceed with my impressions.
Monstress is a creator-owned comic book series by Marjorie Liu (writer) and Sana Takeda (artist). They had collaborated before on Marvel comics such as X-23. Having not regularly bought floppies since the late 90s, I had only been following comics sporadically while buying the odd TPB or graphic novel once in a while. I was only vaguely aware of Marjorie Liu and didn’t know Sana Takeda at all. When I first heard the premise for Monstress I was intrigued but what really convinced me to buy the floppies instead of wait for the TPB was Takeda’s art. It was really stunning and intricate. The first 6 issues are available as a TPB right now and Monstress #7 comes out next month. What follows are my thoughts, maybe not so much a review. There will be some minor spoilers.