Confessions

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Tetsuya Nakashima does a great job with directing this stunning and completely engrossing film, ‘Confessions’.

Takako Matsu plays Ms. Moriguchi, a seemingly meek and passive school teacher at first, in amongst the sea of rowdy and disrespectful middle school children in her classroom.  She starts off telling her students that she will soon cease to be their teacher, then goes on to tell her own story, a haunting story about her AIDS infected ex-husband, and the young daughter that she lost in a drowning accident… or was it?

We soon discover Moriguchi is far from the meek, submissive character she first led on to be, we discover the undeniable anger she possesses from the loss of her daughter and her cunning plan of seeking vengeance.

‘Confessions’, much like ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ uses its three act structure to tell three different stories from three different characters’ points of view.  The audience is then given the opportunity to see how each story and each character ultimately affect each other, bringing the story to one of the most amazing climaxes I have yet to see.

Outstanding performances by all the students in the film, including the central three:  Yukito Nishii (who plays Shuya Watanabe), Kaoru Fujiwara (who plays Naoki Shimomura) and Ai Hashimoto (who plays Mizuki Kitahara).  These young actors bring such realism to the film, giving the viewer an insight to how cruel and manipulative children can be.

The cinematography is another wonderful highlight of this film, utilizing spotlights, slow-motion and extreme close-ups as beautiful story telling devices.

Rarely do I give a film a perfect score, but ‘Confessions’ deserves this without a doubt.  I was on the edge of my seat the other time, hanging onto every word of dialogue, every frame of action.  This film is nothing short of a masterpiece.

10/10

 

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Generation Um…

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Keanu ReevesBojana Novakovic and Adelaide Clemens star in the unique slice-of-life film, Generation Um…

Although the film wasn’t exactly well received by critics, what intrigued me and continued to capture my attention throughout was the mystery of who these characters were.

We are introduced, or more aptly put, SLAMMED into the lives of John (Reeves), Violet (Novakovic) and Mia (Clemens), after what seems like one hell of a night out for them all.

Unlike a lot of films these days, writer and director, Mark Mann, doesn’t give a lot away about these characters, nor does he spoon feed us with what is happening in the story that is their lives.  The audience is left to ponder about the significance of minor details of mundane, ordinary life that surrounds these clearly not so ordinary people.  What is clear, is the emptiness the three main characters hold and the way they just surviving through life instead of actually living it.

When John finds/steals a video camera, his energy changes.   He seems to have ignited a light within him, albeit small but still noticeable and significant to his character arc.  He starts filming his surroundings and the environment around Violet and Mia too, enticing them to open up more about their own lives.

What is most interesting about this film is how it manages to draw the audience in and make us all view life a little differently.  The film captures beauty and sadness in the small details in life that most of us usually overlook.  We get to watch these characters and envy parts of their mysterious lives only to feel sympathy for them afterwards when the reality of who they actually are is revealed in the film.

Great naturalistic and understated performances by Keanu Reeves and his two leading ladies really give this film a very REAL and gritty feel… almost like it’s a documentary.

A breath of fresh air.

 

8.25/10

 

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Gravity

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For a 3D film, this was spectacular, visually speaking.  The opening scene immediately shows us the wondrous sights seen above Earth and the unimaginably difficult jobs of astronaut Matt (played by George Clooney) and medical engineer Ryan (Sandra Bullock).

After debri causes catastrophic damage to their shuttle and other crew,  Matt and Ryan are left floating adrift in space.  Matt, possessing a laid-back Southern charm, takes control and saves the nervous and intellectual Ryan, directing her to safety with the power of his jet pack.

When complications further arise, Matt sacrifices himself to save Ryan and the engineer is left to fend for herself.

Bullock’s presence carries the film somewhat, but without the charm of Clooney, the film lost some of it’s spark.  Relying a little too much on unnecessary dialogue to fill in the silences of the film, also became tiresome to watch.

However the visuals of the first act of the film are phenomenal and enough reason to purchase a pricey 3D ticket at the theaters.

 

7.25/10

 

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