Review: Tunnel (2016)

Tunnel (Blu-ray release 2017-5-19) is a Korean disaster movie about a man who gets trapped in a tunnel.  This movie is distinctly different from Hollywood disaster movies, and is more focused on character and social satire.  So there is less excitement and tension here, but people who prefer drama may like it.  Although I think this is a good drama, there are certain things which are really unrealistic, such as how long the smartphone battery lasted.  (Although disaster movies are always unrealistic, in this particular case this factor is more important than other brainless ones that exist only to show off visual effects.)

Review: The 100th Love with You

The 100th Love with You (Blu-ray release 2017-6-23) is a Japanese romance drama with repeated time travel.  After all the characters are introduced, someone dies in an accident.  Then she wakes up at an earlier time, not unlike the anime Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World (2016).  It turns out that the childhood friend of her has a device that can turn back time.

When an important rule is revealed in the middle of the movie, that changes the tone of the movie and the real story begins.  In some ways this is not so different from Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You, which I like more.

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I used to think Spider-Man does not need yet another reboot.  However, there are many things to like in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), the most important of which is its funny nature.  I also like Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man more than I expected.  Michael Keaton also does a terrific job here after playing Birdman (2014).  The new Spider-Man is rather different from the previous ones in a lot of ways, such as his high-tech suit from Tony Stark, giving the audience something new to watch by sacrificing the faithfulness to the original incarnation.

Note: There are two extra scenes during and after the credits.

Review: Resident Evil: Vendetta

As the third CG movie in the franchise, Resident Evil: Vendetta (Blu-ray release 2017-7-18) is a forgettable episode that introduces a new enemy and a new mechanism for the deployment of the virus.  Rebecca became a scientist and developed a vaccine, then the bad guys destroyed her facility and captured her.  So it’s up to our two heroes to save her.  Although individual action sequences look cool, the plot is too thin with no emotional core.


Review: Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You

I’m attracted to Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (Blu-ray release 2017-6-21) because its title implies time travel, but it turns out that the movie does not employ conventional time travel mechanics.  One day the protagonist meets a woman in the train.  They begin a romantic relationship, but with every little progress in the relationship, the woman cries.  She also knows a few things that he never told her, or only happen in the future.

Halfway through the movie the truth is revealed, but it only establishes a special rule for their relationship without further exploring the sci-fi background behind.  For a movie totally focused on romance, this is fine with me, as long as its does not create problematic non-explainable subplots (as in Forget Me Not (2015)).  Arguably the main point of the movie is to watch the protagonists’ response when they learn the truth, and what they do about it.  In normal movies lack of surprise in the ending is often not dramatic enough, but in here it is both heart warming and heart breaking to see it progress towards the inevitable foretold conclusion.

Review: Vampire Cleanup Department (救殭清道夫)

It should be noted that a Chinese vampire is more like a zombie than a western vampire.  救殭清道夫 (Vampire Cleanup Department) (Blu-ray release 2017-6-23) tells the story of a secret government department in Hong Kong that deals with the vampires.  The protagonist got bitten by a vampire but is not harmed – this makes him a natural fit for the department.  We see him going through a bit of training, but a lot of time is spent on his romance with a female vampire, who happens to be very pretty.

Since she cannot talk, the movie compensates for this by giving her a smartphone with a Siri-like function.  The way it works makes even less sense than her evil former self transforming to be an adorable and cute love interest.  This romance cannot be compared to the achievement in Twilight (2008), however.  It is mostly a comedic relief only.  The movie is not bad but nothing to write home about.

Review: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (Netflix) is the most important documentary I have ever watched, period.  I find it important because it reveals how mankind is destroying our planet unknowingly.

Years ago I read from newspaper that animal agriculture causes a really high percentage of green house gases.  Without further explanation I did not realize its significance.  After watching this documentary now I do.  To supply the meat desired by the global human population, a huge amount of animals are grown to be eaten.  They take time to grow up, consuming a lot of water and food, and excreting to the environment, daily.  Their food needs to be grown, which in turn requires an even larger amount of land that can only be obtained by destroying rain forests.

The strange thing is that most environmental protection organizations do not talk about this subject.  The documentary provides two explanations: it affects funding, and activists tried to save rain forests were murdered by the industry.

For this argument to work, its statistics need to be right.  The documentary quoted a study which said 51% of the greenhouse gases come from animal agriculture.  There are other people who disagreed with this figure and attacked this study.  However, the revised figure is still something like 15%, which is even higher than the transportation emissions.  So, it’s really high and deserves at least as much attention for people who care about the environment.

It is also noteworthy to point out that Greenpeace has an official response to their refusal to be interviewed for this documentary.  However, that response looks odd.  They had somehow determined they would be unfairly misrepresented before they speak of anything.

Review: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island (Blu-ray release 2017-7-18) is not a bad movie.  I like some of the individual monster sequences.  However, without enough emotional core it cannot become a good monster movie.  With so many characters in the movie, none of them is given enough weight.  Some supporting characters also did nothing, especially the natives, who should be more significant in establishing the mythology part of the story.  I also cannot recall Tom Hiddleston’s lead character doing anything particularly noteworthy either.

Review: Power Rangers (2017)

I expected Power Rangers (Blu-ray release 2017-6-27) to be bad.  It’s not quite as bad as I thought, but it’s not good either.  At least it’s better than Fantastic Four (2015).  The movie spends much of the time introducing the characters and preventing them from getting their armor until they spent time on bonding, so as to delay their action until the climax.  This is a completely wrong approach to superhero movie.  The action in the climax is not inspired either.  Japanese shows always pay a great deal of attention when different machines combine to become one huge machine.  It should be an opportunity to show something cool, but it is just a blurry mess.

Review: Midnight Diner 2 / Shinya Shokudo

Midnight Diner was a manga series that spawned a TV series, two live action movies, and a Chinese adaptation that became a disaster.  This is not a food show, but via the food the slice-of-life drama about various customers are presented.  In the two Japanese movies (Blu-ray release 2015-7-29 / 2017-5-24), some stories are more positive than the others.  This is supposed to be a heart warming drama, otherwise it wouldn’t be this popular, but I don’t get it.  While some stories do end well for the characters, there is far more hopelessness than I expected.

[MINOR SPOILERS] Romantic relationships are broken.  A separated family is not reconciled – not even a word is spoken to each other.  Yet the characters seem satisfied and give us smiles to be heart warming.  It seems to me non-happy endings are presented as happy.  Perhaps the point is that in spite of such hopelessness, someone out there helped the strangers a little bit, so we should be happy about it, and we shouldn’t be too greedy to ask for true happy endings?