Your Name Review | visually stunning, emotionally stimulating

Makoto Shinkai’s (5 Centimeters Per Second, 2007, and The Garden of Words, 2013) latest offering, Your Name, is a stunning piece of animated film.  It takes you on a whimsical YA body-swap adventure that somehow manages to be grounded in reality in spite of the sheer imagination required for such a storyline. Despite pulling on your heartstrings, Your Name doesn’t exactly break it and leaves you satisfied but still wanting more.

Mitsuha and Taki are two total strangers living completely different lives.

But when Mitsuha makes a wish to leave her mountain town for the bustling city of Tokyo, they become connected in a bizarre way- somehow connected to the meteor shower we see at the very beginning of the film.

Mitsuha finds herself in dreams of being a boy living in Tokyo while Taki dreams he is a girl from a rural town he’s never been to.

What does their newfound connection mean? And how will it bring them together?

In its exploration of the line between the beginning and the end, from minute things to the heavier questions of life, the film juxtaposes new and old, the urban sprawl and rural life alongside their male and female counterparts while allowing the audience both healthy doses of laughter and poignant moments of heartache.

It’s almost like being a daydream yourself, however everyone is speaking Japanese and of course it’s animated, not live-action.

The J-Pop soundtrack is lit, drawing you into the film straight away and complimenting the visual brilliance of the landscapes and forces of nature quite brilliantly.

Check it out when you can, it’s great to see on a huge screen I tell ya. Find out where, in NZ, and go see it! The film opens for a limited screening run on Dec 1st.

I’ve heard people compare Shinkai to Hayao Miyazaki, calling him Miyazaki’s heir apparent, but I can’t say the comparison is fair. Shinkai’s work is its own beast, and Your Name has a quality to it that isn’t Miyazaki but that’s a good thing in that we should be allowed quality work that isn’t cut from the same stone, or that follows a similar kind of format.

You’ll be thinking about the film’s plot and trajectory long after the vividness of the the painted cityscapes have faded from the screens, they become etched in your mind along with thoughts of ‘what next’ after that final scene.

Watch the trailer below, beyond the trailer are our honourable mentions RIFE with spoilers so continue at your own risk!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Just one because I’ve talked enough: Taki, you had ONE job just before twilight hit and Mitsuha disappeared. Write your name on her palm but instead he writes “I love you” and as cries and smiles before saying, “Idiot…I can’t remember your name with this…” I’m sitting in the theatre trying not to yell out TAKI YOU HAD ONE JOB. ONE JOB!
  • Huh and who’s have thought it was also a time travelling tale on TOP of the the body-swap?
  • Every time they’d wake up in each other’s bodies and Taki kept getting snapped fondling Mitsuha’s boobs was always a crack up- each time you think… nah he won’t this time, zoink the door opens he’s like: mdvdrif

Three Wise Cousins | Review

So the Three Wise Cousin’s DVD is now out, check out our review of the film and where you can get a copy of it for yourselves or your own wise cousins who’ve yet to see it.

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Film: Three Wise Cousins
Director: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa aka S.Q.S

DVD’s Now Out: Order from MadMan NZ Entertainment!

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As Three Wise Cousins opens up in Hastings, Dunedin, and Palmerston North from today I figured I should write a review about the filmNot because I’m Samoan, or because it’s what everyone’s talking about, but because it’s good. Despite only being shown at a handful of cinemas across New Zealand the self-funded, grassroots, comedy has grossed about US$200,000 in the last two weeks.

And it’s about to head over across the ditch to Australia, with a Samoan premiere also set for the end of February.

The film has an engaging storyline, offers plenty of laughs, the characters are memorable, and there’s a universal message behind it that doesn’t just apply to Samoans or Pacific Islanders.

It follows a young New Zealand-born Samoan Adam (Neil Amituanai) as he heads to the motherland in an attempt to impress his crush Mary…

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

“It’s time for you to learn what you can do.”

Another exciting film to hit the screens this year by none other than director Tim Burton. A great mixture of boy meets girl, wry humour, spooky elements, and most importantly the theme of self discovery – because in today’s society, who are you and how do you fit in, if you don’t know yourself.

The clash of fantasy and reality makes the journey of this film mesh so well with the self discovery and hero element. It also has a good blend of dark and light elements, that won’t scare the kids too much. The film is 127 minutes long, but time flies as you are absorbed into the storyline.

The visuals and effects will amaze, however the only downside I felt the film had was the unexplored history of Abe. It’s something the adults will pick up on but kids will wash over. I feel like it would give more of an impact and make the film far more well rounded in its story telling. Also majority of the characters are touched upon, and it makes you question what really is the point of having all of them.

However… Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great all rounder film, for all to see. Escape the ordinary and check out the trailer below. Oh and stay peculiar people, life is much more fun that way… you’ll see.

Mua O! Macbeth by Black Friars Theatre Company | Review

Something wickedly amazing this way comes.

The Black Friars Theatre Company is founded on the ideal of breaking down preconceptions and stereotypes by retelling classic literature in a way that’s relevant to Pacific communities in South Auckland- and in a wider NZ context.

Comprised of young Pacific talent, they’ve been retelling Shakespearean plays in a Pasifika context for the past 10 years.

Their latest endeavour, a magnificent, dynamic and distinctively Pasifika re-imagining of Macbeth is not only a resounding success but an experience that manages to fuse together various Pacific cultures and classic literature in an impressive hour and a half of enthralling theatre.

Under the direction of Billy Revell and Michelle Johansson, Shakespearean prose and dark magic is blended seemingly with Pacific language, music and dance within a Pan-Pacific Hawaiki.

An innovative re-staging of the traditional Shakespearean classic for Pasifika in Aotearoa set against a backdrop of imagined Hawaiki, musical direction (Siosaia Folau) and choreography (Theresa Sao) is impressive and Viola Johansson’s costumes are amazing to behold.

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While Macbeth and Lady Macbeth actors Lauie Tofia and Denyce Su’a gave wonderful performances, which rendered the audience charmed, it was the three witches played by secondary school students Vitinia-Gabrielle Togiatama, Akinehi Munroe, Irene Folau (winner of the Stand Up, Stand Out vocal solo) who absolutely stole the show.

Although at times it can feel like the 14-strong choir is almost shouting into your ear, the harmonies and raw talent made up for the loudness.

Not many LOLs due to the fact that it was a tragedy, however it was a unique and well-executed production that you’d want to experience at least once.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople | Hunt for the DVD lol

Hunt for the Wilderpeople follows the story of a young boy, Ricky, who finds himself in a wild manhunt with his foster uncle Hec. Being on the run, they learn to put aside their differences and come to rely on each other, in order to survive out in the New Zealand bush.

In New Zealand, Hunt for the Wilderpeople hit cinemas on the 31st of March 2016, a film directed and written by Taika Waititi and based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump. Becoming the highest grossing New Zealand film, it has now been released on DVD which you can find and purchase here. It’s also available on Blu-Ray here.

Special features on DVD and Blu-Ray include:

  • Audio Commentary with Taika Waititi (director and writer), Sam Neil (uncle Hec) and Julian Dennison (Ricky).
  • Featurette
  • Interviews
  • Bloopers

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Don’t read on unless you want to be spoiled.

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My favourite scenes from the movie would include:

  • Any interaction with Aunt Bella because not only was she savage as hell, she was probably the sweetest lady ever. I actually threw a mini tantrum in the cinema when that thing (Y’ALL KNOW THE THING I’M TALKING ABOUT IF Y’ALL HAVE WATCHED IT) happened. Straight up, I sobbed angrily in the middle row, holding the cheeseburger that I’d snuck in.
  • Once rejected, now accepted,
    By me, and Hector.
    We’re a trifecta. 
  • ANYTHING WITH THAT SOCIAL WORKER, PAULA! No child left behind. Bruh, she actually terrifies me like how on Earth is she allowed to work with children hahahahahahahahaha send help.
  • Hector is cauc-asian? Well they got that wrong, because you’re obviously white. *inserts laughing emoji*
  • HECTOR BEING CALLED A PERVERT. PERV. MOLESTERER.
  • The Maori dad who asked for a selfie, and his beautiful daughter who sang “original” songs and had a seemingly endless supply of sausages.
  • The cute moments between Hec and Ricky where they’d bond and it’s probably the cutest uncle-nephew relationship because they both think the other is a bastard, but they protect each other and that’s true family. Tbh, they just have all these emotional moments and lessons throughout the film.

It’s actually so great. Please watch it. And buy it. And love it.

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Independence Day: Resurgence | Film Review

 

Please note the following review attempts to not contain spoilers. 

“We sacrifice for each other, no matter what the cost.”

Twenty years after the first film, they are back. Independence Day: Resurgence, follows the storyline twenty years after the attack on Earth. It is filled with explosive moments, dramatic build ups, iconic monuments being destroyed, and alien verses human fights.

It is an action packed film from the onset, and throughout. The cast does an excellent job, but is let down by the script due to the constant duelling between the characters attempting to be the hero, and outshine one another throughout the film. In a sense, it’s good because you don’t have a single “hero” to stand behind, as it’s a fight for the entirety of the human race, however for any good story, you need that one individual, instead of having a divided focus. In the original Independence Day, we were all standing behind and rooting for Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), especially with his epic one liners.

The film has moved on from an American focus, and includes close up views of destruction across Earth, and has different nationalities portrayed. There is a bunch of new technology in the film, which is pretty epic as it reflects how far modern technology has come – especially within cinematic effects, which are pretty awesome for this film. We get to travel between Earth and the moon.

Independence Day: Resurgence is a great film, if you enjoy things getting blown up, millions of people dying, and a pretty predictable storyline. Parts of the film, feel like they were trying to reproduce the success of Independence Day. But with the great acting, and cinematography, the film isn’t all that bad overall. The film is in NZ theatres now so you can see whether or not the twenty years prepared us, and the longer than usual extended trailer is below for you to have a look over.

Love N Stuff | Review

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While Tanika Gupta’s Love N Stuff was at times funny, and the storyline amusing, I could have done without some of the extra characters and scenes that seemed to distract from, rather than add to, the overall plot.

The script, changed slightly to better suit a New Zealand audience, offered some insights into love, friendship and the meaning of ‘home’.

There are moments where I’m wondering what relevance a certain extra has to the overall plot, however you learn to sit back and enjoy the show as is.

Mansoor (Mustaq Missouri) of Sandringham, walks  out of his 35-year-long marriage for reasons that he barks out at the audience, while his wife Bindi (Sudeepta Vyas), tries to stop him- with a ragtag trio of friends/neighbours.

Janice (Anisha Bhattacharya) a spunky recently divorced fitness fanatic, image-conscious Akbar (Prateek Vadgaonker) who’s currently hiding from an unwanted fiancé, as well as their younger neighbour Baggy (Paurus Rege) whose hip-hop slang confuses his elders and at times the audience.

It’s community theatre and good if you like a bit of humour and a live band.

 

Directed by: Sananda Chatterjee.
Direction: Ritesh Vaghela
From: June 23 to July 3
Venue: TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs

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**Photo Credit: Shovik Nandi

The LOL is silent.

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