Category: Rating 5

Touch - Cartoon 1984-1985


Type: Cartoon Drama, Japan 1984-1985

My rating: 5
Key characters:
Minami Asakura, Tatsuya Uesugi, Kazuya Uesugi

Based on the comic book by Mitsuru Adachi. Kazuya (younger) and Tatsuya (elder) are twin brothers, Minami is the girl next door, the three of them were born in the same year and grew up together. Both brothers love Minami. She has a wish which becomes the common goal of the twin brothers that is to go to Koshien Stadium to play baseball. To do so, they must represent their high school and win the regional competition. Tatsuya doesn't want to compete with his brother and thus he quits baseball, Kazuya is a great talented baseball player and has led the school team to the regional final, soon Minami's dream will be realised by Kazuya but she is clear on who she loves - she loves Tatsuya the kind-hearted elder brother who supposed to be inferior to the younger twin only because he always let the younger brother to win. Kazuya is also a kind-hearted younger brother who always wishes the best thing for his brother and Minami. On the day of the final game, something happened and Kazuya did not turn up... Tatsuya has to step up and work hard to make minami's dream come true...

My review:
Touch is one of my all time favourite cartoon. I have always loved this comic by Mitsuru Adachi, this TV cartoon has become a classic. Kazuya and Tatsuya are good and loving brothers, Minami is the kind of girl every boy dreams about. Mitsuru has created many touching and clever plots in the story with many other interesting characters surrounding Kazuya, Tatsuya and Minami, including Harada, a friend who always say something wise despite his big, rough and scary look, Nitta the star player of the rival baseball team.

Crying out love in the centre of the world - TV drama

Crying out love in the centre of the worldCrying out love in the centre of the world

Japanese 2004
Director: Isao Yukisada

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Takao Osawa ... Sakutaro Matsumoto
Kou Shibasaki ... Ritsuko Fujimura
Masami Nagasawa ... Aki Hirose
Mirai Moriyama ... Sakutaro Matsumoto (High School)
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Shigezou Matsumoto
Kankur? Kud? ... Ryunosuke Ooki
Kanji Tsuda ... Johnny
Issei Takahashi ... Ryunosuke (high school student)
Rio Kanno ... Ritsuko (girl)
Tetta Sugimoto ... Aki's Father
Katsutaka Furuhata ... Johnny (high school)

"I thought I might be using a lifetime's happiness in a moment. I was that happy and she was that beautiful."

In 1987, a beautiful story about two 17-year old classmates, Aki and Saku who fell in love during one summer and how they soon realized Aki has leukemia and died during Autumn of the same year.

17 years later, Saku has not forgotten Aki for a single moment, he still carries her ashes with him, he re-tell their story to a woman that he loves today on how he and Aki met and spent time together until Aki's final moment and her dying wish was to see the blue sky of a place in Central Australia where the aboriginals believe to be the centre of the world and people who rest there after they die, their spirit will flow from there into another world and be reborn.

My review:
Simply a beautiful story, I love this TV-drama and the adapted version of the movie both based on the same best-selling book of the same name "Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu". A pure romantic love that happens during teenage years with a sad ending of death of incurable diseases, though the idea is not new, this story will still touch your heart.

Le Papillon

Le Papillon (Original French Version) (buy from Amazon)

French 2002
Director: Philippe Muyl

My rating: 4
Key actors/actresses:
Michel Serrault .... Julien
Claire Bouanich .... Elsa
Nade Dieu .... Elsa's Mother

Julien is a retired old man whose hobby is butterfly (Le Papillon) with his own butterfly room and plenty of samples. Elsa is a 9 year old girl with her single mother who has to work all the time and cannot spend much time with her daughter. They just moved to the same building where Julien lives. When Elsa overheard about Jilien's trip to search for the beautiful and rare butterfly called "Isabella", she secretly hides in his car and wants to follow him. Julien initially wants to turn her in to the police, but later decides to let her goes along to this butterfly journey...

My review:
A very nice touching story, the old man and little girl have a lot to learn from each other. Through the journey of searching for the butterfly, they are enlightened...

Before Sunset

Image from Amazon
Before Sunset (buy from Amazon)

Type: Romantic, USA 2004

Director: Richard Linklater

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Ethan Hawke - Jesse
Julie Delpy - Celine

This is the sequel to the romantic movie "Before Sunrise" where Jesse, an American guy who lived in Texas and Celine, a French girl who lived in Paris had the encounter of their life, when they met 9 years ago on a train and agreed to spend a day together in Vienna. They formed such an intense and irresistable bonding that they promise each other that they will meet again in 6 months in Vienna. However, they only met again 9 years later in Paris. What happened in the 6 month after their first encounter, why didn't they see each other again until now? How do you pick up a conversation again after not seeing someone for such a long period of time. So what's next? Are they still made for each other, the soulmate that they had hoped for 9 years ago?

My review:
Absolutely love this sequel as well, the acting, the script, the scenary and most important of all, the mood and feeling that it brings. Couldn't think of a more perfect ending than the one shown.

Ehtan and Julie played their role really well. The plentiful and natural dialogue make the audience feel they have re-ignited their intense connection as in the first movie, and that they have never forgotten each other for a day. It was tragic that they were unable to meet up during that 9 years because they didn't want to exchange contant information not even their last name, they don't want to just call or write to each other a little while and then the relationship will fade away, but as a result, once they have missed their rendervous in Vienna, they had no way of finding each other until Jesse published a book on their 1-night affair 9 years ago. All their possible romantic feelings were all injected and preserved in that 1-night, they were unable to feel and be happy with anyone else. Imagine such torture of not being able to feel love except with a person that you are uable to locate and then the joy of seeing the person again by chance. What sort of intense emotion is unleashed as a result?

Please also see Doris's review.

Before Sunrise

Image from Amazon
Before Sunrise (buy from Amazon)
Type: Romantic, USA 1995

Director: Richard Linklater

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Ethan Hawke - Jesse
Julie Delpy - Celine

Jesse is an American student who lives in Texas, he is on a vacation in Europe and Celine is a French girl on her way back to Paris. They met by chance on a train and started a conversation, they felt there was an intense connection, a connection that most people don't even find during their entire life. Jesse is catching a plane to USA from Vienna the following morning and crazy as it might sound, he asks Celine to get off the train at Vienna and spend one day with him and they will part at sunrise. The brief encounter turns out to be much more than they have expected, what future holds for 2 people who have lived separate lives on two far apart countries until today...

My review:
I like this movie very very much, don't we all have the fantasy of meeting a complete stranger in the most unexpected circumstances who turns out to be the soul mate of our life? What seem to be two parallel lines somehow crossed by faith.

The connection of the two characters are instantly felt and the what seems to be a casual conversation shows harmony and reasonate. The dialogue is not dramatic, it is cozy and natural just like a conversation between two friends who have known each other for years. This is much more convincing than the super dramatic type of movie like the Titanic. One has to wonder if Jack and Rose (in Titanic) are really made for each other and if Jack had survived, how quickly he would have dumped Rose.

I particularly like the dialogue where they make conversation by pretending to be calling their best friend to talk about what happens in Vienna and role-play the best friend part. Exchanging their deep and honest view of each other since the moment they met on the train.

Not until too long, the loving feeling was coupled with physical desire, completing all the elements of knowing each other.

Audience can feel the sadness when the perfect couple must part and get on with their original path in life. Our hope is raised again with their promise to see each other again in 6 months' time, we are put in suspence not knowing that if they will indeed see each other again. Deep in our heart, we wish them luck and hope they will indeed see each other again, but on the other hand, we are not so sure if such brief but intense encounter is a strong enough foundation for their future life together (if any). Is it possible to put one's romance all into one night.

Also see the review of the sequel "Before Sunset".
Also see Doris's review.

Cinema Paradiso

Image from Amazon
Cinema Paradiso (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, Italy 1988

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Antonella Attili .... Maria (Young)
Enzo Cannavale .... Spaccafico
Isa Danieli .... Anna

Posted by Dominic
A man receives news from his aging mother in a little town that someone he once knew has passed away. A beautiful story unfolds about the man's childhood friendship with an old man who was the projectionist at the local theater. Their bond was one that contained many highlights and tragedies, and shaped the way for a young boy to grow and move out of his rundown village to pursue a dream.

My review:
Cinema Paradiso is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is a very touching movie. I was deeply moved. The whole movie is about the relationship between a kid and the old man who is a film projector controller. The kid's passion towards movie had been developing since he first met with the old man. At the beginning of the movie, this relationship was presented in a very natural, interesting, and humourous way. The kid grew up and the old man continued to be his best friend. The small town had gone through many changes and the kid eventually left for the big city and made his own fame and fortune. He returned to the small town, now an old man himself, to attend the funeral of his life-time best friend and witnessed the demolition of the cinema/church where his relationship with the old man started. The ending was a particularly moving scene, I shan't spoil it by telling you what happened there. Highly highly recommended, don't miss this movie.

Jam Films (7 short movies)

Type: Comedy Drama Romantic SciFi Suspense, Japan 2002

Director: See below

My rating: 5

Key actors/actresses:
Directors: Daizaburo Hanada ("Opening"), J么ji Iida ("Cold Sleep"), Shunji Iwai ("Arita"), Ryuhei Kitamura ("The Messenger - Requiem for the Dead"), Rokuro Mochizuki ("Pandora - Hong Kong Leg"), Tetsuo Shinohara ("Kendama"), Yukihiko Tsutsumi ("Hijiki"), Isao Yukisada ("Justice")

Natsuko Akiyama .... ("Hijiki")
Kuranosuke Sasaki .... ("Hijiki")
Megumi Takahashi .... ('Hijiki')
Megumi Uziie .... ('Hijiki' & 'Kendama')
Masayoshi Yamazaki .... ("Kendama")
Ryoko Shinohara .... ("Kendama")
Hirofumi Arai .... ('Justice')
Haruka Ayase .... ("Justice")
Hitomi Kurihara .... ('Justice')
Akifumi Miura .... ('Justice')
Christian Storms .... ('Justice')
Satoshi Tsumabuki .... ("Justice"
Ryoko Hirosue .... ("Arita")
Kazuki Kitamura .... ("The Messenger - Requiem for the Dead")
Tak Sakaguchi .... ('The Messenger - Requiem for the Dead')
Kanae Uotani .... The messenger ('The Messenger - Requiem for the Dead')
Akaji Maro .... ("Pandora - Hong Kong Leg")
Takami Yoshimoto .... ("Pandora - Hong Kong Leg")Takao Osawa .... ("Cold Sleep")
Samuel Pop .... ('Cold Sleep')
Albert Smith .... ('Cold Sleep')
Tomomi Tsunoda .... ("Cold Sleep")
Yasutaka Tsutsui .... ('Cold Sleep')

Posted by Dominic
7 stories by 7 different directors, comedy, suspense, sci-fi, romantic, you name it. Quite fun to watch 7 short pieces.

My review:
Quite fun to watch 7 short pieces. All nicely made, since each has only about 15 mins, they have to impress the audience pretty much from the beginning. I won't spoiled you with the details of the storyline.

Crying out love in the centre of the world 在世界中心呼喚愛

Image from AmazonImage from Amazon
Crying out of Love in the Centre of the World (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama Romantic, Japan 2004

Director: Isao Tukisada 行定勲

My rating: 5

Key actors/actresses:
Sakutaro(Today) 朔太郎...Takao Osawa 大澤隆夫
Ritsuko 律子...Kou Shibasaki 柴崎幸
Sakutaro(High school) 朔太郎...Tsutomu Yamazki 森山未來
Aki 廣瀨亞紀...Masami Nagasawa長澤正美

Sakutaro is getting married soon, one day his fiancee Ritsuko found a long lost tape that she was supposed to have given to Sakutaro 17 years ago, it is the last recording of Sakutaro's first love at high school - Aki who died 17 years ago of leukemia (blood cancer). Sakutaro has never been able to forget her but simply trying to bury his feeling. Ritsuko goes back to the home town and independently Sakutaro is doing the same, he returns to his home and went through all the tapes that he and Aki recorded for each other and their story is re-told once again.

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Bad Education (La mala educacion)

Posted by Ryoko

Image from Amazon
Bad Education (Original Uncut NC-17 Edition) (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, Spain 2004

Director:Pedro Almodovar

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Gael Garcia Bernal: Angel/Juan/Zahara
Fele Martinez: Enrique Goded
Javier Camara: Paquito
Daniel Gimenez Cacho: Father Manolo
Lluis Homar: Berenguer

Ignacio and Enrique were students at a religious school and they loved each other. Father Manolo, director of the school and its professor of literature, disturbed their love because Ignacio was the very special student for him.
After the next few decades, Enrique got famed as a movie director. One day Ignacio came to his office suddenly. Enrique was surprised at this visit, however, he felt something incongruous and could not believe the man was Ignacio.
Each life of Ignacio, Enrique, and Father Manolo was changed and destined unexpectedly by the reunion.

My review:
After my friend and I watched this film at a theater last year, we got excited with this screenplay and the acting by Gael Garcia Bernal: we kept talking about this movie at a cafe until nearly midnight at that time.
It was hard to predict (read ahead) how this story would be going on while I was watching this movie. Gael played 3 characters, and one of them was a drag queen (Zahara). When he was singing `Quizas,quizas,quizas'as Zahara, he looked decadent but mysterious and fascinating to me. Surely his performance was GREAT. I don?t know any other young and good-looking players in Japan (at least) that can act great like Gael did.
Here is my rating: story = 4 stars, acting = 4 stars (nearly 5stars), direction = 5 stars, visual = 4 stars, and my conclusion in total = 5 stars.

The Fabulous Baker Boys

Posted by Ryoko

Image from Amazon
The Fabulous Baker Boys (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, USA 1989

Director:Steven Kloves

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Jeff Bridges: Jack Baker
Beau Bridges: Frank Baker
Michelle Pfeiffer: Susie Diamond
Jennifer Tilly: Monica Moran

Frank and Jack Baker were professional musicians who played the piano at small clubs.
One day they auditioned female singers and decided on Susie Diamond.
After Susie joined this piano duo, they got good fame and re-evaluation; however, some kinds of discord among them came out to the surface.

My review:
I was a student at university when I watched this film for the first time by the recommendation from my boyfriend of those days. At that time I thought this was just a romantic movie, however, now I think it is not just a love story but a drama about persons who tried standing on their own feet.
Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful and charming in this film. And sexy. Her performance is so vivid. Moreover, she?s a good singer: I really like her singing?More than you know?, ?Ten cents a dance?, ?Can?t take my eyes off you?, ?Makin' Whoopee?, ?My funny valentine?.

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