The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Lovely review MV. That's yet another film I've still not watched. Again I was planning on finally getting to it for the animation countdown a year or two back but didn't manage it. I don't think I realised just how big a fan of it you were; will definitely need to get to it



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





All Dogs Go to Heaven (Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and Don Kuenster, 1989)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/8/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Topsy's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.

I've seen this movie many times, including in the theater when I was a child. I liked it a lot back then, but my experiences with it as an adult have been less positive. That's not to say that I dislike the All Dogs Go to Heaven, but there are definitely things about it that I very much dislike.

But let's start with the positives. As with the other Don Bluth film in this Hall of Fame, I appreciate the darker themes this presents (though it falls into some of the same old cliches as a lot of other animated children's fodder, including featuring yet another orphan). I do enjoy me a good bad-guy-redeems-himself tale. I also really like the look of the film, with its appealing character designs and rich colors (though I don't know what the hell was up with some of the color choices, like those damn puppies looking like they'd just leapt out of a Crayola box). The vocal performances were all really solid too - except for the singing.



The singing. Why must they ruin this otherwise perfectly good film with all that horrid singing? But it's not just the actual singing. I hate the songs themselves. The lyrics are uninspired and the scenes just don't work for me. I know a lot of this film's fans really like the scenes with King Gator, but to me it just felt like it was thrown in there randomly. Alligator ex-machina.

Still it's an easy and entertaining enough watch and a much needed diversion from certain events of the night.

+





Tokyo Godfathers (Tokyo Goddofazazu) (Satoshi Kon and Shôgo Furuya, 2003)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/9/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: My Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.

I first became aware of Satoshi Kon's work when I hosted the Animation Countdown in 2014. My very first introduction to Kon was when I searched for a gif to represent Paprika. I was stunned by what I saw. The images were unsettling and incredibly beautiful. My experience was repeated when I later searched for images from Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue. Still later, I challenged myself to watch every unseen film that had made the countdown. When I got to Kon's work, I was rewarded with films that were rich with surrealism, mystery, and characters haunted by their pasts.

And so I expected the same when I decided to explore further and watch Tokyo Godfathers - the one Satoshi Kon feature that failed to make the countdown. What I got was very different, but no less rewarding. The artwork looks great. There is some mystery and some surreal aspects, and certainly its characters are hiding from their pasts, but none of that is what the movie is really about.

It's a Christmas film about the importance of love and family, but it doesn't seek to define either of those terms in conventional ways. Here we are presented with a group of people with rough exteriors. They're homeless. They're ragged. They constantly bicker and sling insults (and sometimes objects) at each other. Each comes from a very different background - one a drunkard with a gambling problem, one an outspoken transgender woman, and the other a teenaged runaway - but above all their fighting rises a dedication and solidarity that makes them no less a family than any group of people related by blood. And this unity (and sometimes division) is amplified when they find an abandoned baby girl hidden among the trash and seek to find the child's mother.

Along the way, they encounter a series of outrageous events and coincidences that might have been a little harder to swallow in a non-holiday film or in one with characters who are not as fully realized as these. The things that happen in the film admittedly feel contrived, but I buy it anyway because there is so much heart and emotional authenticity to these characters. And the warm fuzzy feelings I get from watching this don't come covered in corn but rather a deliciously thick layer of salty humor.

-



The film doesn't concern itself with politically correct terms but I suppose I'll change it. Assuming the translation in the subtitles is correct, Hana refers to herself as a "homo" and Gin, the man she loves, calls her a fagg*t.





The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro) (Hayao Miyazaki, 1979)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/11/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: rauldc14's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No.

In my quest to watch every film that made it onto the MoFo Animation Countdown, I watched 10 of Hayao Miyazaki's 11 feature films. The Castle of Cagliostro was the only one of his features that failed to make the cut and so it was also the only one of his features I hadn't yet seen. After being underwhelmed by his other offerings, I had no real desire to see this and were it not for the Hall of Fame it would have remained unwatched.

Raul assured me that this would be a very different experience from the other Miyazaki films. He wasn't wrong, but different is not synonymous with better. Although not fantasy like most of the other films, Cagliostro requires no less suspension of disbelief. Cars drive on vertical surfaces, characters leap from building to building, and are practically impervious to injuries as if they had superpowers or something.

Like Guaporense's nomination, this is one of a series of films based on a television series (based on a manga) and so character development is... lacking. (However, unlike Guap's nom, the story and the relationships between the characters were easy to understand.) Though I'm doubtful whether any further development of the characters would've actually changed my experience. I hated Lupin and cared little for Clarisse. I think I was meant to find Lupin's antics charming, but all they did was annoy me - while Clarisse offered virtually no personality to her role as damsel in distress.

But the film is not without its merits. The voice cast was solid (if unremarkable) and some of the artwork was really beautiful. I will also admit that a tiny hint of smile may have broken through my scowl a time or two, but none of that was enough to elevate my experience beyond mediocrity.



This completes my movie watching for the Animation Hall of Fame.





The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/13/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I was in the mood for more animation
Rewatch: Yes.

Despite some eye-rolling clichés (Orphans! ) , The Land Before Time is among the few childhood favorites that still genuinely holds up today. I really like the look of the artwork and I appreciate the darker themes – death, the power of hope and friendship, and the importance of tolerance and understanding - that seem to be Bluth’s trademark.
The story itself is quite simple: a group of children (baby dinosaurs, but essentially children) are separated from their families and must band together to survive and be reunited with their loved ones. . With the exception of Cera, who I can’t stand, the central characters are really endearing, super cute, and supported by strong voice performances (okay, well not Spike. He never speaks). The peripheral characters are also well-drawn and add to the film’s charm.

I do have to wonder though, whether I would love this film if I hadn’t grown up with it. I could see the voices of both Petrie and (especially) Ducky being annoying if you’re not used to it. But I am and I love it and those characters. And really, at just over an hour in length I doubt it could ever really be tiresome.






I watched the television show as a kid, at least parts of it, but I don't think I've ever seen the movie... I should really get around that.
I didn't even remember there was a tv show. As if the billion straight to video sing-along sequels weren't bad enough.



I didn't even remember there was a tv show. As if the billion straight to video sing-along sequels weren't bad enough.
I just checked and saw that there was indeed a tv show. But I think it might have been all those straight to video sequels upon sequels that I watched instead.





Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Jin-Rô) (Hiroyuki Okiura, 1999)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/25/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Zotis said he thought I would love it
Rewatch: No.


I went into this having no real idea what to expect. This film takes place in a sort of alternate reality in which Germany occupied Japan in the 1950s, although none of the characters are German. However, the Nazi influence does very much inform the look of and atmosphere of the film as well as the behavior of its protagonist.

There are riots in the streets and bombs are being set off. Resistance groups have formed and among their recruits are girls and young women called "Red Riding Hoods" who act as couriers for the explosives. A special anti-terrorism police force is deployed and goes through the sewer to intercept and eliminate this threat. One member of this special unit, Kazuki Fuse, tracks down one such Red Riding Hood and finds himself unable to shoot her. She detonates the bomb she is carrying and so takes her own life but fails to take him with her. This sets off a chain of events that finds him being used as a pawn in battle between rival police divisions and also finds himself romantically involved with a woman who identifies herself as the dead girl's sister.

This is a very dark film, in terms of atmosphere, content, and color. There is a definite sense of uneasiness and paranoia throughout. The only thing that feels certain is that things are not what they seem to be, which is frequently alluded to with references to the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf. Parts of the story itself is recited in several scenes (though the version of the tale used here is a little more ****ed up than the one I grew up with) and Fuse is often accompanied by images of wolves - whether in his nightmares or in the form of taxidermied specimens at a museum he often visits.

But the question of whether Fuse is actually man or beast is one that is too complicated to be definitively answered. Although a trained killer, Fuse is haunted by his memory of the girl's death. He is all but dead inside and struggles to process his feelings. His later involvement with the sister allows little bits of his humanity to begin to seep through to the surface. But things come to light and she is not quite what she pretends to be. Ultimatley he is forced to face a terrible decision.

It's definitely an intriguing story and the film is supported by strong vocal performances and excellent animation. It's also a far more graphically violent film than I'm accustomed to seeing in an animated piece. However, I ultimately didn't love it. It took me a very long time to get emotionally engaged (yes, Zotis, I used that phrase again!) with its characters, which left me feeling disconnected with the film for quite awhile. I think this has a lot to do with the sort of empty feeling that Fuse carries through most of the runtime. He felt little and so I felt little. But it ended very strongly and was an overall solid film throughout. I do think there is potential here for my opinion to improve quite a bit on a rewatch.

+



A couple of shorts for you:



The House of Small Cubes (Tsumiki no ie) (Kunio Kato, 2008)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/03/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: It looked interesting
Rewatch: No


I stumbled across this on Netflix and had remembered it being mentioned quite a bit around the time of the Animation Countdown. At only 12 minutes in length and no dialog, The House of Small Cubes tells a poignant story of an elderly man who is confronted with buried memories when he sets out to retrieve his lost pipe. The art style is very crude, but beautiful at the same time and does well to set the mood of the film. I also really liked the concept of the different levels of his house representing different times in his life. It’s really cool how much emotion can be captured and conveyed without a single word.



* * *



How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones, 1966)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/04/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: It's December
Rewatch: Yes



Chuck Jones brings to wonderful, colorful life the tale of the Grinch, a grouchy creature who is jealous of the joyous spirit of the residents of Whoville and tries to take it away from them. It’s really hard not to love the whimsical and non-sensical world of Seuss’ creations where the images pop and the cheer is infectious. Couple that with the wonderful voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch (and narrator) and it’s no wonder that this classic special has endured for so long. No Christmas season is complete without it.

+

BTW, this thread has been going for just over a year now. A big thank you to those who've been following it!



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
BTW, this thread has been going for just over a year now. A big thank you to those who've been following it!


Congratulations Victoria! It's great to see how you've really gotten into this and how your reviews have improved along the way. As I've said before this is my favourite reviews thread. And yes I'm still going to take at least partial credit for your achievement of making it a year having encouraged you to give it a shot.


Also, I have a confession that may shock and horrify many a MoFo; I'm not sure I've ever actually seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas.



Also, I have a confession that may shock and horrify many a MoFo; I'm not sure I've ever actually seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Dude, it's 26 minutes long. Get it watched.





The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/05/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I bought a used blu-ray copy and wanted to make sure it played okay.
Rewatch: Yes


As much as I'm a big Pixar fangirl, The Incredibles always seems to rank somewhere in the middle of my list of favorite films from the studio and I'm not entirely sure why, since every time I watch it, I think "Wow, this is really good." I suppose it has a lot to do with the simple fact that it is a superhero movie - and as far as that goes, the fight scenes, chase scenes, and anything to do with the special powers of the supers or Syndrome's inventions have always been my least favorite parts. That said though, the rest of the film is really, well... incredible. There are so many little scenes that I adore. Bob's interactions with his tiny boss. Frozone demanding to know where his super suit is. And Edna Mode. Oh my god, Edna. I ****ing love that character. That tiny woman cracks me up every time. She is absolutely, hands down, the highlight of the movie for me.

But it's not just the laughs that really make this such an enjoyable watch. It's also a surprisingly emotional piece and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling watching the interactions between the members of the close-knit Parr family. And there's one particular scene that just devastates me every time and I can't help but shed some tears - when Mr. Incredible, held captive by Syndrome, is helpless to do anything to stop the plane that carries his family from being shot down. So heartwrenching.

I still wouldn't rank this above films like Up, Ratatouille, or Wall E, but I can definitely see why some people would hold it in such high esteem and it is making me think I might need to make some changes in what I thought was the final order of my upcoming new personal top 100 movie list.

+



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


EDNA ROCKS!!!!

and CONGRATS on the one year!!!!
__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran





National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah Chechik, 1989)
Imdb

Date Watched: 12/12/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Because Christmas. Duh.
Rewatch: Yes


Christmas just isn't complete without a visit to the Griswold Family home in this cheesy, over-the-top, but really fun holiday staple. For anyone who hasn't seen it (are there people that haven't seen it?), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation centers around Clark Griswold's efforts to put together the perfect Christmas celebration for his family, but of course this is National Lampoon, so the movie is nothing but a series of hilarious misfortunes and catastrophes.

It's hard not to root for Clark - bumbling and a bit short tempered though he may be - as he goes above and beyond to try to impress his loved ones and prove himself as a patriarch and provider to be admired. It's also easy to relate to his frustrations (and over-reactions) when things don't turn out the way he wants.

I know there are some people out there that don't find this movie funny at all, and I'll grant that the humor here isn't subtle, is often crude (gotta love Cousin Eddie, "Sh!tter was full!"), and relies fairly heavily on slapstick. It also probably benefits greatly from nostalgia and its corniness is easier to forgive because it's a Christmas movie (and from the 1980s), but even after nearly 30 years I still laughed quite a bit at its ridiculousness.

As a side note, I also really like the soundtrack for this. In particular the theme song from Mavis Staples and "That Spirit of Christmas" by Ray Charles (played when Clark watches old home movies from his childhood while trapped in the attic) are always in heavy rotation on my iPod this time of year.

-



Missed the last few entries. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a really fun classic, she is right JayDee you should give it a try if you haven't already since that post is over a week old.

The Incredibles is my second favourite Pixar after WALL-E and one of my favourite animated films in general. Good to hear that it may be moving up your top 100.

Watched both Vacation and Christmas Vacation for the first time earlier this year. My parents actually owned the Vacation boxset for years but i thought they would be bad because i watched Fletch and hated it. I preferred Christmas and it's too bad i didn't try it when i was younger because i think it could've been one of those nostalgic christmas films i still love like Home Alone.

And a late congratulations on the year