Browse Tag: japan

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame (2019): Anthony & Joe Russo

One year after the incredible, world-breaking, superhero-killing Infinity War, The Russo brothers return with the climactic Avengers: Endgame.

All these heroes have real names and hero names, and I’m going to switch between them often with little rhyme or reason. You’ve been warned.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The living superheroes figure out how to move on from Thanos’s devastating, life-halving Snap, then they figure out how to undo it so they don’t have to move on.

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RECAP: You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice (1967): Lewis Gilbert

James Bond spends his fifth jaunt onscreen delving into Asia, especially Japan, portrayed as a sleepy nation with a glitzy capital but still attached to its past. More stuck in the mud than Britain, can’t you tell? Even M, Moneypenny, and company get out in the field, working from a submarine patrolling East and South China Seas and maybe the Sea of Japan.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Bond heads to Japan to investigate a crazy theory that someone, maybe arch nemesis SPECTRE, is launching rockets from there that capture astronauts and cosmonauts and threaten to ignite a world war.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai (2003): Ed Zwick

Tom Cruise. Yeah, he’s on the poster. His face is one of the most recognizable in the world. For several years he topped list after list of the most bankable stars. Cruise is one of a few actors to star in a Best Picture winner and a year’s number one box office success. He’s also 5’7”, four inches shorter than his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, but you would never know that from watching his films. He also does his own stunts. You would know that, at least from the press for his movies. Cruise has worked with Stanley Kubrick, Cameron Crowe, Michael Mann, and Steven Spielberg. He’s as successful as any actor could even hope to be.

The word "is" is not on this poster. That's important.
The word “is” is not on this poster. That’s important.

Cruise is a titan of action films, especially the science-fiction versions. War of the Worlds, Minority Report, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow, and the terrific actioners of Mission: Impossible. But today I’m talking about the 2003 samurai drama The Last Samurai

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An American soldier flees America to be a soldier in Japan, and he falls for the samurai culture.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Wolverine

The Wolverine (2013): James Mangold

Fox released this gem of a mutant saga in a year full of Thor, Iron Man, and Superman. News was circulating of a team-up of the original X-Men and the new cast, released a year later.

For a character who loves to be lost, his film got lost. The Wolverine is the least X-Men-like X-Men film, and its gross proved it, earning only $133 million at the domestic box office, good for dead last in the mutant series.

And that’s a shame, because this is possibly the franchise’s best movie. It’s certainly a unique one, a film devoid of world-beating stakes and the mutant game of Mexican standoff.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Wolverine, eager to be rid of the world, returns to Japan to meet an old friend…or so he thought, Dun dun DUUUUNN! Continue Reading

RECAP: The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line (1998): Terrence Malick

Hollywood loves to double up its tentpole movie themes, and 1998 was no exception. The more celebrated, more revered, more watched, more beloved Saving Private Ryan is a classic of the war genre.

This is the other movie. The Thin Red Line was longer and more beautifully shot, its cast of characters was larger and its moralizing stronger. But was it better?

Malick left a 20-year gap between his 1978 Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line. About every male actor in Hollywood expressed interest in appearing in his return.

Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mickey Rouke, Viggo Mortensen, Bill Pullman, and Gary Oldman: all these guys performed for the movie and DID NOT make the final cut.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: American soldiers discover, even on a beautiful island, that war sucks.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Godzilla

Godzilla (2014): Gareth Edwards

One of 2014’s surprise hits plunked down in mid-May and came away with $200 million, though that was only good enough for 13th on the domestic chart. Still, the success was enough to land Edwards a little movie called Rogue One, or How Princess Leia Stole the Death Star Plans, or If Edward Snowden was of Royal Blood and Could Fly.

Dozens of films after his Japanese debut in 1954, Godzilla arrived on American screens the largest he has yet been. Or at least he seemed that way. Detractors mocked his American fatness, and indeed the King of Monsters has a big gut, despite hibernating for untold decades.

One Sentence Plot Summary: Godzilla awakens to battle MUTOs, humans are killed, San Francisco crumbles. 
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