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two more quickies

Posted by martinteller on December 23, 2014

Sorry, just not much into writing the long reviews lately.  I could blame it on the holiday season and make a New Year’s resolution to devote more time to my writing, but I don’t know if I could stick to it, or if I would want to.  I’m going to just go with the flow for a while… if I feel like doing a longer writeup, I will, but otherwise I’m not going to worry about it.

Besides, I don’t have much new to say about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets anyway.  It’s got some dumb moments (oh, how I hate the stupid business with the anagram) and the whole “Mudblood” thing comes off as clunky allegory.  And the plot gets rather convoluted.  But again, most of these problems are coming straight from the source material.  Overall, it’s a better story than the first and although it does feel very long I can’t think of much I would want to lose.  Funny, in one of my previous reviews I was bitching about Moaning Myrtle, but now I love Moaning Myrtle (largely due to an increased appreciation for Shirley Henderson).  Rating: Very Good (82)

I Will Buy You is one of the weaker movies by Kobayashi that I’ve seen, but that’s not saying much.  It’s not because I don’t care about the subject matter… this movie is about baseball the way The Harder They Fall is about boxing.  There’s only a few fleeting scenes of people actually participating in the sport, and those are just to establish that collegiate player Goro Kurita (Minoru Ôki) is really good at it.  Good enough to start a frenzy among scouts like Kishimoto (Keiji Sada), who tries to recruit the powerhouse slugger for the Toyo Flowers.  Kishimoto (and the other scouts) don’t get much face-to-face time with Kurita; instead they have to contend with his mentor Kyuki (Yunosuke Ito), who holds the reins on the boy’s future… and also has frequent gallstone attacks that may or may not be faked at opportune times.  There’s also a host of brothers who have an interest, and Kurita’s girlfriend Fueko (Keiko Kishi) needs to be won over too.  The film has some excellent, expressive cinematography and the performances by Sada and Ito are terrific.  One of the more intriguing aspects is how Kishimoto’s inner monologues are written like mental notes to his “boss” (which may just be his conscience).  The thing is, the movie is a little one-note.  You can tell just from the title what the basic gist of it is going to be, and none of the corruption or double-dealing that goes on is all that shocking as a consequence.  But perhaps this is just viewing it from a modern perspective.  It’s still a good movie with a lot of strengths, just not one with many surprises and not one I’m likely to watch again.  Rating: Good (79)

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