Monday, January 20, 2014

Best of Anime 2013

So before I start with my regular Sensory Overload for the Winter 2014 season here is my personal year-end post for the best of anime 2013. I'm glad I did all those quarter roundups as it made my decision making easy and breezy. What a great year it is for anime. Maybe not as superior compared to 2012, but in my opinion, the good ones really stood out, while the others were able to entertain and humor me to the bone. Good job Japan!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Not A Penny To His Name — Inside Llewyn Davis (Impression)

The soundtrack for this film is rad; I've downloaded them right away, and now I'm practically suffering from last song syndrome(s). This movie doesn't have a plot in particular but I did't mind coasting along with Llewyn Davis as he crashes on somebody else's couch, make wrong decisions, play catch-up with a tabby cat, sing his music and refuses to compromise his art for the sake of "selling out". I've been waiting to see this movie for months and months and it did not disappoint. The Coen Brothers are simply brilliant in all counts, always on the top of their game whatever genre they pursue. The screenplay is what made this film shine; each line and dialogue were graced by the Coen's naturalistic approach and their famous knack for humour. Great performances from the entire acting ensemble; I am totally fangirl crushing now on Oscar Isaac. Plus, the cat is so adorable, I think he just stole the show.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Growing Up — The Kid With A Bike (Impression)

For children to learn the value of letting go and moving forward they must experience unconditional love from others, most specifically from an assuming parental figure. The Belgian directing duo, the Dardenne Brothers, gives us this poignant masterpiece without the flashy and overly dramatic sequence of a Hollywood film. A pure slice-of-life motion picture that builds its character slowly and tears you up by the time it reaches its final frame.

Unnecessary Evil — In a Better World (Impression)

One of the most moving films about parent-child relationships. Timely and relevant. Must-watch for parents losing perspective on the importance of having a meaningful and personal interrelationship with their children; not only by the means of the internet, but through face to face conversations and physical interaction. This film also tells us that no problems, may it be big or small, can be resolved by countering it with violence. You have to turn your other cheek back when someone slaps you in the face

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Too Much — The Wolf of Wall Street (Impression)

For a movie that runs for 3 hours it got none of those boring moments that most dialogue centered movies suffered from. Loads of debauchery, money, sex and naked bodies. The collaborative partnership between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio is one unstoppable train continuously thriving to new and wider horizons. Di Caprio tops his last performance every time and this goes to show for his portrayal as the uber hedonist millionaire Jordan Belfort that he is like wine that gets better with age. Jonah Hill also continuously grow as an actor, may it be with doing comedy or drama -- he can do it all. Correct me if I'm wrong, did he just showed his dick? (Kidding. I know it's only prosthetic penis). This movie doesn't try to trash Belfort, neither questions his morality, nor glorify his actions, but as an act of human observation it challenges us, "when is enough enough?"

2013 Acting Handpicks by Chin

Time of the year again for my acting handpicks, so I'm posting this entry now before the awards are handed at tomorrow's Golden Globes. Here are last year's actors that definitely made a huge impression on me for their performance/s on screen.


Upon the idea of doing my "most hardworking" handpick it is hard to imagine any one worthy of this title other than this English actor. In spite not being a fan of his, it is indisputable that the guy has been working nonstop for years and he's been - for quite sometime - in everyone's radar. 2013 is a good year for Cumberbatch. He appeared in 5 full-length films, 1 short-film, a documentary narration, including a lead role in the critically acclaimed HBO TV series "Parade's End". Phew! 

Runner up: Matthew McConaughey

I'm giving this one to Tom Hanks not because he is one of my favorite actors (I love Leo Di Caprio, too) but his performance for Captain Phillips moves me like an earthquake. We are used to seeing him in dramatic roles or characters in "survival-of-the-fittest" mode, but this time around, this guy with the 2 OSCAR's under his belt got pushed and shoved around by two Somalis and played as the helpless victim. He didn't even need to put on a prosthetic to prove himself. As the movie progresses his acting just got better and better, even to the very end. 

Runner up: Leonardo Di Caprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

So it all comes down into a tie. It is hard to choose between these two completely different performances and if I did it would feel like cheating. I haven't seen the full length film of Dallas Buyers Club but by the looks of it Jared Leto's take on a transgender, his transformation and weight loss, is already a winner in itself. And let's not forget the Somali in Captain Phillips. Barkhad Abdi's performance there is as memorable as Hanks and he was able to hold his own, he is the mean guy and yet he was also able to capture our sympathies. Whoever wins between the two of them would be good news for me. 


Wasikowska is the go-to actress for everything. For sure, she gets offered all the plum roles first before it lands on another actress' backyard. She may not enjoy the same fame as Jennifer Lawrence, but her acting is far more wiser than anybody else her age. Two of her films this year were screened at the TIFF, making her a true festival sweetheart. She played the role of an emerging psychopath for the English language directorial debut of Park Chan-wook, trekked across the Australian desert, acted alongside Tilda Swinton, and tried her hand on comedy co-starring Jesse Eisenberg. If that's not enough, she also did her first foray as a director for a segment in the movie The Turning

Runner up: Rooney Mara

If there is a more deserving actress to win this year's honors I am going all the way for Cate Blanchett. Her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is a stretch from most of the female characters from last year's array of films. She is a woman so used to the extravagant life that when the shit rains on her parade her only option to survive is to live a life of pretense and lie. The way she falls apart and try to keep a straight face is polarizing. Either you'll feel sorry or annoyed by the way she continuously act high and mighty to those around her even though she has got nobody and nothing. 

Runner up: Adele Exarchopolous (Blue is the Warmest Colour)

This is like a hands-down - no questions asked - choice for me, right on the get go after seeing this movie. I am rooting for Lupita both on-screen and off-screen. I think she is a true revelation. Every time the whip hits her back, I bleed for her. And when she tries to convince Solomon to kill her, I feel for her. This is pure acting, no smokes and mirrors, no flashy performances for grandiosity. She is the best among the bunch. 

Runner up: Lea Seydoux  (Blue is the Warmest Colour)

No Sleep — The Bad Sleep Well (Impression)

An underrated gem from the best Japanese filmmaker of all time. Akira Kurosawa's Shakespeare-inspired tale of corporate corruption sees Toshiro Mifune as a corporate serf, trying to exact revenge in behalf of his deceased father. Kurosawa might be the master storyteller of Samurai concentrated period films but he has proven with this masterpiece that he can whipped up a real-mean and gritty crime thriller. One of the best film noir's I've seen in years (and there are so many).

Friday, January 10, 2014

...And the damage is done — A Separation (Impression)

I don't understand my unnecessary delays from watching this movie. After all, this is a much superior work for Asghar Farhadi compared to his current hit "Le passé", which I've seen last year. The story is a realistic portrait of Iran, the Arabic life and their people, with a script that was written with such pathos that can only be paralleled by a flawless acting from its entire cast. So many things I have learned from this movie. Not that it's there, but now I know why Filipinos are loved as Caregivers -- due to their high tolerance for physically and emotionally demanding workload, which includes wiping other people's asses (that's a big deal) because married Arab women can't do that without the permission of their husband's. The main character, Nader, is a stubborn jerk. No wonder his wife wants to divorce him; he is incapable of logic, reason and listening. If only he adheres to Simin's (his wife) explanation without rebuffing her every time she tries to do something for the welfare of their child then, the risk of their circumstance would have been reduced. Involving their daughter to make a false statement in the court was a reflection of his selfishness. He doesn't even give a damn about the effects and consequences of bringing her into the courtroom for questioning. Most parents would do their best to shunned away their child from such a place because they know its effects is traumatizing. "A Separation" is a surprising tour de force masterpiece from the incoming wave of Arab cinema. Invigorating...and a socially engaging drama.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Train He Never Took — Mr. Nobody (Impression)

Hauled up my stack of unseen movies from my DVD library. Finally got around to watching Jaco Van Dormael's masterpiece after 3 years. I think this movie is about the choices that we make in life -- that there is no right or wrong, even the people that we end up with is not brought on by some cosmic interference, chance or destiny. There is no such thing as someone "meant for you", but rather, whether or not we want to be with that person, making the decision and doing the grand gesture. This motion picture reminds me of one of my favorite Kieslowski film, Blind Chance, which then influence Tom Tykwer's "Run Lola Run" and Howitt's "Sliding Doors", which later became the catalyst to Van Dormael's scripting and creation of this movie. One inspiration to the next. Great art pays it forward. 

A Streetcar Named Jasmine — Blue Jasmine (Impression)

Woody Allen's film might share a close resemblance to Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire" for its heartbreaking story of a woman's slow descent into madness. But unlike the latter, Allen transformed it as a tragicomedy, giving it a flair of wit and humour in spite of its devastating reality. So remember guys, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Well, you'll get the picture once you've seen this film. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kids Do the Darndest Things — Good Morning (Impression)

Totally unexpected for a slice-of-life Ozu film. So many laugh-out-loud moments. The kids are so funny (the way they should be), doing such ruckus for the love of TV. And the adults are hilarious, too -- for taking things on face value, it gets them on the wrong foot.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Anime 2013: Fourth Quarter Season Roundup

A few months ago, when Fall started, I couldn't wait to do my roundup, but here we are now, at the final season of this year, which means I'll have to do "The Best of Anime 2013" after this post. What an incredible and unbelievable season at the same time. My Fall roundup seems to be in conflict with my first impressions, as there were plenty of surprises from unexpected titles, and disappointments from those I highly favored from the beginning.

Best Animation - Fall 2013

Kyoukai no Kanata -- despite of its upsetting finale -- totally captured me with its animation. Kyoto Animation are always excellent in doing Moe, but something with action and fantasy is a first time for the studio, taking it to the next level. Although they screwed up with the story plenty of times, it is hard to hate an anime that showed so much effort with their design and effects, with that I'll give KyoAni the compliment they fully deserved. 

Best Opening Song/Sequence - Fall 2013

Koko by Tamurapan (From Kyousougiga)

Best Ending Song/Sequence - Fall 2013

Daisy by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION (From Kyoukai no Kanata)

Favorite MC (Male Character) - Fall 2013

The first time I've seen Diamond no Ace I knew right there and then that Sawamura-kun is my favorite Male Character for the Fall 2013. He has the innocence of a boy and the determination of a man. Both genki and GAR at the same time. Even though he can be "baka" it just adds up to his charm. His seiyuu, Ohsaka Ryota, just proves us once more that he is this year's most formidable and versatile voice actor. 

Best Girl - Fall 2013

Every Monday (or what Tuesday, my time) is a Rengecentric day. I love Non Non Biyori, and because of this adorable seven year old, brimming with creativity and unique ideas, my attention is hooked and I never failed to tune in with the show. Every episodes centered on Renge are not just about doing cute things, she even surprises us with wit, humor and touchy-feely drama scenes. Who could forget the episode 4 close-up shot of her teary-eyed face, her musings on whether or not she lives in the country, her black cardboard, etc. Re-watching Non Non Biyori comes naturally, and I hope there will be a second season in the works in the future. 

Best Supporting Character - Fall 2013

For me the real hero of the Seirin Basketball team is none other than its founder, the Iron Heart, Kiyoshi-kun. My real complain about the show was its sole focused on basketball matches and its lack of characterization. So if you'd stopped watching KuroBas before Teppei arrived, then, that's too bad, because the show had gotten better with him around. The guys couldn't ask for a better Senior than Teppei. He doesn't feed in to his anger when frustration strikes in, and he never let his team down when they needed support and protection. He motivates and encourages every one, even keeping a poker face when his body is coupled with injuries. Seirin's likability as a team doubled up by Kiyoshi's presence. He may be one of the un-crown kings, and he may not possess the same strength as the Generation of Miracles, but his passion for basketball and his dedication for his team has won me over. 

Favorite Recurring Character - Fall 2013

He is a pain in the ass. We all know about that. His actions, although they were made with good intentions, brought joy and pain to those he loves. He may not always be around on our screens, and he is not our main guy, but he is the centrifugal force that moves Kyousougiga - the reason behind everything. 

Best Villain - Fall 2013

Okay, so he doesn't get on my nerves as a villain. He is the King. Everyone fears him due to his God-like powers. With his main goal to destroy the world, naturally our heroes would eliminate him to save the day. But Meruem is a character that is discovering his human-side little by little, wondering his purpose of existence. He doesn't do bad things just to be evil or because he is the villain of the series. And that says a lot for us as human beings.

Exceeded Expectations - Fall 2013

I'm pretty addicted to shrine-related anime's. Gingitsune provided that addiction for me this season and it did not disappoint. The story is very well-written and the characters are just likable and adorable, especially Haru, in spite of her loud mouth and irritating behavior, she is so's hard to hate her. 

Disappointment - Fall 2013

I love Sci-Fi, but this one just killed the genre. Throwing impossible things one after the other. The characters are so lame, pointless and uninteresting. There is nothing that could save this series from becoming an utter failure. I'm sorry A-1 Pictures but your viewers are not that dumb.

Best Anime - Fall 2013

A tie between:

I would be a liar if I excluded Non Non Biyori as Best Anime, after all, this is my personal blog and even if everybody contradicts with my choices I have to stand on my ground. I do love Non Non Biyori for whatever quirk it brought every week. It is not just about cute girls doing cute things. There is a real country feel "slice-of-life" touch to the story that makes it so heartwarming. At the end of the day, we find these characters and their unusual antics as an extended part of our homes. The animation is top notch and the music is quite nostalgic. I wouldn't mind a second season anytime soon. 

(Also clinching the Best Story, Most Under-Appreciated, and Best Soundtrack honors for Fall 2013)

Probably, not everybody would agree with me on this pick (for best story), but Kyousougiga, with all of its confusion and mysteries, is like a book that hooks your interest, takes you on a maze, only to be confounded one minute due to its lack of explanation, and yet surprisingly, it never disappoints you on what it refuses to give or to reveal. This a thinking-man's anime, and at this time and age, it is so rare to find a piece of animated art that challenges its viewers to think and not to accept things as it is. As for this anime being under-appreciated. We all know that it is a commercial failure in Japan for its DVD/BD sales, and a lot of viewers have polarizing views and reaction about the entire series, to the point that (along with Shin Sekai Yori) you could already consider it as a cult anime. It may lack the mainstream appeal, but at least the makers of Kyousou Giga had the decency and the humor not to conform with the cookie cutter norms of the world, thereby not compromising the entire vision that they had for their series. A job well done, in my opinion. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...