Monthly Archives: September 2014

Like Father, Like Son (Foreign-Drama)

likefatherA demonstration of nature vs. nurture, and the inner struggles that accompany the realization of your presumed child’s unmatched heredity

Ryota Nonomiya and Midori have a sweet young boy by the name of Keita and he is about to attend his first year of private school. They are the picture perfect family, aside from Dad working a bit too hard to provide his loved ones with an exceptional lifestyle. One afternoon Midori gets a call from the hospital with a troubling discovery, Keita is not theirs as he was switched at birth. When the hospital sets up a meeting with the families that have been fostering the others true kin, they must deal with the choice of keeping the child they have cherished for years or progress their bloodline.

After building a name for himself and wanting to leave behind a legacy, Ryota has a more bullheaded approach to this situation. When circumstances of past failures of Keita are revisited he blames the genes as the obvious flaw, which inevitably only pushes him farther away from embracing Keita as his own. He also seems to cling to his fathers’ horse breeding mentality of bloodline being everything, which coldly dismisses any real feelings for the child he helped raise to the side.

With the foundation of the film built around unsettling components, the screenplay was surprisingly lighthearted as a whole, with the exception of a few heart-wrenching scenes. This was partially achieved by the innocence and playfulness conveyed through the child actors, but mainly by the supporting casts caring environment and parenting from the less privileged side of the fence. This dynamic not only highlighted the obvious social gap, but also gave the perspective of how life without tangible luxuries should still be identified as a prosperous life and merit a happy childhood. This realization being the supplement to the overall message of child rearing, and the effect it has on identity creation through alternate disciplines and family ideals.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Crime-Thriller-Action)

Dame“A crisp storyboard aesthetic with a dull and nonchalant ignoramus calling the shots”

Three separate tales all set in the same vicinity; which is that of Sin City. An urban cesspool of degenerates, crooked politicians, and those seeking justice from their those who wronged them fill up this dark place. Meet a gambler who has lady luck on his side until he gets a bit cocky and out plays the corrupt senator with the law in his pocket. Encounter a hired blackmailer and the battle against his kryptonite, which is in the form of a conniving seductress coaxing every man she meets. Last but not least a new chapter is opened in Nancy’s story, a dancer whose savior was killed and now she is seeking revenge on the most powerful man in the city.

Though on paper these stories look as absorbing as the first, this sequels fresh concept was diluted over the decade of its absence. The drawback lies mainly within the stock dialogue and overemphasized character arcs, making the whole experience seem adolescent. When a viewer is captivated with the cameos more than the featured cast, poor writing is usually to blame. This consequently disconnects the audience from the plot points altogether, but on the contrary left due attention to the visually enticing collage of violence and erotic prowess.

The graphical nature and overall ambiance of the film gave an idea where the budget dollars were spent. As anticipated for a graphic novel film, static set design along with lighting and deep contrasts fashioned a sharp pane-like exhibit which back-dropped the mood of every scene.  If the viewer is able to look past the obvious faults and be hypnotized by the plethora of artistically intoxicating effects and hidden ques, they won’t finish the film looking for a dame to kill.