Watching A Scene at the Sea / あの夏、いちばん静かな海。

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/3.6, 1/25 sec, ISO800
“Yuzu & Takako” Cedar Park, 2021

I have a bunch of movies on my computer that I need to watch, and looking at the list, I decided to just start alphabetically. A Scene at the Sea / あの夏、いちばん静かな海。 is a 1991 Takeshi Kitano movie about a deaf man who starts surfing.

I enjoyed the relaxed vibe and 90s-era clothes. So uncool and yet so kakkoi (cool). The story was not anything to write home about and the end was kind of a head-scratcher, but it was an interesting movie, if only for the nostalgia. On a positive note, the soundtrack was really good, which can be expected from the great Joe Hisaishi.

Children of the Sea – Movie Mini-Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Children of the Sea” Austin, 2021

I saw Children of the Sea at the theater with my good friend, and I thought it was excellent! I wasn’t so sure about the character design at first, but the facial expressions quickly grew on me. The landscapes, clouds, and background art were amazing, and the word “Wow” was constantly running around my head.

The story itself was interesting, but I wasn’t a fan of the “2001: A Space Odyssey” moment, as my friend so accurately called it. Still, I liked all the characters. A very fun and beautiful film, well-worth watching, in my opinion.

What I also noted was that the soundtrack is fantastic. Joe Hisaishi captured the mood with a minimalistic orchestration perfectly. I loved it so much. Give the Spotify playlist a listen at the end of this post if you are curious!

I hope you get a chance to watch Children of the Sea, especially if you love the warm summer ocean breeze. 😊

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Children of the Sea” Austin, 2021
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Children of the Sea” Austin, 2021

Millennium Actress / 千年女優 – Movie Mini-Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Millennium Actress” Cedar Park, 2021

I was browsing Amazon Prime Movies and came across the Satoshi Kon movie Millennium Actress so I made some popcorn and settled in to watch it.

I enjoyed it a lot! The story was cool and imaginative, following the story of a veteran actress Chiyoko’s career, with flashbacks to different genres of movies in various historical settings. The scene where Chiyoko appears as a scientist/doctor in a kaiju movie was one of my favorites, even though it only lasted a few seconds. But the transition between the genres was so cool. There was also a nice amount of action and fighting during the ninja-assassin scenes which was very well-done.

I’ve never thought that the character style in Satoshi Kon’s movies were to my liking, but I might finally be coming around. Some of the expressions in Millennium Actress were fantastic. Definitely a recommended anime to watch!

Crying Out Love in the Center of the World / 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ (2004) – Movie Mini Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Aki” Cedar Park, 2021

******** SPOILER ALERT *********

Tonight I watched the 2004 Japanese movie Crying Out Love in the Center of the World / 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ, which was the breakout movie for my current actress crush Masami Nagasawa. I love melodramatic tear-jerkers these days and I knew going in that this was a sad story (you find out early on that Aki passes away), but I didn’t know that the story’s time period would also include a lot of nostalgic interest for me.

The story switches between 2004 (present day) and 1986, when the characters were in high school, which means the characters are the same age as me and Mariko. Adding to the nostalgia, Aki (Masami Nagasawa) and Saku (Mirai Moriyama) exchange messages to each other via cassette tape and it’s fun to see the old Walkman models and compact boom-boxes in action – it almost makes me want to find an old cassette player. 😁

The plot is more interesting and complex than you might expect, and there’s a bit of mystery as to who the character Ritsuko (Kou Shibasaki) really is, and how the cassette tapes connect the past to the present. But it’s the acting that really impressed me. Most of the scenes are quiet are drawn-out, so all attention is on the acting and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint. A+ from the entire cast.

I really liked that the story Crying Out Love in the Center of the World is so pure and innocent, yet can still be so moving. There’s no controversial, disturbing, or uncomfortable scenes – it’s just a story about love, loss, and trying to move on.

I rate it 9 out of 10 on the enjoyment meter!

Minari / 미나리 (2020) – Movie Mini-Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Watching Minari” Cedar Park, 2021

Last night we watched the film Minari / 미나리. I was really looking forward to this movie because of all the glowing reviews, and although I enjoyed it, I didn’t connect with it on the level that many others did, mainly because my childhood experience was much different than any of the characters in the movie. It also makes sense because there are probably many nuances in the film that only people of Korean descent would identify with (Korea is not part of my multi-ethnic background).

I thought the family dynamic was interesting and realistic – not over-the-top, but typical of a slice-of-life story, which I enjoy. My favorite character was grandma, and I would have liked to learn more about her story. The rest of the family seemed one-dimensional compared to her. It felt like her age and history shaped her character to a greater extent and there was a lot of mystery to her motivations, whereas the others’ motivations seemed straightforward.

In short, I thought Minari was a good, but unremarkable, movie. As always, YMMV.

My rating of Minari / 미나리 is 7.5 out of 10.

Shout out to the JACL for making tickets to Minari available to members!