Doraemon: Nobita and The Birth of Japan (2016): Cute Answer to Your Longing for Doraemon

The official movie site, unfortunately in Japanese, is here.
Said to be the 36th movie in Doraemon franchise, this movie told us about Doraemon and Nobita (and of course Shizuka, Giant and Suneo) adventures to help a lost boy named Kukuru, who has transported through space and time from the Pleistocene era 70,000 years ago. Kukuru and his tribe were challenged by the Dark Tribe led by the powerful shaman called Gigazombie. In order to save Kukuru and his tribe, Doraemon should defeat Gigazombie, who turns out to be a villain from 23rd century who wants to claim the power and change the history forever.

7.2/10. So what do you expect from another Doraemon movie? Fun adventures? Check. You can laugh throughout the movie. I’m laughing, so if my weird sense of humor can see the hilarity of this movie, you must be able too. Cute animals? Nobita even hatched three legendary creatures: a pegasus, a dragon and a griffin, so it’s check. Cool gadgets? Whoa. This movie maybe has the most gadgets out of Doraemon’s pocket, so it’s check. Intense plot? Well, it’s a Doraemon movie, so you can imagine the typical plot: Doraemon and his gang help someone to beat their villain with Doraemon’s gadgets, the adventure begins and ends successfully with a little bit of emotional strike. This movie is not an exception to this point, which kind of boring to me. 

Nobita encounters another friend, this time named Kukuru, but unfortunately Kukuru is no match to the importance of Doraemon and the gang in this movie. We can barely see the development of Kukuru’s character, and the movie seems to try their hardest to shift our focus to Doraemon’s cool but excessively abundant gadgets. This movie is also trying to remind us about Nobita’s being attached with his pets, and this time, his bounds to his three legendary creatures are cute but somehow feel obsolete to me.

Overall, this is a kind of movie that could fulfill your longing to Doraemon adventures alongside his friends. This movie is fun to watch with your whole family, even with your toddlers.

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Split (2017): 24 Personalities Man starred in A No-Personality Movie

Check the official movie site here.

Split is a new thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002), After Earth (2013)). The movie tells us about three young girls: Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), that has been kidnapped and locked in the windowless basement by the seemingly nerd Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). As the story goes on, we can get to know Kevin is a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), best known as Multiple Personality Disorder, under the care of psychiatrist dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). Kevin, has 23 (later know as 24) personalities: the leader and the somewhat fashion designer Barry, the fan of conspiracy theory Orwell and so many more, as well as other “unwanted” personalities that they call themselves “the horde”: the perverted OCD Dennis, the sassy Patricia, the lipsy 9 years old Hedwig, and finally 24th personality The Beast. When the thought-to-be-just-fantasy Beast comes to the light, Casey realizes she must do something to escape herself and her friends from that frightening man.

7.2/10. I have mistakenly presumed this movie as an adaptation of Daniel Keyes’ non-fiction novel The Minds of Billy Milligan (1981) that exactly has the same 24 personalities like McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb in this movie. It turns out that I was completely wrong. This movie is not an adaptation from any novel, and The Minds of Billy Milligan would be filmed with Leonardo Dicaprio as the main lead.

So this movie is like going nowhere for me. Shyamalan tried to try “go big or go home” with creating 24 personalities in one man, but ended up with just about 8 personalities come to the screen. The plot is blurred, as we just know that Kevin has 24 personalities from the stories that has been built by his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher. The back and forward story telling is confusing too, as Shyamalan maybe tried to give us the breadcrumbs to the whole story, but still it tells us more about Casey’s sexually abused past rather than Kevin’s traumatizing backstory. We are keep telling that “The Beast is coming” but never really told why The Beast is hidden all this time behind all other personalities and why he suddenly comes to light. As the movie with psychological theme, background story should play the most important thing in the whole plot. Moreover, Bruce Willis cameo at the end of this movie hints that this movie exists in the same universe as Shyamalan’s other movie Unbreakable (2000). So, if they intended this movie to become an origin story of the villain for Willis’ Dunn, they should give us more thoughtful and more convincing background for Kevin’a character.

McAvoy plays his role perfectly, just falls into a confusing scenario, but he DID his job well with portraying some personalities. I almost instantly thought he should be given other superhero role for his muscular body instead of just sitting on a wheelchair and controlling a mutant school with his mind. I thought the cast of Anya Taylor-Joy as the abused girl Casey is quite smart too. Taylor-Joy looks fragile and sad in her pale looks, and you can instantly guess that this girl has gone through some difficult times in her life, compared to the other two girls. However, the movie should thank Betty Buckley for building the main plot line throughout the movie. Her Dr. Fletcher is the main character that helps us understand what really happens to Kevin, and later finds out the main problem with “The Horde”.

This movie is rated PG-13, though I didn’t see the clear reason until a glimpse of the end. But for a thrilling experience, you might watch this.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017): A Delighful Sequel with Tired Plot

The official movie site is here.

John Wick: Chapter 2 opens with continuity of the prequel, where the legendary hitman that even the Boogeyman fears to John Wick (Keanu Reeves) tracks down his car to Russian chop shop, dispatches more than twenty men, and goes home with his car. Soon after, Wick is being visited by Santino D’Agostino (Riccardo Scamarcio), a crime lord who wants Wick to kill his own sister Gianna (Claudia Gerrini) and seize her crown to the top noted criminals of the world. Wick refuses, but after Santino blows his house on fire, he has no more choices other than accepting Santino’s will. He successfully killed Gianna, but Santino betrays him and put him into more dangerous situation where every assassin in New York is now hunting for his life. Wick is then asking the help of the beggar king The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) to track down Santino. He then decides he must kill Santino to set himself free, knowing that killing him might put Wick on more and more dangerous situation.

8.2/10. I watched the first movie for Keanu Reeves, then fall in love with Wick’s cold persona that has sentimental side (if he doesn’t, who wants to kill people for a dog anyway?). The first movie has sent John Wick to become a promising franchise, like Fast n Furious’ cars’ engines or a-tinier-scale Jack Reacher. And when the sequel is released with the very promising premise, I will never miss it. I was not quite wrong for expecting that the sequel will, at least, equal the first movie. The sequel really did what a sequel used to do! This movie has more intense fightings, more blood and more brutal gunshots. Wick is still showing his expertise in martial arts, while also being an incredibly good shooter. This movie has also a better reasoning behind all the killings Wick did, and perfectly captures Mafia way on treating people who makes messes with them.

However, I also feel that this movie is tiring. It has good (if you have objection to refer it as “awesome”) actions and well-built character for our main hero, but lack of thoughtful story plot. For me, it feels like it ends, then it begins again with more dangerous situation, then it ends again, and it begins again more dangerously. I can’t even believe my eyes that it ends until the credit title rolls up. Moreover, the movie imposes like half of the people you meet on the street are assassins in disguise, or you can shoot at whomever you want to shoot without worrying that you will shoot an innocent civilian. Or you can sit still on a subway while there are two skilled people fighting each other with knives on their hands. This is unacceptable for me. 

Finally, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a good sequel, and there will be the second sequel on process. Please note that this movie is rated R so don’t bring your children to watch this.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017): Finally.

The official movie site is here.

The Lego Batman Movie is an animated movie produced by Warner Bros Animation Group and DC Entertainment. Said to be the spin-off of The Lego Movie (2014), this movie is focusing on our beloved superhero, Batman. In this movie, Batman (Will Arnett) is trying to stop Joker (Zach Galifianakis) from destroying Gotham City, while struggling with his inner conscience whether he needs to build relationship with other people or not. Later, he hurts Joker’s feeling with telling him he means nothing, not even an arch-enemy. This is sending Joker to plot a worse vengeance, with releasing the world’s most popular villains from the Phantom Zone. While Joker is plotting his revenge, Batman is still battling himself to build new relationship with the new Gotham Police Commissioner Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon (Rosario Dawson), his new adopted son Richard (or Dick) “Robin” Grayson (Michael Cera) and his loyal and tireless butler Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes).

8.9/10. I want to ask you, what is your best Batman adaptation movie? Whatever your answer is, this movie would be your second favorite. My favorite so far is still The Dark Knight (2008), followed by its prequel The Batman Begins (2005). Suddenly, this movie came out and became my second favorite Batman movie. This movie is maybe dedicated for young children, but for me, this movie has a deeper message for the parents, especially fathers. This is the first movie which where I saw that Superhero’s background story has logic reasoning for what they’re doing, other than saving the world. You can now understand why Batman has commitment issue, haha. 

This movie, though it dubbed as a collaboration with DC where almost all DC superhero and Batman’s enemies are brought up here, has featured some other Lego characters like Lord Voldemort (that seems to only know how to spell Wingardium Leviosa and Accio, while the actual Voldy would surely use Avada Kedavra or Crucio), Sauron (that almost just has lava and do nothing without his army of orcs and Nazgul), King Kong, Dracula and many more. The characters are quite abundant, some of them are just a cameo like Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and the other DC superheroes, but somehow they are helping to build the convincing environment to the main plot. The hilarious interactions between the awkwardly unsociable Batman with the other characters have also made this movie more enjoyable to watch.

So for me, this movie is finally a better and entertaining Batman movie after the gullible Batman vs Superman last year. Enjoy this movie with your children, laugh at all of its histerical jokes, and feel the message it wants to tell you on how you put your arrogance aside and start building a better relationships with people who cares about you.