Friday, March 12, 2010

Top and Bottom of 2009 - #6

Ikiru (1952)
When the movie starts it is almost a comedy. A group of women are trying to get the city to drain a pool of stagnant water and turn it into a park where children can play. They speak with one government official after another, each one telling them that they need to talk to a different department until they end up right back where they started. Then we are introduced to Kanji Watanabe, a government official who works in the same building. He mindlessly shuffles papers for a living until he learns that he has cancer and only has a few months to live. What is more depressing than the little time he has left is what little he has done with his life to this point. At first he tries to live it up, staying up late drinking and carousing, but it only leaves him feeling more empty. But then he learns of the plight of the women who are trying to get the park built and he decides to go to bat for them, fighting against the ineffectual bureaucracy that surrounds him. And so what starts as a depressing story about a wasted life becomes an inspirational story of the good that one man can do.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
The action is mindless, the characters are shallow, the dialog is flat, the big effects set-pieces are unconvincing, and the villain is too comical to be taken seriously. And then there is Alpha 5, a incompetent robot who’s high-pitched cry of “Aye-yi-yi!” whenever anything goes wrong (which is most of the time) is like nails on a chalkboard, only not quite as pleasant. The single redeeming attribute of the film, a song on the soundtrack from They Might Be Giants, lasts only a few seconds. The rest is every bit as dumb as I though it would be.

Coming up next: two movies with two Oscar winning actors each.

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