Rose vs Tonight: Fantasy and Reality

In which I attempt to solidify some vague thoughts on the differences between The Purple Rose of Cairo and Tonight, at the Movies.

On the face of it, 今夜、ロマンス劇場で or Tonight, at the Movies is a Japanese variation of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Both are stories about a movie-loving person falling in love with a character who literally comes out of a movie. In Tonight, it is a budding scriptwriter and assistant director named Kenji who comes to love the adventurous Princess Miyuki. In Rose, it is Cecelia, a waitress in an unhappy marriage, who falls for dreamy archaeologist Tom Baxter.

Though both begin with the idea of a dream coming true and involve the main character having to make a choice that determines the ending, Rose presents the fantasy alongside brutal reality, and its ending is rooted in the latter. Sad ending, but the most likely logical outcome. Tonight gives us a fantasy that becomes reality, with just a hint of melancholy, and gives us an ending that is closer to a fairytale.

Read More

Tonight, at the Movies (2018)

今夜、ロマンス劇場で or Tonight, at the Movies (a.k.a Color Me True, which I find to be a strange alternate title) by Takeuchi Hideki is the story of Kenji, an aspiring assistant director, who is thrilled and flustered by the entrance of his favourite movie character, Princess Miyuki, into the real world.

Tonight is clearly inspired by Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. But the story flows quite differently. Both films are billed as romantic fantasies but where Rose is heavy on the aspect of fantasy (versus reality), Tonight is more focused on the romance and is thus more lighthearted in comparison.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Read More

Seeing Self in a Spork

In which I attempt to lay out my thoughts on Forky and how the character is an interesting parallel to our humanity and relationship with God.

Toy Story 4 introduces us to a number of new characters, including Forky – a creation that Woody’s new owner, Bonnie, cobbled together from bits of craft materials and a spork. Forky serves as a comedic figure with an identity crisis completely different from anything Woody or Buzz has ever experienced.

The central characters of the Toy Story movies are almost always grappling with some form of identity issues. We first meet Woody when he finds his status as favourite toy threatened by the appearance of the shiny new space toy, Buzz Lightyear. Then in Toy Story 2, Woody contemplates the possibility of life in pristine condition but without joy – forever on display but never for play. The third movie forces Woody to face the unhappy truth of a grown-up Andy who doesn’t need him anymore, and asks him to consider life with a different master.

Read More

Toy Story 4

It’s been 9 years since Toy Story 3!

Toy Story 4 is directed by Josh Cooley, a homegrown talent at Pixar in his (feature film) directorial debut. The story? Woody, facing yet another sort-of-extistential crisis when Bonnie seems to prefer other toys to him, becomes preoccupied with preventing Bonnie from losing her new favourite – Forky, a “toy” of Bonnie’s own creation at kindergarten. In one of his attempts to bring Forky back to the fold, he meets his old love, Bo Peep, who had been given away years ago. Bo is now living a life of freedom as a lost toy – a life Woody himself can hardly imagine.

In brief: I thought it was an average film for Pixar. This means it was good by general standards but it’s not on the level of the other three Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles. It had an interesting angle but suffered from lack of the old characters and their interactions with Woody, and overdose of the new ones for which I did not feel much fondness.
That it had a basic premise that was good helped a lot in raising it above the likes of Cars 3 and Finding Dory. It didn’t feel like an outright sequel-made-for-money. But it was a disappointment because they had that interesting premise, yet didn’t take it far enough.

Overall rating: ★★★ (out of five)

Read More

Avengers: Endgame

In short: Loved it. A very satisfying culmination of this Infinity Saga. The Russo brothers achieved something monumental in their direction here, managing to close the loop on almost all the original Avengers in a satisfying manner, while delivering action, drama, and humour throughout 3 hours.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

(This was almost 4.5 stars, but then I thought about what a feat of storytelling this is when you take everything into account and decided it’s worth 5.)

The rest of this is just going to be filled with spoilers. You have been warned. xD

Read More

Captain Marvel

We’re introduced to the titular character when she is only known as Vers (pronounced Veers), a member of Starforce, a sort of elite strike team of the Kree empire. Vers can’t remember who she really is, and is (of course) haunted by flashbacks to a life she doesn’t know. She is kidnapped by Skrulls while on a mission, and in escaping her captors, lands on C-53 – otherwise known as Earth. There, she begins to piece together her mysterious past with the help of one Nick Fury and her old best friend, Maria. She also begins to realise that the Kree-Skrull war may not be what she thought it was.

In brief: This movie is solid, but average.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Read More