January 21, 2024

Lots of long movies this week! Well, three long movies. Two if you don't count Olympia. Still quite a few, I'd say.

The Best of Youth (2003 Movie)

Image credit to Critics At Large

A much lighter movie than I was expecting, to be honest. The Best of Youth finds its greatest strength in its scale, spanning half a century in chronology and taking six hours in runtime. It completely feels like a novel put to screen, and it’s quite hard not to fall in love with it by the end. The chronicles of the Carati brothers contain an abundance of hope, romance, and beauty to the point where it’s almost suffocating. Not my kind of film for the most part, but the scope made up for that more than a bit!

A Brighter Summer Day (1991 Movie)

Image credit to The Guardian

I’ve seen A Brighter Summer Day before, but never in theaters. It made for a fantastic and highly emotional viewing experience. There’s an incredible tone from the get-go that gives this lost generation a voice, one involving wry humor and familial squabbles. Si’r’s problems are ones surrounding identity. He’s surrounded by endless violence and social conflicts that make it impossible for him to find himself within all the madness. Yang frames this in a natural, almost soothing way that understands the audience as an outsider while still demonstrating the conflict through the lens of an insider. Truly a masterwork.

Olympia Parts One and Two (1938 Movies)

Image credit to The Movie Crash Course

Following a surreal intro drenched in mystique is the most expertly coordinated video presentation of a sporting event in history. Olympia is genuinely intense at every corner, managing to excite me despite my lack of interest in sports or the Olympics. Luckily there was far less German nationalism than I expected (as well as a surprising amount of emphasis on American victories). Crazy that Jesse Owens got so much love from the camera considering that Hitler attempted to reject his existence as a whole.

A Scene at the Sea (1991 Movie)

Image credit to Return Co.

The sea marks the beginning of life. The primordial soup which would eventually evolve into humans. Everything comes from the ocean, and everything will return there one day. To go back into the water is to accept your place in our universe and join humanity as a true collective. In A Scene at the Sea, the protagonist finds himself through a passion of surfing and a sense of community. He grows closer to the one he loves, and the one he loves grows closer to the sea. Everything in this life can be shared. You just have to be willing to share it.

Rance: The Desert Guardian (1993 OVA)

Image credit to Amino Apps

Not bad at all! Some very expressive character animation and everything looks extremely smooth. 90s hentai OVAs deserve more love just for being oddly aesthetic and beautiful. Rance always made for a great OVA, and I do wonder how the later one holds up.

Dorohedoro (2000-2018 Manga)

Image credit to Books and Bao

I saw the anime adaptation of Dorohedoro around the time it came out on Netflix as a batch release. It was good for sure, but nothing really incredible. The manga is a whole different story. The violence is more visceral, the world is grimier, the humor is more offbeat, and every single panel is filled with its own nasty vibes. It also goes so, so much farther in making itself feel as rugged as possible. Beautiful, wonderful madness. Welcome to chaos.

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell (2024 Video Game)

Image credit to Hey Poor Player

I can’t believe I almost forgot how fun metroidvanias were. The fifth installment of the Momodora series lacks some of the mechanical complexity that the fourth game had, but it fully makes up for it in design and aesthetics. Absolutely love all the boss fights.

Rance III: The Fall of Leazas (1991 Video Game)

Image credit to IDGB

Rance finally goes on a true epic quest. The small-scale incidents of the previous two games are no more. Instead, we get a nation-trotting adventure seeking to dethrone a rambunctious king, filled with fully explorable dungeons even! There’s more writing, better combat, and all the things that come with a conventional improvement. I like Rance and Rance II just as much for their scrappy charm, but this totally works in its own way.

Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2024? Probably not, because it isn’t even remotely true.


Previous posts

February 18, 2024

Back yet again... as always. Every single Sunday. The cycle of death and rebirth must occur!

February 11, 2024

It's time for another round-up! I saw two major Oscar nominees, some amazing 35mm screenings, and continued my Shenmue journey!

February 4, 2024

More movies! More anime! More games! More books! All of them good! Well, almost all of them, at least. Thankfully there weren't any stinkers this week.