Archive for July 6th, 2015


by Jaimie Grijalba

While based on an impactful true story that happened in Japan during the twilight years of the 1980’s, the film quickly comes forward and presents itself as based on those events but entirely fictionalizing what was already an unbelievable, and much more grimmer story. A family arrives to an apartment complex: a mother and his 12-year old son arrive to present themselves to the tenants, and later their luggage and furniture is put in place inside their new apartment, but along comes the surprise and trick that three other kids are hidden inside big luggage cases, the other kids of this woman who have to hide themselves from the tenants that don’t like children nor allow to that many people to live in them. The film quickly presents us with the oldest kid as the most mature person in the entire place, as he is the one that takes care of his brother and sisters, as well as the mother being introduced as entirely useless in the context of nourishment and upbringing, as well as being a complete immature by the way she laughs it up any serious situation, or anything that requires her complete attention is put aside (just like how just a little later into the film abandons her kids) so she can have fun.

The title of the film is an indictment as well as a statement of what the kids are in the reality that they have to live day to day: nobody knows about them, nobody must know if they want to survive, and here is the strangest element of the whole situation that is carefully presented by the masterful director Hirokazu Koreeda… The mother leaves them alone but still instills them with rules about their behavior if they want to stay in the apartment: they must not leave the place, not even come close to the door nor close to the veranda, and they have to stay quiet so the neighbors don’t suspect a thing… yet even after all those practical advices, she leaves them alone and the issue is how that immature and even potentially chaotic system that is left to its devices manages to survive with the same rules being applied, and with the older kid instituting his legitimate use of force and enforcing of the rules that his mother taught him. If they roamed around they’d probably be left in an orphanage and her mother would have trouble if she ever was caught… but then if she is that quick to abandon them yet still has the precaution so “nobody knows”, what is the true motivation here? Is that love? Care? Does it even count? (more…)

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The tragic life of British jazz singer extraordinaire Amy Winehouse is chronicled in exceptional documentary, AMY.


Pixar’s INSIDE OUT may not be the staggering masterpiece that most critics are saying it is, but still it is wonderful.

by Sam Juliano

Local fireworks events and some glorious weather defined July 4, 2015 in the New York City area, but reports across the country happily conveyed much the same.  Here is Fairview, New Jersey it is business as usual with administrators on duty through much of the hot season, and the creative writing/literature enrichment program that I teach is running through August 7.

The Childhood/Adolescent Films Countdown at the site is moving along quite nicely with two full weeks of entries complete.  The project will continue into October.  Both page view and comment totals are solid, as as was the case with our past multi-writer genre pollings (musicals, comedies, westerns and romances) the quality of the writing is consistently first-rate.  J. D. Lafrance, Jamie Uhler, Patricia Perry and Allan Fish wrote magnificent essays this past week.   Mr. Uhler’s staggering piece on the harrowing 1985 Russian war film Come and See ran over 4,000 words.  Lucille and I enjoyed a comparatively relaxing week after the previous madness associated with end-of-the-year milestones and heavy June bookings (just kidding of course, I truly loved every minute!), though we still managed a few outings over the weekend.

Surprise!  After a very long absence, I have brought back site links this week, though the future of this long-abandoned practice will strictly be week to week, contingent on available time.

On the theatrical movie front I watched Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali for the second time in three weeks at the Film Forum as a result of a close friend wanting to see the stunning 4K restoration for the first time.  Lucille and I also saw two new releases with various members of our brood (my daughter Melanie is a huge Amy Winehouse fan, and urged a viewing of the documentary about her sadly brief life as a titanic jazz singer in the UK).  I also re-watched several blu-rays at home including Arrow’s terrific spaghetti western Day of Wrath, and the Roger Corman horror film The Tomb of Ligeia.  Watching the rousing holiday musical 1776 again on a 4K restoration was utter joy!  We saw: (more…)

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