Showing posts from April, 2023

Nobody Knows (2004)

Writer/Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu Stars:  Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura,  Momoko Shimizu, You, Hanae Kan, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Yukiko Okamoto Four children (Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura,  and Momoko Shimizu) must raise themselves when their irresponsible single mother (You) abandons them in a Tokyo apartment.  Officially, they don't exist; they don't attend school and the three youngest are not even permitted to go outside.   Akira, the oldest, tries to take care of his brother and sisters by carefully budgeting the cash his mother leaves and begging from her old boyfriends when the money gets tight.   He does pretty well for a while, but as the mother's disappearances grow longer, the responsibility gradually becomes too great for even an exceptionally mature 12-year-old.   Director Kore-eda Hirokazu has done an outstanding job, drawing absolutely naturalistic performances from his young cast, who are sweet without being sentimental or cloying.  I felt as i

Bridge to Terabithia (1977)

by Katherine Paterson Jess Aarons, who wants to be the fastest boy in  the 5th grade and doesn't get along very well with his family, befriends the new girl at school, Leslie Burke.   Among his schoolmates, only Leslie appreciates Jess's artistic temperament, and the two soul mates become inseparable, spending long hours together and creating their own imaginary kingdom--until tragedy strikes unexpectedly.   Katherine Paterson's novel, simply but effectively written, provides an opportunity to consider and discuss issues such as the nature of friendship, the meaning of death, and the importance of acceptance.   Katherine Paterson I thought Paterson stumbled at one point by having a teacher act in an unprofessional, implausible manner, but the resulting development was so powerful that my objection was soon forgotten. "A Bridge to Terabithia" (Spanish) "Secret Forest" (Korean) "Bridge to Terabithia" (Polish) "Bridge to the Secret Land"

Risky Business (1983)

Writer/Director: Paul Brickman Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pinchot, Curtis Armstrong, Nicolas Pryor, Janet Carroll Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise) is a high school senior  who is already halfway to an ulcer from anxiety about future success.   He stresses about his SAT scores, his performance as a Future Enterpriser, and getting into a good college.   His friends urge him to lighten up; he tries to do so while his parents are away on a trip, and the result is a life-changing experience for him.  This is not only a very funny film, but it is also very insightful and subversive about the get-ahead-quick, materialistic mentality that lies behind the kind of uber-businessmen that began coming up in the 80s and have enriched all of our lives so much with various financial shenanigans over the past decades.   Cruise's character goes from an innocent kid who believes that the key to success is hard work and preparation to one who realizes that a