The besties review
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I think this is a very cool movie, even though I didn't love it. It has a unique design, a great soundtrack, and a pretty weighty allegorical message. I expect this will pair nicely with Watership Down as a (perhaps upsetting) double-feature.
I was really blown away by this movie, specifically the gorgeous animation (which exists in a couple different styles) and the rather melancholy soundtrack. This whole movie is a mood… a sad, kind of terrifying mood, but a mood nonetheless. If you’re interested in “alternative” animation, definitely check this one out.
Oh, and turns out I was right: this would be a great film to pair with Fantastic Planet for a double-feature!
This is just an incredible film and yet I think I only understood half of it. Part cyberpunk action flick and part existential melodrama, Akira is a true cinematic experience. Its imagery is iconic, its soundtrack is incredible, and its cultural impact is enormous. I really want to see this in a theater next.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Overall, I found this film to be incredibly stylish but narratively lacking. I’m not sure why (maybe it was just the intense hype), but I went into this expecting a masterpiece, something that transcended the boundaries between animation and horror. Instead, I was treated to a fun, pretty, but ultimately one-dimensional romp. It’s the kind of the movie I’d put on in the background during a Halloween party, simply for the visual and auditory ambience. I think it’s rightfully recognized as a classic of children’s cinema (the poster alone is iconic in my opinion), but I don’t think it enthralled me (an adult) in the same way that a Pixar movie often does.
Ghost in the Shell
The pronounced sexualization of the female characters threw me off a bit, though I am aware that this is (to some extent) a familiar stylistic element within the genre of anime. That aside, I thought this movie was pretty good. The law enforcement politics and sci-fi elements feel very Blade Runner-inspired, but not in a bad way, and I think the action sequences are pretty exciting. I think if the movie has one big flaw, it’s that the plot machinations are too complicated for their own good. I think I could grasp the whole story better with a couple more rewatches, but for my first time experiencing it, I’ll admit that I got a little lost.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!
David Merkle rules.