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  • Petal Dance

    Petal Dance

    ★★★½

    Visually this film is really beautiful — like an Osamu Yokonami photograph in motion. I loved the framing. The plot is unhurried, and rather straightforward, but Petal Dance is all about the characters, and the company, and their musings and interactions. The cast are really terrific, and the characterisation is very understated and natural. There is a little exposition, but most of the action occurs as though spontaneous. The characters feel very authentic, and all have their moment to shine.…

  • Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

    Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

    ★★½

    This is proof that only Iwai can do Iwai. They've turned such a playful and innocent slice-of-life film about youth and young love, into a nonsense supernatural melodrama. The first half is decent enough, but it becomes very convoluted later on. If you want to watch an anime about adventurous young lovers trying to avoid goodbye, then I recommend Shinichiro Watanabe's short film Baby Blue.

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  • Death Note

    Death Note

    This is a terrible adaptation, pure and simple. It’s an utter bastardisation of the Death Note manga and it’s anime adaptation, and barely resembles what it is apparently based on. It’s as though the original work were a third or fourth reference, rather than the immediate source.

    The major issues are in the plot and characterisation. The original version of Death Note is a psychological thriller and part police procedural, in which law enforcement attempt to track down a seemingly…

  • Cafe Noir

    Cafe Noir

    ★★★★

    Everyone in this movie is so damn suave and well dressed. Shin Ha-kyun embodies despondence and debonair.