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Flash Movie Review: Mirai

THE TWO OF US SAT QUIETLY playing checkers while people in the room were arguing back and forth between themselves. I had joined my elderly relative for the game after we had eaten dinner. I always enjoyed playing checkers with this relative despite him leading in the amount of games won. It was during our 2ndgame when a couple of the relatives, who were still sitting at the dining room table, started raising their voices towards each other. I had no idea what they were saying, so I started to turn around to look at them. My elderly relative patted his hand on my arm to stop me as he told me not to mind those fighting relatives. I asked him if they would start hurting each other; he said no, they both like being right and will continue yelling at each other until they get tired then they will each get up and walk away. He told me they always argue about unimportant things just so they can say they were right about something. “Pay them no mind,” he said. He also told me to learn from them which I thought was odd to say. When I questioned him, he said he wanted me to learn how to be respectful, that I can disagree with someone but respect that person’s feelings. We went back to playing our game of checkers.      THE THINGS THAT ELDERLY RELATIVE SAID to me during our checker games were invaluable to me. I have never forgotten our conversations and his thoughts about the things he saw going around him. To the other relatives, we looked like we were simply playing a game; but if they had paid attention to us, they would have realized this patriarch was teaching me important lessons that carried me through many situations. When I was that little boy, he was the oldest relative I knew. Those born before him, I only got to see in a photo album. The photos were old and faded. He would tell me who each person was and how they were related to me. I would ask questions about them and he would do his best to answer me in a way I would understand. There was one relative I was intrigued with because of a shiny pin he was wearing on his suit lapel in one of the photos. My relative told me it was a diamond and ruby pin shaped like a piece of candy because the man was a candy maker; how I had wished he was still alive. The little boy in this animated film sure was lucky to have his relatives.      FEELING NEGLECTED AFTER HIS BABY SISTER was born Yukio, voiced by Crispin Freeman (Young Justice-TV, Hellsing Ultimate-TV) found others who cared more about him. They were out in his yard. With Rebecca Hall (The Awakening, The Town) voicing the Mother, John Cho (Star Trek franchise, Searching) voicing the Father, Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent, Lost-TV) voicing the young great grandfather and Victoria Grace (47 Ronin, Tokyo Grandfathers) as Mirai; this film festival winning adventure drama had some beautiful visuals throughout it. I loved the whole idea behind the story, finding things that were touching and sweet. The one thing I had an issue with however, was the main character Yukko. I felt there was too much yelling and bratty behavior coming out of him; it was hard to sympathize with him after a short time. Also, I would have liked the yard scenes to have been drawn with more magic and fantasy to them, to make them stand out more. Despite these issues, I still enjoyed the story immensely. Because I did not realize I could have changed the language, I saw this film with subtitles; they were hard to read in many scenes. I still was able to understand what was going on while Japanese was being spoken by the characters.

 

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Children of Invention

The relationship between siblings comes in a multitude of varied forms. Being best friends to hated rivals and everything in between, one never knows what influences the outcome. When a group of bullies beat me up after school; it was my oldest brother who came to the school, not my father. There was a reason for this; my brother had a special way of inducing fear into the bullies that the school teachers could not replicate. Based on birth order, sometimes the eldest child has to take on a parental role. With me being the youngest, I want to be perfectly clear I was not spoiled; despite what the rest of my family may think. In this captivating movie, the relationship between two siblings took on new meaning due to outside factors. Brother Raymond, played by newcomer Michael Chen, had to be a parent to his little sister Tina, played by newcomer Crystal Chiu; when their mother did not return to the apartment they were illegally occupying, just outside of Boston. Their mother Elaine Cheng, played by Cindy Cheung (Lady in the Water, Red Doors), was a hard working, single parent who tried to shield her children from the reality of their plight. However, it was an observant Raymond who did his best to protect his sister. I not only found the story to be believable, but wondered how many families had experienced similar hardships. The two child actors were wonderful in their roles. Raymond as the quiet thinker and Tina the innocent little girl who was unaware of her family’s dire circumstances. What a beautiful movie that displayed the strong bond between a brother and sister.

 

3 1/4 stars — DVD

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