A Big Movie in Eden, Tokyo. Don't Cry.

Big Eden - Successful but lonely New York artist Henry Hart (Arye Gross) returns to Big Eden to care for his ailing grandfather and winds up confronting his unrequited passion for his high school best friend and his feelings about being gay in a small town. As Henry works though his emotions, the townspeople quietly conspire to help him along, until Henry realizes new possibilities for both friendship and romance. Eric Schweig and Louise Fletcher also star.

(rent) This is either a bad movie or a fantastic one. It’s very much RomCom, coming out, small town (that is VERY understanding). In all those ways, it’s kinda of over-the-top cheesy. Which may disgust some people. But if you like cheese, even in a cheesy way (if that makes sense), then this may be up your alley. I found it cute and slightly cringe-worthy. The acting, camera work, etc, are all good, but sometimes things happen and I don’t know if they were cute or not. It’s definitely not a completely realistic story, but it’s kind of adorable and sweet, so I forgave it.

Boys Don’t Cry - Based on actual events, director Kimberly Peirce's powerful, often harrowing drama stars Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena, a transgender person searching for love and acceptance in a small Midwestern town.

(rent) This is a dark, heavy piece that has lots of points that brings awareness to trans issues and the dangers of “passing” as a trans person. I think I would have enjoyed this piece more if it wasn’t based on actual events, as I have a feeling the thing that bothered me the most--a person making god-awful stupid decisions--was pulled from the actual events of Tina’s life. That said, while this is a powerful film, it will probably only sit comfortably on a few people’s shelves: Those who like heavier, darker, edgier movies.

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Eva's relationship with her son, Kevin, has been difficult from the beginning. When the 15-year-old boy's cruel streak erupts into violence, Eva wonders how much blame she deserves for his actions.

(rent) I was kind of mediocre on this one. It draws out the pivotal plot slowly, which isn’t bad, and it does lots of telling in flashback, which again isn’t bad, but together they left me lukewarm. It didn’t help that I felt little to no sympathy for Eva. I think it’s an interesting psychological piece that explores an individual’s and a community’s reaction to a traumatic event perpetrated by one man, but I can’t really recommend it.

The Lego Movie - After being mistaken for the LEGO Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet's adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps in this computer-animated epic.

(rent/buy) Everyone had nothing but good things to say about this movie, and while I found it enjoyable and rather funny at parts, I wasn’t particularly moved by it. The creative animation style definitely won points, and the plot and deeper meanings were all stellar, but it felt a touch overdone/preachy, probably because it wasn’t particularly subtle about making its points. I have a feeling most people would enjoy watching this and some will fall in love, but it just wasn’t for me.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 - (11 episodes) In 2012, Mirai, a middle school freshman girl, goes to Tokyo’s artificial Odaiba Island for a robot exhibition with her brother Yuuki at the start of summer vacation. A powerful tremor registering 8.0 on the JMA scale emanates from an ocean trench and the landscape of Tokyo changes in seconds. With the help of a motorcycle delivery woman named Mari who they meet on Odaiba, Mirai and Yuuki strive to head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo.

(rent) This is, as expected, a fairly dark series, but it’s not really dreary or depressing, for the most part, although it has very heavy moments, especially toward the end. However, I would definitely recommend this to almost all viewers, one as an educational element, one as just a powerful reminder of people being the worst they can and the best they can.

One of the nice things about this anime is that it isn’t heavy with cultural references or jokes that the basic viewer won’t get. While some elements may seem odd to the unfamiliar, for the most part people will follow along and still be touched by the story. That said, it still won’t be for everyone, so I’d still recommend watching it before buying it.

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