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Film Reviews: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and A Letter to Momo (2011)
Movies
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). Based on the comics by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The film starts with fledgling newspaper reporter April O'Neill (Megan Fox) investigating the theft of chemicals by The Foot, a gang responsible for various crimes in New York City. O'Neill discovers that the same type of chemical is at another location, and she stakes out the warehouse. Soon The Foot turn up, but they are defeated by a strange masked vigilante. I read the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics the first time around, in the late 80s. I liked the TV series, and the films that came after, even if they didn't follow the comic canon. The reboot is more of the same, to some degree. This time the turtles are CG, and done very well. The story is a bit odd for someone who saw it the first time around, with a change to their origin story and other bits 'n' bobs. But as switch-your-brain-off entertainment it worked, for me. Purist fans of the comics at least are unlikely to like it, as are those who are more selective about their actions films. 3/5 (Average)

A Letter to Momo (2011). Written and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. The film starts with what appear to be three drops of water falling from the sky. Beneath them is a ferry travelling between some Japanese islands. Momo is standing on the ferry's deck holding a half written letter. She folds the letter up and holds it behind her back when her mother joins her. The three drops of water strike her on the head, and fall onto the letter. For me A Letter to Momo was that pleasant blend of real life and fantasy that Japanese films do so well. The film does drag in places, but it's a debatable balance between creating atmosphere and creating a faster pace. Although it has some similarities to Spirited Away it never quite reaches them. Recommended for fans of anime that don't have an issue with a slower paced story. 4/5 (Good)
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