Movies: Ghost in a Shell, Norman, Born in China

Ghost in a Shell

This film is set in the near future where humans are “cyber-enhanced”.  The lead character is named Major, played by Scarlett Johansson.  She is the most advanced “model” now on a crusade to stop the bad guys until she discovers most of the guys are bad guys.

The other actors include Takeshi Kitano as a warlord, Juliette Binoche as the Doctor, and Michael Pitt as one of a dozen bad guys.

The story is thought provoking but the production is excessively futuristic. It is cluttered with too many future tech concepts seemingly intended to draw a cyber savvy audience.

It is the product of  $110 million budget by Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks. It is rated PG13 and listed as a Fantasy/Mystery running 2 hours long.


Norman  (The full title is Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer)

It seems most people and many critics loved this film.  It was entertaining and unique but there was something about the characters that just didn’t work for me.  I found the lead character sad and desperate.

Richard Gere plays the lead character to great fan fare, as Norman Oppenheimer, a “fixer” of sorts for all things apparently broken.  I wanted to scream at Norman:  “Get a real job”, better yet “get a life!”.  There was no shortage of talented actors: Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lior Ashkenazi and many more deliver good to excellent performances.

It is listed as a Drama/Thriller by Sony Pictures Classics.  Rated R and runs 1 hour, 57 minutes.


Born in China

This is our pick of the week!  It is visually stunning.  It exposes areas of China rarely seen by most humans.  It focuses mainly on three different animal “families”; a mother Panda and her cub, a snow leopard and her two growing cubs, and a snub nosed golden monkey family.

There are plenty of other visuals as well but the focus on these three family groups are core to the films appeal.  It is narrated by John Krasinski, produced by Disneynature and Directed by Lu Chuan.

It is rated G and listed as a documentary with a run time of 1 hour 16 minutes.


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