Handpicked By The Amoeba Staff

Films selected and reviewed by discerning movie buffs, television junkies, and documentary diehards (a.k.a. our staff).

Tekkonkinkreet

Dir: Micheal Arias, 2006. Rated R. Anime.

Welcome to Treasure Town. It's an old and fading fantasy town quietly disappearing under the spread of modern Japan. But it doesn't stand alone. Black and White, two street orphans, rule Treasure Town with all the charm and wild crazy that every classic Peter Pan deserves. Don't confuse these cats with Disney's version. These lost boys live just this side of lunacy but are not without heart.

Change arrives like a slow earthquake and soon they are battling real gansters, alien assassins and urban development. Truth is a major player here and gives the fantastical its impact. Mythology explodes from every corner of this tale and threatens to trample our heroes, who are only children after all, into the dark recesses that inevitably follow change.

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Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Nov 17, 2007 5:22pm

Follow The Fleet

Dir: Mark Sandrich, 1936. Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Harriett Hilliard. English. Musical.

Follow the Fleet is not the formula that the Astaire/Rogers team is best known for. He's a sailor, and she's single gal making a living in the busy port of San Fransisco as a dance hall girl. Theirs isn't even the the only love story. Historically it's a piece that goes back a picture to when they were the lovable comic relief playing second fiddle to the more glamorous duo, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott, in Roberta.

However, Fleet is loaded with adult humor and childish charm. Astaire in a sailor suit is hilarious. He looks so young and tiny compared to the bulky and once again co-lead, Scott, and Rogers seems a little crass standing next to the lithesome beauty of a young Harriet Hilliard (of Ozzie and Harriet fame). However their chemistry and spunk make the other two seem as flat and as interesting as soggy pancakes.

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Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Nov 17, 2007 5:16pm

Breakfast On Pluto

Dir: Neil Jordon, 2006. Starring: Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Gavin Friday, Brendan. English. Comedy/Drama.

First you must know that, to me, men or women in drag are magical creatures - like unicorns. I love them with a wonderment I can't explain or dare not lest I somehow diffuse the potent joy I get just from admiring their mystical powers of fashion and daring.

That said, Breakfast unfolded for me like a rose in the gutter. At first a quaint story of a misfit orphan in an unflinching Irish landscape, it quickly becomes a quixotic journey of a boy/girl in search of love. And the best part is that our hero/heroine, who has always known who he/she is, just becomes more and more himself/herself no matter the hardship or heartache.

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Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Nov 17, 2007 5:09pm

The Birds

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock, 1963, ca.120 min. Anamorphic widescreen. Too scary for children.

Isn't it funny that few people have not heard of The Birds, and yet fewer would vote it one of Hitchcock's best? Perhaps the reason is that more than any other Hitchcock film, The Birds leaves the viewer with the very unsettling feeling of a nightmare without end.

The basic story of a beautiful, spoiled socialite chasing after her beau to small-town (and fictitious) Bodega Bay seems insignificant to the film. Even the underlying message of the mass revolt of nature, as symbolized by birds against man, seems insignificant. In the end, it is the experience of going through the nightmarish bird attacks that will haunt us forever. Hitchcock unceremoniously throws the audience in with the unfortunate lot of the characters. We were scratched, bitten, terrorized right alongside Tippi Hedren.

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Posted by:
Franklin Lei
Nov 17, 2007 5:02pm

Porco Rosso

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 1992, 93 minutes. Anamorphic widescreen. Suitable for all ages.

I have been an avid Miyazaki fan since the Hong Kong Film Festival of 1984, when I saw Nausicaä and Castle in The Sky. I think Miyazaki-san did his greatest work in the 90s, before Spirited Away brought him fame and fortune in Hollywood. And of his 1990s films, there is none more mature, moving, and masterful as Porco Rosso, the story of World War I flying ace Marco Porcellino, whose disillusionment with the rise of fascism made him choose to become a pig.

In abandoning the world, Marco also left behind people who loved him, especially the beautiful Gina, widow of his wartime comrade and owner of the best club in the Adriatics, where bounty hunters and air pirates alike leave their guns (and troubles) behind.

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Posted by:
Franklin Lei
Nov 17, 2007 4:57pm

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Dir: Garth Jennings, 2004, 109 minutes. Anamorphic widescreen. Suitable for all ages.

The Earth was accidentally demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, and archetypal English bloke Arthur Dent was left hitching around the Galaxy with just his bathrobe, a towel, and a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide (the one that has "Don't Panic" in friendly block letters on its cover.)

Welcome to the first full-length cinematic version of this 1980s sci-fi icon. And, since author Douglas Adams himself wrote the script, there is no reason to panic! The film is mostly harmless - eh, make that mostly delightful. Special effects range from a spacecraft that looks like a cannister vacuum cleaner turned inside out, to aliens from the Hanson Workshop who look like giant beanie babies. But the tour of the "factory floor" of Megrathea, the planet that manufactures worlds, is worth the price of the DVD. Adams included many of the skids, anecdotes and one-liners which made the book so special, and had them discreetly animated as well.

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Posted by:
Franklin Lei
Nov 17, 2007 4:37pm
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