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With Earth Day coming up next week, it’s the time of year to highlight documentaries dealing with our planet and its well-being. In other words, we’ve got environmentalism films to recommend. For our first list devoted to this theme, I’m interested specifically in the low points, the damage that’s been done to the earth, some of it ongoing and some of it remedied. These docs look at disasters like pollution, oil spills, changes to eco-systems and more. And they aren’t all necessarily issue films devoted to making a difference. Most are simply a look at what’s been done. All are necessary works to remind us, maybe affect us, but also to stimulate us in other ways, too. Below are 12 nonfiction features — a few of them Oscar nominees and a couple of them outright masterpieces — from Werner Herzog, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Noriaka Tsuchimoto, Joe Berlinger »
This is a week of cinematic imagination. Tuesday brought the arrival of Ben Stiller’s journeying remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and this Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since Joel and Clementine raced through his mind trying to hide in memories and avoid permanent erasure. While that film strove to take something from the memory, there are countless films that strive to add to it, relishing in the many ways the imagination manifests, from a little girl’s fantastical journey into strength, to one man’s struggle to break out of a dream. Sadly, Figment isn’t taking us on this journey, but the imaginative movies that follow show the possibilities of the mind – as a childish pursuit, an adult coping mechanism, and a wonderfully idiosyncratic way of life. Spirited Away »
- Monika Bartyzel
A significant mark in the history of animation, The King and the Mockingbird celebrates the 30th anniversary of its UK release with a fully restored theatrical release. Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, Paul Grimault’s interpretation takes place in an obscure kingdom powered by strings and pulleys and reigned by a vicious and greedy king.
After a series of fantastical events, this pompous royal is overthrown by his portrait, whose sole mission is to steal the escaped portrait figure of a willowy shepherdess from a handsome chimney sweep whom she loves. It has all the makings of Christian Anderson’s tales; forbidden love, jealousy and trickery. After a lifesaving encounter the Chimney Sweep and the Shepherdess are helped in their escape by a self-assured Mocking Bird who frees the pair from the King’s clutches on several occasions, aiding them through the trap laden kingdom. »
- Beth Webb
The King and the Mockingbird (French: Le Roi et l’oiseau), 1980.
Directed by Paul Grimault.
A chimney sweep and a shepherdess seek to escape from the clutches of a tyrannical king.
The modern animation industry is very much a business, as opposed to an art-form or creative industry. Looking at recent uninspired projects and unnecessary sequels such as Monsters University and Planes just to name a few, it’s easy to come to some clear conclusions about the state of contemporary animation. If it’s not highly merchandised, franchised or derivative, it doesn’t seem to get made, at least by the likes of Disney or Pixar.
The recent retiring of the masterful Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame only helps further cement this uninspired era in animated history. To bring this seemingly irrelevant introduction full circle, »
- Sam Thorne
There’s something even more special about seeing the late Yoshifumi Kondo’s Whisper of the Heart on 35mm. In its intended format, the work is on full display, affording its concern with creativity a more visible metatextuality.
The film is distinctly Japanese in two ways, in particular. First is its inclusion of breathing space between narrative beats, or “ma,” as screenwriter and animation legend Hayao Miyazaki once told Roger Ebert. It will take longer than an American viewer would expect from their typical experience of Western media received through osmosis for a character to reach an immediate destination, metaphysical or otherwise. Other seemingly pointless moments like a comment on the weather serve to cultivate a spacious naturalism crucial to maintaining its most important evocation, which is its relatability. Of course, this “ma” is common in all Ghibli films, but as this is one of their only pure slice-of-life pictures, »
A fictional account of a Japanese WWII pilot that features the most breathtaking images of aviation seen in an Asian war film since South Korea’s “Soar Into the Skies” (2010), “The Eternal Zero” marks another vfx victory for helmer Takashi Yamazaki, here surpassing the technical sorcery of his “Space Battleship Yamato” while delivering an elegantly crafted human drama. One of Japan’s 10 biggest hits of all time (having bagged $82.7 million to date), the eight-week B.O. champion cloaks its nationalistic message in an emotionally wrenching story that sweeps the viewer right along — but cops out in the finale, with a glorification of kamikaze missions that contradicts its initial criticism of blind patriotism. While Koreans and mainland Chinese may take issue with the film’s ideology, its crackling action scenes rep a selling point in other overseas markets, even if its mammoth length presents a challenge for theatrical release.
The film »
- Maggie Lee
Though best known in the West for epic fantasies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki takes his final bow – he swears he’s retiring, for real this time – with the poignant historical drama The Wind Also Rises (trailer above). Although this news put fans’ hopes for some promised projects (Ponyo 2?!) on ice (permanently?), it is the perfect […]
Read The 5 Best Miyazaki Movies You May Not Have Seen on Filmonic.
- Elysia Brenner
An exclusive clip from the classic 1980 French animation, made in collaboration with screenwriter and poet, Jacques Prévert. The King and the Mockingbird, which has been cited as an inspiration by animators including Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, sees an evil king pursue a young sherpherdess and her boyfriend - a chimney sweep - through a magical world. The King and The Mockingbird is in UK cinemas tomorrow and on DVD 28 April
Read Peter Bradshaw's review Continue reading »
- Guardian Staff
These days, the potential for animated films is seemingly limitless. In the past few months, we've seen Disney's boldly contemporary fairy tale "Frozen" deservedly become the highest grossing animated movie of all time, while Hayao Miyazaki was able to delicately frame the story of a man who made war machines as a love letter to artistic pursuit with "The Wind Rises," and "The Lego Movie" transcended its commercial base to become a dazzlingly funny and heartfelt movie about the true power of imagination. So it's such a shame, then, that a movie like Blue Sky Studios' "Rio 2" comes along – a visually stunning, wholly empty experience that fails to conjure any emotion stronger than an impassive shrug. "Rio 2" picks up where 2011's similarly unimpressive predecessor left off. Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway), a pair of ultra-rare Spix macaw parrots, are living comfortably in a sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro, »
- Drew Taylor
Jim Henson has been dead for almost 25 years. Hayao Miyazaki is retiring. And Carl Rinsch may have single-handedly killed all hope for anyone getting a lot of money from Hollywood for an original live-action fantasy film for a while. His 47 Ronin was only partly original, too, since it was based on a historical legend. Still, it was a fresh take on the true story with additions of magical and mythical creatures. The movie wasn’t just a flop; it broke the record for biggest box office bomb of all time (maybe even when accounting for inflation). So don’t expect to see any more epic entries into the genre unless they’re sure things with a built-in audience. Do we need original fantasy films, though? On TV, we have Game of Thrones, which has plenty of imagination in spite of being adapted from the novels of George R.R. Martin, and which is now back on HBO for »
- Christopher Campbell
Studio Ghibli lastest work arrives in UK cinemas May 9th and we’ve been dropped the trailer and poster for Hayao Miyazaki's farewell film, The Wind Rises. Hayao Miyazaki brings together the engineer Jiro Horikoshi and the author Tatsuo Hori, who lived during the time of the story of The Wind Rises to create Jiro, a fictional character at the center of an epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world Synopsis: Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted from a young age and thus unable to become a pilot, he joins the aircraft division of a major Japanese engineering company in 1927. His genius is soon recognized, and he grows to become one of the world's most accomplished airplane designers. The Wind Rises trailer »
We all know Hayao Miyazaki is an anime genius, creating stories focusing on character, story and fantasy, letting his imagination run wild. He has created great films like Spirited Away, Howl’S Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. One of his first great works, My Neighbor Totoro, will be screening at the Tivoli in St. Louis this Friday and Saturday nights (April 11th and 12th) as part of the ‘Reel Late at the Tivoli’ midnight show.
My Neighbor Totoro was made back in 1988 and tells the story of Mr. Kusakabe and his two daughters Satsuki and Mei who move to a new home in rural Japan so they could be close to their sick mother. Their new home is run down and filled with soot spirits, but the family soon settles in. One day Mei meets a strange giant creature called Totoro, a large furry animal who has two minions. No »
- Tom Stockman
Cineteca Nacional announced the rather surprising decision of returning to a former format for its most important film event, the Muestra International de Cine (International Showing of Cinema). Now we will have two Muestras in the year, one in spring and the other in autumn. The Muestra 56, kicking off in Cineteca Nacional on April 10, offers a fine selection of 14 international feature films. Following the tradition, a classic Mexican movie has been restored and will function as opening film (Roberto Gavaldón's The Kneeling Goddess was the choice this time). The highlights of this spring Muestra include Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (premiering in Mexico), Sono Sion's Why Don't You Play In Hell, Miyazaki Hayao's The Wind Rises, A Touch of Sin, Jodorowsky's...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
May 9 is a day both to celebrate and mourn in the UK, because it sees the release of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises here, but that is said to be the animation master's last film as a director so its release will mark the end of a glorious era. Here's the new UK quad for the Oscar-nominated film to mark the occasion.The film tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, voiced in this English dub by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an aeronautical engineer who dreamed of creating wonderful flying machine. He succeeded with the likes of the Zero fighter used during World War II by Japan - but remained deeply conflicted about the War itself. The film is also a love story of sorts, with Emily Blunt voicing Jiro's wife Naoko.The Wind Rises was nominated for Best Animated Film at this year's Oscars, and was the highest-grossing film in Japan last year. »
Feature Ryan Lambie 28 Mar 2014 - 06:12
It's another selection of crowdfunding goodness, this week including a cybernetic sasquatch and a documentary about Ishtar...
Having devoted the last edition of Crowdfunding Friday to a revival of a classic game from the 80s (that would be Chaos), we're back to our usual format this week.
We've chosen four worthy projects from the ocean of campaigns on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, which this week includes a documentary about the once infamous 80s comedy, Ishtar, a top-down 2D action RPG, and a potentially brilliant comic book about a war between giant airships.
First, though, here's a brief look at a promising horror project about a cybernetic sasquatch...
What could possibly be more powerful and terrifying than a Bigfoot, sasquatch or yeti? Why, a cybernetically enhanced Bigfoot, that's what. This is the concept behind Justin Martell's Project: Megafoot, which sees the Us military create an ill-advised hairy Terminator. »
An animated interpretation of “Taketori monogatari,” the 10th-century Japanese tale of a damsel who came to Earth from the moon, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” is a visionary tour de force, morphing from a childlike gambol into a sophisticated allegory on the folly of materialism and the evanescence of beauty. Inspired by Eastern brush painting, this ethereal new feature from 78-year-old helmer Isao Takahata takes hand-drawn animation to new heights of fluidity. Studio Ghibli’s second release of the year has struck B.O. gold, earning roughly $22.7 million to date; at 137 minutes, it’s a bit taxing for tykes, but should get glowing reviews from anime fans upon its slated U.S. bow this year through GKids.
Eight years in the making and with a budget of roughly $49 million, Takahata’s pet project actually dates back to 55 years ago, when he assisted helmer Tomu Uchida in an eventually aborted attempt »
- Maggie Lee
Gkids continues to build their relationship with Japan's Studio Ghibli with the announcement that they will be handling North American distribution for The Tale of the Princess Kaguya , the latest from the studio's cofounder Isao Takahata ( Grave of the Fireflies ), his first animated feature film as a director in 14 years. Last year, Gkids distributed Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill and they also handle the North American distribution for the studio's library of films including Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke as well as Takahata's acclaimed earlier film. Gkids plans on releasing Takahata's film in the Fall with a full campaign for awards, and Studio Ghibli is currently working on an English-dubbed version of the film with Frank Marshall »
The Weinstein Company, which picks up the odd animated feature in hopes of capturing that "Hoodwinked" magic, has acquired rights in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France to "Underdogs," an animated feature from Oscar-winning Argentinean director Juan Jose Campanella ("The Secret in Their Eyes"). TWC will dub into English the Spanish-language film, originally titled "Foosball," which played the London and Miami fests and opened last year in many territories including Argentina, where it was a hit. (Trailer below.) Disney often dubs such Hayao Miyazaki films as "The Wind Rises" into English. TWC will open the English-language version voiced by a cast of American actors (to be announced) on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. “This film’s magical story, heart and humor, along with its top notch animation, truly resonated with us," states TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, "and is sure to captivate parents just as much as it will their children. »
- Anne Thompson
Everyone — stars included — has that one show or movie they believe hasn’t received the attention it deserves. EW asked some celebrities, ranging from director John Waters to actress Allison Janney, what shows or movies they think are criminally underrated. Here’s what they said:
“Bruno Dumont’s movies, which are all long, depressing, French art movies about farmers and the earth and misery [such as Humanité]. I love a feel-bad movie. I hate to feel good at a theater. There is such honesty in the pain he puts on screen.”
- EW staff
The Japanese market loves homegrown hand-drawn animation: In 2013, six of the 10 top-earning domestic films were toons, with Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises,” at $120 million, topping the list. And while the local biz has maintained its traditional methods, a digital wave is steadily encroaching on the industry, even among the work of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, the leader of the 2D camp.
One recent sign of this shift was the announcement that Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son, director of Studio Ghibli hits “Tales From Earthsea” (2006) and “From Up on Poppy Hill” (2011), will helm a computer-generated animation TV series based on Astrid Lindgren’s kiddy lit classic “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter” as a co-production with Polygon Pictures, Japan’s top digital toon studio. The series is scheduled to air on pubcaster Nhk’s Bs Premium satellite channel in the fall.
- Mark Schilling
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