11 items from 2017
Looking back on this still-young century makes clear that 2007 was a major time for cinematic happenings — and, on the basis of this retrospective, one we’re not quite through with ten years on. One’s mind might quickly flash to a few big titles that will be represented, but it is the plurality of both festival and theatrical premieres that truly surprises: late works from old masters, debuts from filmmakers who’ve since become some of our most-respected artists, and mid-career turning points that didn’t necessarily announce themselves as such at the time. Join us as an assembled team, many of whom were coming of age that year, takes on their favorites.
In the world of Japanese pop auteurs, there are few rising stars as unpredictably eclectic, temperamental, and consistently fascinating as Hideaki Anno. Anno began his professional life in the early 1980s as a young animator working literally »
- The Film Stage
Often forgotten in the six decades since the release of the original Godzilla (1954) and its 1956 American recut is the somber, even funerary tone which pervades those scenes not showcasing its titular monster. Released not even a full decade after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which concluded World War II, the film was stunningly blunt with its nuclear metaphor in ways that penetrated the veil of genre pulp: scenes of radiation victims and refugee shelters overcrowded with legions of the dead and dying still have the power to rattle contemporary audiences, never mind those for whom the real thing exists in living memory. Certain scenes likewise exude melancholy beauty that belies the film’s reputation as monster-movie camp: a mournful schoolchildren’s choir undercuts a montage of urban ruins and a major character’s fateful decision; Godzilla’s ultimate defeat is more elegiac than triumphant, as the beast gracefully »
- The Film Stage
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Adaptation (Spike Jonze)
It’s almost depressing to rewatch Adaptation in 2016, because it’s a reminder of how strong an actor Nicolas Cage is when he actually invests himself in good projects. It was soon after this that his career went off the rails, but he’s remarkably impressive here, playing the dual roles of Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin brother, Donald. As much a mind-fuck as any other Kaufman screenplay, »
- Jordan Raup
Twin Peaks Recap is a weekly column by Keith Uhlich covering David Lynch and Mark Frost's limited, 18-episode continuation of the Twin Peaks television series."Did you like that song?" the boy (Xolo Mariduena) asks the girl (Tikaeni Faircrest). His words are hesitant and tentative—tinged with naiveté, therefore open and earnest. "Yes," the girl replies, playing along with the courtship ritual. "I did like that song." Yet there's a sense in the slight pause between his question and her answer that she could say anything. That awkward dead space is filled with possibilities—positive, negative and in-between. And what excitement there is in that. This exchange comes toward the end of Part 8 of Mark Frost and David Lynch's revived Twin Peaks, though the quiet beauty of the moment is offset by the many horrors (and wonders) that precede it…and that, will indeed, follow it. It's easy »
Inside the cyberpunk anime masterpiece that rocked the world.
Almost thirty years later, the tremors of Akira can still be felt across the world. The quintessential anime film that not only is the pinnacle of its genre, but continues to inspire artists world wide even to this day. There have been numerous attempts to get a live-action film off the ground, the latest having Get Out director Jordan Peele attached. With any luck the poor returns on Ghost in the Shell will put this one on the shelf. There is little chance that Hollywood would be able to get Akira right, for all the reasons that make it so great. Akira is still a landmark and continues to shine as a titan of animation.
- Max Covill
It was always only a matter of time until modern Hollywood resigned itself to remaking anime. Which isn’t to suggest that the uniquely Japanese medium is somehow unworthy of being used as fodder for Western blockbusters — on the contrary, anime has provided some of the most progressive, adventurous, and visionary filmmaking of the last 30 years — but rather to acknowledge the palpable whiff of inevitability with which Paramount is releasing “Ghost in the Shell.”
It’s not like studio executives are obsessive fans of the franchise, it’s not like former Paramount CEO Brad Grey bought every new DVD of “Stand Alone Complex” as it was released in the United States and can walk you through every detail of the Laughing Man case, it’s not like the people in power were just patiently waiting for the entertainment climate to warm up to the idea of a star-studded Major Kusanagi »
- David Ehrlich
Touted as the first in a potential incoming wave of blockbuster anime adaptations, studio number-crunchers are paying very close attention to the box office performance of Ghost in the Shell. After all, it seems that everyone’s itching to find some new IP to exploit, with Akira apparently finally moving into production (I’ll believe it when I see it), Alita: Battle Angel entering post-production, and rumors of a Neon Genesis Evangelion revival being bandied around the industry. Of course, those plans could all be on hold if Paramounts’ Scarlett Johansson-starring cyberpunk action movie proves a flop.
Fortunately for fans, things are looking pretty good for Ghost in the Shell, which took in $1.8M in domestic previews on Thursday night. Projections put it behind Disney’s monstrous success with Beauty and the Beast (likely to hold the number one spot for the third week running) but ahead of Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby. »
- David James
Yesterday, we posted that Hideaki Anno announced another entry in the Godzilla franchise during a concert event where music from Shin Godzilla and Neon Genesis Evangelion was played. During that event, a message was shown on screen that seemed to… Continue Reading →
- Jonathan Barkan
Paramount has released 8 new motion posters today for the hotly anticipated live action version of Ghost In The Shell. The anime adaptation, due for release March 31st, has been gradually gaining buzz following its impressive Super Bowl teaser trailer and with just over a month to go until it debuts, excitement is, understandably, quite high.
The new motion posters feature Scarlett Johansson’s Major Motoko Kusanagi, the first “full body prosthesis” cybernetic human, and the seven members of her elite Section 9 special ops team, played by Takeshi Kitano, Danusia Samal, Pilou Asbaek, Yutaka Izumihara, Lasarus Ratuere, Tawanda Manyimo and Chin Han.
The film, which appears to closely hew to the 1995 anime original, follows Major and Section 9 has they hunt for an enigmatic hacker known as the Puppet Master. A cut above most anime, Ghost In The Shell takes an imaginative and intelligent look at identity in an increasingly technologically advanced society. »
- David James
The first Pacific Rim was a movie we absolutely adored here at The Movie Bit, and while Guillermo Del Toro, whose brain child the insane giant robot vs. giant monster smack down was, won’t be back in the director’s chair fro Pacific Rim: Uprising, the prospect of more from this universe is enough to make up for it. With Daredevil show runner Steven S. DeKnight at the helm, nothing much is known about Uprising (previously titled the slightly cooler Maelstrom), bar the fact Star Wars: The Force Awakens John Boyega will be taking the lead role. Now, more night has been shed on the sequel, with licensing magazine License! Global sharing with us our first look at the movie’s redesigned Jaegers. While the Jaegers from the original, had a bulky, industrial look to them, these new redesigns are much sleeker, with a lot of people drawing »
- email@example.com (Tom White)
The incapability of many to consider 2016, now a week dead, as anything other than “teh worst year evar” gives yours truly an inclination to run positive and say, with no insincerity, that it offered one of the best collection of films I’ve encountered in some time — better yet, speaking not for quantity so much as the breadth and plurality of options. A good litmus test: group your bottom five with your five honorable mentions and ask, “Would this have made a proper top ten?” The answer to this year, perhaps more than any other I’ve been making countdowns, firmly leaned towards an affirmative, in no small part because it’s futile to consider one individual work — among nine-to-fourteen other works of such utter individuality — as inherently superior to another. This isn’t even to account for those that slip just out of reach: Paterson, The Bfg, De Palma, »
- Nick Newman
11 items from 2017
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