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With the delightful exception of Disney’s jaunty, form-busting “Get a Horse!,” a mood of sweet melancholia prevails among this year’s typically fine Oscar nominees for animated short, the best of which offer a welcome draught of personal vision and emotional subtlety not always evident in their feature-length counterparts. Although these five distinctly accomplished offerings vary widely in tone, style, subject and inspiration, almost all of them have something touching to impart about the challenges of isolation and the consolations of friendship in unexpected places — whether it’s the unlikely bond between a man and his dog in the all-metal dystopian world of “Mr. Hublot,” or a kind-hearted witch who adopts one pet after another in “Room on the Broom.”
Certainly an infectious sense of team spirit informs director Lauren MacMullan’s “Get a Horse!,” the deliriously inventive Mickey Mouse cartoon that accompanied Disney’s Oscar-nominated smash “Frozen” in theaters. »
- Justin Chang
Chicago – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
“The Wind Rises,” although an odd subject for a final exploration, is still full of the Miyazaki wonder. The beauty of his design is all over it’s landscape, and it fulfills the energy of the emotions it conveys. The metaphor of airplane flight through the generations provides the often Miyazaki theme of duality, in this case war and peace. The distinctly drawn characters »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Computers have become capable of infinite wonders when it comes to animated movies, but every so often it’s nice to get a “Lilo and Stitch” or a “Spirited Away” (which employed partial CG) or a “Triplets of Belleville” to remind us of the depth and richness of more traditional cartoons. Characters soaring over landscapes in 3-D can be a blast, don’t get me wrong, but there are other pleasures to be found from the medium. The delicate watercolors are just one of the elements that make the Oscar-nominated “Ernest & Celestine” such a delight. The tale of an unlikely friendship. »
- Alonso Duralde
Limp thriller is not Kev's finest hour, while Pompeii blows up – in the wrong way, leaving The Lego Movie to carry on building
• More Us box office analysis here
Kevin Costner's waning appeal
He had a small but significant role in last summer's hit Man of Steel, but Kevin Costner has shown that these days he cannot be relied upon to carry a movie. The last time he headlined a movie was in 2008, with the lighthearted drama Swing Vote, which earned $16.3m (£9.72m) at the box office. That same year Costner starred in The New Daughter. What? Exactly. So it came as little surprise to see Costner's latest, 3 Days to Kill, debuted at No 2 on $12.3m (£7.38m). Suddenly the $55m (£33m) final gross of seafaring action-adventure The Guardian, which was hardly a massive achievement back in 2006, begins to look relatively impressive. Historically Costner headline movies have never opened strongly, »
- Jeremy Kay
The master of Japanese animation marks a departure from his Studio Ghibli style with The Wind Rises, which deals with Japan's prewar history
It seems like yesterday that Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Japanese anime, was making his Us debut with The Princess Mononoke, a lush, deeply imagined environmental allegory. That 1997 movie was the first time many American filmgoers entered Miyazaki's world of myth, magic and lyrical, finely detailed imagery; happily, there are now generations of children who have grown up cherishing such Miyazaki classics as My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle the way their parents did Snow White, 101 Dalmatians and The Aristocats.
With The Wind Rises, which has earned an Academy Award nomination for best animated feature, Miyazaki has made a departure from the themes and visual language that have constituted the house style of his Studio Ghibli. The digression feels all the »
- Ann Hornaday
As we continue to move forward through the list, let us consider: how do you define an original screenplay? In theory, everything is based on something. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is basically a modern A Streetcar Named Desire. But, somehow, Jasmine is classified as an original screenplay. When a film is wholly original, nothing like it had been done before, and others have tried to copy it since. Plenty of original screenplays (some in this list) take on tired genres, but flip the script. But the ones that really catch the audience by surprise are the ones that feel imaginative, creative, and different.
40. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki
That’s a good start! Once you’ve met someone, you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.
- Joshua Gaul
While a certain "Lego" movie continued to dominate the studio box office (taking in a truly massive $183 million after 3 weekends), the specialty box office saw a much smaller animated film debut in its shadow. Released Stateside via Disney, Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" -- nominated for an Oscar this year for best animated feature -- debuted in 21 theaters this weekend to a $306,000 gross and a $14,571 average. Definitely decent numbers, and in line with the $17,301 and $11,888 that Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle" averaged in their limited debuts. Disney released them too, and ended up with $4.7 million and $10.0 million end grosses. We'll know in the next few weekends whether "Wind" can rise to that occasion. As for specialty films opening that weren't released by studios, IFC Films' documentary "Elaine Stitch: Shoot Me" was best in show, grossing $30,000 from 2 theaters for a strong $15,000 average. Adopt Films, meanwhile, »
- Peter Knegt
We're about a week away from Hollywood's biggest night, which means it's time for me to share my first picks to win Oscar gold. First up, my selections for animated feature, documentary feature, cinematography, adapted screenplay and original screenplay: • Best Documentary Oscar prognosticators are split between the fiendishly talented backup singers in 20 Feet from Stardom and the stomach-churning "gangsters" in The Act of Killing, and so am I. Still, I have to tip the scale toward The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer's gut-punch of a film about the men who carried out the 1965 Indonesian genocide. Oppenheimer and his crew »
- Alynda Wheat, PEOPLE Movie Critic
As a CIA agent, Kevin Costner aims for a box-office bull's-eye in 3 Days to Kill. But is the espionage thriller right on target? Plus: Animation visionary Hayao Miyazaki unveils his supposed swan song, The Wind Rises, and Elizabeth Olsen goes for literate, period prestige in In Secret. Here's what to see and what to skip in theaters this weekend. Skip This 3 Days to Kill var brightcovevideoid = '3231991949001'; It wouldn't be so egregious that 3 Days to Kill is six different movies in one, if any of them were actually decent. As it is, the spy/action/terminal-illness/coming-of-age/cultural-exchange/family »
- Alynda Wheat, PEOPLE Movie Critic
Austin Film Society's terrific Godard vs. Truffaut series closes out this weekend with a 35mm print of Love On The Run. It plays tonight and again on Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. Also playing Sunday is an collection of The Films Of Vincent Grenier. Co-presented with Experimental Response Cinema and the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, this presentation will feature the filmmaker in person. There's more Avant Cinema scheduled for Monday night with the rarely screened Anti-Clock from 1979. On Wednesday night, Richard Linklater is bringing us a 35mm print of Warren Beatty's Reds, which he says is on his all-time personal Top 10 list. Finally, Essential Cinema has the 2012 documentary Uprising on Thursday night.
Women In Cinema will be hosting a "Casting and Directing Actors" panel on Monday night. Kat Candler (Hellion) will be moderating the panel, which is expected to feature Casting Director Vicky Boone (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Earlier this month, legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, writer and director of such masterpieces as Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro, announced his final retirement (this isn’t his first). How fitting that his final feature takes up his favorite thematic motif, that of magical phenomenon and fantastic human achievement – flight. Oddly, for the first time in his lengthy career, Miyazaki has embraced the more realistic storytelling of his partner Isao Takahata, yet he hasn’t abandoned the lyrically imaginative storytelling he’s known for. With Studio Ghibli’s signature hand drawn and heartfelt feel, The Wind Rises fictionalizes the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the chief engineer behind the famed Japanese Zero fighter jet, and blends his tail with that of Tatsuo Hori, author of the novel from which the film’s epithet originates.
Set on a grand »
- Jordan M. Smith
All controversy aside, if this moving story of a pre-war airplane engineer is the animator's last film, it will be our loss
The Wind Rises, the new film from 72-year-old Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki, takes its title from a line in a Paul Valery poem ("The wind is rising! We must try to live!") and is inspired by the life of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi who designed Mitsubishi's A6M Zero fighter. It's probably the gentlest animated feature about an armaments designer you'll ever see.
"Poor countries want airplanes," Jiro (Hideaki Anno) is told, as they watch oxen haul the latest prototype out onto the field for testing. Lacking the power of western engines, Jiro and his fellow engineers must instead work with everything at his disposal – flush rivets, split flaps, retractable undercarriages, the lightest aluminium alloy – to reduce the drag on that aircraft and pluck it into the vast, »
- Tom Shone
The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises is his final film, and if that’s true — we can pray it ain’t so, but he doesn’t seem the type to make rash declarations — he’s going out on a high. The movie won’t, I’m afraid, appeal to kids the way Ponyo or Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro does. It’s monster-, ghost-, and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced — maybe 15 minutes too long, I’d say, but you can forgive those longeurs when the work is this exquisite. It’s romantic, tragic, and inexorably strange, a portrait of a young Japanese man who dreams of creating flying machines and the Imperial Empire that funds his research. His country will take those machines and send them off to rain death and destruction on its enemies — but that’s not something »
- David Edelstein
Last year's Venice Film Festival saw a number of filmmakers push outside their comfort zone. Alfonso Cuarón made a 3D blockbuster set entirely in zero gravity. Kelly Reichardt made a thriller. Stephen Frears made a good movie. But no departure has been greater from a filmmaker than the one that Hayao Miyazaki takes with "The Wind Rises." The 72-year-old Studio Ghibli mastermind has made his name with fantastical fables from "Laputa: Castle In The Sky," through his mainstream breakthrough in the West with "Princess Mononoke" and the Oscar-nominated "Spirited Away" to his most recent picture, "Ponyo." But he's never directed a film like "The Wind Rises," a biographical period drama that has a few flights of fancy, but is otherwise a grounded and very personal tale of aircraft design, the oncoming storm, and doomed love. And yet, it's a film that wouldn't work in any medium but animation. The film »
- Oliver Lyttelton
On February 21st, The Wind Rises, director Hayao Miyazaki's 11th, and supposedly final, feature film hits American theaters. The movie is a departure for the legendary animation auteur, whose films are often fantasy tales set in imaginary worlds. This time around, he's produced a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the aeronautical designer behind the Mitsubishi A5M and its descendant, the A6M — the plane used by the Japanese air force in the attack on Pearl Harbor. As Miyazaki tells it, Horikoshi was largely peaceful in nature, and merely »
Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has justly achieved status as one of the great filmmakers of his time, with a distinctive visual sensibility that has garnered comparisons to Walt Disney and a depth of imagination that defies any classification other than Miyazaki's own head. From "Princess Mononoke" to the Oscar-winning "Spirited Away," Miyazaki's filmmaking has no immediate parallel outside of the thematically complex and visually audacious 2-D works produced by Studio Ghibli, which he co-founded. It's hard to believe the brilliant 72-year-old visionary could run out of ideas, but just as easy to see how Miyazaki may have entered a more reflective stage of his career less tied to the otherworldly stories that populate his movies than the struggles of his own life. That's certainly implied by two recent developments in Miyazaki's career: the news last fall that he's planning to retire and its timing adjacent to the North American premiere of his 11th feature, »
- Eric Kohn
This month, we see the wide release of the final film from famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises. He's had a long and illustrious career, and it's truly a shame to see him go. All good things must come to an end. Now, to celebrate his retirement, the folks at StoryForge are going to spend the month looking individually at five of his films. The first up on the list is Spirited Away, the film that introduced many people, including myself to his genius. »
- David Hoffman
Those who were disappointed when Hayao Miyazaki officially announced his retirement back in September thought they saw a ray of hope when rumors circulated that the 73-year-old Studio Ghibli director of Oscar-nominated animated feature "The Wind Rises" might be willing to helm another movie. It all started when The Guardian reported that Miyazaki was working on a manga series, and Ghibli director Isao Takahata suggested that Miyazaki might pull back from retirement: 'I think there is a decent chance that may change. I think so, since I've known him a long time. Don't be at all surprised if that happens." Miyazaki had also called it quits after "Princess Mononoke" in 1997, vowing to never make a film again, only to release "Spirited Away" in 2001, which won him his Best Animated Feature Oscar. Well, I hate to break it to you, but during my satellite interview at Team Disney last week, Miyazaki »
- Anne Thompson
You’d think that after announcing his retirement from the feature film biz last year, 73-year-old Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, never one to seek out press, would be welcoming a time of quietude.
But with a third Oscar nomination in his pocket for “The Wind Rises,” which has earned $112 million in Japan, and with an English-language version to be released in the U.S. by Disney on Feb. 21, Miyazaki’s days are far from innocuous.
“The Wind Rises” tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the A6M fighter plane, known in WWII as the Zero, and is a celebration of engineering as art, hewing close to the themes of Miyazaki’s previous Academy-friendly works: “Spirited Away” (2002), which won the Oscar for animated feature, cautions current generations to remember the mistakes of earlier ones; “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2005), which earned a nomination, promotes calm and reason in the face of aggression. »
- Carole Horst
The land of the Rising Sun is a country of contradictions. The Japanese honour the old ways but lead the world in technological advancements. They are bastions of tradition and ceremony yet gave the world insane game shows and karaoke. As such, it should surprise no one that a country which has practised a ritualised puppet theatre for hundreds of years should also make animated films which are like eastern equivalents of Alice In Wonderland on industrial strength mescaline.
Anime started to come to the world’s attention after the release of Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark 1988 release Akira, a science fiction epic which has influenced everything from The Matrix to Chronicle. Over the next two decades mainstream success has followed culminating in the Oscar success of Spirited Away in 2002, the highest grossing anime film of all time made by Studio Ghibli. In an industry worth over $2 billion a year most »
- Kristopher Powell
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