13 items from 2011
One of the cooler Disney partnerships in recent years has been their teaming with Studio Ghibli to help bring legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki's films to a wider audience here. While the die-hard fans will be content to watch imported DVDs with the subtitles turned on, the Disney marketing machine combined with English-language dubs has introduced movies like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle to people who probably wouldn't have otherwise ever seen them, and that can only be a good thing. Now this partnership is paying off again, with the House of Mouse set to bring Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty to American theaters on February 17th, 2012. You can check out the trailer below. The Secret World of Arrietty was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, with a screenplay written by Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa. If the trailer seems a little familiar, that's because Secret World is based »
If you ask your average man on the street what the greatest animation studio in the world is, chances are that just about every one of them will tell you it's Pixar, the people responsible for "Toy Story," "Wall-e" and a raft of other crowd pleasing favorites.
Ask hardcore animation buffs, though, and you may be surprised to hear another name altogether -- the name of Studio Ghibli.
For those of you who don't know your otaku from your elbow, here's a quick refresher course: Responsible for such classics as "Princess Mononoke," "Ponyo," "Howl's Moving Castle" and Oscar winner "Spirited Away," Studio Ghibli is headed by legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who has been compared by »
- Scott Harris
It has been nearly a decade since funnyman Billy Crystal has appeared on screen in a movie (and we'll overlook his cameo in "The Tooth Fairy"), seemingly perfectly content to just do voice work ("Cars," "Howl's Moving Castle") or appear in viral videos. But there is only so long you can keep somebody like Crystal away from a movie set. He's set to cameo in "The Muppets" later this year, he apparently pops up in Jonas Åkerlund's "Small Apartments" and, of course, he'll be bringing Mike Wazowski back to life in "Monsters University." But his first big starring role since… »
Stop the presses! After an excruciatingly long period of waiting, Redline finally found its way onto the TV sets of those who can read English subtitles. Takeshi Koike's long awaited project took almost seven years to complete, but he made sure every second of that long wait counted. The result is a staggering demonstration of the power of animation, wrapped in colorful pop art and injected with a mean streak of creative madness. And boy did I like it. In 2004 Japan was experiencing one of its top animation production years, with films like Ghost In The Shell 2, Howl's Moving Castle, Mind Game and Steamboy all being released that year. But Production I.G and director Imaishi had another surprise lined up. When Dead Leaves »
When it comes to the quality of the product, the world of animated film is dominated at the moment by Japan's Studio Ghibli and America's Pixar. And with the latter's current offering, Cars 2, being something of a disappointment, Ghibli's entrancing Arrietty is the clear choice for a family outing this summer. The film's youngish director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, worked as an animator on such Ghibli classics as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo, but the idea of an animated version of Mary Norton's The Borrowers has been a long-cherished project of Ghibli's great film-maker Hayao Miyazaki, and the original Japanese title translates as "Arrietty and the Borrowers".
Several generations of children have now grown up on Mary Norton's books about sweet-natured little people living beneath the floorboards of »
- Philip French
As everyone knows, Studio Ghibli is Japan's magic kingdom, a powerhouse that's consistently wowed Japanese and Western audiences alike with its stunning, heartfelt visions. Nothing brings back memories of childhood faster than a Ghibli movie and Arrietty possibly more than most. Its source material - Mary Norton's The Borrowers - has been a childhood favourite for generations. Arrietty may not be quite as cheese-dreamy as Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away but, judging by this new clip, it should be just as captivating for human beans of all ages.Unusually, Ghibli has gone to the trouble of using two English-language voicecasts. The UK and Irish version here features the talents of Saoirse Ronan as Arrietty herself, the tiny Borrower, with Mark Strong voicing Pod, a role played by Ian Holm in the '90s BBC version. brightcove.createExperiences(); Olivia Coleman, Phyllida Law and Geraldine McEwan also lend their voices »
 An international English-language trailer has dropped for Studio Ghibli's Arrietty, the directorial debut of animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The new spot features the UK voice cast, which includes Saoirse Ronan as Arrietty, Olivia Coleman, Tom Holland, and Mark Strong. Based on Mary Norton's classic children's series The Borrowers, the film revolves around a 14-year-old girl named Arrietty Clock, who is one of a group of tiny people who secretly reside in the homes of regular-sized people and "borrow" supplies from them as needed. When Arrietty is discovered by a human boy, the two strike up a friendship that has big repercussions for the Clocks' lives. Watch the trailer after the jump. [via Cartoon Brew ] I don't think this trailer looks as impressive as the Japanese-language one  released last year, though some of that can be attributed to the poorer video quality of the English-language trailer and the annoying rhyming voiceover. Still, the »
- Angie Han
There've been a couple of previous teaser clips for Studio Ghibli's gorgeous looking animation, but this English-dubbed trailer for Arrietty is actually our closest look at the movie yet. brightcove.createExperiences();Based, like Howl's Moving Castle, on a British source novel (that one was by Diana Wynne Jones), Arrietty is, of course, adapted from Mary Norton's The Borrowers, familiar from everyone's school library, and from a 1990s BBC series starring Rebecca Callard as Arrietty and Ian Holm as her father Pod. There was also a movie in 1997.It's about, more or less, as the trailer rhymingly puts it, "a world beneath our own, where little people have made their home". The Borrowers are a family of Liliputian-like tinies who get by on stuff they've liberated from the full-sized world of the "human beans". But Arrietty's friendship with one of those giants, in the form of a boy newly arrived »
China is eyeing an attempt to challenge the success of Japanese animation. All eyes are on the $7 million Chinese animated debut feature film, Kuiba, from veteran Beijing-based television studio Vasoon Animation to see if it has the chops to attract audiences awash with Japanese anime; think Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke) or Isao Takahata (My Neighbours the Yamadas). »
Back in March, I was fortunate enough to take the trip up to picturesque Emeryville, California to visit the amazing Pixar facility once again. I was part of a select group of press members who got a sneak peek at the animation studio's latest endeavor, Cars 2, which hits theaters across the country on June 24. We were also able to speak with several cast and crew members who helped shape this summer sequel into the blockbuster it surely will be, one of which was the lovely Emily Mortimer.
The British actress lends her voice to Holley Shiftwell, a British spy apprentice who is learning from legendary operative Finn McMissile (Michael Caine). Their assignment leads them to cross paths with the loveable Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) and his race car buddy Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) as they »
Anyone who's ever brought and played through a licensed property or movie tie-in game--especially the ones aimed at kids--knows that they are the devil's own coding. The shoehorned sensibilities, unoriginal design and general trying-to-hard vibe not only make you want to smash whatever console you play them on, they drain any enthusiasm you might have had for the movie they're based on.
However, the glowing exception to this experience has been the various Lego action/adventure titles of the last few years. Development studio Travelers Tales has made winning games out of the mythos of Batman, Harry Potter Indiana Jones, both "Star Wars" trilogies and the "Star Wars Clone Wars" cartoon series. They've all been fun, pick-up-and-play experiences that turn the worlds of the central characters into hilarious, breakaway brick playgrounds. The characters don't talk so they act out pivotal moments in the mythos with mime-like physical action. For example, »
- Evan Narcisse
Fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones passed away this week from a long bout with cancer. She was 76.
Wynne Jones wrote up until this year, with her latest novel being the 2011 release Enchanted Glass. A British author, she is probably most famous worldwide for writing Howl's Moving Castle (1986), which was filmed as an animated movie in 2004 by Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, and its two sequels.
McKinley writes of Wynne Jones's death,
Everyone leaves a themselves-shaped hole when they go, and we all feel it, whether we know or recognise the individual holes or not. No one is an island, as John Donne almost said, each human death diminishes me. But Diana was a bigger piece of the promontory than most. This is not the same world without her in it. »
The gloom of January getting you down? World cinema can provide the perfect guide to your summer holiday destinations, as Nick explains…
So, it's January. Post-festive season excesses have caught up with us, and for many, back to work blues have most likely also struck. What a crappy month. No wonder most people have already started planning their holidays. In my office the talk is full of people with one foot somewhere exotic. Or at least Magaluf.
But can films provide us with inspiration? I hope so, or else this is going to be a somewhat short column. So, without further ado, here's a list of destinations for you, complete with what makes them so special...
What the guidebook says: "Thailand...gives off a certain lustre, be it the fertile rice fields of the central plains, white sandy beaches or the warm hospitality of its citizenry."
All well and good, »
13 items from 2011
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