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My favorite Fantastic Fest 2014 selection easily won the audience award for best film. Studio Ghibli's latest, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, is also my pick for the best feature from the Japanese animation studio. Directed by Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, it is at the surface a straightforward retelling of the 10th-century folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, perhaps the oldest Japanese story. That simple description, however belies a work of enormous artistic depth evoking powerful emotions.
A bamboo cutter working in the forest finds a glowing stalk of bamboo with a blossom that opens to reveal a tiny princess. He takes her home to raise her with his wife, and she grows with amazing swiftness from an infant into a girl of exceptional beauty and limitless talents. Believing her sent by the gods along with the gold he finds in the bamboo, the old man's vision of Kaguya's »
- Mike Saulters
"It was all very difficult..." It's not surprising that it is as wonderful to sit down and talk with the people from Studio Ghibli as it is to watch the wonderful movies they make. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to interview Hayao Miyazaki prior to his retirement during a trip over to the Us to promote Ponyo. While up in Toronto at Tiff 2014 this year, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet up with and interview Isao Takahata, the director of the beautiful film The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was released in Japan last year and arrives in Us theaters this fall. He was wonderful to speak with, making my entire trip worth it. As with Miyazaki, the interviewed was conducted with a translator, so it's shorter than usual because it takes extra time to have both questions and answers translated. Takahata-san is an iconic animator »
- Alex Billington
Honorary Oscars 2014: Hayao Miyazaki, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Maureen O’Hara; Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to Harry Belafonte One good thing about the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards — an expedient way to remove the time-consuming presentation of the (nearly) annual Honorary Oscar from the TV ratings-obsessed, increasingly youth-oriented Oscar show — is that each year up to four individuals can be named Honorary Oscar recipients, thus giving a better chance for the Academy to honor film industry veterans while they’re still on Planet Earth. (See at the bottom of this post a partial list of those who have gone to the Great Beyond, without having ever received a single Oscar statuette.) In 2014, the Academy’s Board of Governors has selected a formidable trio of honorees: Japanese artist and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, 73; French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, 82; and Irish-born Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara, »
- Andre Soares
The prolific Japanese animation producer Studio Ghibli is to undergo fundamental changes following the departure of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. A staunch advocate of the traditional line drawn approach that grew increasingly old-fashioned with the advent of CGI, Miyazaki wrote and directed the company’s best-known output, with Spirited Away breaking through to win an Oscar in 2003. Reportedly his exit has created too big a gap to fill and long-standing colleague Toshio Suzuki has told Japanese television the development slate will be substantially reconsidered. The expression “housecleaning” has been used and interpreted to mean the close of feature production at Ghibli for good.
Where the studio will head from here is uncertain but with these scaled-back ambitions we could be seeing the death of techniques long-abandoned by Western cinema outside of Disney. Broadcasters such as Film4 in the UK regularly show films like Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo but with »
- Steve Palace
The company will remain, but what's left will essentially be a handful of staff to handle its licensing of brands, and to manage its trademarks and copyrights according to news reports out of Japan (via Oh Totoro and Catsuka). Employees working in other departments (such as TV/music video production) will now be employed as freelancers, reportedly many of them already are.
Aside from maybe Disney/Pixar, Ghibli has arguably been the most acclaimed animated film production studio on the planet. A year ago came word that the company's co-founder Hayao Miyazaki was set to retire from filmmaking with last year's "The Wind Rises" being his final work.
The company's first post-Miyazaki work, "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," has proven a rare box-office dud. The »
- Garth Franklin
Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind such favourites as My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo and Spirited Away, is to close, it was confirmed today. The news follows rumours that emerged Wednesday to the effect that the business was in financial trouble and unlikely to survive. Producer Toshio Suzuki said that the anime department will be dismantled, though existing films will continue to be distributed.
The move will come as a big disappointment for anime fans worldwide, and especially for those currently enjoying Hayao Miyazaki's latest film, Omoide No Marnie (When Marnie Was There), which opened in Japan last month. »
- Jennie Kermode
After rumours suggesting that When Marnie Was There was likely to be the final film from Studio Ghibli, general manager Toshio Suzuki has now reportedly confirmed that the famed Japanese animation studio will be “taking a break” as a production company and will instead focus on managing the trademarks of its impressive back-catalogue of anime movies.
Co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki (who retired from filmmaking last year) and Isao Takahata alongside Suzuki, Studio Ghibli has earned a reputation as the “Japanese Walt Disney”, releasing such classic anime films as Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises.
When Marnie Was There was released in Japan last month, and has so far made around $3.5 million at the box office. Ghibli’s previous film The Tale of Princess Kaguya grossed around $48 million, which »
- Gary Collinson
Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli has had a long history of nabbing big-name actors for its films in U.S. distribution—from Christian Bale in Howl’s Moving Castle to Tina Fey and Matt Damon in Ponyo—and its latest release is no different.
U.S. distributor Gkids announced in a release today that Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Carrie) will voice the title role in The Tale of Princess Kaguya. James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, James Marsden, and John Cho also lend their voices.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya is based on Japan’s oldest recorded narrative, »
- Jackson McHenry
As a trailer for Studio Ghibli's latest and possibly final feature When Marnie Was There emerges, Ryan ponders company's uncertain future...
When Hayao Miyazaki retired last year at the age of 73, animation lost one of its most accomplished and dedicated practitioners. His work, comprising 11 features and numerous shorts, needs little introduction: films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle have long since etched themselves on the minds of audiences all over the world.
Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises, was a bravely individual parting shot. A drama about the designer of the legendary Japanese fighter plane, the Mitsubishi Zero, it felt like a final, heartfelt statement from a truly great artist - and a fitting capstone to a remarkable career. But with Miyazaki having set aside the painstaking work he put into animating his films over the course of some 48 years, the inevitable question »
Having watched very few Studio Ghibli films, and adding Ponyo the list simply because it’s Studio Ghibli season, I have to say I never realised what a crazy world Hayao Miyazaki lives in. But yeah, he’s probably also a genius.
Ponyo is delightfully heartwarming and cute. Ponyo herself is an adroable goldfish princess who wants to be a human after falling in love with Sosuke, a human boy. Her overprotective and prejudiced father locks her up but she manages to escape and, typical of a Ghibli film, cause havoc left, right and centre.
Out of the Ghibli heroines I know of, Ponyo is by far the cutest. She’s entertaining and wise in her childlike nature. Her interactions with Sosuke and Lisa are sweet, and her size evidently does not equal her strength and soulfulness. »
- Kirsty Capes
With The Wind Rises out in the UK now, James salutes the work of its legendary animator, Hayao Miyazaki...
The Wind Rises gets its UK release this week, and that's very good news for those of us who've been waiting patiently for Hayao Miyazaki's new movie. Studio Ghibli's latest - a fictionalised biopic of the aircraft engineer and designer Jiro Horikoshi - came out last July in its native Japan. Now, finally, we arrive at the point where we can see the acclaimed anime feature though, indubitably, the experience will be a bittersweet one.
After this one there will be no new Miyazaki films. The man responsible for such cinematic masterpieces as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away announced his retirement from moviemaking last autumn. Though the animation auteur has made similar statements in the past and subsequently returned to direct again, it appears that »
Tokyo – Frozen remains untouchable at the Japanese box office, surpassing $156 million (￥15.9 billion) over the Golden Week holidays, and overtaking Avatar and Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on a Cliff to enter the all-time top ten highest grossing films in the territory. Golden Week -- a bunch of public holidays grouped together that ended Tuesday -- is usually a bumper box office period, and Walt Disney Studios Japan timed the release of the 3D Japanese-language version of Frozen to coincide with it. The soundtrack album has also been at number one in the local charts for the last two
- Gavin J. Blair
To celebrate the cinema release of Hayao Miyazaki’s farewell film, The Wind Rises on 9th May, we are giving 3 of you the chance to win a copy of Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke and the Cat Returns on Blu-ray and Studio Ghibli Steel Books of Ponyo, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.
The farewell masterpiece from the legendary Hayao Miyazki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and Academy Award-winning creator of Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo, The Wind Rises is a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of Mitsubish A6M aircraft. A stunningly beautiful animated epic, the film charts one man’s struggle to achieve his childhood dreams of flight, and paying heartfelt tribute to the power of imagination.
Please note: This competition is open to UK residents only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Wind Rises is out in UK cinemas on 9th May and for »
Director: Hayao Miyazaki; Screenwriter: Hayao Miyazaki; Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, William H Macy, Stanley Tucci, Werner Herzog; Running time: 127 mins; Certificate: PG
Hayao Miyazaki's big screen swan song The Wind Rises is a film as elegant and masterfully-constructed as the aircraft that lie at the heart of its story. More mature in outlook and thematic weight than Miyazaki's recent offerings Ponyo and Howl's Moving Castle, his 11th feature centres on Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese engineer who pushed the boundaries of aircraft design in between the World Wars.
Jiro is an idealist and a dreamer, as a young boy he yearns to be a pilot but weak eye sight means he must settle on building planes. Legendary Italian engineer Giovanni Battista Caproni serves as his inspiration, mentoring Miyazaki's bespectacled hero in a series of stunningly-realised fantasy sequences.
"Airplanes are beautiful dreams," Caproni tells the young Jiro at one point. »
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
Laremy is out this week, but before taking some time off he did send in his box office predictions. So the number you see here are his, I'm just the messenger. Let's have a look. It appears Laremy is relying a little on tracking, picking Non-Stop to finish #1 over Son of God. It's really an impossible predicament considering you can never tell just what the religious turnout is going to be. In Sacramento one church bought out all 16 screens at one theater and all up the West Coast, but primarily here in the Seattle area, the Mars Hill Church bought more than 3,500 seats for Thursday night pre-screenings. So, while Laremy's $25.3 million prediction for Non-Stop may be spot-on, there's no telling if Son of God will be higher or lower than his predicted $20.8 million. My gut tells me higher, but by how much I have no idea. Sorry, I'm worthless. Sandwiched »
- Brad Brevet
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 range of new art films this weeks shows the diversity of the specialized world, with an acclaimed animated feature, another show business documentary, two subtitled films and a higher-budget period drama all debuting to quite variable results. "The Wind Rises" and "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" are the standouts. Opening "The Wind Rises" (Buena Vista) - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 83; Festivals include: Venice 2013, Toronto 2013, New York 2013 $306,000 in 21 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $14,571 Animation master Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar nominated final film opened in New York and Los Angeles last November to qualify for awards (it has already earned many kudos), and now has been officially released right before the awards to maximize attention ahead of its 450 theater expansion next week. The PSA is within range of previous Miyazaki initial releases (other than "Ponyo," Disney has always opened them in limited multi-city runs). This is the English-language »
- Tom Brueggemann
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
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s visually ravishing, of course; we’ve come to expect as much from Studio Ghibli. Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Ponyo) concocts gorgeous sequences that sit somewhere between steampunk engineering fantasias and grounded historical between-the-wars nostalgias. But there’s no drama and no conflict in this semifictionalized tale of Jiro Horikoshi. He dreamed of designing “beautiful airplanes” from his early-20th-century boyhood… and no obstacles stand in his way along the path to joining Mitsubishi as an aeronautical engineer. He doesn’t want to make aircraft for warfare, but that’s the direction things are moving in throughout the 1930s, and so he helps to create and »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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