Studio Ghibli tagged posts

2016 – Rewind And Re-View

2016. We’ll not dwell on what an awful year it was. Suffice to say there was a lot happening in the movie world, some of it bad, some of it rather wonderful. Here is Electric Shadows’ take on the year in film.

As is customary, we’ll begin with…


WORST FILM OF THE YEAR – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman-v-Superman---Podcast-lead-image

OfAllTheFilmSites.com editor Rob Wallis and myself begun The Electric Shadows’ podcast this year. For said podcast we have spent approximately 12 hours watching or discussing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “Visionary” director Zack Snyder’s superhero magnum stinkus is mean-spirited, miserable, ugly, incoherent and fundamentally misunderstands its two titular heroes...

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When Marnie Was There

When-Marnie-Was-There-posterDirector: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Joan G. Robinson (book)

Cast: Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanako Matsushima, Susumu Terajima (Japanese version) / Hailee Steinfeld, Kiernan Shipka, Geena Davis, John C. Reilly (American version)

Cert: PG

Running time: 103mins

Year: 2014




The lowdown: Studio Ghibli’s final film before their “indefinite hiatus” is a warm coming of age movie with a gentle supernatural wrapping. Troubled 12-year-old Anna spends a summer recovering from an asthma attack with her aunt and uncle in their coastal town. Withdrawn, she nonetheless befriends Marnie, a mysterious girl living in a peculiar mansion...

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Must-See Films at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival

Steve-Jobs---Michael-Fassbender,-glasses-reflection

The 59th London Film Festival runs Wednesday 7th to Sunday 18th October.

12 days.

240 movies and documentary features, plus hundreds of shorts from all over the globe.

Even the most rabid movie buff will concede defeat in trying to see all those films in less than two weeks. So what to watch?

In the best tradition of internet Top Lists, we proudly present the Top 10 movies we are most hotly anticipating. And then looked again and had to expand it to 15.

They may be great, they may exhilarate, hell they may even frustrate… The only guarantee is they will be memorable. Which is what makes the London Film Festival such an essential event year after year.

Enough of the preamble, let’s dive into the idiosyncratic Electric Shadows 59th London Film Festival Must-See list...

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Exhilarating Tale of Princess Kaguya sneak peek!

The-Tale-of-Princess-Kaguya---Isao-Takhata,-falling-cherry-blossomThe Tale of Princess Kaguya is out in UK cinemas from Friday 20th March and the good folk at Studiocanal have made available a clip from one of the film’s best moments.

Possibly the final movie from legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, it harks back 1,000 years into Japanese folklore for its enchanting story. A bamboo cutter discovers the Thumbelina-like Princess Kaguya in a bamboo tree and he and his kindly wife adopt her. Bestowed with riches from the magical forest, the bamboo cutter vows to provide Kaguya with a life fit for a princess, moving her into a palatial home and inviting seemingly the best of society to woo her.

But, like the best Ghibli heroines, the headstrong and independent Kaguya fights against society’s constraints...

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The-Tale-of-Princess-Kaguya---Isao-Takhata,posterDirector: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Darren Criss (English language version), Aki Asakura, Tatasuya Nakadai, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto

Cert: U

Running time: 137mins

Year: 2013

    

The lowdown: 80 year old Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s probable swansong happens to be his finest movie. A bold, enchanting, retelling of the one thousand year old Japanese folktale The Bamboo Cutter, it’s as fresh as Frozen and as visually daring as the best of Pixar. Magical, thrilling for all ages and captivating throughout, if Studio Ghibli does shut up shop for good now Hayao Miyazaki has retired, this is a wonderful film to bow out on.

The-Tale-of-Princess-Kaguya---Isao-Takhata,-bamboo-babyThe-Tale-of-Princess-Kaguya---Isao-Takhata,-walking-through-bamboo

The full verdict: Less well-known than Hayao Miyazaki, Isa...

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Blu-Ray Review: Spirited Away

Spirited Away - Blu-ray cover artDirector: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki

Cert: PG

Running time: 124mins

Year: 2001

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The lowdown: Still the only anime movie to win (and have been nominated for) the Best Animated Feature Oscar, Spirited Away has lost none of its power to surprise and charm in the years since it was released. Telling the story of Chihiro, a young girl trapped in a fantastical realm working in a bathhouse for the Gods, it is a treasure trove of rich visuals and fairy tale storytelling, and a delight from beginning to majestic end.

Spirited Away - Chihiro, flowersSpirited Away - Chihiro, No Face

The full verdict: Watching Spirited Away an astonishing thirteen years after initial release, three things hit you.

Protagonist Chihiro would now be 23 years old...

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Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni's Island - posterDirector: Mizuho Nishikubo

Writer: Shigemichi Sugita, Yoshiki Sakurai

Cast: Kota Yokoyama, Masachika Ichimura, Yusuke Santamaria, Saburo Kitajima, Polina Ilyushenko, Tatsuya Nakadai

Cert: PG  Running time: 102mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Recounting the story of the tiny Shikotan island off the north of Japan, claimed as part of Russia in the aftermath of World War 2. Two brothers’ worlds change forever when Soviet troops land on the island, and later forces above them threaten the fragile peace the Japanese and Russian islanders share. A touching, beautifully animated account of a little known chapter in post-WW2 history, although suffering the same lack of context that blights many Japanese accounts of WW2.

Giovanni's Island - Tanya, Junpei, KantaGiovanni's Island - Tanya, picture

The full verdict: Inevitably destined to be compared to Studio Ghibli’s cher...

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How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - posterDirector: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (book)

Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Kit Harrington, Djimon Hounsou, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Kirsten Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Cert: PG

Running time: 102mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Spirited sequel to the surprise 2010 hit, adding more adventure, more danger and a whole lot more dragons. Five years since uniting Vikings and dragons in his village of Berk, Hiccup and trusty sidekick Toothless, once more find themselves in danger when dragon hating warlord Drago threatens both humans and winged serpents. And then there is the mysterious Dragon Rider, with special ties to Hiccup...

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The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises - poster, MiyazakiDirector: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Hideaki Anno (Japanese language), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, Stanley Tucci (English language dub)

Cert: PG

Running time: 126mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki has declared The Wind Rises, his 11th feature film, to be his last. Miyazaki has made this claim six times before, but this latest work seems like the grace note of a remarkable career. His themes of nature, love, war, pacifism and, above all, flying form the core of this fictionalised (romanticised) account of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his dream to build Japan’s finest plane...

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From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On Poppy Hill - quad posterDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Stars: Masami Nasagawa, Jun’ichi Okada

Cert: U

Running time: 91mins

Year: 2011

 

The lowdown: After the misfire of 2006’s Tales from Earthsea, Goro Miyazaki has more success with his sophomoric directorial outing.  Adapted from a popular girl’s comic, it’s a gentle tale of high school romance and youthful exuberance set against the upcoming 1964 Olympics.  A second tier Studio Ghibli offering, but with its pleasantly relaxed tempo and gorgeous pastel animation it sits comfortably alongside the animation house’s finer movies.

From Up On Poppy Hill - Shun and Umi after jumpFrom Up On Poppy Hill - Shun and Umi umbrella

The full verdict: Much like Disney in the late 60s, Studio Ghibli execs must be pondering their future when genius co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is no longer there to pick up the pencil.

The Ghibli heir apparent, Yoshifumi Kondo, die...

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