Hmmm. If anyone is still reading, you're probably used to this by now. But! I have some stuff knockin' around the ol' brain (what little is left of it), so maybe there will be more than one post this month?
Before I regale you with my tirade on animation in movies, I'd like to lead off with my squidgy excitement over the latest Miyazaki film, as well as a host of other movies we should start getting impatient over the release date.
Hayao Miyazaki is the premier anime animator in Japan, and holds the distinction of winning the first Academy Award for an anime and for having two of the three highest grossing films in Japan (the third being Titanic). His movies have strong female leads, usually children, with complex themes about the environment and moral ambiguity. What's best is that his films appeal to all age groups; children will love the fantasy aspect, the creatures, and the funny jokes. Adults will be able to appreciate the beautiful hand-drawn animation and the challenging storylines. If you are unfamiliar with Miyazaki's work, I suggest you get your butt down to the local video rental or put these at the top of you Netflix queue:
- Princess Mononoke
- Spirited Away
- Kiki's Delivery Service
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Howl's Moving Castle
Miyazaki's latest release is Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which looks delightful. My only hesitation about this movie is its connection with the Disney studios. Does anyone else think that the logo looks suspiciously like the Finding Nemo title?
Release date: August 14
In other news, those of you who are fans of Roald Dahl will breathe a sigh of relief that The Fantastic Mr. Fox isn't computer animated, but instead uses stop animation which has its own kind of bizarre fluidity that compliments the story very well.
Oh, and did I mention that it's directed by Wes Anderson? High five to that guy for doing us all a favor and making this movie first, because there are few directors that are suited to making Roald Dahl books come alive. If you're at all familiar with Anderson's movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, etc.), then you know that visual style and dark humor are his forte (something Dahl dabbles in more than once in a while). So let's all breathe a sigh of relief, and get ready to enjoy a great animated film.
Release date: November 13
Though it still doesn't have a release date, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has a trailer, and I have to say, when I heard that director Terry Gilliam brought in Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrel to play the lead after Heath Ledger died (Still too painful. He ODs on prescription pills, and Paris Hilton still roams the earth? There is no justice.), I thought, "Well, that's going to be a bit weird, innit?" But after watching the trailer, I think it's going to fit into the storyline pretty well. And besides, since when have Terry Gilliam's films ever been normal?
While we have all been worrying about who was going to get to direct The Hobbit, Peter Jackson has made a quiet return behind the camera, and as a master of visuals, I don't think it's going to disappoint. Based on Alice Sebold's best-selling novel (that I never read, sorry), The Lovely Bones looks pretty amazing. Really, the only thing I can pick on based on the trailer is that I have a hard time believing that Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg are old enough to have two teenage daughters. But, I am excited to see Susan Sarandon back on the silver screen. I can see this role having the same kind of depth and impact that Leslie Ann Warren had in Secretary, one of my favorite Warren performances since the eldest daughter in Faerie Tale Theater's "Seven Dancing Princesses".
Release date: December 11
Well, there ya go. It's my day off, and I've got a laundry list of things to do, topped off with Karaoke night, so shove off and I'll get back to ya when I'm done killing my liver.