We decided that while the Monthly Primer was fun to do, it was kind of covered already by the rest of the internet movie preview world.
So, instead of doing a preview for each movie each month, I decided to just do a mini preview/recommendation/blurb of excitement about my own 5 movies I most look forward to, based entirely on personal, biased reasons.
Ponyo (august 14th, my birthday!!)
Studio Ghibli deserves to be famous like Walt Disney Studios, and Hayao Miyazaki like Walt. (Waaaaaaaaaaaaaalt…! Right?) The studio has had a hand in at least 5 of my all time favorite animations: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Porco Rosso. Aside from really liking the art style, I’m consistently amazed at how well they animated people, ESPECIALLY children. Even the films they’ve produced I didn’t mention are good stories, well animated and pretty all around enjoyable to watch.
I saw the original Japanese version of Ponyo (which is Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea in full) not too long ago, and from what I’ve seen, by comparison the U.S. release looks like it has pretty good voice acting. They hired genuine little kids to do the voices, albeit a Cyrus and a Jonas. While I thought the film was really bizarre and am unsure of how the U.S. audience would react (I worked in a theater when Spirited Away, and parents were ticked that we didn’t warn them it wasn’t actually a kid’s movie), I think everyone should see it because Hayao Miyazaki is awesome. Also he looks like Colonel Sanders now.
Surrogates (September 25th)
I feel like it’s time again for movies about MMORPG type video games. In 2002 there was an anime called .hack//SIGN which was a show about video game avatars in the game world with the personas of the real people playing them. (Kind of like a machinima with a bunch of your friends doing the voices of the characters.) Basically if the people from The Guild voiced the characters of an animation based on the video game characters they play. (None of these further explanations make any sense, do they?)
Although Surrogates doesn’t seem to be about a game world, thus extracting the nerdy connotations of living a second life in some made up fantasy world as a Golden Knight or something, it’s the same basic concept. And like .hack//SIGN, it deals with “What happens to the real person behind the avatar if … were to happen?”, which I think is pretty interesting.
New York, I Love You (October 16th)
Our very own Paris, Je T’Aime. A feature film made up of lots of indie film style shorts, directed by people who can put a lot of effort in because they only had to make a 10 minute movie instead of an 80 minute movie. And I admit, I REALLY like seeing places I go to every day in movies now. I never thought it would be true, but there’s a connection for movies shot in New York to people that live here. I even feel differently about movies I had seen in the past that were shot here. Manhattan. Cloverfield. Way cool when you know exactly where they were going. When I saw Cloverfield in Wisconsin, all the street names and locations were just a blur of dialogue until I moved here. Plus I still like the city. A lot of my friends that moved here before me are just like “Meh, New York. You get over it.”
Nine (December 11th) My God, it’s so far away!
I’m not a Fellini die-hard. In fact, the part of 8 1/2 that all the trailers of Nine are based off of (where all the women are dancing around him until the end of the movie, largely) was kind of too weird, off the wall bizarre for me for an otherwise pretty normal, good movie. I may have gone to an experimental film school, but I didn’t buy in entirely.
But this movie has such great casting it makes me want to see it just for that. It’s a lightbulb moment when you realize who each of the women in Nine are supposed to be as compared to the original and how they all look so perfect. Plus Daniel Day-Lewis as Marcello/Guido is friggin’ brilliant. Now if they just got Uma Thurman to play Gloria (Mezzabotta’s crazy fiance), I would feel like a chapter (or more like a footnote) in my life would be quietly resolved.
Ramona and Beezus (March 2010)
They are filming this now. The Ramona Quimby books were one of my favorite book series as a kid and I’m really excited about there being a new film. I am, however, totally open to it likely being horrendous. I didn’t see the Nancy Drew movie, but it looked awful. The Harriet the Spy movie however, was really good. Or I was just the right age when it came out to like it.
It’s not a Disney movie (Thank God), but I have a feeling it might as well be. It co-stars one of the current popular Disney creations to arise from nowhere and blow up over night, which instantly gives it a candy-coated “everything is perfect in the world” shiney feeling it could do without.
The girl who plays Ramona looks promising, so I’m hoping it’s another Harriet the Spy or Harry Potter success rather than Ramona and Beezus: High School Musical 4.