Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014)

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We’ve probably had this conversation before — the pros and cons of the Live Action Film. When they’re done well, they enhance the source and become another aspect of effective cross-stream marketing that people are happy to pay to see. They win new fans and invigorate the existing ones. But let’s not kid ourselves thinking that any company sinks millions of dollars (or yen in this case) into a film better known in anime or manga out of their sense … (read more)

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a vision. It might not seem a conventional vision but don’t doubt that’s what it is. Director Isao Takahata, the other genius behind Studio Ghibli, responsible for the delightful My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999) and the gutting Grave of the Fireflies (1988), has done something that perhaps no other major animation director has achieved in recent memory — a complete reinvention of the technique of animation.

If you’ve already seen the documentary Madman have … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Golden Era’ (China/HK)

The Golden Era

Distributor China Lion have announced on their Facebook page that Ann Hui’s new film The Golden Era will be arriving in Australian cinemas this week, on October 16. This drama from the prominent Hong Kong New Wave director closed the Venice Film Festival this year and it has been selected as HK’s entrant for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars as well.

The film follows the life of progressive Chinese writer Xiao Hong (played here by Tang Wei, from Lust, (read more)

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Lady Maiko (2014)

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Unless you’re also into the many, varied, and sometimes odd-to-outsiders forms of all singing, all dancing, live on stage entertainment that have in recent years been spinning off from anime and manga franchises, you might find yourself surprised to realise that Japan doesn’t mind the odd Western style musical or two.

Musical theatre is not terribly rare in Japan of course — kabuki has been around since at least the early 1600’s, and the famous all-female Takarazuka Theatre troupe has … (read more)

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The Tale of Studio Ghibli

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Perhaps you’ve never thought about what you’re watching in those two hours in the cinema when Studio Ghibli, arguably the most renowned Japanese animation studio on the planet, is working its narrative and visual magic on you. After all, it’s easy to be caught up in a Ghibli film, transported. It’s what they do, what they’ve always done, and it’s easy to forget the hundreds of people and the thousands (and thousands) of work hours that go into making a … (read more)

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This month in cinemas: The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase (Japan)

StudioGhibliScreening_A_5

If you’re a Studio Ghibli fan, or you follow Aussie distributor Madman’s news, you can’t have escaped the fact that they’re bringing some of Studio Ghibli’s best-loved and brand-new films to cinemas across Oz over the next couple of months.

But just in case… here’s Madman’s announcement of The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase — Celebrating the Genius of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata!

What it boils down to is four films, two from each director, and two documentaries:… (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Flirting in the Air’ (Hong Kong)

Flirting in the Air

Hong Kong low-brow comedy super-producer Wong Jing has a new film in Aussie cinemas on October 9.

Flirting in the Air, which stars Chapman To and Dada Chen (both from 2012’s popular, and Cat III-rated, Vulgaria). This time, however, To plays a womanizing pilot who is transported back to Ming Dynasty China, where he and his co-pilots can indulge in period-era womanizing. Like I said, a Wong Jing film — though he’s handed directorial duties over to Aman … (read more)

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Vladivostok: the final frontier

Pacific Meridian

As a child, I was the proud owner of a study desk with a laminated tabletop world map (Mercator projection). That map inspired a lifelong wanderlust, and back then I was fascinated by the isolated city of Vladivostok at the edge of the vast country, shaded in a sickly pale green, then known as the U.S.S.R, which was. Entranced by the exotic spelling, beginning with the adjoining “V” and “L” and ending emphatically with a mighty “K”, I was also … (read more)

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