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Features Live Action Movies

Wings Of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin)

Director – Wim Wenders – 1987 – Germany – Cert. PG – 128m

*****

Angels move around Berlin, watching over Berliners, until one of them sees a beautiful girl and decides he wants to become human and experience emotion for himself – out in cinemas on Friday, June 24th and playing on Film 4 from Wednesday, June 29th to Thursday, July 28th

This film is many things. It is, first and foremost, about angels, here captured in stunning black and white cinematography and represented as men moving invisibly among the population of Berlin, observing them, listening to their thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams, perhaps imparting some sort of spiritual comfort by a touch of the hand. And just as Henri Alekan’s camera photographs the actors playing angels, so too it photographs those Berliners they observe and comfort.

The iconic Hollywood actor Peter Falk – known to millions of TV viewers as the detective Columbo – plays himself playing a character on the set of a war film and hanging out between takes. The camera takes great pleasure in simply observing him doing what he does, for instance talking to an angel he can’t see (“I can’t see you, but I know you’re here”) which might be an attempt to communicate with invisible beings or might equally well be no more than an acting routine.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Belle (Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime, 竜とそばかすの姫)

Director – Mamoru Hosoda – 2021 – Japan – Cert. PG tbc – 121m

*****

A bereaved, teenage girl starts to emerge from her shell when she signs up for a virtual world on her smartphone – out on Blu-ray and DVD from Monday, June 27th and 4K UHD Blu-ray including the soundtrack from Thursday, July 7th

‘U’ is an internet, virtual world of high tech, futuristic architecture. When you sign up, you receive your own personalised avatar built from your biometrics. You have the chance to start over in a new world.

Teenager Suzu (voice: Kaho Nakamura) could do with that chance. She lives with her dad (voice: Koji Yakusho from Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda, 2018; The Third Murder, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2017; Pulse, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001; Shall We Dance, Masayuki Suo, 1996; Tampopo, Juzo Itami, 1985) in a small town somewhere in the East of Japan. She doesn’t really communicate with people at her school – not Luka (Tina Tamashiro), the sax player in the school band, not Kamishin (Shota Sometani from To The Ends Of The Earth, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2019; First Love, Takashi Miike, 2019; Foreboding, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2017; The Boy And The Beast, Mamoru Hosoda, 2015; Himizu, Sion Sono, 2011) who set up the canoe club but hasn’t been able to attract any members, not Shinobu (Ryo Narita) who proposed to her – well, told her he wanted to protect her – when she was six.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Cam

Director – Daniel Goldhaber – 2018 – US – Cert. 15 – 94m

***1/2

An erotic webcam performer discovers to her horror that her online presence has been hacked by an unknown rival, in a film conceived by a real-life cam artist– from the 62nd BFI London Film Festival and on Netflix from Friday, November 16th 2018

Alice (Madeline Brewer) is in charge of her destiny, or so it seems. From a secret and self-contained, fluffy pink studio set up in her apartment, she promotes herself as her online persona Lola who hosts her own live online erotic shows where enthusiastic fans can encourage her to do specific things by sending her virtual currency. Her goal is to become number one on the site which hosts her and many thousands of other hopefuls, but she seems to have got stuck somewhere around the rank of 60th. What’s a camgirl to do in order to boost her ratings?

Clearly, spicing the sex up with a little violence is a winner, so when one of her admirers encourages her to use a knife, while others egg her on and other still try to talk her out of it, Lola cuts her throat online.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Roujin-Z (老人Z)

Director – Hiroyuki Kitakubo – 1991 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 80m

***1/2

Robot beds deal with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous – in cinemas

Touted as manga artist / anime director Katsuhiro Otomo’s follow up to the phenomenally successful Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988), Roujin Z was actually directed by one Hiroyuki Kitakubo. Otomo’s contribution runs to no more than original story credit and machine design. Ostensibly it’s a different type of tale which deals with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous.

Young, female nurse Haruko is alarmed when suits arrive to remove her aged, barely conscious and incontinent patient Mr.Takazawa from his home. Designated first subject of the government’s new ‘Roujin Z’ (Old Man Z) project – Takazawa is wired by his nerve endings into a computer-driven, mechanised bed designed to meet his every need, from vigorous walking exercise, bathing and urinating to communicating with his peers via TV screens (which also run regular network programmes) and playing Go or Chess with the computer.

Before long, Haruko starts to pick up “help” messages on her terminal sent from the Z-incarcerated Takazawa – and tries to talk back with the help of elderly hospitalized hackers using a photo of Takazawa’s late wife.… Read the rest