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Animation Documentary Features Live Action Movies

The Witches Of The Orient (Les Sorcières De L’Orient)

Director – Julien Faraut – 2021 – France, Japan – Cert. U – 100m

*****

A look through a prism of anime and archive footage at the Japanese women’s volleyball team that won the 1964 Olympics – out in cinemas and online in the UK and Ireland on Friday, July 16th

You don’t really expect a documentary about a women’s volleyball team to open with a scene from the anime short Danemon’s Monster Hunt At Shojiji (Yoshitaro Kataoka, 1935) in which the hero, trying to save the damsel in distress from the web of the evil spider witch, learns too late that the damsel is the evil spider witch and has lured him to his fate. Even if the team in question has become known as ‘the Witches of the Orient’. “To refer to people as witches is not very kind,” says Katsumi Matsumura, a surviving member of the team. “But then, witches have supernatural powers. So that suited us fine.”

The nickname originated in the Russian newspaper Pravda when the Japanese women’s team faced the Russians in the 1962 volleyball championships… [Read the rest]

Full review at All The Anime.

The Witches Of The Orient is out in cinemas and virtual cinemas in the UK and Ireland from Friday, July 16th 2021.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Minari

Director – Lee Isaac Chung – 2020 – UK – Cert. 12A – 120m

***1/2

The Korean immigrant experience in the US as a nuclear family set up a farm in Arkansas – on VoD from Friday, April 2nd, in drive-in cinemas from Monday, April 12th and cinemas from Monday, May 17th

Jacob (Steven YeunBurning, Lee Chang-dong, 2018; Okja, Bong Joon Ho, 2017), Monica (Yeri Han) and their two kids Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and David, 7 (Alan S. Kim), drive out to their new home in Arkansas. She is a little horrified that the home is a trailer on wheels supported by a basic frame, but he is thrilled that they have land with the best dirt (i.e. for growing things) America has to offer. They are surrounded by a vast area of countryside and woodlands. They speak mostly Korean, but are fluent in English and occasionally use it.

Eschewing the advice of a local water diviner, Jacob builds a well in some low ground where trees are nearby, reasoning that there must be water there. “Never pay for anything you can get for free,” he tells the attentive David, reminding him that in California, where they’ve moved from, they had nothing.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Perfumes (Les Parfums)

Director – Grégory Magne – 2019 – France – Cert. tbc – 100m

****

In Cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday, August 21st

GuGuillaume (Grégory Montel) is a chauffeur. His boss Arsène (Gustave Kervern) is thoroughly fed up with him, so gives him a job with a known difficult customer Mademoiselle Walberg. Guillaume is currently trying to get 50/50 custody of his daughter, so needs his job. And must put up with any nonsense his client comes up with. Like throwing his cigarette packet out of the car window. Or insisting he help her change the hotel bedsheets because she doesn’t like the smell of the chambermaid’s perfume.

The reclusive Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) is a ‘nose’. She combines smells to create perfumes and had a stint with the Dior company before her career took a wrong turn. These days, all her agent can get her is recreating the smells of caves or making the fumes from unpleasant factories smell nice. But she longs to make perfumes again.

This is a stylish and charming movie with unusual, olfactory subject matter. You can’t smell in movies, so this element is instead conjured by verbal description. In a trip to a cave – the real cave, not the duplicate nearer the highway for which she must compose the smells, Anne feels, rubs and sniffs cave interior surfaces, getting Guillaume to write everything she says in a notebook.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Director – Tim Burton – 2005 – US – PG – 115 mins

*****

UK release date 29/07/2005. Currently screening on Netflix

An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s eponymous 1964 children’s book previously filmed under the title Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971), this also marks the second collaboration of Burton with screenwriter / adapter John August. The duo previously made Big Fish (2003), which film had all the desired Burton trademarks (larger than life, nonconformist outsiders, sense of wonderment, distinctive and zany visuals) while sidestepping the flaws (narrative incoherence, weak characterisation) which beset many of the director’s previous films. They’ve repeated the trick with Charlie, elaborating upon and extending Dahl’s original text without ever compromising it. Lead actor Depp is something of a Burton regular having previously appeared in Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore, current critics’ favourite child actor following his terrific turn in Finding Neverland, Marc Forster, 2004) lives with a family (Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor and grandparents including David Kelly and Liz Smith) so poor they live on cabbage soup in the shadow of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Mysterious, reclusive owner Willy Wonka (Depp) closed it years ago following his celebrated recipes’ theft by rival confectioners and hasn’t been seen in public since.… Read the rest