Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The End We Start From

Director – Mahalia Belo – 2023 – UK – Cert. 15 – 102m

***1/2

As parts of the UK are flooded and submerged by an ecological disaster, a woman births a baby she must then bring up – out in UK cinemas on Friday, January 19th

On the one hand, this starts off with a woman (Jodie Comer) giving birth and then experiencing the process of being a new mother, with all the joys and stresses that entails. On the other, this shows the UK being overtaken and flooded by an eco-disaster, and how people respond to that situation both individually and en masse. The second scenario is reminiscent of any number of disaster and / or science fiction movies about flooding, apocalypse or dystopia (When Worlds Collide, Rudolph Maté, 1951; Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón, 2006; Waterworld, Kevin Reynolds, 1995): if you approach this movie expecting something like that, you’re going to be disappointed, because although that element is very much present in the film, it’s little more than the backdrop.

It plays more like a road movie, in which the heroine – the husband having dropped out of the narrative towards the end of the first reel – meets a series of people on her travels, each of whom offer their own individual insight into the state of things and how the new mother might move forward.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Weathering With You
(Tenki No Ko,
天気の子,
lit. Child Of Weather)

Director – Makoto Shinkai – 2019 – Japan – Cert. 12a – 112m

***1/2

A runaway teenage boy in a constantly raining Tokyo falls for a girl who can replace rain with sunshine – Makoto Shinkai’s feature returns to cinemas for one day only on Wednesday, April 5th, ahead of the release of Shinkai’s new film Suzume on April 14th

A bravura opening shot pulls from rainswept Tokyo in through a hospital window to a girl waiting by a patient’s bedside, recalling nothing so much as the heroine of everyone’s favourite anime identity thriller Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon, 1997) reflected against a train carriage window with a Tokyo cityscape visible beyond, but where Kon uses such imagery as an entry point to multilayered realities, Weathering With You’s vision never really extends beyond trying to recreate and repeat the formula that rendered its director’s previous Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016) such a runaway success.

Like Your Name, Weathering With You centres on a teenage boy / girl romance but instead of the gender body swap and time travel devices in the earlier film – which probably shouldn’t have worked but somehow did – Weathering has an equally flimsy plot device about a girl named Hina who possesses the ability to turn rain into sunshine.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Cave Rescue

Director – Tom Waller – 2022 – Thailand – US Cert. PG-13 – 99m

****

A Thai-based dramatisation of the 2018 Thailand boys’ football team cave rescue, with some of the rescuers playing themselves – on Blu-ray (US only) Tuesday, September 13th

In 2018, the world held its breath when the 12 boys of a football team and their 24-year-old coach became trapped in a cave when rain fell unexpectedly and water levels within the cave system started to rise. Incredibly, the ensuing rescue attempt involving divers from the US, UK, Ireland and Canada got all 13 out alive. According to this film, sadly, there was one fatality among the Thai Navy SEAL divers involved in the rescue.

Quick off the mark, Thailand-based producer-director Waller made the story into a feature film The Cave (2019), aimed at the Thai market. With Netflix having already secured the rights to the boys’ stories – a miniseries Thai Cave Rescue (2022) is coming to Netflix US in September 2022 – Waller and his co-writers had to find an alternative route to telling the story. A meeting with Irish diver Jim Warny, who was involved in the rescue operation, resulted in the decision to base the narrative not around the thirteen people trapped underground but the men and women who attempted to get them out (mostly men, although there are one or two women featured among the paramedics not to mention an assistant to the local Governor).… Read the rest