Categories
Animation Features Movies

Monsters, Inc.

Directors – Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich – 2001 – US – Cert. U – 92m

The eponymous corporation employs one-eyed, green Mike Wazowski (voice: Billy Crystal) and big, all-over blue hairy James P. Sullivan (voice: John Goodman) to terrify kids, processing their screams into energy for use in the monster world’s power plants. Human touch being deadly to monsters, chaos ensues when little girl Boo (voice: Mary Gibbs) gets into monster world, exteriors of which owe much to New York.

The first Pixar feature to manage convincing hair has an opening minute recalling stop-frame short The Sandman (Paul Berry, 1991), a bar named Harryhausen’s, a fight with an invisible adversary straight out of Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995) and a much better integrated interdimensional door plot device than anime Urusei Yatsura Video 1 Inaba the Dreammaker (Satoshi Dezaki, 1987). Minor details aside, the inventive and original narrative runs true to form, though the directorial team’s leanings prove unexpectedly closer to Disney’s fast-paced, gag-orientated The Emperor’s New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000) than to Pixar’s heart-warming Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995).

(Notes written at the time of release; previously unpublished.)

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Monster
(Kaibutsu,
怪物)

Director – Hirokazu Kore-eda – 2023 – Japan – Cert. 12a – 126m

****

The mother of a school pupil believes her son is being abused by his teacher, who in turn protests his own innocence, yet the truth is more complex – out in UK cinemas on Friday, March 15th

A movie at once spellbinding and infuriating, as a seemingly straightforward narrative is retold from different points of view and shifts subtly as further details emerge. It’s not a film to see if you’re tired, as it requires considerable attention on the part of the audience.

It starts off with a child’s feet walking along a patch of wasteland at night, sirens in the distance and then a blazing urban building which his single-parent mother Saori Mugino (Sakura Ando from Godzilla Minus One, 2023; Shoplifters, 2018 and Love Exposure, 2008) summons her son Minato (Soya Kurokawa) out onto their flat’s balcony to watch. Overheard conversation later suggests that not only was there a hostess bar on the third floor of the burning building, but that Minato’s teacher Mr. Hori (Eita Nagayama from Toshiaki Toyoda’s 9 Souls, 2003 and Blue Spring, 2001) used to go there.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

Pachyderm
(Pachyderme)

Director – Stéphanie Clément – 2022 – France – 11m

*****

A nine-year-old struggles with the trauma that befalls her at her grandpa’s – nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2024 Academy Awards, VoD details below review

She’s nine (voice-over: Christa Theret), and in the Summer she goes to stay with granny and grandpa. She plays on a swing, missing mum and dad, she watches a cabbage white butterfly in the garden. The house is tidy, ordered, perhaps obsessively so. It smells of polish; the kitchen smells of bleach. Tomorrow, grandpa will take her to the lake, where he likes to fish. To get to her bedroom, she must pass the big, intimidating horn mounted at the top of the stairs, a hunting trophy from a pachyderm. In her room, she can see eyes watching her from the wood grain of the ceiling timbers. She doesn’t sleep by counting sheep; she kills monsters. As the floorboards creak outside her door, she hides in the wallpaper, in the flowers, in sleep. After all, as grandma says, what could happen?

Before the trip, she accidentally pricks a finger on one of grandpa’s fishing hooks – lures, as they call them – but grandpa kisses the cut better with the kiss that heals all things.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Ring
(Ringu,
リング )
(Collection)

Ring

Director – Hideo Nakata – 1998 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 96m

*****

Spiral (Rasen)

Director – Joji Iida – 1998 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 97m

** 1/2

Ring 2

Director – Hideo Nakata – 1999 – Japan – Cert. 12 – 95m

*****

Ring 0

Director – Norio Tsuruta – 2000 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 99m

***1/2

Ring plays in the BFI Japan 2021 season October / November at BFI Southbank, also currently streaming on BFI Player as part of the BFI Japan 2021 programme. Ring and Ring 2 are on Shudder.

You watch a short, scary video on the VCR. Then your phone rings… you have a week to show it to someone else – or die! Ring (1998) took the world by storm.

A single parent, TV journalist investigates a cursed videotape…

I review Arrow’s Ring Collection for All The Anime.

Ring plays in the BFI Japan 2021 season October / November at BFI Southbank, also currently streaming on BFI Player as part of the BFI Japan 2021 programme. Ring and Ring 2 are on Shudder.

Trailer:

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Cruella

Director – Craig Gillespie – 2020 – US, UK – Cert. 12a – 134m

****

A 101 Dalmatians prequel. How a girl named Estella unleashed her darker personality of Cruella de Vil – in cinemas from Friday, May 28th

Disney’s project of mining their pantheon of animated classics for live action feature material continues. Here it’s the turn of Cruella de Vil, the villain from 101 Dalmatians (Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman, 1961), and a very clever reimagination it is too. It commences with her birth and cleverly conceals certain significant details of her upbringing only to reveal them at the tale’s climax and give everything that went before a completely new spin.

Estella (Tipper Siefert-Cleveland) is the daughter of Catherine (Emily Beecham). Befriended at school by Anita Darling (Florisa Kamara) but picked on by bullies, Estella gives as good as she gets, fights back and gets expelled for figuratively blotting her copybook. 

So her mother pays a visit to former employer the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson) seeking help. But thanks to Estella’s refusal to do as she’s told and stay in the car and her dog Buddy’s strikingly similar refusal to obey Estella this plan goes fatally wrong.… Read the rest