Categories
Animation Features Movies

Suzume
(Suzume
No Tojimari,
すずめの戸締まり,
lit. Suzume’s
Locking Up)

Director – Makoto Shinkai – 2022 – Japan – Cert. PG – 122m

***1/2

Aided by a man turned into a mobile, talking, three-legged chair, a schoolgirl must prevent giant, freak weather ‘worms’ from devastating Japan with earthquakes – anime feature is out in UK and Irish cinemas on Friday, April 14th

Prompted by a question from a man she meets on a road in her hometown, 17-year-old schoolgirl Suzume visits an abandoned hot springs facility in which is situated a door in a free standing door frame. She opens it only to find she can’t enter. Shortly after this, in school, she notices smoke in a gigantic, red and black worm-like form rising from the hot springs facility.

At the same time, everyone around her receives earthquake warnings on their smartphones, but no-one else can see the rising form. She goes back to the facility to find the man she met trying to close the door and cut off the incoming smoke, something she helps him to do. They do not close the door in time to prevent the red and black form falling onto the land and an earthquake resulting. The man locks the door using a key on his person.… 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
Animation Features Live Action Movies

Sonic
The Hedgehog 2

Director – Jeff Fowler – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 122m

**1/2

Sonic teams with Tails The Fox to battle the dastardly Dr. Robotnik and powerful, red nemesis Knuckles – out in cinemas on Friday, April 1st.

With Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) trapped on a mushroom planet, Sonic The Hedgehog (voice: Ben Schwartz) is busy trying to recreate himself as Batman-modelled superhero Blue Justice, but after his attempts to stop robbers in a security van end up decimating an entire block of the city with their explosives, that doesn’t look quite such a smart career move.

Meanwhile, the dastardly Dr. Robotnik is building a device to open a portal and return himself to Earth, where he seeks the green diamond which will give its owner ultimate power. Once opened, the portal introduces Robotnik to Knuckles (voice: Idris Elba), basically a bigger and more powerful red-furred version of the blue-furred Sonic with far more physical power and far less intelligence.

Now living with human substitute parents Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) in homely Green Hills, Montana, Sonic although described in the press handouts as a teenager is to all purposes played as a pre-teen boy keen to go off on his own and have adventures but not quite independent enough to do so (a conundrum that doesn’t really work).… Read the rest