Categories
Animation Features Movies

The Boy And The Heron
(Kimitachi Wa
Do Ikiru Ka,
君たちはど
う生きるか,
lit.
How Do You Live?)

Director – Hayao Miyazaki – 2023 – Japan – Cert. 12a – 124m

*****

During WorldWar Two, a boy bereaved of his mother moves to the countryside with his businessman father where a heron lures him into another dimension to rescue his vanished stepmother – out in UK cinemas on Friday, December 26th

Directors, eh? They make their last film, then, some time later, they go and make another one. The Wind Rises (2013) was supposed to be Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, but three years later, he was working on his next one. And seven years further on, The Boy And The Heron hits cinemas. The Japanese title How Do You Live? comes from a popular children’s novel, a copy of which appears in the film, rather than the film being an adaptation of the novel.

Three years into World War Two, young boy Mahito (Japanese dub: Soma Santoki; English dub: Luca Padovan) loses his mother in a Tokyo hospital fire. Four years into the war, his father (Japanese dub: Takuya Kimura; English dub: Christian Bale) – a businessman who manufactures aircraft cockpits for the war effort – decides to move both his factory and his son out of Tokyo to the countryside where he plans to marry his late wife’s younger sister Natsuko (Japanese dub: Yoshino Kimura; English dub: Gemma Chan).… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The Old Man
And The Land

Director – Nicholas Parish – 2023 – UK – Cert. none – 100m

*****

As he works on the land, an aging farmer hears his two adult children argue about the future of the family farm – premieres in the Critics’ Picks Competition at the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Movies. You think everything’s been done, then along comes something you’ve never seen before. Or, in this case, seen or heard before.

The Old Man in question is an English farmer (Roger Marten) whose family have worked the land for generations. He’s getting on in years, so won’t be around forever. His wife died a while ago, so he’s now running the farm on his own. He has two children who have long since grown up and left home: a son (voice: Rory Kinnear) and a daughter (voice: Emily Beecham), and the big question is, when he dies, will they take over – or will they get rid of the farm?

In recent years, the UK has produced a number of rural movies that stand in stark contrast to the urban- (Often London-) based films produced. Quite a few of these have been about farms or farmers (e.g.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

One Fine Spring Day
(Bomnaleun Ganda,
봄날은 간다)

Director – Hur JIn-ho – 2001 – South Korea – Cert. 15 – 113m

*****

The romance between a sound engineer and a radio DJ from winter through spring to its falling apart in summer – from LKFF, the London Korean Film Festival 2023 which runs in cinemas from Thursday, November 2nd to Thursday, November 16th

Winter. Twentysomething sound recordist Sang-woo (Yoo Ji-tae) lives at home with his family including his grandmother, to whom he’s completely devoted. He is hired by a radio station in a nearby town and finds himself working alongside DJ and talk radio host Eun-su (Lee Young-ae), travelling there in his van. They spend time in the local countryside recording sounds such as the wind across the tall grass and she invites him to her flat for the night. One thing almost leads to another, but woken by his trying to kiss her as she lies on a mattress on the floor after she let him use her bed, she tells him, let’s wait until we know each other better.

They quickly become inseparable, with much walking together, holding and hugging, although she won’t shout about it from the rooftops because, as she explains to him, if the radio station found out they were in a relationship, he’d get the sack.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

One Of Our Aircraft
Is Missing

Producers-Writers-Directors – The Archers (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger) – 1942 – UK – Cert. PG – 103m

*****

Forced to bail out following an otherwise successful mission in which one engine is disabled, a British bomber crew must find their way across occupied Holland to return to the safety of Britain – part of major season Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds Of Powell + Pressburger from Monday, October 16th at BFI Southbank, also on BFI Blu-ray; other films in the season can be found on BFI Player

Made at the height of World War II, the first Powell and Pressburger / The Archers movie to deploy that verbal credit as such – but without their later trademark opening shot of an arrow striking its target – is in essence a propaganda exercise in the guise of a narrative feature film made to bolster wartime morale at home. However, the pair pull the whole thing off with such verve and inventiveness that it feels less an exercise in propaganda and more a rattling good yarn (without compromising either way).

It opens like a bizarre ghost story (as bizarre as the curse upon the Lairds of Kiloran in the castle ruins of “i know where I’m going!”Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Mob Land

Director – Nicholas Maggio – 2022 – US – Cert. 15 – 110m

****

Needing money to pay off debts, a family man, mechanic and racer gets sucked into a robbery by his uncle, then finds himself working alongside a mob killer hired to clean up the loose ends of the crime – out in UK cinemas on Friday, August 25th

A small. rural town in the Southern States. Shelby Conners (Shiloh Fernandez) completely in love with wife Caroline (Ashley Benson) and devoted to young daughter Mia (Tina DeMartino), pops pills to get through the day and hasn’t yet told his wife about the mounting household bills. His uncle Trey (Kevin Dillon), the proud owner of an expensive, lurid lime green, Japanese car, offers him a way out in the form of a sure fire robbery about which Shelby is less than sure.

There’s this pills / meds store called the Happiness Pain Centre which, Trey explains, is turning over a huge amount of money a day and is only guarded by a couple of hicks, so it would be a pushover. And all Shelby needs to do is drive the car, something both men know he’s really good at, especially as Trey can provide the car to Shelby’s specification.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

The Tunnel
To Summer,
The Exit
Of Goodbyes
(Natsu
E No Tunnel,
Sayonara
No Deguchi,
夏へのトンネル、
さよならの出口)

Director – Tomohisa Taguchi – 2022 – Japan – Cert. – 83m

****

Damaged boy meets damaged girl one summer to discover a tunnel in which time passes much faster and innermost desires are fulfilled – from the 2023 Annecy International Animation Festival in the Official Competition section and out in UK cinemas on Friday, July 14th

A rural railway platform in the rain. Puddles on the platform. The tannoy states that the train is delayed by half an hour because it has collided with a deer. The standing boy explains to the sitting girl who isn’t from around these parts that that often happens in this region and offers her his umbrella. At first, she refuses thinking him a bit of a creep, but then comes round. They swap names and numbers on their phones so that she can return his umbrella. They read each other’s names out loud: she reads Tano Kaoru; he reads Hanashiro Anzu.

Next day, Kaoru (voice: Ouji Suzuka) takes the train to high school where the class is introduced to a new girl: it’s Anzu (voice: Marie Iitoyo). Like her initial coldness towards Kaoru, she ignores various girls attempts to be sociable and has a run in with the girl class bully Kawasaki (voice: Arisa Komiya), punching the latter in the face and causing a nosebleed when Kawasaki “accidentally” drops the old manga in which Anzu is engrossed onto the floor.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Cairo Conspiracy,
(original title:
Boy From Heaven,
Walad Min Al Janna,
صبي من الجنة)

Director – Tarik Saleh – 2022 – Sweden, France, Finland – Cert. 12a – 126m

***

A naive, young, Egyptian student at a top Islamic university is recruited as a spy for the secret police – out in UK cinemas on Friday, April 14th

Adam (Tawfeek Barhom), a bookworm born and raised in rural Egypt where he works as a fisherman like his father before him, visits the local mosque where his trusted Imam gives him a letter informing him he’s been accepted into Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University, the top seat of Sunni Muslim learning and thought. He’s worried his widowed father won’t let him go, but his father fatally accepts it as the Will of Allah. In his university dorm, Adam finds his bed taken by fellow student Raed (Ahmed Laissaoui) and winds up in the bunk below. (The university is for men only: no women. At least, we see none here.)

Unexpectedly, the Grand Imam, the head of the university, dies and a successor must be chosen. At the security forces building, the General (Mohammad Bakri) listens to the analysis by Colonel Ibrahim (Fares Fares) of the possible candidates, throwing all files on the floor except one – the one with whom the President’s views align, the candidate who must win.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Women Talking

Director – Sarah Polley – 2022 – US – Cert. 15 – 104m

*****

Should we stay or should we go? Following an incident of mass sexual abuse in an isolated religious community, its women debate the question, stay and fight – or leave? – out in UK cinemas on Friday, February 10th

Here’s a film that defies the rule that, by rights, a bunch of people talking to one another in one location ought to make for tedious cinema. (Such outings usually work very well on the stage, a medium about a bunch of people talking in one location.) Yet Sarah Polley’s adaptation of the novel Women Talking proves electrifying. It’s based on a novel by Canadian author Miriam Toews which is in turn based on horrifying real life events (although the book is “an imagined response to real events”, rather than an attempt to actually conjure or describe those events).

Between 2005 and 2009, in an isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia, over a hundred girls and women were raped in their sleep. Their discoveries were initially dismissed by the community’s menfolk until it came to light that a small group of men had sprayed the interiors of the victims’ houses with animal anaesthetic to render them and their families unconscious.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies Shorts

Piggy
(Cerdita)

Director – Carlota Pereda – 2022 – Spain – Cert. 18 – 99m

*****

Director – Carlota Pereda – 2018 – Spain – 13m

*****

Fat-shaming, bullying, overbearing mothers, growing up as the local butcher’s daughter, and more – feature based on short is out in UK cinemas on Friday, January 6th

Sara (Laura Galán) is attempting to navigate the difficult waters of adolescence. It isn’t much fun if you’re different and cliques of your contemporaries gang up on you. In Sara’s case, she isn’t just fat, she’s also introverted and shuns people, which compounds the amount she gets teased. She often works in her father’s butchers shop, so bullies can easily put together insults based on fat and flesh and pork and meat. A clique of three, thinner girls – Roci (Camille Aguilar) and Maca (Claudia Salas) and their unwilling hanger-on Claudia aka Clau (Irene Ferreiro) – call her Piggy.

It’s Summer, and everyone is going down to the Madrigal (Waterfall) festivities at the pool on the river, where a mysterious out-of-towner is lounging about, but Sara sneaks down there later for a swim when she hopes nobody is around. She’s just getting into the water when the stranger (Richard Holmes) surfaces innocently, startling her.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

A Fugitive From The Past
(Kiga Kaikyo,
飢餓海峡)

Director – Tomu Uchida – 1965 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 183m

*****

Voted third in Kinema Junpo magazine’s 1999 list of the greatest Japanese film of all time, Tomu Uchida’s A Fugitive From The Past (1965) is the pinnacle of a directorial career that also includes Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji (1955) and The Mad Fox (1962). In the poll, it was beaten by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) at number one and Mikio Naruse’s Floating Clouds (1955) at number two, For the record, the fourth title was Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953) while the fifth was Yuzo Kawashima’s Bakumatsu Taiyoden / The Legend Of The Sun-Tribe From The Bakumatsu Era (1957). While four of those titles were made in the mid-fifties, often considered the golden age of classical Japanese cinema, Fugitive dates from the mid-sixties, allowing it to look at Japan’s post-war period from a greater distance.

Uchida’s film, which spans the decade 1947-57, covers a colossal amount of subjects in its first 50 minutes…

[Read the full review at All The Anime.]

A Fugitive From The Past is released on Arrow Blu-ray.

Trailer: