“All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.”
If you live near an art-house theater you might have a chance to see The Wind Rises
), which may well be the last animated film by Hayao Miyazaki. But you’d better act fast.
Of all Miyazaki’s work, this may be the least suited to the American market: a sad, romantic story about a nerdy but pure-hearted engineer. It is very loosely based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane.
As a young boy in a relatively poor and backward country Jiro (voiced as a child by Zach Callison and as an adult by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is fascinated by airplanes but frustrated by the knowledge that his poor eyesight will keep him from ever becoming a pilot.
In a vivid lucid dream he meets Giovanni Caproni (Stanley Tucci) the famous aircraft designer. Caproni, who claims that he is also dreaming, shows Jiro his plans for a gigantic trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft. Inspired, Jiro vows to become an aeronautical engineer.
About Last Night
) is a fairly predictable romantic comedy, but it’s funny enough that is doesn’t feel like a waste of time. As movies released on Valentine’s Day go, this is probably one of the better ones.
The movie is about two couples. Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Joan (Regina Hall) are wild and crazy party-goers. Bernie has a business associate named Danny (Michael Ealy) and Joan has a roommate named Debbie (Joy Bryant); both are sensible normal people. Because Bernie and Joan have become an item, Danny and Debbie meet.
The story is mostly about Danny and Debbie who are the only ones the average movie-goer is likely to identify with. However, let’s face it–Danny and Debbie are kind of boring. It is Bernie and Joan who provide all the laughs and make the movie work as entertainment.
Episode 6 of Chuunibyou Ren visits the Yoshinogari site. A very interesting place. See my post about it for more information.
) is a crime drama based very loosely on the Abscam operation
of the late 1970s. The opening credits say “Some of this actually happened.”
Though it may take a lighthearted approach to historical accuracy the movie is very well done, with several outstanding acting performances.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are a couple of con artists operating in New York in 1978. Irving is an overweight schlub with an elaborate comb-over and tacky 1970s suits, but he has a canny grasp of human nature. Sydney on the other hand is poised, beautiful and sultry. She has created a glamorous persona of an Englishwoman with aristocratic connections.
Via CNN and The Independent.
Now at this point I could be saying “I told you so,” because I said something similar when reviewing one of the movies. (I was deliberately watching the movies while not reading the books.)
Obviously Harry and Hermione are the best matches in terms of intelligence, ability and good looks. From a storytelling standpoint its always more satisfactory when the prince marries the princess.
However just to be contrary I’m going to offer some reasons why the canonical ending might be better, at least from Hermione’s standpoint:
- Harry might make a bad husband. He’s moody and self-centered. He’s a celebrity bound to be pursued by groupies. And he grew up in a dysfunctional family from which he probably absorbed all sorts of bad patterns. He might make a good partner someday but he’ll probably have to go through at least one failed marriage first.
- They’re both Type A personalities, hard-driven and high-achieving. It would be hard for Hermione to be #2 in the relationship but that’s what she would have to settle for. She might be happier with a goodhearted hard-working guy who’s a bit dim but worships her.
(December 13) The ancient Inca capital of Cusco is today a city of about half a million people. The elevation is over 14,000 feet. New visitors may find that they tire easily and are often advised to drink coca tea to avoid altitude sickness.
So far my second-favorite anime
of the new season is Hoozuki no Reitetsu
(“Cool-headed Hoozuki”) (Crunchyroll
). This probably won’t appeal to everyone. It’s one of those shows that’s full of references to Japanese folklore, mythology and classic anime. I don’t get all the references even though I’ve been studying this stuff as a hobby for years. Still I find it pretty funny.
This is a comedy set it Hell, but it’s not a particularly dark comedy, just kind of offbeat. It doesn’t dwell much on the tortures of the damned. In any case this is the Japanese Buddhist hell, which isn’t supposed to be forever. (Though it may last a long time since the wicked don’t usually reform themselves easily.)
It’s a short set-piece comedy. Each episode consists of two 12-minute stories.
When I heard that Chuunibyou was going to have a second season I was more worried than excited. The original series had a perfectly fine ending that seemed to leave no need for a sequel. Furthermore, long-running comedies usually cease to be funny after a while as the writers run out of inspiration.
Well the sequel is here and the good news is that it is still hilarious. (Your mileage may vary. This is slapstick comedy and won’t be to everyone’s taste. However as slapstick comedy goes, it rarely gets better than this.)
So far Noragami
) is one of the bright spots in a rather weak season. It’s another fantasy based on Shinto traditions, but the tone is quite different from last season’s Gingitsune
. This is a shounen
action series, more whimsical but also more violent.
It may not appeal to exactly the same audience as Gingitsune but it’s quite well done. I find the mixture of humor and action very entertaining.
Yato is a god, but not a very successful one. He used to work as a minor war god, but there’s not much demand for that in modern Japan. Now he’s unemployed and homeless, without a single shrine to his name. He’s reduced to sleeping on street-corners, scrounging in dumpsters for food, and doing odd jobs that range from getting rid of evil ayakashi to cleaning people’s bathrooms.
(December 11) On the train to Machu Picchu. Remnants of the Inca trail from Cusco can be seen through the window.