hayao miyazaki documentary

Tuesday December 9 is a great day to be a fan of Studio Ghibli. It’s the day Mami Sunada‘s documentary, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, hits all your big digital VOD platforms: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Playstation, Xbox, and Vudu.

That means you can sit back and be a fly on the wall of one of the world’s most incredible and influential animation studios as Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata work to finish The Wind Rises and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. That in itself is an amazing opportunity. What’s even more incredible is while Sunada’s cameras were rolling, Miyazaki made the decision to retire from filmmaking.

Below, we’ve got an exclusive clip from The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. In it, you can watch Miyazaki actually work. He animates the final shot of The Wind Rises, which he decided to change at the last second and, to him, it tied everything together. It’s a bitter sweet, wonderful moment and – potentially – a piece of film history. Watch the exclusive Hayao Miyazaki documentary clip below, then read through our recent stroll through his entire feature career. Read More »

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Films of Hayao Miyazaki

Rumors of the closure of Studio Ghibli are not true, but it seems that Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro director Hayao Miyazaki may be done with feature filmmaking for good. In a career that spanned over thirty years directing features, Miyazaki refined his own storytelling and helped change the world’s idea of what stories animated films can bring to audiences of all ages. And yet even with the muscle of Disney behind them, the films of Hayao Miyazaki have been somewhat slow to hit DVD and then Blu-ray in the US. (For Blu-ray that is in part thanks to a measured release plan in Japan.)

With the just-released US Blu upgrades for Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke, and the debut release of The Wind Rises on Disney home video, all but three of Miyazaki’s films are now on blu-ray in the States. (Disney will release Porco Rosso in February, and probably have Spirited Away out by Christmas 2015.) That’s as good a reason as any to look back at the filmmaker’s illustrious career. There aren’t any films on his CV you should not see — he has not made a bad movie — but below we’ll look at the films of Hayao Miyazaki in ranked order, to help you figure out what to prioritize, in the event you’re relatively new to his work. Read More »

15 Movies to Be Thankful For This Year

movies to be thankful for

For the next few weeks, you’re going to be hearing a lot about how great a year for movies 2014 was. That’s true, but this is not that list — this isn’t our “best of 2014.” As it is Thanksgiving week here in the United States, we’ve come up with a list of movies from 2014  we should be thankful for. These are all good films, but each of them has something unique about them. Something that makes us thankful they exist.

So what does that mean? Well some of these films should probably not exist. Others should probably not have been good. And a few contained surprises, stories or topics that are simply miraculous for one reason or another. We’ll explain each below as we unveil the 15 films to be thankful for this year. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 263 – The Wind Rises

windrises

David and Devindra praise Eva Green’s insane performance in 300: Rise of an Empire, discuss whether or not 20 Feet from Stardom should have beaten The Act of Killing act the Oscars, and dissect the latest (and last?) Miyazaki film, the controversial The Wind Rises.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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The Wind Rises

Briefly: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is having a big news day. He’s attached to adapt Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and he’s now officially been revealed as the lead voice in Disney’s English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki‘s final film, The Wind Rises.

Gordon-Levitt will voice Jiro Horikoshi, a talented engineer who spends his life building planes, only to realize he can’t fix everything. The actor will be joined by an impressive list of names including his Looper co-star Emily Blunt, her husband John Krasinski, as well as Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy, Werner Herzog (!), Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grey, Darren Criss, Elijah Wood and Ronan Farrow.

The English dubbed version will be released February 21. [USA Today]

wind-rises-US-trailer-2

Hayao Miyazaki‘s final feature film, The Wind Rises, just finished its Oscar-qualifying run in New York and LA, and will be back in theaters for a full run in February. This first brief run of the film was a subtitled affair, preserving the original Japanese voice track. When the movie returns next year there will be a choice of subtitled and dubbed versions.

We’ve got a new trailer for the US release, but we don’t get to hear those performances. In fact, we don’t even know who the English voice actors are. The sound here is mostly via one of the film’s songs.

Therefore, while this trailer gives you some idea of a few visual flights of fancy that take place in the movie, as Jiro Horikoshi dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer and follows through to succeed at his goal, it does not let us hear much of the film’s stunningly unique sound design. I won’t be more specific, but the aircraft and natural events in this film don’t sound quite like you’d expect them to.  Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 251 – Thor: The Dark World

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thor the dark world poster

DaveDevindra, and Germain discuss the latest (and last?) Miyazaki film, praise the mad genius of Escape from Tomorrow, and explore how Catching Fire improves on its predecessor in every way. Be sure to read Germain’s interview with Jennifer Lawrence, learn what was going on at the end of Thor: The Dark World, and see why Marvel has a villain problem.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
Read More »

Tale-of-the-bamboo-princess

Twenty-five years ago Studio Ghibli’s second major release was the double feature of My Neighbor Totoro from Hayao Miyazai and Grave of the Fireflies from Isao Takahata. This year we’ve already seen Miyazaki’s latest, The Wind Rises, arriving to acclaim (and some controversy) in Japan, and we’ve now got a poster for the US release.

At the same time, Takahata’s latest film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, is soon to be released in Japan, and we’ve got a new three-minute trailer for the film. We’ve seen some footage from that already, but this offers a lot more to take in.  Read More »

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