Castle of Cagliostro

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: The movie chronicles the adventures of a gentlemen thief named Arsène Lupin III. As the headline indicates, that really should be all you need to know, but on the off chance that you need more convincing, it also features: car chases, ninjas, an evil count, a princess in distress, a secret ring, a clandestine counterfeit operation, a femme fatale, a dogged inspector, gorgeous locations, a strong dose of derring-do, and much more.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: I only watched 1979’s The Castle of Cagliostro, the feature directorial debut of animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, for the first time last summer, but it instantly became one of my favorite animated films of all time. If I were to imagine a platonic ideal of the perfect action adventure movie, this would be pretty damn close to it. In addition to its terrific story and characters, which I’ll get to in a second, its locales are what made me think of this as a contender for this column. We’re still only a few weeks into self-isolation, but I’m sure many people who aren’t used to working from home are starting to go a little stir-crazy. So why not be whisked away to lovely Cagliostro, a fictional European destination featuring a mixture of classicism and retro-futurism? The painted backgrounds are gorgeous across the board, and the story’s setting – bouncing from ancient ruins to village rooftops, soaring towers to creepy dungeons – will make you feel like you’ve traveled the world in an hour and forty minutes. Read More »

pop culture imports

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best, wackiest, and weirdest foreign-language movies and TV shows streaming right now.)

We may be drowning in the hundreds of original streaming titles that are released each month, but there are so many foreign-language movies and shows that are just begging for you to stream them. This week we have the directorial debut of world-renowned animation giant Hayao Miyazaki, a tour-de-force performance from Diane Kruger, a heartwarming documentary from French New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda, John Woo‘s high-octane Netflix action movie packed to the brim with doves, and an intriguing Danish semi-zombie series.

Let’s fire up those subtitles and dive into the best foreign-language titles of the week.

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The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Set will be released by Disney in North America and is now available for pre-order for $224.99. The U.S. release of this set appears to be an Amazon exclusive. Shipping is free with or without Amazon Prime. The set includes the following films: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises. An international trailer and details about bonus features included in the set, can be found after the jump.

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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 recent 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 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.

Update: Disney has now also released Porco Rosso on blu-ray, along with excellent discs of Pom Poko and Tales From Earthsea. Disney’s blu releases of Miyazaki (and Ghibli films in general) have been excellent, and stand as essential upgrades from previous releases.

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