Like The Wind Rises, this Oscar-nominated Studio Ghibli animation is a proper cinematic epic, telling a sprawling story with artistry, invention and vivid characters that leave most Hollywood animated movies in the dust. It's based on a 10th century Japanese folktale that's packed with resonant themes, and it's been animated in a way that makes it look like a childhood storybook come to life. So even if it feels rather long at 2 hours 17 minutes, the visual minimalism is relentlessly beautiful.
The story begins in the countryside, where farmer Okina (James Caan in the English-language version) finds a tiny girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) in a bamboo stalk. Believing her to be a princess, he raises her with his wife Ouna (Mary Steenburgen). When he finds silk and gold in his bamboo grove, Okina decides that the gods want them to raise the now-teen girl in a more regal setting, so they all move to the capital, where she's officially named Princess Kaguya and becomes the most eligible girl in the kingdom, attracting offers from five wealthy men, plus His Majesty (Dean Cain) himself. But Kaguya is longing for the quieter life in the country, and misses her childhood pal Sutemaru (Darren Criss).
As it develops, the story becomes deeper and richer, offering hints as to where the events are headed, although nothing prepares us for the final-act sequence, which feels almost anachronistic in its surreally eclectic splendour. But by then, we have become completely engulfed in Kaguya's story, identifying with her longing to reconnect with the friends who used to call her "L'il Bamboo" because she grew up much more quickly than they did. This tension between sophisticated high society and rural simplicity adds an extra layer of meaning to the entire film, as does the running commentary about Japan's gender politics. And the hint of romance between Kaguya and Sutemaru offers further subversion of the social order.
Continue reading: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Review
Once upon a time in Japan, a bamboo cutter discovered a miniature girl inside the body of a glowing stalk of bamboo. When he took the girl home, he adopted her as his daughter, and decided that she must be a princess. The princess began to grow at an alarming rate, soon becoming a young woman. One day, the bamboo cutter discovered another glowing stalk and once again, decided to chop it down. Inside was enough gold for him to build a palace for his princess. But a princess with a palace needs a prince, and the little princess wanted only to return to her friends. The punishment for dishonouring the prince's request would be death, so the princess was forced to embark on a journey through love, life, and Japan, in search of her heart's desire.
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Brooke Shields new memoir may focus primarily on her relationship with her mother and manager but she's taken the time to reveal some more intimate details about her romantic life, including the time she lost her virginity.
Brooke Shields' new memoir focusses on the relationship with her mother.
When devoted Christian Josh Wheaton begins his college year, he has no idea that he would be facing a huge personal battle when his philosophy teacher Professor Radisson heartlessly tries to force him to throw his religion aside for the sake of the course. While everyone else in room willingly follows instruction and writes God Is Dead on their sheets of paper, Josh finds himself unable to dismiss his faith that easily, incurring Mr Radission's annoyance. With no desire to drop the subject, he has to pass the semester, but in order to do so he must present a convincing argument about the existence of God. If he does not manage to change the atheistic minds of all his classmates, he will no doubt fail the class thus ruining his future plans.
Continue: God's Not Dead Trailer
Former superman struggles to paint positive picture of the late singer
McCready was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, just weeks after her partner, David Wilson was also found dead under suspicious circumstances. While the events of the past few weeks are undoubtedly tragic, for Dean Cain they're unsurprising, who painted a picture of her that showed her to be her own worst enemy. Indeed, he admitted "I can't paint too pretty a picture."
"She would start arguments, start drama. Things weren't allowed to be good," he continued. "She was never abusive or addictive with me, but red flags were everywhere. I saw all the bad signs and told her to get out. Everything she did was a manipulation of sorts. She would just get combative."
Continue reading: Mindy McCready's Ex Dean Cain "Not Surprised" By Her Apparent Suicide
With a cast largely composed of non-gay men, you'd be surprised how convincing the likes of Timothy Olyphant and Dean Cain are at playing it fey. Olyphant stars as a likeable photographer/waiter looking to focus his life away from destructive one-night relationships and into something more meaningful. His roommate (Cain) is no help, a pretty boy actor who lands anyone he wants in the sack. Coupled with a half-dozen other characters, the fellows hang out at a restaurant & bar called Jack's Broken Heart (run by none other than a hilarious John Mahoney, who spends Saturday nights crooning in an ill-advised drag costume and the weekends managing the worst softball team in West Hollywood).
Continue reading: The Broken Hearts Club Review
Chief of Police Matt Lee Whitlock (Washington) monitors the comings and goings of Banyan Key, an intimate beach community located several miles south of Miami. His private life is plagued by failed relationships and love triangles. A pending separation from his wife Alex (Eva Mendes) doesn't stop Whitlock from sleeping with Anne (Sanaa Lathan), a married townie with an abusive husband (Dean Cain).
Continue reading: Out of Time Review
For a gay movie that purports to be about real people -- as opposed to melodramatic stereotypes or comedy caricatures -- "The Broken Hearts Club" comes across pretty contrived.
Not only do the ensemble players include such stock West Hollywood denizens as the bimbo hunk and the queeny cry baby with a jones for redecorating, but these clichés are also introduced immediately following a coffee shop gripe session scene about how gays in the movies are always sex maniacs, confidants to lovelorn women, AIDS victims or friends of AIDS victims.
Writer-director Greg Berlanti (a producer on "Dawson's Creek") doesn't seem to realize he's contributing to this very problem. And he's far too green a filmmaker to be passing judgment anyway. This is his first film and it's riddled with nagging script deficiencies (most of these "real people" don't seem to have jobs) and bad technical calls, like the gratuitous, intrusive and annoying overuse of hand-held cameras.
Continue reading: The Broken Hearts Club Review
After a generation on hiatus, the crazy, ensemble-cast chase comedy is back with an MTV vengeance in "Rat Race," a cornball marathon between a dozen second-tier stars vying for a $2 million booty.
The gimmick: To entertain his high-rolling clientele, a Las Vegas hotelier -- played by John Cleese with a slightly insane, toothy-dentured grin -- recruits an oddball assortment of zealous casino tourists to dash across the desert to New Mexico in search of a bus station locker where the loot has been stashed. The runners think it's all a zany promotion for Cleese's resort, but in the penthouse billionaires from all over the world are placing high-stakes bets on who will get there first, just for rich-guy kicks.
The players: Jon Lovitz is an chintzy, unemployed soccer dad who red-lines his minivan while dragging his family along, on the pretense of a job offer so he doesn't get chewed out for ruining their vacation. He catches hell anyway when the car breaks down outside a "white power" roadside attraction and they steal Hitler's limo to complete the pilgrimage.
Continue reading: Rat Race Review