Japan's Studio Gibli has been responsible for some of the finest animated movies in recent decades, from 2003's Oscar-winning Spirited Away to last year's beautiful The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Now adapted by Disney with a starry Western voice cast, their films are reaching a wider audience. And this remarkably moving drama shows how complex an animated movie should be, skilfully grappling with grown-up themes through a child's perspective.
The story comes from the Joan G. Robinson novel about Anna (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld in the English-language version), a 12-year-old who lives in Sapporo with her foster mother Yoriko (Geena Davis). But Anna isn't like the other giggly girls at school, and after an asthma attack, she moves to the countryside to live with Aunt Setsu and Uncle Kiyomasa (Grey Griffin and John C. Reilly). They give her plenty of space to explore the area, and when she spots an abandoned seaside mansion, she is unexpectedly drawn to it, befriending Marnie (Kiernan Skipka), the free-spirited girl who lives there. Anna understands that Marnie is an imaginary friend, then is surprised to find Marnie's diary hidden behind a bookshelf in the rambling house.
The twisty plot incorporates a range of elements that keep the audience off-balance: Is this a ghost story? Is Anna mentally unstable because of her difficult background? But the film is much deeper than that, and as Anna takes a fiercely original journey to self-discovery, the film touches on all kinds of resonant themes. For example, Anna struggles with her self-image, never believing that she's a talented artist, although she clearly is. This has left her feeling like no one else likes her either. So it's both fascinating and moving to watch her blossoming relationships with both the young girl Sayaka (Ava Acres) and the older woman Hisako (Vanessa Williams) who paints by the seaside. Both offer emotional insight into Anna's story.
Continue reading: When Marnie Was There Review
Davis reckons that the next decade will see a much faster rate of progress towards equal representation of men and women on the big screen.
Geena Davis, the actor and founder of a research institute into the role and prominence of women in the media, believes that it won’t be much longer before Hollywood makes drastic improvements in the number of female characters in movies.
Davis, 59, who is most famous for her roles in Thelma And Louise, A League of Their Own and her Oscar-winning performance in The Accidental Tourist, has spent many years lobbying producers, directors and studios to push for more female characters and castings. Making the keynote address at a panel at the British Film Institute in London about gender in the media, she made a confident prediction for the future.
Geena Davis was speaking at the British Film Institute
Continue reading: Geena Davis Predicts Much Faster Progress To Gender Parity In The Movies
Could our two heroines ride again for a special anniversary road trip?
It’s been 25 years since Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon made the ultimate female road trip movie, Thelma and Louise, so what better way is there to celebrate this milestone than by taking the pair back out on the road?
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise
Davis has said that she and co-star Sarandon are currently thinking of things to do to celebrate a quarter of a century since the film’s release.
Michael Keaton has revealed he had been in contact with Tim Burton about reprising his role as Beetlejuice in the sequel to the 1988 comedy.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle... For fans of the 1988 comedy, repeating the name of the mischievous bio-exorcist three times is not something one should take lightly. Especially if you're dead! Although Beetlejuice has been banished to the waiting room of death, he may be heading back to earth as Michael Keaton has revealed he is in contact with Tim Burton, the original film's director.
Keaton starred as Beetlejuice in the 1988 supernatural comedy, centred on a deceased couple who attempt to regain possession of their house once a living family move in. Geena Davies and Alec Baldwin play the ghostly couple who request Beetlejuice's help and after a number of complications, including Beetlejuice's attempted elopement with the family's daughter (Winona Ryder), successfully regain control of their home. Ryder is also rumoured to be reprising her role.
Keaton, speaking to MTV, discussed the possibility of a second film at the Robocop junket in Los Angeles on Thursday (13th February). Although rumours of a sequel have been circulating since 2012 when it was revealed Seth Grahame-Smith was working on a script for Beetlejuice 2, Keaton has not mentioned the possibility of his involvement before. In the interview he said "I've e-mailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff. I always said that's the one thing I'd like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another."
After playing comical sidekicks in rom-coms like No Strings Attached and What Happens in Vegas, Lake Bell emerges as a rising-star filmmaker with the smartest, funniest comedy of the year. Winner of the screenwriting award at Sundance, this script is painfully hilarious, drawing on the characters' personalities to take us into a previously unseen side of the movie industry. It's also a rare Hollywood movie that refuses to shy away from anything.
We're talking about voiceover artists here, specifically those who provide the rumbling commentary for movie trailers. The late Don LaFountaine was the voice behind all of those iconic "In a world..." trailers, and now a studio wants to revive them for a new epic quadrilogy. The top contender for the job is Sam (Melamed), a veteran who decides to let his protege, the egotistical womaniser Gustav (Marino), have the job. Then Sam's voice-coach daughter Carol (Bell) throws her hat in the ring, which is unthinkable because a woman has never narrated this kind of trailer. She prepares for the audition with the help of a love-struck sound engineer (Martin), but is distracted by issues between her sister and brother-in-law (Watkins and Corddry) and the fact that her dad's new girlfriend (Holden) is younger than she is.
Bell juggles all of these plot strands brilliantly as a writer, director and actor, generously giving her costars the most riotously funny dialog while Carol pings around between them. And since we see everything through her eyes, she emerges as a hugely engaging woman who is smart, skilled and also likeably flawed. Every performance is natural and amusing, with the kind of astutely witty dialog actors can really sink their teeth into. And there are some uproarious cameos along the way, including Offerman as a wry colleague, Davis as a studio head, Longoria as a vocal client and Diaz as the star of a Hunger Games-style saga.
Continue reading: In A World... Review
Could 'The Lone Ranger' be headed for the Guinness Book of Records?
Ok, so by now everyone's well aware that Jerry Buckheimer and Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger is a monumental flop - a serious disaster that could cost Disney $150 million. The Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer starring western took just $48.9 million over the usually lucrative five-day Independence Day weekend - leaving it miles from its $175 million marketing budget, not to mention its $250 million production costs.
Johnny Depp starred as Tonto and Armie Hammer played The Lone Ranger
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney is praying for a return of $150 million abroad, taking its worldwide total to $275 million and $150 million short of its $425 million total budget. "It's very disappointing," said Disney executive vice-president of worldwide distribution Dave Hollis. "Everything was perfect on paper, so today was incredibly frustrating." The problem is, nothing could be described as perfect. If Hollis is referring to Johnny Depp than it's lazy marketing. If he's referring to Verbinski in the directorial seat, or the bloated budget, than it's just stupid talk. The Lone Ranger has received some of the worst reviews of the year - it's a terrible movie - and unfortunately, nobody wants to watch big-budget westerns. Did Cowboys and Aliens teach them nothing?
Continue reading: Where Does 'The Lone Ranger' Rank In List Of Biggest Movie Flops?
Geena Davis joins the queue of celebrities complaining about Seth Macfarlane's Oscars jokes
Seth MacFarlane’s Oscars hosting stint was not taken lightly by anyone that associates themselves with the concept of feminism. From his ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ song, detailing a number of talented Hollywood actresses who have dared to unveil their breasts on screen, to his joke about actresses deliberately catching the flu so that they can fit into their Oscars dresses, MacFarlane’s attempts at humour were not well-received by a huge section of the awards audience – both at home or at the ceremony itself.
Former Academy Award winner Geena Davis has been vocal in her disapproval of MacFarlane’s sexist hosting stint, E! Online reports. She took the opportunity to speak out about women’s rights and unequal treatment, at the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Addressing the California State Assembly, she said “It's a shame that that triumph was enveloped in an awards ceremony containing disrespect for women… But it helps illustrate how tone-deaf we can still be regarding the status of women.”
ABC received outraged complaints from Hyattsville, Maryland, following embellished crime statistics in an episode of 'Commander in Chief'.
Following a recent episode of 'Commander in Chief''s depiction of particular city, ABC has come under fire from the city's residents. ABC was forced to apologise to the citizens of Hyattsville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC in Prince George County, after the episode in question took certain liberties with the crime rates in the area.
Geena Davis plays President Mackenzie Allen in 'Commander in Chief'
The episode depicted Hyattsville as a crime-ridden place, with one character mentioning that 11 homicides had occurred in the area of Hyattsville in the past six months. But, unsurprisingly, the area took issues with this. Jim Keary, a spokesman for the County Executive Jack. B. Johnson, told the Associated Press: "We haven't had 11 homicides in Hyattsville in the past 10 years".
Continue reading: ABC Apologise For Outrageous 'Commander In Chief' Episode
If you're tired of the ugliness surrounding the summer sport, or just need to be entertained, than you should check out A League of Their Own, now out on DVD. Like most great sports movies, League is more than just a series of dazzling feats between the lines. It features laughs, drama, and excitement... in short all of the aspects that make the sports section of the newspaper so captivating.
Continue reading: A League Of Their Own Review
Fans of "Stuart Little," the classic E. B. White's children's book about a congenial little mouse with a wind-up red roadster, would be wise to avoid "Stuart Little," the mostly in-name-only big screen adaptation featuring Michael J. Fox's voice emanating from a computer-animated Stuart.
Nearly everything delightful about the book is erased or painted over here with near-plotless kiddie fare, predictably zany adventures and deliberately ham-fisted acting from a wildly talented cast (Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jeffrey Jones, Allyce Beasley, Estelle Getty, Julia Sweeney), entirely wasted on a Saturday morning cartoon script.
Ironically co-written by M. Night Shyamalan (the writer-director of "The Sixth Sense"), the story opens with Mr. and Mrs. Little on their way to an orphanage to pick out a kid for no explored reason. Won over by the home's least likely resident -- a talking mouse named Stuart with a miniature wardrobe and a pithy personality -- they take him home, where his new brother George (Jonathan Lipnicki from "Jerry Maguire") gives him the cold shoulder and the family cat (voiced obnoxiously by Nathan Lane) tries to eat him.
Continue reading: Stuart Little Review
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