Friday, June 27th, 2008
Lax management of our Netflix queue has led to all of our movies currently checked out, being dark, heavy movies: Battleship Potemkin, Metropolis, and Frankenstein. I sort of think we'll watch Metropolis tonight, but not quite sure.
Update: No, forget that -- we're totally gonna watch WALL-E!
Two pleasant things to know about: Pixar's new movie WALL-E sounds (despite its silly title) like it's going to be really good, if A.O. Scott's opinion (and that of critics in general) is anything to go by. And, Studio Ghibli is releasing a new movie next month: Ponyo on the Cliff, directed by Miyazaki. Presumably it will take a while longer for the translation and US release to happen; but this is really exciting! I've loved the Ghibli movies I've watched so far (in the past two years, since we first found out about Kiki's Delivery Service), and it will be great to get to see one in the theater.
Pandora Brewer posted a nice, incomplete guide to Miyazaki's films over on The Great Whatsit yesterday, which inspired me to do some research. Looks like I need to watch Panda! Go, Panda!, Miyazaki's first writing credit for a feature film, which Adriana says is trippy, and Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki's first directing credit for a feature film, and Princess Mononoke. I was a little surprised to see that many of the Ghibli films which I think of as "Miyazaki films" are not written or directed by him, such as Kiki and The Cat Returns.
WALL-E was a really good movie, and I encourage you to go see it. (I'm not much of a movie reviewer so I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining why I think you should see it -- just want to add my voice to the chorus of recommendations I think you're going to be seeing over the next few weeks.) This is head and shoulders above anything else Pixar has done.
It seemed to me like a really well-thought-out movie, very close to internally consistent -- the logic it adhered to was of course cartoon logic rather than real-world, but it was well-enough developed that I could really put myself in the movie's world, feel for its characters, feel the urgency of its problems and solutions.
In a bit of irony (an annoying bit of irony, it must be said), this movie about robots competently assuming human functions was screened by a robot projectionist who was not up to the task -- in a climactic moment he broke down and had to be serviced by human staff.
Seems like Sylvia is not yet ready to stay up late for a movie -- she did fine through the end of the film but once we got home it was like an hour past her bed time, and she had real trouble getting back into her routine.
There was a charming short cartoon before the feature, about a magician in a battle of wills with his rabbit. I'm confused about the credits, which included a "Lighting" credit -- I'm trying to figure out what that means in CGI animation.
Saturday, June 28th, 2008
Movie-goers who worry about spoilers might want to skip this entry, at least until after they have seen WALL-E. Discussion below the fold.
The scene that seems to me like the thematic core of the movie, is the one where WALL-E and EVE (who I thought throughout the movie was named EVA, but apparently not) are trying to get the seedling into the ship's verification unit; the ship's autopilot is in revolt and tipping the deck over so that all the helpless humans roll off to one side, and the plant with them. But EVE's passion about accomplishing her directive is enough to inspire the human passengers to reclaim their humanity, struggle to their feet, get the plant to her.
This just seems really well-done to me. The (intensely anthropomorphic) robot is leading the humans, but she is leading them towards humanity. That was what I took away from it anyway.
Unrelatedly, you know what movie this reminded me of, æsthetically anyway? Brazil, is what. Very strongly -- the cross between science-fiction and old show tunes was enough to get me nearly there, but also I picked up a Terry Gilliam type of influence in the artist's eye. Also I guess there is a little bit of thematic crossover, though I don't think WALL-E is nearly as subversive as Brazil.
Friday, July 4th, 2008
Alas, it is not a very nice day to have off. (Not that I'm opposed to having the day off you understand.) We rode in the bike parade under threatening skies... But we are not daunted! I'm taking Sylvia and Kaydi to the matinée of WALL-E, then we're meeting up with their mothers to have dinner at Sesame. I'm totally looking forward to seeing the movie again, and the theater in Montclair is a better place than the one in West Orange, so no projectionist issues to fear.
South Orange cancelled their fireworks display this year. Sigh...
Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Tonight we went to the local park to watch a screening of Wallace and Gromit -- the three shorts, "A Grand Day Out", "A Close Shave", and "The Wrong Trousers". Wonderful movies, and nice to watch them outdoors on a hot summer night. I was wondering if anybody had noticed the resemblance between Pixar's character WALL•E, and the robot that lives on the moon in "A Grand Day Out".
...Yep, well, A.O. Scott noticed the allusion in his review of WALL•E -- which I read a couple of weeks ago! I didn't catch that at the time... Google tells me a lot of other reviewers caught it too.
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