Very brief comments on several dozen disks viewed over the past few months.
More notes on recent viewing, from a sadistic thriller to emotionally resonant anime, from a literary adaptation to two investigations of racism in America.
Revisiting old favourites like the original Star Trek series and familiar genres from samurai sword fights to supernatural monsters is like eating comfort food, triggering familiar emotions; even Satanic horrors can be paradoxically soothing.
With Kubo and the Two Strings, Laika Entertainment continue to expand the possibilities of stop-motion animation in a fantasy which takes the nature of storytelling as its main subject.
Sex runs through the history of the movies as both spectacle and disrupter of narrative; Russ Meyer reveled in it, while Charlie Kaufman finds in sex poignant emotional depths.
A mixed bag of recently viewed disks, from an obscure, poetic black-an-white drama to a garishly perverse piece of Greek exploitation, with some gialli and Japanese sci-fi animation thrown in.
Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata creates a masterpiece in his final feature, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, while Hiroyuki Okiura seems a worthy successor to the studio’s achievements with A Letter to Momo; less successful is Ari Folman’s live action/animation hybrid Robin Wright at The Congress.
Despite the dominance of computer animation these days, there are qualities in hand-made animation, whether drawn or stop-motion, which offer a richer, more aesthetically pleasing viewer experience, as evidenced by a random selection of new and classic releases.
There’s no connection between the cute CG bear in Paddington and the likable stoner detective in Inherent Vice, other than the fact they are at the centre of two of the most entertaining movies to be released recently.
Recent Blu-rays from Twilight Time are as eclectic as ever. A couple of mainstream Hollywood classics; an oddball excursion into pulp by one of the great Hollywood directors; and a devastating animated fable by a Japanese-American filmmaker based on a very English graphic novel.