Saturday, June 25, 2005

porco rosso

i've just watched a very delightful early hayao miyazaki film, 'porco rosso'. this film portrays the title character as half-pig, half-man, with all the emotions a full human being has. he's a bounty hunter who works with and against air pilots, and his character, as in all miyazaki animes, is fully developed. though he looks like a pig, he certainly doesn't act like one, and one can only imagine how he got this way. well, ok, you learn in the film, but i don't want to give it away.

as usual in miyazaki films, a strong young female heroine emerges, this one called zio. she's a plucky 17 year old plane designer who convinces porco to let her take the challenge of remaking his destroyed plane. of course you know this will work out perfectly, but that's the only thing that really isn't surprising about the film.

what is most surprising is the simplistic intricacy of the plot, of which as usual i won't give too much away. suffice it to say that a love story, well actually two love stories, exist, as does a showdown between porco and big name pilot expected to win. it's a battle to the finish that flows like the water on which it takes place, just as the 93 minutes of the film fly by.

this might not be as strong as 'spirited away' or 'howl's moving castle' (which i haven't seen yet. i refuse to see a dubbed version!), but you can really see how miyazaki herein is developing characters and personalizing his style, a style that only improves with each film he makes.

i highly recommend this film!

Friday, June 10, 2005

layer cake

so here i was, all excited to go see 'layer cake', having found the book of the same name interesting. plus i like british gangster/drug films. and, the author of the book, jj connolly, adapted the screenplay, and it's gotten good reviews, so i expected it to be very strong.

well, to say the least i was disappointed. while a decent adaptation, the movie is strung together a bit incoherently. jumps from groups of people to groups of people. i think that if i hadn't read the book, i would have surely been lost. maybe it was the acting too. the lead actor, the unnamed narrator, played by Daniel Craig, seemed a little stiff. the rest of the actors did a good job, i think.

but another problem were some plot changes that made the film a little cheesy. esp the ending. the narrator also manages to hook up with the girl he meets (tamar hassan). well ok, almost hooked up with. this was a big change from the novel to the book.

i think maybe 'layer cake' just shouldn't have been made a film. or else maybe i was looking too hard at it as a 'lock stock and two smoking barrels' which it definitely isn't, even if it is directed by that and 'snatch''s producer, matthew vaughn.

or maybe it's just that i've been in terrible pain for the last week and a half and couldn't appreciate it. i don't know. but i found myself a little bored in the middle of the film. not a good sign, eh? well maybe you'll go see it and find it as brilliant as some critics have. i hope you do. after all, it's not a total waste of time.