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The Wind Rises Trailer


When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes - at least he did until one night he came across Italian plane designer Caproni in one of his dreams, who subsequently told him that his poor vision means he'll never be a pilot. Jiro instead resolves to take up aeronautical engineering and design aircrafts himself . While at university, he meets a young woman named Naoko who he helps off a train during the Great Kanto Earthquake and the pair become close. His life begins to spiral, however, with his work projects becoming few and far between and Naoko's health deteriorating. But will Jiro finally realise his dream and build an aircraft of pure beauty? Or will his dream come crashing to the ground?

Continue: The Wind Rises Trailer

Hayao Miyazaki Set To Retire From Film Making, Does He Leave On Top?


Hayao Miyazaki

Director Hayao Miyazaki is set to retire from making feature films after his latest project The Wind Rises which was released in Japan on July 20th 2013. The announcement was delivered by the President of Miyazaki’s production company (Studio Ghibli), Koju Hoshino, at a news conference at this year’s Venice Film Festival (2013).

Watch The Wind Rises trailer:

The news of the academy award winning animator retiring leaves a huge and saddened gap in the animation community. Miyazaki started to establish himself in the animation world in the 1970s in anime for TV, according to the Los Angeles Times. Miyazaki eventually went on to make several feature films, winning an Oscar for his film Spirited Away in 2003 as well as the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival in 2005.

Hayao Miyazaki had not attended his international premiere for ‘The Wind Rises’ according to the BBC but how did his last ever film fare at the festival? Since the film’s premiere it has received mixed reviews.

Continue reading: Hayao Miyazaki Set To Retire From Film Making, Does He Leave On Top?

Critics In Awe Of Hayao Miyazaki's Final Film; The Wind Rises


Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki was not present during the screening of his new film, The Wind Rises, at the 70th Venice Film Festival this weekend, as he maintained his status as one of Japan's most famous recluses. He may not have been at Venice in person, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming the most talked about person at the festival following the airing of the latest Studio Ghibli animation, as it was announced that the animation great plans to retire.

The eleventh and final film from Miyazaki, 72, has been entered into the competition that honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and if the first round of reviews are anything to go by then he may not have won his last statuette from the Venice Film board. The partly fictionalised biopic of 'Zero' fighter designer Jiro Horikoshi, the film is a war protest set between 1918 and 1939 that is also based on Tatsuo Hori's 1938 part-romance novelette Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Has Risen).

Continue reading: Critics In Awe Of Hayao Miyazaki's Final Film; The Wind Rises

Animator Hayao Miyazaki Retiring After 'The Wind Rises'


Hayao Miyazaki Hidetoshi Nishijima

Hayao Miyazaki is retiring after five decades creating critically acclaimed animation films.

The announcement was made at the Venice Film festival by Studio Ghibli head, Koji Hoshino, who said "Miyazaki has decided that Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) will be his last film, and he will now retire." Miyazaki also heads Studio Ghibli but was not present at the festival. Further details of Miyazaki's retirement will be announced at a briefing in Tokyo next week, Variety reports. 

The 72-year-old is responsible for dozens of animated films including Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. His first involvement in an animated project began in 1963 and his career has spanned five decades. The Wind Rises, was written and directed by Miyazaki. The animation features the voices of such actors as Hideaki Anno (Evangelion), Mirai Shida (Reunion), Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill) and Hidetoshi Nishijima (Dolls). 

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Arrietty Review


Excellent
Based on Mary Norton's classic novel The Borrowers, this film features striking animation and a story that's rich, detailed and full of vividly engaging characters. And it refreshingly refuses to play by Hollywood rules about narrative.

When the sickly young Sho (voiced by Kamiki) goes to live with his aunt (Takeshita) in the country, he spots a tiny girl in the garden, just like his mother remembered seeing when she was young. But housekeeper Haru (Kiki) denies they exist. Indeed, the girl was Arrietty (Shida), who lives with her parents (Miura and Ohtake) in a small home under the floor full of things that are borrowed unnoticed from the house above. But being seen has consequences, and even though Sho is clearly friendly, Arrietty's world is about to change.

Continue reading: Arrietty Review

Ponyo Review


Very Good
As with Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki takes us on a strange flight of fantasy with this adventure centred around two young children. While it continually stimulates our imagination, it's a little too odd to really resonate.

Sosuke (voiced by Jonas) is a 5-year-old living in a cliff-top house with his frazzled mother (Fey) while his fisherman dad (Damon) spends most of his time at sea. One day, Sosuke finds a strange little fish named Ponyo (Cyrus). What he doesn't know is that Ponyo's the daughter of the Mother of the Sea (Blanchett) and the keeper of balance (Neeson), and that Ponyo is using her powers to become human. Actually, Ponyo doesn't seem very aware of this either, but whatever she's doing is throwing nature out of balance.

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The Castle Of Cagliostro Review


OK
Allegedly a Japanese animated classic, The Castle of Cagliostro gives us the story of one Lupin III, an annoying James Bond wannabe who rescues a princess, foils a counterfeiting plot, and causes all kinds of havoc. Rather crudely animated and a lot more lifeless than you'd think.

Continue reading: The Castle Of Cagliostro Review

Porco Rosso Review


Excellent
Even Hayao Miyazaki's biggest fans are unlikely to have seen Porco Rosso, one of his most delightful -- and socially important -- works.

Title character Porco Rosso is, well, a man with the head of a pig, the result of a curse placed on him in some unknown earlier era. In 1930s Italy, he works as a bounty hunter, living on a quiet island beach in a little tent. When the phone rings, he jumps in his red prop plane and heads off to save whoever's calling from pirates, keeping his cool (as voiced by Michael Keaton in the U.S. dub) all the while.

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Pom Poko Review


Excellent
As an ambitious morality tale, the Japanese animated film Pom Poko is certainly worthy of a solid recommendation. As a family-friendly film, this story of angry raccoons saving their land from destruction has a problem. Let's just say Pom Poko ain't no Ferngully.

In the midst of their battle against man, raccoons are hit by cars and ensnared in traps. They use their ingenuity and crazy skills (more on those later) to sabotage construction and kill a handful of humans. They create a fever dream-style parade used to haunt the locals. This kind of adult-level entertainment boasts smart, stylishly trippy animation that veers far from anything that can be called a "kid" movie. But Pom Poko is one of a series of Japanese Studio Ghibli films being distributed in the US by Disney -- so, to the uninitiated, it looks like a warm cuddly Disney movie on the DVD shelves.

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My Neighbor Totoro Review


Very Good
Possibly the only film in history to be released by both Disney and Troma, the famous kiddie anime My Neighbor Totoro reveals itself as a little dated and a little immature when compared to later Miyazaki works. The film concerns a family (including two young girls) who move to the country, only to meet up with Totoro, the spirit of the forest. (He looks like an overgrown bunny, and he makes trees grows and causes the wind to blow.) Eventually they take a trip together (it's something involving the ill mother) and discover all sorts of Miyazaki magic. Cute, but not the masterpiece it's cracked up to be.

Continue reading: My Neighbor Totoro Review

Kiki's Delivery Service Review


Very Good
Hayao Miyazaki scored a big kid-friendly hit with this story about a 13-year-old witch living on her own for the first time. (Yeah, tough love for pubescent Japanese witches!) Unfortunately, Kiki's Delivery Service lacks a lot of depth; though it's exquisitely sweet and endlessly watchable (and much better than Miyazaki's widly overrated Castle of Cagliostro),

Kiki (voiced in the U.S. version by Kirsten Dunst), in keeping with her people's tradition, jets off with broom and talking cat (Phil Hartman) to a random city in order to become the town witch. Unfortunately, Kiki hasn't really thought this through, and soon enough she finds that not only does she have no real marketable skills, she has no place to live and little money, too.

Continue reading: Kiki's Delivery Service Review

Howl's Moving Castle Review


Very Good
Similar to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is a sumptuously illustrated fairy tale with a pro-environment and anti-war slant, though unlike those modern classics, the animé titan's latest suffers from a narrative confusion that bogs down its initially effervescent spirit. A gloriously animated fantasia blessed by familiar Miyazaki hallmarks - vibrant, ethereal artwork, whimsical creatures, a rural world in which mysticism and technology happily coexist - the film (being released in both subtitled and dubbed versions, the latter of which I saw) has a light aura of juvenile romanticism and a manic, tangible physicality that stands head and shoulders above anything previously crafted by the maestros at Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli (including Katsuhiro Otomo's recent Steamboy).

The story of a young girl who, after being changed into an elderly woman by an evil witch, joins forces with a petulant playboy wizard against a nefarious sorcerer, Howl's is akin to a cluttered, cacophonous childhood dream come to life. However, as with dreams, Miyazaki's film is also far-too-often a bewildering jumble of intriguing ideas and ingenious images that never fully coalesce into a moving or compelling whole.

Continue reading: Howl's Moving Castle Review

The Castle Of Cagliostro Review


OK
Allegedly a Japanese animated classic, The Castle of Cagliostro gives us the story of one Lupin III, an annoying James Bond wannabe who rescues a princess, foils a counterfeiting plot, and causes all kinds of havoc. Rather crudely animated and a lot more lifeless than you'd think.

Continue reading: The Castle Of Cagliostro Review

Castle In The Sky Review


Extraordinary
Probably my favorite Miyazaki film, Castle in the Sky is full of adventure, mystery, and good, clean fun.

Based on Gulliver's Travels' stories of the flying city of Laputa, the film follows the mysterious Sheeta (Anna Paquin) as she gently floats down from the sky and lands in the care of Pazu (James Van Der Beek). What follows involves a massive adventure that stretches to include sky pirates, a Nazi-like military group, Sheeta's secret identity, and a quest to discover the cloud-shrouded city of Laputa, floating somewhere up there.

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Princess Mononoke Review


OK
Every once in a while a movie comes along that is downright frustrating. No matter how badly you want to enjoy it, you end up walking out of the theater feeling deprived. Such is the case with Princess Mononoke (aka Mononoke Hime). Packed with an abundance of creativity and an innovative albeit complicated plot, the movie is almost recommendable. To its credit, it succeeds in captivating the viewer for a good hour, the downside is that the film lasts for almost two and a half. And believe me, that downside is a long slow, slipping down ride.

Based upon Japanese folklore, Princess Mononoke is the animated story of the war between the encroachment of civilization and the beast gods of the forest. While the forests are being devastated by the Tatara clan, producers of iron, the Great God of the Forest gives power to the other forest gods to protect their domain against the humans in the form of giant animals. Sound confusing? That's just the beginning.

Continue reading: Princess Mononoke Review

Hayao Miyazaki

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Hayao Miyazaki Movies

The Wind Rises Movie Review

The Wind Rises Movie Review

For what he has said will be his final film, animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki tackles...

The Wind Rises Trailer

The Wind Rises Trailer

Jiro Horikoshi is an aeronautical engineer whose childhood was filled with dreams about becoming a...

The Wind Rises Trailer

The Wind Rises Trailer

When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes...

From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

From the studio that brought us classics like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, this...

Arrietty Movie Review

Arrietty Movie Review

Based on Mary Norton's classic novel The Borrowers, this film features striking animation and a...

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