2011.9.2 NOW PLAYINGChildren Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (15)
This is the latest film by Makoto Shinkai, a 38-year-old Japanese animator who is often identified by many in the industry as the future of Japanese animation and his films have even drawn comparisons to those of famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who has produced hundreds of highly acclaimed animated films.
“Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below” follows the journey of a young girl named Asuna who is on her way to Agaruta, a distant underworld, in hopes of finding her friend Shun, who dies early in the film. Along the way, Asuna’s teacher, who is desperate to reunite with the wife who passed away years ago, joins Asuna and together they begin their journey.
As always, Shinkai deals with philosophical themes such as separation and the feeling of loss in this film with hand-drawn drawings.
The film has been described as a turning point in Shinkai’s career. Before now, the versatile director had produced all of his animated feature films by himself. In addition to directing, he wrote the screenplay, did the editing and even voiced the lead characters.
“Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below” was chosen as an opening film at the 15th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival in mid-July.
Shinkai has huge fan base in Korea with his previous films, including “The Place Promised In Our Early Days” (2004) and “5 Centimeters per Second” (2007).
The Ultimate Weapon (15)
Action, War / 122 / Korean
Set during the second Manchu invasion of 1636, “The Ultimate Weapon” combines dazzling special effects, a tense plot line and the thrill of the chase to tell the story of master archer Nam-yi (Park Hae-il) and his quest to rescue his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) from the Qing Dynasty.
After their father is killed for being a traitor to his country, the two young siblings are raised by a family friend who lets Nam-yi hunt with a bow and arrow just as his father did. Although they face a number of hardships, the two grow up well and Ja-in eventually falls in love and becomes engaged. But on her wedding day, tragedy strikes as she is dragged away by Qing warriors, setting Nam-yi on a mission to save the only family he has left. Armed with only a bow and arrows, Nam-yi hunts the Qing army, taking them out one by one.
Backed by a strong cast and creative team, the film has drawn 2 million to the theater since its release on Aug. 10. Director Kim Han-Min is well known for his work on the 2009 thriller “Handphone” and Park Hae-il rose to fame with his role as a serial killer in the 2003 hit “Memories of Murder.”
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (18)
Starring Vincent Cassel (“Ocean’s Twelve” and “La Haine”), “L’instinct de Mort,” to give “Mesrine: Killer Instinct” its original French title, is one half of a pair of crime dramas based on books by infamous French criminal Jacques Mesrine. Cassel takes the title role of famed Ganster Mesrine. One particular scene sees Mesrine and an accomplice rob a house only to be disturbed by the owners. Quick thinking from Mesrine sees him pass himself and his accomplice off as police who are investigating the burglary.
The film has won several awards including Cesar awards (the national film awards of France) for best actor and director. Cassel is said to have underwent huge bouts of weight gain and loss to play the Gallic hood at various points in his life. The film opens with the death of Mesrine and the film unfolds from there.
Boogeyman 3 (15)
Thriller, Horror / 94 / English
At first glance, “Boogeyman 3,” which draws on classic childhood fears of a hidden man lurking under the bed or in the closet, might seem to put an interesting spin on the nightmares of our youth. But, unfortunately, this low-budget film struggles to keep the audience’s attention.
In such a cliched line of events that one could predict the outcome without even watching the film, the boogeyman turns his sights on Audrey Allen (Nikki Sanderson) after having killed her father in “Boogeyman 2.” Though Allen tries to warn others about the boogeyman, no one believes her, except for fellow student Sarah Morris (Erin Cahill), who comes around only after Allen is killed. Morris, like Allen, is killed by the boogeyman after trying unsuccessfully to warn others about him.
In a redeeming and more creative aspect of the script, Morris realizes just before her death that the boogeyman draws his power from others believing in his existence.
So, she suddenly reverses course and tries to take responsibility for the boogeyman’s murders herself. Morris is killed, though, before this element of the plot can advance any further.
For its budget, the film does offer some reasonable scares and a significant amount of blood, both of which are valued by horror movie buffs.
It ties nicely into the previous “Boogeyman” films, and there is space for a fourth film, though it might be best if “Boogeyman 3” ends the series.
Comedy / 125 / English
Judd Apatow has produced, and in some cases directed, a slew of box-office hits, including “Anchorman: The Legend of Rob Burgundy,” “The 40-year-old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad,” to name a few.
After teaming up with director Paul Feig (“The Office,” “Arrested Development”) and writers/actresses Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Apatow has another hilarious production to add to his repertoire.
“Bridesmaids” is a female-centric comedy following the journey of Annie (Wiig), a single woman in her mid-30s who becomes the maid of honor for her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Annie leads the colorful and eclectic bridesmaids down an adventurous and often messy journey, ending up in Las Vegas.
The film passed “Knocked Up” to become Apatow’s top-grossing production in the United States.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (18)
Documentary, Comedy / 87 / English
In “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” eccentric director and graffiti artist Banksy, who is known for his dark humor and controversial satire, brings his very own street art under the microscope.
In the film, Thierry Guetta has an all-consuming obsession with his video camera and films every waking moment of his life.
The film’s choppy editing style mirrors what would be seen through his camera.
On a visit to France, Guetta’s cousin introduces him to street art, such as works like graffiti that are produced in public places, and he turns his camera elsewhere. Back in the United States, Guetta starts to film street artists, but a chance encounter with Bansky makes Guetta a star in his own right. With Banksy’s encouragement, Guetta - who adopts the name Mr. Brainwash - tries his hand at street art. Though street art is meant to be free from the constraints of more traditional works, Guetta hits some very conventional financial and logistical roadblocks. And, instead of focusing on his art, Guetta gets caught up in money and publicity - creating an unmanageably large exhibit and giving countless interviews even as the show teeters on collapse.