Movie of the week: Princess Mononoke

Mononoke.png

I found this film by Hayao Miyazaki (1997) rather confusing, or I might have been too stupid or tired for keeping up with the plot. I’ll watch it again in the near future, hoping to get more out of it. Like in many Miyazaki films, the gods and demons are playing a big role in Princess Mononoke. The film begins with the main character Ashitaka being chased by a spaghetti monster, aka demon god. The demon god dies in the battle, but Ashitaka is left with a curse that slowly will kill him. Seeking healing for the curse, Ashitaka travels to a forest, full of little ghosts, or spirits, as well as animal gods, including giant wolves that have adopted a girl who people call Princess Mononoke.

The rest of the film involves a lot of fighting and shooting and at the end, the Forest Spirit, aka Deer God turns everything green and heals everyone. The environmental aspect seems to be an important part of the film and especially now, it should be relevant for all of us. In that sense, the film is very timely and I definitely would recommend it for everyone.

I started writing these on my blog, as I wanted to learn how to better formulate my opinions; argue why I liked a film or didn’t. This one was difficult, I liked it, but don’t think I fully understood it, but a least I admit this.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Hereditary

hereditary-review.jpg

Finally, I had the courage to watch this! And it wasn’t actually as scary as I  thought it would be. I appreciate horror films that are different from the typical American ones, where people are beautiful, it’s dark all the time and someone is chasing you and trying to kill you. Hereditary had a little bit similar vibe to the VVitch, or Rosemary’s baby and I really enjoyed watching it.

Toni Collette plays Annie, a mother of two, who’s life is stressful because of an upcoming art exhibition,  and her mother passing away. Her family has a history in mental illness and at the beginning it seems like she’s going insane, especially after her daughter dies in an accident, after which, very strong things start to happen. Collette does an excellent job in the leading role, at times, screaming better than Wendy in the Shining. Surprisingly, the end of the film didn’t feel scary anymore, rather peaceful. Everyone was dead, except for the son, Peter, who then becomes possessed so the heredity can pass on.

Although a great deal of the scenes were dark and some standard elements within the horror genre were present in Hereditary, such as possession, an old book and symbols, Hereditary succeeded in being unique. Also, I can’t remember seeing nudity in an American horror film since the Shining.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Grave of the Fireflies

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-15h35m21s595.png

Long time since I had time for movies, but I’m trying to get this back on track now. Based on an autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Directed by Isao Takahata (1988), Grave of the Fireflies is based on a true story in Japan during the late WW II. Although it’s animated and most animated movies have children as their target audience, I’m not quite sure if that was the case with Grave of the Fireflies. It was hard for a grown-up to watch and if I had children, I don’t think I’d want them to see this, although the story sadly is still reality in too many places.

The film begins from the end where the teenage boy Seita starves to death at a train station and then surrounded by fireflies unites with his little sister Setsuko. It tells the story of two children from the city of Kobe that are left homeless by bombings, their mother dies and their father is serving in the navy. They move in with their aunt for a while, but end up living in a cave, where surviving is hard.

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-15h37m45s988.png

Though the film isn’t particularly violent, the imagery of burned bodies and orphaned children was definitely uncomfortable to watch. It also served as a reminder of how it is possible to find hope and moments of happiness even in the most awful circumstances. And shows how fire and fireflies connected in a sad, yet beautiful way.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Wildling (2018)

wildling_pic01.jpgA story about a girl whom her “Daddy” keeps locked at an attic and raises her with a fear of a child-eating monster living outside in the woods. He does everything he can in order to hide her origins, but at the age of 16 her “Daddy” attempts suicide and Anna has to face the real world. She’s rescued by a police officer (Liv Tyler) and moves in with her. But she doesn’t fit in…

I’ve seen worse, but wouldn’t watch this again. The Wildling tells a horrible story of puberty by mixing Josef Frizl, Carrie and Twilight, with a touch of Indiana Jones.

⭐️⭐️ / 5

Movie of the Week: Spirited Away (2011)

Hayao Miyazakis horror film for children (or adults alike) tells a story about a brave 10-year-old girl, Chihiro who gets lost in a ghost town alone and how she manages to escape and find her parents again. I’ve never had a thing on anime, but have become more and more interested on this special genre with fans of all ages and will definitely watch more in the future.

Much like in a dream,  most of the film takes place in a maze with all kinds of weird spirits and monsters with days and nights passing by. Chihiro manages to overcome the obstacles and with courage and kindness get even the toughest spirits on her side. This was one of the major themes of the film, as something for kids to learn from and for some of us grown ups too. Other important themes of the film are the environmental impact of humans and capitalism. The environmental damage can be seen in the scene of the stinky spirit entering the bathhouse, filled with all kind of nasty waste. Capitalism on the other hand is presented as Yubaba taking Chihiros name, thus forcing her to create new identity, as well as presenting how the other humans and spirits work hard for her.

A rather long film (125 min) but for sure, keeps the viewer entertained during the film and leaving a lot to think about afterwards.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

Movie of the Week: The Shape of Water

the-shape-of-water-red-band-trailer

I have to admit, I don’t really follow what’s going on in the cinemas. But after being invited to the movies and having the freedom to choose the film, I knew it would be this one. A film with 13 Oscar nominations can’t be bad, right?

A story about freaks and interracial love, where the creature from the Black Lagoon meets a mute woman who wants to rescue it. Very much the style of Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water is visually extremely pleasing with a cast of talented actors.

Short story, can’t wait to see how many Oscars Shape of Water will win.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/ 5

Movie of the Week: RAW

This was on my watchlist ever since I read about it the first time, before it was released like two years ago. French people are good at making disturbing films and as I’m a horror fan, whenever there’s a new one out, I must see it. I love the lack of action and amount of daylight French movies have compared to the American ones. However, I’m also kind of sensitive and don’t watch films that seem too disturbing by myself. I knew a French guy who had seen this, but didn’t want to watch it again (not because he didn’t like it), so I had to wait until I found someone who’d agree watching this with me.

And a couple of days ago it finally happened. I have to admit, I read the plot beforehand, whenever it seems that I might lose sleep. And I did so with this one too, just so I could prepare myself. Watching the film wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be, there weren’t  many intense scenes and not that much blood either. It’s a story of a young girl who’s beginning her studies at a veterinary school, where her older sister is already studying. She’s been a vegetarian all of her life and during the first week she’s made to eat a kidney of a rabbit. She then develops a taste for meat and it then turns out her sister has it too…

I really enjoyed watching RAW, a modern story about cannibalism and different compared to Cannibal Holocaust, Green Inferno, or Hannibal. And a great addition to the French horror genre.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5