movies

Kaguya Hime no Monogatari: The other side of Studio Ghibli 【Review】

Kaguya Hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) is quite unlike any Studio Ghibli offering that has gone before it. There are no benevolent forest spirits or spritely young witches to be found here; no soft, familiar faces or bright-eyed heroes with a passion for adventure; no piles of mouth-watering street food or freshly baked bread to drool over. This is a tale set in far simpler times, and although – with its thick, bold brushstrokes, muted colours and incomplete lines – it is quite the departure from the Ghibli releases many of us know and love, it still manages to be one of the studio’s most visually striking and emotive creations to date.

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After waiting so long to watch the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service trailer, we kind of wish we hadn’t

Despite being over 20 years old, Kiki’s Delivery Service is still one of the most beloved films from legendary anime house Studio Ghibli. When news broke earlier this year of a live-action remake of the story of a young witch coming of age in the big city, fans were elated.

Since the first still shot of lead actress Fuuka Koshiba dressed as heroine Kiki was released last May, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for a trailer. When we heard one had finally been released, we pulled it up on YouTube with all the excitement of a kid tearing open a present on Christmas morning.

Of course, sometimes you’re a naughty kid and Santa brings you a lump of coal, which is just how disappointed we felt when we saw the special effects for the live-action Kiki.

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We can (not) believe it. Did this theater just leak the release date for the final Evangelion movie?

So, got any plans for December 31? Going to the temple at midnight to ring in the new year? Got a hot date for the annual gathering at Tokyo Tower?

If the website of one theater operator is to be believed, you could pass on both of those, and instead watch the final theatrical installment of hit anime Evangelion.

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Mr. Sato’s blonde ambition leads him to look for love from beyond the grave

On a recent evening in the RocketNews24 offices, while the rest of the team was discussing such weighty topics as neuroscience, classic literature, and Gundam-themed cakes, we noticed our most intrepid reporter, Mr. Sato, staring longingly at some reading material with a lascivious grin plastered on his face.

Usually when a man holding print media has that kind of expression, the cause is a photo of an attractive woman, and Mr. Sato’s case was no exception. But he wasn’t perusing some skin mag filled with spreads of F-cup teenagers, but instead a pamphlet for the movie R.I.P.D. Mr. Sato had become smitten by its photos of actress Stephanie Szostak and was determined to meet someone like her, even if that meant facing some paranormal dangers.

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We’ve got your Halloween costume all set: Tonto from The Lone Ranger

Despite reuniting director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and actor Johnny Depp, the recent Lone Ranger film failed to recreate the success the trio had with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise at the US box office.

The film has met with a more favorable reaction with less cynical viewers in the international market, though, and one reporter for our Japanese-language sister site came back from the theatre so impressed that he decided to transform himself into Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s Native American partner portrayed by Depp.

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“It’s OK to stand out.” Nissan’s new stormtrooper ad campaign is awesome

The humble stormtrooper. Shot, blown up, punched and jeered at on a near daily basis while the rebels–whom some would call “terrorists”–get all the fame and glory. It’s in their very nature to remain inconspicuous in their plain white armour, marching along in neat lines and even dying with a regimented clatter of boots on the cold metal Deathstar floors, and for that reason are rarely given a second thought by either their merciless dispatchers or the movie-going public.

But there comes a time when even the loyalest of the Empire’s helmeted servants has to get their groove on, and Japanese car maker Nissan’s newest ad campaign is allowing them to do just that.

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Dangan Ronpa and Ted come together for some bear-y cute naughtiness!

Though Ted may be the most-well-known naughty teddy bear in the world, he is by no means the only one. We imagine that Monokuma, of the murder-mystery game/manga/anime Dangan Ronpa, may be a close Japanese second with its cackling and murderous tendencies. For fans of both of the animated characters, it might seem like a perfect match to have these black-humored bears on the screen together.

Alas, there’s probably no one mad enough to approve that combination, right?

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Japan’s giant robot proliferation continues as filming starts on live-action Patlabor movie

Japan loves its fictional robots. The adorable Doraemon and unsettling Evangelion are instantly recognizable to both young and old. The giant statue of Gundam in Tokyo has become a major tourist attraction, despite being in the middle of Odaiba, which was already a major entertainment district with no shortage of other, hipper attractions.

And now, another robot, the Patlabor, has joined Gundam in making the leap into the three-dimensional world, towering size intact.

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Stalled Akira live-action movie comes back to life

After being completely suspended in 2012, it seems like plans for the Akira live action movie are finally moving forward again. The Warner Brothers movie will be a Hollywood retelling of the 1988 cult anime classic, with original writer and director Katsuhiro Ohtomo acting as executive producer. This will perhaps assuage some fans’ fears that Hollywood will turn the dark, complex narrative into just another generic guns-and-explosions blockbuster.

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20th Century Fox to officially apologize for Napoleon Dynamite’s crappy Japanese title

For foreigners living in Japan, looking through DVDs can be a chore. You generally have a 50 percent chance of the title being the same, leaving you scanning through the cover designs to find what you’re looking for the other half of the time.

Sometimes the new titles that are bestowed in Japan give more insight to the film. For example, Jerry Maguire is given the less romantic but more concise title of The Agent. However, translation and localization often leaves people making judgment calls that could easily backfire. Take the DVD version of Napoleon Dynamite which Japanese cinema lovers have deemed “Japan’s worst changed movie title.”

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Japanese Internet baffled by culturally confused Hollywood adaptation of 47 Ronin legend

Hollywood is carrying on its tradition of making white people the lead protagonists in movies about samurai with the 2013 47 Ronin, headed by Keanu Reeves.

But while the Japanese didn’t seem to bat an eyelid when it was revealed (spoiler) that Tom Cruise was literally the last samurai, the 47 Ronin trailer is raising eyebrows in Japan for its weird comic book treatment of the famous national legend that is said to be the most revered example of the samurai code of bushido.

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Classic Ghibli anime impresses with its story, makes some viewers want to kill themselves

Sometimes, it’s only after the fact that you realize just how close you came to dying.

After eating dinner a few nights ago, my wife was flipping through the channels on TV. “Oh, that’s right, Whisper of the Heart is on. Do you want to watch it?” she asked.

Now ordinarily a cute girl asking me if I’d like to watch anime with her gets an automatic “Why yes, I would.” But at that point there were just 20 minutes left before the end, and I said I’d rather just rent it from the video store down the street some other time, so we could watch it from the beginning.

That decision may have saved our lives.

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Rambo randomly rambles into stores in figure form, looks as cross as ever

In what has to be one of the most random, yet awesome, releases we’ve seen so far this month, Japanese toy and figure fanciers Kitan Club has recently launched a range of six key-chain figures based on… Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo. No, we’re not quite sure why either.

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Moviegoers upset about Studio Ghibli anime’s trailer trailing the film they came to see

With the rainy season already here in Japan it’s time to start planning out your summer activities. Anime fans already have July 20 marked on their calendars, being the day when the newest animated film from Studio Ghibli, The Wind Rises, is set to premier. With legendary studio head Hayao Miyazaki back in the director’s chair, expectations are sky high for the tale about Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter plane used by the Japanese military in World War II.

It’s normal to see trailers for upcoming films when you go to the movies, and some theatres are currently showing an extended four-minute preview for The Wind Rises. What’s unusual is some cinemas’ decision to show the preview directly following the conclusion of the feature film viewers just paid to see.

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Kiefer Sutherland confirmed as lead voice actor in newest Metal Gear Solid game

As soon as the teaser trailer for Hideo Kojima’s upcoming video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released earlier this year, gaming news websites and message boards exploded, partly because it was clear that David Hayter, the voice actor who had played the character of Solid Snake since 1998, had been replaced, but mostly because the new voice in the video sounded an awful lot like that of world-famous actor Kiefer Sutherland. Earlier today, those rumours were finally confirmed: Jack Bauer is Snake!

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First picture from set of live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service released

First written as a children’s novel by Eiko Kadano in 1985, Kiki’s Delivery Service is the story of a 13-year-old witch who, following the traditions taught to her by her similarly magical mother, sets out to live by herself for a year to mature and learn about the world. The story achieved international fame with its 1989 theatrical anime adaptation, directed by industry legend Hayao Miyazaki and crafted by his team at Studio Ghibli.

Filming has begun on a live-action version of the story, and producers recently released the first still image from the set.

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Why Jackie Chan should be the next Iron Man

At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Chinese mega-entertainer and occasional political commenter Jackie Chan made some waves by stating his desires to become the next Iron Man. With current Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. reaching that magic number of three we may soon see a new actor step into the suit of armor. But could the current king of colorful kung-fu really be up to the task?

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【Photo Gallery】Original vs. Remade Versions of Horror Movie Posters

There are almost too many movies being remade nowadays (did we really need another Rollerball?). There are also quite a few Japanese movies that have been remade into Hollywood films. It’s sometimes great to be able to watch your favorite movie redone using the most modern techniques and special effects, but not so great if a classic is butchered (we’re looking at you Red Dawn).

However, regardless of whether or not a remake lives up to the original, the newly designed movie posters are always interesting to look at. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of movie posters of the original and remake versions of 35 horror films. Most have managed to up the creepiness factor (with a few exceptions).

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Thai Fans Remake Entire Iron Man 3 Pre-Release Trailer by Hand, Blow Our Minds 【Video】

If you’re a superhero fan living in North America, today very likely means only one thing: the launch of Iron Man 3. Perhaps waiting for a more suitable date to release the title, Marvel and Walt Disney Studios hung on until May 3 to unleash Tony Stark’s newest — and, according to some, best — supersuit-powered adventure, and millions of fans are champing at the bit to see it.

Despite having opened in Japan surprisingly early (Japanese releases are notoriously late, with movie fans forced to wait until this March for both Django Unchained and Wreck it Ralph alone), tongues are wagging all across the country today about Iron Man 3, but for an entirely different reason.

Put together by a clearly passionate and creative team of fans in Thailand, the following video recreates the official Iron Man 3 pre-release trailer shot by shot using little more than hand-crafted props, questionable make-up and models dangling from strings. Even so, it is nothing short of wonderful.

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Next Die Hard Movie to be Set in Tokyo, Possibly Have a Silly Title

See that face? It’s pretty much exactly the same as the one I pulled when I heard that there is to be yet another Die Hard movie. My expression when I heard that the production may be released under the title Die Hardest was like this, too, but as if a gang of irritated bees was also stinging my face and eyes.

That’s right, cinephiles, Bruce Willis is set to return in yet another action adventure extravaganza sometime in the near future, somehow evading bad guys with curious accents, speeding bullets and his own slowly encroaching retirement once again.

This time around, the mayhem is coming to none other than Japan’s capital city Tokyo. Our enigmatic reporter Mr. Sato has already locked himself away in a dimly lit room to study the past films at length and practice screaming in the hope of landing himself a walk-on part.

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