14 July 2011

FIFTY-FIRST

A.  Hayao Miyazaki:

  1. My Neighbor Totoro:  Two little girls move to the country with their father and discover a magical fluffy spirit living in a tree nearby.  Low on plot, but vaguely nice, and well-animated. (3)
  2. Sprited Away:  On a rode trip, a girl and her parents come across an old ruin and stop to explore it.  After her parents vanish, the girl is left to fend for herself in a city of frightening spirits, and help solve a mystery that will restore proper order to things.  Really an excellent film. (4)
  3. Ponyo:  A little boy catches a goldfish in the ocean and takes care of it, only to find out that it's a sea princess.  Top-notch children's movie.  For what it is, it could scarcely be better. (4)
  4. Howl's Moving Castle:  Don't remember this one very well.  There's a girl, and some sort of wizard, and a house that walks around, and she ends up healing him somehow.  It's sort of strange and based on an english-language children's fantasy novel. (2)
B.  Akira Kurosawa (haven't seen very many)
  1. Seven Samurai:  After bandits inform a peasant village that they will return at the end of the harvest to steal all their grain, the peasants recruit seven samurai to defend them.  One of the longest movies I've seen, also one of the best.  Great acting and a plot that engages on multiple levels. (5)
  2. Rashomon:  A man tells the story of murder in a forest from the perspective of three different wittnesses.  In each account the shape of events is radically different.  What really happened? Sort of tedious and only really interesting from a po-mo perspective.  (3)
  3. Ikiru:  An old man finds out he will soon die of stomach cancer and sets out to find the meaning of life. Brilliant, wonderful. (5)