Studio Ghibli Weekend – When Marnie Was There

manirDirector: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Keika Niwa, Masahi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, David Freedman (Screenplay) Joan G Robinson (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanaki Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi

 

Plot: Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there – a girl who may or may not be real.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Roller-Coaster

 

Story: When Marnie Was There starts as we meet 12-year-old girl Anna Sasaki who has been struggling to fit in at school becoming distant from her whole family too. Looking for a cure Yoriko her Aunt sends Anna to the family Kiyomasa and Setsu on the coast with fresh air away from the busy city.

With the beautiful landscape becoming the inspiration for Anna’s latest artwork she becomes fascinated by a mysterious abandoned mansion on the marsh. Investigating Anna meets the girl who lives in the mansion Marnie.

The two become best friends but it soon leaves Anna wondering just whether Marnie is real or not because without this friendship Anna feels almost empty in this world.

 

Thoughts on When Marnie Was There

 

StoryThis story is one of the very best from Ghibli, it does lose all of the wild fantasy elements and at its core is one of the sweetest heartbreaking dramas you will see in recent years. The story focuses on the problems a foster child is suffering with through after her parents and grandparents all die, our character can’t find her way in the world but one summer changes all of that for her. How everything unfolds will bring a tear to your eye once you see the final outcome of this story.

Family/MysteryWhen you look at the family side of the story we get to see just how difficult being a foster child can be and you add in the mystery of just who is Marnie to this young girl real, imagine or a memory.

CharactersAnna is a perfect character for lead in a film, she is a struggling young girl who hasn’t understood her place in the world struggling with anxiety and depression with no one around she believes she can turn to for help. Marnie gives Anna the out she needed so much from her life bringing the positive she never knew she has in her. I will say the rest of the characters are mostly typical characters you would see around town who all help Anna with her problems.

SettingsThe animation gives us the most beautiful settings away from the busy lifestyle in the small country village.

AnimationWhen it comes to the animation Ghibli always give us such a perfect style of animation and this is no exception from the brilliant study.

Final ThoughtsThis has to go down as one of Ghibli’s best pieces of work a pure down to Earth story that will make you smile while the tears roll down your face and pure emotional roller-coaster.

 

Overall: Brilliant, Stunning Unforgettable, Tragic, Charming and Important all just a few words to describe this film.

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

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Soul Surfer (2011)

soulDirector: Sean McNamara

Writer: Sean McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk, Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Brad Gann (Screenplay) Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, Rick Bundschuh (Book)

Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood, Keven Sorbo, Ross Thomas, Chris Brochu

 

Plot: Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspiring Film

 

Story: Soul Surfer starts as Bethany Hamilton (Robb) born in Hawaii to surfer parents Cheri (Hunt) and Tom (Quaid) to grown into a teenage surfer wanting to make herself a true professional along with her older brothers Noah (Thomas) and Timmy (Brochu). When Bethany gets her first sponsorship deal on the verge of national championships even against the religious beliefs under Sarah Hill (Underwood). When Bethany stays to continue her training, disaster strikes when she has her arm torn off by a shark.

With her life changed forever the island makes Bethany a celebrity because of the story of how brave she was during the attack. Her own life is what is going to be difficult though as she must learn to live with just one arm, but her biggest desire is to get back in the water and do the thing she loves the most, surf. This is the incredible story of how Bethany never gave up on her dreams despite what happened to her.

Soul Surfer is the amazing true story of the bravery of teenager Bethany Hamilton as she has to show all the courage to not only survive the shark attack with such calm but never wanting to give up on her own dreams and desires to be a professional surfer. Myself knowing nothing about surfing other than it is done in the water, I found myself on edge through every single surfing scene wanting to see just what could be pulled off through one of these waves.

AnnaSophia is brilliant in this leading role showing us all that Freddy Highmore wasn’t the only star out of the children in Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Quaid and Hunt are great as the parents feeling natural throughout the whole film with their concern to their support of Bethany’s decisions. Using Hawaii as a back drop for this film also isn’t disappointing because it is always a stunning vision to witness. This film would inspire all the underachievers out there who know they are capable of anything with the hard work needed to achieve it.

 

Overall: Easily one of the top inspirational sports and human stories out there.

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Anton Yelchin Weekend – From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

fromDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Chizuru Takahashi, Tetsuro Sayama (Comic)

Starring: (American Voice Talents) Anton Yelchin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Sarah Bolger, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard

 

Plot: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Ghibli Story

 

Story: From Up on Poppy Hill starts as we meet Umi who lives on the Poppy Hills that overlook the bay in Tokyo as they have just been award the Olympics of 1964. Umi even as a school girl age runs the house with her parents away as we see how the locals are starting to campaign to save their town from change.

In the town where Umi is raised she learns of a Shun is her brother which changes all the romantic feelings she has been having as the campaign to stop change within their town continues.

From Up on Poppy Hill is a simple Ghibli film that does tell the important story of community within the small neighbourhood. There isn’t too much to make this film stand out above the more fantasy based projects which does disappoint. The film looks as fantastic as you would expect from any of the film from the studio but it does lack that punch that makes it one of the best.

 

Overall: Easy watch for the great study.

Rating60

 

 

Daddy’s Home (2015)

daddysDirector: Sean Anders

Writer: Brian Burns, Sean Anders, John Morris (Screenplay) Brian Burns (Story)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, Bobby Cannavale

 

Plot: Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Comedy

 

Story: Daddy’s Home starts as we meet step-father Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) who couldn’t have his own children but when he fell in love with Sara (Cardellini) and her child Megan (Estevez) and Dylan (Vaccaro) he gets a chance to start his own family. Brad is still trying to win over the children and is willing to do anything to connect with them.

Brad’s new life is about to face a shocking revelation when their bad boy father Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg) turns up. When Dusty talks into Brad into letting, him stay and overtime all the hard work Brad has put in gets thrown out the window as Dusty becomes the cool dad he was once before.

Daddy’s Home is a comedy that tries to recapture the chemistry Ferrell and Wahlberg had in The Other Guys. I do think this isn’t as strong as that film but it didn’t go in a direction I didn’t think it would go. I liked how even though Dusty comes off like a bad boy he isn’t horrible about trying to get his family back he is calculated about his plan. This does come off as a good rivalry film without hitting the main levels it could have.

Ferrell and Wahlberg do give good performance even if they don’t click perfectly while the rest are just basic characters done well throughout. I do think this film misses in places which leaves us feeling disappointed.

 

Overall: Awkward in places comedy that could upset some but others could enjoy them.

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