La La Land-Cynicism & Joy in the Modern Musical

Despite reports to the contrary, the cinematic musical never truly died. Even looking past the obvious examples of the yearly Disney instalment, we can see examples from recent years like Les Misérables, Rock of Ages, Annie, and of course, Mamma Mia. Cinema will always have an unbreakable bond with the love of song and dance, but there really hasn't been an attempt … Continue reading La La Land-Cynicism & Joy in the Modern Musical

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Nausicaä and Laputa: Revisiting Miyazaki’s Early Masterpieces

When rediscovering the early films of Hayao Miyazaki's career, it is important to constantly notice and appreciate just how assured and expertly crafted they are. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) are two of Miyazaki's very earliest works as a director of animation, but what sweeping and glorious efforts they … Continue reading Nausicaä and Laputa: Revisiting Miyazaki’s Early Masterpieces

Taking Delight in Depravity: ‘The Neon Demon’

After 2013’s Only God Forgives, I thought that the Danish film director, Nicholas Winding Refn, had entirely lost me as a fan. Unlike his earlier, more accessible films, Only God Forgives was an extreme: a mean-spirited, pandering film about nothing, a movie which thought of itself as very interesting and very smart when it was … Continue reading Taking Delight in Depravity: ‘The Neon Demon’

The Extraordinary Achievement of ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’

To witness Takahata’s decade old project seems almost like a blessing unto itself. The charcoal strokes and painted brushes of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya wash over you and immerse you into a startlingly different world where the magic of fantasy is sharply balanced by the difficulties and sufferings of a life on earth, where … Continue reading The Extraordinary Achievement of ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’

apuffofJack’s Top Five Films of 2014

It’s been an especially mixed year in the world of cinema. The quality has fluctuated between serious highs and serious lows, between forgettable blockbusters and awe-inspiring independent efforts. In compiling this list I had to exclude a few really wonderful films; 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street won’t appear on this … Continue reading apuffofJack’s Top Five Films of 2014