Tuesday 29 Jul
 
 

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05/06/2014 | Comments 0

Sorcerer

William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

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04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Drama
 

The Wind Rises


The Wind Rises is a high-flying exit for master animator Hayao Miyazaki

Phil Bacharach March 5th, 2014

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki were understandably disappointed when Japan’s master animator announced that his latest feature, The Wind Rises, would also be his last. The 73-yearold filmmaker has given us some of animation’s most brilliant and beautiful works, including My Neighbor Totoro and 2001’s Oscar-winning Spirited AwaySo, yeah, the guy has definitely earned his retirement, and the studio he helped found, Studio Ghibli, is sure to continue making terrific pictures. But it doesn’t make Miyazaki’s departure any less bittersweet.

At least he goes out with style.

The Wind Rises, which opens this Friday in Oklahoma City exclusively at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial Rd., doesn’t boast the elements of fantasia that usually distinguish Miyazaki films — there are no cats doubling as buses here — but it’s just as gorgeous and, in its way, just as mystical.

The story is a fictionalized account of Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon), the real-life aeronautical engineer whose creations included the A6M Zero fighters used by Japanese kamikaze pilots in the attack on Pearl Harbor. We meet Jiro as a child obsessed with airplanes. He pores through English aviation magazines and dreams of mysterious flying machines. Jiro even has conjured up a mentor, engaging in dreams in which he consults with Giovanni Caproni (Stanley Tucci, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), a pioneer of Italian aviation.

Encompassing such pivotal events as the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the Depression, the movie chronicles the polite, soft-spoken Jiro as he sets to work for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries designing airplanes under the watchful eye of a cranky supervisor (Martin Short, TV’s The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!).

Flight and the power of creation are at the heart of The Wind Rises, but that is only part of the narrative. Miyazaki gives his hero a sweetly affecting love story. Jiro is at a German resort when he reunites with Nahoko Satomi (Emily Blunt, Looper), a young woman with whom he fatefully has crossed paths before.

Despite being Japan’s highest grossing film last year, the film is not without controversy. Some critics, particularly in the U.S., have criticized Miyazaki for mostly ignoring the story’s moral implications. The Jiro Horikoshi of The Wind Rises doesn’t appear particularly conflicted about his genius being put to deadly use.

There are no scenes of Jiro grappling with his role in the creation of warplanes, but neither is he ignorant of the situation. “Humanity dreams of flight, but the dream is cursed. Aircraft are destined to become tools for slaughter and destruction,” the fantastical Caproni cautions the young Jiro, who simply responds, “I know.”

Given this controversy and the hand-wringing surrounding The Wolf of Wall Street earlier this year, it is a wonder American moviegoers are trusted enough to find popcorn and seats on their own. When did subtlety and subtext lose their value? I am not bothered that Jiro reflects the stoicism and sense of duty endemic to Japanese culture. Viewers can appreciate the tragic irony of creative force used for destructive force without being smacked around. 

Miyazaki prefers a more delicate touch. As one has come to expect with the director, The Wind Rises is a visual feast, but what really impresses are the small but telling details. Whether it is Caproni’s mustache shifting in the breeze or the languorously magical route of a paper plane, the little things are what make The Wind Rises so memorable.

 
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