Category Archives: Announcements and News

Miyazaki says sayonara


One of the world’s greatest living directors has retired from feature filmmaking. Miyazaki Hayao has been circling retirement for several years already (I had been under the impression that Ponyo would be his last film until I heard about The Wind Rises). As both ANN and Guardian Enzo note, he may still participate in other projects in various capacities — I suspect that such a restless muse as Miyazaki’s isn’t quite done yet — but it looks like we won’t get any more films directed by the man himself. The finality of this announcement strikes a chord of bittersweet triumph. It’s sad that we can’t expect any more masterpieces from the single biggest artist in Japanese animation, yet it’s a testament to the size of his achievements that he’s retiring at the top of his game at the age of 72. Most artists fade away; they may retain some cultural stature, but few choose to abdicate the throne while their reign remains virtually unchallenged. Fewer still are in a position to step down after a reign of decades. To see a giant gracefully lay himself to rest, rather than fall, is a privilege, if a poignant one. Arigatou gozaimasu, sensei. Here’s hoping we haven’t quite seen the last. ☕ Continue reading


Talk about softening the blow

Patrick Troughton Doctor

I was pretty disappointed when I heard that Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who in this year’s Christmas special. Not upset — he’s given us what I consider to be the definitive New Who Doctor, and if he wants to take a bow while he’s still in peak form, I can’t blame him. Not to mention that it’s always exciting to anticipate what fresh face we’ll get to see next. But I’m still disappointed. Smith is such a joy to watch, and he’s done such a great job bridging the feel of classic and new Who in his performance that I had been hoping to see him grow with the role for a few more years, especially since he started so young. Though he might pop in here and there in the future, his era is coming to an end, and it’s a bit of a shame that we won’t get another year or two out of him.

But this news, if true, could very well make up for it. I’ve tried listening to the audio recordings of some of those missing episodes. It’s just not the same. Half the reason (possibly the biggest reason) to watch the classic episodes, apart from the imagination and wit of their better scripts, is to relish the performances. The core cast members especially are often doing quite a lot with their roles, and nobody more so than the people playing the Doctors. Finally getting to see such ballyhooed stories as “Evil of the Daleks” would be a real treat. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear to the ground on this rumor. Via io9. ☕

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness

Aw, crap. I was not a fan of the 2009 Star Trek reboot. (No, seriously, it was not good.) It was bad enough that J.J. Abrams wanted to turn Star Trek into Star Wars. (Not even good Star Wars. More like Attack of the Clones, except with incessant lens flare and a less interesting storyline.) Now he apparently wants Star Trek to be Star Wars‘ answer to The Dark Knight and  Inception. Don’t get me wrong: I loves me some Christopher Nolan. But one of the reasons I love the old Star Trek franchise is because it was distinctly Star Trek. Even when the The Motion Picture turned out to be Star Trek‘s answer to 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was still Star Trek. It could very well be that Abrams is trying to be all socially relevant, thoughtful, and darn-tootin’ optimistic while wrestling with tough questions (that is to say, Star Trek) while still delivering a smashing sci-fi epic, but this trailer doesn’t look like it. It looks like a potentially fun sci-fi epic, but it doesn’t look like Star Trek. At least, not to me. Even if Trek lost its way in the later years, as many fans would argue, there were still undeniable flashes of its core mission. I didn’t see any of that in Abrams’s vision. To him, Star Trek was a means to an end — the end being making a big, blockbuster outer space saga, rather than the end being making a great Star Trek movie. Now it appears that Star Trek is the means to the end of making a Christopher Nolan space opera. I think that’s something to mourn, if for no other reason than a Christopher Nolan space opera would probably be a lot more like Star Trek than J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars knockoff, which happens to bear the name Star Trek. Hopefully it’ll be good (unlikely), even if it is disappointing (inevitably). ☕

Trailer: The Grandmasters

Interesting and exciting. I expect that WKW is going to play with the tropes and conventions of the martial arts genre (and in a way that’s different from Ashes of Time, which was more specifically a take on wuxia), but I’m not yet sure how. (My guess is that most of the action in the film was already showcased in the trailer, but I could be wrong.) I look forward to seeing what he’s up to, especially since Donnie Yen just did a couple of excellent Yip Man biopics within the last several years, and Wong will probably inject the film with his trademark world-weary romanticism.

Via Opus. ☕

Happy Election day!

Land of the brave and free. ☕

Brad Pitt to slay giant squid (I hope)

This is the first I’ve heard that David Fincher is keen to remake (or re-adapt?) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney. Richard Fleischer’s 1954 version of the film was a childhood favorite of mine, and I’d love to see what Fincher would do with the material, whether it’s a modern update of the earlier film or a more straightforward adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel. Between Fincher possibly remaking 20,000 Leagues and Joe Kosinski trying to do The Black Hole (another childhood fave), it looks like Disney might specifically be targeting me as the ideal audience. Now if only they could get Joe Johnston for that rumored Rocketeer remake and maybe Guillermo Del Toro for Journey to the Center of the Earth, I might just start physically to age backwards. ☕

Herbert Lom, 1917-2012

Everybody will remember and love Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. The man had a long, incredible career, and though he didn’t always play the buffoon, one of the curses of great versatility is being so good at something that, by happenstance, it defines you. A less-celebrated role, but one from a movie I have enjoyed since childhood, is that of Colonel Bockner from J. Lee Thompson’s strenuously silly rendition of King Solomon’s Mines. Not the part for which Lom deserves to be remembered, but I had actually just mentioned it two days ago, so it’s fresh on my mind. Godspeed, sir.☕

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