MOVIES TO CHECK OUT
Howl's Moving Castle
Already showing in some areas is Hayao Miyazaki's latest film, Howl's Moving Castle. Based on the novel by Dianne Wynn Jones, the film is about a young girl who is literally lifted off her feet by her encounter with the enigmatic magician known as Howl. And the chain of events that lead her to being cursed by a witch into becoming an old woman, as well as learning the secret that binds Howl to the fire demon Calcifer.
Rich with wonderful scenes that captivate the imagination as well as truly creative imagery for certain scenes and characters make the engaging storyline only even more compelling and entertaining to watch. Although the film has gained acclaim in Japan and many other places, I personally felt Spirited Away or Nausicaa was much more... Miyazaki for me. Part of how the story unfolded felt a tad more... contrived than the usual suave twists and turns Miyazaki movies contain.
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Lucy, Edmund, Suzy and Peter Pevensie embark on the adventure of a lifetime as a magical Wardrobe brings them in touch with the incredible world of Narnia! Reputedly Disney's attempt to recoup the losses of having turned down Lord of the Rings when it was first being circulated for a producer, the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia film looks very interesting and shows much promise... possibly becoming The fantasy film for the coming years the way Lord of the Rings captured the hearts of millions of viewers not too long ago.
Directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2), the film has a number of not-too-familiar names to handle the main cast: Tilda Swinton who was the fiesy Gabriel in Constantine plays the role of the White Witch, Georgie Henley plays Lucy, Skandar Keynes as Edmund, Anna Popplewell as Susan and William Moseley as Peter. Then again, fresh faces may give this film the push it needs to feel credible and real. The effects look great so far, although some would feel Arslan has a bit of an evident computerization still visible.
V FOR VENDETTA
When I first read V for Vendetta, I loved how many levels the story reached out to me. There was the disgust for the favor it held towards the acts of terrorism which the man called V had indulged in to make his message known, but at the same time, there was the painfully honest and brutal truth about how much V's feelings and motivations were things that I felt were things many could relate with.
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta is the story of Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante (Hugo Weaving) known only as “V.” V's quest for truth and his attempts to inspire his fellow citizens to revolt against their oppressive government becomes a parallel quest towards the discovery of truth which Evey learns about herself.
The cast includes Stephen Rea (Interview with the Vampire), Rupert Graves (The Madness of King George), Stephen Fry (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and is produced by Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, V For Vendetta is directed by James McTeigue.
Surprisingly, though heavily inspired (heck, it wouldn't exist without the comic!) by the comic by Alan Moore, there is precious little mention of him in the posters or movie trailers. Most even seemingly and misleading boast that the story is the "uncompromising vision of the people who brought you The Matrix." Frankly, its for that lack of respect for Alan Moore that tempts me at times to not support this film, even if it shows so much promise.
Last on the list for now is the upcoming German film, Night Watch, a first of an epic horror trilogy that tells us the story of a world where Vampires and Witches exist in the shadows as two opposing sides of Light and Dark. Each side is forbidden to directly influence mankind, and to ensure both sides follow the rules, each side creates a team whose duty is to ensure no one crosses that line: The Day Watch and the Night Watch.
Like the merging of concepts from White Wolf's World of Darkness with the supposed duality of good and evil in Constantine, Night Watch shows much promise to set the bar for horror as well as give the genre a new stab into the vein so to speak on how it can be approached. With vivid imagery and interesting Dave McKean-ish visual critters, there seems to be much to look forward to this upcoming film where the darkness and the light collide once more.