Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lemme hear ya say Hayao!

And then please let me just as promptly apologize for that rather childish outburst, but I just can't help getting very excited when there's news this good about Hayao Miyazaki.

As first reported on the great Ghibli fan site Nausicaa.net, Miyazaki is hard at work on his next flick "Gake no ue no Ponyo"(Ponyo on a Cliff), which is scheduled for release in summer of 2008.

His first flick since "Howl's Moving Castle" is about a goldfish princess named Ponyo who wants to become human and her relationship with a 5-year-old boy. Miyazaki, who is penning the original script, is basing the boy on his grandson, the son of "Tales From Earthsea" helmer Goro Miyazaki.

This all sounds like vintage Miyazaki to me, so definitely a reason to celebrate. What sets him apart from the animation pack, at least for me, is that his highly original stories always seem to exist in a dreamscape, a world all their own that others have tried but failed to re-create. If I had to pick only two, my favorite Miyazaki flicks would have to be "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Porco Rosso."

What those movies had in common was his impressionistic visions of Europe. For "Ponyo," Miyazaki was apparently inspired by a more exotic setting, a 2005 stay on Japan's scenic Inland Sea.

Though we'll have to wait some time to see what comes of all this, here's a photo from the studio that's doing the best imitation of Miyazaki out there, Pixar. "Ratatouille" is the movie I'm most looking forward to this summer, and from this pic courtesy of Comingsoon.net (click to enlarge), we know that it's at least going to look fantastic.

Coppola's "Youth" gets big deal

The news about Francis Ford Coppola also just keeps getting better. Not only has he finished his first film in 10 years, "Youth Without Youth," but now it's gotten a distribution deal from United Artists that gives hope that even folks in my little corner of the world will get to see it.

Coppola adapted, produced and directed "Youth Without Youth" from the 1976 novel by Romanian-born religious historian Mircea Eliade. He said he was inspired by daughter Sofia to make a low-budget, personal film.

The flick, which Coppola shot last winter in Romania, stars Tim Roth as a 70-year-old who is struck by lightning and suddenly gets younger and more brilliant. His quest: to understand the origin of language and consciousness. By movie's end, he and the love of his life (Alexandra Maria Lara) are speaking in tongues. Bruno Ganz (huzzah!) also stars, and Matt Damon makes a cameo appearance.

Sounds more than a little crazy, but definitely not boring. In an odd confluence that resembles last year's "Prestige"-"Illusionist" collision, Coppola's movie is coming as David Fincher is at work on a flick with a very similar theme. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," set to star Brad Pitt, is based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a 50-year-old man who begins aging backwards. Pretty eerie, no?

If it's still possible Hollywood can revive itself by releasing quality movies, United Artists, now being led by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, seems to be at the forefront. Already they have the political drama "Lions for Lambs" coming later this year, "Youth Without Youth," and then a return collaboration between Bryan Singer and Chris McQuarrie. I can only vigorously say bring it all on.

R.I.P. Stuart Rosenberg

One sad note to close out this Tuesday post. Stuart Rosenberg, director of "Cool Hand Luke," "Amityville Horror" and other flicks, passed away Thursday at age 79.

"Cool Hand Luke" is, for me, indeed just one of the coolest movies ever made. Rosenberg and Paul Newman turned the prison drama into easily one of the most quotable flicks of all time. And, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Rosenberg must be blushing, because there have already been seven sequels to "Amityville Horror" (of which I have seen none.) His last film was "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" in 1991.

Every time my boss asks me to do something I don't particularly want to do, I always hit him the Luke-ism "calling it your job don't make it right, Boss." I'll be sure to do it at least once today, and it will make us each smile for a second. Rest in peace, Mr. Rosenberg.


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Anonymous said...

Cool! "Porco Rosso" is on my list of things to see (along with a bunch of other animated titles). This is good news indeed!

Jimmy M. Espana said...

Once again, "Reel Fanatic", thanks for your comment... It's good to know some one appreciates my MBCotW feature :) I'll be sure to keep it up!!!! Take care, JME

Chalupa said...

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Anonymous said...

Anything Miyazaki does is noteworthy, so it's good to see you made a note of it. It sounds interesting. My favorite Miyazaki films are Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and yes I know these are also the most popular. I also own and really enjoy Kiki, love Porco Rosso, like Nausicca, and own but have yet to sit down and watch Castle of Cogliostro, My Neighbor Totoro, or Howl's Moving Castle. Yeah I know, I should get on that.

Sage said...

I love Miyazaki's stuff! There's another Kiki's Delivery Service in production too - any idea what that's about? I'm thinking it might be live action. I'm really hoping it won't suck.

Christopher55 said...

"Lord, whatever I done, don't strike me blind for another couple of minutes." -- Dragline

Very "cool" movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I hadn't heard anything about a live Kiki's Delivery Service, Sage, but I'm definitely going to look into it ... I can't say I would possibly in favor of it, because it definitely just sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Of the ones you have but haven't watched yet, Philip, My Neighbor Totoro is the best .. just an all-around classic

rabbit1970 said...

Nice write-up about Miyazaki's latest. I just read about that yesterday and, like yourself, I get all giddy like a school-girl whenever I hear something's coming from Studio Ghibli. My favorite is Totoro (and it's the one I've lent out to others most and it gets them hooked as well.

Reel Fanatic said...

Totoro is indeed a classic, Rabbit ... I can't imagine he has too many movies left to make, so here's hoping Ponyo turns out to be another great one