Archive for the ‘Screenings’ Category

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The Anthem of the Heart: The Egg and I

February 1, 2016

hisui_icon_4040 I think I have officially proved that I am an anime fan. I could point to 8 and half years of running a blog, 6 years of podcasting, or dozen of panels run at conventions as some sort of poof of dedication to the hobby. I think they all pale in comparison to braving a blizzard that dumped over 2 feet of snow on NYC just to see The Anthem of the Heart. That alone should allow me pass by any gatekeepers without a second thought.

(Truth be told gatekeepers almost always have their opinion formed before they talk to you but I like to believe beautiful lies.)

I do mention that in advance that if you are a strong proponent of the theory of effort justification and its effect on a viewer’s experience that it might be a factor in this review. My journey was not flying to Japan to see a movie premiere but it was a fairly long hike over quite a bit of snow through a very stressed transit system. I don’t think it prejudiced it me in favor of the film but it was quite a trial to see the movie and an equal undertaking to get home. When you have to climb over walls of ice that are as tall as you are, dig out trapped taxis, and stand in subway stops with snowdrifts in them you are going place some weight to the work you placed into your odyssey. Keep that in mind as you read this.

A good question might be what sort of movie would motivate me to do my best Robert Edwin Peary impersonation? The Anthem of the Heart has a fairly strong pedigree. Much of the staff of the movie including Tatsuyuki Nagai, Jin Aketagawa, Masayoshi Tanaka, Kazuko Nakajima, and Mari Okada also worked on AnoHana. While hardly a perfect work (as evidenced by its vocal detractors) I thought that AnoHana was extremely entertaining and rather touching anime so I was looking forward to seeing what this team could do with the tighter storytelling space of a movie.

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NYICFF 2015: Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

March 16, 2015

narutaki_icon_4040 One day, a satellite crashes to earth colliding with a walking incinerator which is chasing a cow. That satellite transforms into young woman Il-ho. And that cow is actually a young musician named Kuang-chan who has been transformed by his broken heart. The incinerator monster is trying to gobble up all the sad people who have been transformed. Thus Satellite Girl and Milk Cow meet.

The film is mostly 2D animation, and a lot of it looks like Flash, with moments of CG thrown in. The film has a good grasp of timing and physical comedy even if it can’t execute it with a lot of beauty. While the animation is not much to look at, SG&MC has other qualities that make it special.

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NYICFF 2015: When Marnie Was There

March 6, 2015

narutaki_icon_4040 This year’s New York International Children’s Film Festival started off on a pretty high note, especially as an anime fan. The opening night premiere was the latest film from an anime production team that needs no introduction: Studio Ghilbi.

When Marnie Was There (pronounced: MAR-knee) begins with one of the classic setups for children’s stories: moving from the city to the country and discovering a bit of magic in the process. Tween Anna is living in the city but after another bad attack of her asthma her mother decides to send her to the country. Anna makes her way from the bustling streets of Sapporo to a small seaside village to stay with relatives she barely knows.

Once Anna arrives, she falls in love with a beautiful foreign mansion overlooking the marsh. I understood her because I too wanted to paint the house and walk its halls. Anna spends most of her days exploring the area, drawing, and playing with the little girl who lives there, Marnie.

At the same time, reality starts to get blurry.

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The Speakeasy #051: Upside-down Pineapple, March Movie Madness

March 31, 2014
Drink #051: Upside-down Pineapple
March Movie Madness

Unlike all the other East Coast anime fans, we didn’t head to Anime Boston this month. Instead, we talk about all the movies we saw during March. Okay, yeah, fine we couldn’t come up with a real, all encompassing topic, okay? But hey, you get two anime movie reviews (Patema Inverted and Giovanni’s Island both of which played at the NYICFF) and our thoughts on the Veronica Mars movie (have we ever sounded this ridiculously happy in a podcast before?).

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Upside-down Pineapple

  • 1/2 oz. Vodka, vanilla
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake vanilla vodka and pineapple juice with ice and strain into shot glass. Add grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and will give this shot a very sweet conclusion.

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