The Anthem of the Heart at JICC, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Neon Demon, and The Call Up gives us a wide range of cinematic goodies to select between this week.
Topping the list from a box office perspective is Independence Day: Resurgence, taking place 2 decades after the original film. Based on the trailer, it looks like the aliens once more manage to wipe out a sizable percentage of the Earth’s population during their attack, but you know I will be in the theater for this one. If nothing else, the trailer also makes it obvious that some of the visual effects, especially the combat scenes, will require the big screen to see them fully and completely they way they were intended. The Call Up is a British movie where a group of gamers are invited to try a new VR game, only to discover some of them will die before they can get out of it again. At least one reviewer compared it to Gantz, so I may have to check it out, although I will probably wait since the trailer on this one did not look like it needed the big screen. While I am not a horror fan, The Neon Demon looks stylish and interesting enough (complete with a visual referent in the trailer to another stylish horror/thriller I dearly love, the 1982 remake of Cat People) that I may need to see it as the thriller it started life as. This is also the first Amazon Studios project I became aware of that will be available in theaters before you can stream it online. That isn’t to say there aren’t others before this, but only that this is my first time to notice one.
There is also an Anime in extremely limited release this Friday that was nominated for Best Animation at the 2016 Japan Academy Awards: The Anthem of the Heart. Once a very happy girl, Jun said something when she was very young that tore her family apart. The Egg Fairy (more of a Kami really) appeared before her and sealed away her words in order to stop her from hurting anybody else. Years later she finds herself in a situation which gives her the strength to fight her way back to communicating with the world again. The author, Mari Okada, was awarded the 16th Animation Kobe Award (Individual Award) for her output in 2011, which included such titles as Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and Fractale, among others. She has two Anime shows currently streaming from Japan, The Lost Village and Kiznavier, and if you are a fan of anime I guarantee she has written for at least one of your favorite shows over the last few decades. When I said this was in extremely limited release, I wasn’t kidding; you will only be able to see it at the Japan Information and Culture Center theater, which is part of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C., at the moment. It has played at a number of other theaters in the US in the past (maybe 20 or so nation wide) and it will no doubt be available to stream or buy sometime in the next year in North America for those like me who can never afford to buy the imported disc. If you do make this showing, perhaps we will get a chance to chat before or after the program.