Studio Ghibli is releasing their version of the children’s classic The Borrowers under the title Arrietty, the name of the 14 year old protagonist. That’s the DVD release, the movie was on the big screen last year in Japan, and this past January for the rest of Asia. They are actually releasing it in three versions, the original Japanese with subtitles, a US English dub being released here on February 17th, 2012, and a UK English dub coming out on the 29th (yes, later this month). The trailer is from the UK dub, thanks to io9 for the heads up.
13 Assassins is an action movie set at the end of Japan’s feudal period, where 13 samurai are out to stop an evil ruler and save the country. This one gets my vote as best film for the week. Bloodrayne: The Third Reich has our half-vampire heroine up against the Nazi Vampire Army in WWII, and she has to stop them before they make Hitler immortal. Finally, Witchville is another made for TV movie from Syfy, so obviously I will be passing on this one, much as I did for their earlier efforts, like Sharktopus and Mansquito.
Also from Syfy is one of my favorite TV shows, as they roll out Eureka: Season 4.0, with the second half of the season hitting the airwaves on July 11th. It continues to confound me how they can produce such excellent TV series and such sucky TV movies. The lamentable The Cape: The Complete Series is also becoming available this week. It had such great actors and a good concept, but they dropped the ball on the execution part of the process (writing, filming, editing, etc.), which is why it evaporated after a single season. There is an enjoyable documentary TV series coming out, Mysteries at the Museum: Season 1 from the Travel Channel, which I will be checking out.
On the Animation front, Transformers: The Headmasters has been out for better than 20 years, but never previously available legally in the US. This is an alternate reality spin on season 4, where Optimus Prime never died and a whole new species of bots entered the battle. And finally, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie : A Wakening of the Trailblazer has the the Extraterrestrial Living-metal Shapeshifters (ELS) assimilating everyone in sight in a very Borg-like fashion. I am not a fan of the animation styles either of these classic Anime series used, but they both had very well developed story lines and situations, if you followed the original Japanese dialog and ignored the English forced on them to try to make them fit the Saturday morning cartoon time slot and target audience.
Not much new around this weekend, and the only interesting looking ones are in limited release. Legend of the Fist: the Return of Chen Zhen has Donnie Yen as a masked vigilante, Batman style, in 1920s Shanghai. At that point in history the city was torn in half, with segments controlled by the Japanese and the British, with neither power block caring about the fate of the Chinese who lived there. Playboy by day, masked warrior by night, Zhen works to undermine the Japanese invasion.
The premise behind Age of the Dragons is a bit unexpected. Dragons are hunted for the napalm-like substance that fuels modern civilization, but Captain Ahab is chasing after the Great White Dragon that slaughtered his family. Yes, this really is Moby Dick done with dragons, and Danny Glover gets to be Ahab in this one. In theaters this Friday (or perhaps a year from this Friday, the release date data is a bit unclear) on a very limited run (along with The Adjustment Bureau and Rango in much wider release), and out on DVD two weeks later, which is where most of us will get to see it.
Also out in extremely limited release this weekend are the Korean film I Saw The Devil and the Thai movie Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. I find it interesting that both movies have their official home page in Japan, which seems to be turning into a gateway to the rest of the world for Asia. In much wider release, Beastly is a story we have seen before, involving a callas guy who earns the curse laid upon him, and must now achieve a goal previously unthinkable to him to get his body back. Even though it is a bit derivative, I suspect I will be attending Beastly this weekend. I should have posted about all of these with my normal Monday Movie post, but here they are before they hit the big screen at least.
We just had the most expensive Bollywood Sci-Fi film of all time, Robot, kicked loose to the big screen this past weekend. I have to wait until I go off call before I get to see it (that bit about turning off your cell phone in the movie theater means I have to wait until I can turn mine off), but there is another film that will be coming out on 5Nov10 I need to mention: Action Replay. Depending on who’s reviews you read and believe, this flic should be somewhere between Back To The Future and Hot Tub Time Machine, which were each variants on the same theme anyways. I do appreciate how each of these movies have the Grandfather Paradox at their core, bringing the concept out to the public in a format that makes sense to them. Once Upon A Time In Mumbai has some of the same flavor to it.
Sadly, the best bet this weekend is an American remake of a movie that was perfect to start with. Let Me In can only have been made for people who can not read, because the films being in Swedish and therefore needing subtitles was the only drawback to Let The Right One In for English speakers. I expect the US remake to be very disappointing, since the original was brilliant and riveting even with the subtitles; you might as well try to remake the first film in that other world-class Swedish film trilogy Män Som Hatar Kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Oh, wait, I think they are…