The Red Turtle

red_turtle

One of the frustrating things about being in Singapore is that I often read about stuff online that I then have no way of personally experiencing easily. Like, for example, weird obscure movies.

While browsing through Studio Ghibli’s wiki entry, I stumbled upon this recent film called ‘The Red Turtle‘, a collaboration between the legendary animation studio and acclaimed Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit. This is unusual for Ghibli as they only produced the film with little creative input. Checking around the net the film hasn’t been released commercially yet but the reviews have been good.

Since this is the internet a quick dig around usually gets you more information, but this being such a little known film there’s not much to find. But, BUT, there is an interview with the director covered by The Verge, which does help explain how this collaboration came about.

Based on the reviews and the trailer I can already guess how the story goes, but knowing it doesn’t take away any of the joy I experienced seeing the animation which is exquisite. The soundtrack is just as lovely and (AND) amazingly available on iTunes.

But that’s no consolation knowing that I may have to wait a long, long, time to finally watch the film. Usually such obscure films do eventually make their way to Singapore in a limited format, but it won’t be something you can just walk into a store to purchase. I expect that the library will have a copy some day, but till then I’ll just have to sit and wait patiently for that to happen.

In the meantime check out the trailer below:

The Ghost Writer Movie House

The Ghost Writer is a pretty unknown movie from 2010 starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan. It’s a political thriller which I enjoyed for the dreary tense atmosphere engulfing the whole film.

But the real star for me was the house. Pierce Brosnan plays the British Prime Minister who’s taking refuge on some small island off the coast of the US. When Ewan McGregor’s character (the eponymous but otherwise unnamed ‘ghost writer’) first approaches the house I couldn’t help but be fascinated by it. The whole house is rugged, grey, linear and so finely detailed. You can see the windows overlapping the columns and the beautiful full height window that goes (implausibly) up to the roof line. It’s not often that architecture gets a starring role in a film!

The house from outside

The interiors are no less impressive and I found this write up at Home Designing really descriptive:

During the day shots the fortress of a house was flooded with sunlight via large windows framing serene views, illustrating the isolated location of the home. The colors of the landscape bleed into the dramatic interior, and the use of natural textures fuse the inside and outside spaces.

The Study

I wanted to know more about the house and the designer but alas it turns out the entire thing was just one big set. The outside shots were taken in one location and the interiors somewhere else. What a shame as it’s really quite a beautiful building!

the study

You can read the rest of the article and see more photos here.

 

Really Short Movie Review – Epic

Another movie that surprised me by being far more entertaining than I thought it would. My wife also enjoyed it!

While it reminded me a lot of Fern Gully I did enjoy the computer visuals and the really varied character designs. But plot wise, character wise I wasn’t so impressed. It’s a fairly formulaic movie. The plot is so packed at points that some of the more interesting characters don’t get fleshed out much. In that regard it does not live up to it’s title.

However, do you really want every movie you watch to be pushing the boundaries of storyline and character development all the time? Epic may not bring any new big ideas to the table but what it does is bring good solid entertainment with amazing visuals and a fun take on the challenges of being small. And when it comes to family entertainment that’s not so bad.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

 

Really Short Movie Review : Rush

Rush-IMAGE-Poster-706x1024It’s not often that my wife gets to choose the movies that we watch, and even less often that I really enjoy what she’s chosen.

This fast paced, highly dramatised film on Formula 1 rivalry between Austrian Niki Lauda and British driver James Hunt will keep you riveted from the start.

The tightly choreographed races and claustrophobic views from within helmets were expertly used to heighten the tension during the races. These were complimented by the scenes of personal struggle and  triumph interspersed between races. All-in-all a well told story.

My only gripe is the films final line where Lauda reveals his true feelings for Hunt (voiced by the real Niki Lauda himself!) which I found to be an unconvincing climax.

Other than that it’s a really good film which I enjoyed thoroughly.

Verdict : Thumbs up

Really Short Movie Review : Frozen

Not gonna lose my head over this
Not gonna lose my head over this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really wanted to like Frozen.

Perhaps my views were are best summed up by my sister  who woefully declared that it wasn’t as good as ‘Wreck-it Ralph‘.

In many ways I was entertained and delighted by the visuals, the music, the numerous jokes and the quirky dialogue. The characters were all good but none really stood out. I wanted more from Kristoff, the trolls and Elsa, more depth, more dialogue. And as touched as I was by Anna’s final choice what followed just felt too convenient and tacked on, like they just couldn’t wait to end the movie.

There’s enough warmth in here to thaw anyone’s hearts but considering all the good press surrounding the film I just expected more.

Verdict : Neutral

Really Short Movie Review : Monsters University

Better than Scare Tech

Monsters University (MU) is fun, silly and expands on the alternate world of the monsters in a big way. As a movie on it’s own I found it to be a real delight to watch.

However as a prequel film, I didn’t find it as good. The Mike and Scully of MU are so wildly contrasting in nature to their Monster’s Inc (M Inc) selves that I just wasn’t convinced they were even the same people… I mean monsters. There were some references made to their later selves but these seemed conveniently tacked on and the story didn’t seem quite as fresh as M Inc. I found it lacked the emotional punch of the original movie.

Still as a coming of age buddy film it was good.

Verdict: Thumbs up

The Croods (Mini Review)

Image

Watched ‘The Croods’ today which was quite an enjoyable New Years Day treat.

I don’t remember how I got it in my head that it was a mediocre movie but I was pleasantly surprised that it is far from ordinary. Next to Madagascar 3 I thought this was one of the most fun movies I’ve seen in a while.

My favourite lines: “RELEASE THE BABY!”, “I call them… shoes” and “GARGHHH….AHHRRGHHHH… I-HAVE-AN-IDEA!!!”

The scenes were gorgeous. The characters quirky and delightful. The jokes were genuinely funny. The ending touching.

I enjoyed it.

Thumbs up!