For America, nothing signifies the joy of hand-drawn animation like the chipper (and all powerful) little grin of Mickey Mouse. Similarly, for Japan, Studio Ghibli and its cuddly character Totoro are symbols of their national talent. Founded in 1985 by visionaries Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, the studio has produced some of the finest hand-drawn features of the past 25 years, including the heartbreaking Grave Of The Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and our personal favourite, Spirited Away. For his latest animated epic, Miyazaki turns to Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy-tale The Little Mermaid for inspiration.
This Sunday, Colin Firth was awarded the Best Actor Bafta for A Single Man in a blaze of long overdue glory. Though he didn’t manage to clinch the Oscar, based on the performance his gives in this stunning, subtle, and achingly lovely film we reckon he deserved it.
Astro Boy is the classic tale of a young boy trying to get along with the cards life gives him. Making friends, getting by and generally having a good old time, he’s just like you and me. The only difference is that this kid is a robot. And some people want to kill the death out of him. It’s a futuristic Pinnocchio-inspired CGI romp, and whilst it has a lot to recommend it, ultimately there’s not a lot of human heart beating behind it.
Warning – don’t go and see this film expecting another Twilight. No doubt that’s what the studio financing this Aussie-made vampire flick is hoping you’ll do, but the blood-suckers in Daybreakers are not so much your new-school pretty-boy vegan variety. They belong firmly to the old guard of demonesque bad guys who have overrun the earth and must be hunted down with big machine guns, crossbows with exploding bolts and other such gore-porn paraphernalia that will have teenage boys wetting themselves in excitement.
Ten years of production, the development of a whole new stereoscopic technology and a marketing blitzkrieg so intense that even lost tribes in the jungles of Borneo are aware of it. The buzz around Avatar has been almost unprecedented – James Cameron’s long-awaited return to sci-fi has been panned, praised and everything in between even before it was released. Approaching Avatar with an open mind, we discovered one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful and immersive films of recent years.
Regular visitors to Best For Film will know that we’re a little bit sceptical when it comes to films that rely primarily on CGI effects to impress. Add to that we’re not exactly smitten with the oeuvre of serial planet-abuser Roland Emmerich (seriously, the guy’s destroyed the planet so many times he makes Galactus looks like a sulky toddler in a sand pit) and 2012 isn’t exactly the kind of film we usually look forward to
When we had finished watching Law Abiding Citizen, we had just one question. What is it with Scottish actors and the American accent? Seriously, first up there was Ewan MacGregor, sounding like he was talking with a mouth full of nails in Deception. You’d have thought Hugh Jackman (who like most Australians has some pretty convincing Yank speak) would have taken him aside and given a few words of advice. Admittedly they were both probably avoiding eye contact in the hope that if they didn’t look at one another they might awake from the nightmare of starring in the worst erotic thriller since Ernest Goes to Jail
Surrogates shows us a bleak vision of the future (seriously, is there any other type of future according to films?) in which people have the power to create flawless robot versions of themselves. Why, you may ask? Well that’s not really the point, is it? Cos it’s cool. This film explores – with predictable pessimism – a future in which our lives are controlled by machines. And though it’s a little dull in terms of overall message, this is still good, Bruce-Willis-based fun, ensuring you 88 minutes of non-stop action.