Friday, September 23, 2011

International: Trollhunter, Howl's Moving Castle, 13 Assassins

I hadn't planned on a bonus blog post, but two new additions to Netflix Watch Instantly today are worth your attention.  And just for the heck of it, I'll toss in one more international film that I've added to my queue.

Trollhunter is a great deal of fun, and it would make a good double feature with Gareth Edwards's Monsters.  Both films are relatively low budget films and they benefit from the advances in lower-end CGI (if that is even a fair term).  The combination of old-fashioned B-movie techniques (using darkness to obscure the monsters both for suspense and for budgetary reasons) with some really fantastic payoffs (where we finally get to see the monsters in all of their glory) suggests that these films are paving a new direction for low-budget horror and science fiction.

Trollhunter (André Øvredal, Norway, 2010, 103 minutes)
Netflix: Three students enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher named Hans. When they find him, he claims that bear hunting is just a ruse, and that he actually tracks trolls for the Norwegian government! This footage captures the trio as they follow Hans deep into the forest. If the hunter's story is true, they'll have the makings of the best student film in history. Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck and Tomas Alf Larsen star.  Netflix link.

Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo expires in three days (September 26), but his 2004 film Howl's Moving Castle will be available for almost a full year on Netflix Watch Instantly starting today.

Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2004, 119 minutes)
Netflix: In this engaging anime based on a children's fantasy novel, 18-year-old Sophie works in her late father's hat shop in a humdrum town. But things get interesting when she's transformed into an elderly woman by the evil Witch of the Waste (voiced by Lauren Bacall). Determined to reverse the spell, Sophie seeks the help of the wizard Howl, who has an amazing moving castle that's fueled by a fire demon named Calcifer. Hayao Miyazaki directs.  Netflix link.

Takeshi Miike's 13 Assassins has been streaming for about a month, and it is well worth your time, but be prepared to be exhausted by the end of its climatic battle.  Note that Netflix is streaming the "international version" which runs 126 minutes, while the original cut was 141 minutes.

13 Assassins (Takeshi Miike, Japan, 2010, 126 minutes)
Netflix: To stop a tyrant from murdering and exploiting innocent civilians, 13 samurai warriors unite and prepare to end his life. But to kill the evildoer, the assassins must contend with an army of deadly bodyguards who outnumber them by a wide margin. Directed by acclaimed and prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, this action-packed samurai remake features Yusuke Iseya, Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada and Tsuyoshi Ihara.  Netflix link.

No comments:

Post a Comment