Your Name, Simply Amazing

Whenever there’s a western release of a Japanese feature length animation, they tend to be big news. Unless it’s certain to be a huge hit, not many are seen over on these shores on the big screen. Your Name is the latest blockbuster from the East to arrive here. The film has been a monumental success in Japan, where it’s already 4th in the list of all time highest grossing movies. Only Spirited Away, Titanic & Frozen  has taken in more, and out of those, only Spirited Away was made in Japan. I missed the original release here in the UK as I was away on holiday, but luckily Odeon were still showing limited screenings of the movie. So I managed to get an opportunity to watch it as it should be!

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The central plot to this movie is a body swapping concept revolving around two teenagers. One, a girl called Mitsuha, living out in rural Japan, bored of her life in the sticks and craving the life in the bright lights of Tokyo. The other, Taki, is a boy living the city life in the capital. A strange turn of events sees them switch with each other, living the life of one another. We follow their journey to find out who they are, and their search for each other.

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One trap the film could have easily fallen into would have been the very idea of body swapping. This is usually seen as more of a comedic gimmick, rather than one of love & drama. What director Makoto Shinkai manages to do, is carefully balance the story between comedy and drama. The first half of the movie is very down to earth and humorous.  As we see their initial reactions to the swapping, and how it effects each of their social lives. Taki managing to win the affections of a colleague with the help of Mitsuha, whereas Mitsuha has a surge in popularity at her school, with the assistance of Taki! The movie then effectively shifts into a vastly more dramatic & emotional film during the latter half, where the characters and story are very enticing, and the final few acts are filled with palpable tension. Whereas the first act helps us get to know our two protagonists, it’s the second half that makes us truly care for them.

This is where the magic happens; it’s a difficult move to transition between two genres during a movie. The movie could have stayed with its comedic tones of the opening half, but it does incredible well to actually shift away from that without ruining the flow of the story. The plot may become tangled as everything comes together, but if you consider all the points afterwards, it’s all the more rewarding once you do put it all together.

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With the advances in CGI, we have been spoilt with incredibly detailed CGI animation. But gone are the days of hand drawn animation, it’s something we rarely ever see nowadays, especially in Western cinema. The visuals in this film are drop dead gorgeous, be it the lush, vibrant forests tucked away in the countryside or the bustling, vivid metropolitan of Tokyo. From a production point of view, the work here is absolutely spot on. Some of the scenery is near photo realistic, to show the level of commitment which went into everything.

The film does have moments of humour which may throw off some westerners, but anyone familiar with anime will understand how their humour can differ us what we would show here, there are obvious cultural difference to consider! But aside from that, they aren’t much to say against ‘Your Name’. The story is magical, the characters enticing, the animation stunning.

What’s Out in November?

It’s the start of the month (give or take few days!), so what films should we look out for this month in the UK?


The Light Between Oceans

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Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Based on the book of the same name which was released back in 2012, this period drama stars Micheal Fassbender & Alicia Vikander as a couple who live at lighthouse, who one day discover a baby floating in the seas off the coast of Australia. After raising the child, they eventually discover the true parentage of the child, and face a moral predicament on what to do. Also starring Rachel Weisz

 


The Accountant

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Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Following his debut as Bruce Wayne, this film also sees Affleck play a character who is not as he seems. Christian Wolff (Affleck) is maths genius who happens to also work as an accountant for some of the worlds most nefarious criminals. Hot on his trial are the US Treasury Department, who want to see him taken down. If you’re looking for a thrilling action film this month, this is for you! Also starring Anna Kendrick & J.K Simmons

 


Nocturnal Animals

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Directed by Tom Ford

If you’re looking for something a bit more dark and psychological, Jake Gyllenhaal & Amy Adams lead a star studded cast in this melancholic thriller. We follows the trials of Susan Morrow (Adams) who is sent a disturbing novel, by her ex-husband. A book containing violent and threatening material. Also starring Isla Fisher, Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Michael Shannon.

 

 


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Directed by David Yates

The massive box office release of the month, and one for the fans of Harry Potter. Based on the spin off novel written by J K Rowling, the HP will continue to grow past the core novels! We cross over the Atlantic, with the film being set in America. Newt Salamander (Redmayne) gets caught up in a conflict in 1920s New York and it’s down to him to save the day! Also starring Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston & Ezra Miller

 


Your Name

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Directed by Makoto Shinkai

As a fan of Anime, it’s always interesting when I see one get a box office release over here in the West. Unless it’s bound to be a success, they don’t usually get seen over her. Your Name sees two teens, who lead two different lives, having switched bodies overnight. The film follows their journey on finding each other, and how they effect the lives of others. The film has garnered excellent reviews so far in Asia, so it will be intriguing to see how it preforms here.


Allied

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Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Brad Pitt isn’t a stranger to war films, previously appearing in Fury & Inglourious Basterds. This time, Pitt plays Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan, who was stationed in Africa. Based on the true story of two people, working for different sides, who fell in love during their time working together in World War 2. Marion Cotillard plays the French fighter who our protagonist falls for. But back home, the French operative faces execution after facing accusations of being a German spy, and it’s down to Vatan to clear him name. Also starring Jared Harris & Lizzy Caplan

 


 

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