An­i­ma­tion in safe hands

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Film Theatre -

CRITIC’S CHOICE The Tale of the Princess Kaguya U cert, 137 mins Stu­dio Ghi­bli, the Ja­panese an­i­ma­tion house that gave us Spir­ited Away, has one more film to re­lease be­fore it goes into in­def­i­nite hi­ber­na­tion (the ghostly com­ing-of-age story When Marnie Was There), but as you watch The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, you sense the stu­dio’s life’s work is be­ing com­pleted be­fore your eyes, like the sails are be­ing raised on the most mag­i­cal ship-ina-bot­tle ever built. The story comes from a 10th-cen­tury Ja­panese leg­end about a re­luc­tant princess try­ing to get back to the forests and hill­sides of her child­hood, but in the hands of the great direc­tor Isao Taka­hata, it be­comes a med­i­ta­tion on life’s heart­break­ing quick­ness. Ev­ery ges­ture, ev­ery line is set down with supreme artistry, but an artistry that never in­sists on it­self. As 79-year-old Taka­hata fi­nally re­tires, this is a re­minder that his ge­nius will en­dure. Rob­bie Collin ALSO IN CINE­MAS The Gun­man 15 cert, 115 mins The lat­est brawn-flex­ing mul­ti­plex fod­der from Taken direc­tor Pierre Morel, The Gun­man stars Liam Nee­son as a sto­ical mer­ce­nary hunted down by… hold on a sec­ond. Sean Penn? Not Nee­son? Penn may have two Os­cars to his name, but he’s never starred in any­thing as prof­itable as Nee­son’s 2008 vig­i­lante thriller and its se­quels. The Gun­man, which could eas­ily have been re­leased un­der the ti­tle “Sean Penn Re­brand­ing Ex­er­cise For Liam’s Core Fan­base”, is a naked bid to take on Taken. Un­for­tu­nately the film is a gar­bled melange of ar­bi­trary ac­tion and to­ken re­morse. As threats to Nee­son’s supremacy go, you could swat it away with a feather duster. Tim Robey In­sur­gent 12A cert, 119 mins Based on the sec­ond in a se­ries of young-adult nov­els by Veron­ica Roth, In­sur­gent is set in a fu­ture where hu­man­ity has been di­vided into five fac­tions. In the first film, the hero­ine, Tris Prior (Shai­lene Wood­ley), was ear­marked as a “diver­gent” who didn’t fit the scheme. Now she’s a fugi­tive, hid­ing out in a ge­o­desic yurt with a troupe of al­lies. Wood­ley is a star in the mak­ing, but the film plays like a list­less mashup of ev­ery young-adult fran­chise movie you’ve ever seen. RC Mommy 15 cert, 135 mins Québe­cois hip­ster Xavier Dolan is a film-maker for whom the word wun­derkind might have been in­vented. The direc­tor now has five films un­der his belt at a re­volt­ing 25 years old. Mommy, Dolan’s lat­est, is his fun­ni­est. It re­volves around three char­ac­ters on the verge of en­tirely dif­fer­ent ner­vous break­downs – a mother, Diane, who knocks back flam­ing sam­bu­cas at break­fast, her 15-year-old son, Steve, who has ADHD, and their neigh­bour, an anx­ious teacher who agrees to give Steve free tu­tor­ing. The film is full-throt­tle melo­drama, with one truly fresh in­gre­di­ent. An­toine-Olivier Pilon, who plays Steve, ram­pages through his scenes as if ev­ery day were his last, and you can’t take your eyes off him. TR

Supreme artistry: Stu­dio Ghi­bli’s ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’ draws on a Ja­panese leg­end

Fugi­tives: Theo James and Shai­lene Wood­ley star in ‘In­sur­gent’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.