Saturday, 22 July 2017

Manga and Anime on the Big Screen

Live adaptations of anime and manga are often a very contentious subject amongst fans, however with many Western comics making it to the ‘live-action’ big screen, why not Japan’s graphic novels? With the release of Ghost in the Shell on digital download platforms from 24th July, we’re taking a look at some of the best Manga and Anime journeys to the cinema in recent years – There's been a longer history of big-screen adaptations of Japan's graphic novels than you might think…

Ghost in the Shell
Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, “The Ghost in the Shell,” written and illustrated by Shirow Masamune back in 1989, Ghost in the Shell has inspired a devoted worldwide following, including influential filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and the Wachowskis. The epic media franchise, set in a world where people are enhanced with technology, already includes two landmark anime feature-films and two television series, as well as novels, video and mobile games. Fast forward to 2017 and the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell was released, starring Scarlett Johansson as Major, a human mind inside an artificial body designed to fight a war against cyber-crime. This stylish, cyberpunk action flick takes inspiration from both the manga and the anime versions, but also throws in quite many new ideas as well, successfully broadening its appeal. And it’s absolutely stunning too!

2003’s Oldboy, directed by Park-Can Wook, is perhaps one of the best and most critically-acclaimed manga to be adapted into a live-action film. Successful enough that it was remade not once, but twice; first in 2006 into a Bollywood remake titled Zinda, and then in 2013 by director Spike Lee.Violent, and definitely not for the squeamish, Oldboy is a strange, powerful tale of punishment and vengeance. Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, the film follows the story of protagonist Oh Dae-Su who, after being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years without knowing his captor, is finally released, but finds himself still trapped within a web of conspiracy and violence. It’s a masterpiece of modern filmmaking, so make sure this one gets added to your watch list!

Speed Racer
Based on the 1960s ground-breaking Japanese anime and manga series of the same name, 2008 saw the release of the live-action film adaptation of Speed Racer. The American action-comedy didn’t open with great reviews, but anime fans have long debated the film and it is now considered an “underrated” film. Written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers, famed for the Matrix series and V for Vendetta, it scored a great cast. Starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon and Roger Allam, the plot revolves around an 18-year-old race-car chasing his (allegedly) deceased brother's career. Despite its problems, Speed Racer has plenty to admire, most notably the fantastic shots and editing – an IGN praised the film’s “exciting, brilliantly-conceived races, primary-colour characterizations” and “irresistible sense of fun". It appears the filmmakers played up to its origins’ manga-animated style, crafting it into a brilliantly visual live-action cartoon.

Edge of Tomorrow
Arguably the first Hollywood manga adaptation to cast big leads, Edge of Tomorrow saw Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt battle alien enemies at the helm of the 2014 action movie.  Its origins started back in 2004, with Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel of a future Earth-based war against an alien race called Mimics; the story follows a soldier who becomes trapped in a time-loop, dying and regenerating the following day, and so on-and-on. A manga adaptation was then written by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, in between January and May 2014, and a graphic novel adaptation was released in North America in May 2014. Edge of Tomorrow, which was also marketed under its original title ‘All You Need Is Kill’, and its tagline "Live, Die, Repeat", was definitely not a straight adaptation, but it takes the concept and characters from the book and added other elements and details to create its own similar story. Compelling, gripping and funny at times, Edge of Tomorrow was praised by critics during its release. The film is a great standalone production, regardless of its history!

Ghost in the Shell - See It First on Digital on July 24

Friday, 21 July 2017

Five Cinematic Worlds that’ll make you wish Time-Space Travel existed

To celebrate the release of Ghost in the Shell on digital download from July 24th, we’ve been searching for some of the most stunning science-fiction landscapes created for cinema. So feast your eyes on these beautiful, other-worldly and brilliantly constructed futuristic locations!

1. AVATAR (Pandora)
The planet of Pandora seen in 2009’s Avatar is probably one of the most visually stunning and creatively daring cinematic worlds, envisioned by director James Cameron when he was just 19, claiming “I had a dream - a literal dream - of bioluminescent forests and glowing trees.” The jungle alien landscape is just that – a lush, wild world filled with plants of varying shades of blue, purple and green; giant floating mountains, and cascading waterfalls.

2. Ghost in the Shell (Post-Cyberpunk Japan)
Ghost in the Shell takes place in a near-future Japan, a post-World War III environment which, having destroyed the power and wealth of Earth’s reigning countries, has proliferated the development and use of cyber technology. Consequently, the vast majority of humans in this retro-futurist Japan are augmented with cybernetics, and the environment also reflects this. The cityscape is amplified with lights and visuals that stream through the streets and buildings like veins, bringing this futuristic world to life.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Ego the Living Planet)
When the Guardians enter the world formed by Ego, they enter into a stunning mountainous landscape rich in hues of pink, orange and blue. The visionaries behind Guardians of the Galaxy take full advantage of the intergalactic setting, layering the psychedelic imagery and intense colour of classic 70’s space graphic novels. Director James Gunn proudly claims that creating the visual representation of Ego the Living Planet was the “biggest visual effect of all time.” And with over a trillion polygons constructed for the visionary scenes, making the planet feel alive, this cosmic landscape is well and truly a stunning feat.

4. Tomorrowland
Inspired by the original futuristic themed land found at the Disney parks, this 2015 sci-fi adventure film starring George Clooney presents a stunningly imagined city. Tomorowland, as the name suggests, is a construction of an idyllic ‘city of tomorrow,’ but instead incorporates the vintage touches of 60’s sci-fi iconography (jet-packs, glistening glass skyscrapers, and aerial walkways). As homage to the 1950’s Disney Park’s original Tomorrowland, the film's production designers incorporated the designs of rides Space Mountain and Spaceship Earth as architectural features of the cinematic cityscape.

5. Thor (Asgard)
Asgard is the mythic planetary home to Norse gods Thor, Odin and the Asgardians. The city exists in another dimensional plane, with a glowing rainbow bridge - Bifrost - allowing for travel between realms. The grandeur cityscape presented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows Asgard as rich, golden and metallic, with towering buildings and beautiful, infinitely flowing waterways. Emmy-nominated production designer Charles Wood incorporated a range of ethnic and architectural reference points into the visual construction of Asgard: “The basis of it was Norse runic shapes, though Islamic, Chinese and Gothic Romanesque influences also came into play.”

Ghost in the Shell - See It First on Digital on July 24 

UNA - New UK Trailer

Based on the Laurence Olivier Award winning stage play Blackbird by David Harrower, UNA is directed by Benedict Andrews, stars Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn and Riz Ahmed.

UNA follows a young woman’s journey to reclaim her past. Fifteen years earlier, Una ran away with an older man, Ray, a crime for which he was arrested and imprisoned. When she comes across a photo of him in a trade magazine, Una tracks him down and turns up at his workplace. Her abrupt arrival threatens to destroy Ray’s new life and derail her stability. Unspoken secrets and buried memories surface as Una and Ray sift through the wreckage of the past. Their confrontation raises unanswered questions and unresolved longings. It will shake them both to the core. UNA gazes into the heart of a devastating form of love and asks if redemption is possible.

UNA is released in UK & Ireland on 1 September by Thunderbird Releasing and is a project backed by Film4.

Stronger - starring Jake Gyllenhaal - New official poster & International trailer

Stronger is the inspiring true story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become the symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Jeff, a 27-year-old, working-class Boston man who was at the marathon to try and win back his ex-girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). Waiting for her at the finish line when the blast occurs, he loses both his legs in the attack. After regaining consciousness in the hospital, Jeff is able to help law enforcement identify one of the bombers, but his own battle has just begun. He tackles months of physical and emotional rehabilitation with the unwavering support of Erin and his family. It is Jeff’s deeply personal account of the heroic journey that tests a family’s bond, defines a community’s pride and inspires his inner courage to overcome devastating adversity.

Filled with raw emotion, humanity and humour, Stronger is the inspirational real-life story of the man who became the living embodiment of “Boston Strong.” The film also stars Academy Award® nominee Miranda Richardson and is directed by David Gordon Green.

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Screenplay by: John Pollono
Based on the book by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter
Produced by: Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michel Litvak, Scott Silver
Executive Produced by: Gary Michael Walters, Jeffrey Stott, Anthony Mattero, Nicolas Stern, Riva Marker, Alexander Young, Peter McGuigan

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Jigsaw - Official Trailer - In Cinemas October 27

**WARNING: Parental Advisory - Explicit content!**

In Cinemas October 27
Starring: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, Mandela Van Peebles, Paul Braunstein, Brittany Allen, Josiah Black
Directed by: The Spierig Brothers

One of the highest grossing Horror franchises of all time is back, taking the Jigsaw killer’s signature brand of twisted scenarios to the next level.

A Lionsgate release, Twisted Pictures presents, a Burg/Koules/Hoffman production.