Teens

Category Archives: Movies

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: The Wind Rises

Posted on August 9th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Teen Services

the-wind-rises-1080Welcome back Otaku. I hope everyone is having a good summer.  This month we return to feature films and the great Anime master himself, Hayao Miyazaki. His last film before retiring in 2013, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), is a dreamy tale about Jirou Horikoshi and his quest to build the best airplane in Japanese history. He idolized the Italian aeronautical engineer Giovanni Battista Caproni and often fantasizes about conversing with him to talk about designs and the deeper things in life. Horikoshi comes of age during the Great Depression, when industry and world politics are strained back to the brink of war. Japan has suffered a great earthquake and the country is suffering immensely. Horikoshi is torn between the magical wonder of flight, and the hard realities of modern world politics.

 

the-wind-rises-caproniLike his earlier work Porco Rosso, Miyazaki creates sympathetic characters who were devoted to aviation and the public good, but opposed to needless war and oppression. Porco Rosso is pursued by the fascists to return to service and fly for Mussolini’s regime. Horikoshi is faced with poverty and unemployment and has to take a job building military aircraft for the Japanese Empire. It is clear their hearts are centered on flight and creativity, but they must chose their battles and try to make a life for themselves, regardless.

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Earlier while at university, romance enters the story when Horikoshi assists a young woman named Naoko Satomi during a train accident. He helps her home without ever giving his name. Character dress, vehicles, and technology are all accurately rendered in this wonderful period piece. Aircraft receive a special emphasis as might be expected. Many types are represented in the story with some more fantastical designs added for whimsy and drama.

yoko_outWhile the Mitsibushi A6M Zero is not actually shown on screen for long, if my memory serves me, it’s predecessors and all of Horikoshi’s design elements are clearly present in the prototypes being developed in the story. Lightweight, streamlined and graceful shapes characterize his designs. Even the “gull wing” set up, where the wing appears to be bent as if flapping in a natural bird shape, is featured on some of his planes that were actually built.

 

Wind-rises-the-2013-015-mother-and-children-in-forestThe Wind Rises is a beautiful story about creative genius, love, and the harsh realities of modern life. There is an element of tragedy in the story, but it lends to the strength and tenderness of the characters. Sky, landscape, urban scenes, period and traditional dress, seascapes, dream sequences, and of course aircraft, are all exquisitely drawn and animated in true Miyazaki style. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and message of this story given that it involved the famous Axis fighter, the Mitsubishi Zero. Like Werner Von Braun, who worked for the Nazis developing the V-2 rocket and later joined the US in the Space Race, Horikoshi has to serve the emperor in order to support himself and his family. But you know at heart that he is a dreamer and talented aeronautical engineer. His dreams with Caproni show how much he loved flight and the engineering problems he could solve. Beautiful designs can do beautiful things, but they can also be put to war. This film is a wonderfully animated lesson on flight, engineering, and the challenges of life.

Watch it here for free on Kissanime.to

john250-150x150Did you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to anime and graphic novels online? The BPL subscribes to Hoopla, a streaming service that allows you to check out and enjoy the media you love on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can learn more about the BPL’s digital media collections here.

Want company while you’re watching anime? The Hyde Park Teen Anime Club meets on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

*”Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese” features reviews of anime and manga by John, the Teen Librarian at the Hyde Park Branch, on the second Tuesday of every month.

Hold The Popcorn!: Star Trek: Beyond & Ghostbusters

Posted on July 26th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies

No better way to beat the midsummer heat than a trip to a nice air conditioned movie theater, and this summer movie fans will rejoice over the highly anticipated flicks Star Trek: Beyond and Ghostbusters.

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Star Trek: Beyond begins with Captain Kirk trying to broker a peace deal between the Teenaxi and the Fenopians. His efforts don’t go so well as the tiny Teenaxi do not accept the gift which Kirk has brought them and effectively chase him back to the Enterprise via the beam. After the Enterprise is attacked and crash lands into a desolate planet, we find out that the gift which Kirk unsuccessfully tried to offer the Teenaxi was actually a crucial piece of a dangerous weapon which is coveted by the evil Krall (played brilliantly by Idris Elba, who is unrecognizable due to the incredible alien makeup), who will do whatever he needs to in order to obtain it. Star Trek: Beyond is with all of the intense action, stunning special effects, and snarky, subtle humor that has made the Star Trek series stand out over other science fiction films for many years.

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Combine slimy ectoplasm, ghosts, and a healthy dose of girl-power, and you get Ghostbusters, a refreshing take on the 1984 classic of the same name. Columbia University professor Dr. Erin Glibert (Kristen Wiig, who you may know from SNL) teams up with her former associate and sometime rival Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and colleague Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to investigate a haunted mansion in NYC. After the three of them find themselves unemployed, they team up with MTA employee Patty (Leslie Jones) and set up shop for themselves as the Department of Metaphysical Examination. Older movie fans will be stoked to see appearances from Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver and the one and only Ozzy Osbourne all appearing in the film.   The light-hearted humor and ghostly special effects make Ghostbusters a must see.

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animatedDo you love watching movies? The Boston Public Library has tens of thousands of DVDs you can borrow with your library card and even more that you can access online through our streaming service, Hoopla. Plus, if you can’t find a movie you want to watch in all the ones we offer, you can always suggest a purchase. Start placing holds now, and you’ll never have to pay to watch a movie again!

 

*”Hold the Popcorn!” features movie reviews by James, the Teen Librarian at the East Boston Branch, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

 

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Appleseed Alpha

Posted on July 12th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services

appleseed alphaHello again Otaku! This month we continue with the SciFi genre, even with the same author! Appleseed is another cyborg-mecha SWAT team action franchise by the author of Ghost in the Shell, Shiro Masamune.  Anime Club at the Hyde Park branch got it’s first glimpse of the Appleseed franchise several years ago with the DVD release of Appleseed Ex Machina. This earlier film was a full CGI rendered feature with excellent animation and lifelike flow. I was impressed with the detail and model counts in scenes as well as lighting and soundtrack. A great example was the copious inclusion of bright brass shell casings flying all over the screen and clanking around the floors! Our DVD copy sadly bore the scars of frequent borrowing by our avid teen patrons and wound up with a scratch that made it unreadable. But luckily we are in the age of streaming and the full franchise is available for streaming on Kissanime. To spice things up a little more, we watched Alpha instead last week. It’s a later film but a prequel. Graphics have improved as well as modelling and facial expressions. In fact, the hero’s best “frenemy,” Two Horns, has a mostly cyborg body like his own, but the mouth and facial structures are highly detailed and well animated. This was an obvious focal point of the production and a distinct leap forward in CGI cinema. The soundtrack includes great supporting music for an action movie. The most notable styles are the popular Dub Step and Hip Hop complete with bass drops, releases, and edgy samples.

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The story begins with Deunan and Briareos, future ESWAT officers, on a mercenary mission after another world war has ravaged major cities. This is before the new city of Olympus was founded. Deunan is the fully human heroine. She is a highly athletic, well trained, combat veteran and weapons expert. A brave heart and loyal spirit mark her character and her relationship with Briareos.

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“Bri” is her boyfriend/partner/combat buddy who a has been though the horrors of war with her and suffered massive injuries yet still survived. He is mostly cyborg now and is characterized by his metal helmet with compound digital camera eyes and ear-like sensor antennae. They are a bit smaller in this later film which I think is an improvement. After the story opens, we find Deunan and Briareos making their way through a deserted cityscape to meet their employer and find help. Bri is suffering some kind of malfunction and his power resources are very low. He needs repairs and they head to a shop that can help them. This is where he meets Two Horns and the story takes off.

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It turns out he still owes his frenemy a debt and the dispute escalates. Bri is forced to do another job for this mobster in order to get the repairs he needs in this difficult post war environment. Along the way they encounter another hostile force and the action ensues. It turns out Hitomi, a bioroid or clone and future city administrator, is in a motorcade that drives into an ambush.

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No spoilers here, so if you liked Ghost in the Shell, check out the Appleseed franchise. Characters are reversed here with the hero being cyborg and the heroine being human. Drama, romance and action are all present in Appleseed, with a good bit more emphasis on action. Ghost in the Shell was deeper existentially with more sophisticated writing, but both excel at modern SciFi, mecha, cyberbnetic, and SWAT team story lines. I recommend them both.

 

john250-150x150Did you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to anime and graphic novels online? The BPL subscribes to Hoopla, a streaming service that allows you to check out and enjoy the media you love on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can learn more about the BPL’s digital media collections here.

Want company while you’re watching anime? The Hyde Park Teen Anime Club meets on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

*”Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese” features reviews of anime and manga by John, the Teen Librarian at the Hyde Park Branch, on the second Tuesday of every month.

Hold the Popcorn! : Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Posted on June 28th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies

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Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michaelangelo, everybody’s favorite NYC sewer dwelling, crimefighting, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back on the big screen in Out of the Shadows. Vern (AKA “The Falcon”) has taken all of the credit for capturing Shredder in the last movie from the Turtles. Unfortunately for everyone, Shredder manages to escape from custody while being transferred from one prison to another. He ends up in another dimension with a strange alien creature named Krang, whose sights are set on taking over the Earth. Shredder agrees to help Krang gather the pieces to a portal which will allow him to realize his dream of taking over the Earth in return for Krang’s assistance in eliminating the Turtles once and for all. After a lot of intense crimefighting action throughout the film, the Turtles are faced with a difficult choice.

Out of the Shadows is a fun summer movie that is easily accessible even to those with no previous exposure to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Tyler Perry (the creator of the “Madea” films) delivers a strong performance as evil scientist Baxter Stockwell. Out of the Shadows contains a lot of comic book style action and violence and loud noises which might not be suitable for very young children, but should not be a problem for a teenage audience.

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animatedDo you love watching movies? The Boston Public Library has tens of thousands of DVDs you can borrow with your library card and even more that you can access online through our streaming service, Hoopla. Plus, if you can’t find a movie you want to watch in all the ones we offer, you can always suggest a purchase. Start placing holds now, and you’ll never have to pay to watch a movie again!

 

*”Hold the Popcorn!” features movie reviews by James, the Teen Librarian at the East Boston Branch, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

 

Hold The Popcorn!: Keanu, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, & Barbershop: The Next Cut

Posted on May 24th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies

KEANU
Keanu is the first feature film by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele and it is hilarious! Keanu is a cat who shows up in the life of Rell (played by Peele) shortly after his girlfriend leaves him. Unfortunately, Keanu is catnapped, which leads Rell and his cousin Clarence (played by Key) to go underground, infiltrating a sketchy drug gang led by Cheddar (played by rapper Method Man). Hilarity ensues! Keanu is rated R and is therefore only recommended for older teens. Currently in theaters, available on DVD soon.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
While some viewers might find Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be a bit on the corny side, true comic book fans will definitely enjoy it. As inferred by the title, Superman and Batman just can’t seem to get along. Batman is angry with Superman for the excessive bodycount which was a result of his battle with General Zod. At the same time, Clark Kent (Superman’s alter ego) attempts to portray Batman as reckless and a danger to society. Enter traditional Superman nemesis Lex Luthor and a bunch of kryptonite, and the audience is in for a heck of a ride! Batman v Superman is rated PG-13, mostly for excessive and intense comic-book style violence. Currently in theaters, available on DVD soon.

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT
Legendary NWA rapper turned actor Ice Cube reprises his role of Calvin, the owner/operator of a neighborhood barbershop on Chicago’s South Side. In the ten years which have past since the last installment in the Barbershop series, Calvin’s barbershop has gone co-ed. Calvin’s neighborhood has gone through a lot of change as well, and not necessarily for the better. In Barbershop: The Next Cut, comedy interacts with serious current issues as the barbershop crew tries to cope with a litany of inner city social problems. Strong performances are given by popular hip-hop artists Common and Nicki Minaj as Rashad and Draya. Barbershop: The Final Cut is rated PG-13 mainly for language and some mature themes. Currently still in theaters, available on DVD soon.

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animatedDo you love watching movies? The Boston Public Library has tens of thousands of DVDs you can borrow with your library card and even more that you can access online through our streaming service, Hoopla. Plus, if you can’t find a movie you want to watch in all the ones we offer, you can always suggest a purchase. Start placing holds now, and you’ll never have to pay to watch a movie again!

 

*”Hold the Popcorn” features movie reviews by James, the Teen Librarian at the East Boston Branch, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.