Some people may think of the drive-in theatre as antiquated, but it is not. They still exist far and wide, and as for why they are worth going to is because it helps foster local communities. And for one passionate filmmaker, April Wright, her lifelong examination of this culture is part of a series called Going Attractions. Her latest work, Going Back to the Drive-In, looks at not only this aspect but also what goes on to maintain these operations in today’s global climate.
I had the opportunity to speak to Wright, and we talked about history, its rise back into the public consciousness because of the pandemic, and its future. She said, “My very first documentary came out in 2013, and it was called Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie (available on Tubi). It explored the whole history of drive-ins.”
After making a few other works, she decided on producing Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace. It was about the indoor cinema experience the big old theatres built by the studios. Afterwards was Stuntwomen, The Untold Hollywood Story. Although she could have gone on to produce other movies about the studio system, a little voice said something else.
The pen is mightier than the sword, and in Layma’s Poem care more than your standard mystical meaning as a world in chaos tries to wreck one poor girl’s soul.
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On Demand (Apple TV+) and Digital, Feb 21st
In Syria, a young girl (voiced by Millie Davis) is getting ready to embark on a magic carpet ride while a civil war breaks out in Aleppo. And what we witness in Layma’s Poem is a tale that delicately balances between the reality of her life and another fantasy that’s not too different from Pan’s Labyrinth. Thankfully, it’s not totally scary. But to help her during this trying time is a book of wisdom by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī. This author is more commonly known as Jalaluddin Rumi.
It helps her understand everything that’s going on not only from his time (800 years ago) but also now. What we hear can also teach us something too about patience and virtue. Although the younger version of this poet hasn’t earned his recognition as a person of wisdom yet, what he learns from his peer and later imparts to the girl is very inspiring.
Everything Er Cheng presented in Hidden Blade is fascinating and scary at the same time.
Well GO USA
Release Date: Feb 17, 2023
Mori Hiroyuki‘s enigmatic role in Hidden Blade (长空之王) is perhaps the most telling about all that transpired within to save China from itself, and the occupation that took place during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Multiple eyes are on Wang Jingwei’s Puppet Regime and they aren’t doing anything to give the Chinese people peace of mind.
What we hear from this Japanese diplomat is that he’s involved. Nearly a quarter of his dialogue is about defining our expectations for this movie. When he said, “Japan and China are inseparable partners. It’s our shared goal to boost the economy, join hands against the Communists, and achieve prosperity in East Asia. We wish that more and more Chinese people could understand Japan’s true intentions,” I got the shivers.
Light Chaser Animation’s 3000 Miles of Chang’an is slated for release this Summer, and it’ll be different from their previous works.
Light Chaser Animation‘s upcoming 3000 Miles of Chang’an is a radical departure from their New Gods line of films, and it’s only a mere six or seven months away from release! In what I could dig up about this upcoming title is that the story will focus on a different aspect of Chinese History. Instead of focusing on further heroics from characters from classic folklore, what this latest tale will deal with is brotherly love, and the life and times of two famous poets.
Perhaps the switch is for the better. As much as I love to see further adventures from Ne Zha and Yang Jian from the New Gods series of films, perhaps they are meant to be sunsetted in favour for further tales to expound on a world today’s Chinese children don’t know about.
Although the tease at the end of New Gods: Yang Jian suggested Monkey will get to tell his story about those times from his persepctive, I suspect that won’t happen anytime soon.
Inu-oh can be religiously enjoyed for the experience that it is not only in cinemas but also at home with this release.
The home video release of Inu-Oh is here! Not only can I finally learn about Masaaki Yuasa‘s thought process, but also learn more about the elements I didn’t notice in my early viewing. Instead of reviewing the entire film again (it can be read here) with this additional knowledge, what I’ll explore is the bonus material. This filmmaker has been on my radar since discovering Lu Over the Wall; on television, he directed Devilman Crybaby.
After he named one of my favourite bands, Queen, as a key influence, I knew I was dead on with one musical montage in this film. He also explained why American and the history of music’s greatest moments are important to the crafting of this film. From The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to Michael Jackson, a signature moment was actually snuck into the work, and that alone is enough reason to watch Inu-Oh multiple times. Not only can fans seek these frames out, but also they can listen for it too. Although Hendrix’s moment is with an action and we are told where it is, I have to search for the other easter eggs.