In today’s Recent Movie Round-Up: The Darren Aronofsky Retrospective continues, and a Studio Ghibli marathon ensues! MOVIES! ALL OF THEM!
#17 – The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)
One of my five favorite films of all time, and one of the most painfully misunderstood films ever made. Wanna know why? How about reading this huge-ass article I wrote on it for Movie Mezzanine! Analysis is fun!
#18 – Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
Spirited Away is another one of my favorite films of all time, and perhaps my favorite animated film in general. Here’s an experience that is purely, wholly imaginative. Not a single element of this film feels like it’s been done before and yet not a single emotional cue rings false either. Achingly melancholic, optimistic, and gorgeous, with Joe Hisaiashi’s moving score sweeping you across this unbelievable setting, everything about Spirited Away just feels perfect.
#19 – Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)
Porco Rosso, meanwhile, is one of the few Miyazaki films that I hadn’t seen before, and god damn, where has this movie been all my life? Miyazaki is always terrific when it comes to his evocation of innocence and yearning, but Porco Rosso manages to highlight an oft forgotten staple of his films: They can be really damn funny when they want to. And Porco Rosso is simply hysterical. The humor is just pure and warm and comes organically from the characters and the settings in wonderful ways. Yet Miyazaki still manages to fit in his signature moments of quiet beauty as well. Simply put: You’d have to be a fascist to dislike this film.
#20 – Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondo, 1995)
One of the most underseen, underappreciated films of Studio Ghibli, Whisper of the Heart is a deceptively heart-breaking coming-of-age story that understands the melodrama of teenage relationships without trivializing them either. The film starts out as a light but fun teen film, but as it progresses, it transcends its own trappings in ways I would’ve never anticipated to create a moving, and surprisingly inspirational study of discovering your place in adulthood. A small, but just as wonderful gem as the rest of the Ghibli canon. Seek this one out.