As if to contradict my own sell-out claims, one of them is my very own current advertiser HIGH TENSION:
“The official Lions Gate line — affirmed by Aja in a statement that makes it sound like he had a gun to his head while making it — is that the dubbing was done so as not to distance American audiences. But it has the opposite effect, taking you right out of the movie in its early, talky moments. Dubbing tends to work in live-action movies only when used for comedic effect, which it is decidedly not here. And if American audiences really hate subtitles so much, why assume they’ll put up with them in High Tension‘s second half?”
And then there’s SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL (pro wrestler Shark Boy is apparently suing the studio for infringement):
“As Sharkboy, a young oceanographer raised by talking sharks, Lautner is a rare standout — a child actor with a dark side. His lullaby song to Max, consisting of threats to punch him in the face if he doesn’t fall asleep, is hilarious, and his martial arts skills (the kid is a black belt!) are impressive. The only strike against him is that, much like a few other children on display, he does look a little too much like a child actor rather than a real kid.”
and here’s my Citybeat review of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE:
It’s a bit of a comedown from “Spirited Away”, but how could it not be? Hayao Miyazaki’s latest anime, loosely adapted from a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, takes place in a mountain town that looks vaguely like early 20th-century Germany, where steam power is still widespread and sorcerers are employed by the government to created flying war machines and the like — a major conflict is brewing over a prince who has gone missing. Against this backdrop, a young woman named Sophie (voiced in the English dub by Emily Mortimer) is cursed by a witch (Lauren Bacall) and flees to the countryside, ultimately finding sanctuary in the titular building, a Jules Verne-like contraption that walks on bird legs. Here, she becomes the housekeeper of the irresponsible wizard Howl (Christian Bale, doing his throaty Batman growl).
Miyazaki’s usual obsessions with transformation, spirit animals, flying, and gooey amorphous creatures are all in play, but there’s very little plot momentum. At times, it feels like all the interesting stuff is happening far away from our main characters, who dawdle about en route to the inevitable “Beauty and the Beast” climax. What’s up with the war (beyond it being bad for nature, which is pretty much a given)? Why isn’t the king’s head sorceress (Blythe Danner) a more active antagonist? When did Miyazaki become predictable? (Originally he wasn’t scheduled to direct this one, which may explain a lot.)
Yes, there are moments of great beauty here, but boy, the story could have used some editing. Note: The El Capitan will screen the Japanese-language version daily at 7 p.m. only. It might be better.