Tag Archives: The Skinny

Breakthrough anime director Mamoru Hosoda on ‘Mirai’

In conversation with Japanese writer-director Mamoru Hosoda, he cites childhood and how young people change as a recurring theme that unites all of his original stories. As such, it seems strangely appropriate that we end up introduced to his own children during our interview. Having just told us that his latest animation, Mirai, is inspired by his kids, we ask him if any of the film’s characters were directly informed by his own brood, which leads to us being shown a family portrait on his phone. “Do you want to see my kids’ pictures?” he asks. “They even look similar.” Sure enough, a lot of the people pictured in the photo resemble the character designs in the film. “The father is different,” he concedes. “Obviously, I’m not that good looking.”

Although staged on a comparatively smaller scale to other Hosoda films like Summer Wars and The Boy and the Beast, Mirai still has an element of fantasy informing its portrait of family relations. It’s closer in spirit to his excellent drama Wolf Children, which spanned several years in the lives of a pair of lycanthropic children and the human mother struggling to raise them. Mirai also features troublesome children, though its exploration of time comes through the unique hook of a magical garden enabling a young boy to encounter his relatives from different eras, with a future older version of his younger sister Mirai acting as his guide…

Full interview for The Skinny

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Scotland Loves Anime 2018

Bar the occasional big screen outing for kids’ brands like the Teen Titans and My Little Pony, Hollywood has largely given up on releasing 2D feature animation in cinemas. And with the exception of recent European efforts like Ethel & Ernest, the best place for more traditional animation styles to thrive remains in the East, particularly in Japan. Anime on the big screen in Britain has become a big business thanks to successful limited runs via distributors Anime Limited and Manga UK, especially with 2016’s worldwide smash Your Name. The Scotland Loves Anime festival, returning for its ninth instalment at Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, is the best place for the unfamiliar and hardcore enthusiasts alike to get their biggest and most diverse dose of the medium…

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‘Mandy’ director Panos Cosmatos on Nic Cage and ‘MacGruber’

Panos Cosmatos doesn’t make films that are easy to define. This may seem a bold statement concerning a filmmaker who currently has only two features to his name as a writer-director, but those movies are so singular as aural and visual experiences, quite unlike anything else contemporary, and, though they share a through line with some other media of the past, difficult to group together with much that’s come before them. And ‘experience’ is an apt description. “What I’m trying to make with these two films is an immersive audio-visual experience, more than just a traditional narrative,” Cosmatos tells us over the phone. “Every decision is weighed in a qualitative realm of creating this dream state…”

Full interview for The Skinny

Marcelo Martinessi on ‘The Heiresses’

Most of the time when The Skinny interviews filmmakers in person, particularly in the context of a film festival, it’s in a swanky conference room or reserved table in a posh hotel’s private bar. When speaking to Paraguayan writer-director Marcelo Martinessi at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, our interview is confirmed so last-minute that it ends up taking place at a spare table by the concessions stand in the lobby of the Odeon on Lothian Road, mere minutes after he’s introduced the film’s UK premiere. Considering we have to move some spilt popcorn off the seats, we wouldn’t have blamed Martinessi for being less than thrilled to speak about his work in such surroundings. But the filmmaker proves enthusiastic and engaged, even though his trousers probably now bear traces of butter…

Full interview for The Skinny

Now’s the time to get on the John Cho train

It’s unusual enough that a decent portion of the American Pie cast of ‘teenagers’ can still be found in high-profile fare nearly 20 years on from the film’s release – Natasha Lyonne and Jason Biggs have had career renaissances via Orange Is the New Black, while Seann William Scott has, at the time of writing, just been cast as the new co-lead of the Lethal Weapon TV series. But what’s been most interesting in the last few years, now that Scott’s big screen leading man days are largely over, is how John Cho has become the biggest name from the cast, and he wasn’t even part of the main group of horny fuckwits. Billed 24th back in the 1999 film’s credits as ‘MILF Guy #2’, his subsequent success with the Harold & Kumar series and JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot saw him get bumped up to ninth-billed for his appearance in 2012’s American Pie: Reunion. He was still credited as ‘MILF Guy #2’, though, and that may be the lone funny gag in that belated sequel…

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Stacy Martin on ‘Redoubtable’, Wiazemsky and Godard

It’s October 2017 and we’re interviewing Stacy Martin, the French-English actor currently best known for her breakthrough role in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. We’re here to discuss her part in Redoubtable, the latest film from The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, but there’s an elephant in the room, and it’s not just that we look shaken up from an attempted mugging on our way to the interview (Martin very kindly poured us a drink upon discovering this).

Only a few days before our conversation, Anne Wiazemsky, the woman Martin plays in the biopic, passed away, aged 70. An actor and novelist, she made her cinema debut at age 18, playing the lead in Robert Bresson’s 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar. Wiazemsky didn’t make a huge number of films, but she collaborated with many of that period’s key European directors, including Pier Paolo Pasolini (on Theorem and Pigsty), and, crucially, Jean-Luc Godard, to whom she was married from 1967 until their official divorce in 1979, though their relationship had broken down as early as 1970.

Redoubtable is adapted from one of her many novels, Un An Après, which chronicles her time shooting Godard’s La Chinoise in the late 60s. As well as presenting a portrait of their romance’s rise and fall, the film documents a version of Godard’s personal and political conflicts across the surrounding period, including his ultimately successful efforts to have the Cannes Film Festival cancelled – Cannes-celled? – in light of the May 1968 civil unrest in France…

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Ghost Stories (Jeremy Dyson/Andy Nyman, 2017)

Horror anthologies are tricky beasts. For every terrifying tale in a trilogy of terror, there’s often a dud or two to spoil the cumulative experience. Less in the vein of V/H/S and more in the spirit(s) of Dead of Night, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s Ghost Stories bucks the usual curse in maintaining solid scares throughout…

Full review for The Skinny