Movie of the Month: Illegal Art: Miyazaki’s On Your Mark (1995) & Girl Walk // All Day (2011)

This was originally posted on Swampflix.com as part of that site’s “Movie of the Month” feature, in which one contributor makes the rest of the crew watch a movie they’ve never seen before, and the staff discusses it afterwards. This article was published as a follow-up to the discussion of MotM Girl Walk // All Day on May 18, 2016. 

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When Brandon first mentioned that there might be some difficulty finding Girl Walk // All Day in order to watch it as this month’s MotM feature due to its rights issues, the first thing I thought of was On Your Mark. A seven minute experiment that Hayao Miyazaki churned out while dealing with his writer’s block on Princess Mononoke, the short film is an animated music video created for Japanese rock group Chage & Aska. It was originally released in theatres with Studio Ghibli feature Whisper of the Heart (which Miyazaki wrote but did not direct or animate), but has never had a legal release in the U.S., and is often pretty hard to find, even online (I found a version with a quick Google search, but won’t provide the link for fear that it will be immediately discovered and pulled). It was set to be released as part of a stateside Studio Ghibli DVD set, but Aska’s arrest for alleged possession of MDMA and other paraphernalia in 2014 meant that the set was delayed while Disney Japan scrubbed the video. Earlier sets of the DVD released in Japan were even recalled and new discs returned that did not contain the short. A note to international travelers: don’t do drugs in Japan. You’ll see your body of work erased from existence like lost, unnamed pharaohs.

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Do as Peggy Says: Saying Goodbye to the MCU’s Best Hero

This article was originally posted on Swampflix.com on May 16, 2016. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageThe greatest Marvel Cinematic Universe character passed away last week. Margaret “Peggy” Carter, a founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all-around onscreen delight, was shown to have gone to her rest with the release of Captain America: Civil War last week. The film’s release was followed up by the announcement that ABC would not be renewing Agent Carter for a third season, leaving the show on a cliffhanger and disappointing hundreds of fans. When Brandon asked me if I wanted to take a minute to talk about what Peggy meant to me, I jumped at the call. Please, allow me this moment to eulogize one of the greats.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on May 15, 2016. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

Captain America: Civil War was a lot of fun! I went into the film expecting it to be a bit of a letdown after how much I loved EPSON MFP imageWinter Soldier, and while it’s not as good as the last Cap flick, it’s certainly worthy of the positive critical reception that it has been garnering. I expected that there would be more of a backlash against it given that the negative reception of Batman v Superman was characterized by proponents of that film as being the result of a pro-Marvel bias among the blogosphere. Instead, the film’s 90% positive professional critic score and 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes reflects a generally positive reaction, and the film deserves it. While there are some detractors who are critical of the film, citing the distinct division between plot lines (one focused on the titular conflict between the different members of the Avengers and one which is devoted to following up on the plotline surrounding the Winter Soldier and his past), I’m in agreement with the general public in that I found this film a worthy successor and a great introduction to the new direction of the MCU as Phase Three revs its engine.

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Agents of S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X.: Ant-Man (2015)

In the words of Swampflix editor Brandon Ledet: “Superhero Watching: Alternating Marvel Perspectives, Fresh and Longterm, Ignoring X-Men, or S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X., is a feature in which Boomer (who reads superhero comics and is well versed in the MCU) & Brandon (who reads alternative comics and has thus far seen less than 25% of the MCU’s output) revisit the films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the perspective of someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who doesn’t have the slightest clue.” This article was first published on May 3, 2016.

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Boomer: Ant-Man came very close to being the second Marvel feature, as a script was shopped around to different studios just a few years after the release of George Lucas’s Howard the Duck. In 1989, Stan Lee presented a basic script treatment to New World Entertainment, of which Marvel Comics was a subsidiary at the time (if you’re wondering about how the film corp that gifted us such cult classics as Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and The Slumber Party Massacre came to own the House of Ideas, I recommend checking out Chuck Sonnenberg’s “The Rise and Fall of the Comic Empire”). Ultimately, production began but was never completed because Disney was working on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids at the time. Depending upon conflicting reports, New World either didn’t want to put out a film that would have similar concepts as the much higher-budgeted Disney film, or they didn’t want to be perceived as copycatting the more successful studio; whatever the reason, the movie was not meant to be. Over a decade later in 2000, after the surprising success of Private Parts, shock DJ extraordinaire Howard Stern attempted to purchase the rights to make an Ant-Man film, but this concept never came to fruition either.

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Movie of the Month: Girl Walk // All Day (2011)

The post from which this was excerpted was originally published on Swampflix.com as part of that site’s “Movie of the Month” feature, in which one contributor makes the rest of the crew watch a movie they’ve never seen before, and the staff discusses it afterwards. For May 2016, Brandon made me and Britnee watch Girl Walk // All Day (2011).

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At multiple points throughout the film, I found myself identifying with many of the people that The Girl encounters, the willing and unwilling participants alike. Although several of these passersby seemed disinterested in participating, she actively seemed confrontational with many of them (the one which stands out in my mind is the man whose hand she grabs while wearing the “Dance With Me” sandwich board), which didn’t sour me on the character but did leave a bit of a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Having lived in a few different cities, I can certainly say that my experiences with unsolicited engagement with others is not always pleasant. Over the course of the film, I found myself very much wanting to dance with The Girl in theory, but I don’t know if I would have actually had that desire in practice and in the moment. It’s pretty unlikely that the Girl Talk tracks that appear in the film were diegetic, given the movement from place to place and general public reaction, and as such I feel like my first instinct would be to avoid a potentially dangerous person approaching me, dancing to a song that I cannot hear. Other factors, like what kind of mood I might happen to be in when The Girl chanced upon me and whether I was in a hurry to get to work or another engagement would also affect how willing I would be to join in her movements, sublime though they might be. I want to answer your question with a resounding “Yes,” but I just don’t know if I would actually do so should the opportunity arise.

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