Spirits are nothing new for Studio Ghibli. Anyone that’s ridden the train with No-Face or enjoyed the amenities of Yubaba’s bathhouse knows that. But the company’s latest — and possibly last — feature, When Marnie Was There, is their first film that feels like a genuine ghost story. The film is certainly not out for scares, nor is it shocking. In fact, the closest thing it resembles might be Joseph L. Mankiewiecz’s The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. This is the platonic, animated, Japanese version of that. For kids.
Of the members of the Seven Little Fortunes Peking Opera troupe to become major figures in the Hong Kong film industry in the last 20 years before the colony’s handover to China, Corey Yuen is the least well known. Unlike Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, he stayed mostly behind the camera, though he does have some memorable supporting turns in a few films, most notably in the Yuen Biao vehicle Righting Wrongs and as one of Hung’s Eastern Condors. He’s best known for his directorial work, on some of Jet Li’s best films (the Fong Sai-yuk series), on All for the Winner (the 1990 film that made Stephen Chow a superstar), and on the films that launched Jason Statham and Jean-Clude Van Damme into the action world (The Transporter and No Regret, No Surrender, respectively). With 1985’s Yes, Madam! he launched two careers (Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock) and a whole subgenre of the Hong Kong action cinema (the Girls with Guns cycle).
We are halfway through the year 2015, and as our our national tradition, let us celebrate with a list. Normally, we are strict believers that a film’s date should be determined by the time it first played before an audience anywhere in the world (we use the imdb for this purpose). But here at Seattle Screen Scene, we are, of course, focused primarily on Seattle, and so we will deviate from policy and present our lists of the Top 10 Films of 2015 as determined by the date they first premiered before a Seattle audience. Here they are.
Mike’s Top 10:
10. The Clouds of Sils Maria (podcast review)
9. Little Forest (Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring)
8. R100 (review)
7. Buzzard (review)
6. The Taking of Tiger Mountain (review)
5. A Matter of Interpretation (review)
4. The Film Critic (review)
3. Blackhat (podcast)
2. Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories (review)
1. Inside Out (podcast)
10. The Taking of Tiger Mountain (review)
8. A Matter of Interpretation (review)
5. The Royal Road (review)
4. World of Tomorrow
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Mistress America (review)
1. Blackhat (podcast)