Though not yet as heralded as Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Akira) or the late, great Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paprika), Mamoru Hosoda may be the most inspired living animation director in Japan not to be associated with Studio Ghibli. He was at one point due to direct Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), but had creative differences with the Ghibli team, and set up his own rival studio, Chizu.

Best-known internationally for his delightful The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Hosoda has now outdone himself with a gloriously emotional new picture, which has the grace, magic and exquisite drawing we associate with the very finest of Ghibli. It tells the story of a college student, Hana (Aoi Miyazaki) who meets a mysterious, dark-haired boy (Takao Osawa) and falls in love, only briefly fazed by the fact that he can turn into a wolf at will.

There’s no howling at the moon here or business with silver bullets. Hosoda makes the subject of his movie into the choice between a lupine or a human destiny — one the couple’s two children, the tearaway Yuki, and her little brother Ame, must also face. The movie is hauntingly romantic at heart, in the best spirit of a Gothic fairytale, but without the harsh shadows or hard edges.

When this half-breed family escape their fear of city life and move to the countryside, we get an old staple of anime: a derelict villa with sliding doors and a leaky roof, which they must fix up to serve its purpose. This is exactly where we want to be — like the old dark house that so fires up the British imagination, it’s a nostalgic pleasure to discover this overgrown retreat with such vivid new characters. Hosoda’s film slots into classic genre traditions with gorgeous skill and also daring — pace Twilight, love between two species has rarely seemed more intense, more natural, or more ineffably sad...

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"People are deluded animals, God is blind or dead, and life is meaningless..."

The Danish writer and director Anders Thomas Jensen's 2005 feature, Adam's Apples - about a neo-Nazi sentenced to community service at a rural church run by a sunshine-and-lollipops vicar - is one of the latest examples of the post-Pulp Fiction bloody comedy. It's also one of the weirdest, mixing glib humor with dead-serious spiritual inquiry...

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Ian arrives at a Lisbon clinic for the visually impaired to teach blind patients navigational skills. The clinic’s international community greet his unorthodox methods with both anticipation and scepticism. For Ian, orientation flows from the mind and imagination - then sensory perception follows. His methods, though effective, are not without risk...

Imagine manifests itself as a metaphor of the desire for liberation, freedom and trust, but also deception. Little by little, the film presents a discrete reflection on looking at and perceiving the reality we have...

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It was a troubled time for Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) who after the great popular success of North by Northwest (1959) could focus only on those critics who charged he was growing old and losing his edge. Determined to prove them wrong, he grew obsessed with a book by Robert Bloch, based on the life of a Wisconsin body snatcher named Ed Gein...

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No other Hitchcock film had a greater impact. "I was directing the viewers," the director told Truffaut in their book-length interview. "You might say I was playing them, like an organ."

What makes "Psycho" immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears: Our fears that we might impulsively commit a crime, our fears of the police, our fears of becoming the victim of a madman, and of course our fears of disappointing our mothers...

 

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Ordell Robbie: I'm serious as a heart attack...

 

Roger Ebert: I like the moment when the veins pop out on Ordell's forehead. It's a quiet moment in the front seat of a van, he's sitting there next to Louis, he's just heard that he's lost his retirement fund of $500,000, and he's thinking hard. Quentin Tarantino lets him think. Just holds the shot, nothing happening. Then Ordell looks up and says, "It's Jackie Brown.'' He's absolutely right. She's stolen his money. In the movies people like him hardly ever need to think. The director has done all their thinking for them. One of the pleasures of "Jackie Brown,'' Tarantino's new film, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, is that everybody in the movie is smart. Whoever is smartest will live...

 

Ordell Robbie: Is she dead, yes or no?

Louis: Pretty much...

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Léon: The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn...

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Dwayne: You know what? Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. You know, school, then college, then work, fuck that. And fuck the air force academy. If I wanna fly, I'll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and fuck the rest.

Frank: I'm glad you're talking again, Dwayne. You're not nearly as stupid as you look...

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The movie has the attitude of a gas station attendant who tells you to check your own oil. It's grungy and unkempt, and Dante and Randal look like they have been nourished from birth on beef jerky and Cheetos. They are tired and bored, underpaid and unlucky in love, and their encounters with customers feel like a series of psychological tests...

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul..

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud..
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed..

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid..

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul...

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