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251. Up (#123)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, this week with special guests Deirdre Molumby and Brian Lloyd, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, marking the passing of Ed Asner, Pete Docter’s Up.

Carl Fredricksen is a widower who finds himself facing the end of a modest life in the small house that he once shared with the love of his life. When it looks like what little remains of that life migth be disturbed and destroyed, Carl decides to embark on the one last adventure that he never got to take with his beloved life: a trip to mysterious “Paradise Falls”, without leaving his home.

At time of recording, it was ranked 123rd on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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241. Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen (Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train) – This Just In (#238)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, with special guests Graham Day and Bríd Martin, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Haruo Sotozaki’s Demon Slayer – The Movie: Mugen Train.

Following a series of mysterious disappearances on a train from Tokyo to Mugen, three young demon slayers are dispatched to investigate possible supernatural influences. The three quickly team up with a veteran soldier in the battle against evil, and discover just how quickly their mission can go off the rails.

At time of recording, it was ranked 238th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On The Underappreciated Appeal of “Superman: The Animated Series”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday evening. With the release of Superman: The Animated Series in high-definition on HBO Max in March, it seemed like an opportunity to take a look back at the underappreciated entry in the DC Animated Universe.

Superman: The Animated Series tends to get overshadowed in discussions of the DCAU by the two shows either side of it, by the earlier Batman: The Animated Series and by the two later Justice League series. However, Superman: The Animated Series is an interesting bridge between the two, eschewing the “villain of the week” structure of Batman: The Animated Series to instead focus on long-form storytelling that developed character and built the world in ways that would pay off in the later spin-offs. It remains one of the best takes on the Man of Steel.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

234. Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke) – Ani-May 2021 (#69)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guests Deirdre Molumby, Graham Day and Bríd Martin, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This year, we are proud to continue the tradition of Anime May, a fortnight looking at two of the animated Japanese films on the list. This year, we watched a double feature of the last two anime movies on the list, Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononoke-hime and Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi.

This week, the first part of the double bill, Mononoke-hime, the last film before Miyazaki’s first announced retirement.

A freak demon attack disturbs the peace of a remote village, and places a curse on a young prince. The hero must venture into the larger world in search of a cure, and quickly finds himself embroiled in a struggle between industrialisation and nature, between city and forest, between man and god.

At time of recording, it was ranked 69th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers is a stunningly beautiful piece of animation.

Of course, that almost goes without saying. Cartoon Saloon remain one of the most consistent animation houses in the world today, steadily building a reputation among animation aficionados that might invite comparisons to other artisanal studios like Ghibli or even Pixar; their previous three feature films all received Oscar nominations, and Wolfwalkers itself seems sure to earn its place among this year’s nominees.

Packed full of excitement.

Still, there’s an admirable ambition to Wolfwalkers, a sense that the studio is not merely resting on its laurels and is instead pushing itself forward. Wolfwalkers is perhaps the most technically accomplished animation that Cartoon Saloon have produced to date, applying all of the studio’s key strengths and throwing some playful experimental elements into the mix. Wolfwalkers retains the stylised Celtic aesthetic that informed both The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, but also throws in elements with a more international flavour. The results are breathtaking.

While the film suffers slightly in narrative terms, particularly in contrast to the studio’s work on The Breadwinner, it is a consistently and breathtakingly beautiful work.

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New Escapist Column! On the Future of “Star Wars” on Streaming…

I published a new piece at The Escapist yesterday. With the announcement that Star Wars is launching a Bad Batch television series off the back of The Clone Wars, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at why the franchise’s future might lie on streaming.

To a certain extent, Star Wars has suffered because it is no longer a pop cultural monolith. It arguably hasn’t been a monolith since the release of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Since then, Star Wars has built a fanbase populated by different audiences who want different things from the franchise. There are a lot of problems with The Rise of Skywalker, but at least part of the problem comes down to the fact that the film tried to avoid offending anybody and so satisfied nobody. Streaming offers a chance for Star Wars to be multiple things, to multiple people.

On streaming, freed from the burden of being a box-office-record-smashing success, Star Wars has the opportunity to be more experimental and more bold. It can also specifically target particular segments of its diverse fanbase, offering a little something for everybody while still potentially offering room to grow and expand. If managed wisely, Star Wars is in prime position to make the jump from big screen to small screen.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

183. Koe no katachi (A Silent Voice) – This Just In/Ani-May 2020 (—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guest Graham Day, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This year, we are proud to continue the tradition of Anime May, a fortnight looking at two of the animated Japanese films on the list. This year, we watched a double feature of Hayao Miyazaki’s Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta and Hauru no ugoku shiro. We’ll also be covering a bonus on a recent entry on the list next week, Naoko Yamada’s Koe no katachi.

This week, the third and final installment of this year’s Ani-May, Koe no katachi.

Teenager Shoya Ishida finds himself haunted by guilt over his merciless bullying of his deaf classmate Shoko Nishimiya six years earlier. Coming back from a suicide attempt, Shoyo makes an awkward attempt to reconnect and reconcile with Shoko, but are either of them prepared for the strong emotions that this reunion will provoke and the consequences that it will have for their friends and their families?

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Scoob!

Have you ever wondered what it might look like is a beloved fifty-one-year-old children’s television franchise had a midlife crisis?

If so, Scoob! might just be for you.

We have lift-off.

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166. Aladdin (#246)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, this week joined by special guest Graham Day, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Ron Clements & John Musker’s Aladdin.

A thief in ancient Agrabah finds his fortunes changing for the better when he is recruited to recover a precious treasure. With fame and fortune at his fingertips, Aladdin sets about trying to seduce the beautiful Jasmine, but soon discovers that there’s more to love than power and wealth.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 246th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: I Lost My Body

I Lost My Body is a stunning piece of animation.

In a Parisien hospital, a dismembered hand comes to life. Distracted and disoriented by memories of its previous life, it scrambles out of the fridge and out into the world. Making a daring escape from the inevitable fate of medical waste, this detached hand embarks on a journey across Paris. This adventure takes the body part from the roofs to the underground, through the gutters and into the air vents. It confronts rats and pigeons, but also encounters rare beauty and intimate insight. All of this is part of a primal urge to return to the body from which it was so cruelly severed.

Taking the matter in hand…

It is certainly an interesting and intriguing premise, and I Lost My Body lives up to the absurdity of that set-up. Jérémy Clapin’s animated film runs a tight eighty-one minutes, which means that it never overstays its welcome and that the central hook never has the opportunity to become distracting. I Lost My Body uses this absurd premise as a prism through which it might explore ideas of human connection, of the unlikely ways in which lives intersect and collide within the modern world. Some of its choices are inelegant and clumsy, but it never lacks ambition or insight.

I Lost My Body is a moving tale of what it’s like to feel truly disconnected.

Naofel me.

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