Recommendation of the Week:
If you don't know who Hayao Miyazaki is yet, then you need a crash course in gorgeous Japanese animated films with amazing storytelling. He's like the Japanese Walt Disney, and Ponyo is his latest film. It's a wonderful fantasy that was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid and he's put his own particular spin on it. A young boy named Sosuke rescues a female goldfish, Ponyo, and they set off on an adventure together. The Blu-ray disc includes an ultra-crisp transfer of the film, which features hand-drawn animation, and a look inside Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli. We're offering up five sets of Miyazaki films with this Joystiq Box Office, so read the rules at the bottom of the post to enter. Five winners will receive Ponyo on Blu-ray, and standard DVDs of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky. Truly magical filmmaking.
Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)
We Live In Public (480 ($6) HD, 320 ($4), to rent)
This is probably the most incredible documentary about someone you've never heard of. Josh Harris got in on the ground floor extremely early before internet video became a phenomenon, and he made millions of dollars. But then he went completely over-the-top crazy, built a massive bunker in New York City and invited a select group of people to come live inside while everything they did was filmed and broadcast live on the internet. They had alcohol, drugs and everything else they needed provided for them. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that scenario, right? Ondi Timoner's film is fascinating, bizarre and you really do have to see it to believe it. Someday, one of you had better become a millionaire and do this all over again, except with gamers. That would be worth documenting -- and we can just imagine the real-life flame wars.
Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)
Film festivals often end up being a complete crapshoot. You never know what you're going to get, and if you gamble big on a movie you've never heard of, chances are you'll wind up losing out and sitting through two hours full of fishmongers in the Ukraine arguing with each other in a dreary arthouse movie. However, sometimes you win big, and you wind up with a gem like Kabluey. Scott Prendergast wrote and directed this story about a hapless loner who takes a job where he has to wear an enormous blue suit and hand out flyers for a corporation trying to rent out office space. The film also stars Prendergast, Lisa Kudrow, Christine Taylor and Teri Garr, and, even though it was made before the recession, it's definitely appropriate these days when corporations are closing left and right, and "For Lease" signs dot the urban landscape. Highly recommended.
PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)
The Warlords ($12.99 HD, $9.99 SD, to rent)
For some reason, it's easy to forget about Jet Li. You'll check out one of his movies, in most cases enjoy it (yes, I even mean over-the-top cheese like The One), and then go about your day. It's probably rare that anyone pauses in the middle of a meal, fork halfway raised to mouth, and thinks "Gee, when is Jet Li is going to come out with another movie?" But, more of you should be wondering that. Why? Because if enough people wonder, you'll get more Jet Li movies. Like this one. Yes, it's a bit too talky at times. Sure, it's set in the 1800s. But it features the unleashed and rabid intensity of Jet Li. What more do you really need? Okay fine, here's a snippet of the story: Three brothers are forced to turn against one another due to the harsh realities of war. Toss in Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro as the other two brothers, and you have an nice bonus.
Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)
Where The Wild Things Are ($35.99 MSRP, much lower at many retailers)
There are directors who churn out perfectly adequate films, then hop on board a next project immediately, hoping to ride that gravy train with biscuit wheels. Then there's Spike Jonze. The guy is a genius. That's about the simplest way to say it. You've probably seen his Being John Malkovich, or his Adaptation (and if not ... why?!) and figured out the guy likes making strange movies. Luckily, Where The Wild Things Are is no different, and it has the bonuses of an extremely charming kid playing the lead (Max Records) and an amazing soundtrack produced by Carter Burwell. This film was in production for a long time, and there were rumors that things weren't going well. All you have to do is pick up this disc to witness the brilliance that Spike squeezed out of the script. Plus, it looks fan-freaking-tastic in HD. Big recommendation for this one.
So, what are you watching? Follow the instructions below to win one of five sets of four different Hayao Miyazaki films.
- Leave a comment telling us what your favorite animated movie is. It doesn't have to be a Miyazaki movie, flattery will get you nowhere!
- You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
- Limit 1 entry per person (replies to other comments won't count as entries, so feel free to chat it up).
- This entry period ends at 7:00PM PT on Monday, March 8.
- At that time, we'll randomly select five different winners will a set of four Hayao Miyazaki films including Ponyo on Blu-rau (ARV: $39.99), Kiki's Delivery Service on DVD (ARV: $29.99), My Neighbor Totoro on DVD (ARV: 29.99) and Castle in the Sky on DVD (ARV: $29.99).
- For a list of complete rules, click here.
What is Joyswag? Since we don't keep the games and merchandise we receive for review or promotional purposes, it becomes "Joyswag," which is passed along to our readers. For more info on our policy, click here.