How To Stop Worrying & Love The Bomb- 'In The Loop' & Miyazaki's Ponyo

You gotta love the British. Their humor is so dry that I sometimes feel the air suction right out of my mouth. Ah to be british and to have his/her picture in the 'British Book Of Smile'. But seriously, it's traditional humor- going way back to the Monty Python days of the late 70's. Like any British comedy, Armando Lannuci's In The Loop is not for every taste. It's a political satire that is so quick and so witty that you cannot get every zinger in one viewing. In The Loop pokes fun at the ineptitude of our governments, it's a dark satire about a society that leaves control over the hands of buffoons. The premise is simple-& might I add relevant to our times. The American & British governments in the film work together to wage war on an unnamed middle eastern country, They are very lost in their attempt & are mixed about the entire issue.

If anything, In The Loop's style is reminiscent of The Office. With its handheld camera, witty dialogue & quirky/awkward cast of characters, In fact, I expected Steve Carrell to pop out and utter one of his uselessly clever 'Office' one liners. Sadly, that did not come to fruition but what I did see onscreen was the sharpest political satire Ive seen in ages & a tasty perfomance from peter Capaldi as a foul mouthed British Director of communications. It's very hard to find this film- since its on limited release- but seek it out.

I said it before and I'll say it again, were living in the Golden Age of Animation. Stuff released by animators during the past decade puts supposed 'auteuristic' filmmakers to shame. The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Belleville Rendez-Vous, Waking Life, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Shrek, Chicken Run, the recent Up & -Best of all- Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away are all very adult and very real. Miyazaki's new -and final?- movie just came out and its a doozy. Safe for a predictable and unsatisfying ending this one has visuals that will marvel even the oldest of adults. The one thing I love most about Miyazaki is that his animation is hand drawn- No computer effects, no 3D, no CGI- just art created by hand & the visuals he creates here are astonishing. I don't think Ive seen a more thrilling animated sequence this year than when Mother and Son drive along the highway as a storm follows their track. Manhola Dargis has a more complete review of the film at the L.A. Times- Well worth a read.