Nobuhiko Obayashi, one of Japan's most prolific filmmakers who devoted his works to depicting war's horrors and singing the eternal power of movies, has died. He was 82.
The official site for his latest film, "Labyrinth of Cinema," said that Obayashi died late Friday.
Obayashi was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016, and was told he had just a few months. But he continued working, appearing frail and often in a wheelchair.
"Labyrinth of Cinema" had been scheduled to be released in Japan on the day of his death. The date has been pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed theaters.
"Director Obayashi fought his sickness to the day of the scheduled release of his film. Rest in peace, director Obayashi, you who loved films so much you kept on making them," the announcement said.
The film was showcased at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, which honored him as a "cinematic magician" and screened several of his other works.
Obayashi stayed stubbornly true to his core pacifist message through more than 40 movies and thousands of TV shows, commercials and other video.
His films have kaleidoscopic, fairy tale-like imagery repeating his trademark motifs of colorful Japanese festivals, dripping blood, marching doll-like soldiers, shooting stars and winding cobblestone roads.
"Labyrinth of Cinema" is an homage to filmmaking. Its main characters, young Japanese men who go to an old movie theater but increasingly get sucked into crises, have names emulating Obayashi's favorite cinematic giants, Francois Truffaut, Mario Bava and Don Seigel.
Obayashi's "Miss Lonely," released in 1985, was shot in seaside Onomichi, the picturesque town in Hiroshima prefecture where Obayashi grew up and made animation clips by hand.
His other popular films include his 1977 "House," a horror comedy about youngsters who amble into a haunted house, and "Hanagatami," released in 2017, another take on his perennial themes of young love and the injustices of war that unfolds in iridescent hues.
Obayashi was a trailblazer in the world of Japanese TV commercials, hiring foreign movie stars like Catherine Deneuve and Charles Bronson, highlighted in his slick film work that seemed to symbolize Japan's postwar modernization.
He was born in 1938, and his childhood overlapped with World War II, years remembered for Japan's aggression and atrocities against its neighbors but also a period during which Japanese people suffered hunger, abuse and mass deaths. His pacifist beliefs were reinforced by his father, an army doctor, who also gave him his first 8-millimeter camera.
His works lack Hollywood's action-packed plots and neat finales. Instead, they appear to start from nowhere and end, then start up again, weaving in and out of scenes, often traveling in time.
During an Associated Press interview in 2019, Obayashi stressed his belief in the power of movies. Movies like his, he says, ask that important question: Where do you stand?
"Movies are not weak," he said, looking offended at such an idea. "Movies express freedom."
He said then he was working on another film, while acknowledging he was aware of the limitations of his health, all the work taking longer.
At the end of the interview, he said he wanted to demonstrate his lifetime goal for his filmmaking. He showed his hand, three fingers held up in the sign language of "I love you."
"Let's value freedom with all our might. Let's have no lies," said Obayashi.
Obayashi is survived by his wife Kyoko Obayashi, an actress and film producer, and their daughter Chigumi, an actress.
A ceremony to mourn his death was being planned, according to Japanese media, but details were not immediately available. The Tokyo city and central government have requested that public gatherings are avoided because of the pandemic.
Apollo 13's best known quotes originated not in space or Mission Control, but in Hollywood.
Their moon-bound spacecraft wrecked by an oxygen tank explosion on April 13, 1970, the astronauts urgently radioed, "Houston, we've had a problem here."
Screenwriters for the 1995 film "Apollo 13" wanted to punch that up. Thus was born "Houston, we have a problem."
Even more artistic license was taken with NASA flight director Gene Kranz' mobilizing speech to his team in Houston.
Kranz never declared, "Failure is not an option."
Ask Kranz what he actually told flight controllers, and he rattles it off without a moment's hesitation a half-century later.
"I have never lost an American in space, sure as hell aren't going to lose one now. This crew is coming home. You got to believe it. Your team must believe it. And we must make it happen."
Kranz said the moviemakers came up with "Failure is not an option."
Does he wish he'd said it? "No — I'm satisfied with what I said."
Kranz constantly finds himself setting the record straight — "in fact, every time I speak."
"I try not to plagiarize," he said with a laugh.
He did borrow the phrase for the title of his 2000 autobiography.
Director Ron Howard's film starring Ed Harris as Kranz and Tom Hanks as mission commander Jim Lovell was based on Lovell's 1994 autobiography, "Lost Moon." Actors Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon portrayed Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.
Are you feeling fed up staying at home for days after days during the quarantine period? Worrying about COVID-19 pandemic can weaken your immune system. You can watch entertaining movies, and web series to keep your mind engaged avoiding anxiety. In this article we have selected and reviewed some Netflix romantic comedy movies and web-series which are worth watching during your quarantine.
This American romantic comedy film has been directed by Roger Kumble. This film starts with Gabriela (played by Christina Milian), housing designer, who resides in San Francisco, USA. Gabriela’s jackass boss could hardly value her talent and passion for work. The indifferent attitude of her numb boyfriend leads to their break up. Losing both her job and boyfriend Gabriela gets broken-hearted. While sobbing on the couch and indulging into wine she pours her emotion into an online essay writing contest called “win an inn”. As a stroke of luck, she wins the contest and from this point the real story starts.
Through a long uncomfortable journey, Gabriela finally reaches her inn located somewhere in rustic New Zealand. Here she meets a handsome muscular guy named Jake (played by Adam Demos). The inn looks gorgeous only in picture, but is in haphazard state in reality. The small town is populated with unsophisticated inhabitants. You will enjoy the shrewish activities of Charlotte (played by Anna Jullienne).
As a local building contractor, Jake extends a helping hand towards Gabriela to repair the inn. Though she shows disinterest initially, later she made a partnership with Jake. While working, the chemistry between the duos mounts over the business deal. Then she has to make a decision between way back home with her dumb boyfriend and starting a new life with Jake in New Zealand.
Written and directed by Atul Malhotra, this movie plots on the friendship of three young men living in West London. This movie triggers towards the assimilation of varied ethnic groups. The three main characters of this movie were raised in the same neighborhood. The story starts with a Sikh boy Amar, who immigrated to England with his family. Amar’s father opened the 14th Indian restaurant on the High Road. Akbar, the second main character, was raised by an immigrant Muslim family. The third character Tony represents a white young man who belongs to an Irish catholic family.
As the story forwards, these three friends grow up, fall in love with different girls and try to find good jobs. Tony falls in love with an Asian girl who has a wicked brother. The story takes a sharp turn when Amar was sentenced three-year jail for the accusation of an accidental murder while saving the lives of his two dearest friends at a dance club. The real climax of this film starts off, when Amar got released from prison. The reactions of society, sympathy of friends and struggle of Amar will encourage you to see life from a different perspective. Though not a political film, this ‘Amar, Akbar & Tony’ focuses on Britain immigrants. With a superb blend of comedy, emotion, romance, and drama, this film can make your quarantine period enjoyable.
Always Be My Maybe is a marvelous romantic comedy. It is a story of two childhood best friends Sasha and Marcus (played by Ali Wong and Randall Park as adults) who grow up in the same neighborhood, then get apart choosing different paths of life, and eventually reunite as adults, discovering themselves in a total reverse economic circumstances.
Sasha, the female lead role, acquires the position of a famous celebrity chef, while Marcus, the male lead role, still lives in his childhood residence and assists his father in their family-run air conditioning company. The duo meets again and remembers the moments they spent together, when Sasha visits her hometown after several years. The chemistry between this pair will entertain you. As the story advances the complicacies of life prohibit them to stay together. Marcus suffers from self-doubt, while Sasha bears ambitions to launch more restaurants. Their different personalities and approaches in life shoot a challenge in their relationship.
This well-written, well-filmed, and well-structured movie will charm you with sharp dialogues in an upbeat tone. Though this film won’t show any new theme, it will make you laugh with traditional and familiar flavor. Watching this romantic comedy you can be entertained and have a great time.
It is an Asian (Indian) web television series created by Pocket Aces. The language used is mostly English, with a few expressions in local dialogue. The theme circulates around a couple - Kavya Kulkarni (Mithila Palkar) and Dhruv Vats (Dhruv Sehgal) - living in Mumbai. This romantic series focuses on the day to life of this couple explored through feelings, struggle, problems, challenges, and conversation.
The couple represent the young generation of this time who often go through the fear of missing out due to social media, trying restaurants for new cuisines, late-night cravings for fast food, etc. Besides fun and romance, the characters experience some personal and professional crises. Dhruv tries to reconnect with an old friend with whom he grew up. Later Dhruv quit from his job due to a loss of interest, which makes him acting like "aimless" while Kavya gets promoted with a pay hike. This difference triggers a fight between them.
In this web series the story highlights upon realistic issues that a couple may face every now and then. Furthermore, this web series will draw your attention on how the impact of urbanization and social structures of the large cities are shrinking humanity. Watching this series you may find many similarities with your own life.
The singer Pink had tested positive for COVID-19, she said Friday, also announcing that she is donating $500,000 each to two emergency funds.
In a pair of tweets, she said she and her three-year-old son were displaying symptoms two weeks ago, and she tested positive after accessing tests through a primary care physician. Her family had already been sheltering at home and continued to do so, she said. They were tested again "just a few days ago," and were negative.
The Grammy Award-winning artist behind eight studio albums and hits like "Get the Party Started," "What About Us," "Raise Your Glass" and "Just Give Me a Reason" called for for free and widespread testing.
"It is an absolute travesty and failure of our government to not make testing more widely accessible," she wrote. "This illness is serious and real. People need to know that the illness affects the young and old, healthy and unhealthy, rich and poor, and we must make testing free and more widely accessible to protect our children, our families, our friends and our communities."
She announced she's donating $1 million across two coronavirus-related relief funds, with $500,000 each going to the Temple University Hospital Fund in Philadelphia and the COVID-19 response fund run by the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles.
The Temple University donation honors the singer born Alecia Moore's mother, Judy Moore, who worked at the hospital's cardiomyopathy and heart transplant center for nearly two decades, she said.
She called health care workers "heroes" and ended her post with an appeal to the public.
"These next two weeks are crucial: please stay home," she wrote. "Please. Stay. Home."
From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here's a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions.
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER TURNS TO YOUTUBE
Iconic composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is making some of his filmed musicals available for free on YouTube.
On Friday, the 2000 West End adaption of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" starring Donny Osmond will be streamable, followed a week later by the rock classic "Jesus Christ Superstar" from the 2012 arena show starring Tim Minchin.
Further shows will be announced later, all hosted by the YouTube channel The Show Must Go On. Each show will be available at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific for a 48-hour period online, with no charge or sign up required.
BROADWAY LEGEND SICK WITH VIRUS
Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has tested positive for COVID-19.
The actor and chairman of the board of The Actors Fund announced the news of his diagnosis in a Twitter video, reassuring fans that he was already beginning to feel better. He says his wife and son don't have symptoms.
In a statement, The Actors Fund said Mitchell's diagnosis is an example "of why it is vitally important that we each do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus."
Mitchell won a Tony for his lead performance in the 1999 musical "Kiss Me, Kate." Other Broadway figures who have tested positive include Gavin Creel, Aaron Tveit and Laura Bell Bundy as well as composer David Bryan. It has claimed the life of four-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally.
CARNEGIE HALL, CHICAGO OPERA CANCEL SEASONS
Carnegie Hall has canceled the rest of its season because of the new coronavirus and is projecting a $9 million operating deficit on its $104 million budget.
The Lyric Opera of Chicago also scrapped the remainder of its season.
In a statement Thursday, Carnegie says it is "assessing the Hall's overall programming and operations with an eye to redefining them for the next and future seasons in response to the changed economic conditions."
"It will take considerable time, even after we reopen Carnegie Hall, before we can expect to see a full recovery, and, even then, this is likely to be over an extended period," executive director Clive Gillinson says. "With this in mind, we are taking immediate steps to safeguard the fiscal health of our institution as well as plan creatively for the future."
Carnegie canceled all events in its auditoriums through July 25. It also called off summer tours for its National Youth Orchestra of the USA, NYO2 and NYO Jazz but hopes to host the musicians and have local events around residencies at suburban Purchase College.
Carnegie expects to re-open in mid-September ahead of opening night on Oct. 7.
The Lyric Opera postponed its production of the musical "42nd Street" from May 29-June 21 this year to the spring of 2022. The staging is from Paris' Theatre du Chatelet.
"Blue," by composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson, was put off from June 16-28 to next January. "Proving Up," by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek has been postponed from January to a later season.