Fans of Japanese anime will find much to love in “Mirai,” a beautifully produced epic that takes on grandiose philosophical ideas in the guise of a simple family film about the importance of sibling ties. Problem is, its themes will probably fly over the heads of most kids.
The movie has received rapturous reviews in many circles, but to my mind, it concentrates a bit too much on pushing its viewpoint without breathing enough life into its characters. Part of this is due to the flat nature of the animation that makes facial expression an afterthought.
“Mirai” is for older kids and adults only. Small children aren’t really the demographic. They’ll probably be confused and bored. “Mirai” is an animated arthouse effort that has plenty to offer for audiences with lots of patience and an affinity for thoughtful, abstract ideas.
“The Guilty” is a riveting Danish thriller about a police officer confined to an emergency dispatch room as a disciplinary action. He desperately tries to help a caller who turns out to be a panicked kidnap victim in imminent danger. Essentially a one-man show, all of the action in “The Guilty” takes place in two rooms at the emergency dispatch center as the officer works to resolve the tense situation while wrestling with his own demons. Jakob Cedergren is excellent as the conflicted officer and Gustav Moller’s writing and direction is taut. It’s a favorite for a best foreign language Oscar nomination. “The Guilty” is a textbook example of what one can do with limited financial resources when there’s an abundance of talent and intelligence available.
Also opening this week, “The Possession of Hannah Grace” is yet another exorcism horror flick. It’s been carefully hidden from critics.