We’ve Come a Long Way, but We’re Not There Yet

By Roxanne*

The title “Any Day Now” is able to suggest the contention that is present for homosexuals, throughout history and in this film. The setting is Hollywood, 1979. A sex-worker mother is busted, leaving her disabled 14-year-old son to fend for himself in their shabby apartment building. Drag performer, Rudy (Alan Cumming), stumbles upon the situation.

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Rudy is voracious and speaks his mind, despite social disapproval of his lifestyle.

ANY DAY NOW ALAN CUMMING

His more reserved partner, Paul (Garret Dillahunt) shares chemistry with Rudy while remaining as a strong fatherly character.

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It should also be noted that this is the first time a full length movie features an actor with down syndrome, (Marco, played by Isaac Levya) and he is able to provide as much work for the scenes as his more experienced counterparts.any day now 4

Renderings of custody battles have become a staple in film, but Travis Fine’s film, Any Day Now (2012), sets the bar high in terms of teachable moments through social injustices. While Marco’s mother is incarcerated, Rudy and Paul take in the boy and are able to give him an upbringing that some of us couldn’t even hope for. But their happy family is disrupted and cut short, by the resonance of the issue of gay parenting and LGBT rights, which were virtually non-existent at this point in time.

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Although the plot and character development are enough to sustain this film, the film is brought down a notch in terms of visual flair. There is little variation among the scenery and the quality of the HD film is confusing for a retro styled movie.

In the end, it is safe to say that it is not Marco’s custody that is actually on trial, but the homophobia that was prevalent three decades ago.

“My Neighbor Totoro”: the anime that will make you fall in love with anime

By Roxanne*

The 1988 Japanese animated film My Neighbor Totoro is what is considered to be one of Hayao Miyazaki’s best films (not to mention, Totoro is the mascot of Studio Ghibli as Mickey Mouse is to Disney). Studio Ghibli has produced films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and the famous/infamous Spirited Away (by contrast, My Neighbor Totoro will leave you a lot less confused).

Video Provided by Youtube user: Kevin Chung

The plot centers on sisters Satsuki, (which means May in Japanese) dubbed over in the American version by voice actor Dakota Fanning, and Mei, (the phonetic pronunciation of ‘May’ in Japanese) by Elle Fanning. Firstly, Miyazaki perfectly portrays the whole older sister/ younger sister relationship as the girls vary between playing and quarreling throughout the movie.

The story begins as the two girls and their father move into a new home in the countryside in order to be in closer proximity to their mother who is suffering from an illness in a nearby hospital. One of the most alluring aspects upon viewing My Neighbor Totoro is the rich quality of the scenery, which will have you wondering if you are looking at a children’s cartoon or an oil painting.

The sisters soon find they have magical new neighbors, who are forest spirits that can only be seen by children. Some of the spirits include soot sprites, a ‘cat-bus’, and most notably, Totoro, the King of the forest (who only roars throughout the film, but is interestingly portrayed by the same voice actor who plays Scooby doo.)

One critique would be the limited screen time of the iconic “Totoro.” We only actually get to see him for maybe about a quarter of the movie or so, and he doesn’t show up until half way through the movie. On the other hand, this could also be beneficial. It makes his selective appearances even more special, and you end the movie still wanting more (or wondering where you can buy the plush version).

One of the most memorable scenes is when Totoro and the girls take a ride in the magical cat bus.

It would seem that “My Neighbor Totoro” is geared toward children, but it is more than appreciable for all ages. There are a few dark scenes, one where Mei goes missing, some eerie depictions of their haunted house, and the condition of their sick mother, but nothing unsuitable for children. At the end of the day, this film proved to be a refreshing contrast to the ADD-driven, action packed mainstream movies that are more prevalent today- check it out if you haven’t!