Brave New World

Why not start off the new year with a Japanese animation about a futuristic cyberspace-crossed world that will blow your socks off and turn your world right around in the space of a couple of hours? If we got you at “Japanese animation,” your best bet is Summer Wars, a new film from Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) that opens today at the Denver FilmCenter.

Denver Film Society programmer Keith Garcia describes Summer Wars as a many-leveled film for kids and parents alike that imagines a world in which social networks like Facebook are living entities with cyber-apocalyptic Big Brother implications. “A city called Oz is invaded by a malware virus that takes a physical form made up of computer avatars, and an extended family is thrust into trying to help the world through this virus,” he explains. But the visuals are what put this anime over the top: “It’s as if a Murakami painting came to life,” Garcia adds, evoking the wild, cartoonish works of Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami.

If garish waves of Japan-pop demons in ’toon colors are your cup of tea, sit back and take it all in: Summer Wars continues through January 13 at the center, 2510 East Colfax Avenue in the Lowenstein CulturePlex; most screenings will be dubbed in English for family viewing, but selected shows will be screened in Japanese with English subtitles (call or check the website for specific show-times). Admission ranges from $7 to $9.75; for details, go to or call 303-595-3456.
Jan. 7-13, 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd