Tonight at the Movies: Ponyo & It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud by Davis Guggenheim
It Might Get Loud

Interview and archival clips are interspersed with a summit meeting, half jam session, half graduate seminar in guitar metaphysics, on a soundstage loaded with all kinds of cool equipment. The guitarists trade riffs and thoughts and at the end make their way through an acoustic rendition of “The Weight.” It is both stirring and amusing to see three superstars strumming along to this song, originally recorded by the Band, which has long since become a staple for desultory buskers and late-night dorm-room singalongs. It’s a serviceable ballad, hard to butcher and tough to make your own, and thus a safe meeting ground for these three thorny individualists. []

Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki

“Ponyo” is the latest masterwork from Mr. Miyazaki, the influential Japanese animator who has advanced the art with films like “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” The new film, despite the initial distractions of the recognizable voices crammed into the English-language version (a subdued Matt Damon, a fine Betty White), shares thematic and visual similarities with his earlier work, notably its emphasis on the natural world, its tumults and fragility. (As Mr. Miyazaki once put it, “All my animation and comics involve land, sea and sky “” they all revolve around what happens on earth.”) But “Ponyo,” which takes some inspiration from “The Little Mermaid,” Hans Christian Andersen’s macabre fairy tale, has a narrative simplicity, or rather the clarity of a distillation. []