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Totoro is the symbol of Studio Ghibli. The smiley, grey beast began life as part of a double-bill with Grave of the Fireflies because financiers didn’t believe My Neighbor Totoro alone would make money. By screening the cute and cuddly My Neighbor Totoro with the harrowing, deeply moving Grave of the Fireflies, the assumption was it was bound to succeed (despite the jarring tone of each tale). Following the release, the films were initially only mildly successful – critically acclaimed maybe, but not enough to financially secure the studio. What ensured the longevity and creative freedom of the studio was exceptionally successful merchandising from the characters created in My Neighbor Totoro (and, over time, the steadily-growing audience of each film).
The story itself is relatively simple. A father and his two daughters move to rural Japan, »
- Simon Columb
A Studio Ghibli season at the BFI has highlighted the very best of Japanese animation. We can define the cuddly Totoro or fantastical world of Princess Mononoke as what Studio Ghibli stands for – but Grave of the Fireflies proves otherwise. In fact, Isao Takahata’s 1988 film(released alongside My Neighbour Totoro) is a sobering, heart-breaking tale of those final years in Japan at the end of World War II, told through the eyes of two children, Seita and Setsuko. Grave of the Fireflies may be one of the most impressive, and surely ground-breaking, animations from the studio and challenges Disney – and western animators – to make such mature, intelligent and brutal films for a young audience.
Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, it is semi-autobiographical as he himself survived the fire-bombings of Japan while his sister died of malnutrition. »
- Simon Columb
Artist James Hance has created yet another incredibly adorable Star Wars themed illustration. This one mashes the classic sci-fi franchise with My Neighbor Totoro. It's called "King of the Forest," and it features several of our favorite Star Wars characters chilling around a giant Chewbacca. Hance is such a wonderful artist, and I Iove the fan art that he creates. I also included another one of his recent "Wookie the Chew" prints for you to check out below.
- Joey Paur
We all know Hayao Miyazaki is an anime genius, creating stories focusing on character, story and fantasy, letting his imagination run wild. He has created great films like Spirited Away, Howl’S Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. One of his first great works, My Neighbor Totoro, will be screening at the Tivoli in St. Louis this Friday and Saturday nights (April 11th and 12th) as part of the ‘Reel Late at the Tivoli’ midnight show.
My Neighbor Totoro was made back in 1988 and tells the story of Mr. Kusakabe and his two daughters Satsuki and Mei who move to a new home in rural Japan so they could be close to their sick mother. Their new home is run down and filled with soot spirits, but the family soon settles in. One day Mei meets a strange giant creature called Totoro, a large furry animal who has two minions. No »
- Tom Stockman
There’s good news and there’s bad news for animation fans. The good news is that Japan’s Studio Ghibli, the company behind many of cinema’s most gorgeously idiosyncratic cartoons, is about to release its latest film, The Wind Rises. In addition, the BFI’s two-month Ghibli retrospective is under way, so now’s the time to see spotless prints of Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro on the big screen. »
“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”
Harold Ramis, who died last month, is an honorary St. Louisan. He’s not really from here (he’s from Chicago), but he has a star on the St. Louis Walk of fame because he attended Washington University here and based parts of his Animal House script on his experiences as a member of Wash U’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. His directorial debut was the classic 1980 comedy Caddyshack which will kick off this year’s Reel Late at the Tivoli Midnight series when it screens as a tribute to Ramis this Friday and Saturday nights (April 4th and 5th). The Tivoli is located at 6350 Delmar Blvd. in University City.
Caddyshack is a comedy classic that will never get old. »
- Tom Stockman
Everyone — stars included — has that one show or movie they believe hasn’t received the attention it deserves. EW asked some celebrities, ranging from director John Waters to actress Allison Janney, what shows or movies they think are criminally underrated. Here’s what they said:
“Bruno Dumont’s movies, which are all long, depressing, French art movies about farmers and the earth and misery [such as Humanité]. I love a feel-bad movie. I hate to feel good at a theater. There is such honesty in the pain he puts on screen.”
- EW staff
A tribute to hometown boy (not really, but kinda sorta) Harold Ramis, a Hayao Miyazaki classic from 1988, and a handful of standards make up the roster for the Reel Late at the Tivoli midnight series which starts up again April 4th. No black and white classics or anything pre-1977, which is not surprising since Vertigo and even Casablanca were poorly attended last year. This is a solid line-up though and I’m glad to see the return of Repo! With its live shadow cast – it’s always a good time.
Reel Late at the Tivoli takes place every Friday and Saturday night and We Are Movie Geeks own Tom Stockman (that’s me!) will be there each night with custom trivia questions about the films and always has DVDs, posters, and other cool stuff to give away. Ticket prices are $8. We hope to see everyone late at night in the coming months. »
- Tom Stockman
The master of Japanese animation marks a departure from his Studio Ghibli style with The Wind Rises, which deals with Japan's prewar history
It seems like yesterday that Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Japanese anime, was making his Us debut with The Princess Mononoke, a lush, deeply imagined environmental allegory. That 1997 movie was the first time many American filmgoers entered Miyazaki's world of myth, magic and lyrical, finely detailed imagery; happily, there are now generations of children who have grown up cherishing such Miyazaki classics as My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle the way their parents did Snow White, 101 Dalmatians and The Aristocats.
With The Wind Rises, which has earned an Academy Award nomination for best animated feature, Miyazaki has made a departure from the themes and visual language that have constituted the house style of his Studio Ghibli. The digression feels all the »
- Ann Hornaday
As we continue to move forward through the list, let us consider: how do you define an original screenplay? In theory, everything is based on something. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is basically a modern A Streetcar Named Desire. But, somehow, Jasmine is classified as an original screenplay. When a film is wholly original, nothing like it had been done before, and others have tried to copy it since. Plenty of original screenplays (some in this list) take on tired genres, but flip the script. But the ones that really catch the audience by surprise are the ones that feel imaginative, creative, and different.
40. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki
That’s a good start! Once you’ve met someone, you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.
- Joshua Gaul
Earlier this month, legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, writer and director of such masterpieces as Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro, announced his final retirement (this isn’t his first). How fitting that his final feature takes up his favorite thematic motif, that of magical phenomenon and fantastic human achievement – flight. Oddly, for the first time in his lengthy career, Miyazaki has embraced the more realistic storytelling of his partner Isao Takahata, yet he hasn’t abandoned the lyrically imaginative storytelling he’s known for. With Studio Ghibli’s signature hand drawn and heartfelt feel, The Wind Rises fictionalizes the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the chief engineer behind the famed Japanese Zero fighter jet, and blends his tail with that of Tatsuo Hori, author of the novel from which the film’s epithet originates.
Set on a grand »
- Jordan M. Smith
All controversy aside, if this moving story of a pre-war airplane engineer is the animator's last film, it will be our loss
The Wind Rises, the new film from 72-year-old Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki, takes its title from a line in a Paul Valery poem ("The wind is rising! We must try to live!") and is inspired by the life of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi who designed Mitsubishi's A6M Zero fighter. It's probably the gentlest animated feature about an armaments designer you'll ever see.
"Poor countries want airplanes," Jiro (Hideaki Anno) is told, as they watch oxen haul the latest prototype out onto the field for testing. Lacking the power of western engines, Jiro and his fellow engineers must instead work with everything at his disposal – flush rivets, split flaps, retractable undercarriages, the lightest aluminium alloy – to reduce the drag on that aircraft and pluck it into the vast, »
- Tom Shone
The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises is his final film, and if that’s true — we can pray it ain’t so, but he doesn’t seem the type to make rash declarations — he’s going out on a high. The movie won’t, I’m afraid, appeal to kids the way Ponyo or Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro does. It’s monster-, ghost-, and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced — maybe 15 minutes too long, I’d say, but you can forgive those longeurs when the work is this exquisite. It’s romantic, tragic, and inexorably strange, a portrait of a young Japanese man who dreams of creating flying machines and the Imperial Empire that funds his research. His country will take those machines and send them off to rain death and destruction on its enemies — but that’s not something »
- David Edelstein
On February 21st, The Wind Rises, director Hayao Miyazaki's 11th, and supposedly final, feature film hits American theaters. The movie is a departure for the legendary animation auteur, whose films are often fantasy tales set in imaginary worlds. This time around, he's produced a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the aeronautical designer behind the Mitsubishi A5M and its descendant, the A6M — the plane used by the Japanese air force in the attack on Pearl Harbor. As Miyazaki tells it, Horikoshi was largely peaceful in nature, and merely »
The Austin Film Society has a few more screenings of the restored version of Herzog's Nosferatu this weekend. You can catch it this evening and again on Sunday at the Marchesa. The same can be said of Truffaut's Bed & Board, while the acclaimed new release Let The Fire Burn screens on Tuesday for Doc Nights. Richard Linklater had to travel to Berlin for a screening of his new film Boyhood, so he's recorded a special video introduction to Wednesday evening's 35mm presentation of Valley Girl and Lars Nilsen will hold down the post-film discussion with Louis Black.
The Alamo Ritz is bringing West Side Story back to the big screen for the next week, just in time to get you ready for Valentine's Day. They'll be screening a 70mm print, presumably the same one that played last year which was in absolutely beautiful condition. Also at the Ritz this week: »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Feature James Clayton 24 Jan 2014 - 06:03
Inside Llewyn Davis leaves James pondering the role of cats in films, and whether the Coens can make him learn to love the furry moggies...
Llewyn Davis is a New York musician pawing around the early 60s Greenwich Village folk scene. He's a pretentious mewling creative-type who can't connect with others around him, and he's caught up in the questions of artistic integrity versus commercial success. He's a lost soul with some hair going on. Llewyn Davis has a lot in common with a certain Barton Fink, and in my mind I can picture the forlorn pair performing "Man of Constant Sorrow" as a duet.
In spite of their similarities, though, the lead of the Coen Brothers' fresh folk yarn is arguably better off than John Turturro's doomed screenwriter. Llewyn Davis (played by Oscar Isaac) has something that Fink lacks and that is a pet. »
The Simpsons is paying tribute to Oscar-winning animator and director Hayao Miyazaki with a scene incorporating characters from some of his films. Miyazaki announced at the Venice Film Festival that his most recent release, The Wind Rises, would be his final animated film. Video: 'The Wind Rises' Trailer Bids Farewell to Animation Master Hayao Miyazaki The sequence (embedded below) features the following Miyazaki characters: Catbus (embodied by Otto) from My Neighbor Totoro, the scarecrow Turnip-Head (Moe) and the castle (Kwik-e-Mart) from Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki the witch (Patty and Selma) from Kiki's Delivery Service and No-
- THR Staff
Matt Groening and Hayao Miyazaki are two names that do not often appear next to each other, although they are among the world’s most influential artists and animators. Groening’s The Simpsons has sustained for 25 seasons on American television and been a watershed for both small-screen comedy and animation around the world. Meanwhile, Japanese filmmaker Miyazaki’s work, which includes Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky, has also reached a world-wide audience. His dazzling stories are frequently touted as some of the greatest animated films of all time. Alas, Miyazaki announced his retirement from making films in September, while The Simpsons continually seems to be on the cusp of its own final season.
Although the worlds of Homer Simpson and Totoro seem very distant, a reference-filled sequence from this Sunday’s Simpsons episode, “Married to the Blob,” is a sumptuous tribute to Miyazaki’s films. In the scene, »
- Jordan Adler
The Simpsons is a legendary American cartoon. Studio Ghibli is a legendary pillar of Japanese animation. It stands to reason the two would cross paths eventually. Movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away are as good as any live action film you will ever see. So what happens when The Simpsons [&hellip
The Simpsons Studio Ghibli Opening Is Brilliant »
- Remy Carreiro
"I am ruined by whimsy!" Nice one, Apu. With legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki announcing his retirement last year, the animation community has started working in tributes to his work. The latest comes from The Simpsons, where an entire scene featured in the middle of an upcoming episode pays tribute to Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's films. It's actually a very charming, adorable tribute that intertwines perfectly with the crude humor of the show itself. Aside from obvious references like the Catbus and Howl's Moving Castle, there's tons of other nods involving many of the Simpsons characters. See the video below. Here's "The Simpsons" tribute to Hayao Miyazaki, and anime, from Fox (found via SlashFilm): The video seems to be featured as a teaser for an upcoming episode, but I can't find out which exact episode it's from. (Will update when I found out more information.) The references in »
- Alex Billington
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