Grave of the fireflies (Hotaru no haka)

grave-of-the-fireflies-posterJapanese animated war drama from 1988.
Starring: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi
Director: Isao Takahata
Writers: Akiyuki Nosaka, Isao Takahata
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Reactions

Contemplations

Judgement

Epilogue

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Grave of the fireflies” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

68 movies down. 297 to go.

If you want to get “Grave of the fireflies” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The seventh seal” (Det sjunde inseglet). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

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Toy story

toy-story-posterAmerican black and white psychological horror from 1960.
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Robert Bloch, Joseph Stefano
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Reactions

Contemplations

Judgement

Epilogue

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Psycho” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

35 movies down. 330 to go.

If you want to get “Psycho” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Once upon a time in America”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Howl’s moving castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro)

howls-moving-castle-posterJapanese animated adventure from 2004.
Starring: Chieko Baishô, Takuya Kimura, Tatsuya Gashûins
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writers: Diana Wynne Jones, Hayao Miyazaki
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Sophie works in a hat shop in the city, but one day she meets a wizard. This makes her a target for the Witch of the Waste and soon Sophie is cursed. Can the spell be lifted or must she simply live with it?

Reactions

“Howl’s moving castle” is one of Miyazaki’s many brilliant movies, and this one has lots of fun adventure on the surface and a deeper meaning to it, just as the others.

Miyazaki’s constant use of flying is present in this movie as well, but less than in many of his others. (Specially less than in “Porco Rosso”, “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Castle in the sky” where flying is all important parts of the plots.) The use of flying often feels freeing and adventurous, but in “Howl’s moving castle” it feels more like a burden or simply a way of moving. It offers no release, or very little.

Contemplations

The themes of the movie is strong and universal and can probably be understood quite well by the younger members of the audience. Maybe some of the ideas about female roles and stages in life will go over their heads, but still, lots to understand and contemplate for everyone.

More than anything else, the movie is an adventure, and I was immediately transported to the universe of fun and strange stories when I heard the familiar sounds of the Studio Ghibli music by Joe Hisaishi.

I love the animation in this movie specially well, because of the steampunk style of some parts. The castle itself is just wonderful, and makes me dream of living quite differently from the ordinary way I live now.

This is a movie that will stay with most viewers for a little while, I think, and in this case, I don’t mind recommending the American voice actors. I still think the Japanese version is best, but it was quite decent in English as well.

The story is fun and original, and I have decided to even read the book it is based on. If you want to do the same, here is a link to Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones on Amazon.

Judgement

“Howl’s moving castle” is a fun adventure and I will certainly watch it again.

Epilogue

I recommend “Howl’s moving castle” to anyone for a romantic or family movie evening.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Howl’s moving castle” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

55 movies down. 310 to go.

If you want to get “Howl’s moving castle” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Star Trek”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

princess-mononoke-posterJapanese animated fantasy from 1997.
Starring: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Ashitaka’s village is attacked by a demon that infects him with a curse that will slowly kill him. The village wise woman tells him to travel to the lands in the west where he might find a cure, although that is uncertain.

Reactions

Most of the action in “Princess Mononoke” takes place during Ashitaka’s journey and after he arrives in the western lands. The time of this adventure is long ago when Gods still roamed the earth.

The music is just as enjoyable as in other Miyazaki movies and it brings out both emotions and moods. “Princess Mononoke” has more of a anime feel to it than other Miyazaki movies, with the classical overreaction faces of the characters and the sounds that go along with them. This is not something that is present often, though.

There is mostly a feel of adventure and fairy tale in “Princess Mononoke” and it has the typical moral messages of older traditional stories. The morals of the story is important and quite easy to get for young and old. Happily, this does not mean the story is simplified or boring.

Once again we see that cutting off one’s own pony tale has some kind of significance in a Japanese movie, but I still don’t exactly what.

Contemplations

The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and while there is some violence, this medium allows such matters to be less graphic. The drawings are both cute and pretty, without being just an excuse for showing off nature and people.

The characters are fantastical, as they should be in a fairy tale, but still human enough for the viewers to relate and care about their fate. The strange thing is that I also came to care for the fate of the forest. Don’t get me wrong, I naturally care for nature and how it fares, but I ended up caring for the forest as if it was a person or character.

The story sits with the viewer for quite some time, and the messages can reach every member of a family. (Also the family members that more traditionally aren’t too concerned with at least some of the issues in the movie, such as feminism and environmental protection.)

“Princess Mononoke” is a fantastic animated movie, maybe the best I’ve ever seen.

Judgement

“Princess Mononoke” is a very enjoyable movie with a bit of meaning and a good adventure story. I will watch it again many times in the future.

Epilogue

I recommend everyone watch “Princess Mononoke” once in a while to get a reminder of the importance of nature and our relationships to one another.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Princess Mononoke” (“Mononoke-hime”) or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

52 movies down. 313 to go.

If you want to get “Princess Mononoke” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Stagecoach”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

My neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)

my-neighbor-totoro-posterJapanese animated fantasy adventure from 1988.
Starring: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto (American voice over version: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Frank Welker)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Bechdel-test: Pass

Exposition

Two young sisters, Mei and Satsuki, and their father move into a new house while their mother is in the hospital. One of their new neighbors is the amazing Totoro.

Reactions

I have seen “My neighbor Totoro” many times before, and I have loved it every time. With each viewing I notice a few new things, sometimes I see a big new thing, and sometimes, like today, it’s something small. The new find this time was a goat and just how scary it was.

This is the first time I have seen the American dubbed version of the film, and the voice actors were good and convincing as these characters that I love so much. Sadly I was put off by the way they pronounced Totoro, where the second “t” became a “d”. Also the song at the beginning and end didn’t quite fit with the American accents. For the rest of the movie I didn’t notice anything off-putting with the voices.

The animation was just as fun and beautiful as I always find in Miyazaki’s movies.

Contemplations

The story isn’t very complex, but rather it is sweet and innocent. It focuses on the little things in life, and the pacing of the storytelling makes it fun and entertaining throughout. Maybe part of what captivates with this story is the unexpected and unusual elements.

Most important in this movie are the characters and setting. “My neighbor Totoro” is set in countryside in Japan in the 1950’s, and is as such, an adventure in a different time and place for a westerner like myself. The characters are true and whole people, each and every one. More than I’ve seen in most other movies, if not in all other movies.

The amazing thing about this movie is how the children are depicted just as I remember children to be from my own childhood. Not that I experienced any events like those in the movie, but still, the emotions and reactions seems utterly real, and I don’t think I’m used to seeing children so realistically depicted in movies.

The movie leaves me with the image of what it is to be a child, the fears, the joys, the little explorations of the closest world. And maybe I am also reminded of how it feels to be a parent and how one might relive childhood through parenthood.

Judgement

Still loved the movie, but I prefer the Japanese and the earlier British version. “My neighbor Todoro” was not right for me.

Epilogue

I recommend this movie to absolutely anyone. For Americans maybe any voice version is fine, but for most others I would recommend the British or Japanese version.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “My neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

Eight movies down. 357 to go.

If you want to get “My neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Seven Samurai” (Shichinin no samurai). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Monsters, Inc.

monsters-inc-posterAmerican animated comedy from 2001
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs
Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich
Writers: Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston, Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson
Bechdel-test: Fail

Exposition

The city Monstropolis is powered by the screams of scared children. The two monsters Sullivan and Mike work at the power plant Monsters Inc. where they scare kids from our world. Then one day a child sneaks over to the world of monsters.

Reactions

This is a good movie with a layered story and lots and fun and laughs. I have seen it before and I really liked it, this time as well.

The movie is filled with a variety of different monsters and also this time when I watched it, I noticed new types. A quite fun thing to look out for.

The intro and end credits are of an unusual style for Disney, and put me in mind of old Pink Panther. Very stylish and a good break with the expected visuals.

Contemplations

The story about monsters and children has many layers, or at least a few, and as such holds the attention of both young and old. The jokes and gags are generally funny for all ages and the movie can be discussed by children and parents.

The voice actors are great, and specially the monster Randall, voiced by Steve Buscemi, is disliked immediately, and I think the voice has something to do with that.

The animation is typical for what I expect from Disney and does not disappoint.

Luckily, in many other ways “Monsters, Inc.” is less typical of Disney, in that it doesn’t feature any singing princesses, as I am not a huge fan of those movies. I simply don’t enjoy those fairy-tales, nor the animations of them.

Judgement

I would not mind seeing “Monsters, Inc.” again and was well entertained throughout the movie.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to anyone, and it is well deserving of being on “the best movies list”. It’s a feel good movie and I think it can lift your spirits on a gloomy day.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Monsters, Inc.” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

Seven movies down. 358 to go.


If you want to get “Monsters, Inc.” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “My neighbor Totoro” (Tonari no Totoro). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.