Tag Archives: Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki’s Wind Rises In New York

Kaze TachinuJapan­ese direc­tor Hayao Miyazaki’s new film Kaze Tach­inu (The Wind Rises) has walked away with the New York Film Crit­ics Circle’s award for best ani­mated film of the year. The film is also a nom­i­nee for best ani­mated fea­ture from ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Award.

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Hayao Miyazaki to Release First Animated Movie in 5 Years

Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises)

Kaze Tach­inu (The Wind Rises)

Japan­ese ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyazaki’s first film in five years will come out next year, dis­trib­u­tor Toho announced Thursday.

Miyazaki will release wartime romance Kaze Tach­inu, based on the novel of the same name, usu­ally trans­lated as The Wind Has Risen.

He cre­ated Spir­ited Away, which a 2003 Oscar for Best Ani­mated Fea­ture. His last movie was 2008’s Ponyo.

The pro­tag­o­nist of Kaze Tach­inu is based on flight engi­neer Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Zero fighter, Japan’s best known Sec­ond World War fighter aircraft.

Also next year, long­time Miyazaki col­lab­o­ra­tor Isao Taka­hata will release his first new film in over a decade. Kaguya Hime No Mono­gatari will be based on Take­tori Mono­gatari (The Tale of the Bam­boo Cut­ter). Japan’s old­est novel, Take­tori Mono­gatari is thought to have been writ­ten over 1,000 years ago.

Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Coming to Vancouver

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

Between Decem­ber 14 and Jan­u­ary 3, the Vancity The­atre and The Cin­e­math­eque — both located in down­town Van­cou­ver — are co-hosting Cas­tles in the Sky: The Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli.

It’s a major ret­ro­spec­tive of films from the world-renowned anime stu­dio Stu­dio Ghi­bli founded in Tokyo in 1985 by direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

Per­fect for tran­scend­ing the win­ter greys, these films prove that Stu­dio Ghi­bli is every bit the equal of any ani­ma­tion stu­dio in the world or in film history.

All Stu­dio Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will be screened in 35mm in the English-language ver­sions. All films at the Cin­e­math­eque will screen in Japanese-language prints with subtitles.

These films are open to all ages. Princess Mononoke is clas­si­fied 14A; all other titles are rated G or PG. The Vancity The­atre offers a spe­cial rate of $7 for youth under 19.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
“Best Ani­mated Film of All Time”- Time Out Mag­a­zine
“When­ever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile” — Roger Ebert
Fri­day, Decem­ber 14, 6:30 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 21, 5 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 3:50 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 2 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1988, 35mm, 86 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voiced by Dakota and Elle Fan­ning, Tim Daly
Two lit­tle girls and their father move into a beau­ti­ful old house in the coun­try­side to be near their mother, who is seri­ously ill in hos­pi­tal. Largely left to fend for them­selves, Mei and her big sis­ter Sat­suki encounter a strange and beau­ti­ful world of for­est sprites named “Totoros.” Miyazaki’s most beloved film is sim­ply mag­i­cal and mag­i­cally simple.

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
“A joy to watch.”- New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 3 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1984, 35mm, 117 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazake
Voice cast includes Ali­son Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Edward James Olmos, Chris Saran­don
Miyazaki’s first film as writer-director (based on his own suc­cess­ful manga) is an extrad­i­nar­ily rich fan­tasy film, an eco-allegory set in a feu­dal, toxic future and a spir­ited adven­ture movie. Led by the coura­geous Princess Nau­si­caa, the peo­ple of the Val­ley of the Wind are engaged in a per­pet­ual con­flict with pow­er­ful insects called “ohmu,” guardians of a poi­so­nous (and spread­ing) jungle.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
Enchanted and enchant­ing… fast and funny; weird and won­der­ful. Mostly won­der­ful.” — Peter Brad­shaw, The Guardian
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 5:20 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 17, 6:30 p.m.; Thurs­day, Decem­ber 20, 5:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2001, 35mm, 125 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: PG
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Dav­eigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Chik­lis, John Ratzen­berger
Chi­hiro and her par­ents are en route to a new home when they drive through a mys­te­ri­ous tun­nel and enter a deserted town. When her folks start gorg­ing on food and trans­form into a pair of pigs, Chi­hiro dis­cov­ers this place is not quite as empty as she had imag­ined. This is a place of spir­its, gods, mon­sters and witches.
“Picks up a res­o­nance, weight and com­plex­ity that makes it all but Shake­spearean.… No other word for it: a mas­ter­piece.” — Tony Rayns, Time Out
SIX STARS (excep­tion must be made for the excep­tional). Spir­ited Away is a feast of won­der­ment, a movie clas­sic and a joy that will enrich your exis­tence until you too are spir­ited away. I don’t expect ever to love a film more.” — Nigel Andrews, Finan­cial Times

Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff)
“You’ll be plan­ning to see Ponyo twice before you’ve fin­ished see­ing it once.… It offers up unfor­get­table images [..] images that use the logic of dreams to make the deep­est pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to our emo­tions, and to our souls.”- Ken­neth Turan, NPR
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day Decem­ber 19, 6:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 3:45 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 4:15 p.m.
Japan, 2008, 35mm, 101 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Cate Blanchett, Liam Nee­son, Matt Damon
Miyazaki’s strange and beguil­ing fan­tasy film about a sea spirit – it’s an odd eco fable about the ter­ri­ble power of the sea, but illus­trated with such beauty and imag­i­na­tion it trans­ports us entirely into another world. Rated G, this is suit­able for chil­dren of all ages.
“Miyazaki knows the secret lan­guage of chil­dren; he dives deep into the pool of child­hood dreams and fears and, through his ani­magic, takes chil­dren down to where they can breathe, and feel, and be free.” — Richard Corliss, Time

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
“Com­plex, superbly ren­dered, and wildly eccen­tric — even by Miyazaki’s own stan­dards.”- J Hober­man, Vil­lage Voice
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 6:15 p.m.; Tue. Decem­ber 18, 6:30 p.m.
Japan, 1997, 35mm, 134 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: 14A
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Min­nie Dri­ver, Claire Danes, Gillian Ander­son.
Set dur­ing the Muro­machi Period (1333–1568) of Japan, Princess Mononoke is the tale of a mys­ti­cal fight between humans and the Ani­mal Gods of the for­est. Aimed at a slightly older audi­ence than most Ghi­bli fare (it is clas­si­fied 14A), this epic folk tale shows the influ­ence of Akira Kuro­sawa (a Miyazaki fan him­self) and of John Ford, too. The film was the most suc­cess­ful ever at the Japan­ese box office (prior to Titanic), and named the film of the year in Japan’s equiv­a­lent to the Acad­emy Awards.
“A sym­phony of action and images, a thrilling epic of war­riors and mon­sters, for­est crea­tures and mag­i­cal spells, with an under­ly­ing alle­gory about the rela­tion­ship of man and nature.” — Roger Ebert

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
“Fre­quently astound­ing.” — Richard Har­ring­ton, Wash­ing­ton Post
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 12 noon; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 5:45 p.m.
Japan, 1986, 35mm, 124 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leach­man
An island in the sky? The story of a young boy who sees a girl float­ing down from the sky. He comes to her aid in her flight from sky pirates, the army and secret agents. An adven­ture story influ­enced by Trea­sure Island and Gulliver’s Trav­els, Cas­tle in the Sky is dynamic, imag­i­na­tive fam­ily enter­tain­ment with valu­able lessons about tech­nol­ogy and ignorance.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
“Smooshes fan­tasy and his­tory into a pastel-pretty yarn as irre­sistible as his fem­i­nism.” — Jean­nette Cat­soulis, New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 4:10 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1992, 35mm, 94 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers
Pigs will fly! This cock­eyed trib­ute to Humphrey Bog­art and Ernest Hem­ing­way fea­tures an anti-fascist flier (who hap­pens to look like a pig) track­ing sky pirates over the Adri­atic in the 1930s. An exhil­a­rat­ing romp with a melan­choly under­tow — and amaz­ing fly­ing machines!
“Teems with Miyazaki’s per­sonal pas­sions [..] ren­dered with the utmost detail and beauty. As stir­ring as Casablanca, and as sophis­ti­cated as Only Angels Have Wings, it’s a sub­lime chival­ric fable.” Nick Brad­shaw, Time Out

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
“Aston­ish­ing in its visual splen­dor and delight­fully enter­tain­ing, this mag­i­cal fam­ily film about a lit­tle witch-in-training, from Japan’s cel­e­brated ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyazaki, is not to be missed.” — Los Ange­les Times
Wednes­day, Decem­ber 26, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 2, 4:15 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1989, 35mm, 103 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Deb­bie Reynolds, Phil Hart­man, Janeane Garo­falo
In keep­ing with tra­di­tion, 13-year-old witch Kiki dusts off her broom and flies away from home for a year of inde­pen­dence and self-discovery in the big city. Her only com­pan­ion is her beloved black cat, Jiji.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
“A stun­ning exam­ple of a pure, dis­ori­ent­ing dream logic that cin­ema pro­vides all too rarely.”- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 4:30 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2004, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Voices: Chris­t­ian Bale, Lau­ren Bacall, Blythe Dan­ner, Emily Mor­timer, Jean Sim­mons
Teenager Sophie is cursed by the Witch of Waste and finds her­self trapped in the body of an old woman, and is unable to tell her mother or any­one else what has hap­pened. She finds help of sorts with the wiz­ard Howl, liv­ing as a ser­vant in his aston­ish­ing walk­ing cas­tle. Sophie is an inno­cent who must prove her resource­ful­ness, courage and con­vic­tion in a bewil­der­ing, alien world.

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
“Pom­poko is a delight­ful, often uproar­i­ously funny film, at once child­ishly irrev­er­ent and thought­fully mature. Being a Ghi­bli work, it is beau­ti­fully ren­dered and tech­ni­cally impec­ca­ble, with a great num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces.”- Tom Mes, Mid­night Eye
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 2:15 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 3:30 p.m.
Japan, 1994, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Isao Taka­hata
Voices: Jonathan Tay­lor Thomas, Clancy Brown, JK Sim­mons
Imag­ine Water­ship Down, Stu­dio Ghibli-style. Instead of rab­bits, we have rac­coons. And not just any rac­coons — these crit­ters have mag­i­cal pow­ers of trans­for­ma­tion. As their habi­tat is stripped and paved by the encroach­ing humans, the good-natured but rather undis­ci­plined for­est crea­tures embark on a cam­paign of dis­rup­tion and distraction.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
“An enchant­ing, mag­i­cal fable with a twisted vein of sur­re­al­ism.” — Neil Smith, BBC
Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 3:45 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 5:45 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 4:20 p.m.
Japan, 2002, 35mm, 75 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Voices: Anne Hath­away, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry
School­girl Haru bravely saves a cat’s life — and finds her­self sum­moned to the King­dom of the Cats for her pains, where she is to become the wife of the Cat Prince! When she refuses, she starts sprout­ing whiskers and furry ears.… What’s a girl to do?

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
“A beau­ti­ful film.” — David Jenk­ins, Time Out
Wednes­day, Janu­rary 2, 2 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1995, 35mm, 111 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Yoshi­fumi Kondo
Voices: Brit­tany Snow, Cary Elwes, David Gal­lagher, Court­ney Thorne Smith
A lovely change of pace from Stu­dio Ghi­bli, this is a teenage first-love story, set in a real­is­ti­cally observed mod­ern day Tokyo. Book­ish school­girl Shizuku meets her soul mate with a lit­tle help from a portly cat.

Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) for the lat­est info and listings.

Vancouver Hosts Major Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

The Cin­e­math­eque and the Vancity The­atre, both located in down­town Van­cou­ver, are co-hosting a major ret­ro­spec­tive of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli, the world-renowned anime stu­dio founded in Tokyo in 1985 by ani­ma­tion direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

The Cin­e­math­eque pre­sen­ta­tion includes two rare titles –  Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day) and Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) never released in North Amer­ica before. All Ghi­bli films (with the excep­tion of The Ocean Waves) will be pre­sented in new 35mm prints.

Cas­tles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Taka­hata, and the Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli runs from Decem­ber 7 to 9, 12 to 17, 22 to 23 and 26 to 30, as well as Jan­u­ary 2 to 3.

Fre­quently referred to as the Dis­ney of Japan, Stu­dio Ghi­bli (pro­nounced “jib-lee” or “gee-buh-lee”) is known for star­tlingly orig­i­nal ani­mated fea­ture films that com­bine daz­zling visual vir­tu­os­ity, vivid char­ac­ter­i­za­tions and epic sto­ry­telling. These include some of the most mag­i­cal, most beloved ani­mated movies ever made, includ­ing Cas­tle in the Sky, My Neigh­bour Totoro, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice, Princess Mononoke, Spir­ited Away and Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle.

Ghibli’s warm, intel­li­gent, poetic films, often full of great flights of fancy that bor­row from fairy­tale, folk­lore and sci­ence fic­tion, are always grounded in a deeply-felt human­ism that embraces fam­ily and com­mu­nity and believes in essen­tial human good­ness (despite con­sid­er­able evi­dence of human folly), and in a deep con­cern for the envi­ron­ment and our rela­tion­ship with nature. They typ­i­cally fea­ture strong female pro­tag­o­nists. Ghi­bli films, it is also worth not­ing, are still pri­mar­ily (and lov­ingly) crafted the tra­di­tional way, through the labor-intensive, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame tech­nique of cel animation.

Here’s what’s scheduled:

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
Miyazaki’s debut is con­sid­ered by many to be his mas­ter­work. There are few films, ani­mated or oth­er­wise, of such sweep­ing scope and grandeur.

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
Miyazaki’s first Stu­dio Ghi­bli fea­ture is this beau­ti­ful, exhil­a­rat­ing eco-fantasy adven­ture of a young boy and girl search­ing for a long-lost float­ing island in the sky.

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
Kiki is a young witch-in-training; her best friend is Jiji, a chatty, wise­crack­ing black cat in this beau­ti­ful, time­less and beloved story of a young girl find­ing her way in the world.

Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves)
RARE GHIBLI! Rarely seen out­side of Japan — never released in North Amer­ica in any for­mat — this sub­tle, poignant story of ado­les­cence and teenage iso­la­tion is a true discovery.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
Miyazaki’s most endear­ing, most beloved and most iconic film tells the touch­ing tale of two sis­ters who dis­cover a for­est full of spir­its and mag­i­cal crea­tures next to their new home.

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
Miyazaki’s epic story of con­flict between humans, gods and nature is a land­mark of ani­ma­tion and a film of unsur­passed power and beauty with an envi­ron­men­tal message.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
When a shy teenager is cursed by the jeal­ous Witch of the Waste, she seeks refuge with a hand­some wiz­ard named Howl in his mag­i­cal mov­ing cas­tle while they fight to lift the spell.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
This Acad­emy Award-winning film was Japan’s biggest box-office hit of all time, and cemented Miyazaki’s rep­u­ta­tion as an icon of inspired ani­ma­tion and won­drous, lyri­cal storytelling.

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
A visu­ally stun­ning won­der about the awak­en­ing of cre­ative tal­ent, this is the sole fea­ture directed by Miyazaki’s pro­tégé Yoshi­fumi Kondô before his sud­den death at the age of 47.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
Walk­ing home after a dreary day at school, Haru saves a cat from being hit by a speed­ing truck. Lit­tle does she know that she is about to be plunged into into a fan­tas­ti­cal feline world…

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
The for­est home of the decep­tively cud­dly tanuki — a group of mag­i­cal raccoon-like crea­tures — is threat­ened by the con­struc­tion of a new sub­urb. Now, they must fight to save it.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
This trib­ute to early avi­a­tion is set between the World Wars in Fas­cist Italy, where fly­ing ace Marco — cursed with the head of a pig — and beau­ti­ful Fio are cat­a­pulted into high-flying conflict.

Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day)
RARE GHIBLI! Never released in North Amer­ica, this tale of self-discovery may delve deeper into the real emo­tional expe­ri­ences of women than any ani­mated film before or since.

Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun (My Neigh­bors the Yamadas)
This delight­fully off­beat, rarely-seen gem was the first Ghi­bli film to be cre­ated entirely on com­put­ers in order to achieve its soft water­color look.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at The Cin­e­math­eque will screen in the orig­i­nal Japanese-language ver­sions with Eng­lish subtitles.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will screen in the English-dubbed versions.

All ages are wel­come! The Cin­e­math­eque wel­comes all ages to this family-friendly pre­sen­ta­tion of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli. All films in the series are rated G or PG (with the excep­tion of Princess Mononoke and The Ocean Waves, which are 14A — under 14 requires adult accompaniment).

Remem­ber that all The Cinematheque’s Ghi­bli screen­ings are in Japan­ese with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles! Mem­ber­ship is required for those 18 or over.

Pacific Ciné­math­èque is grate­ful to Dave Jesteadt and GKIDS (New York) and Tom Char­ity of Vancity The­atre (Van­cou­ver) for their great assis­tance in mak­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion pos­si­ble. Pro­gram notes are by (or adapted from) GKIDS, except where oth­er­wise noted.

For links to the indi­vid­ual films and their show­times, visit www.thecinematheque.ca/castles-in-the-sky-miyazaki-takahata-and-the-masters-of-studio-ghibli.

Scene from Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves), never released in North Amer­ica the­atri­cally or on any home view­ing format.

Tonari No Totoro (1988) — Studio Ghibli

Tonari No Totoro

Tonari No Totoro

CotD: One of Hayao Miyazaki’s early films, “Tonari No Totoro” was released in Eng­lish until 1994.

Tonari No Totoro (1988) — Stu­dio Ghibli

Two young girls, Sat­suke and her younger sis­ter Mei, move into a house in the coun­try with their father to be closer to their hos­pi­tal­ized mother. Sat­suke and Mei dis­cover that the nearby for­est is inhab­ited by crea­tures called Totoros. They soon befriend the Totoros, and have sev­eral mag­i­cal adventures.

Come see “Tonari No Totoro” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Miyazaki’s “Arrietty” takes ninth at $6.4 million

Karigurashi No Arietti (The Secret World of Arrietty")

Karig­urashi No Ari­etti (The Secret World of Arrietty”)

Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Secret World of Arri­etty,” based on Mary Norton’s famous children’s novel The Bor­row­ers, opened in ninth place in lim­ited North Amer­i­can release, tak­ing $6.6 mil­lion this past weekend.

It’s esti­mated that Arri­etty will earn $8 mil­lion over the four-day President’s Day week­end, which ends Monday.

Play­ing on fewer screens than bigger-earning films this week­end, it made an aver­age of $4,189 at 1,522 venues.

For over a decade, Dis­ney has been dis­trib­ut­ing Miyazaki’s Stu­dio Ghi­bli films in North Amer­ica. Arri­etty had a much bet­ter open­ing than any pre­vi­ous anime film dis­trib­uted by Dis­ney. Ponyo, Disney’s last wide-release anime film, opened at $3.6 mil­lion and even­tu­ally gar­nered $15.1 mil­lion in 2009.

The Secret World of Arri­etty had the fifth-best anime open­ing in United States box office his­tory, behind three Poké­mon flicks and a Yu-Gi-Oh! movie.

The biggest hit in its native coun­try in 2010, Arri­etty grossed over $110 mil­lion in Japan alone. It’s received an “A-” Cin­e­maS­core grade from North Amer­i­can moviegoers.

About tiny peo­ple liv­ing under the floor­boards of a coun­try home, the film fea­tures a voice cast includ­ing Carol Bur­nett, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.

Den­zel Wash­ing­ton and Ryan Reynolds’ Safe House led nar­rowly with $24 mil­lion between Fri­day to Sun­day, accord­ing to Sunday’s stu­dio esti­mates. Rachel McAdams and Chan­ning Tatum’s The Vow was a close sec­ond with $23.6 million.

Stu­dios will report final num­bers for the long hol­i­day week­end on Tuesday

Studio Ghibli retrospective coming to Los AngelesStudio Ghibli retrospective coming to Los Angeles

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

GKIDS, a dis­trib­u­tor of award-winning ani­ma­tion for both adults and fam­ily audi­ences, is bring­ing a 20-year ret­ro­spec­tive of films from Japan’s renowned Stu­dio Ghi­bli to Los Angeles.

Pre­sented by Amer­i­can Cin­e­math­eque, the films will play at the Egypt­ian and Aero The­atres in Los Ange­les from Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 26 to Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 12.

Four­teen Stu­dio Ghi­bli fea­ture films pro­duced between 1984 and 2008 will be pre­sented, includ­ing Hayao Miyazaki’s Acad­emy Award-winning Spir­ited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neigh­bor Totoro, Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of the Wind, Cas­tle in the Sky, Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle and Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice. Films will be shown in either the sub­ti­tled or English-dubbed versions.

The Los Ange­les run fol­lows an enor­mously suc­cess­ful debut for the ret­ro­spec­tive at New York’s IFC Cen­ter. The event opened at IFC on Decem­ber 16, gross­ing $32,500 week one, $33,700 week two and $56,700 week three. The event helped IFC set sev­eral single-day records for the com­plex (includ­ing biggest Mon­day, biggest Wednes­day and biggest Thurs­day) and con­tributed to the second-busiest period since the the­ater opened.

GKIDS recently entered into agree­ment with Stu­dio Ghi­bli to han­dle North Amer­i­can the­atri­cal dis­tri­b­u­tion for its library of ani­mated fea­tures. Fol­low­ing the Los Ange­les engage­ment, the ret­ro­spec­tive will tour to major North Amer­i­can mar­kets, includ­ing Chicago, Wash­ing­ton, Toronto, Boston, San Fran­cisco and Seat­tle, through­out 2012. GKIDS is also plan­ning lim­ited releases of select Stu­dio Ghi­bli titles, many of which have never been released the­atri­cally in the United States, begin­ning late this year.

I am both excited and deeply hon­ored to be work­ing with Stu­dio Ghi­bli to bring this amaz­ing slate of films to the­aters across North Amer­ica,” said GKIDS pres­i­dent Eric Beck­man. “I am in con­tin­ual awe of the bril­liance of the ani­ma­tion, the depth and human­ity of the sto­ry­telling, and of the film­mak­ers’ under­stand­ing that even the youngest audi­ences are capa­ble of appre­ci­at­ing all the sub­tlety and nuance that cin­ema has to offer. The response from audi­ences in New York was absolutely phe­nom­e­nal, and we look for­ward to shar­ing these won­der­ful films with Los Angeles-area moviegoers.”

Happy Birthday Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazak

Hayao Miyazak

Born this day in Tokyo in 1941, Hayao Miyazak, a Japan­ese artist, film direc­tor and ani­ma­tor of many pop­u­lar fan­tasy fea­ture films. In his fifty year career he has pro­duced and directed over a dozen inter­na­tion­ally acclaimed films, along with part­ner Isao Taka­hata, founded Stu­dio Ghi­bli. The suc­cess of Miyazaki’s films has invited com­par­isons with Amer­i­can ani­ma­tor Walt Dis­ney, and he has been named one of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple by Time magazine.

The list of his more pop­u­lar films is not short. These include: Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: The Cas­tle in the Sky), Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro), Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke), Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away), Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle), Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff) and this year’s Karig­urashi No Ari­etti (The Bor­rower Arri­etty), which he produced.

Gake No Ue No Ponyo is said to be his last direc­toral project.

Born in Tokyo, Miyazaki began his ani­ma­tion career in 1961 when he joined Toei Ani­ma­tion. From there, Miyazaki worked as an in-between artist for Gulliver’s Trav­els Beyond the Moon where he pitched his own ideas that even­tu­ally became the movie’s end­ing. He con­tin­ued to work in var­i­ous roles in the ani­ma­tion indus­try over the decade until he was able to direct his first fea­ture film Lupin III: The Cas­tle of Cagliostro which was released in 1979. After the suc­cess of his next film, Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of the Wind, he co-founded Stu­dio Ghi­bli where he con­tin­ued to pro­duce many fea­ture films until his tem­po­rary retire­ment in 1997 fol­low­ing Princess Mononoke.

While Miyazaki’s films have long enjoyed both com­mer­cial and crit­i­cal suc­cess in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until the Amer­i­can release of Princess Mononoke. At home, Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan, and it proved equally pop­u­lar abroad. Miyazaki returned to ani­ma­tion with Spir­ited Away, which was nom­i­nated for Best Ani­mated Film by the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences (which it even­tu­ally won, among many other awards). The film topped Titanic’s sales at the Japan­ese box office, also won Pic­ture of the Year at the Japan­ese Acad­emy Awards and was the first anime film to win an Amer­i­can Acad­emy Award.

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta [Laputa, Castle In The Sky] (1986) — Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film

CotD: 25 years ago today, Direc­tor Hayao Miyazaki released “Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta” (Laputa, Cas­tle In The Sky), a lyri­cally beau­ti­ful film; did you see it, and did you like it ~ http://www.bcdb.com/cartoon/20680-Tenk%FB_No_Shiro_Rapyuta.html

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta [Laputa, Castle In The Sky]  (1986) Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta [Laputa, Cas­tle In The Sky] (1986) — Fea­ture Length The­atri­cal Ani­mated Film

As Pazu, the appren­tice of the engi­neer who main­tains a mine’s ele­va­tor machin­ery, car­ries his boss’s din­ner back to the mine, an uncon­scious pig­tailed girl floats down from the sky into his arms. This girl, Sheeta, and her mag­i­cal levitation-stone pen­dant hold the key to a mys­te­ri­ous, myth­i­cal sky-castle known as Laputa. Sheeta and Pazu must flee from both air-pirates, who seek the sky king­dom for its leg­endary trea­sure, and the army, led by a gov­ern­ment agent with his own mys­te­ri­ous agenda for Laputa.

Watch “Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta” (Laputa) at Big Car­toon DataBase

Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (2001)

Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away) (2001) — Fea­ture Length The­atri­cal Ani­mated Film

A young girl who was sadly forced to move to another city with her par­ents finds her­self trapped in a mys­ti­cal world where humans are not quite wel­come and gods are to be seen every­where. To be allowed to stay in that world she has to change her name and work in a God Bathing House ruled by an extremely pow­er­ful sor­cerer Yubaba. There she meets eccen­tric char­ac­ters and has the chance to learn more about her past.

Watch “Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi” (Spir­ited Away) at Big Car­toon DataBase