Spirited Away (2001, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki) Japanese 10

Voices of Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Daveigh Chase, Susan Egen, Jason Marsden

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Awe-inspiring. Gorgeous. Wonderful.

A bratty preteen, Chihiro, moving to a new city, gets lost when her parents are sidetracked by an apparent abandoned theme park. Stumbling into a world of spirits and witches and talking frogs, Chihiro fights to return home and save her parents. Forgive the overly simplistic synopsis, but the film defies explanation. It’s really to be seen and not described. Awe inspiring. One of the best films ever made. A beautiful work of popular art made my a master in Hayao Miyazaki. Each frame is staggering, and I love the characters in the film. Chihiro, at first, fairly whiny, quickly becomes a memorable, tough protagonist, and I love that even the scariest of supporting characters can become a friend in Miyazaki’s world. Sidenote: Disney Studio’s work to create solid dubbing for this film is also admirably done.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-



Your Name (2016, Directed by Makoto Shinkai) Japanese 8

Voices of Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Masami Nagasawa, Ryo Narita, Etsuko Ichihara

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(8-Exceptional Film)

Mind-bender. Romantic. Spectacular.

A teenage girl and boy from different parts of Japan swap mind for body in this wonderful romantic fantasy. Mitsuha, the girl, is bored with country life and longs for the city. Taki, the boy, pines after an older coworker. Traversing time and space, with elements of the disaster pic genre, this film hurls and spins as fast as the cosmic catalyst it portrays. I had to fight to keep up at times, and I was frustrated by the third act which seemed to be excessively dragging out and delaying the inevitable union between the protagonists. Still, a truly intense and emotional viewing. Sensational animation.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-