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Only Yesterday (1991)


Whenever we hear something about Studio Ghibli, we instantly think of the name Hayao Miyazaki as the master of story-telling. Yet some fans even forget that this wonderful Japanese animation studio has another great master. He may be lesser known than Miyazaki-sama, but his ability to tell stories is nothing short of brilliant. Isao Takahata is one of the studio's co-founders and while his films were released in the United States, people often associated his name with the emotionally heart-aching Grave of the Fireflies. While his other films, such as Pom Poko and My Neighbors the Yamadas got a US DVD released. Unlike Grave of the Fireflies, which has the air and power of a Schindler's List-esque, these two films were more light-hearted and comical.

But then last year, Isao Takahata's name became more well known when Disney translated and released the English dubbed version of his wonderful The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Yet, there was still one more of his film that went unnoticed until now. Only a few weeks ago, Only Yesterday remained the only Studio Ghibli film that hasn't been dubbed by Disney. First released in 1991, this film was based on the manga of the same name and it tells a story about a woman named Taeko Okajima (Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Daisy Ridley), a Tokyo office worker planning to take a 10-day vacation. Her sister's husband owns a farm in Yamagata, and since she had such a nice time there previously, she wanted to visit her distant in-laws again. Throughout her trip, Taeko suddenly remembered her childhood back in 1966 and the audience would occasionally see the young Taeko (Alison Fernandez) in the the 5th grade following her around. Taeko doesn't understand why her mind drifted back to her 11-year-old self or why this 5th-grade version of her followed her to her trip, bot Taeko remembered both the times that were good and bad for her.

Needless to say, Only Yesterday isn't a Studio Ghibli film about fantasy and wonder, not even the kind where children discover wonderful and magical things like in My Neighbor Totoro. But who is to say that Only Yesterday isn't magical in itself? Hayao Miyazaki may be the master of taking his characters' stories off the ground, but Isao Takahata is the man who grounds them and still able to make them interesting. Seriously, this man can even make a scene where cutting a pineapple is interesting in this film! There is even a scene where Taeko is picked up by one of her brothers-in-law's second cousins, Toshio (Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel) in Yamagata and they simply talk about life, farming, and harvesting safflowers for nearly ten minutes. While scenes like this may be too slow for children, it is nonetheless quite realistically engaging for older teens and adults to watch.

I'm very surprised that new-coming British actress Daisy Ridley who just made her biggest debut as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens last month was able to don an American accent for the English dubbed version of this film. Another great surprise is casting Indian actor Dev Patel as Toshio's, Taeko's love interest. Throughout the film, Taeko reminiscent about her childhood in 1966 Japan. Some were quite comical when it comes to dealing with school and family. During that age, the 5th-grade-Taeko was a selfish brat who didn't do well in school and didn't care. But she does care when girls her age started to experience menstruation bleeding and soon found themselves teased by immature boys as they lift up their skirts, demonizing periods as if it were contagious "cooties". However, other flashbacks were quite sad and disturbing as Taeko is slapped by her father, scrutinized by her mother and older siblings (then again, she did deserved it), and is forced to participate in a semi-pro theatrical endeavor by her cold, indifferent, and strict father. We see that her difficult childhood molded her into the adult we see today.

Only Yesterday shows that Studio Ghibli was will into take chances in making a film that went with a much deeper matter than normal magical fantasy. Like The Tale of Princess Kaguya, this film shows how a woman tries to function in Japanese society, all the while trying to discover what she truly wants in her life with breath-taking animation and artwork. While Only Yesterday may have been originally made over twenty-years ago, it's still as fresh as if it was only made yesterday, capturing our hearts. (No pun intended there.) If you cannot find this film in English dubbed, try watching it in its original Japanese with subtitles. I promise it is just as amazing

To my watchers and all fellow members here on Deviantart. For the past several months, we've been watching the news about the current campaign for the next US President. Needless to say, it has been one heck of a run! What, with Donald Trump trying to run and Hillary Clinton trying again after the last campaign nearly 8 years ago, people just can't stop talking about it. This is about our future when it comes to choosing our next leader, I must sadly say that I am revolted, especially with Donald Trump who thinks he can become our next President.

I'm already disgusted in how there is still corruption here in America, but the more I watch the news about the upcoming campaign and reading the news, I am more disgusted with Republican candidates and Donald Trump. Let me make it clear: I absolutely loathe Donald Trump. The mere fact that he's trying to become our president and that he is still in the race is remarkably ridiculous! I apologize for those of you who like him, but frankly I don't. He's an utter disgrace to the presidency and I find his character and personality full of crap. Trump is simply a horrible man with no respect for others and would make a terrible leader. I have never seen someone with an ego bigger than his pocketful of cash! His ego "trumps" his own wealth! Now that he is still the front-runner on the Republican side, I want to scream and tell them, "Don't go and "trump" the shark as if you don't have any more good ideas left!" Alright, enough with the bad pun and let's me tell you why Donald Trump is a terrible man.

Bottom line: he's a joke! There is a very long list of why he's terrible. The first time I've heard of him a few years ago was when he was on a television series and already his personality stinks. Needless to say, it did make the show more interesting to watch. But let's face it people, that kind of attitude isn't fitting for a US president! When you become the US President, you are not just the leader of a nation, but also one of the leaders of the free world. I may not be a politician, but I've taken enough of political classes in university to know that it's not like running a business. To be a president, you have to have a certain level of tact: be professional and calm in your communication with everyone. Royal children were already taught to be stoic growing up, you know! Yes, it is okay to show a little bit of passion and emotion at times in your speeches, but there are things that you shouldn't say at all. Donald Trumps has no filter on that mouth of his. Any chance he gets, he trash talk, and condescend to those around him, including his fellow candidates whom he called "losers", and demonize Mexican immigrants by calling them rapists and segregating Muslims by threatening to alienate them from this country. If he has nothing better to say, he will talk down on others and make himself look better. If he becomes President, I shudder to think what he would say to the Prime Minister of England and the other world nations' leaders during a meeting should one of them criticize him on live television to the world. Insulting the Queen of Great Britain or even smack talking to the French President will surely make America lose our foreign allies and the world will hate us more. Another thing, this man will not shut up about his wealth. I am sick of him saying, "I'm rich". I get it and so does the rest of the world. This man simply has no amount of modesty and will never ever stop showing off. What a loud and obnoxious man! This man is simply full of crap.

I can go on and on about the long list of how terrible Trump is. I can tell you guys how this man has no real knowledge of being a political leader, no compassion and understand for ALL Americans whether they are immigrants, low and middle class people, gays, Christians, or Muslim. There is a saying that he who knows does not speak, and he who speaks does not know. Donald Trump talks way too much and too loud to make people pay attention and support him, but he doesn't know a lot about politics.

:bulletred: I don't want a President who won't shut up about how rich and powerful he is!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who condescend to people!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who says things that will alienate foreign allies!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who's rude and makes others feel worse about themselves!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who denies climate change when our world's environment really is getting worse!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who suggest persecution of a group of people (Muslims) based on their religion for safety measure!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who constantly says terrible things about women!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who doesn't have any common ground with the average Americans like me and my family!
:bulletred: I don't want a President who only cares about himself, his money, and how powerful he and the one-percenters are.
:bulletred: I don't want a President who doesn't respect his very own people!

Donald Trump is a horrible, stupid man and if he were to become President, I would feel very ashamed to be an American! Already, the mere fact that he is the front-runner and has some many supporters sickens me!

Look, when choosing a president, we have to look to someone who is compassionate, has tact, professionalism and a calm demeanor, someone who cares for all Americans no matter their skin colors, genders, or religions, and has a good background and experience in politics.

While Hillary Clinton is re-running and is currently still the front-runner on the Democratic sides, I'm not really keen on her. Don't get me wrong, I still think she's okay, considering that she was a previous First Lady when Bill Clinton was President and she was also a former Secretary of States. However, like most people, I don't think she's progressive enough. She tends to say things in favor of popular votes. Remember when she was against equal rights for homosexuals before? Suddenly, she changed her mind in 2013 as the issue for gay rights became more and more common. Then, there was that scandal. Overall, I do think she's okay and looking at all the candidates on the Republican sides, I'd rather have her as President than anyone of them. However, I don't want an OKAY President. She doesn't really have much of an achievement as former Secretary of States. I don't care if she's a woman. I'm a woman myself, but I don't idolize her because I do find her a little bit lacking based on her past track list and her personality. I want someone who is more progressive and fights for the common people....

So who do I want for President? Who stands out to me the most? Here's my list:

:bulletblue: I want a President who stands up for the middle and lower classes and cares for the average Americans like me and my family.
:bulletblue: I want a President who does acknowledge global warming and that it's a threat to our future!
:bulletblue: I want a President who doesn't alienate foreign allies.
:bulletblue: I want a President who wants to ensure everyone has free medical care so they would live longer.
:bulletblue: I want a President who cares about college students and is fighting for a lower cost in tuition for a better future for them!
:bulletblue: I want a President who's progressive and believes equal rights for both genders, different religions, and homosexuals.
:bulletblue: I want a President who doesn't want to turn his back on desperate immigrants fleeing war-torn nations for safety.
:bulletblue: I want a President who won't turn his back on his own people, like Muslim-Americans, who are being segregated because of evil actions of ISIS terrorist groups in Paris and San Bernardino, California!
:bulletblue: I want a President who doesn't sway to bribes or money under the table! Someone who is nearly incorruptible!
:bulletblue: I want a President who stands up to the corrupted billionaire class!
:bulletblue: I want a President who is kind, compassionate, and cares about all of his people.
:bulletblue: I want a President who represents the common people like me! Someone who makes me proud to be an American.

Bernie Sanders didn't go into politics not to figure out how to become President. He got into politics because he gives a damn! Bernie Sanders is the man that I believe should be our next President. He may be old, but he still as sharp as a toothpick! Back in the 70's, he's been fighting for civil rights and rights for homosexuals when he was a student! With so much corruptions these days, I didn't think there are still good people, especially strong people out there. Here comes Bernie Sanders, a Senator from the state of Vermont, who not only is quite dignified, but he has such a good sense of morality! Yes, he believes that we shouldn't alienate Muslims because of the horrible terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino! Not all Muslim-Americans are like that and we shouldn't fall to victims of cruelty and Islamophobia because of it. This is the man who also doesn't want us to turn our backs and close our doors on desperate refugees fleeing war-torn countries. Yes, we should screen people coming in and out, but at the same time, we must not forsaken those who needs our help! The thing is, bad decisions didn't come from an Gods of any religion, but they were made by bad human beings like those from the ISIS terrorist groups. Bernie Sander is right in that good decisions from good human beings is what we all need to protect and stand by with each other on our one planet.

It gets better. Bernie Sanders still fights against corrupted billionaires and wants to help the average Americans such as those in the middle and lower classes. Why are we still working longer hours with little pay? He believes that in the next few years, the minimum wages should be raised to $15 per hour! This man also wants the United States to have free health care like they do in Australia and Scandinavia. It's tragic to see thousands of people dying every year because they cannot afford the health care they need to survive! It's absurd! And speaking of money, what about the money that college students can barely afford unless they come from a wealthy family! The cost of tuition is growing, and when students graduate, they find themselves in debts and that's difficult to pay off when they can't find a job to support themselves!

All of our Presidents should symbolize the meaning of what America is about, a land where people embrace each others' differences and are free from segregation. I believe that Senator Bernie Sanders is the right man for the job. If we allow someone like Donald Trump to become President, I would be ashamed to live in a country where its leader bullies, insults, and sneers at anyone for the smallest things possible, as well as condescends to those around him, constantly brags about his immense wealth, has an extremely high level of ego, and has the gall to inflame segregation crap that only further justify ISIS's portrayals of us! We need someone like Bernie Sanders to represent us with honor, dignity, and virtue.

Guys, ask yourself: Do you really want someone like Donald Trump, who constantly insults others and brags about his wealth to be President? Or do you want someone like Bernie Sanders who has great compassion for the middle and lower classes and is always a calm and dignified man to be our next leader? You can help by spreading the word about him and even donate to help his campaign, which is donated by a huge number of small dollars from the American people because, they too, believe Sanders to be their voice and their future. You can check out his pages here:……^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

It's time to make Donald Trump "Feel the Bern!"

Hey, guys. Just want to thank you for the birthday wishes. Yeah, I just turned 27 today...gosh, I feel old! :giggle: Once again, my actual birth date is the Dec. 19, not the 21st...I accidentally select the 21st when I first made my Deviantart account because the number was too close to the 19. Oh, well.

Anyway, I'm hungry...who wants some cake? Those cakes on Katty Perry's "Birthday" lyric music video sure look tasty...almost too good to eat!

:iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz: :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz:

At the beginning of November last month, I knew that we were going to have another Friday the 13th. I really don't believe in that superstitious stuff much, but little did I, and the world knew, just how terrible this particular Friday the 13th was going to be. I didn't hear about the horrific terrorist attack in Paris that killed 130 people and injuring countless others more until night time as I was driving home from work while listening to the radio. Not believing at first, I turned on the television as soon as I got home and my laptop to see the news coverage. The world witnessed one of the biggest terrorist attacks on Paris since WWII.

As tragic as this was for all of us, the news of so many deaths and despair as well as the issue of admitting desperate refugees was shoved to the side of my mind. Mind you, I had more things to worry about, such as working, studying, paying bills, and other important responsibilities occupied my life for the next few weeks. The Islamic terrorist attacks were worlds away from me. Then, came the attack on a health community center right here in Southern California, carried by a couple who pledged themselves to the ISIS. San Bernardino is a city that is only about an hour drives from where I live by taking the highway! The tragedy is too close for comfort because before, we thought terrorists would only attack well-known cities such as New York or Paris. San Bernardino is just a little dot in the vast map of Southern California, lesser known than Anaheim by some! This great tragedy that killed 14 innocent people tells us that any town, any city, any village can be attacked by those who do not value life.

While my heart weeps for those who tragically lost their lives, I am mortified by the monsters who have the audacity to praise it! If those in the ISIS terrorist organized group believed that we in the free worlds are infidels and should be wiped out, then they are sadly the evil ones because they do not value the lives of others nor thought of the consequences and the effects it has on those around the people who were killed or the ones doing the killing. Justifying their killings with religion is no real justification! The people in Paris were just ordinary citizens, going out and spending times with their friends and loved ones on a Friday night. And those men and women in San Bernardino were no threat! They were merely employees working to ensure that eating places are safe and healthy for their fellow citizens! These people were never directly involve in any tragedies or wars in the Middle East, yet they were forced to pay the price for it by those who terrorize them with guns and bombs. You have cowards who attack those who cannot defend themselves, and you have monsters who praised these atrocious attacks and justified it with religion. Such evil is worse than the dirt beneath our shoes.

While there is evil in this world and I do condemn such sinful thought and act, I want to highlight the following effects these attacks have on our world lately. With the US Presidential election coming up next year, I began to tune in the news and more lately. From what I'm seeing and hearing, I have to say that I am truly disgusted by all the animosity that's going around, especially towards the Muslim community. Yes, the attackers on these two cities and other terrorist attacks were Muslims. No, not all Muslims are terrorists! I have friends in high school and overseas who are Muslim and they are very kind, caring, and compassionate people. We have a small Muslim community here in Southern California who managed to raise money to help families of the San Bernardino victims shortly after the attack! While no amount of money could ever replace the loved ones they have lost, these Muslim-Americans knew that even just a little, a small donation to help ease funerals and hospital finances can help. We have Muslims serving in the army, working day and night to help keep our country safe. There are Muslims in our communities, doing their part to create and peaceful and safe place for every Buddhist, Christian, Catholics, Hindus...immigrants, refugees...young and old...all walks of life!

After the terrorist attack in Paris, many are looking to deny refugees from war-torn nations such as those from Syria. I understand this completely because the possibilities of terrorists smuggling and hiding amongst a sea of thousands are extremely high. My parents were immigrants from Vietnam and they, like so many other during that time period, were refugees hoping to seek a better place from a war-torn nation. There are still innocent refugees out there trying to make their ways into Europe by bracing the dangerous oceans with nothing but the clothes on their backs and many of them don't survive! A few months ago, the body of a child was washed ashore from such a tragedy! These people have no home to return to and should we really forsaken them all?! Some of the presidential candidates from the Republican party are asking to only allow Christian refugees! I do agree with President Obama that such thought is immoral and very un-American. I do hope that we would be able to have a much tougher screening process to weed out the fakes and the potential dangers, but I do not believe that we should turn our backs to those in needs while only accepting a few " certain selective" in the country.

The past few days after the San Bernardino attack saddens me. As I've mentioned before, not all Muslims are terrorists and they shouldn't be treated as if they were. I've been reading news about hate crimes throughout the country and in other parts of the world and they are not pretty. Mosques are being vandalized with shattered windows and messages full of hatred and animosity were being sent, Muslim students are being targeted, etc. I've read about a disgusting behavior where a severed pig's head was thrown at a mosque, the culprits knowing full well that consuming pork is forbidden in the Islamic religion. And it's not just Muslims being targeted but Sikhs as well because there are some people who are so full of ignorance and hate, they can't tell the difference between these two different religions! To add insult to injuries, there is a big talk about this issue of Islamophobia and segregation after that arrogant Republican candidate, Donald Trump, made a remark about banning all Muslims. This is simply madness!

All of these levels of hatred, animosity, malice, and cruelty towards each other in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks disgust and sadden me at the same time. I understand your feelings, but I do not believe it is the right thing to give into such emotional behavior and thought. If we continue to scapegoat a small group for the action of a few, that would only give the ISIS terrorist group more justification for their actions, recruit more members into their group to kill and the cycle of bloodshed continues. We have to come together and work together in times of despair. We cannot give into hatred and the desire to hurt those who have no loyalty to terrorism.

I remembered a song by the group called the Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake called "Where is the Love?" and would like to share it with you guys. The lyric in this 2003 song is right to question the world we're dealing with now. Instead of equality and fairness, we're spreading hatred and animosity. Is there really a value to our humanity, to spread unity, strength, love, understand, and morality? Why must we continue to give into our irrational emotions of fear, hatred, and paranoia towards each other?


Previously on W.I.T.C.H. Dreams of Lusteria
The final battle between the Guardians and Xuan Wu, the Celestial Warrior of Water, took place in an epic showdown. During their ordeals, both Cornelia and Kimi struggled to reflect on the pains and misery they've faced these past few years. Meanwhile, Orube investigate the "mole" as she and the Guardians raced to prevent a tsunami-liked flood from destroying the capital city. As they faced the oldest Celestial Warrior, Cornelia must search within herself for the true power of Earth and discover her Virtue.

:bulletpink::bulletblue::bulletorange::bulletgreen::bulletpurple:W.I.T.C.H. Dreams of Lusteria, Chapter Seven "The Sealed Portal":bulletpink::bulletblue::bulletorange::bulletgreen::bulletpurple:

In this chapter, Kimi suffered from pneumonia after her battle against Xuan Wu. Although Cornelia was victorious and has achieved her new transformation, she and her friends could do nothing to mend Kimi's broken heart. Since her last ordeal, Kimi has changed and became an entirely different person. Hoping to cheer her up, W.I.T.C.H. decided to invite her to see a concert. Unbeknownst to them, a dark portal lies in wait...…

:bulletpink::bulletblue::bulletorange::bulletgreen::bulletpurple:Guardians, Unite!:bulletpink::bulletblue::bulletorange::bulletgreen::bulletpurple:


WITCH: Dreams of Lusteria: The New Guardians by Galistar07waterWITCH Dreams of Lusteria: Brave New World by Galistar07waterWITCH Dreams of Lusteria: To Have and to Hold Back by Galistar07waterWITCH Dreams of Lusteria: A Wall of Earth and Iron by Galistar07waterWITCH Dreams of Lusteria: A Heart of Ice by Galistar07waterWITCH Dreams of Lusteria: Reflection of Pain by Galistar07water

Feedback and reviews (on the story's site) are highly appreciated
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)


What's fantastic about Hayao Miyazaki's earlier films is how magical they feel in their simplicity. As a child watching this film for the first time, I immediately feel in love with it and all of its characters. Magic has been commonly associated with witches for centuries. While they are usually portrayed as evil beings, there are still those who uses their magic for good. In Kiki's Delivery, there are implications that some witches who make healing potions and tells love fortunes. While these skills are impressive, they are nonetheless common and predictable. One of Studio Ghibli's great trait is being able to give new light and meaning in something very simple, rendering it as if it was the most ingenious and interesting concept for all to see. In Kiki's Delivery Service, it's a story about a little witch who simply flies around on her broom and working as a delivery woman.

Like My Neighbor Totoro, the story of Kiki's Delivery Service has no villains and no real plot goal. It's simply a story about a girl going out into the world with everyday life's situation coming her way. Call it a slice of life film with a small touch of magic. The little girl is named Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) and she has already turned thirteen years old and is old enough to undergo a witch tradition where she must leave her family and her home and make a living for herself somewhere in the real world for a year. It's a tradition that helps young witches find their identity, and at that age, it can very much apply to the story and to the audience very well. Kiki sets out with her little black cat, Gigi (voiced by Phil Hartman), as they settled into a large European-liked town by the sea. It's strange that while there doesn't seemed to be many witches in this film, the normal humans aren't alarmed by their presences. Rather, they became fascinated by Kiki when she flew in. Through sheer forces of both mishaps and luck in one day, Kiki met Tombo (Matthew Lawrence), a boy who's enthusiastic about the concept of flying, and Osono (Tress MacNeille), a bakery owner and welcomed her to live with her and her family.

Kiki began to wonder her special talent as a witch. Since she's not as good with potion making as her mother nor can she predict the future like other witches, Kiki relies on her flying skill. Soon, she decided to take a job in the delivery service. Based on the design and the technology, I would guess that this story takes place sometimes in the 1930s. Before the age of UPS or FedEx delivery, a witch on a broom is your fastest chance of getting any packages delivered.

In essence, the rest of the film focuses on Kiki flying around helping her customers delivering their parcels and making new friends. So simple and plain on paper this plot sounds, but in reality, it is an absolute gem. Like many of Studio Ghibli's films, its a film where the audience gets to enjoy the simple life of a character. Unlike its predecessor, this film's third act is more action-packed. Call it a tribute to the Hindenburg incident of 1937, the final act shows us how our hero grows and mature when the time comes.

As always, Hayao Miyazaki and his film crew painted the scenery and the animation beautifully. The way the buildings of the town was designed would make you wish you want to live in a place like that. The flowing movement of Kiki flying in the sky makes you hold your breath and feel as if you're falling from the sky. Combined all of this with a simple plot and charming characters, Kiki's Delivery Service definitely delivered the right amount of magic for us all. It is simply one of Studio Ghibli's best and most memorable films to this date. We can only hope that it will still be appreciated and loved for generations to come. Like the scene where Kiki's helped an elderly woman bake using a traditional oven over a microwave, some old things are better.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)


There really should be more films like My Neighbor Totoro, a film that doesn't require any fast paced narratives, no action-packed action scenes, no villains, no frictions between two characters, no cynical adults, no moral lessons...just pure fun on a summer day exploring for adventure in your own backyard. Unlike Studio Ghibli's previous film, Graveyard of the Fireflies, this movie doesn't tell you anything anti-war related. Rather, it's a lighter film for the family to enjoy.

My Neighbor Totoro is one of the best and well known films for Studio Ghibli, so much so that they've decided to use the spirit monster Totoro and a mini-version of him as a part of their company's logo. It's simply a beloved film about two sisters exploring their new house in the farmland during one late summer. Satsuki Kusakabe (Dakota Fanning), her younger sister Mei (Elle Fanning), and their father Tatsuo (Tim Daly) have decided to move into the rural farmland of Japan one summer. Their mother, Yasuko (Aladdin and Mulan's Lea Salonga), is sick and is moved to a hospital in this district. During a drive towards their new home, they ran into one of their next door neighbors which included a boy in Satsuki's class, Kanta (Paul Butcher). Both Satsuki and Kanta made funny faces at each other, because god forbids that we don't at that age, and Kanta tells the sisters that their house is haunted! Oh dear, is this one of those scary movies? Far from it. Instead of running away, both sisters embraced in it as they try to look for the spirits with keen interest.

Spirits and monsters in this film aren't those scary kinds that live under your bed or lurk in your closets. Instead, they all seemed to be cute and fuzzy creatures. During their exploration around their new, old rickety home, the sisters found a swarm of cute-looking fuzzy balls. Their father think that they might be "dust bunnies", but their new caretaker, whom they affectionately named Granny (Pat Carroll), tells them that they're soot spirits! But there's a bigger spirit out there and he lives in a giant tree under a hidden passage. Mei stumbled upon him one day and decided to take a nap on his big, fuzzy tummy. He doesn't speak, but when he roars, it sounded like "Totoro!" (Transformers' Frank Welker). Turns out, Totoro has two more friends who are smaller versions of himself. (I can tell you that my favorite is the little white one!) They're forest spirits who planted acorn seeds, small little seeds that the sisters treasured like gold.

There is a very sweet moment in the film where the sisters are waiting for their father at a bus stop. To their surprise, Totoro came with nothing but a leaf on his head as a makeshift umbrella. They gave him their father's umbrella and he gleefully jumps down just to hear raindrops on its surface! He calls for his bus, which is alive, has several legs, and is part cat! This film is just so charming that it's hard to believe that it's also very strange!

My Neighbor Totoro is a film based on our childhood experiences, life situation and exploration. It takes place during the 1980's, and there were no iPads or personal laptops to play games with. Instead, children who grew up during that time period actually went beyond their bedroom doors to explore and play outside, armed with nothing but their imagination. This film proves that in our lives, there is a lot more discover in your own backyard than it is in your own room. Our lives doesn't need all the fast paced race-cars for excitement, nor an villains or evil adults to make it interesting. All you need is your imagination, eagerness for exploration, and a little bit of luck of bumping into a Totoro. Before, Totoros were never based on any creatures from Japanese folklore. After My Neighbor Totoro, they're now famous spiritual icons making it big in our pop culture.

Graveyard of the Fireflies (1988)


Today, September 1st, marks the beginning of WWII when Germany Invaded Poland in 1939. However, the war technically began two years earlier on July 7th, 1937 when Japan invaded Manchuria. After the turning point for the Americans on Midway, Japan is slowly, but surely losing the war as it draws closer to their own doorsteps. In the waning days of the second Great War, Japan is being bombed with small, black, rod-liked objects with fiery tails. The structures of Japan's buildings and cities back then were still mostly made of and wood and traditional paper-screened doors. While traditional and beautiful, it does Japan and its people no good during these American air raids.

Two children are left homeless one day after such destructive bombings. The older brother, Seita (J. Robert Spencer) and his five-year-old sister, Setsuko (Rhoda Chrosite) are the focus of the film as they try to survive in a time deeply affected by the war. Buildings are destroyed and burnted after the firebombing attack, setting nearly everything, including their home, neighbors, and schools, to the ground. Their mother, (Veronica Taylor) died during the bombing. With their father away with the Japanese Navy, Seita and Setsuko moved in with a distant aunt (Amy Jones). Their aunt allows them to stay with her, but with food and supplies being severely rationed, she (rightfully) became resentful and openly remarks on their laziness. Tired of her nagging, the two decided to go off and live on their own in a nearby abandoned bomb shelter.

Seeing the setting of Graveyard of the Fireflies, we would think that this would be one of those films where the protagonists suffer through hardships during wartime and will eventually find success and happiness. However, this film is no such thing as it showed the death of Setsuko at the beginning of the film. After dying of starvation, Setsuko is reunited with the spirit of his deceased sister as the two ghosts looked back on how they got here. Striking out on their own, Setsuko does whatever he could to take care of his sister, but even with what little money that they have, food is scarce , forcing him to steal and take whatever he could get to keep them both alive. His pride and stubborn refusal to quit trying will ultimately seal both of their fates.

Graveyard of the Fireflies is perhaps one of the most emotional and realistically tragic film in not just Studio Gibli's history, but in animated film history as a whole. The setting and the story is depressing as it is powerful. When it was first released, it was accompanied by Hayao Miyazaki's more lighthearted My Neighbor Totoro as a double feature. WWII is a very sour topic for most Japanese citizens (even to this date), and it is unsurprising to see that this film turned away most of these audiences, due to its stark nature. Rather than the happy-ending summer fairy tale that is in My Neighbor Totoro, Graveyard of the Fireflies is a bolder film that shows us the reality of life for these two young children trying to survive wartime Japan. It's not shy to show the graphic and emotional scenes. While many critics and fans saw this as an anti-war film, in reality, Graveyard of the Fireflies focused more on the personal tragedies that war gave rise to upon these characters. It doesn't want to glamorize Setsuko's struggle to care for himself and his sister as heroic and honorable, but it shows us how its own society has failed to perform its most important duty to protect its own people.

We know for a fact that Japanese culture and society emphasized on the concept of honor and success. It was unthinkable to even consider complete surrender to the Americans as the war drew closer to an end. The kamikaze pilots were taught to die for their country on purpose, bringing themselves and their family great honor with their sacrifice. Many soldiers, generals, and citizens committed seppoku, rather dying with honor than to see the Americans succeed upon their doorsteps. Seita has this strong sense of pride and honor throughout the film. He's proud of his father's naval career and is most devastated upon the news of Japan's surrender than the news about his father's death. To him, failure is unthinkable not just in war but in his attempt to be care for his sister and be independent. Even when severe signs of malnutrition sets upon them both, Seita is still determined to try harder to make their independence work. His refusal to swallow his pride and going back to his aunt for help ultimately leads to his and Setsuko's death.

Graveyard of the Fireflies seemed to be teaching us that while it's okay to have a great sense of pride and honor in one's life, there is also a downside to it when it comes to your lives and the ones you cared for the most. Is there really shame to admit your defeat? Was it worth it to refuse to give up? War brought on many tragedies, but war is a part of life and it is up to society to do its duty to care and protect its people during such hardship. The death of these two children shows us how far society can fail and that it is still a reality to this date.

This film's director, Isao Takahata, is considered one of Studio Gibli's most popular director next to his friend and colleague, Hayao Miyazaki. While Graveyard of the Fireflies is his most serious film, it's also its own cinematic landmark. In truth, it was based on a novel by Nosaka Aikiyuki who did lived during wartime as a boy and his life was shadowed by guilt like Seita when his younger sister died of starvation. Another surprising factor is that this film doesn't focus on its animation as much in comparison with its other films before and later on, something that Studio Gibli is widely known for. While its artistic quality is still there, there is less details in the smaller things. In a sense, it's a good thing as it tries to focus more of its attention to its story and its grim messages. Anything detailed and glamorous in its animation would take away such thing.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)


Laputa: Castle in the Sky is another spectacular film from Japan, full of fantasy adventure, charming characters, and extraordinary levels of details. Officially the first of Studio Gibli's films, Castle in the Sky takes on both the theme of science fiction with all of its technological, steam-punked-themed airplanes and robots, but also fable with its mysticism and magic.

The name of the floating island castle, Laputa, is taken from the one in Gulliver's Travels. However, it's only the concept of the floating land that's borrowed, but the design, culture, religion, and magic of Laputa itself in this film is all self-inspired by dreams. Dreams is a big theme in this films for all the characters: a band of pirates who dreamt of being rich from Laputa's treasure room, a villain dreaming of being Laputa's new king and ruling the world, and a young boy's dream of find Laputa in order to clear his father's name. But once again, Hayao Miyazaki's love for strong female characters is put into this film as we have a heroine named Sheeta (Anna Paquin), one of the last royal descendants of the Laputian Empire. Wanting to live a quiet live on her farm after her parents died, Sheeta is being chased by evil agents and by a family of comical air pirated, headed by their captain, the old but plucky Dola (Cloris Leachman). The man running the evil government is the cruel, cold, and heartless Colonel Muska (Mark Hamill). Both parties fight each other to capture Sheeta and her magic crystal. Luckily, the magic crystal saved Sheeta after falling towards the earth where she is found by Pazu (James Van Der Beek).

Throughout the film, both orphans are running away from their persuers, all the while learning about the history of Laputa and why the people decided to leave it for the Earth. There are great twists and turns here and there, as we see our two orphan heroes teaming up with the pirates to find Laputa before the evil Muska does. As they learned more about Sheeta's connection with the mysterious floating castle, they learned more about the island's awesome raw power of destruction and how it can corrupt mankind. While there is a small scene that shows us how to value nature over machine, it's power and how it can corrupt us that dominates the story.

Visually, the design of the characters are simple, but stylized. The true details comes in the design of the air ships and the floating castle itself. Rather than resorting to cheap CGI technology, Studio Ghibi prefers to painstakingly draw all of this by hand. It's amazing to see how much love and patience are put into this as you watch parts of the castle crumbling into the ocean.

All in all, Laputa: Castle in the Sky is an enduring film that still withstand the test of time today. Looking back, we're still amazed at the detailed animation that could even rival what we're used to in other films today. The characters are good-hearted and enjoyably evil to the point that you can't help but continue watching. We care about these characters and with all the air of mystery around Laputa, we want to know more about its history and its connection with our characters. Whether you watch it in the original Japanese language or the English translation, you'll find Laputa: Castle in the Sky to be one of Studio Gibli's most wickedly awesome film projects to this date.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)


The name Hayao Miyazaki has been iconic in the film and art industries the past two decades, due to some of his greatest works and artistic style. Some would even go as far as calling him the Walt Disney of Japan, despite his claim that he's not looking to build an empire. Yet it was thanks to Disney and John Lasseter that Studio Gibli films are more seeped into the Western worlds. Yet when Toei Company first aired this film in 1984, there was going to be a dubbed version which sadly butchered it to the last piece until there was no resemblance of the original cut left. Called Warriors of the Wind, the English-dubbed was so heavily edited that any real meaning which the original was trying to invoked was lost. Any meaning that this poor excuse for an English-dubbed version was trying to convey never got out. Due to this great debacle, Miyazaki and his crew were greatly dissatisfied and declared a strict "No-edits" clauses for future foreign releases of their films. It wasn't until 2005 that Disney redubbed the original Nausicaä with an entire new cast, giving it the recognition that it should have gotten years before.

Although only his second major film, Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is actually an adaptation of his manga series of the same name. Despite the cuts and changes from his own source material, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was considered a stunning epic. Grand in its size of story and characters, the film sets in a post-apocalyptic world where nations are still seeking to destroy one another, such as both the Tolmekians and the Pejites. Long gone are the days when the earth was roamed by giant organic robot killers. Considered to be "gods", these giant robots incinerated the world for seven days, leaving nothing alive, not even themselves. When the great Seven-Days of Fire was over, it gave birth to a thousand years of the vast Toxic Jungle with its poisonous spores and atmosphere, as well as its giant mutated insects that dominated the wild. People are terrified of these massive insects and must wear filtered mask whenever they ventured beyond their homes should the spores settled into their lungs. One the small kingdoms called the Valley of the Wind isn't such a place. Secluded from other warring nations, the Valley sits near an ocean where the constant gentle wind keeps them safe from the Jungle's toxic spores and atmosphere. The film centered around the Valley's princess, Nausicaä (Alison Lohman), a young woman who only wished for her people to be safe and for the fighting to stop. Considered a pacifist by many, Nausicaä is also a warrior who can and will fight when needed be. Her people learned to live with the Toxic Jungle and accept its deadly poison that's killing them.

Hayao Miyazaki stated that he's interested in created a character who not only embraced life and peace, but loved life so much that she is fascinated by the giant mutant insects, especially the great monstrous roly-poly bugs, the Ohmus. There is a deep connections between her and the animals, Nausicaä's special sixth sense helped her to survive and divert numerous disasters throughout her adventures. Yet disaster came when a Tolmekian air ship crashed into the Valley one night after being attacked by a swarm of furious, giant bugs. The crash not only brought war to the Valley's doorstep, but also threatened their clean air when it brought spores from the Toxic Jungle. Nausicaä went from being a willing hostage of the Tolkmekians to being a peacekeeper trying to find any way to stop the fighting between two warring nations from destroying her precious Valley. Yet it's not just Nausicaä who was the key character to this story. Along the way, we see greatness in her mentor, Lord Yupa (X-Men's Patrick Stewart), her new Pejite friend, Prince Asbel (Transformers' Shia LaBeouf), and the two Tolmekian invaders, Princess Kushana (Uma Thurman) and Kurotowa (Chris Sarandon). Together with her little fox-squirrel friends, Nausicaä attempts to stop the Ohmus that she loved from stampeding on her Valley and the Tolmekians from awakening an old God from the Seven Days of Fire.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a grim and serious film that is not only wonderful, but also seductive in its characters and plot. Lethal like the Toxic Jungle's spores, one of Miyazaki's first films is stunningly gorgeous to the point that it's difficult to believe it's all hand-drawn with little to no computer assistance. Based on the first two volumes of his manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is considered to be Studio Gibli's first real film (despite being released before the company's official founding date) and it became the film studio's big break. While I would recommend reading the original manga series, the film adaptation is magnificently done. Despite the shortened and less-complex version on screen, this film really has a lot of love and patience. It's painstakingly drawn and animated and the English dubbed casting choice is surprisingly wonderful as well. While I did rant about Shia LaBeouf being too silling in some of his works, I had confessed that his acting performances has gotten better since Transformers: Dark of the Moon. However, this film was dubbed before his first Transformers appearance in 2007, and while his acting performances is a bit goofy, his voice acting is quite charming. As a penguin in Surf's Up, he's adorable. As Prince Asbel here in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind surprising. Other voice actors, such as Sir Patrick Stewart is known for his iconic role as Professor Xavier in the X-Men film series. While his acting performances is incredible, his voice as Lord Yupa gives this character a wise warrior that naturally deserves the love and respect from the princess and the people of the Valley of the Wind.

This film where Miyazaki's signifature style finally came into focus with its powerful message, strong female characters, and wondrous setting in a world unique on its own.It's an environmental conscious film, an anti-war film, a film about a strong young woman willing to sacrifice herself to ensure the safety of her kingdom and others. Paving the way for future Studio Gibli movies, the story of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is where Miyazaki's signifature style finally came into focus with its powerful message, strong female characters, and wondrous setting in a world unique on its own.

Ant-Man (2015)


If you don't really believe that great things can come in small sizes, Marvel's latest Ant-Man should convince you otherwise. Great superheroes that we often see on the big screen, such as Batman, Superman, Iron Man, and the Hulk embodies that greatness. To us, they always seemed so large in strength and mind, if not larger than life. But we often forget that there are great heroes out there who, not only come in small sizes, but can actually turn themselves as small as possible. Well, how useful can they be at the size of an atom or an ant? As Batman stated in Young Justice (blasphemous of me to reference DC Comics in a Marvel film), "It's the size that make him [The Atom] useful!" Comic creators know and understand this when they created characters such as The Atom for DC Comics and Ant-Man for Marvel.

The story featured Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con who's good at breaking and entering facilities to steal certain assets. After his recent release from prison, Scott tries to go straight and make things right with his family, but luck doesn't hold for him. After all, why would anyone want to hire a man who had a criminal past? To make it worse, his first love have decided to move on with her life by marrying a police and they're both trying to keep Scott away from his biological daughter. Try as he might, Scott can't bear to be seen as a bad man in front of his daughter and goes back into thievery when things got tough. Ironic that he's doing something bad for money in order to look good in front of his child. Instead of money, Scott found a strange "biker's suit" in the vault of a wealthy man's home. The man that he stole from is none other than Hank Pym, played by an aged-well Michael Douglas. Pym created a red-liquid in a vial that can shrink particles, such as himself, to the size of an ant. He used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. back in 1989 with Iron-Man's father, Howard Stark (John Slattery); an aging Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) from Captain America, and the sneering, opportunity-snatching jerk, Mitchell Carson (Martin). Dr. Pym discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to use his Pym particle without his permission. Fearing that they'll find dangerous ways to weaponize it, he quits and took all of his formula with him and start his own company.

Twenty-six years later, we discovered after being booted out of his own Pym Tech company by his own daughter and former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) after Pym refused to share all of his knowledge with the latter. In his twisted ambitious craving for greatness, Darren attempted to re-create his mentor's shrinking formula and weaponize it. Sensing great danger based on Darren's psychotic and cynical mind, Hope Van Dyke (Evangeline Lilly) alerted her father and together try to find the next Ant-Man who could help them stop Darren. After seeing him able to steal his shrinking suit, Pym offered Scott a chance of redemption and prove to his own daughter that he's more than a thief. The catch? Become the new Ant-Man and steal something for Pym. Another irony. The entirety of the film consist of Scott being trained for this big operation by his new mentor and possible love interest. The heist itself, is worth it, especially the meticulous plans to break in and steal the Yellow Jacket suit. Throw in some ants via mind-control and three bimbo thieves, and you got yourselves an action-filled heist sprinkled in with the right amount of comical moments. To help make the action more effective, the camera angle shots combined with zooming in and out at the right moment emphasize both re-sizing fight scenes and for comical effects.

The acting performances is quite enjoying. Paul Rudd gives his Ant-Man character a charming streak with enough personality that will make you smile, but probably not as much smart-ass as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Pratt. Michael Douglas embodies an old man, desperate to make things right like his new protégé while Evangeline Lilly gives us the performance of a woman who's weary of her father's lie and attempt to keep her away from her destiny. In Corey Stoll who gives his Yellow Jacket character the image of an absolute lunatic, and it's clear that Stoll enjoyed it. If only the script made his character more interesting. Like the acting performances, the special effects is top noticed. While it's noticeable to see animators attempting to make the ants cute looking, the best yet is the process to de-age Michael Douglas in the beginning scene. Upon this, I am amazed at how far cinematic technology has come since X-Men: The Last Stand and Tron: Legacy. Like many of Marvel's previous films, Ant-Man is a thrilling, action-packed film with the right amount of violence, humor, story, and character. The film, directed by Peyton Reed, is light, swift, agile, and purely fun and perhaps one of Marvel's best before they go into their third phase.

Forrest Gump (1994)


There isn't a film like Forrest Gump, or at least not one that I've seen yet. It's interesting to see films with such a simple concept could be so good. At the same time, there is a subtle level of complexity that doesn't show itself, despite its brilliance. Its main character, Forrest Gump, is just like that: a very simple-minded man but he has a very interest life. After watching it, once could ask, is it a comedy or a drama? In fact, it could well be both.

Forrest Gump, played by a much younger Tom Hank than we knew today, is a very simple minded-man with an IQ of 75. His mind is so simple, that many people thought that he borderlines mental retardness. The set up is very simple as the film starts with an adult Forrest Gump sitting on a bus bench waiting for his ride. He began to tell his story when a woman took a seat next to him while waiting for her bus. Forrest grew up in a boarding house in Alabama. His mother (Sally Fields) buys him a pair of leg-brace to help his poor body, but she never criticize or complain about his mind. When people called her son stupid, she replies, "Stupid is as stupid does!" After persuading the principal to let Forrest attend regular public school, life became more interesting for Forrest. It started off slowly from meeting the future Elvis Presley to making his first real friend, Jenny. After being bullied by fellow peers, Jenny encouraged Forrest to run, and when he does, his leg-braces miraculously fell off, allowing him to discover his talent to run like the wind. From here, his running skill became a running gag of good luck. First, his speed earned him a college football scholarship. From there, he entered the military and made friends with fellow soldier "Bubba" (Mykelti Williamson). The latter talks nothing but shrimping and offered him a 50/50 deal if they go in business together to create the Bubba Gump Shrimp franchise. During the Vietnam War, Forrest and Bubba served under Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise) and through sheer luck and one bullet to the butt, earned a Medal of Honor. From there, Forrest became a ping-pong champion, and then goes into a shrimping business with the retired Lt. Dan, both becoming increasingly wealthy and even more so when they invested the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company's proceeds into the newly founded Apple Computers (which Forrest thought was just a regular fruit company based on its apple-shaped logo).

A lot of historical events took place in America between the 1960's and 1970's, and through seer luck, Forrest witnessed them all, and even played critical roles in them. He shook hands and met three US Presidents, including Nixon, whom Forrest accidentally caused his downfall at Watergate, served in the Vietnam War, founded a famous company and became a millionaire, and ran a coast-to-coast marathon for three years. But through all of his lucky adventures, Forrest never stopped thinking about his childhood friend and his first love, Jenny (Robin Wright). Her life, unfortunately, isn't as lucky, ranging from an abusing father to an abusive boyfriend, to abusive customers when she worked as a stripper. Forrest's IQ may be 75, hinting that he doesn't know a lot of things about the world, even the concept of love to which Jenny replied, "Forrest, you don't know what love is." However, this isn't true! Throughout all of his adventures and his life, we've seen that Forrest understands enough to take things as it is. Perhaps the best line in this film is spoken by him when he tells Jenny, "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is."

After seeing this film, I can't imagine anyone else other than Tom Hank playing Forrest Gump. He gives his character such a sweet, gentle, and dignified man who only needs to get rough when he had to protect his friend. When his character has to be unintentionally funny, such as showing President Lyndon Johnson his bullet-wound in the butt, he does it with a straight face. When he has to give a calm and gentle moment during a sad scene, he does it damn well. Forrest Gump is a film about recent American history as seen through the eyes of a man with no malice in his heart, rather a simple-minded and very kind man who just happens to have a lot of luck with very little wit. All in all, Forrest Gump is one of the best films and one of the greatest classics for laughs and a little bit of tears. An ingenious work that should be watched again and again from time to time.

Song of the Sea (2014)


The first time I've heard of selkies was from a children's book back in grade school. From it, I've learned that some versions of these Irish and Scottish mythical creatures are more or less like mermaids. Rather than being part fish, Selkies are part seals. The book I've read as a child depicts a Selkie being forced to marry human after he stole her seal coat/skin, which enables her to become a seal and return to the sea. She bore him several children but without her coat, she could not return to her home in the sea. That is, until one of her children discovered where their father hid her coat a few years later. The Selkie occasionally returns to visit only her children. A bit tragic, but much more of a happy ending than the one in Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid, right?

Visually splendid, the animated studio Catoon Saloon does not fail to impress its audience by blending some of the most gorgeous artworks with beautiful characters and deeply rooted Irish mythologies. Director Tomm Moore returns from his previous work, The Secret of Kells, by adapting a children's book about a boy travelind distant miles to help heal his dying sister and freeing the stoned faeries. The animation does have a little bit of CGI-imagery to help enhance the flow of the characters' movements and the magic. Like The Secret of Kells, it's hardly noticeable, making the audience believe the entire film is traditionally hand-drawn.

Unlike The Secret of Kells, the story in Song of the Sea is little bit more modern. The film starts off in 1981 on a small island off the coast of Ireland. There lived the lighthouse keeper, Conor (Brendan Gleeson), his wife Bronagh (Lisa Hannigan), and their son Ben (David Rawle). However, Bronagh disappeared mysteriously into the sea upon delivering a newborn child. For the next six years, Conor became a depressed drunk; Ben is embittered by his sister, blaming her for their mother's death; and Saoirse (Lucy O'Connell) has yet to utter a single word. On the night of her sixth birthday, Saoirse borrowed her brother's shell pipe and managed to find a white seal coat. Lured by a pod of seals in the sea, Saoirse dove into the water while wearing her coat and transformed into a white seal. And here I thought harp seals were cute enough, but in this film they are super adorable! Fearing for their safety, the children's grandmother convinced their father to allow them to live with her in the city. Naturally, the children try to find their way back home to their island, and on the way they encountered various Irish mythological figures including the faeries who claims that Ben's sister is a Selkie! They hoped that Saoirse's song would break the Owl Witch's spell on them so that their essences could be free to return to Tír na nÓg. With the Owl Witch and her court of owls stealing mythical creatures' feelings and putting them into jars, the two siblings must race back to their island and get Saoirse's seal coat before she, too, dies like their Selkie mother.

As gorgeous and charming as this film is, Song of the Sea does suffer a bit in its story theme. It's as if the concept of a hero boy trying to saving his ailing sister while fighting against a witch sounded too's as if this concept was borrowed from other stories with its own spin. Yet despite some flaws, Song of the Sea is another beautiful traditionally hand drawn film that speaks to us with its story, touching us with its own heart and emotions. That is art itself and one must agree after seeing how beautiful this film is. It's blissful and awe inspiring. With two films that introduced to us about the beautiful, artful world of Irish mythologies, we pray that director Tomm Moore will return to give us more stories like this in the future.

The Secret of Kells (2009)


It's sad that most people these days often forget how beautiful traditionally animated films were and still is. The Secret of Kells, an animated film produced and animated by three countries (French, Irish, and Belgian), reminds us how much beauty there is still to be discovered when it comes to traditionally drawn animations. I'm not too familiar with most Irish myths and lore as I should, but the fantasy depicted in this film is absolutely superb. The film does well by mixing both Christian religion with that of Celtic myths by establishing a young monk befriending a spirit. Together, they'll bring light into this world plagued by darkness with a mystical book. Did I mention that there will be vikings and monsters in this story as well?

The story takes place in a tightly knit community at the Monastery of Kells where a young medieval monk named Brendan (Evan McGuire) is plucky, curious, and an idealist. However, his strict uncle, the Abbott Cellach (Brendan Gleeson), is obsessed in having walls built around the abbey to prevent vikings' attacks. But these walls doesn't deter his nephew's interest of the outside world. After befriending old Brother Aidan (Mick Lally), a traveler who possessed a precious Book of Kells. His own town has been destroyed by a raid and he travels to Kells for sanctuary. Some of its pages remains to be written and it will be Brendan who must help write them. To do that, Brendan must sneak out and collect nuts in the dark forest in order to make ink, ensuring the birth of the beautiful illustrations in the tome. Armed with only a white cat named Pengur Ban for companion ship, the young monk braved the forest and is cornered by hungry wolves. It is here where he encounters the forest spirit Aisling (Christen Mooney) who saved his life. Together, they brave the darkness and any danger related to Crom Cruach, a deity of death, in order to complete the Book.

The entire animation of this film is like the illustrations of an illuminated manuscript! Think more of the Irish than a bunch of leprechauns because these people have been preserving their legends in stories, songs, and books. There is a tome called the Book of Kells located in Trinity College, and it has been painstakingly illuminated with intricate drawings and writings. Its medieval manuscript preserves the four gospels and literally every, single page is a work of art. The Secret of Kells is no different as watching it frame by frame is like viewing the Book of Kells in great appreciation.

The film should be appreciated and others should copy its example by producing more traditionally hand drawn animated films. It's appealing, gorgeous, breath-taking, and awe-inspiring. It's no wonder that The Secret of Kells was nominated for an Academy Award of that year. It may not have a wide US release, but don't let that deter you from seeing it. It's a beautifully animated film with a very metaphorical story. The plot is unpredictable and may require you to have a little knowledge of Irish fairy tales. It's amazing to see how directors Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey took inspirations from actual medieval illustrations, traditional Celtic knots art, Irish history and legends, gothic backgrounds and transitioned it all into visual wonderland full of rich beauty beyond imaginations.

Inside Out (2015)


One of the best things about Disney Pixar films is that they can come up with a very basic and simple idea and tell it to us in a very interesting way that feels freshly new! Inside Out is another one of their project that turned out colorfully spectacular. I've always heard of seeing peoples emotions through colored auras around their bodies, but actually seeing them personified as colorful characters living inside our brains is a whole new level!

Most of us have gone through a time when we feel shy and isolated from our friends and families. The film's director, Pete Docter, undergo a period of social anxiety when his family was forced to move the Denmark when his father had a new job. Years later, Docter noticed his pre-teen daughter undergoing the same phase as she became more quiet and reserve from her parents. The idea for Inside Out came into existence when Docter took this realization and began to think about the emotions playing inside our heads during this troubling time.

Like what he experienced as a child, Docter's Inside Out is the story of an 11-year-old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) trying to adjust to her new life when her family has to moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, California due to her father's job. Riley's mind is mostly controlled by five colorful, fuzzy, cartoonish characters, Each is the manifestation of five basic emotions as they try and guide Riley's life with a purpose: Joy (Amy Poehler) is Riley's main emotion, a tall, happy yellow spirit with blue hair and a green dress who does her best to keep Riley's life as happy as possible; Fear (Bill Hader), a purple, bug-eyed spirit with a question-marked hair and a nerdy outfit tries to keep Riley safe from harm; Disgust (Mindy Kaling), a green, stylish and snobbish spirit whose job it is to keep Riley from being poison, physically and socially; Anger (Lewis Black), the red hot-tempered flat-head that bursts into flame whenever he tries to ensure fairness voicing out grievances (CONGRATULATION SAN FRANCISCO, YOU'VE RUINED PIZZA!!! FIRST THE HAWAIIANS AND NOW YOU!!!!!); and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), a depressed, but cute blue spirit in turtle-neck sweater who tries to contribute in their work, much to the disdain of the other four emotions. The emotions control Riley's conscious mind with a small control console, always fighting to hog it, especially Joy, when Riley saw what a bust the move was. I don't blame them, considering how small their new house is (welcome to San Francisco), Riley's new room stinks, their moving truck got lost, Dad's busy with his new job, and all of Riley's old friends are back home in Minnasota.

Our memories are depicted as these spheres, each in the color of the five emotions whenever we're feeling that emotion during an event of that day. Most of Riley's memories are happy each day before the move and every night, these memories are sent to Long Term Memories. After the move, Joy struggled to encourage the other emotions to stay as positive as usual, especially on first day at a new school. But when Sadness accidentally made Riley cry in school, she and Joy struggle for the control before both are sucked through a recall tube and sent to other parts of Riley's mind. With the core memories along with Joy and Sadness, Riley's emotional state of mind soon became more frustrating with only Disgust, Fear, and Anger to control her emotions. To their horror, the five aspects of Riley's personalities are falling apart without the core memories and without Joy, her conscious mind is slowly disintegrating into an empty shell.

The film then concentrate on a mission as Joy and Sadness tries to rushed back to Headquarter with the missing core memories before it is too late, all the while encountering various aspects of characters in Riley's mind including her forgotten imaginary friend, Bing-Bong (Richard Kind), mind workers like Frtiz (John Ratzenberger) whose job it is to sort out faded memories and other mind works. They try to catch the Train of Thoughts which would lead them back to Headquarter, but first, they must go through several realms of Riley's mind including Imagination Land with its French-fries Forest and even an Imaginary Boyfriend who kept saying, "I would die for Riley! I'm from Canada." There's Dream Production which acts like the Hollywood studios in our mind by producing all of Riley's dreams and nightmares.

This is where Inside Out differs greatly from other Pixar's films, everything happening in Riley's mind are nothing more than figurative manifestations of what's going inside to reflect our expressions on the outside. Emotions, memories, and thoughts are really just as intangible as our souls and it's fascinating how Pixar is taking all of this and personifying it in creative ways in this film, rather than working something that already physically exist such as the toys in Toy Story, the robots in Wall-E and the house in Up. The story plot is well scripted as it connects the new events that's happening to Riley since the move to her old life in Minnasota. Riley is growing up and she's undergoing threat changes in her life as she struggles to get used to her new life in California. The emotions has some growing up to do themselves as Joy realized that Sadness isn't there to annoy them on purpose, but her actions to make Riley depress is a signal to others, such as her family and friends, to come and help comfort her in her time of needs.

Inside Out is another great film to be remembered in Disney Pixar's collection. It's lovable characters, dialogues, and scripts are so creative and colorful that it's bursting with emotions. It's enjoyable for me to be sitting in a theater room full of kids and parents laughing at the humor and excitedly looking for the Easter Eggs (there are plenty in this film) but also silently cry when Riley is united with her parents. If you're going to see this film, bring a tissue box because your eyes are going to get watery due to both tear-jerking moments as well as humorous scenes where you'll laugh too hard. As always, do not dawdle at the concession stand but get there early in order to see the short film, Lava, that plays before Inside Out. I thought I've seen it all with Wall-E when it comes to a robot in love, but a volcano yearning for love in Lava? Wow! What an idea! The animation of this tropical volcano island is gorgeous and it really makes me feel more and more eager for the upcoming Disney's princess film Moana next year. And don't get up when the end credits are rolling in because you're going to see the different forms of the five emotions in other characters' heads, including Riley's new teacher, the bus driver, the cool girl, and others.

Jurassic World (2015)


When they first released the trailer for Jurassic World, I just realize what that this million-dollar franchise has denied us for twenty two years: the actual theme park itself. True, when Jurassic Park was first released, John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) has a revolutionizing dream to feature his dinosaur theme park to the world. Unfortunately, the theme park never officially open after they tried a testing run with potential endorsers. For all the awesome thrills of watching some of your favorite characters being chased or eaten in the first three films, the thought of never seeing the park officially opened to the public and to us is a bit lamenting. Practically a decade after the third (and horrible) film, Jurassic World finally decided to deliver what we want and more: the park is officially opened like a Disneyland with bigger attractions, bigger dinosaurs, bigger special effects, bigger risks and danger, and more teeth.

At last, we have a film where both dinosaurs lovers like us and those who are familiar with the wonderful world of amusement parks can enjoy a film as if they were part of it. John Hammond's dream of opening this park is finally realized and although he is no longer around, there is a hall named after him in the film as a tribute. Jurassic World is essentially a reboot with newer characters replacing the old ones with a newer concept: they've decided to take the role of "playing God" from the first trilogy and take it to the next level. (The only returning cast from the original film is B.D. Wong reprising his role as the scientist Dr. Henry'd thought he was eaten, didn't you?) Not only are they breeding dinosaurs like they used to, but they've decided to made a new one. Why? Because apparently the guests are starting to view dinosaurs as if they were regular cows or giant elephants that you can ride on and the corporates wanted "bigger and better". Yeah, it's always done with good intention for money, but the ending result is always a huge and bloody debacle.

There always seemed to be the smart dinosaur expert in these films whom no one else bother to listen to. Rather than being a paleontologist, Owen (Guardians of the Galaxy's Chris Pratt), he's a raptor trainer with a good knowledge on carnivorous dinosaurs and a game hunter. Bryce Dallas Howard plays his "love interest", Claire, who's the head of the new and improved theme park. Yet she's such a workaholic, she fails to remember her nephews' ages when they came to visit her. This film should get a hashtag for #WeNeverLearn, because creating a bigger, meaner, meat-eating dinosaurs with crazy superpowers is a huge indication. After three films of trying to play god, they think they finally got it handle enough to go to the next level? As Chris Pratt's Owen said, "These people never learn!" There is also another saying that stated we only learn our lessons once it's too late. Apparently, too late is the part where the ridiculously named Indominus Rex decided to go on an eating and hunting spree in a park filled with over 21,000 people.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World is a fun dinosaur film with that Spielberg-style filmmaking, yet at the same time, does things its own way. While the dinosaurs are obviously CGI, it's hard to believe its authenticity as real dinosaurs, what with us living in an age where almost everything is easily generated digitally. Trevorrow tries to cover that up with quick paced flashes of people getting eaten by the Indominus Rex with splashes of blood as it chomps on her victims. The CGI may feel a little bit obvious and ridiculous in some parts, but the end result is worth it. At last, the dinosaurs can much on the thousands and thousands of tourists it wants rather than just the those who worked as maintenance and security guards. But this film isn't perfect and isn't without some features that seemed irrelevant to the store. Why do we need to know that the two brothers' parents' divorce is important? Why doesn't this park have any for of evacuation plan should they suffer a dinosaur or weather disaster? Why didn't the Indominus Rex used her cool power of camouflaging and hiding her temperature more often throughout this film? It seemed these questions are soon considered null and void once they deliver the holy grail of dinosaur battle at the end between the genetically altered white dino and the iconic T-Rex tagging with Owen's raptor. The final battle, if anything, is worth the wait.

All in all, Jurassic World  may not be as groundbreaking as the original Jurassic Park 22 years ago, but it's still a great reboot and it does play several homages to the original, reminding us to go back and watch it, especially for the younger audiences who aren't familiar with the classic. Acting wise, the characters throughout this film are mostly likeable. Chris Pratt steals the show by giving us his bad-ass coolness as well as smart-assing personality from Guardians of the Galaxy. The biggest character itself is the actual theme park. We finally get to view the theme park which John Hammond hoped to see, and in essence, it became its own character. Despite some flaws and unnecessary takes, Jurassic World is an impressive, terrific, exciting, and fun sequel that will probably having you jumping out of your seat if you were not already swooped up and eaten by a pterosaur.

Jurassic Park III (2001)


After seeing this film, I only have one main question: Who's bright idea is it to replace the iconic T-Rex with a spinosaurus? True, the real question should have been a: "Why was this film made?" but frankly, Jurassic Park is a one of those blockbuster franchises, so of course sequels are going to be made.

Out of all four films, Jurassic III is considered to be the worst and is considered as the joke in the franchise that almost everyone wants to forget. I can't blame them. Despite the return of one of the main characters from the original film and a small appearance of the iconic T-Rex, Jurassic Park III seemed to be hitting rock bottom. Unfortunately for us, there is no discovery of a great dinosaur skeletal remains to take in with amazement. The first two films were great and fun to ride along, but by the time you're finishd with the third one, you left feeling underwhelmed. While the story plot is definitely darker and a bit faster in its pace, it's also very dull, lacking that magical atmosphere that you would get from its predecessors.

Sam Neill returns to reprise his role as Dr. Alan Grant. Rather than losing his reputation and his work like Dr. Ian Malcolm in the second film, he is still a world-famous paleontologist for surviving the Isla Nublar incident. However, his experience on that island many years ago has left Grant weary against the creatures he once admired.

When a boy named Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan) went missing after parachuting over Isla Sorna, his parents, Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) frantically hired Dr. Grant to take them "close" to the island, under the pretense of going on an expensive honeymoon trip. Tagging along is Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), Grant's assistant, as well as a few hired bodies as they are forced to help these two frantic parents. Admittedly, the concept of this story plot is there and has potential as well as the intention on being great, but the end results is quite disastrous. Unlike the first two films, there were a few characters that could care less about, such as the hysterical mother. Yes, people, call me a cold-blooded dinosaur but I actually wished that she would get eaten just so that she could shut the hell up after thirty-minutes in. Even I didn't wish any of the villains from the previous film to die this way.

There is a line somewhere in this film spoken by Dr. Alan Grant that practically highlights what Jurassic Park III is all about: "For best intention? Some of the worst things imaginable has been done with best intentions!" Jurassic Park III was intentionally made to entertain us, but instead, it delivers something duller than dull. While the spinosaurus is considered a dangerous carnivour, having it as a replacement for the T-Rex seemed to be an insult here, and even worse, having it kill the mighty king in a lame fight scene is just another insult to injury. But all in all, Jurassic Park III is still not the worst film to date, counting its luck. It may lack the awe-inspiring magical touch in the first two films, but it was a good attempt to make a decent thrill ride.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)


I don't get why some people and critics find this film to be a recycled version of the original, and frankly, I don't care. I like it a lot and find it enjoyable and fun to watch as much as the first film, if not more. While it's not as epic and groundbreaking as its predecessor, there were still several things to enjoy about it. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (perhaps one of the few films were the series title comes after the film story title), released in 1997, was one of Steven Spielberg's follow-ups to his Academy Award winning film, Schindler's List. Spielberg did confessed that during this film's production, he did felt disenchanted by it, but still it came out as a great "monster" film and that's saying something especially when you're trying to compare it to other lesser filmmakers like Michael Bay.

The story, taken place four years after Jurassic Park, now focused on the wisecracking mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm with actor Jeff Goldblum reprising his role. It's actually a very nice change, considering the fact that his character was practically taken out of commission after he injured his leg in the first film, reducing him to being a sideline character as the others scrambled to defend themselves against a T-Rex and several hungry raptors. Now, taking the spotlight, Dr. Malcolm returns to this crazy island in hopes of preventing his girlfriend, Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) from becoming dino-chow. Tagging along is his daughter from a previously failed marriage, Kelly Malcolm (Vanessa Lee Chester) who could kick a raptor out the door with her gymnastic skill.

After what happened in the first film, the park's former CEO and creator, James Hammond (played by the late Richard Attenborough), hoped to leave his island island as a lost world where the dinosaurs may live their lives in peace and away from human contact. Yet, it's revealed that there is a second island where the dinosaurs were originally engineered before being moved to the park's island. Apparently, making a dinosaur park is his big mistake in Jurassic Park, but sending in people to document these wild creatures in their natural habitat is a new mistake. While his intentions are good, there's a huge difference between documenting nature films about tigers and lions from T-Rex and raptors.

Originally, it seemed that the late author Michael Crichton's The Lost World was specifically written so that it could be turned into a sequel film. Critics hoped that Spielberg wouldn't treat it as a crowd-pleasing project, but that's what happened and they weren't happy about the ending result, or at least most of them. It's a shame since The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a really fun film that expands its focus on a minor character from the first film. Not only is he shoved into the spotlight, but is given both of Sam Neill's character's role as survivor and surrogate father in a dangerous world, without some of the drippiness, of course. All in all, The Lost WorldL Jurassic Park is a monster film, full of intense chasing and surviving scene as these titans are deciding which puny humans (and a few cute animals) will become dino-dinner. There's seemed to be a lot more brutality in how they eat their victims this time, especially when you have two parents T-Rex tearing a guy in halves. Goes to show you that Spielberg isn't shy to show these gruesome scenes in any of his films when needed to be, and with the improvement in the special effects of the dinosaurs, it makes it all more scary and fun to watch. So "hang on to your butts" people, because this sequel is one fun and bumpy ride.

Jurassic Park (1993)


Looking back at the first Jurassic Park  film, some of the tech may seemed outdated to today's technology, especially when you're trying to compare it to the latest Jurassic World. However, many of us are still astonished at the extent of the then-technology, using both computer generated and animatronics, to make these dinosaurs so real and life liked. Some of my most favorite scenes include the part where a T-Rex almost ate the two children while they were in their tour jeep. The children are screaming at the sight of this titanic, carnivorous reptile with nothing more than the jeep's skylight glass pane to protect them from becoming its dinner. Surely Steven Spielberg will have no problem getting his actors to scream and looked as frightened as possible with that thing in your face. I know it's just an anamatronic T-Rex head, but the sheer size of it in your face (and the part where it unintentionally broke a piece of the glass pane) does make it feel all too real. I'll admit that I still feel nervous while going on the Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studio. The near ending part of the ride is where there is a giant anamatronic T-Rex head over your head and in your face before the boat plunges about 180 feet down always make me feel like one of those two kids in the film.

The story is based on a book of the same title by the late Michael Crichton, and the film surprisingly seems to stand out more than the original book. (This seemed to be a trend after Spielberg's Jaw adaptation.) After so many years, it seems to be able to stand the test of time as many people still remember how biblical of a giant it is. We remember it's legacy, it's pacing, dialogues, and character buildings, and its dinosaurs!

Jurassic Park is about the power of nature and the consequences of man's sin in trying to become gods. The dinosaurs and us humans were separated by a differences of millions years for a reason. Throw in these reptilian titans into our world for our entertainment when they're naturally engineered to follow their ancient instinct to hunt and kill for food isn't going to end well. Eccentric billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has built zoos and other types of resorts and exhibits for the world to enjoy. Now he decided to place himself above god's level by turning his own island into a theme park with real dinosaurs! He had his scientists and dinosaur experts extract dinosaurs' DNA in mosquitoes that have been fossilized in amber. As one of the mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) stated, "The lack of humility in the face of nature is astonishing!" Spielberg does well by showing us how amazing the idea of creating a Jurassic Park is and treating it like Disneyland would rake in more money and raving reviews. But his film is to show us the consequences when you're pushing things too far, especially when you're upsetting the balance of nature. Hammond and his scientists think that they can control the dinosaur population by only breeding female dinosaurs. But unfortunately for them, "Nature finds a way!"

After an accident with a worker who was severely injured, Hammond brought in Malcolm and two other palaeontologists, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), hoping that their love for dinosaurs and astonishment would endorse his park to the world. These two are the characters to root for as they not only try to survive this island, but must ensure the safety of each other and Hammond's grandchildren, who not only helped the plot when it comes to surviving and outwitting the raptors, but they proves to be good for Alan Grant in teaching him to love and care for children as if they were his own.

Jurassic Park is a film that stands the test of time as it helps cultivate our love and fascinations for dinosaurs. While these giant lizards may be extincted for millions of years, the first of the Jurassic Park franchise reminds us that they still live forever in our imagination. These are powerful and clever beasts and in this film, they'll show us that they will not be easily controlled by humans for their personal entertainment! Looking back, Jurassic Park is a great classic that helped to revolutionize film technology as well as story telling. The characters are wonderfully fun to watch, the plot is exciting, the dialogues and musics are memorable, the dinosaurs are still awe inspiring! If your kids have not seen the original Jurassic Park film, you should really make them sit down and watch it!

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Pure Evil has never manifested itself like this before in films before The Silence of the Lambs came along. The way Dr. Hannibal Lecter speaks and gets under your skin is not only bone rattling, but painfully true. He's a deranged killer, but very sophisticated as a character that all fears him. Even when he's contained and strapped down with a binding mask, he's still very dangerous with his words to the point that it will hurt you like you've never felt before and I think Anthony Hopkins does that well in his character.

They called him "Hannibal the Cannibal" because he eats his victims and is a the most dangerous mass murderer, yet he's not your typical monster with a mind that you can analyze just because you have a degree is psychology. Rather yet, Hannibal Lecter IS a psychiatrist who knows how your minds and the minds of other psycho-killers worked. He's already locked up in prison behind plexiglass, and the authorities needed his help to catch another dangerous psycho-mass murderer named "Buffalo Bill" (played by Ted Levine). The latter earned this nickname because he skins his female victims and uses their hides to make himself a woman suite. Apparently, he's not qualified enough to register for a sex-change operation and decided to take matters in his own, sick and twisted hands. But Hannibal won't be so easily persuade to help the authorities to catch "Buffalo Bill". Rather, the FBI decided to send in a young trainee named Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). She's like a young bird, but will sending a fledgling like her down that dark hall to the last cell on the left be enough to tame the monster that is in Dr. Lecter?

There is a powerful scene at the beginning of this film where we see the young agent walking towards Hannibal's cell to meet him for the first time. The other crazy inmates hissed and lustfully threw vulgar comments at her. But upon Hannibal's cell, you see him standing perfectly still in the center of the room, his arms at his sides and immediately, there is an air of fear and respect. His resting position gives him the power like a lion looking down on its prey, observing them with keen eyes that can pierce your soul. The way he speaks to Starling is so calm and precise that you feel as if he cannot be bothered to humor the intelligence level of your caliber. But Starling is not just any regular cop that can interrogate and interview you. They have a mutual understanding and respect for each other. Hannibal even joked "People might think that we're in love!" to her. Throughout the film, the detective story of finding a homicidal maniac is enticing! Beyond the hunt and the forensic studies these detectives and officers must go through, there is a deeper connection that is more brutal and it hits at the heart.

The film is based on a series of novels, with one book of the same title by Thomas Harris. The title, "The Silence of the Lambs" refers to Starling's desperate dream after a haunting and nightmarish experience as a child. As an adult, Starling works hard to conceal her real accent and tries to give a more respectable authorities to her peers who are policemen several heads taller than her. But upon meeting Hannibal Lecter, the veil she created is easily ripped apart by his brutal observation. He digs deeper and Starling confessed that after her father was killed, she moved in with distant relatives on a farm. There, she could hear the screaming of the lambs that were being slaughtered. Running away in hopes of saving one, she failed to hear the silence of the lambs. Seeing this, Hannibal Lecter slowly, but surely helped Starling track down "Buffalo Bill" so that her mind could be at peace.

The Silence of the Lambs is basically a Beauty and the Beast story with a mystery and detective flavor mixed into it. Sounds crazy, I know, but here it works. Ted Levine gives a great performance as the psycho killer who skins his victims and shoves a moth larva down their throats. The way he picks his victims and treats them as "its" is very disturbing. Jodie Foster may be the main character in this film, but her steadiness and calm is upstaged by Anthony Hopkins as "Hannibal the Cannibal". His character is a classy, frightening, and a very sophisticated villain. Physically, he'll bite off your ears and eat your tongue if you get too close to him. Mentally, he will toy with your psyche and rip your mind apart with words so sharp that you'll still feel the scar for years. Aside from great performances from these actors, The Silence of the Lambs has a great balance between dialogues, suspense, and absolute horror. If anything, it truly deserves its Oscar wins, including one for Best Picture. In 1991, there were two "Beauty and the Beast" films, one produced by Disney Beauty and the Beast, and one called The Silence of the Lambs. Both films were truly remarkable and deep in its tales, but as the more harrowing and complex of the two, The Silence of the Lambs probably deserves its title as Best Picture of that year.