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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 is coming soon

Though some movies made for children are inordinately good — basically, this applies to anything made by Pixar/Disney — many others are little more than loose collections of bad jokes and infantile attitudes.

Which is why the movies produced by Studio Ghibli are such a treat. Many of the studio's movies have been directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki, and they are among some of the best animated movies ever made — combining superb animation with themes that appeal both to adults and (mostly) children.

Studio Ghibli Fest 2018, which kicks off on March 25, will feature nine animated features in all. "Ponyo," a Miyazaki effort that is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will play on March 25, 26 and 28 at two area Regal theaters: Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium.

Following in succession are "The Cat Returns" (April 22, 23, 25), "Porco Rosso" (May 20, 21, 23), "Pom Poko" (17, 18, 20), "Princess Mononoke" (July 22, 23, 25), "Grave of the Fireflies" (April 12, 13, 15), "My Neighbor Totoro" (Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 3), Miyazaki's masterpiece "Spirited Away" (Oct. 28, 29, 30) and "Castle in the Sky" (Nov. 18, 19, 20).

Of these, "Grave of the Fireflies" is decidedly an adult film, being Isao Takahata's grim 1988 study of Japanese children attempting to survive the end of World War II. But the others?

They're movies that offer children far more than a few bad jokes.