A scene from "A Letter to Momo."
Momo and three goblin spirits in a scene from Hiroyuki Okiura’s “A Letter to Momo.”

“A Letter to Momo” (Momo e no Tegami), a 2012 animated feature film from Japan, is now playing through Sept. 4 at the Landmark Theatres’ Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. (just west of the 405 Freeway).

The second film by Hiroyuki Okiura (director of “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade” and animator on “Ghost in the Shell” and “Akira”) is a wonderfully expressive, beautifully hand-drawn tale that combines whimsy and kinetic humor with deeply felt emotion and drama.

The last time teenager Momo saw her father before his sudden death they had a fight —and now all she has left to remember him by is an unfinished letter with only the words “Dear Momo.” Moving with her mother to a remote but beautiful island, Momo at first suspects their house is haunted.

She soon discovers three goblin spirits living in the attic, mischievous creatures that only she can see who, constantly hungry, create mayhem as she tries desperately to keep them hidden. But these funny monsters have a serious side and may hold the key to helping Momo discover what her father had been trying to tell her.

Seven years in the making, “A Letter to Momo” builds to a bravura finale — a frantic chase featuring thousands of squirming, morphing ghosts and spirits that is the best cinematic flight of supernatural fancy in many years.

The English version will be screened at 1:20 and 4:10 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 29, to Monday, Sept. 1; 4:10 p.m. only from Tuesday, Sept. 2, to Thursday, Sept. 4.

The original version with English subtitles will be screened at 7 and 9:45 p.m. from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4.

“Ghost in the Shell,” with English subtitles, will be shown Friday only at 11:59 p.m.

2029 — a female government cyber agent and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of “The Puppet Master” — a computer virus capable of invading cybernetic brains and altering its victims’ memories. Created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and code-named “Project 2501,” this “hacker” is actually a prototype virtual agent that has now defied its makers by seeking asylum within a new host body outside of the electronic net. Now the two agencies must maneuver against each other in a violent, high-tech race to capture the omnipresent entity.

“Ghost in the Shell” took the world by storm exhibiting a new dimension of anime with unprecedented and mesmerizing cinematic expression. Created by veteran anime writer/director/producer Mamoru Oshii (writer of “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade”) and seamlessly merging traditional cel animation with the latest computer graphic imagery, this stunning 1995 sci-fi spectacle broke through the boundaries of mainstream animation with detailed artistic expression and a uniquely intelligent story line.

“A Letter to Momo” will open on Friday, Sept. 5, at Landmark Theatres’ Ken Cinema, 5061 Adams Ave. in San Diego, which will also screen “Ghost in the Shell” tonight at 11:59 p.m.

In the Bay Area, “A Letter to Momo” opens Sept. 5 at Landmark Theatres’ Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

For more information, visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

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