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Thelma & Louise - A Tag Team Revisit

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Entries in animated films (300)

Tuesday
May102016

Trippy Best Shots: "True Skin" and "World of Tomorrow"

Tonight's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot is our annual short film episode. The genre is sci-fi but we're looking at two trippy but altogether unalike films.

The first is True Skin (2012) which has rather extraordinary visual effects considering it comes from the DIY world of short filmmaking. It was once earmarked for the feature film treatment but when that didn't work out earlier this year Amazon snatched it up to develop into a TV series. The second film is recent Oscar nominee World of Tomorrow (2015) from animation legend Don Hertzfeld. (His career being Oscarless is just not right.) Lets look at the "Best Shots" as chosen by your host and the volunteer panelists elsewhere after the jump. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
May092016

Eddie to be Heard, Not Seen

Perhaps sensing that everyone will be sick of looking at him by the tail end of 2017 (what with the multiple Oscar nominated transformations, the actual Oscar, and that new Fantastic Beasts franchise), Eddie Redmayne will give his ginger mug a wee break from gigantification on the big screen. Instead he'll be leading the voice cast of Aardman's Early Man which just went into production for release in 2018. The best part of the news is that Nick Park will be directing and he's been absent from that particular chair for too long. (His last feature was 11 long years ago, the Oscar winning Curse of the Were Rabbit.)

You can pencil it in for a Best Animated Feature nomination right now (albeit two years from now) because Aardman has quite a track record of delights (sorry Flushed Away!). They've got a heavy shelf of awards to prove it including Oscar nominations for A Grand Day Out (1989) and A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008), The Pirates: Band of Misfits (2012), and Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and four Oscar wins via Creature Comforts (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993), A Close Shave (1995), and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005).   

Are you sick of looking at Eddie Redmayne yet or do you vow to never tire of that weird handsomeness?

Tuesday
Apr262016

Curio: Eyvinde Earle's Centennial

Today marks the 100th birthday of famed illustrator Eyvinde Earle (1916-2000) who has a special connection to the cinema having logged time with Walt Disney Studios, most famously helping to shape the aesthetic of the studio's greatest looking traditional classic, Sleeping Beauty (1959). The artist passed away sixteen years ago but his work lives on. Take a look...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr042016

April Foolish Predix: Best Animated Features

It's past time to begin our annual tradition of predicting the future Oscar nominees way before anyone should (yes, I'm aware that nowadays every clickbait site does it the day after the Oscars but we're not into that. Jesus, ppl, let each film year settle!). Let's start with the easiest category in that it's its own world entirely, The Animated Feature. Last year was a relatively thin year for the medium, in that the number of eligible films just barely triggered a 5 wide field. We shouldn't expect a similar dearth this year.

After all 2016's already delivered a possible frontrunner (the delightful Zootopia), a hit that people have already forgotten about (Kung Fu Panda 3... currently #4 of 2016 but have you ever heard anyone talk about it?), trailers to roughly a billion would be cartoon blockbusters scheduled for 2016, and the very tantalizing prospects of an original Disney musical (Moana) and a new Laika feature (Kubo and the Two Strings).

So who do we think will win the nominations this year? I'm not falling into the trap of assuming Pixar is locked up each year (we saw The Good Dinosaur go nowhere, really, in terms of critics and awards enthusiasm) so my big no guts no glory call is that Finding Dory will miss a nomination. Yes, everyone loves Dory and Finding Nemo (2003) but I'm suspicious of a mere fanservice treading of water outing, pun intended, while we wait for a cool original again a la Inside Out. It's a strange reversal that Disney has suddenly taken up the "original" baton and Pixar is wasting its time with sequelitis.

What's below the US radar? Generally speaking online punditry seems to forget that the Academy's animation branch rightly takes foreign cartoons seriously when they're making their calls so something smallish and non American always shows up in the final shortlist. This early -- again, way too early -- I'm guessing that's The Red Turtle. It's due in September from Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli and given those two companies it will surely be beautiful. Plus it's wordless which should be interesting. The other film I'd ink in if I was sure it would be released in time is Loving Vincent, an entirely oil painted (!!!) animated biopic of Vincent Van Gogh. 

There's a lot to consider out there: martial artist pandas, red turtles, amnesian fish, little princes, secretive pets, pissed off birds, delicious trolls, singing pigs, genius artists, island girls and demigods, police bunnies and more. Check out the chart and do speak up in the comments. 

 

Tuesday
Mar292016

A "Zootopia" Top Ten

We've never even discussed Zootopia! What's wrong with us? (Don't answer) What follows is an off the cuff top ten. But consider this intro a number eleven plus: the joy of the movie is that it's not frontloaded at all continuing to offer delights all the way up to its concert finale in its fleet 108 minutes. So don't let this list feel complete: share your favorite things about it in the comments.

(This is assuming you loved it because everyone seems to)

TOP 10 DELIGHTFUL THINGS ABOUT "ZOOTOPIA"

10 Size Matters (in Comedy)
Lt. Judy Hopps, our heroine, would argue that it doesn't but it does. The animators and writers and filmmakers spin multiple jokes from the disparity in size of so many of the characters. And they've really worked the scale out. Few images in the movie radiated more comic bliss then watching a parade of conformist lemmings lining up for hundreds of miniature sweets made from one elephant sized dessert scoop.

09 Bunny Jokes
That throwaway line "your 275 brothers and sisters" and Judy's sly math joke later on "we're good at multiplying!"

8 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar272016

Tim's Toons: Easter animation

Tim here. Easter is upon us, and with it comes the realization that, for a holiday with such prominent iconography and a pre-made adorable talking animal, the movies haven't been able to do much with it. The go-to classic Easter film for generations of TV audiences has been The Ten Commandments, a religious epic that isn't even about the life of Jesus; meanwhile, the secular side of the date has been horribly mangled. Recent attempts at minting new holiday classics include Rise of the Guardians, which devoted all of its energy to pretending to be a Christmas movie instead, and the deeply execrable Hop, a live-action/animation hybrid with James Marsden as the perpetually horrified human companion to an abominable CGI rabbit voiced by Russell Brand.

Dig a little, however, and you can still find some reasonably charming Easter Bunny pictures out in the world. As a public service, may I offer these three Easter-themed shorts, all of them available on the internet.

Funny Little Bunnies (1934)
One of Disney's Silly Symphonies from the middle of that series' life, this is a look at the factory-like process by which a community of rabbits ready the various candies distributed to the Christian American children of the world. Primitive already by the standards of 1934, with its metronome-like repetitions of action and complete lack of a plot, the film nonetheless thrives on account of its gorgeous color palette, blending dreamy springtime pastels with the rich saturation of early Technicolor. Not one of the all-time great Disney cartoons, but at just seven minutes, it goes down nicely. Right up until the split-second blackface gag, anyway, startlingly unnecessary even by the standards of Disney's 1930s infatuation with minstrelsy. (On YouTube)

Two more Easter shorts after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar192016

Oscar Whisperer: Have we seen any nominees yet?

Though we all know that the bulk of Oscar nominations come from the last quarter of each and every year, have we seen any awards players yet? Here's a tricky thing about punditry -- if you start too early people say you're part of the problem in "narrowing" the field but if you don't start early how are you going to be of service in keeping the entire year in play and offering perspective on which film should be watched so that it's not all about "cramming" at the end of the year which leads to all that last quarter focus. So we start early.  Here are first quarter possibilities if the Academy has longer memories than usual this year and if they surprisingly generate excitement later in the year by way of top ten lists or second wave releases (Bluray, streamin, etc...)

January
Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animated Feature)
Both of the previous films about the round warrior "Po" (Jack Black) were nominated for Best Animated Feature. Will Dreamworks go 3 for 3 with this series? The reviews are right in line with those of the previous films but franchises often outstay their welcome when it comes to "Best of Year" accolades.

The costumes in Hail Caesar (courtesy of Mary Zophres) are great fun

February
Deadpool (Visual FX, Makeup and Hairstyling)
Hail Caesar!
(Original Song "No Dames" and Any Category, really) 
The WWitch (Sound, Supporting, and Any Category, really) 

Deadpool will surely surface for the Saturn Awards but good luck with the standard awards bodies considering that superhero films don't fare well even in VFX nominations... and Deadpool is a bit bargain bin aesthetically, however popular it may be with audiences.  An extreme longshot but it will surely attempt Oscar recognition in both VFX and Makeup bakeoffs.

As for Hail, Caesar! and The VVitch, they're the most prestigious of the year's mainstream releases thus far by way of being from beloved filmmakers or inspiring critical fervor, respectively. But will any voters remember them or take them seriously enough given traditional resistance to comedy and horror? The first step in taking any film seriously is to actually watch it; conscientous voters should watch these two films. 

March
April and the Extraordinary World (Animated Feature)
Batman v Superman (Visual FX)
Krisha (Best Actress)
Zootopia (Animated Feature) 
Hello My Name is Doris (Best Actress) 

Zootopia is by far your best bet for early bird Oscar glory given the outstanding reviews and audience love and Disney being a power player in the animated feature category. Can Sally Field's Doris generate good Golden Globe will? Will Krisha develop a following (it won the Cassavettes at the Spirit Awards for 2015 but the Spirit Awards have different eligibility rules -- festival showings sometimes count for them).

Of the two attempts at reviving the Superman franchise (Superman Returns in 2006 and Man of Steel in 2013) only Returns won Oscar favor (Visual FX nomination). Will Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice be ignored or embraced for its effects? It all depends on its future competition but it's worth noting that, for whatever reason, Batman is the favorite superhero of groups that traditionally resist superheroes. Batman films have won 3 Oscars from 15 nominations. 

What will you hope for or count on from the first quarter?