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Entries in animated films (413)

Saturday
Dec152018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Reviewed

Every Saturday this month, Tim will be taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Fans of Marvel's iconic hero Spider-Man have had a packed 2018, between Tom Holland's third big-screen turn as the character in Avengers: Infinity War and Tom Hardy's role as the antihero Eddie Brock in the conspicuously Spider-Man-less Venom. But the best has very much been saved for last, in the form of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a new animated feature that's easily the best Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2 (2004) back in the distant early days of the modern superhero movie boom.

The film is the first big-screen adventure of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who first appeared in comic books in 2011 as a new Spider-Man following the temporary death of Peter Parker. He's a Brooklyn teenager, awkwardly fitting into life at an elite boarding school, living in perpetual chagrin at the overbearing authority of his cop dad (Brian Tyree Henry), and expressing himself through graffiti art (one of the things his dad is specifically overbearing about). And if that was all he ever was or did, Into the Spider-Verse would still put up a good argument for itself as a more than worthy movie...

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Saturday
Dec082018

The 2018 Animation Contenders: Tito and the Birds

Every Saturday this month, Tim will be taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

First things first: the Brazilian Tito and the Birds, a newly-minted Annie Award nominee for best animated independent feature, is a preposterously beautiful motion picture. The film's style is perhaps best described as looking like a digital oil painting, with swirling smears of color defining every background and character. It is not by any stretch of the imagination looking to present a realistic vision of the world, creating spaces defined only in outlines and crude shapes, and then filled in with dramatic swatches of barely-motivated reds and yellows and blues that function expressively and emotionally rather than to build out the narrative. It is, at an absolute minimum, one of the most eccentric, distinctive animated features released in 2018, but it's not just eccentric: the aesthetic is thoughtful, consistent, and pairs elegantly with the film's thematic concerns.

As for those thematic concerns, they're pretty overt, to the point that it almost feels like the film is a bit of a diatribe. Tito fashions itself as something of a Young Person's Guide to Media Skepticism...

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Monday
Dec032018

"Incredibles 2" Earns its Title with 11 Annie Nominations

by Nathaniel R

The Annie Award nominations have been released with Disney totally and utterly dominant: Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet lead with 11 and 10 nominations respectively and even when the prizes don't involve animated films (such as with animated effects or animation work in live-action features) the nominations still lean heavily toward a Disney majority.

But all is not lost for non-Disney contenders hoping to win something at the Annies or to score one of those five coveted Animated Feature nomination at the Oscars. Into the Spider-Verse, Isle of Dogs, and Early Man have to be taken seriously as Oscar threats and though foreign animated productions never fare all that well at the very American-centric Annie Awards, Oscar is a different story and both Japan's Mirai and Hungary's Ruben Brandt Collector, scored two nominations with the animation guild. They were already looking like the two most likely foreign players to spoil the Oscar dreams of some big studio CG effort and this confirms it. The complete list of nominees is after the jump along with a few comments...

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Saturday
Dec012018

The 2018 Animation Contenders: Early Man

Every Saturday this month, Tim will be taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar

So as to avoid burying the lede, let me make it clear that Early Man is a pretty disposable little snip of a thing. One doesn't want to take anything made by Britain's Aardman Animations for granted: the financial state of stop-motion animation is none too strong, and it's a bit of a triumph anytime one of these features gets made and released. Nonetheless, by any standards, and particularly the very high bar Aaardman has set for itself with its beloved Wallace & Gromit shorts, Early Man is pretty low-key. The humor tends towards punny dad jokes, and the film never pretends to be anything else besides corny and silly fun.

That being said, silliness isn't a problem in and of itself. And what we get in Early Man is more adorable than anything else...

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Friday
Nov092018

Posterized: Dr. Seuss and "The Grinch"

by Nathaniel R

The children's book author Dr. Seuss (also known as Theodore S. Geisel) is such an icon part of popular culture that he's even had his own postage stamp. But did you know he was also a screenwriter? In addition to the screenplay of the fantasy family film The 5000 Fingers of Dr T (1953) he wrote the script for the Oscar winning documentary Design for Death (1947) which was a documentary about Japanese and what led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Far outside the wheelhouse that was! But mostly when it comes to the screen when we think of Dr Seuss we think of the once-perennial TV airings of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

 The bulk of screen adaptations of Dr Seuss's work have been in the short film format which makes sense, given the short visual books he wrote. Of the many shorts based on his work the following were all nominated for Oscars: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1943), And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1944), Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950 - OSCAR WIN), and Gerald McBoing! Boing! on Planet Moo (1956). One short based on his work,  Daisy Head Mayzie (1995), was Emmy nominated.

But with the release of The Grinch (2018) today, let's look back on all the feature films (and the three most prominent TV specials) that are Dr Seuss related. How many have you seen and will you be seeing The Grinch? The posters are after the jump...

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Friday
Nov022018

Blueprints: "Coco"

Feliz Día de los Muertos! To celebrate, Jorge looks at how the script for Disney’s “Coco” mixes two languages the same way the movie interconnects cultures.

I’ve written a couple of pieces in this site before about Coco. It was an extremely intimate and touching experience to be able to see my native culture represented to accurately and lovingly. It is a movie that perfectly captures the spirit of Mexicanism, of our fragile and ever-present relationship with death, family, and tradition. 

I saw the movie twice in theaters: once in its original English, and once in its Spanish dub. While I consider the dub to be a better version (but that perhaps has to do with the way I’ve always experienced animated films), the English one made me consider a new aspect of the film: the way it handled Spanish. It’s a movie explicitly set in a different country; one where a different language is spoken (unlike say, Brave). How can the script incorporate this essential cultural element without making it seem unauthentic? It turns out, they do it muy bien.

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