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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

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Entries in animated films (328)


Doc Corner: American Crime Stories in 'Tower' and 'The Witness' 

Consider this: half a century ago, among the first people in the modern history to be shot and killed by a mass gunman at an American school included a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, a Latino teenage delivery boy, and a father of six. These people and fourteen more were all victims of Charles Whitman who, after murdering his mother and his wife, took a collection of rifles and ammunition to the 27th floor of the main tower building at the University of Texas in Austin and for 96 minutes fired at anybody who moved on the ground below.

Now, consider this: after 49 years of guns being banned on campus, the state of Texas’ 2015 “open carry” laws mean anybody just like Whitman could walk onto the same space today that once saw so much blood spilled and who could argue? It seems absolutely baffling that the cite of what it known as America’s first mass school shooting is now going backwards in time along with the rest of the state (and the country?). How quickly some forget the people they pay lip service towards wanting to protect.

So it is appropriate then that Tower should come along to try and remind us of the tragedies of before and, however indirectly, the absurdities of today...

Click to read more ...


NYFF: "My Entire High School..." & "Yourself and Yours"

Here’s Manuel with two more dispatches from the New York Film Festival

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
And the winner of most literal title at this year’s fest goes to: My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. For that is precisely what happens in Dash Shaw’s diverting and visually stunning film...

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TIFF Animated Wonders: The Red Turtle & My Life as a Courgette

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

In the American landscape of animated features, barring extremely rare indies like Anomalisa, it's always safe to refer to animated films as "a genre" even though it technically isn't one. But you always know the type of film you're going to get. Some of them are magnificent, but even those play safely in-line with expectations: family friendly, cute and colorful, noisy/busy for short attention spans, funny. So long as you meet those four expectations you're allowed to color outside the lines of the actual governing genre (adventure/comedy) used by animation studios and draw from other genres like musicals, fantasy pictures, and horror so long as the horror is cute-grotesque (think Tim Burton's forays into the genre or all of Laika pictures).

For the forseeable future, though, we'll have to keep looking abroad for an understanding of animation as a film medium (what it actually is), capable of telling any type of story that might spring from any kind of genre. Festivals that program animated films are wise. They're often beautiful counterprogramming to more typical art fare. On the first day of the festival I caught two of them, both of which are aiming for Oscar love...

Click to read more ...


007/11 Links

Radar Daniel Craig offered $150 million to continue to play 007 twice more. That's rich but the James Bond franchise is worth billions
Billboard Barbra Streisand gets her eleventh #1 album with "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway" further cementing her lead as the women with the most #1 albums (Madonna is a distant second). Her first #1 album was in 1964. Talk about staying power.
The Guardian Carrie Fisher on getting older and the new doc about her and her mother

Shadowplay isn't as taken with It Follows as most critics were
In Contention will Moonlight be another Oscar player for A24? I'm seeing this tomorrow. Can't wait.
Film Mixtape a lovely review of Little Men
Awards Daily five Oscar takeaways from Telluride Film Festival from Rooney Mara in Best Actress to Arrival's iffy prospects
AV Club Stanley Tucci not up for reprising his Devil Wears Prada role. Curious. That's exactly what he did in Burlesque.
Vulture knitwear as MVP of The Light Between Oceans 
Rachel Wagner surveys the rest of the animated films opening this year 

Congratulations to Taiwanese superstar Shu Qi who just married longtime rumored boyfriend actor/director Stephen Fung. You've seen Shu Qi in several movies no doubt (including recent critical darling The Assassin) but if Stephen Fung doesn't sound quite as familiar think back. The Hong Kong star was one half of the central romance in LGBT classic Bishonen (1998) as the jaded gigolo who falls for a beautiful young cop (played by Daniel Wu, currently starring on AMC's Into the Badlands). Shu Qi was also in that movie (if I recall correctly as Wu's unaware girlfriend?) so the pair go way back... though it should be noted that they have stated that their romance is only four years old. Fung recently directed and co-starred in the Tai Chi Hero movies.

Next up for the pair? Shu Qi's remake of My Best Friend's Wedding (in the Julia Roberts role of course) is making the rounds now and Stephen Fung's next directorial feature The Adventurers is in preproduction starring Andy Lau, Jean Reno, and you guessed it... Shu Qi


The Link Of...

THR got the first look at Fences. Photos of Denzel, Viola and Stephen McKinley Henderson
Awards Daily surveys the rave reviews for Nocturnal Animals 
Playbill there's another musical about the life of Tennessee Williams on the way. The developmental concert is when I'm away at TIFF argh.

• /Film Riz Ahmed sees his Rogue One action figure for the first time (he's so skinny & British -- it's freaking me out a little post The Night Of...!)
Coming Soon Tom Holland visits a children's hospital dressed as Spider-Man
AV Club interviews Rob Reiner about his well loved filmography
MNPP if you live in NYC please note that there's a Paul Verhoeven retrospective coming in November to celebrate the release of Elle. Naturally Showgirls and the other Hollywood films will be accounted for but so will his Dutch offerings. Can't wait to see Turkish Delight finally with Rutger Hauer!
EW Tyler Hoechlin talks about becoming Superman for the CW's Supergirl
Fusion crunched the numbers on the ballots for the BBC 100 greatest of the 21st century list to come up with an all female directors ranking. I'm a little stunned, given that ultra specific scenario that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is so low on the list (only #59) and Bright Star can't even manage the top 20 (tied for #21)
•... the original list icymi 

Los Angeles Times powerful op ed from Gabrielle Union about sexual consent, rape culture, Nate Parker, and Birth of a Nation. She plays a rape victim in his film
Variety Mark Ruffalo responds to the criticism of the casting of Matt Bomer as a trans woman in his new project. "Please have a little compassion. We are all learning" oh Jesus. Is Hollywood in so much of a bubble that they're still years behind everyone else? I find this hard to believe especially for the politically actives types like Ruffalo so it's hard to have compassion for people purposefully benefitting from the status quo.

Just For Fun
Vice analyzes the exact amount of banter in the photo of those Eton schoolboys about to meet Putin. I LOL'ed and LOL'ed. Bloody well done 

Video o' the Day
Check out this neat montage celebrating Stop-Motion in film - it's very short and due to that it gets to our lifetimes way too quickly but it still brought back so many fun movie memories. 

THE EVOLUTION OF STOP-MOTION from Vugar Efendi on Vimeo.


Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  
Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5
Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

Click to read more ...


Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

This article was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Kubo and the Two Strings begins with Kubo's mother, navigating treacherous waves by slicing them in half with one melodramatic strum on her magical shamisen. The instrument has three strings, not two, but the title can wait. It's time to watch. Kubo's (Art Parkinson) narration warns us to do so closely.

"If you must blink, do it now."

That's a handy if redundant warning because who is going to blink during a Laika movie? The animated studio reliably crafts spectacularly intricate stop motion (with some CG boosting). When Kubo's mother splits the waves desperate to save the baby in her boat, it was hard not to think of Moses, twice over, both a babe in on the water and an ocean-parter.

Religiously suggestive folklore with magic turns out to be perfect fit for Laika because they always bring the eye popping images and movie magic...

Click to read more ...