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Entries in animated films (323)

Saturday
Aug062016

Review: The Little Prince

Tim here. It's the end of a long, baffling journey to American audiences for The Little Prince, an English-language French-made animated feature that has been waiting since the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for this moment. A substantial hit in most of the markets where it opened across 2015, the film was scheduled for release in the United States on March 18, 2016, but for reasons still unknown, distributor Paramount got cold feet at the very last minute, and cancelled the release entirely on March 11. A few days later, Netflix rode to the movie's rescue, and now the film has finally started streaming (alongside a perfunctory New York/Los Angeles release to qualify it for awards consideration).

To say that it's been worth the effort is wildly insufficient: The Little Prince turns out to be a wonderfully beguiling, visually inventive animated feature that easily ranks among the year's best...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug032016

New to DVD: April and the Extraordinary World

by Tim Brayton

As even the quickest look at a box office report shows, 2016 has been a great year for the popularity of animated films. But outside of the heavyweight American studio tentpoles, there have been genuine treasures that have still managed to slip through the cracks. Thus it's my pleasure to introduce to you the crackling Franco-Canadian-Belgian sci-fi fantasy April and the Extraordinary World, new to DVD this week, thanks to the endlessly wonderful folks at distributor GKIDS.

The film takes place in an alternate world where Emperor Napoleon III of France died in a lab explosion in 1870, just before our history had him falling from grace in the eyes of the French legislature; here, his son ascends as Napoleon IV and ushers in a bold new era of European diplomacy that manages to prevent both of the 20th Century's World Wars, but also results in an era of scientific stultification, meaning that by 1931, when the film proper begins, the world is still in an age of steam.

Here we meet young April, whose parents are working on a serum to prolong life...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug022016

Doc Corner: Guns, Nuts, and Celluloid at MIFF

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we are looking at three films from the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Nuts!

We will be looking at Keith Maitland’s Tower in the coming weeks, but the current boom of animated documentaries – we also saw Oscar nominated doc short Last Day of Freedom – reaches its most absurd and gleefully entertaining point with Nuts! A ridiculous story that finds a storytelling home in director Penny Lane’s fabulous criss-cross of animation, archival footage, and talking heads.

Like her last film, Our Nixon of which I had some issues, Nuts! highlights Lane’s canny ability to fish fascinating stories out of the archives and is her latest is a significant step forward creatively. Here, she is wise to use the animation technique to recreate the strange life story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley and use it as a leaping off point for some wonderfully inventive renderings of the myths and the true stories about this very weird man who built an empire in the 1920s by conning a swath of men across America that surgically grafting goat’s testicles inside an impotent or infertile man’s scrotum would somehow improve their sexual prowess and to use his ahead-of-his-time knowledge of radio to expand his brand.

More on Nuts!, Oscar possibility Newtown, and A Flickering Truth after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul222016

1977: The Best Animated Short nominees

Tim here. To celebrate the upcoming Supporting Actress Smackdown, 1977 is the year of the month here at the Film Experience. I'd like to take you back to a different Oscar competition from that year, the four-way race for Best Animated Short Film. It was one of the more interesting slates that category has ever seen, which I hasten to clarify isn't the same as calling it one of the best. But it makes for a pretty unique cross-section of the kind of animation being made in North America, with two nominees from the United States and two from Canada, ranging from a purely abstract experiment with the medium to a literal TV show.

We'll start off with the shortest of the nominees, an offbeat little gag called Jimmy the C (on YouTube – that unpleasant little watermark in the center goes away after a minute). In it, recently-inaugurated President Jimmy Carter waxes rhapsodic over his beloved home state by lip-singing to Ray Charles's "Georgia on My Mind", all through the magic of clay animation. I confess myself stumped: what the hell?...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul212016

On this day: Hemingway, Falconetti, Clueless, Dunkirk

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Corey Stoll as Hemingway

1892 Maria Falconetti is born. Delivers one of the best performances ever captured on film thirty-six years later in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
1899 Famous author and real 'character' Ernest Hemingway is born. In addition to his work being made into films and TV miniseries he frequently pops up as a character in cinema played by everyone from Chris O'Donnell (In Love and War) to Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris - robbed of an Oscar nod though we honored him here) and now Dominic West (Genius) ...and that's not even the half of it.
1922 Don Knotts is born. Mugs it up in 70+ film and TV projects including Three's Company, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Andy Griffith Show - 5 Emmy wins for Supporting Actor thereafter until his death in 2006

1948 Steven Demetre Georgiu is born in London. He becomes the famous folk singer Cat Stevens of "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken" fame. Among his many early classics are the songs from the seminal 70s film Harold and Maude (which ridiculously received zero Oscar nominations). Later changes his name to Yusuf Islam and quits music for many years.
1951 Robin Williams is born
1953 Visual FX man John Nelson is born in Detroit. Gets his first FX gig with Terminator 2 (not a bad way to start) and wins the Oscar on his first nomination with Gladiator (2000)
1955 Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr is born. His best known pictures: Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmóniák and The Turin Horse
1957 Jon Lovitz, SNL's "Master Thespian" and comic scene stealer of 90s pictures is born
1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon; Stanley Kubrick is nowhere in the vicinity at the time.
1971 Charlotte Gainsbourg is born to famous parents in London. Later submits herself to perpetual Lars von Trier torments.
1978 Ridiculously fine looking actors Josh Hartnett and Justin Bartha are born
1981 Singer Paloma Faith is born in London. Plays herself in a weirdly unflattering role in Youth (2015)
1989 Juno Temple is born. Specializes in sexually corrupted childwomen.
1992 Jessica Barden is born. 2016's been a breakout year for her via  "Justine," a bloodthirsty prostitute on Penny Dreadful and her role as "Nosebleed Woman" in The Lobster 
1995 Clueless is 21 years old today. It can drink now though it's always given us a contact high. (Please note: IMDb lists the release date as Wednesday the 19th rather than Friday the 21st but Wikipedia disagrees so I don't know.)
2006 Monster House hits theaters. Receives a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Feature but loses to Happy Feet which... recount!

Well, whichever. At least Cars didn't win!

2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows goes to market in book form. Sells 11 million copies on the first day before being split in two in movie form to reap an extra billion at the box office.
2010 Orlando Bloom goes off the market when he secretly marries model Miranda Kerr
2017 Christopher Nolan abandons sci-fi for a WW II drama Dunkirk, which will open in theaters on this day. Guess he really is pissed about being denied a single Oscar nomination for directing. 

Tuesday
Jul192016

Best Shot(s): Disney's "Zootopia"

Each year we throw an animated movie into the mix of our Best Shot season. It's a handy reminder that Best Shot is about more than just camera work and lighting actors and sets but how filmmaking teams choose to tell the stories they're telling. But even if we think of it only as a celebration of cinematography, animated films have been upping their game there, too, famously hiring high profile cinematographers as consultants as CG animation really took over the world in the last 20 years.

Since we're counting on Zootopia,  one of the year's most beloved films, to be one of the nominees (though it's too early to say "frontrunner") for Best Animated Feature we give it pride of place here today now that it's out on BluRay and DVD. My own choice will come tomorrow due to a last minute screening. But please do enjoy these Best Shot articles from around the web today.

ZOOTOPIA
Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush 
Production Design by: David Goetz and Dan Cooper
Lighting: There are over 45 people listed in Zootopia's credits with "lighting" in their title. 

There are so many great things about this film, but it's its world building I'd like to focus on...
-Sorta That Guy 

People say the messaging is too heavy-handed... I would like to introduce you to something called a FABLE!
- Rachel's Reviews 

It's so damn noir... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

Despite how simple and brief, it still manages to be the defining moment of the film...
-Conman at the Movies *new participant*


The film’s lesson of appearances vitally works in both ways...
-Film Mix Tape

Judy and Nick’s arc is great. And for me, it culminates here...
- Storyphile 

I have a lot of feels about this masterwork...
-Anna, Look! *new participant*

 

Next Week's Special Party (Monday-Friday)
1977's Cinematography Nominees. Pick one of the five films and join us. Details here!

Monday
Jul182016

Oscar Chart Updates: Visuals, Sound, Animation & Documentary

Mos of the Oscar charts are now updated but for foreign film and the acting categories. We'll get to them soon enough but otherwise we've finished the July shifts. 

Things to wonder about right at this moment... (discuss in the comments, plz)

• If The Legend of Tarzan can make any headway towards a Costume Design consideration for Ruth Myers since there's so few "showy" period or fantasy costume films this year outside of the many competing works of Colleen Atwood?
• When we will get our first look at images or footage from the WW II drama Allied (with Brad Pitt) or the sci-fi drama Arrival (with Amy Adams)?
• If Florence Foster Jenkins has any strength in it beyond Meryl? (Costumes? Hair and Makeup? Score?)
• If Marvel Studios will finally break through in tech categories (like Batman films sometimes do) or if they'll continue to snag just one or MAX two nominations for their most popular films like Civil War?
• If Fences, The Founder, and Loving, which all take place across roughly the same time period will be too "muted" in terms of visuals to snag craft nominations or if Oscar will love their possibly modest naturalism?
• Why we've heard so little about How to Talk to Girls at Parties release strategy? Is it going to be pushed back?
• Will Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton goodwill get him an Oscar for Moana despite what sounds like strong competition in the song category? 
• If Finding Dory's massive box office haul we'll be enough to edge smaller originals out of the animation race even though they're sometimes stingy with sequels?

NEW CHARTS
INDEXPICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS |
VISUALS | AURALS | ANIMATION & DOCUMENTARY