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Entries in animated films (165)

Thursday
Mar272014

The Story of Noah's Duck

Tim here. Tomorrow, Darren Aronofsky’s longstanding passion project Noah finally opens, continuing the unexpected trend which has found 2014 turning the Year the Biblical Epic Came Back (what with Son of God in February, and Ridley Scott’s Exodus set for December). Compared to a lot of the A-list Bible stories, Noah and his ark haven’t been seen in the movies too terribly often, but there have been filmed versions of the tale stretching back at least to 1928, when Michael Curtiz directed a part-talkie version that contrasted the traditional story with a tale of soldiers in World War I (I haven’t seen it, but it sounds kind of terribly amazing).

But the whole history of Noah movies would be too daunting to talk about in one short post, so I’m just going to focus my energies on the last time that a major studio turned their attention to the story. As good luck would have it, this was a Disney cartoon: the “Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4” segment from Fantasia 2000, in which the story of Noah was turned, rather weirdly, into a slapstick vehicle for Donald Duck...

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Wednesday
Mar192014

Dinner with... Joel & Clementine & Link Roundups

November 19th, 2003. Dinner at Kang's again. Are we like those poor couples you feel sorry for in restaurants. Are we the dining dead?"

How did i forget this shot of Joel playing with his food. Food product smiley faces forever

I will definitely be 'the dining dead' tonight... slowly chewing on my food from the same restaurant I always order from. I can already feel the numbness kicking in. Long day. Best to send you off running to other blogs. 

Eat Links Instead
New Now Next is hosting a funny daily March Madness tournament for the "Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time" - I voted already but some of these face/offs are striking, silly, and super. I had to use a lot of "s" so pronounced tha sentence with a sibilant s please. 
YouTube the new Maleficent trailer - same as the one we covered extensively but for more of Elle Fanning and a backstory about Maleficent's wings (!) I am even more intrigued now but I wish movies would save surprises for the theater 
Gawker Landmark theaters invites you to bring your child to see Nymphomaniac Pt. 1. LOL (Hey, it'd be healthier for them than those slasher movies I always see parents dragging their kids into)

Buzzfeed not so insane fan theory about the interconnectivity of Disney kingdoms in Frozen, The Little Mermaidand Tangled. This is trippier than anything Chris Nolan ever dreamed up
The Playlist in addition to just being a mediocre actor Aaron Johnson is also a fussy one and didn't want to have white hair as Quicksilver thus further ruining the character for me in Avengers: Age of Ultron 
The Wrap Tilda Swinton and Barkhad Abdi join Bill Hader and Brie Larson in Judd Apatow's comedy Trainwreck  

Eternal Linkshine
If you aren't yet sick of the 10th anniversary party after all those Best Shots here...
Huffington Post talks to Kate Winset about her memories of the film
Cine Munch for those of you who have more creative energy for a dinner tonight or tomorrow this new blog offers menus and recipes to go along with great movies like this one . Complete with a drink: The Blue Ruin Mind Eraser with my favorite: Curaçao
People Mag 20 elusive facts about the movie - I didn't know a lot of these

Tuesday
Mar182014

New Pixar sequels announced, one more incredible than the other

Disney announced today that Pixar has more sequels in the pipeline after Finding Dory in 2016. For our sins, one of them is Cars 3, because as long as the company can make the GDP of several small nations by selling Lightning McQueen lunchboxes, there's no compelling reason to stop making Cars films, apparently. The good news is that Cars 2 probably sets the bar low enough that the next film in the franchise ought to be able to blast right over it without much trouble.

By far the better news, though, is that the studio is also gearing up for The Incredibles 2, a sequel to the one Pixar film that seems rich with possibilites to have its plot expanded upon. And Brad Bird is on hand to write the screenplay, at least, which is pretty much the only thing they had to say to keep me, for one, more than a little optimistic.

No dates are announced, but the studio has a full slate through Thanksgiving, 2016, so we likely have a solid three years of alternating hopefulness with troubling stories about last-minute director replacements or more.

Anyone besides me genuinely excited for The Incredibles 2? Can anyone muster up something even a little nice to say about Cars 3?

Thursday
Mar132014

Women's History Month: On the master animator Lotte Reiniger

Tim here, contributing to our ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month with a look at one of the truly pioneering artists in the history of animation. And Lotte Reiniger isn’t important simply because she was a woman in a medium that has done such a good job over the years at remaining a boys club. The work she did, silhouette animation based on the shadow puppet theater of East Asia, remains as unique in the 2010s as when she created it over 40-year career beginning in Germany in the 20s, and she created, largely by herself, the first entirely animated feature that still exists (at least two Argentinean films from the 1910s are now lost), eleven years before Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Puts a little bit of added context to that company’s half-proud attempt to declare themselves progressive because, in 2013, they finally hired a female co-director for one of their projects with Frozen.

That film was The Adventures of Prince Achmed, which remains one of the easiest of Reiniger’s projects to see, thanks to a full restoration in the late 1990s. It’s a basic riff on themes from the Arabian Nights – a wicked magician, a brave prince with a flying horse, a couple of helpless women to be rescued – almost hopelessly square and hokey in its embrace of every fantasy adventure cliché you could dream up. But then, the point was never really about the story. The point was things like this:

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Friday
Mar072014

Going way back with Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Tim here. This week, the latest attempt to kick off a new franchise through the magic of misplaced brand recognition finds DreamWorks Animation hoping to reverse their crawling economic slump of the past couple of years with Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Seriously, what nightmarishly mis-aimed board meeting thought that one up? Giving a coat of CGI paint to a ‘60s TV cartoon beloved in such a way that nobody within the target audience has ever heard of it, and nobody with pre-existing affection for it is going to have anything but open contempt for the basic idea.  If they were that hell-bent on “talking animal and kid travel through time”, they could have just, I don’t know, made it about a supercilious iguana and a little girl, and saved themselves the cost of getting the rights.

But here we are, with the latest in a long line of remakes that simultaneously gloss up, flatten, and embalm an old classic that needs none of those thing. I assume nobody can afford to still be upset over that sort of thing, or else how would you be able to get up in the morning?

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