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Entries in animated films (326)

Sunday
Aug212016

Ben-Who? Weekend Box Office

The name "Ben-Hur" wasn't enough of a brand on its own to lure moviegoers to theaters this weekend for the remake. My guess: Those who know of Ben-Hur love the 1959 version too much to care about a 2016 version. I have zero desire to see it so if you dared the movie theater this weekend to do so, tell me this: did any of the 1925 sensuality or the 1959 homoeroticism survive in the 2016 version. Or is this just all antiseptic generic blockbuster action mode? 

Ben Hur in 1959, 2016, and 1925If you didn't see Ben-Hur, what did you see? Did you like it? More after the jump including the fate of Kubo and the Two Strings and the best thing I saw this weekend...

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Sunday
Aug142016

Review: Sausage Party

Tim here. You can't deny that Sausage Party does what it promises. It's a not-quite-parody and not-quite-satire of the Pixar-style premise of a secret world where inanimate objects have an elaborate culture unseen by humans. In this case, it's the life of a supermarket with Seth Rogen as the voice of a heroic hot dog and Kristen Wiig as the hot dog bun he loves. To this, add in a bunch of curse words and outlandishly filthy sex talk, and you've got a solid 70% of the movie.  It's not mine to say whether this is good or bad: there's no point in telling people that what they're laughing at isn't funny, and Sausage Party's audience undoubtedly knows itself.

That audience would be anybody who has loved writers Rogen & Evan Goldberg's previous forays into sex-obsessed philosophy hiding in a thick cloud of pot smoke: Superbad, The Interview, or especially This Is the End, the duo's film that Sausage Party most closely resembles. The 30% that's not cartoon characters saying raunchy things is an extension of that film's agnostic theological commentary, and not even a necessarily bad one. [More...]

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Sunday
Aug072016

Box Office Special: When Films are Bigger Abroad...

What did you see this weekend?

Let's ignore Suicide Squad's big box office weekend (read Lynn's review here) as that story is overworked already given the months of hoopla on the internet and the expected fact of a very big weekend (that's what happens with much-hyped superhero films). Instead for the weekend box office column, let's talk about a situation that occurs each year in terms of different preferences in blockbusters around the globe. Those differences sometimes go a long way in explaining why some franchises never die (Hello, Ice Age) even long past their natural expiration dates. Though Finding Dory has easily topped the domestic charts in the US to become 2016's champ, it couldn't reach the global power of Captain America: Civil War (#1), Zootopia (#2) or The Jungle Book (#3) worldwide. Taste and success do vary across borders.

Stephen Chow's "The Mermaid" is the 7th biggest hit of 2016... but it did only $3 million in the US

After the jump let's look at the titles from 2016 with less than a third of their treasure chests coming from the US (currently the biggest film market though China will reportedly surpass us soon). What can we learn from this list?

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Sunday
Aug072016

Seventeen (Links) Again

Variety TCA Awards announced with top honors going to The People vs OJ Simpson, Black-ish, The Americans, Mr Robot all of which enjoyed big Emmy nominations and Crazy Ex Girlfriend which did not. GRRRR
TheaterMania Nina Arianda talks Florence Foster Jenkins (I just saw the movie and she's bliss to watch in it, so lively)
• The Observer Thelma Adams on John Waters restored Multiple Maniacs
Broadway.com Glenn Close might be reviving Sunset Boulevard on Broadway
The Film Stage Martin Scorsese says Silence will be ready for release this year as planned. (But that means Paramount has 4 major titles to juggle this Oscar season.)


Interview talks to Little Men breakout Michael Barbieri who's already lined up two major projects afterwards
i09 Deadpool 2 will take aim at superhero sequels in its jokey fourth wall breaking

Controversies
• Nerds of Color Why is the Kubo and the Two Strings cast, set entirely in Japan, so white? Good question. And why on Earth is Rooney Mara doing this again after being raked over the coals for taking Tiger Lily in Pan? I asked it about the also totally Asian Guardian Brothers which as an all white star voice cast (Kidman/Streep/etcetera) despite being about Chinese legends and people got mad at me, as if animated films should have different rules and it's okay because everyone does it. It's not okay. Stars with huge bank accounts need to stop accepting these roles, they have innumerable other ways to make a quick buck. It just looks bad for everyone. Animated studios need to stop doing this. The voice talent is not the stars of animation, it's the animation itself. ACCEPT YOUR STRENGTHS. Big ups to Disney who cast racially appropriate actors for Big Hero 6 and Moana, trusting the material was there and you don't need big movie star names on posters when their faces never appear in the film.
After Ellen this is some bullshit - Delta Airlines edited the kisses between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara out of Todd Haynes' Carol
• Slate good piece on understanding angry conspiracy theory behavior via angry Suicide Squad defenders
• Slate another interesting piece on what's wrong with numbers based movie review systems
• Comics Alliance Cara Delevigne proves she has complete ignorance about modern film criticism when she announces that they just don't like superhero movies. Oh, Cara. no. They just don't like yours. If anything critics are too easy on superhero movies which usually win pretty favorable review percentages.

ALSO from Tonga. And one of 11 out male athletes at the gamesOlympic Fever
• Broadway.com 5 random Broadway talents that should be Olympic sports
The New Yorker "Olympic Events I would win if they existed"  
Towleroad on that Tongan flagbearer 
Outsports a record number of out LGBT athletes are at the Olympics this year. Most are women, two of which are even married to each other.
Outsports None of the male out athletes are from the US begging the question - why don't American male athletes come out? The out men are from the UK, Tonga, New Zealand, Brazil, Finland and The Netherlands.

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...

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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...

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