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Entries in animated films (345)

Friday
Oct282016

A "Moana" Sneak Peek with Lin Manuel-Miranda

We're just 25 days from Moana hitting theaters and more fresh looks have been coming. This past week I had the opportunity to see a few scenes and hear Lin-Manuel Miranda speak about the film afterwards. Curiously the scenes they showed us weren't "song scenes" despite the pairing of those two things.

We mostly saw scenes involving Moana herself, voiced by the joyful Auli'i Cravalho, the teenage discovery Disney chose to voice their latest princess. Baby Moana, before Auli'i Cravalho takes over, is just about the cutest thing ever and there's a long scene of her discovering the ocean that is not unlike the adorability of Pixar's wonderful short from earlier this season, Piper, albeit with less fear because Moana is immediately in love with the ocean. 

They also showed us a complicated ocean action sequence that the exuberant Venezuelan animator who hosted the event revealed was inspired by Mad Max Fury Road. Later when Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke we learned that he got the job before Hamilton (!) and when he was composing for Maui the demi-god he used The Rock's wrestling videos, of all things, to get a sense of his vocal range.

I was reminded of that when this new clip emerged very recently featuring The Rock singing in character as the demi-god who accompanies Moana on her journey. (In one of the clips I saw last week we also got a sense of how fun his magical tatoos are, including "Mini-Maui"  who you can meet here for yourself.)

Are you counting down the days? Or are you still a Zootopia or Red Turtle fan for the Oscar?

Monday
Oct242016

Oscar Horrors: "Dr Jekyll and Mr Mouse"

Boo! It's time for "Oscar Horrors". Each night at 7 through Halloween we look back on a horror film or horror-adjacent film's Oscar nomination until Halloween. Here's Nathaniel R...

Here's an odd statistic to consider. Did you know that Tom & Jerry was Oscar's favorite character-based cartoon franchise? The MGM cat and mouse team won seven Oscars in the Best Animated Short category, more than any other series but for Disney's "Silly Symphonies" which also won seven times. Tom & Jerry's very first short was nominated and they won for four consecutive years from 1943-1946 at the peak of their fame.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct242016

APSA Nominations: Lion, Cold of Kalandar, and More

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards has announced its nominations for the film year. The organization is in its 10th year -- and we should note that our own Glenn Dunks works for them behind the scenes. They basically cover the whole continent so that includes Asian countries, Australia, Russia, you name it. Their definition is loose enough that it even covers films with creative teams that qualify even if the film is a co-production made elsewhere. Their nomination procedure is elaborate -- 303 films from 43 countries were in the mix this year -- and whittled down throughout the year. The results are certainly a unique barometer of the region.

Cold of Kalandar, Turkey's Oscar submission, has 3 nominations

The nominations with commentary are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct112016

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...

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Sunday
Oct092016

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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Sunday
Sep112016

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 ...

Monday
Sep052016

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 

Finally
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