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Entries in animated films (347)

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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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...

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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?...

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