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Entries in animated films (385)

Friday
Jan052018

Producer's Guild Nominations: Wonder Woman is this year's Deadpool

by Nathaniel R

The Producer's Guild, by "virtue" of the fact that they have more nominees than Oscar each year, often get fairly close to "predicting" the Best Picture list. This year they've chosen 11 titles. Recency bias surely helped give Molly's Game a winning hand and the PGA's love of the blockbuster delivered for Wonder Woman which is a good call here since it did help define the year and superhero movies are very much producer events. Last year Deadpool was nominated at the PGA and was the only film to drop off on Oscar nominaiton morning. The other 9 pictures selected are all then looking strong as Best Picture possibilities for the Oscar nominations on January 23rd. Nominations and more commentary after the jump...

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Tuesday
Dec262017

A New Grinch on the Block

Chris here. Perhaps now that Christmas has ended and the holiday afterglow might prevent some from shouting "blasphemy!", it's safe to tell you that next Christmas will bring us a new animated Grinch. This retelling will be coming from Illumination Studios, which turned the minions of Despicable Me into a cash cow - so you can safely expect sturdly box office and cute goofiness. 

The Grinch will be voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose dulcet tones are a fair choice if this film will be chasing the sound of Boris Karloff's original animated narration. Our first peek of the mean green one is above, and while it promises a "meaner" Grinch, he's looking awfully cuddly to me.

Saturday
Dec162017

The 2017 Animated Contenders: "Birdboy: The Forgotten Children"

by Tim Brayton

For the finale of our five-part tour of some of the more obscure films competing for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, we turn to a film that premiered over two years ago, but has only just opened in the U.S. this very weekend: the Spanish psychological horror cartoon Birdboy: The Forgotten Chidlren. The film is based on the comic Psiconautas by Alberto Vázquez, who co-writes and co-directs with Pedro Rivero; it's the duo's second film based on these characters, following the 2011 short Birdman, which serves as the new feature's backstory (the short is available online).

The basic hook here couldn't be any more direct or nasty-minded. This is a silly talking animal film warped into a portrait of the world as bleak, hopeless hell. "Psychological horror," I called it, because I'd be hard pressed to name any better category, but that's not really enough to communicate the sheer, visceral nastiness of this film. It's a mere 76 minutes long, and even that's almost too long to spend with the film's altogether putrescent depiction of a world that has died, with the survivors still tottering around in the corpse of that world, forced to confront some truly cruel moments. Also, they're fuzzy critters.

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Friday
Dec082017

The 2017 Animated Contenders: "In This Corner of the World"

by Tim Brayton

Of the 26 animated features submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for Oscar consideration last month, a respectable five – just the thinnest hair under 20% - came from Japan. Ignoring Oscar eligibility, and throwing Your Name. on the pile (it was a 2016 Oscar hopeful but its commercial U.S. release came this spring), and 2017 has been a pretty fine year for anime in the United States.

Out of all those films, I humbly submit that the best one is In This Corner of the World, director Sunao Katabuchi's adaptation of a 2007-'09 manga series by Fumiyo Kōno. It's actually the story's second cinematic incarnation: in 2011, it was adapted in live-action. I haven't seen that film, but even so, I cannot fathom how it could be anything but a pale echo of the Katabuchi film: In This Corner of the World is an extraordinary triumph of animation as a storytelling vehicle. And this is no less true just because it's telling a mostly realistic story that doesn't "need" to be animated...

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Monday
Dec042017

Annie Nominations Embrace "Coco" and "The Breadwinner"

by Nathaniel R

Coco and The Breadwinner are the top competitors for the Annies (and maybe the Oscars)

The Annie Awards first began handing out prizes in 1992 but weren't quite on a calendar year yet with Beauty and The Beast, a 1991 film, honored in that inaugural year. They've since aligned themselves to the calendar and last year their top prize went to Zootopia, which also took the Oscar. Coco leads their nominations for 2017 and also presumably leads the Oscar race with The Breadwinner the widely admired darkhorse at both. Presumably again as we won't know what the Oscar nominations are until January 23rd. 

Both of the leaders are powerfully rooted in cultural specificity (Mexico and Afghanistan respectively) and are, in their own way, tearjerkers, rather than the more traditionally glib action comedies that tend to be the bread and butter of the animated film world... at least in America.

We'd love to raise a glass to the nominations for the streaming series Trollhunters which we're huge fans of but we'd rather throw the contents of that glass inb Annie's face for preferencing Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 over the insanity of The Lego Batman Movie. If you wanted to honor a sequel, that's really the way you wanna go? The complete list of nominees and a few more comments, cheers, and jeers are after the jump...

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Friday
Dec012017

The 2017 Animated Contenders: "The Big Bad Fox"

by Tim Brayton

If you've been following the Best Animated Feature Oscar for the past few years, perhaps you remember the 2013 nominee Ernest & Celestine, a gentle and generous children's movie from France, about the adventures of a bear and a mouse becoming best friends while on the run from the law. This year, two of that film's producers and one of its directors are back in the hunt with The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, an anthology of stories about the inhabitants of a rural farmyard in France.

The film took a roundabout path to theaters. Based on comic books by Benjamin Renner – the Ernest & Celestine director, back to help usher his material to the screen, with co-director Patrick Imbert and co-writer Jean Regnaud – the three stories were initially intended to be episodes in a TV series. Somewhere along the way, they got promoted to feature film status, with the help of a framework narrative presenting the stories as plays put on by an enthusiastic, barely-competent theater troupe of farm animals.

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