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Review: Laika's 'Kubo & the Two Strings' is Animated Film of the Year

Kubo and the Two Strings

"If you must blink, do it now." Those words told in voiceover kickstart Kubo and the Two Strings, the latest effort from Laika, the stop-motion,animation studio that has brought us Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls. They are a production company whose films have blended majestic visuals with thoughtful, heartfelt stories resonating effortlessly with one another to deliver impressive works of cinematic art. Kubo is their strongest work to date, a powerful story at its core with some of the most magnificent animation bringing it to visual life. Easily a strong, early contender for animated film of the year, Kubo takes adventure storytelling as well as stop-motion animation to stirring, new heights raising the bar even higher

 Posted August 20 in Animation, Review | Comments

Support Hand-Made Films - Go See Laika's 'Kubo and the Two Strings'

Kubo and the Two Strings

"Be bold. Be brave. Be epic." That's one of the taglines for this movie, but it could also easily be the motto of Laika, the animation studio that created this excellent animated adventure. Kubo and the Two Strings is now playing in theaters and it's a must see. Please, go see this movie in theaters while you can, and enjoy the heck out of it. Please go see it because stop-motion animation needs all the love and support it can get nowadays, especially in the form of tickets purchased to see this beautiful work of art in theaters. It's all hand-made, animated and painted and created by hand (in Portland, Oregon), and it's wonderful. I really can't recommend it enough and I'm very happy to go out of my way to write an entire post about seeing this.

 Posted August 19 in Animation, Discuss, Feat | Comments

Review: Raunchy, Hilarious 'Sausage Party' Crosses Every Line Possible

Sausage Party Review

Sausage Party is offensive. It doesn't just cross the line. It gleefully tramples all over the line, recklessly abandoning any and all boundaries to which a film may adhere, let alone an animated film. Sausage Party is also hilarious. Neither of these claims are surprising to anyone who knows anything about the people behind the film, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The content of their 2014 comedy, The Interview, created so much worldwide backlash the film was dropped on torrent sites illegally via hackers; then pulled from its original, theatrical release; and released directly to Netflix. The pair is no stranger to controversy and may even seek it out. Regardless, the team serves its audience well, and the comedy found in Sausage Party is uproarious if you're able to even stomach it. At least fruits and vegetables can't hack computers.

 Posted August 11 in Animation, Review | Comments

Watch: Animated Short Film 'Glove' About a NASA Astronaut's Glove

Glove Short Film

"It'll still float on…" Now this is creative filmmaking at its finest. Inspired by a random throwaway shot in a NASA documentary about the Apollo missions, Alexa Haas and Bernardo Britto decided to make a short film about an astronaut's glove somehow came loose and went floating into the abyss of space. The short film is titled Glove and it features hand-painted animation by Alexa Haas, telling a wondrous story of the life of this glove. I saw this at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, as it played in front of the film Operation Avalanche, which is pretty much perfect pairing. My only complaint is that I hate the looping of the final shot at the credits - once or twice was enough. Other than that, this is so much fun to watch. Enjoy.

 Posted August 11 in Animation, Short Film, To Watch | Comments

Extended TV Spot Revealed for Disney Animation's Musical 'Moana'

Disney's Moana Extended TV Spot

"Let's save the world!" Disney debuted a new extended TV spot for the musical Moana during their Rio Olympics coverage. This musical is the latest from Disney Animation and co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker (of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog) and is an adventure about a kick ass Hawaiian princess named Moana. We also finally get a good look at the big villain, the Lava Witch, who seems pretty gnarly in this. Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana, and the rest of the cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Phillipa Soo, Temuera Morrison, and Jemaine Clement. So this looks like it might actually be really good, with lots going on in the story. What are those coconut monsters?!

 Posted August 7 in Animation, To Watch, TV Spots | Comments

Explore Kubo's Realm in Interactive Map for 'Kubo and the Two Strings'

Kubo and the Two Strings

"Sun Village is the true heart of the Vastlands." Focus Features has released a very cool interactive video on YouTube for the upcoming release of Laika's stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings. I still think this looks amazing and I can't wait to see it, plus it's refreshing to see completely original content made with such passionate attention-to-detail. They've created an interactive map which allows anyone to explore Kubo's realm and the different locations in the story. It's always a great challenge to sell an entirely original movie in a market of mostly remakes/reboots, but I'm more than happy to support this film and remind people that it will be in theaters in just a few weeks. We've featured a grand total of four trailers for this one so far, but if you want to learn more about the story and the world it takes place in, check this out.

 Posted August 7 in Animation, To Watch, Viral | Comments

Third Trailer for Animated 'Storks' Movie Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Storks Trailer

Your family is your flock and your flock is your family. Warner Bros has debuted another new trailer for the animated Storks movie, co-directed by Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland. The story follows a young human girl named Tulip who works in the stork delivery company, which has become a .com delivery giant after moving on from delivering babies. Until one shows up and they have to figure out how to get it back to its family. The voice cast features Andy Samberg as the voice of Junior, as well as Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Key and Peele, plus Katie Crown as Tulip. This new trailer also features the song "Kiss the Sky" by Jason Derulo, which is thematically connected to the film. I'm not sure if this will be any good, but hopefully it will have some funny moments and that might make it enjoyable. Have a look.

 Posted August 2 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Trailer for Animated Version of Moebius and Jodorowsky's 'The Incal'

The Incal

"Here I was staring at it - the origin of everything." This is awesome! Animator Pascal Blais has whipped up a trailer for an adaptation of Moebius & Jodorowsky's graphic novel 'The Incal', published between 1981 and 2014. Blais brought together artists who helped make the original Heavy Metal movie, which featured a few sequences based on Moebius' work, to make this project. It's not an actual production but rather just a passion project and Blais finally polished a few bits and released the trailer online. I wish they were really planning to release the full film, because I would pay to watch this in a heartbeat. Not only is it cool to see some of the animation in this, but it seems like a fun and exciting story to see especially nowadays. Dive in.

 Posted August 1 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Amusing Second Trailer for Chris McKay's 'The LEGO Batman Movie'

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer

"Life doesn't give you seatbelts!" Warner Bros has debuted the new trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie that first premiered at Comic-Con during their Hall H presentation. This sequel to The LEGO Movie from 2014 focuses purely on Batman, obviously, and his various cohorts and associates. The voice cast includes Will Arnett returning as Batman / Bruce, as well as Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Michael Cera as Robin, and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker. The first trailer dropped a few months ago, but this one is much better with more jokes and a bit more action. This has the same feel as The LEGO Movie, and that's a good thing as they need to stick with what Lord & Miller came up with. Have fun.

 Posted July 23 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Must Watch: One Final Hilarious Red Band Trailer for 'Sausage Party'

Sausage Party Red Band

"As soon as your out those doors, the gods kill our ass-ages." Sony has released one final red band trailer for Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon's R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party, which premiered at SXSW and also played at Comic-Con this week. We've been featuring trailers and footage from this all summer, and thankfully it will be arriving in theaters in just a few weeks. The huge voice cast features Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, David Krumholtz and others. Ethan Anderton wrote on Twitter after the Comic-Con screening that it's "positively insane, raunchy to the max, and absolutely hilarious".

 Posted July 22 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

New International Trailer for Disney Animation's Next Musical 'Moana'

Disney's Moana Trailer

Adorable! Disney has released an international teaser trailer for the musical Moana, the latest from Disney Animation and co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker (of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog). The trailer doesn't feature any dialogue, instead it shows an early scene from the film where a very young Moana learns that she has the power to control the ocean, specifically the water. I love the shot with the turtle swimming by. Auli'i Cravalho voices Princess Moana, and the rest of the cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Phillipa Soo. If you want to see more footage, go back and watch the teaser trailer or wait until the next full-length trailer debuts - hopefully soon. Until then, enjoy.

 Posted July 20 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Check Out This Celtic Culture Inspired Animated Short Film 'Drone'

Drone Short Film

This is an impressive little animated short film that should make you happy by the end. Drone is made by students from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Scotland. Set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland "when machines have taken over the cities and mankind has retreated to the forests", a young woman hunting for animals encounters an automated drone and figures out how to fight back. There's some refreshing optimism in this film, and it's inspired by Celtic culture. Not only does it reminds me of Studio Ghibli films, but there's a bit of Rey from The Force Awakens found in the main character. Worth a watch.

 Posted July 11 in Animation, Short Film, To Watch | Comments

Watch: Extended 4-Min Trailer for Illumination's Holiday Musical 'Sing'

Sing Trailer

"If I had a voice in Meena's, I'd be a superstar by now!" Universal has released a brand new extended 4-minute trailer for Illumination's latest animated movie titled Sing, a musical about a singing competition hosted by an ambitious Koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey. This trailer has much of the same footage from the first trailer, but spends more time introducing the various characters who make it into the competition. Many of them are misfits and the movie seems to play up the idea that some of the best musicians are hidden in society and must be given the chance to express themselves. It could be enjoyable, lots of songs used in it. The cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly. Arrives in theaters Christmas week.

 Posted July 7 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Discover the Adventure in a Fourth 'Kubo and the Two Strings' Trailer

Kubo and the Two Strings

"Do you ever say anything encouraging…?" "I encourage you not to die." Focus Features has released yet another new trailer for Laika's stop-motion animated adventure titled Kubo and the Two Strings, which arrives in theaters this August. Yes, this is the fourth official trailer. Do we really need another one after three other gorgeous trailers? Not really, but why not, if it makes more people excited to see this movie. Art Parkinson voices Kubo, and the full voice cast includes Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa & George Takei. I'm still crazy excited to see this, I think it looks awesome, and I'm counting down the days until it arrives in theaters. Fire it up below.

 Posted July 6 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

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