ENJOY THE SHOW
"In the beginning there was faith that the egg was the start of all life. Then came reason that the egg must have come from a great chicken." So what came first: the chicken or the egg? The eternal, unanswerable question finally gets addressed in this amusing, wacky short film titled Time Chicken. This claymation short was written, directed and animated by Nick Black, who made it over two years using Canon DSLRs and handmade sets from various objects he found. It's a totally wacky but incredibly enjoyable short film, that does have touches of "Robot Chicken", but still feels like something original. You just need to watch and enjoy because while it might seem odd, it's so much fun and will make you laugh. Plus it's under 6 minutes.
"Just for tonight… I'm a witch." Studio Ponoc out of Japan has released a second full-length trailer for their new animated adventure Mary and the Witch's Flower. This film is receiving quite a bit of attention because it's the first major feature made by a bunch of former Studio Ghibli animators who moved over to work at Studio Ponoc, which is the spiritual successor to Ghibli. And from this trailer, you can definitely see how this looks/feels very much like a Ghibli movie. It has cats and magic and cool fantasy elements. The best way to describe it might be a mashup of The Secret World of Arrietty and Castle in the Sky, but this is still has its own unique story. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, with music by Takatsugu Muramatsu, based on "The Little Broomstick" by Mary Stewart. It tells the story of a girl who discovers a broomstick and goes to a witches school only to learn that animals are being kept in cages. Still no US release date set yet.
"This year the wildest legend of all comes to life." Studiocanal UK has unveiled a very short teaser trailer for an animated film titled The Son of Bigfoot, produced by StudioCanal in France, and animated by nWave Pictures in Belgium. The film is aimed towards younger kids and families, and is about a boy who goes "on an epic and daring quest to uncover the mystery behind his long-lost dad, only to find out that he is none other than the legendary Bigfoot." Surprise! The voice cast hasn't been revealed yet, even though this teaser does include one voice. We've seen some low-budget horror films based around bigfoot recently (like Exists or Willow Creek), but it's interesting to see a goofy, family-friendly take on the furry forest monster. Enjoy.
Another one-of-a-kind animated short film to watch. Alike is an animated short film from Spain directed by Daniel Martínez Lara & Rafa Cano Méndez. The short is about a father trying to teach his son how to live a unique life, only to realize how much society drains our creativity and originality. This reminds me a bit of Disney's short film Inner Workings, which played before Moana last year. What I love about this short film is the simplicity of it - there's no dialogue, it's all about these two characters, but it has so much to say, and it's easy to pick up on all of that. Most importantly, this reminds us that we should listen to our hearts.
"Lost house. Lost home. Lost island. Disappearing on the horizon." Another unique animated short film to feature this week. The Ballad of Holland Island House is a short film told from the perspective a home in the Chesapeake Bay, telling the true story of the last house on a sinking island. The animation technique is an innovative mix of claymation and traditional cel animation, utilizing a thin layer of oil-based clay that is painted/altered by hand to create the illusion of movement. It's beautiful to watch, and the story of the house being sung as a ballad makes this feel even more enchanting. This reminds me of the hand-painted film Loving Vincent, which is still due sometime this year. Very nice work from filmmaker Lynn Tomlinson.
Take the kids! Take your friends! Take your whole family! Bring everyone you can to see these movies on the big screen. Fathom Events and GKids have announced a new screening series this summer. Starting in June, Fathom will screen one classic Studio Ghibli movie every month, for the next six months. Yay! They'll be showing six different Ghibli movies (the best of the best) in total, in both subtitled and dubbed versions, on screens all across the country (so you don't have to drive 6 hours away just to see them - or maybe you will anyway). The first movie will be Hayao Miyazaki's original animated classic My Neighbor Totoro (first released in 1988), which will be shown on Sunday, June 25th, and Monday, June 26th. More info below.
"Hello. I'm looking for God. Is this where he lives?" This wonderfully whimsical animated short will most definitely boggle your mind, or at least make you question everything. Wednesday with Goddard is a short film made by Canadian artist/filmmaker Nicolas Ménard. It's hard to describe this film, because it's a very abstract and yet thoroughly entertaining little short featuring lovely pencil drawings and charming animation. But it's also best to just watch and try and make sense of it yourself. I'm also pretty sure the "Goddard" in the title is not a reference to filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Even if it is confusing, the moment I watched this I was in love with it and wanted to share it with everyone else, so dive right in. Enjoy this short.
"It seems like from the moment you're born, people think they got you all figured out." 20th Century Fox has debuted the first teaser trailer for the new animated film from Blue Sky Studios, titled Ferdinand. The story is about a bull from Spain named Ferdinand, who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights is in the middle of the bull ring. In what might turn out to be perfect casting, John Cena voices Ferdinand the bull. The rest of the voice cast includes Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant, Anthony Anderson, Flula Borg, Jerrod Carmichael, Boris Kodjoe, and Raúl Esparza. This might be better than expected, that intro about being different than what people see really got me. As goofy as the character design looks, I've got a good feeling about this.
"You are now the amazing Captain Underpants!!" 20th Century Fox has unveiled an official trailer for the animated Captain Underpants movie, titled in full - Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. This is based on the very popular books by Dav Pilkey about two mischievous kids who hypnotize their mean elementary school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants. Kevin Hart voices George, and Thomas Middleditch voices Harold, with Ed Helms voicing their principal. Also featuring Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal. As fun as this looks in a few scenes, DreamWorks tends to focus too much on the goofy comedy, and not enough on the story or characters. I'm sure it will be good for kids, but this doesn't seem like the big hit of the summer.
"You lot are really putting me off!" Huzzah, Aardman is back! It's time to journey back in time to meet the "Early Man" in this new stop-motion animated adventure from Aardman Animation. Early Man is the latest movie from Aardman, telling the story of how an early cave man and his friend, a wild boar named Hognob, unites his tribe against the mighty Bronze Age in a battle to beat them at their own game. The voice cast features Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Maisie Williams. I wish this trailer showed some of the story, but it's still an amusing teaser and fun introduction. I'm looking forward to seeing more footage.
"I can't wait to meet my brother!" Universal has debuted a second trailer for Illumination Entertainment's next sequel to Despicable Me, titled just Despicable Me 3. The story brings back the lovable villain Gru (and his minions) for another misadventure, this time involving his long lost twin brother Dru (who is also voiced by Steve Carell). Dru wasn't revealed in the first trailer, but he finally is introduced in this one. The full voice cast includes Kristen Wiig returning as Lucy Wilde, along with Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Michael Beattie, Dana Gaier, plus also "South Park's" Trey Parker as the stuck-in-the-80s supervillain Balthazar Bratt. This doesn't look any better than it did in the first trailer, but have fun anyway.
"It's like a workout for more eyeballs." Sony Pictures has revealed another new trailer for the CGI animated reboot of The Smurfs movie, titled Smurfs: The Lost Village. This one feels much more similar to the cartoon than those live-action hybrid movies a few years ago. With the release a month away, this trailer is packed with colorful, flashy footage of the Smurfs latest adventure. The plot seems to be about the Smurfs discovering a village of other female Smurfs, including one with a bow & arrow, which is an interesting twist on the usually tame Smurfs story. The Lost Village features the voices of Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf, Rainn Wilson as Gargamel, Joe Manganiello as Hefty, Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Jack McBrayer as Clumsy, + Danny Pudi as Brainy. As fun as this looks, I'm honestly not planning to see it. What about you?