ENJOY THE SHOW
"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?
"I feel like I've been in a strange dream." FUNimation has released an official US trailer for the upcoming US release of the Japanese anime hit film Your Name. You've probably heard about this film already, or at least heard the name before. Your Name opened in Japan last August, and went on to become the highest-earning Japanese film ever globally. It made over $230 million in Japan alone, playing in the #1 spot for 13 weeks, making it a sensational success in Japanese cinema. The film is finally about to open in US theaters this spring, and there's a new trailer with subtitles below to watch as an introduction. There is an English-language dubbed version of the film being released, but we always prefer the original version with subtitles. Featuring the voices of Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita and Aoi Yuki. Enjoy.
"In each one of their faces, I see fear." Sometimes brevity is better. This new short film is only two minutes long, but there's so much to it that will take you more than two minutes to think about. Precipicio is made by filmmaker/animator Wendy Eduarte, written by (and featuring the voice of) William Eduarte. The title Precipicio translates simply to "Precipice", which will make more sense once you watch this. The short examines the daily routine of one sick man, at the end of his life. It's a poignant reminder about how short life is, and how we take so much for granted. The animation is lovely, I want to watch more stories like this.
"Help me and I'll invite you to my next party, I swear!" GKids has debuted the first official trailer for an animated film titled My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, which earned rave reviews out of the Toronto and New York Film Festivals last year. The hand-drawn film from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw deals with exactly what the title says - an earthquake causes a high school to float into the sea, where it slowly sinks like a shipwreck. The impressive voice cast includes Jason Schwartzman, Reggie Watts, Lena Dunham, Maya Rudolph, Susan Sarandon, Alex Karpovsky, Louisa Krause, director John Cameron Mitchell, and Matthew Maher. Maybe it's just hearing Schwartzman in a school setting again, but this feels like a twisted mashup between Wes Anderson and Don Hertzfeldt, kind of like that. I'm so in.
"You'll meet artists, scientists, animators, coders, sculptors, all kinds of different people." This is totally wonderful. Khan Academy has partnered with Pixar to launch a new instructional series titled "Pixar in a Box". The idea is to launch an intensive course to teach people how to make computer animated movies like Pixar, teaching the entire process. To announce the series, Pixar made a video that explains step-by-step how they make a movie. It's one of the most exciting and impressive inside looks at the studio that I've ever seen, breaking down every last part of the process. This seriously makes me wish I worked for Pixar, what a dream. But that's the point! They want you to realize that dream can come true, you need to start learning. For now, watch this and discover what it takes to create a feature animated film. There's so much involved.
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was Chinese and made an animated crime drama. That's kind of what Have a Nice Day feels like, in a way. Have a Nice Day (originally titled Hao ji le in Chinese) is a film from director Jian Liu that just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in the main competition line-up. The animation style is closer to "Archer" or A Scanner Darkly, and the film is sort of a Coen Brothers-esque story about a bunch of people in a small Chinese town who get mixed up chasing a bag of money. There are a few minor political themes, but it's fairly light entertainment, with some fun moments and colorful characters. Oddly enough, this film is better than half of what I saw in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, even if isn't that smart.
"Are you ready to risk your life for Ninjago?" Warner Bros has debuted the first full trailer for The LEGO Ninjago Movie, showing in front of The LEGO Batman Movie in theaters this weekend. This latest LEGO Movie from Warner Animation Group tells the story of six young ninjas who must defend their island home called Ninjago. Jackie Chan voices Sensei Wu, their master and teacher. The rest of the voice cast includes Olivia Munn, Dave Franco, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen, and Justin Theroux as the evil Garmadon. This actually looks quite fun, and if it's as good as the other two LEGO Movies, even better. The other exciting news - this will be out in theaters later this year.
Before The LEGO Batman Movie, Chris McKay (of Moral Orel, Robot Chicken) was best known as the animation co-director and editor of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s 2014 film, The LEGO Movie. His work on the critically acclaimed film earned him the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film, Animation, as well as an Annie Award nomination for Best Edited Animation Feature Film. Now, McKay will forever be known as the guy who saved Gotham City’s Caped Crusader from a dark and gritty existence with The LEGO Batman Movie, perhaps the best film based on a DC Comics property since 2008’s The Dark Knight, and maybe the best pure Batman movie since Nolan's Batman Begins (2005).
Need a bit of inspiration today? Need something to take your mind off of the bad things in the world? Watch this. You'll have a big smile by the end. Jorge Luengo Ruiz has put together a fantastic video compilation of "The Most Beautiful Shots in The History of Disney". He features some of the best cinematography and most beautiful moments from Disney movies, ranging from Pinocchio and Fantasia all the way up to Big Hero 6 and Moana from last year. I appreciate that this only uses footage from actual Disney movies, and not Pixar movies (because that would be a video of its own), because they have so many stellar movies.
"You're a weirdo." The Weinstein Company has debuted a new trailer for the animated movie titled Leap!, originally titled Ballerina. The film has already opened in theaters in most of Europe, and is scheduled to open in the US in March. It's actually originally from France, but has been redubbed with English voices, including Elle Fanning as the voice of Félicie Milliner, as well as Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler and Carly Rae Jepsen. The story is about an orphan girl who dreams of being a ballerina. She ends up in Paris where she tries her best to make her dreams come true. We posted the UK trailer for this movie previously, which I said reminds me of Frozen with all the twirling, but this new trailer seems to be better. Take a look.