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Well, this is wonderful. Polaris is an animated short film made by Japanese filmmaker Hikari Toriumi, finishing his 4th year of study at CalArts. This is his 4th year short film in the character animation program, and it's an adorable, heartwarming film about a young polar bear leaving home for the first time, having trouble letting go of her mother. The animation style is unique and simple, but still meaningful and elegant. And the story perfectly captures that feeling of leaving home for college, or wherever, and how much you miss your parents. This film really moved me and made me sad at first, then happy by the end. Watch below.
"If we don't act now…" Take a moment to watch this and think about your own life. This sobering animated short film is about how our daily and weekly routines are the same thing over and over (and over). And yet nothing changes? Only if we can change it ourselves. Life Cycles is a 4-minute animated short directed by Ross Hogg, that won the BAFTA Scotland award for Best Animation in 2017. This short is so effective at making us all see how mundane and repetitive everything in our lives is, and how important it is to shake up that routine. This idea started out as an animated diary, and it eventually became this film which hopefully connects with each viewer in its own way. And maybe, just maybe, it will get you to try something different.
"Titans - you don't actually do anything heroic." Warner Bros has released the full-length official trailer for the big screen, feature version of the "Teen Titans" animated superhero series, titled Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, hitting theaters this July. The movie is a meta-movie, about the Teen Titans being in a movie, with references galore and extra bonus features like musical numbers and big bad villains. The voice cast includes Will Arnett and Kristen Bell, plus Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, Scott Menville as Robin, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Tara Strong as Raven, and Hynden Walch as Starfire, reprising their roles from the series. And is that Nicolas Cage as Superman I hear? I think it is, another perfect reference to the movie-that-never-happened with Cage as Superman. This actually looks super duper entertaining! I want to see it.
"Suit up." Whoa! This trailer is packed with all kinds of awesome footage we haven't seen before. Disney has released a full-length Japanese trailer for Pixar's Incredibles 2, which is known as Incredible Family in Japan (the first movie was titled simply Mr. Incredible or Misutâ inkurediburu in Japanese). Another full theatrical trailer (for America) debuted a few weeks ago and it's a good trailer, but this one is even better! So much going on here. Obviously all the family tension, but there's clearly a big battle with the Underminer in this, who first appears at the end of the original movie. And this trailer also seems to hint at a big plot point involving Elastigirl. Craig T. Nelson is back to voice Bob, with Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sarah Vowell. I can't wait to see this! Looking better and better the more we get to see. And now I kind of wish I could watch with the Japanese dub instead of English, it sounds so much cooler. You have to see this.
"Look, I know what I saw. And I'm going to prove it!" Warner Bros has released the second official trailer for their animated movie Smallfoot, arriving in theaters this fall. This is a new full-length trailer to follow up the first teaser, which didn't exactly have a lot of footage. The story follows a "bright, young" Yeti whose life changes when he discovers something that shouldn't exist—a human. This discovery throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their own snowy village, in a story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery. Channing Tatum stars as the voice of Migo; the cast includes Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, Danny DeVito, Yara Shahidi, Jimmy Tatro, Ely Henry, and LeBron James. This actually does look amusing, and it looks like it will have a good message about accepting others, maybe it will be worth watching after all. Catch the latest Smallfoot trailer below.
"Thus begins the little big brother's fantasy-filled adventure." An official trailer has arrived for animated film Mirai from Japan, the latest work from filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda ("Samurai Champloo", The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast). Mirai is a sort of fairy tale about a young boy who encounters a magical garden which enables him to travel through time and meet his relatives from different eras. He is guided by his younger sister, Mirai, from the future. The film's voice cast includes Haru Kuroki, Moka Kamishiraishi, Gen Hoshino, Kôji Yakusho, Kumiko Asô, and Yoshiko Miyazaki. This is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival next month, and I'm looking forward to seeing it there. The footage in this trailer looks quite lovely, could be something special. Enjoy the first look.
"Suit up, it might get weird." Disney-Pixar have debuted the full theatrical trailer for Brad Bird's superhero sequel The Incredibles 2, which we've been waiting a long time to finally see. And boy does it look like it will be worth the wait. Bird directs once again, and the synopsis only states that it's about Bob navigating "the day-to-day heroics of 'normal' life", allowing him time to bond with Jack-Jack, "whose superpowers are emerging—much to Dad's surprise." Craig T. Nelson is back to voice Bob, with Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sarah Vowell. Most of the story is still a surprise - though this trailer gives us a better look at where the story is going with a new villain revealed at the end. This looks like SO much fun, I really can't wait, I'm glad they're bringing it back with Brad Bird. I've got very high hopes for this, even more now.
"Everyone, friends! Everyone, friends!" GKids has released the US trailer for the extremely cute, Japanese anime musical Lu Over the Wall, which won Grand Prize at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival, and played at the London Film Festival last year. From Japanese anime filmmaker Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, "Devilman: Crybaby"), this "joyously hallucinogenic" film is about a lonely, awkward musician boy in a small Japanese town on the water. One day he meets and befriends a mermaid who loves to dance to the music he creates with his band. This sets off all kinds of problems in the village, where they're afraid that mermaids bring disaster. The voice cast includes Kanon Tani, Shôta Shimoda, Shin'ichi Shinohara, and Akira Emoto. However, the US release is an English dubbed version, for those thinking of seeing this. I caught this film in London and did not like it at all, very messy and incoherent and way too long. Have fun.
"Maybe you'll find your own fireworks on the cruise?" Sony Pictures has debuted a new official trailer for the animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, once again directed by the animation mastermind Genndy Tartakovsky. This series has (apparently) already established a strong fan-base, so this is just continuing the series for them mostly. Hotel Transylvania 3 brings back the "Drac Pack" and his family/squad, this time going on a summer vacation cruise. Drac falls for the "intriguing-yet-dangerous" captain of the ship, but she actually has it out for him. This again featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, and Genndy Tartakovsky. This isn't really for me, but I know it has a big audience. There's some cool monsters and horror riffs in this, worth a look just for those things at least.
"There's one more thing… you can talk to animals." Viva Pictures has debuted a new full-length official US 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! Don't confuse this with the other animated bigfoot movie coming out this year - Smallfoot - which is made by Warner Bros. The voice cast for Son of Bigfoot includes Cinda Adams, Mari Devon, and Kirk Thornton. This really looks really bad, and I always wonder how animation this awful still gets made, because it seems like no one even tried to make a good movie. Oh well.
Saddle up, boys! Time to round up the bad guys. Watch this amusing 4-minute animated short film titled Cowboyland, made by filmmaker David Stumpf as his Bachelor Film at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. This animated short played at the Annecy Festival and Animation Festival Hiroshima in 2016, as well as a few other fests, and it's finally available to watch online for free. The film is described by Stumpf as an "anti-dressage" story about a drunken cowboy sheriff, who is "unable to realize the steed he's trying to ride is actually a child's wooden horse." He animated this short by hand, with pencil and paper, and it took 6 months to complete: 4 months animating, 1 month coloring and scanning, and 1 month of post-production.
"I admired Spots… I would love to have a dog like Spots." Fox Searchlight has released a fun new promo featurette for Wes Anderson's stop-motion animated movie Isle of Dogs, which hits theaters at the end of this month. Every movie records interviews with the cast while on set, to use for promotional purposes later. For this movie, they recorded these interviews with the cast, and then animated their interviews as the dogs they're playing. It's adorable. Anderson explains to Vulture: that after recording spontaneously, "we spent the next several months figuring out how to make those into the cast interviews." Isle of Dogs features the voice of Edward Norton as Rex, along with a huge ensemble: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, and Bob Balaban. I really, really love this film, mostly because it's all about why dogs are the best. Enjoy.