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"We should never give up on our dreams." Gaumont and Entertainment One have debuted a full UK trailer for the French animated film Ballerina, about a young red-headed orphan girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina in Paris in the late 1800s. The English-language version of the film features Elle Fanning as the voice of Félicie Milliner, as well as Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler and Carly Rae Jepsen providing other voices. This doesn't compare to Disney or Pixar, but it does have its charms and it does have a fiercely passionate inspirational side to it. If anything, this reminds me a bit of Frozen with all the dancing around and spinning. The story seems to be a bit cliched, but maybe there's something more to this hidden within.
"Thrills! Chills! Adventure!" It's here! It's finally here! You may have heard buzz, or seen images, from this amazing animated Indiana Jones film that has been in the works for a while from Dutch animator Patrick Schoenmaker. Titled The Adventures of Indiana Jones, this brief "short film" is designed to be an introduction to an Indy animated series (that Patrick hopes to one day create). For now it's just a wonderful 90-second adventure with Indy and Short Round and all his old friends, and it's so much fun. The animation in particular is impressive, and Patrick says it took him a long time to replicate the look of Harrison Ford as Indy. This plays more like the opening intro to the series, instead of one complete story, but I still enjoy it, covering many of his past moments. Here's hoping this inspires more fan-made Indiana Jones adventures.
"A magnificent, one-of-a-kind animated film." Sony Pictures Classics has debuted a brand new US trailer for the animated film The Red Turtle, directed by Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit with help from Isao Takahta at Studio Ghibli - they also co-produced. This beautiful film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where I fell in love with it and wrote a glowing review. There's no dialogue at all, but it has a tremendous score by Laurent Perez Del Mar. It tells a simple story of a man who washes up on a desert island trying to escape, but every time he tries to a red turtle thwarts his efforts. It becomes a very moving metaphor for the cycle of life, and this trailer shows more of where it goes in the second half. My quote from my Cannes review appears in this trailer and I'm very happy to support this wonderful animated film. Enjoy.
An extravagant singing competition brings many different creatures of all kinds together in the animated musical Sing, one of the biggest question marks of this year's Toronto Film Festival. However, it turned out to be an enormous surprise once the closing credits started rolling. It's a huge crowd-pleaser and the best family film since Disney's Zootopia, blending a traditional underdog story with gorgeous animation and of course tons of fun. Sing is also the latest endeavor from Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio responsible for Minions, Despicable Me and this year's The Secret Life of Pets. The company is certainly growing with each new project and Sing could be the breakthrough that makes them a household name.
"An insane level of continuous action!" They're back! Years ago while attending Fantastic Fest one year, I was introduced to the brilliance that is A Town Called Panic - a Belgian animated series about the crazy antics of Cowboy and Indian. After one full-length film, Cowboy and Indian are back in two new short films, titled Christmas Panic and Back to School Panic. Both of these are packaged together in a 60 minute screening event and will be shown in theaters during the first annual Art House Theater Day coming up later this month (September 24th). If you've never seen this series before, you can start with these and then go back and watch the rest of everything related to A Town Called Panic. Or if you already know all about this series, then jump right in and find out what trouble these two goofballs found themselves in this time.
"The ocean is a friend of mine." Disney has debuted the full trailer for the musical Moana, to follow-up the extended teaser that arrived during the Olympics. 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 get a better look at the big villain, the Lava Witch, in this new trailer. Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana, and the the cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Phillipa Soo, Temuera Morrison and Jemaine Clement. This looks like it might actually be really quite wonderful, Disney is back at the top of their game. Have fun.
"Happiness is inside of all of us, sometimes you just need someone to help you find it." DreamWorks Anim has released a new full-length trailer for their next movie, Trolls, in theaters starting this November. While this is based on the funky little toys you used to collect as kids, it's also a musical about finding happiness and your "true colors". Featuring original music from Justin Timberlake, the film stars the voice talent of Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Gwen Stefani and many more. This new trailer briefly goes behind-the-scenes with some shots of Kendrick and Timberlake talking about music and bringing this story to life. This looks quite lovely.
"You know, that wagon used to be your dad's. What say we take it out for a spin?" Well, now this is just wonderful. Brandon Oldenburg has made a short film called Taking Flight that is inspired by the life and heritage of Antonio Pasin, the Italian inventor of the Radio Flyer wagon. The short tells the story of a boy named Tony who spends the day with his grandpa Nonno and ends up going on an unexpected adventure. There's a really beautiful blend of animation styles in this, along with some lovely music to top it off. This reminds me a bit of that movie Radio Flyer from my youth, where two kids build a Radio Flyer wagon that actually flies. This is also just an outstanding original short worth five minutes of your time to watch. Enjoy.
"You could taste the energy of a group thrilled to be together, on an island that doesn’t exist anywhere else." By now you should've already seen Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings, as the film has been playing in theaters for a few weeks and we've been singing its praises ever since. In honor of the release, Universal partnered with a filmmaker network called "The Smalls" and brought a group of animators to their studio in Portland, Oregon. After visiting and getting a look at their process, these four filmmakers put together their own short films inspired by Kubo and the Two Strings and they're wonderful (hosted by Little White Lies). Beyond just being impressive creations of their own, it's exciting to see how one of the year's best movies is inspiring people in different ways. This movie is seriously stellar and this should be yet another push to go see it if you haven't already (or to go see it again, because why not!). Check out the shorts embedded below.
"That nutty old man is my father." GKids has debuted a trailer for the animated film called Miss Hokusai, which opened in Japan in 2015 and played at numerous film festivals last year. The film is about the life and works of Japanese artist and ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai, also known as Tetsuzo, as seen from the eyes of his daughter, Katsushika O-Ei. You all know his work because Hokusai painted the very famous piece known as "The Great Wave off Kanagawa". The voice cast includes Anne Watanabe as O-Ei, Yutaka Matsushige as Hokusai, plus Kumiko Asô, Gaku Hamada and Kengo Kôra. Not only is it cool to see a story about Hokusai, but it's lovely to see it told from the perspective of his daughter, who was dedicated to making sure her father could produce this art. I love catching up with animated films like this. Take a look.
"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
"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.