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"Don't you dare let me go!" Wow - this is one outstanding, breathtaking animated short film. Cloudrise is a beautiful short animated and directed by Denver Jackson of "DJaxx Studio". The story focuses on Miko and Tenku, who fight off invading pirates on their airship, as this takes place in a "fantasy world above the clouds". The short has a kind of Legend of Korra meets Paperman vibe to it, and I'm really making this comparison in a good way, because those are two of my favorite animated creations in recent years. Aside from the stunning home-made animation, this is an excellent example of innovative storytelling, giving us bits and pieces of the story through creative editing and reveals. This is definitely worth your time to watch.
If you saw Disney's animated superhero flick Big Hero 6 last year, then you've already seen the adorable short film that preceded it from the feature's co-head of animation, Patrick Wilson (no, not the actor). Feast was a lovely, charming tale of a Boston terrier named Winston through whom we see various stages of his owner’s life, specifically at meal time. It's a unique perspective for the short story, and it's greatly affecting and moving. Now Disney has released a quick making of featurette that's just over a minute long as to how the story went from storyboard to pre-visualization to final animation. There's even footage of a real Boston terrier used as reference for the animators. We'd love to see more of the process though. Watch now!
As upset as many are that The LEGO Movie didn't get an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Film, and it also lost the Golden Globe, fans of animation should still be happy that a film like DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 2 is still getting plenty of love during awards season. It's a rare worthy sequel that is just as good, if not maybe a little better, than its predecessor with a story that still has a lot of heart, beautiful visuals and a fantastic adventure. And if you're interested in really diving in to how the film was made, a stellar, well-crafted one-hour documentary on the film's production is online. Watch!
If you've been paying attention to movies lately, you know that men are constantly being depicted unfairly as being bumbling idiots or tyrannical villains. When's the last time you saw a movie showing a handsome man as the hero? Meanwhile, women are having all the fun, taking all the meaty roles in Hollywood, winning all the awards, and every single superhero movie out there is taken by a female. Well, this seems to be because of something called "The Frozen Effect," named for the Disney animated film Frozen from 2013 where two sisters take the lead, while the major male roles are relegated to an oafish ice salesman or an awful phony lover. This is a problem, and it's dissected with flawless logic and awareness below. Watch!
Hey animation fans - this one's for you! If you've ever wanted to own an original work from the stop-motion animation studio Laika, this is your one chance. Heritage Auctions is hosting a special Laika auction where they'll be selling off a couple hundred items from the studio, including roughly: 40 maquettes, 40 puppet statues, 100+ concept art pieces, and over 40 of the actual sets used during filming. I was lucky enough to catch an early preview of the show, officially titled "The Art of Laika Studios", which includes pieces from three Oscar nominated movies: Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls from last year.
After calling your attention to the massive LEGO version of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier from The Avengers, we have another cool building block set that will be coming your way eventually. The LEGO Ideas Review Board just met to take a look at the sets that received enough votes to be considered for production as an official LEGO set, and they've announced two new sets that we'll be able to buy. One of them is a "Doctor Who" set, which is cool, but since television isn't our primary focus, we're more excited about the LEGO set that will let us build our own WALL-E from the wonderful Pixar Animation film of the same name. Look!
"If I was a minion, that's who I'd want to work for." Just after getting a good first look at Sandra Bullock's super villain character Scarlet Overkill in the Despicable Me spin-off Minions, a second trailer has arrived showing more of the little yellow guys' adventure. This time our main trio of Minions (Kevin, Stuart and Bob) hitchhike and end up at Villain-Con, the biggest gathering of criminals anywhere, which is perfect for our fellas looking for a new commander. This definitely looks like fun, though it seems like Overkill may be too intense and unpredictable for our minions. But that would explain why they find Gru.
Though we have no indication of when or if a sequel to the 2013 hit animated musical Frozen will actually come together at Disney, we'll get to see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf back on the big screen soon enough. The gang will return in Frozen Fever, a new animated musical short that will be playing in theaters before the live-action adaptation of Cinderella coming on March 13th. And now we have some photos from the short that will have a celebration for Anna's birthday. It probably won't live up to the hype fans have created for more Frozen, but at least this is a theatrical short and not a cheap DVD cash-in or something. Look now!
From the wonderful teaser trailer to the most recent TV spot, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have given us plenty of glimpses at Minions, the animated spin-off of Despicable Me. However, so far we've pretty much only seen the titular little yellow guys in action. But that changes today as we finally get a first look at Scarlet Overkill, the villain voiced by Sandra Bullock, who becomes the minions' new evil boss, before they end up meeting Gru. Director Pierre Coffin says, "Scarlet is an unusual supervillain. She is a dangerously charming woman, which could not have been easy in the late 1960s."
After being stuck in development hell for some time, there's finally a big screen adaptation of The Jetsons in the works, but it won't be live-action as was originally the plan. Instead, the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon will be getting an animated feature film from Warner Bros. Pictures, and the studio has just hired Matt Lieberman, who has scripted a lot of films that are in development at various studios. Since this is an animated adaptation of the cartoon, we're guessing that the plans for a live-action version that somehow involved Kanye West. Honestly, we're a little bummed that we'll probably never get to see that version.
Though DreamWorks Animation just landed an Oscar nomination for How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the Best Animated Film category, the studio still isn't doing so hot. Even though The Croods was a success, other recent releases like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman haven't done as well at the box office as anticipated, resulting in their stock prices dropping and more layoffs happening as the company begins a massive restructuring of their feature animation business. And part of that restructuring includes a plan to only release two films each year now, one original project and one sequel. More below!
Almost a year ago we featured a trailer for a short film called Confusion Through Sand, which was set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The short is hand-drawn on recycled paper, and looks nothing like anything we've ever seen before. Not only that, but the camera movements are amazing. It tells the story of a young soldier "in a hostile desert, scared as hell and trained to react," no doubt referencing the Iraq war. The director tipped me to let me know the short is now available online in full. Suffice it to say, it's a must watch, well worth the wait. One last warning: "this gets loud and intense and may be hard for some people."
There's a chance you might remember an Argentine and Spanish animated foosball film from back in 2013 that was called Futbolin or Metegol. Well, that film got picked up by The Weinstein Company, and they're releasing a dubbed version of the movie featuring an American cast and the new title of Underdogs. Matthew Morrison ("Glee"), singer Ariana Grande, Nicolas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Bell Thorne (Blended), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) and John Leguizamo all lend their voice to the film about two childhood foosball rivals who battle as one finds their home threatened by the other. Watch!
In March, it will have been one year since The LEGO Movie hit theaters and blew everyone away. The hilarious, animated wonder made it on my Top 10 Films of 2014, and we're very interested to see what Phil Lord & Chris Miller are coming up with for The LEGO Movie 2, which they will produce for director Chris McKay, who was the animation co-director on the first film. Considering the wild journey that the third act took us on, many have been curious to see where a sequel will take our LEGO heroes, and even the live-action kid who created their whole world in his mind. Well, Lord & Miller have given us some hints.