ENJOY THE SHOW
"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.
Sausage Party is offensive. It doesn't just cross the line. It gleefully tramples all over the line, recklessly abandoning any and all boundaries to which a film may adhere, let alone an animated film. Sausage Party is also hilarious. Neither of these claims are surprising to anyone who knows anything about the people behind the film, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The content of their 2014 comedy, The Interview, created so much worldwide backlash the film was dropped on torrent sites illegally via hackers; then pulled from its original, theatrical release; and released directly to Netflix. The pair is no stranger to controversy and may even seek it out. Regardless, the team serves its audience well, and the comedy found in Sausage Party is uproarious if you're able to even stomach it. At least fruits and vegetables can't hack computers.
"It'll still float on…" Now this is creative filmmaking at its finest. Inspired by a random throwaway shot in a NASA documentary about the Apollo missions, Alexa Haas and Bernardo Britto decided to make a short film about an astronaut's glove somehow came loose and went floating into the abyss of space. The short film is titled Glove and it features hand-painted animation by Alexa Haas, telling a wondrous story of the life of this glove. I saw this at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, as it played in front of the film Operation Avalanche, which is pretty much perfect pairing. My only complaint is that I hate the looping of the final shot at the credits - once or twice was enough. Other than that, this is so much fun to watch. Enjoy.
"Let's save the world!" Disney debuted a new extended TV spot for the musical Moana during their Rio Olympics coverage. 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 finally get a good look at the big villain, the Lava Witch, who seems pretty gnarly in this. Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana, and the rest of the cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Phillipa Soo, Temuera Morrison, and Jemaine Clement. So this looks like it might actually be really good, with lots going on in the story. What are those coconut monsters?!
"Sun Village is the true heart of the Vastlands." Focus Features has released a very cool interactive video on YouTube for the upcoming release of Laika's stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings. I still think this looks amazing and I can't wait to see it, plus it's refreshing to see completely original content made with such passionate attention-to-detail. They've created an interactive map which allows anyone to explore Kubo's realm and the different locations in the story. It's always a great challenge to sell an entirely original movie in a market of mostly remakes/reboots, but I'm more than happy to support this film and remind people that it will be in theaters in just a few weeks. We've featured a grand total of four trailers for this one so far, but if you want to learn more about the story and the world it takes place in, check this out.
Your family is your flock and your flock is your family. Warner Bros has debuted another new trailer for the animated Storks movie, co-directed by Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland. The story follows a young human girl named Tulip who works in the stork delivery company, which has become a .com delivery giant after moving on from delivering babies. Until one shows up and they have to figure out how to get it back to its family. The voice cast features Andy Samberg as the voice of Junior, as well as Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Key and Peele, plus Katie Crown as Tulip. This new trailer also features the song "Kiss the Sky" by Jason Derulo, which is thematically connected to the film. I'm not sure if this will be any good, but hopefully it will have some funny moments and that might make it enjoyable. Have a look.
"Here I was staring at it - the origin of everything." This is awesome! Animator Pascal Blais has whipped up a trailer for an adaptation of Moebius & Jodorowsky's graphic novel 'The Incal', published between 1981 and 2014. Blais brought together artists who helped make the original Heavy Metal movie, which featured a few sequences based on Moebius' work, to make this project. It's not an actual production but rather just a passion project and Blais finally polished a few bits and released the trailer online. I wish they were really planning to release the full film, because I would pay to watch this in a heartbeat. Not only is it cool to see some of the animation in this, but it seems like a fun and exciting story to see especially nowadays. Dive in.
"Life doesn't give you seatbelts!" Warner Bros has debuted the new trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie that first premiered at Comic-Con during their Hall H presentation. This sequel to The LEGO Movie from 2014 focuses purely on Batman, obviously, and his various cohorts and associates. The voice cast includes Will Arnett returning as Batman / Bruce, as well as Ralph Fiennes, Mariah Carey, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Michael Cera as Robin, and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker. The first trailer dropped a few months ago, but this one is much better with more jokes and a bit more action. This has the same feel as The LEGO Movie, and that's a good thing as they need to stick with what Lord & Miller came up with. Have fun.
"As soon as your out those doors, the gods kill our ass-ages." Sony has released one final red band trailer for Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon's R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party, which premiered at SXSW and also played at Comic-Con this week. We've been featuring trailers and footage from this all summer, and thankfully it will be arriving in theaters in just a few weeks. The huge voice cast features Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, David Krumholtz and others. Ethan Anderton wrote on Twitter after the Comic-Con screening that it's "positively insane, raunchy to the max, and absolutely hilarious".