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"Now to restore peace, I must find the last dragon. My name is Raya." Disney has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Disney Animation's exciting new action adventure movie Raya and the Last Dragon, being directed by the filmmakers Don Hall (of Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos López Estrada (of Blindspotting, Summertime). In a realm known as Lumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it's going to take trust and teamwork. Featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as the last dragon Sisu, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters starting in March 2021. So far this looks fantastic. Raya even looks like Rey in a few shots in this, seemingly a nod to her character being mistreated in Star Wars and perhaps Disney Animation is making up for that. What a superb teaser - sets up this movie perfectly with a rad score.
"These would not have been the clones that will ever carry your primary consciousness." It's out now! Don Hertzfeldt's latest mind-melting sci-fi short film World of Tomorrow Episode Three is now available to watch online. This final chapter is a continuation of his radical, remarkable World of Tomorrow sci-fi series about a girl named Emily. If you haven't seen any of them, we recommend starting with Episode One and Episode Two before this one. Don explains: "at one point this was going to be in theaters across the country but unfortunately the world had other plans. but i do think there's something so intimate about it that suits it very well for the small screen. may i suggest watching with good headphones?" Hertzfeldt's shorts may have stick figure characters, but they are vastly intelligent, awe-inspiring works that explore existentialism, cloning, consciousness, and much more. This one also has a healthy dose of social commentary baked into it's distant-future story following David. And if you need more convincing, read this glowing review. Enjoy.
"Did you see that?! His head flew off!" Dark Star Pictures has released the official trailer for a homemade animation horror film titled Attack of the Demons, the latest creation from Austin, TX-based animator / filmmaker Eric Power. Direct from a notably well-received festival run (beginning at Cinepocalypse last year), and arriving in theaters this Halloween, the frighteningly-fun animated horror treat just for adults! Described as "South Park meets The Evil Dead" with a "grisly and gorgeous mix of Fulci and puppetry", the film is set in a small Colorado town that is overrun by a legion of mutating demons. Laced with a killer new soundtrack, and featuring the voices of Andreas Petersen, Thomas Petersen, Katie Maguire, as well as Eric Power, Attack of the Demons reanimates the living dead this November (on VOD). While the film's animation style looks rough, it's more of a nod to South Park, and Power clearly put his all into making this.
"The best wolves don't have the sharpest claws or the pointiest teeth, they have the biggest hearts." Viva Pictures has released an official trailer for an animated movie called 100% Wolf, made by an Australian animation filmmaker named Alexs Stadermann (of the hit Maya the Bee Movie previously). This opened in the UK & Australia earlier in the summer, and it's out now in select theaters in the US. For anyone curious. 100% Wolf centers on Freddy Lupin, heir to a proud family line of werewolves. Positive he will become the most fearsome werewolf ever, Freddy is in for a shock when his first "warfing" goes awry, turning him into a ferocious - poodle. Featuring the voices of Loren Gray, Samara Weaving, Jane Lynch, Jai Courtney, and Ilai Swindells. I'm impressed that someone made a werewolf movie for kids, even though it's a bit too on-the-nose with its poodle story. It's also such bland, low grade animation - but kids will probably enjoy it.
"Whoa! It's my life… Can you help me get back?" Disney has released another new full trailer for Pixar's Soul, which is now set for a streaming debut on the Disney+ service starting Christmas Day. They decided to pull the movie from its theatrical release in November, and show it virtually right away. Soul is about a jazz musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself. Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, Tina Fey as "22", Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad, and Ahmir-Khalib Thompson. In addition, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole worked as a cultural consultant on the film, and musician Jon Batiste wrote original jazz songs for it. The previous full-length trailer debuted in March, but this new one is the best of them all (so far). Early reviews from Soul's premiere the London Film Festival have already described the movie as a "profound, inventive and hilarious look at what it means to be alive." I so can't wait to see this. Bravo, Pixar.
"Until the world returns to abnormal…" MGM + United Artists have debuted a brief announcement teaser for The Addams Family 2, revealing that this animated horror comedy sequel will be arriving in theaters during Halloween next year. The sequel to MGM's 2019 box-office smash hit, The Addams Family, this new one has rounded out its stellar voice cast with the additions of Bill Hader as all-new character Cyrus, and Javon "Wanna" Walton taking on the role of the youngest Addams sibling, Pugsley. Hader and Walton join returning Addams Family film stars Charlize Theron (Morticia), Oscar Isaac (Gomez), Chloë Grace Moretz (Wednesday), Nick Kroll (Fester), Bette Midler (Grandma) as well as Snoop Dogg (It). Director Greg Tiernan has also returned for the sequel, which will be released in theaters at the beginning of October in 2021. Who knows if things will even be "back to normal" then anyway? For now, enjoy this tease.
"You're a wolf when you sleep… a girl when you're awake." Apple has released a full-length trailer for the animated feature film titled Wolfwalkers, the latest project from acclaimed Irish animation filmmaker Tomm Moore (of The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) co-directing with concept artist Ross Stewart. In a time of superstition and magic, when wolves are seen as demonic and nature an evil to be tamed, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn, comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack. But when Robyn saves a wild native girl, Mebh, their friendship leads her to discover the world of the Wolfwakers and transform her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy. The voice cast is lead by Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whitaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Tommy Tiernan, Jon Kenny, John Morton, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. This premiered at TIFF and it's absolutely wonderful - I raved about it in my review. I am so excited for this to be out so everyone can discover this heartwarming adventure about wolves and magic.
Gather round and enjoy, friends. This is one of the most beautiful and emotional animated short films of the year. Earth Crisis is a new animated short made by filmmaker Isaiah Saxon set to the music of Dirty Projectors. It's a story about Earth, and what we're (humans) doing to it, and how vitally important it is to nurture and appreciate nature and life (that isn't human) on this planet. Isaiah introduces it: "Hi friends, I miss you. I made a new film about everything I’ve been feeling this year. If you have a moment, please watch." What I love about this short is that it's just gorgeous in every way, filled with love and appreciate for nature and Earth. There's a cute doggie that plays an important part, and so many lovely landscape shots. I also love coming across animation that is so distinct and entirely different than other animation out there. It looks like a combination of stop motion & fabric & paint, but feels real thanks to its color palette. Perfection.
Who doesn't love the beach? Or more aptly, who misses the beach already? Have a gander at this fun short film titled Heatwave, made by a Greek animation filmmaker named Fokion Xenos. This premiered last year and picked up tons of awards playing on the festival circuit, finally online to watch for free thanks to Short of the Week. In the midst of a searing heatwave, two little children find a way to cool everyone down! A playful stop motion short film animated in a hybrid technique between cut out, and claynimation and thousands of replacements pieces. There's a good amount of creative stop-motion filmmaking, from various materials like plastic wrap for the water, to amusing claymation characters galore. 'Heatwave is essentially an ode to the Greek summer of my childhood and every summer since,' Xenos reveals. It's dialogue free, but does feature a nice score by Andreas Gutuen Aaser. Only 7 minutes - this animated film is worth a watch.
One of the very best independent animators / filmmakers making movies right now is Tomm Moore. This isn't even a subjective opinion, it's pretty much just a fact at this point. Moore's third feature film is titled Wolfwalkers, and it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this year. Ohh my it's magnificent. This movie follows his other two underrated, outstanding animated features The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014). Wolfwalkers is actually co-directed by Tomm Moore and his long-time concept artist colleague Ross Stewart (making his directorial debut). It's clear this is the perfect collaboration - almost every frame in Wolfwalkers looks like concept art, with all the characters brought to life by Moore's distinctly gorgeous animation. Plus, of course, it's driven by a lovely story of wolves and women and magic and mother nature.
"Bresson must have really wanted to keep this a secret." Not a secret anymore! GKids has released the full-length official US trailer (with subtitles) for Lupin III: The First, the very first CGI animated Lupin the 3rd movie to be made. It already opened in Japan last year (we featured two trailers) and played at this year's Annecy Film Festival. GKids will finally be giving this animated adventure a theatrical release in the US starting October. The iconic "gentleman thief" Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover secrets in the mysterious Bresson Diary. "The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that have made Lupin the 3rd one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new." Featuring the original voices of Kan'ichi Kurita, Daisuke Namikawa, Miyuki Sawashiro, Kôichi Yamadera, Kôtarô Yoshida, & Kiyoshi Kobayashi. I'm still very excited to see this! Looks like it's going to be sooo much fun to watch.
"Thieving isn't something you do half-heartedly." GKids has released a new US trailer (with subtitles) for Lupin III: The First, the very first CGI animated Lupin the 3rd movie to be made. There have been many various Lupin the 3rd anime movies in the past, along with the series, but this is something entirely new. It already opened in Japan last year (we featured two trailers) and played at this year's Annecy Film Festival. GKids will finally be giving this a theatrical release in the US sometime later this fall. The iconic "gentleman thief" Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary. "The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that have made Lupin the 3rd one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new." Featuring the voices of Kan'ichi Kurita, Daisuke Namikawa, Miyuki Sawashiro, Kôichi Yamadera, Kôtarô Yoshida, & Kiyoshi Kobayashi. Can't wait to watch.