ENJOY THE SHOW
"Their world is about to get a whole lot bigger, and a whole lot louder." Universal has launched the first full-length official trailer for Trolls World Tour, the sequel to DreamWorks Animation's movie musical Trolls from 2016. They bring back the whole cast this time, which features quite a few notable musicians, and embark upon a "world tour" with the little trolls. In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop, and Rock. The voice cast includes J Balvin, Rachel Bloom, Flula Borg, Kelly Clarkson, James Corden, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Gustavo Dudamel, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Ozzy Osbourne, Anderson Paak, Anthony Ramos, Sam Rockwell, Betsy Sodaro, Karan Soni, Kenan Thompson, Charlyne Yi, with George Clinton and Mary J. Blige. Rock on.
"For dogs, happiness is different than it is for humans." There's a truly remarkable, one-of-a-kind dog film premiering at the Annecy Film Festival - the major animation film festival - this week. It's titled Marona's Fantastic Tale, originally titled L'Extraordinaire Voyage de Marona in French, made by Romanian filmmaker Anca Damian (A Very Unsettled Summer, Moon Hotel Kabul) with stunning graphic design by Brecht Evens. The film is about a little dog who, at the end of her life, looks back on her life and tells the story of her various owners. She has loved them all unconditionally, but of course life hasn't always been easy. The film is beautiful not only because it's told from the perspective of a dog, but also thanks to the very trippy, entrancing, imaginative animation style that mixes techniques to create something unique. GKids has already picked up the film for release in the US sometime soon (hopefully this year); in the meantime you can check out this trailer with English subtitles below. To get a sense of how this looks and feels. Enjoy.
"Elsa - the past is not what it seems. You must find the truth. Go north, across the enchanted land and into the unknown…" Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf are all back again. Disney has revealed the next official trailer for the highly anticipated sequel Frozen 2, now written as Frozen II for release (instead of the number). The first movie from 2013 is renowned all over the world and beloved by audiences young and old. This time they venture north into a mysterious foggy forest where they learn the truth about an ancient mystery of their kingdom. Featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, plus Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown; as well as new music from Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. There's still not too much revealed yet, but it does look magical.
"In this twilight of our life, we just went through a gap in the endless flow of time." Cat lovers, this short is for you! The Quintet of the Sunset is a lovely, fabric stop-motion animated short film. This short won the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival - Short Film Corner just last month, which is why it has been given an online premiere right away. Made by Chinese filmmaker / animator Jie Weng, the film is about a woman with five cats each with their own personality; or rather, the five cats take care of her. "With impeccable craft and style, this Chinese animator creates a fantastical world where cats become the characters we’ve always imagined from assassins to superstars. Both playful and poetic, this animated short shifted our perspective and made us fall even more in love with our furry feline friends." A tender little film.
"You talk. You text. You get atomic breath." Don't talk or use your phone in the theater, or Godzilla destroys you!! The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain puts out fun PSA videos almost every week connected with new releases, reminding patrons about their strict No Talking, No Texting policy (which, by the way, rules). Their latest is a Godzilla-themed one, for the release of Mike Dougherty's epic Godzilla: King of the Monsters this past weekend. This one is a bit more unique - they partnered with Cressa Beer and Phoebe Jane Hart, who made a goofy stop-motion short with Godzilla toys. It gets even more meta, as Godzilla is playing with even smaller Godzilla toys. I just think this is creative and funny, plus the animation is superb.
"We're going on a grand and glorious quest!" Disney has debuted the teaser trailer for Pixar's Onward, their next original project that's both written and directed by Dan Scanlon (of Monsters University before this). This new Pixar movie (following Toy Story 4 this summer), out in theaters March of 2020, is set in a "suburban fantasy world" and follows two elf brothers who could not be more unalike. Tom Holland voices Ian Lightfoot, and Chris Pratt voices his brother Barney Lightfoot. The only other voice cast announced so far includes Octavia Spencer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. This is a fun introduction to a story described as Lord of the Rings meets John Hughes. I was not expecting Pixar to get into magical fantasy, but I can dig it.
Playtime with Baymax and Mochi. To promote the launch of their new animated TV series based on Big Hero 6, Disney has been making short films featuring the lovable robot Baymax and the rascal kitty Mochi, owned by Hiro Hamada. You haven't all forgotten about Big Hero 6, have you? One of Disney's big animated movies, originally released in 2014. The animated short set is called Baymax & Mochi, and so far they've released three 90-second short films in total: Flowers and Butterflies, Mochi and his Toy, and Messy Room. They're just too cute to pass up! The three shorts have a lovely watercolor style to them that reminds me of Studio Ghibli's films. I guess they're keeping the Japanese influence strong for this series. Watch all 3 below.
"How many hours of the day do I try to make the body happy." Yet another beautifully painted animated short to enjoy. Agua Viva is the latest hand-painted short film made by animator / filmmaker Alexa Lim Haas. You may recognize her style, as we also posted her short film Glove about an astronaut's glove. Agua Viva premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and also played at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It's now available online to watch. The film is about a Chinese manicurist in Miami who attempts to describe feelings she doesn't have the words for about her days. The voice is provided by Mengda Zhang. It's worth a watch.
"Is that your home?" Universal Pictures + DreamWorks Animation have debuted the first official trailer for their next big animated movie titled Abominable, arriving in theaters this fall. This trailer has already been playing in theaters for a month but has only now finally arrived online. DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio's co-production Abominable takes audiences on an epic 2,000-mile adventure from the streets of Shanghai to the breathtaking Himalayan snowscapes. We've already had one other major animated movie about yetis - Warner Bros' Smallfoot from last year. This movie's story involves a young girl from Shanghai who befriends a yeti and embarks on an adventure to get him home to the mountains. Featuring the voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, plus Tenzing Norgay Trainor. This looks fun, but just a bit too cheesy and incredibly unoriginal. The cute yeti looks & acts a lot like Toothless.
"We have to make sure nothing happens to Forky." Disney + Pixar have unveiled the final official trailer for Toy Story 4, following a bunch of TV spots and trailers over the last few months. Opening in theaters in exactly one month. When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy… Pixar's emotional sequel looks like it builds on the ideas from Toy Story 3, taking us on another journey outside of the home when Forky tries to break free. All the regular voices are back: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kristen Schaal, and Bonnie Hunt, with newcomers Keegan Michael-Key & Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, and Tony Hale as Forky. Pixar doesn't have the best track record with trailers, but I'm still looking forward to this movie. It might just hit all the right notes and be satisfying in unexpected ways.
I genuinely love animation and I always enjoy catching every new animated film, wherever they may come from, however they may be made. I Lost My Body, also known as J'ai perdu mon corps, is a charming new French animated film directed by Jérémy Clapin about a missing hand. This first premiered in the Critics' Week sidebar at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and it's wonderful. Really wonderful. One of the most imaginative, ambitious, and touching animated films of the year - there's no debate. It's unconventional and unique, but so easy to enjoy and fall deeply into, even if it is just a bit creepy at times. I'm so glad I caught this film in Cannes, as it's a smaller one and animation usually gets brushed aside at this festival. But this deserves our attention, and the acclaim, as it's a truly beautiful film and a one-of-a-kind animation creation.
"After you left, I sat by the window every day. Just hoping that one day I'd look out and you'd be there…" Animation is not just a genre, it's a powerful storytelling tool, a technique that any filmmaker can use to bring their story to the screen. Cradle is an exceptional example of the power of storytelling in animation. Written & directed by Devon Manney as his USC thesis project, the short film won the Student Academy Award in 2017. Returning to home after losing both arms overseas, a young veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics, and memories of his pre-war life while reaching for a sense of normalcy. Featuring the voices of Devon Manney, Alexa Nikol Curran, Trevor Larson, & Rosie Richards. Another must watch short.