ENJOY THE MOVIES
"Look at these little nerds, out past their bedtime!" Disney has unveiled the first official trailer for another new adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this time as an animated movie for streaming on Disney+ this fall. Fox already made four (!!) live-action movies based on this book series by Jeff Kinney, starting with the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid from 2010, ending with Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in 2017. This new take features animation that sticks to the style of the books, with stick-figure like characters turned into 3D characters. "Here's what you need to know: don't get the cheese touch!" Greg Heffley is an ambitious kid with an active imagination and big plans to be rich and famous. The problem is that he has to survive middle school first. This new Diary of a Wimpy Kid features the voices of Brady Noon as Greg Heffley, Ethan William Childress as Rowley Jefferson, and Chris Diamantopoulos as Frank Heffley. Directed by an experienced animation veteran, who has directed for "Futurama" and "The Simpsons" in the past. Have fun.
"You ever heard of a league with one dude in it?" Your pets can fight crime, too! Warner Bros also unveiled the first official trailer for the DC League of Super Pets animated movie arriving in 2022 during the DC FanDome event this year. Also known as simply DC Super Pets, it's based on a real spin-off comic series that originally launched in 1962, created by Jerry Siegel and Curt Swan. Superman's dog named Krypto (of course) teams up with other superhero pets to stop crime while Superman is on vacation. He teams up with Batman's dog Ace, Wonder Woman's pig, Green Lantern's squirrel B'dg, and The Flash's turtle Mcsnurtle and teaches them how to harness their new powers, work together, and become the superheroes they were destined to be. Can they defeat a twisted guinea pig named Lulu and save the Justice League and Metropolis from destruction? The main voice cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, and Keanu Reeves as Bruce Wayne(!!). There's not much to this teaser - just a first look for DC fans, but I'm so down for cuddly pets saving the day.
"Time to get bloody… Two dudes, two fates." Hulu has launched a full trailer for the new animated Hulu series called Hit-Monkey, another fairly unknown Marvel character getting his own show. It was initially conceived as part of a shared universe connecting to The Offenders, then it was decided it would be better as a stand-alone series. The teaser arrived a month ago, but this full trailer kicks WAYYY more ass than that first look. Doesn't even matter if he's an "obscure" character, I'm down for this. Marvel's Hit-Monkey series tells the tale of a wronged Japanese snow monkey, mentored by the ghost of an American assassin named Bryce (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), as he cuts a wide swath through the Tokyo underworld. The voice cast includes Olivia Munn, George Takei, Ally Maki, and Nobi Nakanishi. Uh yeah, this looks awesome! The animation looks good and the story seems fun, even though it's crazy dark and kinda weird. Bring it on.
Let's dance? Netflix has revealed a teaser trailer for an animated adventure from Australia titled Back to the Outback, following a group of animals that escape and try to make their way home. This was made by Netflix Animation and Reel FX Creative Studios, arriving on Netflix in December. Tired of being locked in a reptile house where humans gawk at them like they're monsters, a group of Australia's deadliest creatures plot a daring escape from their zoo to the Outback. Leading the group is Maddie (Isla Fisher), a poisonous snake with a heart of gold, who bands together with the self-assured Thorny Devil lizard Zoe (Miranda Tapsell), a lovelorn hairy spider Frank (Guy Pearce), and a sensitive scorpion Nigel (Angus Imrie). But when their nemesis — Pretty Boy (Tim Minchin), a cute but obnoxious koala — unexpectedly joins their escape, Maddie and the gang have no choice but to take him with them. Also featuring the voices of Rachel House, Keith Urban, Celeste Barber, Wayne Knight, Lachlan Ross Power, and Jacki Weaver. This teaser is just a fun introduction to all the characters, but um yeah, I definitely want to see more of this.
"Once a year, the hoomans take the spikiest tree in the woods, put a shiny magic star on top, make a wish, and in the morning… they get anything they want!" Netflix has debuted a full trailer for the stop-motion animated holiday special from Aardman called Robin Robin. It's arriving on Netflix this November just in time for the holiday season. Described as a stop-motion animated "future Christmas classic." Created by its two directors Dan Ojari and Mikey Please, Robin Robin is the endearing story of a robin who is adopted by a family of burglar mice when her egg rolls into a rubbish dump. She sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse, but ends up discovering who she really is. She tries to steal an X-mas star from a hooman home?! Amazing. And maybe she'll get a sandwich, too. The voice cast includes Bronte Carmichael as Robin, plus Adeel Akhtar, Richard E. Grant, and Gillian Anderson. I am soooo looking forward to this! It looks delightfully adorable and quirky, with a dash of nefarious fun.
"Why are my dreams getting worse? What did you do to us?" Adult Swim has unveiled another new official trailer for their animated series Blade Runner: Black Lotus, being directed by two acclaimed "Ghost in the Shell" filmmakers - Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama, working at Sola Digital Arts. This is launching in November this fall streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. Set in 2032, after the events of Shinichirō Watanabe's Blade Runner 2049 short film "Black Out", the series follows a young woman who discovers that she’s actually a replicant, Elle, and is quickly thrust into a dangerous underworld ruled by cruel thugs and the wealthy elite. It will also include other "familiar" characters from the Blade Runner universe, including Doc Badger. The voice cast includes Arisa Shida and Shinshu Fuji (Japanese) / Jessica Henwick and Will Yun Lee (English). This is a solid trailer, copying that 80s sci-fi noir vibe from the original film and sticking with it. I'm curious, especially knowing this series in the hands of two very talented anime directors.
"The sacred bloom traveled – and my dreams traveled with it." RLJE has revealed an official bloody-as-hell red band trailer for the epic fantasy animated action-horror film titled The Spine of Night, one of the most psychedelic, exhilarating, gloriously vibrant creations of the year. This premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, where I first saw it and raved about it (here's my full review). In The Spine of Night, an ultra-violent fantasy epic, ancient dark magic (known as "the bloom") falls into sinister hands and unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. A group of heroes from different eras and cultures must band together in order to defeat it at all costs. This was filmed with real actors and then rotoscoped to create the final look and feel. With the voices of Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, and Joe Manganiello. I wrote in my review that this is an "instant cult classic, find-it-on-VHS-anywhere-you-can-at-whichever-video-store-stocks-it, extra gnarly, mind-melting sensation." A must watch!! Dive in.
"A slug doesn't move any faster than a peeing scout." How's that for an opener? Here's another gorgeous looking hand-made short film to enjoy. Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty Miles a Day is an animated short made by Belgian animation filmmaker Mathieu Georis. It won the the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at the 2021 Ottawa International Animation Festival just recently, and is being featured on Vimeo's site. The short is about the time when Mathieu was in the Boy Scouts and couldn't pee in front of the other boys. It's a tale about a slug and a scout. "Using an arduous, but gorgeous glass painting technique, Georis juxtaposes a personal story of his time in the Boy Scouts against evocative monochrome colors to build place, time, and subtext." The original French title is Un Kilomètre à Pied, which translates directly to One Kilometer on Foot. Ha. The colors in this are stunning, and the animation makes it more than worth 10 mins of your time.
"You'll learn more in the woods, from trees and rocks, then any other place." GKids has unveiled an official trailer for a must-have Blu-ray box set arriving December - Cartoon Saloon's Irish Folklore Trilogy. The limited-edition Irish Folklore Trilogy set features the exclusive Blu-ray presentation of the spellbinding Wolfwalkers, as well as animatics + bonus features for the films never released before in North America. Director Tomm Moore has crafted three of the finest animated films ever made: The Secret of the Kells, Song of the Sea, and Wolfwalkers. This deluxe set is presented in beautiful, environmentally friendly packaging that reflects each film's loving depiction of the natural world, and the art includes an original illustration by Cartoon Saloon. Also included is an illuminating 2,000 word essay by film critic Andy Crump about the lauded animation studio Cartoon Saloon, the origins and creation of these incredible films, and their role in the world of animation and the world at large. I adore each of these features and I am so glad they're finally available together like this!! If you haven't seen them yet, all three are must see works of art.
Humanity. What have we become? What is real anymore? This mesmerizing short film explores this idea in only three minutes. Pile is an experimental animated short film created by an animation filmmaker named Toby Auberg, also known as "Toberg", who finished this project last year after two years of work putting it together on his own. "Simple to complex. Concrete to abstract. Dirt to clouds. Real to unreal." The short follows a diorama from the bottom all the way up, showing humanity's progress - both good and bad. Over the course of making it, the project "shifted into a piece more about abstraction and a map of overlapping contrasts in the human condition, such as the directions of history, economic stratification, the hierarchy of needs, infrastructure, etc." I'm in awe of how much is going on - layer upon layer upon later. Worth a watch.
"I work alone!" Animortal Studio has revealed an official UK trailer for a totally gnarly, crazy badass stop-motion action horror film called Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires, written & directed by animator Mike Mort. This originally premiered in 2018 at the Annecy Film Festival (where I first saw it) and at the Sitges Film Festival, but has never been released since then. Which is a shame because this film rocks! A full-on, R-rated, guts & gore, stop-motion 80s throwback. Set in 1986, the film follows a cop named "Chuck Steel", who must fight off forces of evil when a scourge of Trampires – a mutated hybrid of vampire and tramp – start to take over the city. The film's voice cast includes director Mike Mort as Chuck Steel, along with Jennifer Saunders, Paul Whitehouse, Dan Russell, Jonnie Fiori, and Samantha Coughlan. I've been waiting for this to get a release so I can rave about it and tell everyone to watch! It's only opening in the UK initially this fall, but hopefully not long after in the US. Keep an eye out for it! Don't miss this one.
"We're the warriors from the great prophecy!" Netflix has launched the full-length official trailer for the new animation series titled Maya and the Three, the latest creation from acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Jorge R. Gutiérrez (of The Book of Life), who is also well known on Twitter as @mexopolis. We featured the first teaser a few weeks ago, and even though this is a series it's worth a watch anyway. "An Animated Event Told in 9 Chapters." In a mythical world, where magic is real and four kingdoms rule, there lives a brave and rebellious warrior princess named Maya. Maya embarks on a thrilling quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy but can she defeat the gods and save humankind? The series' full voice cast features Zoe Saldaña, Gabriel Iglesias, Allen Maldonado, Stephanie Beatriz, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Alfred Molina, Kate del Castillo, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Rosie Perez, Queen Latifah, Sandra Equihua, Wyclef Jean, Isabela Merced, Chelsea Rendon, Joaquín Cosío, Carlos Alazraqui, Eric Bauza, plus Rita Moreno. Hell yes, this looks fantastic! Love the look of it and how badass it seems, along with all the Mayan culture in every last frame.