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Review: Sony's 'Across the Spider-Verse' Reinvents Visual Storytelling
"Everyone keeps telling me how my story is supposed to go. Nah. I'm-a do my own thing." Yes, Miles, you tell them. This line is the key to Miles entire story – be you, stay true to you, don't let anyone tell you how to be, break the rules, define your own life your way. So let's get into this… In all honesty, what more can I say about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse that hasn't already been said in 1000s of other glowing reviews of this animated masterpiece? (Read this one by our writer.) I only wish to chime in and state, for the record, that yes indeed I also think it's a brilliant, spectacular, mind-blowing film. Is it better than the first Into the Spider-Verse – which I also consider a masterpiece? I'm not sure I can say that yet, it's hard to compare them at this moment, much like it's hard to compare the original Star Wars trilogy. I love all three of those movies, and some days I'm in A New Hope mood, other days I'm in an Empire mood, sometimes I'm in an Ewok mood, etc. For now, I'll say they're on par with each other and I don't even mind calling both of them masterpieces. And the trilogy ain't even finished yet - there's still Beyond the Spider-Verse up next.
Miyazaki's Film 'How Do You Live?' Opening Without Any Trailer/Info
Some very intriguing news this week for those anxiously awaiting the brand new Hayao Miyazaki-directed animated film titled How Do You Live? Even though Miyazaki-san "officially" went into retirement after finishing his "final" film The Wind Rises back in 2013, he came out of retirement to make another feature. He's one of these artists who just can't stop creating, who just can't stop telling stories, no matter how old he is (Miyazaki is currently 82 years old). How Do You Live? is finished, and finally ready to debut, but they're not going to promote it the usual way. Studio Ghibli has confirmed that the film will open first in Japan on July 14th, 2023 this summer – however, it will be released without any trailer, any images, or any official synopsis, only one vague poster. Yes, seriously. This is a remarkably bold, unprecedented marketing move for any studio worldwide. Of course, Ghibli can (and will) pull this off because they're already beloved. More than anything, this makes me more excited to see what he's been (quietly) cooking up these past few years.
› Posted on June 5 in Animation, Foreign Films, Movie News | Comments
Review: 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' is an Animated Work of Art
Regardless of the reasons, whenever I miss a new release, I still try to look at the situation from a positive perspective anyway. In 2018, I couldn't catch Sony Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on its opening weekend. With the incessant amount of new movies that year, as well as the "hurry" to comment that the world of film criticism insists on, I ended up postponing it until it would be time for the inevitable sequel. Well, the day has finally arrived – now playing in theaters is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the first of two parts that will complete the epic journey of Brookyln's Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Both movies got a tremendously positive reception, with many ranking them as the best film adaptations of the Webslinger's story. Usually, out-of-the-theater reactions are to be taken with a grain of salt – we've all had that heightened enthusiasm only to later, after taking time to process it, offer a more accurate opinion of what we really think & feel – but the truth is that the Spider-Verse saga deserves this hyperbolic praise.
Watch: Adorable Animated Short 'Cassini' - A NASA Probe Mini Ballet
Space - the final frontier… This adorable animated short film called Cassini is a must watch - coming in just under 4 minutes. We missed this when it first launched back in 2021, made during the early days of the pandemic while in lockdown. "This is a four minute animated film based on the Cassini-Huygens space probe mission. The impetus for the short began in 2017 when I was weirdly touched by the news that the probe had run out of time after 20 years in space and was programmed to commit suicide by dive-bombing into Saturn's rings." It's a parable about loneliness, exploration, and perseverance. And reminds me of the wonderful doc Good Night Oppy. Director Nate Milton states: "Even though it's based on true events, it's really more of a spiritual film about the Cassini." Hope everyone is as moved by this space probe as he was.
› Posted on June 1 in Animation, Short Film, To Watch | Comments
Watch: Surreal, Extra Wild Hand-Drawn Animated Short 'Soft Animals'
So this is what happens when two wild animals encounter each other. Soft Animals is an animated short made by filmmaker Renee Zhan. It's online to watch after showing at festivals 2021. Zhan's intro explains it all: "The film is about two people who bump into each other at a train station and all kinds of strange, unexpected, and powerful feelings bubble up to the surface. It's about the animal / body part of us which is boiling away underneath the awkward banality of small talk. I really wanted to capture that feeling… when you see someone and the rational brain side of you remember all the bad dumb shit, but the inside soft animal BODY part of you is experiencing something completely different and just wants to cuddle up and go to sleep together." With the voices of Paul Panting & Joanna Ruiz, plus lots of weird sounds / creatures.
› Posted on May 31 in Animation, Short Film, To Watch | Comments
Full Trailer for 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem' Movie
"We can't stop him!" "We gotta try!" Yes! This looks incredible! Paramount has revealed the full trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, landing in theaters everywhere this August. This is the third time they've tried to reboot this classic franchise, following other animated series and even a live-action hybrid CGI attempt (see here) before this. The Turtle brothers as they work to earn the love of New York City while facing down an army of mutants (with nod to The Secret of the Ooze - oh hell yes ahahaha!!). It's produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Weaver for Nickelodeon Animation. The massive TMNT voice cast in this features Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Nicolas Cantu, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Natasia Demetriou, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Brady Noon, with Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Maya Rudolph. I am SO THERE! I had no idea I would be so super mega excited for another TMNT movie, but here we are! Mainly thanks to the animation style and the young Turtle characters - just perfect. Cannot wait to watch in August.
› Posted on May 31 in Animation, To Watch, Trailer | 5 Comments
French Animated Film 'Nina And The Hedgehog's Secret' Promo Trailer
"Nobody will stop me from saving him!" A festival promo trailer has premiered for an indie animated film made in France called Nina And The Hedgehog's Secret, also known as Nina et le Secret du Hérisson in French. It's screening in a few weeks at the Annecy Film Festival in France, hence why this new trailer is debuting just before its unveiling at the fest. The adorable animated feature is about a young girl on a rescue mission and her hedgehog friend who helps motivate her. Another reminder to discover the classic animated film Hedgehog in the Fog. Nina's life turned upside down since her father lost his job in a factory following embezzlement made by the foreman. With her friend, she embarks on a life-saving quest which leads to the discovery of a hidden treasure in the factory. With the voices of Guillaume Canet and Audrey Tautou. It looks charming and cute, but the voice performances and script seem pretty bad - from what it's this trailer.
Watch: Awesomely Dark Animated Short 'Mr. Pete & the Iron Horse'
This is awesome!! Another excellent creation from the ingenious minds at the Swiss animation studio known as YK Animation, based in Bern. Mr. Pete & the Iron Horse is one of their latest short films - created and directed by Swiss animation filmmaker Kilian Vilim. This originally premiered in 2021 and played at many film festivals over the last two years - finally available online to watch. Stop what you're doing and click play below! The diligent soldier Mr. Pete does everything to meet the high standards of his baroness. To satisfy her insatiable lust for speed he shovels madly on her new iron horse. It's a parable about authoritarianism, mainly about soldiers and workers who fall in line and mindlessly work for their master. It's a nod to Nazis, but also about many things happening now around the world. The ending is just right. A must watch short.
› Posted on May 29 in Animation, Short Film, To Watch | Comments
First Teaser Trailer for Animated 'Skull Island' Kong Series from Netflix
"Welcome back to his island." The next chapter of the Monsterverse begins. Netflix has revealed a teaser trailer for an anime series called Skull Island, set within the same Legendary Monsterverse as the Kong: Skull Island movie a few years ago. This looks rad! Skull Island is a thrilling adventure series that follows a group of good-hearted explorers who fish a drowning girl out of the ocean, having no idea that they’ve found themselves on a collision course with Skull Island — the most dangerous place on Earth — the mysterious home to strange beasts and terrifying monsters, including the greatest titan of them all: Kong. They end up shipwrecked on the island and will battle its many gnarly creatures. The voice cast includes Nicolas Cantu, Mae Whitman, Darren Barnet, Benjamin Bratt, and Betty Gilpin. It's set after the movie, and looks like a fun creation acting as a standalone survival story. We're still waiting for the epic Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire sequel to land in theaters next year. This will be streaming on Netflix this summer. Fire it up.
DreamWorks Animation's 'Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken' Trailer #2
"You have powers beyond your imagination!" DreamWorks Animation has debuted a second trailer for upcoming surprise summer movie called Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, opening in theaters this June after The Little Mermaid. This summer, DWA dives into the turbulent waters of high school with a hilarious, heartfelt action comedy about a shy teen who discovers she's a royal member of the mythical sea krakens and that her destiny, in the depths of the oceans, is bigger than she ever dreamed. Lana Condor stars as the voice of Ruby, a 16-year-old desperate to fit in at Oceanside High, who confronts a beautiful, popular new girl that just happens to be a mermaid. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken features an extraordinary cast that includes Emmy winner Colman Domingo as Ruby's supportive dad, Sam Richardson as Ruby's enthusiastic uncle, and Blue Chapman as Ruby’s cool little brother, plus the voices of Toni Collette, Jaboukie Young-White, Annie Murphy, Will Forte, Nicole Byer, Ramona Young, as well as the great Jane Fonda. Why does this look so good?! I'm even more interested in seeing this than I am Little Mermaid, as it looks original and clever, flipping a story we think we know into something else. I'm curious.
Cannes 2023: 'Mars Express' is an Incredible Animated Sci-Fi Creation
Every year at the Cannes Film Festival, there's one extraordinary animated film that quietly premieres in one of the side sections. Some of my other favorites from the past are: I Lost My Body (2019), The Summit of the Gods (2021), and Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be (2022). This year's big animation discovery is a French animated feature called Mars Express, a hard sci-fi creation from director Jérémie Périn. At the fest there's also the animated film Robot Dreams, which I already reviewed and it's wonderful as well, but this one completely rocked me. Both of these films involve robots, which is a bit of a fun coincidence. Mars Express is pretty much a French update on the iconic Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell, featuring a noir story involving androids and artificial intelligence and hacking and robots galore. While it's not as great as GITS, it's as close as anyone has come in YEARS to making another great "what's hidden in the code" movie.
Cannes 2023: 'Robot Dreams' is a Delightful Animated New York Story
One of the surprise animated films premiering at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival this year is called Robot Dreams, a Spanish production made by Catalan filmmaker named Pablo Berger. The delightful animated movie is an entirely dialogue-free story set in the 1980s in New York City, following a dog character known simply as "DOG" as he builds a relationship with his new robot friend. This is Pablo Berger's first animated film, after making the features Blancanieves and Abracadabra previously. It's a super sweet, uplifting story about friendship and even though there's not a single spoken word in the entire 90 minute film, it's still captivating throughout anyway. It's one of these off-beat discoveries from a film festival that I'm glad I took the time to watch. And more good news - Neon has already acquired the film for a US release later in 2023.
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