ENJOY THE SHOW
"It's just too gray… I'm sitting here and I'm just thinking, when are we going to see Mars?" This lovely, poetic animated short film is worth a watch to bring a smile to your face. The Moon's Not That Great is about an astronaut who embarks on a voyage to the Moon. When she returns, she discovers that everyone on Earth is over the Moon, and only cares about Mars instead. Featuring the voices of Gabby Capili, Jake Sheppard, Claire Epting, Kristin Wetenkamp, Noah Malone, Caleb Fietsam, Sam Lane, Emiliano Aguirre-Medina, Asher Adel, and Dylan Kanner. This film is made by Mathieu Libman, best known for his CalArts short Pinky Toe. The look is reminiscent of the Lord & Miller series "Clone High". I love the ending to this, it's a sweet reminder that no matter what there is always still beauty to appreciate on this little blue planet.
"The most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image." Let's kick off the New Year with a mesmerizing and unique stop-motion short Freeze Frame by animator / filmmaker Soetkin Verstegen based in Brussels. "This chilly 5-minute experimental animation was literally created out of ice sculptures and puppets frozen inside frames of ice!" Freeze Frame is described by Soetkin as "miniature cinema inside an ice cube", with an old school, grainy black & white look and feel. It's also described as "a playful puzzle with formal ideas around early cinema, decay and preservation." I love coming across short films that are unlike anything else I've ever seen, because innovation often comes from experimentation. This is not only a study in preservation, but also an intriguing examination of the art of ice harvesting. A long, lost profession. Each shot of the workers is just as stunning as the one before, with the cold mist enveloping them in white.
"You agree that you'll teach me magic, and I agree to help you out." GKids has revealed a new US trailer for the Japanese animated film Earwig and the Witch, the latest film by Goro Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki's son who also directed the films Tales from Earthsea and From Up on Poppy Hill previously. This is Studio Ghibli's first ever CGI 3D feature film, and it's their first since shutting down a few years ago. Earwig and the Witch, also known as Âya and the Witch, was supposed to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year - instead it's debuting direct-to-TV on the NHK channel in Japan this month - and will open in the US early next year. The story follows an orphan girl, Earwig, who is adopted by a witch and comes home to a spooky house filled with mystery and magic. She tries to learn magic and more. The English-language voice cast features Richard E. Grant, Kacey Musgraves (in her first vocal acting role), Dan Stevens, and Taylor Paige Henderson as the main character Earwig. I reallyyy wished this looked better than it does, because I want to be excited about it, but goodness it looks so ugly. Hopefully the cute story makes up for it.
"How much bigger can they get?!" Lionsgate has unveiled an official US trailer for an animated movie titled Monster Zone, also known as Cranston Academy: Monster Zone, originally made in Mexico in the Spanish language (and released there in the summer). It's now getting a direct-to-VOD English language release in the US coming up next February. An intelligent 15-year-old high school student is unexpectedly transferred to a boarding school where he opens a portal full of monsters from another dimension. This hilarious family adventure features the voices of Jamie Bell and Ruby Rose. These kind of low quality, "made for kids!" animated movies are a dime a dozen nowadays, and don't have much to offer in originality or creativity. At least some of the monsters in this look pretty cool, but the rest of it seems very uninspired.
Let's go to Colombia! Disney has revealed an early teaser trailer for Encanto, an original Disney Animation project due for release in November of 2021. This is one of MANY movies featured in Disney's epic Investor Meeting announcement this week of all their upcoming projects from 2021 onward. Encanto is made by the directors of Zootopia, Byron Howard and Jared Bush, and is also co-written and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith. The story centers on a Colombian girl who, in spite of coming from a magical family, lacks magical powers. "Encanto takes you to Colombia, where a magical family live in a magical home." That's all they've really revealed about it so far. This will be Disney Animation's 60th feature film. It will also feature music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, because of course. No cast is announced yet - only the filmmakers involved. This teaser is just a quick first look at the magical house where the family lives. Take a look below.
"We're now crazy about music." GKids has released an official US trailer for a funky Japanese anime film titled On-Gaku: Our Sound, opening in US theaters in December. It first premiered at a few animation festivals last year, and already opened in Japan in January of this year. The film is about a trio of delinquent schoolkids who form a band. Animated almost entirely by director Kenji Iwaisawa, and featuring a lead performance by Japanese alt-rock legend Shintaro Sakamoto, On-Gaku: Our Sound brings its own sound and vision to the Hiroyuki Ohashi manga from which it was adapted. With pitch-perfect deadpan humor, the animated film presents a highly original take on the beloved slacker comedy: a lo-fi buddy film with a blaring musical finale that will leave you wanting an immediate encore. I dig how unconventional & unique this looks, not your typical anime in style or substance, with a dose of "adult" language & themes. Rock on!
Miyazaki is back!! NHK in Japan has unveiled an official trailer for a brand new Studio Ghibli movie titled Earwig and the Witch. But don't get too excited about the return of Ghibli. The film is the latest feature directed by Goro Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki's son who also directed the films Tales from Earthsea and From Up on Poppy Hill. Because it's uh, his father's studio, he convinced Ghibli to "return from the dead" to make another new film - this one being their first entirely CGI creation. And it looks pretty rough, to be honest. Earwig and the Witch, also known as Âya and the Witch, was supposed to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year - instead it's debuting direct-to-TV on the NHK channel in Japan on December 30th just before the end of the year. It follows an orphan girl, Earwig, who is adopted by a witch and comes home to a spooky house filled with mystery and magic. This features the voices of Kokoro Hirasawa as Âya, Gaku Hamada, Shinobu Terajima, and Etsushi Toyokawa. There's a handful of new promo videos for the upcoming debut later this month (view below), but there's still no worldwide release dates yet. Check it out.
"You wouldn't have believed how strong this stuff was." There's nothing like a good story. This short film is an animated documentary made by filmmaker Matthew Salton, who spent over two years creating this entirely on his own - recording then preparing then animating then editing the 9-minute film. In 1968 Patty was a flight attendant, who realized she could smuggle prime pot in from Jamaica with relative ease, given her line of work. She is 77 years old now, and this is her version of what happened. Amazing. After playing at numerous film festivals, Patty Are You Bringing Weed in from Jamaica? is now available to watch online. And boy is it a wild story. Definitely makes me want to try some of that special white-feathery ganja.
"I always got the lucky coin." Yet another wonderful stop-motion animated short film to enjoy. The Coin is the latest short film made by Chinese filmmaker Siqi Song - who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film last year with her short titled Sister. This new short is also based on her experiences, this time focusing on her move to the US. The story follows a young woman who loses her lucky jar of coins as she travels, and then struggles to figure out American food. "With my mind experiencing the same digestive problems as my stomach, as it encounters the exotic food, I find myself looking for familiar food, in the hope that it will bring me back to the moment of comfort when I found the coin in it." Featuring the voice of Anna Pan. I quite like this fluffy, cloth stop-motion style - gives it a whole different feel (literally). Dive in.
"It seems to me that that so called 'dirty word' is probably the most useful word in the English language." The beloved comic book legend Stan Lee never used any curse words. Or did he…? Well, now we know the definitive answer. Honestly, who doesn't? This amusing animated short film is made from a real recording with the late Stan Lee, who passed away in 2018. Filmmaker / producer Aron Fromm put together this animated short, called Sessions with Stan, when he stumbled across this audio recording in an old folder on his computer. He explains: "I think a lot of people wonder what their heroes are like behind closed doors, and I personally find it reassuring when they’re 100% as advertised. Stan was." The funny 2-minute video animates a behind-the-scenes recording session when Stan talks about the F-word (aka "fuck") and how it is one of the most versatile words that can be used so many different ways. This will definitely make you smile.
"You want me to be a baby again…?" Universal has released the first official trailer for The Boss Baby 2: Family Business, an animated sequel from DreamWorks Animation. The director of all the Madagascar movies and Megamind returns again to direct this follow-up to The Boss Baby from 2017. The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again - and inspire a new family business. When baby Tina reveals that she's—ta-da!—a top secret agent for BabyCorp now on a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind Tabitha's school and its mysterious founder, Dr. Edwin Armstrong, it will reunite the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, lead them to re-evaluate the meaning of family and discover what truly matters. Featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Greenblatt, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Eva Longoria, James Marsden, and Amy Sedaris. Seems to be made only for those who like the first movie.
"Hell is paved with good intentions." We all know this quote… But how many are actually capable of doing the right thing when it's needed? Good Intentions is a short film made by Swedish animation filmmaker Anna Mantzaris as her graduation project from the Royal College of Art in 2018. She also worked on Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, and makes lot of cloth/fabric stop-motion short films in her own time. The short a small thriller about people that are not always the best at making decisions. After premiering at the London Film Festival, BFI wrote about the film: "Good Intentions shows what happens when guilt takes over our lives, hinders judgment and paralyses actions. While the director chooses to focus on an extreme situation, a hit and run, the feeling of overpowering guilt, irrational behaviour and that uncontrollable suspicion that everyone around knows about our mischievous deeds will be familiar to many of us." Indeed… Watch below.