ENJOY THE SHOW
"Who cares if we can't see any sunshine? I want you more than any blue sky." The latest feature film made by acclaimed Japanese animation filmmaker Makoto Shinkai (of the beloved Your Name before this) is called Weathering With You (originally Tenki no ko) and it has been playing at film festivals after first opening in Japan earlier this summer. I just caught up with it and I have been looking forward to seeing how he would follow up Your Name. There are a few truly spectacular sequences in this film, which alone make it worth watching. I love Makoto Shinkai's style and animation and super cute storytelling. But this is one strange parable about weather and has such a peculiar message that I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.
How can two brothers growing up in a quiet suburb in the same home, take such different paths? Another excellent animated short film worth watching. Substance is a short film written and directed by Jamaal Bradley, who is now working at Valve after working at DreamWorks Animation. He made this short in his own spare time, and it's beautiful in quite a few unique ways. Substance is about two brothers who end up in a fight when "different means of living" threatens their family, but it will be a young girl who reminds them of their bond. It's co-written by Michael Yates, who was also the Lead Story Artist. I love that you can't hear any of the dialogue in this, only the music which brings greater emotional depth to the film. See below.
"We will unravel the mystery of the Male Masters…!" Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted a new official US trailer for the French animated film titled Dilili In Paris, which won France's major César Award for Best Animated Film last year. This premiered at the Annecy Film Festival last summer, and is finally arriving in the US after a year of playing at other festivals all around the world. The film is animated in a distinct style without any shading, only solid colors and certain tracing elements in the characters. In Belle Époque Paris, accompanied by a young scooter deliveryman, little Kanak Dilili investigates mysterious kidnappings of girls. Featuring the voices of Prunelle Charles-Ambron, Enzo Ratsito, and Natalie Dessay as Emma Calvé in the original, French-language version. Though it will also be released with an English dub in the US (as heard in this trailer). This reminds me a bit of Midnight in Paris, with all these French artists appearing.
"I demand a rematch!" Viva Kids has debuted an official trailer for Racetime, an animated adventure film from Canada. "A spectacular sled race through the village" is the pitch and pretty much the entire synopsis. Frankie-Four-Eyes and his team, including Sophie as the driver, take on the newcomers: the mysterious and conceited Zac and his athletic cousin Charly. This is a sequel to another animated film called Snowtime, first released in 2015. That one was about a snowball fight, this new one is about a sled race. And they both look awful, like made-for-TV morning cartoons junk. Which is totally fine if that's where this was playing, but it's coming to theaters? Maybe kids will enjoy. The voice cast includes Lucinda Davis, Noel Fisher, Angela Galuppo, Dawn Ford, and Todd Fennell. If you're curious about it anyway, check out the trailer below.
"My home, sweet, home. Where I feel free. You beautiful castle with a wooden dome…" Meet the fearless, brave Mr. Hedgehog. We highly recommend this lovely short film titled Hedgehog's Home, a stop-motion animated short film made by Montreal-based filmmaker Eva Cvijanovic. The short is about, as you might have guessed, a hedgehog living in a forest who is made fun of by a sly fox, a greedy bear, a wicked wolf, and a muddy wild boar. Cvijanovic creates her shorts using felt and cloth, which gives them an especially cuddly look and feel. Featuring the voice of Kenneth Welsh as the narrator, delivering a sweet little poem based on the the classic story by Branko Ćopić. Featuring twangy, funky music by Darko Rundek. It's a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to the feeling of comfort we all have being at home, and what a home means. Watch below.
"I'm-- so-- hungryyyy--!!" This new short film from the creator of DOMU is super adorable and makes my stomach growl for tasty food. Mogu & Perol is a story about two friends living on an island where delicious food can be found everywhere. As the title says, it's about Mogu: "A young Big Foot boy who loves nothing more than cooking a delicious meal." And Perol: "A spoiled little girl with a BIG appetite who doesn't know the first thing about cooking." Dwarf Studios' website lists this short film as an "episode", so perhaps they're going to make more of these to release online featuring Mogu & Perol cooking things up. All the food in this looks so incredibly delicious, don't watch on an empty stomach or only watch with some food to munch on.
"Oh! I just want to be a good boy." This animated short film isn't for kids. Put them to bed, and then give this a watch. The Wrong End of the Stick is the graduation project of filmmaker Terri Matthews, who studied at The National Film and Television School UK. The film is about a man named Malcom Fletcher, a neurotic, middle-aged teacher lost in a dull marriage with his wife. Facing an identity crisis and breakdown, he begins to explore a deep, hidden sexual desire. Featuring the voices of Nick Ball and Mandy Dassa. The short film is a look at pup play, a sexual kink that involves dressing up and acting like animals. It's a clever and thoughtful take on this subject and embraces the idea with positivity. I like the mix of traditional 2D animation and practical / real-life sets. And I like the pervasive awkwardness throughout, it sets a tone but also helps nudge the story. It's refreshing to see such a unexpected, kinky animated short. Watch below.
How cool is this?! We don't usually feature videos like this, but this time we have to make an exception and share it anyway. Andy Bailey (aka "Andymation") is a stop-motion animator at the indie studio Laika, who makes his own flipbooks in his spare time. Flipbooks are small paper books with illustrations on each page, so when you "flip" through them quickly the images come alive. It's an old school animation technique and it's very cool to see. He went all out this time and created a massive 658-page flipbook titled The Return of Grumpy Cloud. There's a plot and characters and lots of colors. The other great thing about this video is before he flips through the little book, he explains how he made it and gives a look at his creative process.
"A chance the dragons waited a millennium for." Well Go USA has debuted an official US trailer for the epic Chinese animated movie Ne Zha, or Nezha, which has been sweeping the box office in China this summer. The movie has set a new benchmark for Chinese animation. "We assembled 1,600 people in a team from all over the industry to work for nearly five years and, together, we have tried our best to present a good film for the Chinese audience." Ne Zha, based on an ancient Chinese legend (of course), is about a young boy, with the power to destroy the world, who must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero. Featuring the voices of Lü Yanting, Jiongsen Sefu, Han Mo, Chen Hao, Lü Qi, Yang Wei, and Zhang Jiaming. This will be released (with English subtitles) in IMAX first at the end of the month, then in more theaters a week after. It does look epic, and hopefully is as good as they say.
"They will erase Angola from the map. This is about lives." GKids has unveiled an official US trailer for an indie animated feature titled Another Day of Life, a much more adult-level film than most of the other animated films that GKids releases. The film first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and won awards at numerous other film fests throughout last year. A gripping story of a three-month-long journey that renowned Polish reporter Ryszard "Ricardo" Kapuściński took in the 1970s across Angola, ravaged by a war, in which the front lines shifted like a kaleidoscope from one day to the next. Adapted directly from Kapuscinski's book, telling the true story of a journalist and the lengths to which he'll go to report the news. Featuring the voices of Kerry Shale, Daniel Flynn, Youssef Kerkour, Lillie Flynn, and Akie Kotabe. This looks damn good, featuring rotoscope animation to tell this real story and make it much more vibrant.
"One act of love can change everything." Cinestaan Film Co. has revealed a trailer for Bombay Rose, an animated feature playing in the Critics' Week section of the Venice Film Festival starting later this month. Bombay Rose is a beautiful hand-painted animation created by award winning animator Gitanjali Rao. A romance set on the streets of Bombay, we witness Kamala and Salim's quest for true love in this chaotic and beautiful city. Rao is a self-taught animator and filmmaker, and every single frame of this is painted by hand. Featuring the voices of Cyli Khare as Kamala, and Amit Deondi as Salim, plus Anurag Kashyap, Makrand Deshpande, Virendra Saxena, Shishir Sharma, and Amardeep Jha. "While her depiction of urban reality has a documentary style, the intricate dream worlds are inspired from the rich and varied folk art styles of India." This looks beautiful, not only the animation but the story as well. Take a look below.
"Someone has to shoulder the fate of mankind." GKids has unveiled the full-length official US trailer for the Japanese anime feature film Promare, from animation filmmaker Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill). We featured the first teasers previously, but give this full trailer a look. This is the first feature-length film made by the acclaimed studio known as Trigger. "Promare uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story, and is the spiritual successor to many of director Imaishi’s former works." The story follows Galo and the Burning Rescue Fire Department who battle against "Mad Burnish", a group of mutants who are able to control and wield flames, and the fire disaster they have unleashed on Earth. The main Japanese voice cast features Arata Furuta, Tetsu Inada, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Masato Sakai, Taichi Saotome, and Kenichi Matsuyama. Glad to see this will be playing in theaters in the US.