ENJOY THE SHOW
"Awaken your magic!" Yay! One of the best animated films from last year is now playing in cinemas again. GKids has re-released Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart's magical adventure Wolfwalkers in select theaters in the US, with more venues playing it nationwide coming up this weekend. A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night. Featuring the voices of Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whitaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Tommy Tiernan, Jon Kenny, John Morton, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. I totally adore this film, along with everything else Tomm Moore has made! I'm happy it's playing again after first opening in the fall. As wonderful as this film is, it's even better on the big screen! If you can safely get to a movie theater to see this one, don't miss that chance. GKids also released a new trailer that now mentions the film's Academy Award nomination - view it below.
"A true warrior, above all else, prays for peace… But today we fight for the future of Japan!" Netflix has unveiled a teaser trailer for a new anime series titled Yasuke, from artist / creator Lesean Thomas (of "The Boondocks", "Black Dynamite"). Yasuke is a six-episode series set in alternate fantastical Japan during the feudal era. The story is about a samurai warrior who must return to his life of violence in order to protect a mysterious girl. When a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport the child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords. The story of Yasuke, the first African samurai who actually served with the legendary Oda Nobunaga, will be released to the world. Featuring the voice of LaKeith Stanfield as "Yasuke". This is a first look teaser but it's awesome introduction to this new creation, and that's why we're featuring this new series trailer anyway.
Toho in Japan has unveiled the first official trailer for the new film titled Belle made by acclaimed, award-winning Japanese animation director Mamoru Hosoda (of the films The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, and Mirai). The short title is just Belle (perhaps a reference to Beauty and the Beast), but the film's full Japanese title is Belle: The Princess of Dragons and Freckles and it's currently set to tour in Japan this summer. The film is about a teenage girl who lives between modern-day Japan and a virtual world called "U." The story follows her as she makes a new friend and "embarks on a journey of adventures and love both in their quest of becoming who they truly are." This trailer asks a lot of questions - who is she, why is she so popular, why does she have to hide her face, who are these bad guys? I'm very curious to see more from this, but it looks quite magnificent already. Check it out.
Another social media cautionary tale! This amusing, wacky animated short is a personal project from Berlin-based animation filmmaker Cornelius Joksch and it's another fun story that's criticizing the tragic lives of people obsessed with their social media presence. Cornelius makes his own short films and illustrations, but also works for brands and studios. Oh, Darling! is now available to watch online and it's only 4 minutes long. Obsessed with birds of all sorts, clumsy but loveable loner Andy finds himself lucky one day, when out of nowhere the most stunning bird he’s ever seen lands on his windowsill. Tempted by the outlook of getting recognition amongst fellow bird-aficionados, Andy gets a little carried away… Poor bird just wanted to be a free bird. In addition to the vital message of this (don't chase popularity!) the animation style is extra funky.
"Just take it slow… Horses can feel what you feel." DreamWorks Animation has unveiled the first official trailer for their new animated movie Spirit Untamed, arriving in theaters this June. Spirit Untamed is the next chapter in DreamWorks Animation's beloved franchise that began with the 2002 Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron and the TV series. An epic adventure about a headstrong girl longing for a place to belong who discovers a kindred spirit when her life intersects with a wild horse. When a heartless horse wrangler and his team plan to capture Spirit and his herd and auction them off to a life of captivity and hard labor, Lucky enlists her new friends and bravely embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse who has given her freedom and a sense of purpose, and has also helped Lucky discover a connection to her mom's legacy and to her Mexican heritage that she never expected. Featuring the voices of Isabela Merced as Lucky, Eiza González, Jake Gyllenhaal, Walton Goggins, Mckenna Grace, Julianne Moore, and Marsai Martin. This looks like very formulaic animation, but still uplifting entertainment for all ages.
"What would a functional family do?!" Netflix has revealed the new official trailer for the animated movie now known as The Mitchells vs. The Machines, the latest creation of the Lord / Miller + Sony Pictures Animation team following their Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse success. We first premiered a trailer for this film under the title Connected last year, but after numerous delays during the pandemic, Sony sold it off to Netflix instead - and now they're planning to release it streaming starting April 30th this spring. Katie Mitchell is accepted into the film school of her dreams. Her whole family drives Katie to school together when their plans are interrupted by a tech uprising. The Mitchells will have to work together to save the world. Featuring the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Mike Rianda, Eric André, and Olivia Colman. I've been so excited for this ever since that first trailer, and I really can't wait to watch it. I've got a good feeling this team has (once again) whipped up something amazing for us to enjoy.
"You're in danger! They're coming for you!" GKids has posted another US trailer with English dubbing for the French animated film April and The Extraordinary World, known as Avril et le monde truqué. This originally premiered at the 2015 Annecy Film Festival and already opened in 2016, so we're a few years behind on this. But that doesn't matter. It's always nice to catch up with lovely films from around the world! From the creators of the Academy Award-nominated Persepolis and the mind of renowned graphic novelist Jacques Tardi comes a riveting sci-fi adventure set in an alternate steampunk universe. It's 1941 but France is trapped in the nineteenth century, governed by steam power and Napoleon V, where many scientists vanish mysteriously. April goes in search of her missing scientist parents. This is already available to watch in French (featuring the voice of Marion Cotillard as Avril) with subtitles. Or you can watch the alternate English dub version featuring the voices of Angela Galuppo as April, Paul Giamatti, Tony Hale, Susan Sarandon, and J.K. Simmons. This looks like a worthwhile adventure to take (with a talking kitty, too).
Holy gore hell. It's only March, and we already have at least two incredibly unique, extremely strange mind-fuck animated films that are definitely not for kids. Dash Shaw's Cryptozoo premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in January, and The Spine of Night just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this month. (And let's not forget about that wacky puppet horror Frank & Zed from the Nightstream Film Festival last year.) These films are yet another reminder that animation is a medium, not just a genre, and can be used to tell any kind of story - including extremely violent, gory, not-for-kids stories that could only be realized with animation. Fresh from SXSW, The Spine of Night is an instant cult classic, find-it-on-VHS-anywhere-you-can-at-whichever-video-store-stocks-it, extra gnarly, mind-melting sensation. Just don't watch this sober.
"Little gator, looks like you got outta the swamp." Netflix has debuted a trailer for the animated adventure called Arlo the Alligator Boy, a musical from filmmaker Ryan Crego. A young humanoid alligator travels to the big city in hopes of reuniting with his estranged father, meeting a colorful cast of characters along the way. The plot is a bit typical, but the characters are not - not only is "Arlo the Alligator Boy" a fun one, but there's tons of wacky people he meets on his journey and befriends. After arriving in NYC, Arlo sets up shop in an abandoned seaside neighborhood and tries to bring it back to life. Featuring the voices of Michael J. Woodard as Arlo, with Mary Lambert, Michael "Flea" Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Brett Gelman, Jonathan Van Ness, Haley Tju, Jennifer Coolidge, and Vincent Rodriguez III. Even though it's aimed at kids above all, this looks like it will be a good time for everyone.
"Here is what tiger's look like when they're all alone in the jungle and nobody can see them." If you need a good laugh, stop and take five minutes to watch this animated short. Curious World of Animals is a fun animated short "documentary" film made by animation filmmakers Dante Zaballa and Osian Efnisien. They made this last year during the pandemic and released small segments of it to make people laugh while in lockdown. Now they've put all of the bits together. The animation is a bit ridiculous, but that's the point. "Take a glimpse at the natural world which surrounds us in this groundbreaking documentary that nobody asked for." It's filled with fun facts and images of various animals that don't even exist. "We really hope that soon we can extend our concept of human kindness to our little animal friends." Animals need our love, too.
Whoa! "There are things that man must not know!" Yellow Veil Pictures has unveiled a teaser trailer for the "ultra-violent, epic fantasy set in a land of magic" animated feature called The Spine of Night, premiering at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival this month in the killer "Midnighters" section. "Ancient dark magic 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." The film is described as a "hand-rotoscoped epic fantasy inspired by the cult classic works of animators Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta. The film is set in a fantasy land ripe with magic and intrigue where a dark force is unleashed sending mankind into an age of ruin." The impressive voice cast includes Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello, Larry Fessenden, Nina Lisandrello, Abby Savage, Tom Lipinski, and Patrick Breen. This looks so gnarly!! Can't wait to watch this film at SXSW. Check out the first look below.
"It's like they were trying to blend in." Check out this short film from animation filmmaker Joe Bennett, a strange animated trip into the world of Park Rangers. With an appearance by Bigfoot, too! Just wait until you see him. Derecho is a 10 minute short film, featured by Vimeo. It was originally presented by Cake on FX. As a slow building terror builds at a lonely park ranger outpost, two rangers are forced to test the limits of their humanity. Featuring the voices of Kate Berlant, John Early, Ted Travelstead, and Felipe di Poi Tamargo. The animation style is quite unique and it gets even better when the dashes of red show up. This is a must-watch-until-the-very-end short film, it all makes more sense once you get through it. Beware.