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"There are two monsters in my story…" It's not right to say this short film should be watched because it looks gorgeous, but the artwork and detail in the film is impressive nonetheless. This 2-min animated short was made by the French NGO Face à l'Inceste as a PSA for voters in France to encourage them to change a child abuse law by signing a petition and getting further involved in the cause. It was directed by Vincent Gibaud, and features some stunning art and animation by Jackson Joyce. It's being featured because of the quality of work. The film very disturbingly tells the story of a young child's tormentors, including a judge as one of them, utilizing vibrant animation. Combined with the Ennio Morricone music it's a very eerie film to watch - but that is the point, to grab your attention about an important political issue. Take a look below.
"This is gonna be like one of those buddy movies." Paramount Pics has unveiled one final trailer for the long-awaited The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the latest epic live-action hybrid SpongeBob movie. It was originally set for release last summer, in May of 2020, but has been on hold ever since due to the oandemic. It will now launch PVOD in March, also on the brand new streaming service Paramount+. This is a follow-up to the other theatrically-released movies, most recently Sponge Out of Water from 2015, and the original SpongeBob movie back in 2004. SpongeBob and Patrick embark on a hilarious adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City in order to #SaveGary in this sponge-tastic sequel. With Tom Kenny as the voice of SpongeBob, plus Awkwafina, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Douglas Lawrence, and Reggie Watts. This continues on with the 3D animation style, even taking them up into the real world - where the encounter the head of Keanu Reeves in a tumbleweed. Huh.
"The world's broken… you can trust anyone." "Maybe it's broken because you don't trust anyone." Disney has debuted a full-length official trailer for Disney Animation's exciting new action adventure movie Raya and the Last Dragon, being directed by the filmmakers Don Hall (of Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos López Estrada (of Blindspotting, Summertime). The first teaser arrived last fall and this new trailer packs a punch. In a realm known as Lumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it's going to take trust and teamwork. Featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as the last dragon Sisu, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters and on Disney+ starting in March. This looks like a fun-filled adventure.
"Gate check!" A touching, life-affirming short film is now available online for everyone to enjoy. Grab My Hand: A Letter To My Dad is a lovely animated short film co-directed by filmmakers Camrus Johnson and Pedro Piccinini. The film is indeed a letter to Camrus' father, discussing the lessons his "superhero" dad taught him and how to appreciate all the ups & downs of life. "Grab My Hand: A Letter To My Dad was a gift to my grieving father and now a message to all to cherish every second you have with the ones you love while you still can." Featuring the voices of Camrus Johnson, Maaliyah Papillion, and Eric R. Williams. The animation in this is simple but very powerful, it doesn't need excessive details or elaborate action. It's just a visualization of the story Camrus is telling in here, and it enhances the emotions by allowing us to imagine ourselves in a similar situation. What a moving, heartfelt film - I'm glad Camrus is sharing it with the world.
This is just too adorable not to share, even if it is just a glorified commercial for a global biopharmaceutical company. Unbreakable is a cute 2-and-a-half-minute animated short film made by a boutique animation house in NYC called Roof Studio founded by Brazilians. It tells the story of a little bunny from a toy shop, named Barbara the Bunny, that starts to cough one day. She is sad that no one can help her as she wanders around town until she finds the right person to help repair her and make her perfect again. A very obvious healthcare story, but the whole short is still so mesmerizingly detailed it's possible to just watch and enjoy it for the artistry all on its own. "Our goal was to create buildings, characters, colors, and textures that are in perfect harmony to form something truly memorable! Given the detail and complexity that went into this, we knew this project could be bigger than just the final film." It's a nice little escape for a few brief minutes.
"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.