ENJOY THE MOVIES
"I hope you're ready for action, because all we needed was a pilot." Disney + Pixar have revealed the final official trailer for Lightyear, the sort of prequel to the Toy Story movies, focusing on Buzz Lightyear as a spin-off solo movie about the Space Ranger. Chris Evans is voicing the actual Buzz, the astronaut within the Toy Story universe who inspired the action figure. The plot involves Buzz being marooned on an alien planet and having to figure out a way to get home. Along with Evans, the voice cast includes Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi, Peter Sohn as Buzz's robot companion, Sox the cat, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. This trailer features a LOT of big reveals - with some character unveilings (including who Taika voices!) as well as the story involving them jumping ahead in time. This looks like it might just be one of Pixar's best, and not just because I love sci-fi, but it looks they really went all out and made something truly special (just as they always do, right?).
"Extreming soon." Who's ready for more?!?! I loveeeee this animated series from Netflix - more more more. Keep these coming for years, please! Netflix has revealed a fun teaser for their next installment of Love, Death + Robots. This Volume 3 teaser doesn't contain any finished footage yet from the next 8 shorts - it's only an amusing "look back" at the first two installments, with some clever Netflix self-mockery in the opening intro. Just because they're the same "studio" that gave us dainty series like "Bridgerton" doesn't mean they can't also bring epic, gnarly, disgusting, crazy concepts to the screen, too! Hell yes! This third installment was announced at the same time as Volume 2 last year, and also features eight new short films to enjoy - starting in May. "From uncovering an ancient evil to a comedic apocalypse, telling startling short stories of fantasy, horror & science-fiction." That's all we know so far about these next eight - along with a set of images below. I'm already so excited to watch! They always explore the most creative, intriguing ideas.
Opening our imaginations this November. Toho in Japan has revealed the first 45-second teaser trailer for Suzume no Tojimari, the latest from acclaimed animation filmmaker Makoto Shinkai - best known for his films Your Name and Weathering with You recently. The title roughly translates to Suzume's Door-Locking or Closing Suzume's Door, involving mysterious doors that open all over Japan. This is currently set for release in Japan in November, but has no other international dates yet. A modern action adventure road story where a 17-year-old girl named Suzume helps a mysterious young man close doors from the outer side that are releasing disasters all over in Japan. The anime film features character design by Masayoshi Tanaka, art direction by Takumi Tanji, and animation by Kenichi Tsuchiya, but no voice cast has been confirmed yet. This is a lovely first look teaser, with some of Shinkai's signature shots and style on display. I'm still not entirely sure what she will discover behind this door, but I'm very curious to see more footage.
"I've gotta make this samurai thing work!" Paramount has revealed the first official trailer for an animated movie called Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, made by HB Wink Animation and GFM Animation. This for-the-whole-family comedy is being released in theaters nationwide in July, perhaps part of its early contractual deal, as most animated movies are opening direct-to-streaming nowadays. But not this one! In Paws of Fury, Hank, a loveable dog with a head full of dreams about becoming a samurai, sets off in search of his destiny. With help from a reluctant teacher to train him, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai in a place full of cats and team up with the villagers to save the day. Michael Cera voices Hank, with a cast including Mel Brooks, Ricky Gervais, Samuel L. Jackson, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Kylie Kuioka, and Cathy Shim. This looks fun, but it also looks exactly like so many other movies. I just hope it has some good fights! Check this out below.
"Some dogs aren't meant to be 'champions'. Some dogs are meant to be… dogs." Netflix has revealed the first trailer for a new 3D CGI animated Marmaduke movie, streaming on Netflix this summer. They already made a live-action Marmaduke movie in 2010 with Owen Wilson as the voice, but this looks even more ridiculous. This new movie is part of a re-launch of the Marmaduke brand, with more films, TV series, and merch planned. Messy and mischievous Marmaduke has a big heart but can't stay out of trouble! Does he have what it takes to shine in the swanky dog show world? A legendary dog trainer believes he can help Marmaduke become the first Great Dane in history to win the Westminster Champion's trophy. The movie is based on the newspaper comic strip that ran between 1954 and now based on a family and their Great Dane called Marmaduke. It was created by Brad Anderson and continues to this day. The voice cast includes Pete Davidson as Marmaduke, with Jason Anthony, J.K. Simmons, David Koechner, Shelby Young, & Stephen Stanton. This seems so formulaic & cheesy, but it also does look like good, harmless doggie fun.
"I see now what she couldn't see." Another must watch animated short film that's seriously worth your time. O Black Hole! is a stop-motion animated short created by a talented young Chinese-American filmmaker named Renee Zhan. An immovable woman meets an unstoppable girl in this musical quest to discover the meaning of transience and letting go. This initially premiered at the 2020 Locarno Film Festival, and it also played at last year's SXSW Film Festival. The 15-minute short is about a woman who can't stand the passing of time, and ends up sucking everyone and everything into a black hole. A thousand unchanging years pass inside her dark embrace until one day, the Singularity wakes. With the voices of Emmy the Great, Loré Lixenberg, Steven Hartley, and Arthur Smith. This is one of the most spectacular animation creations in the last few years, not only is it a deeply emotional & haunting story but all the designs are so unique, too. I also love the mix of styles - 2D charcoal paintings with the 3D characters & sets. Definitely worth a watch.
"Occasionally an entire story will unfold in your mind when you meet that special someone." GKids US has unveiled a new official US trailer for the Japanese anime movie Pompo the Cinephile, which opened in Japan last summer. The US debut is coming up later in April with a special two-night event to catch in theaters. Pompo the Cinephile (originally 映画大好きポンポさん) is a rollicking, exuberant ode to the power of the movies, and the joys and heartbreak of the creative process, as a new director and his team devote their lives to the pursuit of a "masterpiece." Fueled by the excitement from the film's domestic release in Japan, a crowdfunding campaign to create a 35mm print of the feature achieved its fundraising goals of ¥10,000,000 in just eleven days. Original voices: Konomi Kohara, Hiroya Shimizu, and Akio Ôtsuka. The English-language dub has the voices of Christopher Trindade, Brianna Gentilella, Anne Yatco, Kenneth Cavett, and Jackie Lastra - as heard in this trailer. It looks like such a fun, kooky, nerdy story.
Nexus Studios has revealed a teaser trailer for their new experimental animation series called This Tape Deck is a Time Machine, created in collaboration with animation filmmaker Patrick Osborne, known for his beloved shorts Feast, Pearl, Drawn Closer. The film follows a time-jumping teen who is transported into moments of other people’s lives by songs played on an old tape deck. "Patrick led a team of expert real-time artists and creators who embraced the unique challenge of crafting the Tape Deck world with a refined 2D aesthetic, created entirely in the Unreal Engine… The team developed bespoke shading techniques to achieve the painterly and naturalistic quality, leveraging the visual potential of the [Unreal Engine] to make high quality stylized animation." Impressive! "No compositing or anything, just final frame straight out of the engine!!" The time travel setup for this is so cool, looks like an engaging & uplifting journey across time.
"You guys ready to fight some yokai?!" Netflix has unveiled a trailer for a brand new animated series called Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, created by the very same creator of the TMNT character called "Usagi Yojimbo" - a Japanese-American comic book writer named Stan Sakai. The series introduces us to Teenage Rabbit Samurai Yuichi, a descendant of the great warrior Miyamoto Usagi, as he embarks on an epic quest to become a true samurai. Prepare yourself for the adventures of the Samurai Rabbit as he and his friends battle evil and strange yokai monsters to save the world. He leads a ragtag team of misfit heroes – including a roguish bounty hunter, a cunning ninja, an acrobatic pickpocket and a faithful pet lizard – as he battles depth-charging moles, winged bats, and monsters from another dimension. Featuring the voices of Darren Barnet, Shelby Rabara, Aleks Le, and Mallory Low. Yeah this definitely looks & sounds a lot like the recent "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" animated series, but I still dig it. Seems like smaurai fun.
"I'll teach you." Are you FINALLY ready to watch this movie? Along with Top Gun: Maverick, this is one of the last big movies that has been delayed for two years - ever since 2020 when it was originally set to open. Universal has revealed a second full-length trailer for Illumination Animation's sequel Minions: The Rise of Gru, which is a prequel to the Despicable Me movies, and a sequel to the first solo Minions movie (from 2015). Set in the 1970s, this one brings back a younger Gru with a plan to join the supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6. When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles, Gru then interviews to be their newest member. It doesn't go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. This features the voices of Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Brand, with Julie Andrews, & Alan Arkin. We initially ran the first trailer in 2020, and a teaser last year, while waiting for the eventual release. Looks like a fun time.
"It's out there in the vast unknown that we find who we truly are." A must watch! Netflix has revealed a thrilling new teaser trailer for an animated adventure called The Sea Beast, from filmmaking Chris Williams (of Bolt, Big Hero 6, Moana) who has moved from directing at Disney Animation to working independently with Netflix. Uh yeah this looks very cool! A legendary sea monster hunter's life is turned upside down when a young girl stows away on his ship and befriends the most dangerous beast of them all. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history. The Sea Beast takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins. The film stars Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens, and Kathy Burke. Another "where did this come from?!" kind of film, but it looks so exciting that I don't mind and I'm looking forward to July already. This looks stellar.
So cuteee!!! Disney has revealed an official trailer for Ice Age: Scrat Tales, their spin-off series focusing on the hapless saber-toothed squirrel and his family. This is similar to the Pixar spin-off Disney series Dug Days, focusing on the lovable doggo from that movie. We all know Scrat as he has been in numerous short films / intros to various Blue Sky Ice Age movies over the last two decades. Now he has his own series on Disney+! Even though he is originally a creation of Blue Sky Studios, which shut down after Disney bought Fox (which included Blue Sky). "Discover the nuttiness of parenthood." Ice Age: Scrat Tales features six all-new animated shorts starring Scrat, who experiences the ups and downs of fatherhood. It looks like exactly what you'd expect from this - more of the same Scrat humor now with a child thrown into the mix. Have fun.