ENJOY THE SHOW
Turn off that TV, put down the remote, and get out and help the world. There is hope. If you know where to look for it. MOM (or is just Mom?) is a gorgeous animated short film made by a talented young filmmaker named Kajika Aki Ferrazzini now based in France. She briefly studied at the Gobelins school, but then left to work on her own personal projects - this is one of her first creations and it's spectacular. Short of the Week describes it beautifully: "There is a sense of lyricality to the senseless tragedy of the film's plot that is best described by mono no aware, a Japanese concept that is deeply embedded in the country’s artistic culture, where a beautiful sadness is spurred by the recognition of the impermanence of all things." Indeed.
"You're burning! Be careful!" KimStim has released an official US trailer for an experiential animated film titled The Wolf House, the English version of the original Spanish name - La Casa Lobo. The 75-minute film is animated using the paint / repaint stop-motion technique with various real-world objects and rooms worked right into the visuals. The story is very strange - it's about Maria, a young woman who takes refuge in a tiny house in southern Chile after escaping from a German colony. "Using stop-motion techniques and combining elements of various fables, photography, drawing, sculpture, and stage performance, Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León have created a nightmarish shapeshifter of a film." Starring Amalia Kassai and Rainer Krause. It is supremely weird and trippy, and gets to be a bit much, spiraling into utter madness.
Don't mess with mother nature…! Or it will mess with you back. Wild Love is a hilarious, wacky animated short film made by a group of five filmmakers from the École des Nouvelles Images animation school in Avignon, France. If you enjoyed the short Hors Piste (from last year), this is made the same school and has a fun style and dark humor just like that. A young couple heads to the mountains for a romantic getaway in nature. When they accidentally end up killing a furry little rodent, the animals rally and go for revenge. It's rather nice to see the animals getting some respect, for once, but man does this get brutal once they go after these two humans. Ha! But that's exactly what makes this such a unique and crazy wild short film. Have fun.
Woof woof! If you put dogs (or a dog) in your short film, it's an absolute guarantee that I'll watch it. More dogs in cinema, the better! Peripheria is an animated short film (or rather it's an "illustrated" short film) made by French filmmaker David Coquard-Dassault. It originally premiered back in 2015, and won tons of awards including at the Annecy Film Festival and other fests. Now it's available online to watch for free - so you might as well give it a look. Peripheria is a much darker and contemplative short that seems to act as a metaphor for society and some of the problems plaguing our world. We follow various stray dogs as they run around various buildings. The filmmaker is "fascinated" by urban developments, and sets this film in a mesmerizing world of an abandoned housing project where the dogs roam wild. There isn't a clear narrative in this film, but it's still an impressive and thought-provoking experiment in visual storytelling. View below.
How far would you go to make sure you're always on top? This amusing short film titled Second to None explores the themes of ambition and dominance. Frederick Butterfield is determined to be the oldest man alive. The only thing standing in his way is his twin brother Herman, who is older by a mere minute. Their lifelong sibling rivalry culminates with a deadly competition. Get ready for a good laugh. Made by the Irish filmmaker Vincent Gallagher, this animated short is a fairly quick watch and entirely worth your time. The ending will leave you with a sly smirk. Starring Morgan C. Jones as the voice of Frederick Butterfield. Not only is the animation itself quite unique, especially the quirky old dudes character design, but the story itself is absurd and dark but still so much fun. It's obvious that trying to take out others only leads to self-harm, but mostly this is just an enjoyable animated story about two old dudes battling it out to be the oldest.
"What could go wrong?" As we all know, the answer to that question is: everything. Bendito Machine 6: Carry On is the sixth and final episode in the epic animation project known as "Bendito Machine". Created and directed by Spanish animation filmmaker Jossie Malis (aka "Zumbakamera"), this animated saga first launched in 2006 with Episode I titled "Everything You Need". Now 14 years later, Malis has finally finished and debuted Episode VI online for us to enjoy. The concept of Bendito Machine involves using animation to show how "simple-minded organisms" (read: humans) abuse their relationship with machines / technology. Similar to "primitive shadow theaters, Bendito Machine is a combination of industrial mechanization and hysterical humanity, battered as it faces its own evolution, at the mercy of technological advances and unknown forces." Most of all, it's an amusing animated saga of how squishy creatures have lost their way on the path of evolution. If you've never seen any Bendito Machine before, dive in. If you have, enjoy the finale.
So what do mushrooms sound like? Does anyone know…? Are they squishy or buzzy or just silent? This fun experimental animated short film titled Sounds Good follows a curious boom mic operator "on a journey", trying to record the sound of mushrooms. Made by young Estonian animation filmmaker Sander Joon, the short film goes to some seriously strange and trippy places. Of course, there's some excellent sound work in this, too. Joon was inspired to "experiment with audio in his work" after rewatching the classic Man with a Movie Camera. There isn't a clear narrative here, but doesn't matter, as there are still plenty of interesting ideas interpreted in Joon's minimal animation style. Any & all animation fans should give this short a look.
Oh my bones! This is instantly one of my favorite animated short films I've ever seen. Seriously. Rebooted is a live-action + stop-motion animation hybrid short film made by Australian filmmaker Michael Shanks (not the one from Stargate). The 12-minute film stars an adorable stop-motion animated skeleton, pretty much straight out of Ray Harryhausen's films. Now out of work as an "out-of-date special effect", Phil the skeleton takes drastic measures when he learns the film for which he was created is being rebooted without him. Starring Phil, the skeleton, "as himself", along with Glen Hunwick and Peter Paltos. I really love everything about this. Not only does the stop-motion animation blend perfectly into the real world footage, but it looks and feels authentic, it's all so perfectly animated and realized. And beyond that, the story of this funny skeleton guy (and all the other special effect friends he meets) is so charming. Enjoy this short below.
"We're going to find a new family!" Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for The Willoughbys, their next home-made animated movie following Klaus last year. This is actually made by Bron, an animation studio based in Vancouver. It's adapted from Lois Lowry's novel of the same name about a group of kids who get into all kinds of trouble. Convinced they'd be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings end up embarking upon their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family. "It's a love letter to kid logic, unconventional families and awkward childhoods. It's a story for anybody who struggles to fit in," the filmmakers explain. Yeah that sounds about right. Featuring the voices of Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Séan Cullen, and Ricky Gervais. Get a first look at the movie below.
"And also, I want the vastness of the sky." Here is a unique stop-motion animated film to enjoy when you have a few extra minutes. Raymonde or the Vertical Escape is an animated short by French filmmaker Sarah Van den Boom, co-founder of Papy3D Productions in Paris. In a remote farm, Raymonde (an owl) lives a solitary life. She takes care of her garden, raises rabbits, but loneliness starts to weigh on her. She asks herself questions about the meaning of things, about God, about her tardy virginity. Now, Raymonde feels an immense desire to live rising within her… The story "uses comedy as a means to explore themes of social acceptance, isolation, and sensuality." This was nominated for Best Animated Short in France's César Awards last year, and played on the festival circuit throughout most of last year, too. Featuring Yolande Moreau as the voice of Raymonde. The character design for this is particularly impressive, along with the deeply honest and intimate storytelling. View the full short below. (Click the CC button for subtitle options.)
Can you really know all of yourself? Another entrancing animated short film to enjoy and to contemplate. Solipsism is an experimental dark comedy animated short made by animator Jonathan Djob Nkondo along with artist / illustrator / filmmaker Tuna Bora, based on her pre-existing illustrations. The title is a reference to the philosophical concept of solipsism: "the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist." It's about a girl trying to make sense of herself. "The film tells the tale of a young girl who gets lost inside the world around her–or rather, inside her own head–with a clear design that starts to crumble as the protagonist stumbles through an unidentified landscape." Personally, I always love these strange animated films with cool visuals that explore intriguing ideas and actually have something to say. Check it out below.
"Why would I fight for you?" Warner Bros has released the official trailer for an animated movie titled Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, the latest "Mortal Kombat Legends" offering. But this one is particularly unique. It is an R-rated animated movie, given that rating for "extreme violence," "bad language" and "a bloody good time." The iconic fighter Scorpion is given a chance by a sorcerer to return as a specter and get revenge for his family that was killed in a genocide. Featuring the voices of Patrick Seitz as Scorpion, Joel McHale as Johnny Cage, Jennifer Carpenter as Sonya Blade, Jordan Rodrigues, Steve Blum, Artt Butler, and Darin De Paul. We probably won't ever see another live-action Mortal Kombat movie, but this may be better than that would ever be. Holy hell! What a trailer. Check it out below.