REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]


“Look who got relevated” You constantly hear about movies needing reshoots, but The Good Dinosaur‘s troubles went beyond cosmetic enhancements into full-blown emergency room triage. I’m talking two years of development before a release date announcement, two more before that date and original director Bob Peterson (who came up with the story alongside his directorial […]

REVIEW: Sanjay’s Super Team [2015]


“Super Team unite!” Sunday school would be a must-attend for kids of every religion if their church, synagogue, mosque, or temple put a fun, pop culture spin on their Gods—guaranteed. How badass would it be to watch a cartoon Jesus using his magic to raise people from the clutches of the evil Grim Reaper? Sure […]

REVIEW: The Peanuts Movie [2015]


“Good grief” It’s been at least a decade since I saw anything Peanuts related so saying that Steve Martino‘s The Peanuts Movie felt like old times has to be the best compliment I can bestow. The story itself doesn’t have the type of classic longevity of its predecessors—A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s the Great […]

REVIEW: Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe [2015]


“Make a wish” It’s amazing that the Ice Age series is still going on let alone the solitary adventures of little Scrat and his acorn. The studio may be just as surprised too since they’ve had to relegate their latest short to UFO conspiracies. Yes, Mike Thurmeier’s Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe sees everyone’s favorite pre-historic squirrel shoving […]

REVIEW: The Prophet [2015]


“And yet you rise above them unbound” After watching the animated cinematic adaptation of Kahlil Gibran‘s The Prophet and hearing his prose poetry read out loud, I can understand both the critical pause and public adoration it’s earned this past century. It consists of the kind of inspirational tales of flowery optimism that many love […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]


“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]

REVIEW: Phantom Boy [2015]


“My reign will start in darkness” French directors Alain Gagnol (who also wrote) and Jean-Loup Felicioli have another winner on their hands with Phantom Boy. The much-anticipated follow-up to their Oscar-nominated animation A Cat in Paris was five years in the making and well worth the wait. With its vibrant colors muted for a NYC […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] [2015]


“Green, how I want you green.” Animator Theodore Ushev embraces yet another visual style to treat us with at the Toronto International Film Festival. From conté crayon images rotoscoped atop Jafar Panahi in 2012’s Joda to the Cubist/Constructivist homage of 2013’s Gloria Victoria, his latest Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] delves into Abstract Expressionism bearing to mind […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Peripheria [2015]


A post-apocalyptic wasteland born from an abandoned council estate of mammoth cement structures covered in graffiti and devoid of life—human life— David Coquard-Dassault‘s Peripheria showcases an aftermath of the unusable imprint we’ve made on Earth. Without our species to use these homes for dwelling or canvases, they merely stand reflecting the sun as large shadow […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: (Otto) [2015]


Writers/directors/animators Job, Joris & Marieke may be my new favorite computer animation team. Unlike Pixar or Dreamworks, however, I’m not sure I’d ever want them to go feature length since their style is so perfectly suited to the short form. Their Oscar-nominated A Single Life was my first introduction to them as well as my […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: The Ballad of Immortal Joe [2015]


“If you want my story I will proceed” Written in memory of a family member, Pazit Cahlon‘s Western poem The Ballad of Immortal Joe sounds like a nursery rhyme but plays like a bittersweet romance of cursed love. Directed and animated by Hector Herrera, the short has an eye-catching aesthetic with dark palette and deep […]