REVIEW: O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] [2014]

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Writer/director Alê Abreu‘s O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] is nothing if not a breath of fresh air against the animation medium’s otherwise stagnant aesthetic of glossy computerized fare. Not only does he dive back into a traditional hand-drawn style, he does so with an un-polished rough-edged crayon texture to make it […]

REVIEW: Historia de un oso [Bear Story] [2014]

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While Gabriel Osorio Vargas‘ Chilean short film Historia de un oso [Bear Story] tells the tale of a sad, lonely old bear, it does ultimately prove uplifting. Here’s a creature tinkering tirelessly in his shop to put the finishing touches on what could very well be his life’s work and yet any and all success […]

REVIEW: The Dark Crystal [1982]

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“The great conjunction is the end of the world! … Or the beginning.” I’ll say right now that a little fright never harmed my adolescence so kudos to Jim Henson for sticking to his guns in bringing “family film” and potential nightmare inducing adventure The Dark Crystal to life. Anyone who spied upon Brian Froud’s […]

REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

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“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to […]

REVIEW: Shaun the Sheep Movie [2015]

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“Have a … Day Off” Aardman is back after a three-year feature film hiatus with Shaun the Sheep Movie based on their television series “Shaun the Sheep” and it is a delight. It’s incredible to believe this newest entry to the studio’s stable cost only a sixth of critically-panned, computer animation debut Flushed Away‘s budget […]

REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]

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“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: The Peanuts Movie [2015]

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“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: The Prophet [2015]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Pan [2015]

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“Is this Canada?” For whatever reason the American public has been fascinated with “origin” stories attempting to give meaning to some of the most iconic adversarial relationships in literary and film history. It’s not enough for the Wicked Witch of the West to hate Glinda or Superman and Lex Luthor to be arch-nemeses—we need to […]

REVIEW: Phantom Boy [2015]

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“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: (Otto) [2015]

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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 […]