Posts Tagged ‘Stop Motion’

Media Update 9/1/2016

September 1, 2016


Kubo and the Two Strings

I am writing this Wednesday night before this gets published. I just got back from Kubo and I am so excited to talk about it. It feels like almost every animated film I see these days is the best one I have ever seen. This was no exception. The movie made me laugh, made me smile, made me cry, almost made me cheer and made me dream. It was so well animated in that familiar yet evolving LAIKA style that started with Coraline and continues today. For me, LAIKA is what Pixar used to be. Every story they pick is important to tell and emotionally uplifting and I feel rocked after seeing it. They also still operate with stop motion animation which is so fluid that I thought they had just voodoo’d the models to life. The actors all did a good job but I couldn’t even recognize the famous names (except George Takei) throughout their performance. They became their characters and it was amazing. It also had some pretty spooky moments which thrilled me because I think kids are tough enough to take a few scares. I expected great action sequences like all their films before but I did not expect great martial arts sequences. The loving tribute to Japan and its mythology and folklore was just great to see. I don’t want to say anymore in case I give something away. You should go out right now and see this movie. Right now!


The Little Prince

I never read the book that this movie is based on but it sounds like a book that would have made an impression on me as a kid. When I was of Children’s Book age, I was reading Disney and Roald Dahl which is probably what warped and sparked my imagination at a young age. I heard the movie was really good and I have had a love affair with animation since I was a small child. I am lucky to have lived through some of the best ages of animation and computers have done wonders for the art form. What used to take forever, now takes a lot less time. That extra time allows for animation studios to do even more impressive things with the art and story. Almost anything is possible these days. The animation in this movie is very innovative and incredibly new to me. It combines pure computer generated images with paper animation aided by computers. It literally feels like a book coming to life. The story itself is very sweet, sometimes sad and surprisingly deep for what should be a kid’s story. A lot of that is going around. The main story is about finding the fun in life instead of focusing only on success. It also has a lot to say about human relationships and the importance of friends. I definitely recommend it.


Anomalisa

I had seen the posters for Anomalisa and I knew that it was getting great reviews but for some reason, it did not look attractive to me. I did not know anything about it, but the art style looked a little weird and I just was not sure about it. Then the movie was washed away in the glut of movies that come out every year. Oscar season reminded me of the movie when I heard that Dan Harmon was attached somehow. It turns out, the animation was done by Starburns Industries, the same studio that makes Rick and Morty of all shows. I had never watched anything written or directed by Charlie Kaufman but I knew that he made offbeat, artsy films which I usually avoid. I decided to step outside my comfort zone a bit. The animation is pretty neat looking. I would not say that it is beautiful but I do not think it is supposed to be. In fact, the animation feels almost too close to live-action actually. The movie did end up being really artsy and quirky but really depressing. The movie just felt ‘ok’ to me. I loved the concept but it just was not my cup of tea. I think it would have worked better as a short than a whole feature film. I don’t even know if I should recommend it but it was not bad. I will say that this is R-Rated and definitely not for kids.

Music of the Week:
Galantis – No Money
Bat For Lashes – All Your Gold
Crush 40 – One Of Those Days
Dixie Dregs – Cruise Control
Christina Grimmie – Shrug

Weekly Update:
– School started up again but I got a lot of new stuff watched in my week off. Be prepared.
– This week’s theme is “Animated Films not made by Disney or Dreamworks”
– I watched a lot more Person of Interest and now I’m halfway through Season 4
– I watched a little more Dark Matter and I’m almost done Season 1
– I started listening to the TV Crimes podcast and it’s great
– I watched a lot of Law and Order SVU
– I watched a little more Castle too
– I watched a ton of MatPat, Grumps, Commander Holly and other Youtube videos

Ghoulies

October 1, 2015

I have heard over and over that this movie is part of a rash of films that came out in response to Gremlins. Gremlins is a great little movie but it’s hardly very scary even when I was a little kid. It happens to be a pretty good movie because of the great direction and the good actors who help form fun characters. It’s good campy fun from beginning to end partly because it’s written by an earl of schlock named Chris Colombus. I never really watched Ghoulies or Critters because of this, although I did see Hobgoblins much to my regret. In fact, I forgot that the movie existed which is easy to do when you’re three years old when it came out. Also, it was free from Comcast OnDemand.

I had not realized the movie is made by Empire Pictures, a company founded by Charles Band. Charles Band is sort of like Roger Corman if he pretty much only focussed on horror. I have a history with Charles Band’s Fool Moon Productions. Last year I named one of their movies (Puppet Master) in my Top 11 and another of their movies (Evil Bong) in my Bottom 11. I’m not sure if he sets out to rip things off but the argument could be made. Whether this is his intention or not, he does it with enough new thought that he makes new franchises. Sure, they’re cheap and inferior, but they have a strange kind of heart. Of course, some of them have a lot of heart and no brains but we’ve all seen a lot of those kinds of horror movies anyway.

The movie follows a young man who gets sucked into the occult and starts summoning little monsters or demons. It’s not really clear. The titular “ghoulies” were created by Stan Winston, a legendary special FX artist. They look good, with plenty of slime and drool to let you suspend your disbelief and see them as real enough. Of course, I find the puppets both inherently funny and inherently creepy but that’s the danger of puppets. At least the puppets in Puppetmaster didn’t make noise which is for the best because hearing them giggle and growl makes them decidedly less scary.

As with any horror movie focused on monsters, you’re really only there for the monsters. However, monsters need victims so let’s discuss them. Usually, by the time the killing starts, you hate the victims and can’t wait for them to die. This was true of the people in this cast because from the first time they were on frame I was ready to write them off. Well, the female protagonist was a little less annoying. Also, Mariska Hargitay (of Law and Order: SVU fame) made her film debut in this long before busting perps in New York City.

Most of the humans get a sum total of seven lines each. The bulk of the movie is acted by Peter Liapis who portrays Jonathan. His dad was a generic Satanist wizard and now he has inherited the power. He’s a good enough actor as he portrays a young man whose curiosity makes him an easy target for the seductive abilities of forbidden power and knowledge. His power grows as he fights with his girlfriend who is confused as to what is going on with her boyfriend.

The main complaint I have is that the movie is exceptionally slow. In a movie about killer puppet monsters, you expect it to be almost wall to wall monsters. The movie is 81 minutes long with credits and, although they make appearances, the monsters only gear up in the third act. However, if you can hang in there until the end, the movie gets really goofy and creepy in a fun way. It may be a crappy horror film but that’s what I grew up with anyway. Give it a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.


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