Category Archives: Animation

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

Directors: Peter LordJeff Newitt, Main Cast (voices): Hugh GrantMartin FreemanDavid TennantImelda Staunton;

the-pirates-in-an-adventure-with-scientists

Latest stop-motion clay animation film from Aardman Animations, this time is about pirates and Charles Darwin. The animation is as always top notch although the story is too much cliched  and sometimes a little slow. There is still plenty of humor and few moments where you cannot avoid to laugh out loud but still it is not at the level of Chicken Run or Wallace & Gromit. —6/10

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Monsters University

Director:  Dan Scanlon, Main Cast:  Billy CrystalJohn GoodmanSteve BuscemiHelen Mirren;

monsters-university

How Mike and Sulley became the best scarer team at Monsters Inc.? Well, this prequel tells you how it happened. This time the focus is more on Mike, who grows up with a dream: be the best scarer ever! To do that he enrolls at MU and there meets Sulley, who comes from a long line of scarers and behaves like a jerk. We get the college experience with monster flavour, including the underdog team of outsiders (the OK fraternity). The duo is not yet what we are used to. They get into troubles, they try hard and, after failing in school, they find themselves and each other.Plenty of humor and flawless animation, nice to hear again Crystal and Goodman as the main characters and Helen Mirren is a great addition. Fun to watch and a positive manifesto for dropouts. —7/10

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The Secret World of Arrietty

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Main Cast (voices):Bridgit MendlerAmy PoehlerWill ArnettDavid Henrie;

secret-world-of-arrietty

Notwithstanding the fact that he is not directing, this is still a Miyazaki’s story:  a boy and a girl meet and help each other, forming a deep bond in the meantime. This time, however, she is Tinker Bell’s size and she is a “borrower”, little people that take from the house of human beings where they live only what they need. Well, this is the first thing that left me a little nonplussed: borrowers are supposed to stay hidden and get from the humans the bare necessities…they are not very good at it and it looks like they splash out on their house, it reminds me of a hobbit’s hole. The other problem is the supporting characters (Arrietty’s parents, the housekeeper, the aunt) are too much Miyazaki’s stereotypes, nothing really new or endearing. The last issue I have with this film is the voice-over at the end, apparently it is only in the US version, too much Blade Runner theatrical release for my taste…I tend to prefer the director’s cut. So, as a fan of Miyazaki, I am somewhat disappointed, I had high expectations. The silver lining is the brief participation of a Jimsy-like borrower, really loved that. —5.5/10

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Favorite quote of the moment

 

buzz hand

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The Congress

Director: Ari Folman, Main Cast: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti;

The Congress

Robin Wright, who is growing old and whose star is fading, receives a final offer from her movie studio (miramount, really?!): being “digitalized” and stopping performing for an audience. She accepts in order to care for her younger son, who is becoming deaf and blind.  Fast-forward to 20 years in the future, Robin is going to the titular Congress in toontown to re-negotiate her contract, and here the bad acid trip starts. The animation is “vintage”, reminding of Steamboat Willie and Betty Boop, and the story progresses a tad too slowly. Folman uses Lem’s idea of a chemical compound that once taken allows one to be whoever/whatever, wherever one wants to be. The final twist reveals a dystopian reality that could have been explored more in depth. Interesting premise but it doesn’t deliver — 6/10

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Kung Fu Panda 2

Director: Jennifer Yuh, Main cast: Jack BlackAngelina Jolie and Jackie Chan;

kung fu panda 2

To save Kung Fu Po must find inner peace and face a terrible new weapon. The dragon warrior with the help of the Furious Five and some new allies will save the day and make you laugh…a lot. Awesome — 8/10

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