Category Archives: animation

Anomalisa * Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman (2015)

Apparently Charlie Kaufman can also make a boring film. “Anomalisa” is an animation that is too ‘real’ for an animation, but not ‘real’ enough to watch it as a film. Not my kind of animation.

The film is about a writer and speaker about customer services who travels to Cincinnati to give a lecture. Apparently his life does not go the way he would like and he tries to compensate this by using the opportunity to try to get laid.

There are a few odd moments in the film, but not enough to make it interesting. It is just a film without much of a story and what there is of a story is not very appealing (to me). Perhaps the story is more just to hang a well-made animation on to, but I am not the person to judge that.

Frankenweenie * Tim Burton (2012)

There are still Burton films that I did not see. “Frankenweenie” is a bit too much of a kids-film for me though. A young boy revives his deceased dog and when his classmates fear he is going to use that feat at the contest of their weird science teacher, they try to copy the trick. Of course things go wrong.

Like I said, the film seems to aim at a younger audience. Besides a few jokes, horror themed references for the parents (the kid is called Victor Frankenstein, there is a family Van Helmont) and funny characters, the film is at its best amusing.

O Apóstolo * Fernando Cortizo (2012)

I have no idea why it took two years before this film reached the cinemas, but we did see “O Apóstolo” on the big screen. It is a gloomy, Spanish animation; ‘Burtonesk’ in atmosphere. The largest parts are pretty detailed clay-animations, but there are also drawn animations, beautifully Medievalish in style.

Two inmates escape. Only one does it right. Carlos sets out to a village where his partner in crime supposedly hid a lot of jewelry that he stole. Tapping into the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimages, Carlos finds the village that he is looking for, but it proves to have some very sinister inhabitents. Finding the hidden jewels proves to be quite an ordeal too and Carlos gets sucked in to the secrets of the village.

“O Apóstolo” is a nice film with a slightly absurd, dark atmosphere and wonderfull characters. Being a clay-puppet animation, the people in it can be nicely exaggerated visually, the same for the gloomy village.

A Scanner Darkly * Richard Linklater (2006)

When I picked this film, I had no idea that “A Scanner Darkly” is of the director of the lauded “Boyhood”. I have not seen that film, but I am sure that “A Scanner Darkly” is a wholly different film. First of all, it is an animation. What I find weird is that sometimes the images are very detailed and look quite like a ‘normal’ film, while at other times the images are very crude. Perhaps this is a compliment to the animators, but the film also looks like it was just filmed and played using an ‘animation filter’.

In the near future 80% of the people are addicted to “Substance D” or other drugs. The police if fighting the drug dealers. Keanu Reeves plays an infiltrant who gets addicted too. With flashbacks to Reeves’ characters past, but mostly during the investigations that his superiors conduct, we are in a world in which ‘Big Brother is watching’. It looks like the people in charge do not really care about the situation of the citizens though. As the investigation continues, it makes a circle that reminds a bit of a certain 1973 classic with a slightly similar story.

An alright film with touches upon some contemporary themes.

Le Magasin Des Suicides * Patrice Leconte (2012)

“The Suicide Shop” is an animation playing in some depressive metropolitan where the suicide rate is so high that when someone ends his life, he gets a ticket from the police. One family has discovered the market and opened up a shop with countless of ways to end lives. The shop runs very well until a son is born to them who actually has a cheerfull character. He is ready to shake things up.
I suppose you will understand that this is a rather black comedy. The simple drawings are wonderfull and well worked-out. There are musical parts in the film, but it is mostly the way things look and the humour that makes “Le Magasin Des Suicides” a nice, alternative thing to see some time.

Mononoke-Hime * Hayao Miyazaki (1997)

I do not see a whole lot of “anime”, but I heard some interesting things about “Princess Mononoke”. Ashitaka kills a demon that attacks his village, but he gets cursed and has to set out into the wide world to lift it. He runs into a battle between man and nature. A village and its leader Lady Eboshi intend to destroy nature for wealth and prosperity. Nature is represented by mythological Gods/beasts. Not knowing whether to choose between mankind of nature, Ashitaka tries to reconcile the two parties. Of course some romance is thrown in to make things a little more complicated. The films seems to balance between Japanese folklore and ecological awareness. The story is quite moving and the message pretty clear. “Princess Mononoke” is a nice and interesting ‘cartoon’.

The Short Films Of David Lynch (2008)

I do not know why it took so long before I set out to see this collection of short films. I knew some of them and I am not sure how. Perhaps from extras on other DVDs or perhaps just because of Youtube, but this DVD contains Lynch’s debut films “Six Men Getting Sick” (1 minute, 1967 animation), “The Alphabet” (16 minute, 1968 funny animation with real film cut in). Then you get “The Grandmother” (34 minutes, 1970, a dark and weird film reminding of “Eraserhead”), “The Amputee” (5 and 4 minutes, 1973, a test with two different cameras with ‘The Log Lady’ as the amputee, created after a year of shooting “Eraserhead”)), “The Cowboy And The Frenchmen” (26 minutes, 1988 a not-so-interesting view of Lynch on the French, he made this one on request) and “Lumiere” (55 seconds, 1995 created with a rebuild traditional camera, could be a trailer of a great new film). This disc has also been released in the Lime Green Box which also contains some films that I already have, but also “Dumbland” (also available separately) and the film that I wanted to see most: “Industrial Symphony no. 1” (1990). An amusing set of Lynch weirdness, but the full-length films are better.

L’illusionniste * Sylvain Chomet (2010)

The director of “Les Triplettes de Belville” returns with a new full length animation. “L’illustionist” (the illusionist) is about a not too successfull French illusionist who travels to England and Scotland to perform. In Scotland a girl is so impressed by his ‘magic’ that she travels back with him to London. There the two grow apart. “L’illusionist” is a slow and overly sweet film which lacks the weird humour of “Les Triplettes…”. The result is rather dull, perhaps enjoyable for 8 to 12 years old or so. More positive is the artwork. Where characters and scenery are kept simple (like before) there are a few scenes which almost look as if they are filmed.

9 * Shane Acker (2009)

Animation is not really my genre, but what I saw and read about this film, still made me want to see it. Inspite of the fact that Tim Burton produced this film and that it looks quite alright, I did not find “9” too interesting. A quite typical story playing in an apocalyptic future in which man lost the war with the machines, we follow a group of jute-dolls trying to survive. Fighting their mechanical foos with some semi-alchemical symbolism and sci-fi logic, a struggle develops with humour and drama. Not boring, but not too great either.

Best Animation From Holland (2007)

My eye fell on this DVD when I was looking through the library stock. This 100 minutes DVD contains 11 animations spanning over two decades (1984 to 2005 presented chronologically), all award-wining shorts. All animations are simply drawn, one is an early computer animation. Some of the films are funny, some more melancholic. The artists involved are Børge Ring (“Anna & Bella“), Evert de Beijer (“De Karakters“), the weird “Dada” of Peter Kroon in which the number of books a character can carry on his/her had signifies intelligence, Maarten Koopman with his great “Famous Paintings“, Gerrit van Dijk with “I Move, So I Am” in which the painter continuously paints himself, Christa Moesker with the violent little girl “Sientje” very amusing, Paul Driessen with his pretty vague “3 Misses“, Michael Dudok de Wit (“Father and Daughter“), Adriaan Lokman with his 3D computer animation “Barcode” which is dated 9 years after its creation, Rosto with “Anglobilly Feverson” and Erik van Schaaik with “Vent” a funny film about a guy being blown away by the wind.
Some of the films presented are amusing, but this DVD does not make me an animation-freak. Nice to watch something different some time though.