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animation

Pinocchio – Guillermo del Toro (2022)

Even though the film is said to be entirely stop-motion, it looks like an animation. Del Toro got a star cast including Ewan MacGregor, Christoph Walz, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and of course Ron Perlman, to do the voices. Also Del Toro brought fascism in the story. This time not in Spain, but in Italy.

I suppose you know the story. A father looses his son and after years of grief, he creates a wooden boy out of the tree that his son planted. The boy is gifted a soul and Pinocchio becomes the new son.

In Del Toro’s film, Pinocchio is picked up by a circus and goes to perform for “Il Duce”, Benito Musselini. Pinocchio insults Il Duce and has to flee. Meanwhile his father tries to get his son back.

The film is a bit of an animation musical, aimed too much at children for my liking, but not boring.

Cool World – Ralph Bakshi (1992)

Another movie I found looking for movies with comic book elements. Well, Bakshi took that element a step further. “Cool World” reminds of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988), but then the story goes both ways. Plus Bakshi turned it into a film not (just) for kids.

“Cool World” has got a nice line-up too. We have a young Brad Pitt, Gabriel Byrne and Kim Basinger.

Frank Harris (Pitt) ends up in the “cool world” after an accident. In this strip world he becomes a “droid” (human) police officer. Jack Deebs (Byrne) is an author of comics who also starts to go and and out of the “cool world”. There he meets his favourite character, the singer Holli Would who has plans to get out of her own world into the world of the “droids”. This succeeds and she even begets a human form played by Basinger.

So we have people entering a strip world and strip elements entering the real world. The strip world is quite over the top with repetative scenes of characters smashing each other to the ground, weird characters flying around, etc., some sort of ADHD old style comic. There are some great findings in the blending of comic and film elements as well, odd characters, weird dialogues. “Cool World” is actually quite cool if you are looking for an old comedy.

Love, Death & Robots – Tim Miller (series 3 seasons 2019-)

It took me a long time to get through the three series that are currently available on Netflix. The series are an animation series in which every episode is basically a short film, usually between 10 and 20 minutes.

Some episodes are amusing. A bit too many are not really my liking. The positive thing about the subject is that there is no need to keep watching, since the episodes have nothing to do with each other anyway. The length makes it convenient to just watch an episode when you have 15 minutes to spare.

Most (all?) episodes are set in some (bleak) future. Often, machines have taken over humanity. In some episodes these robots amusingly reflect on the stupidity of mankind, but there are also episodes with a more horror-type story.

Not bad, not great, just something to put in your watch list and watch an episode of every once in a while.

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.