94 posts categorized "Animation"

April 10, 2018

ISLE OF DOGS

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SpotsSince peaking with the infectiously goofy “Fantastic Mr. Fox” back in 2009, Wes Anderson has worn out his welcome to all but those in tune with his repetitive and redundant stylistic method of reducing drama to a steady faucet leak of warm but strange-tasting liquid.

Gone is the polish of Anderson’s dry but doting wit that gave “Fantastic Mr. Fox” its juice. I suppose "Moonrise Kingdom" is equal to "Mr. Fox" but "The Grand Budapest Hotel" borders on the unwatchable.   

ColeSmithey.com
For “Isle of Dogs,” Anderson adopts a Japanese style and setting that gives his post-apocalyptic story, about an island of abandoned (virus riddled) canines, its transposed (read obfuscated) political and ideological agenda. “Isle of Dogs” is no “Team America when it comes to targeting its satire. For a movie with so many dogs, this movie has no discernible teeth. Everything feels sterile, especially the human aspect of the story.  

Isle-of-dogs

Atari Kobayashi (voiced by Koyu Rankin) is the 12-year-old orphaned ward to Kobayashi, Megasaki City’s corrupt mayor. A viral dog flu causes Kobayashi to banish all dogs to Trash Island, and that plan includes Atari’s own dog “Spots” (voiced by Live Schreiber). Naturally, Atari is a skilled pilot able to crash-land on the squalid isle to track down and rescue his beloved dog.  

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Tracy Walker (Greta Gerwig), an American foreign exchange student (read radical leftist) activist, investigates a cure for the rampant dog flu epidemic. Some audiences have accused Anderson of taking low-hanging-fruit by reusing the old “white savior” trope, but the bigger issue is the film’s lack of cinematic zing and emotional connection with its audience. “Isle of Dogs” is a cinematic amuse bouche that is not all that amusing. Dog lovers might go for it, but I liked Anderson’s foxes a whole lot better.

Rated PG-13. 101 mins. 

2 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

May 01, 2017

HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY — CANNES 2016

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. Punk heart still beating.

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Thanks a lot acorns!

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ColeSmithey.comAn ebullient filmic love letter to one of Hollywood’s most endearing creative couples, this gratifying documentary is essential viewing for budding filmmakers.

There is a lot of valuable artistic information to be gleaned from storyboard artist/production designer Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson, a married duo who worked together in Hollywood for six decades.

The couple contributed to films as varied as Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie,” to Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket,” to “The Graduate.”

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Much of the narration comes from Lillian, a spitfire sprite with an encyclopedic mind. Harold’s love of sketching scenes from their marriage, provides a seemingly endless parade of cartoon images of the idealized couple tackling life’s curveballs with an undeniable mutual respect and adoration for one another.  

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If you saw “Shrek 2,” you might remember that the King and Queen were named “Harold” and “Lillian.” The glitzy animated hat-tip came from a DreamWorks team so enamored of the couple that they considered them family. You’ll feel like part of the Harold and Lillian family too as you watch the story of these two unsung innovators of American Cinema.

ColeSmithey.com

In an age where Hollywood movies have lost their charm, you can find plenty of charisma to spare here.    

Not Rated. 94 mins. 

5 StarsModern Cole

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 17, 2016

SAUSAGE PARTY

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comEven without the hullabaloo of discontent expressed by an army of animators (who worked for this film’s Vancouver-based Nitrogen Studios), “Sausage Party” is a comedy whose ribald humor can’t mask its weaknesses.

As is a common corporate model in the 21st century, animators were made to work overtime without being compensated. There is, after all, no union for such artists in Canada.

Animators described the workplace as hostile. If these skilled artists refused to comply with working the required unpaid overtime conditions, they were threatened with being blacklisted in the industry.

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If they left the production rather than be a party to their own exploitation, they were not given a credit on the picture. If “Sausage Party” lacks visual variety, then these untenable working conditions may have something to do with it.

Such background knowledge should be enough of a motivator to prevent concerned audiences from rushing out to see this disposable movie.

ColeSmithey.com

As a critic, I’m sufficiently soured on the film by these revelations to advise viewers to boycott “Sausage Party” out of hand. Apart from a goofy food orgy (yes, that kind of orgy), the movie is lightweight to a fault.

ColeSmithey.com

You might get a few chuckles out of watching “Sausage Party,” but at what cost to professionals who deserve to be treated with respect and to be paid an industry standard of financial reward for their work? 

Rated R. 89 mins.

2 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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