Fall Film Preview 2015

It’s that time again, dear reader. Fall is officially upon us, and with it the another big season for animated feature films. I know that fall is officially here, not just by my calendar, but by the lament of my 9-year-old neighbor that her teacher actually gave her homework this week. Teachers instinctually know when the torpor caused by the summer heat should give way to the deeper thinking that becomes possible with cooler weather (or, at least, that is my explanation); filmmakers, too, seem to follow this logic, as the high-octane summer blockbusters give way to the more staid, award-seeking dramas of the fall.

Luckily, this fall also has a wide variety of visually engaging, heartstring-tugging, laugh-inducing animated films coming to the theaters. Here are the ones to look out for: Continue reading


Summer 2015 Animated Features Preview

Well, animation fans, summer is finally here; perhaps not strictly according to the calendar, but at least according to the thermometer outside my house, which means it’s time to take refuge from the heat in an air conditioned theater and enjoy a few good animated features. While last summer’s feature animation lineup was relatively sparse, with only How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Planes 2 making their theatrical debut over the warmer months, this summer is a little more packed, with four to five features being released this summer (depending on if you’re reading this from the UK or the US). Here’s what to look out for this summer when looking to beat the heat at your local cinema: Summer2015

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The Alchemist’s Letter — Trailer

Even though I consider myself something of a short-film fanatic, it isn’t often that the teaser for a festival-circuit short film gets me more excited than the glitzy feature film trailers that most often make the rounds. The trailer for Pixel Veil Productions’ The Alchemist’s Letter — due to screen in festivals this year — is a definite exception, and may be one of the more exciting films coming out this season. Directed by Carlos Andre Stevens (an award-winning commercial director at HouseSpecial), the story follows Veridian, a young man who, upon his estranged father’s death, discovers that his father built a gold-making machine powered by his own memories. Embarking on an enchanted journey through the vessels of the machine — an exploration of the alchemist’s most precious memories — Veridian is given one last life lesson, and a chance to save his own relationship with his daughter.

Wonderfully inventive and visually stunning, The Alchemist’s Letter was brought to life by artists from the acclaimed stop-motion studio Laika (The BoxtrollsParanorman) and HouseSpecial (formerly Laika/house). While there is no word yet on which festivals will be screening this gorgeous film, I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that there will be an opportunity to see this one soon.

Learn more about the film at www.alchemistletter.com.

Winter/Spring Animated Film Preview 2015

Happy New Year, animation lovers! ‘Tis the season to start looking forward, which — to me — means it’s time to start getting excited over the new animated films being unveiled in the late winter-sping portion of 2015 (is it just me, or does Hollywood seem to work in trimesters?). While last fall’s films were showpieces (fall seems to be the time to get out the award-garnering works), the line-up for this season falls more along the predictably enjoyable side of the animation spectrum; they probably won’t win an Oscar, but they’ll give you and your family a good laugh after a week of being snowed in together.

Here are the films to look for this season:

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Footprints – Trailer

Here’s a trailer for another of the short animated films that made it to the short list for the 2015 Academy Awards. Footprints is the work of Bill Plympton (Your Face, Idiots and Angels, Guard Dog), an amazing animator who has already been nominated by the Academy twice before and won countless other honors for his work. Like other Plympton films, Footprints is entirely hand-drawn (with a ball-point pen, no less),  but it is a thematic departure from other Plympton creations, in that it tackles environmental issues rather than the sex and violence themes that recur in some of Plympton’s other animated films.

While there is no word yet on exactly how one might see the full film if not already an Academy voter, I have no doubt this one will be well worth getting out to see once it goes public. If you’d like to see more about Bill Plympton’s work, Footprints, or his forthcoming feature film Cheatin’, visit his website here.

Feast, the new animated short film from Disney, opens this weekend in front of the also good-looking Big Hero 6. Do yourself a favor and get to your local theater to see these amazing films (your stress-levels will thank you for it!).

Inside Out – Pixar Teaser Trailer

Pixar’s teaser for the 2015 release Inside Out gives us a hint of it’s look inside our heads, and a look back at Pixar’s past amazingness.

The teaser trailer, which appeared online yesterday, doesn’t give too much away about the upcoming film. Instead, much of the time is spent reviewing Pixar’s track record (and what a record!) with talismanic scenes from Toy StoryUp, Wall-E, Finding NemoBraveCars, Ratatouille, Monster’s Inc. and The Incredibles. It’s a nice reminder that I have missed my annual dose of Original Pixar Film in 2014 (and Planes:Fire and Rescue is no substitute) and feel the loss keenly. Luckily we will get a double dose in 2015!