The Red Turtle: A movie beyond words

A- Animated fantasy Written by Pascale Ferran & Michael Dudok de Wit Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit A man marooned on a deserted island struggles to survive, escape, and ward off loneliness in this strange, beautiful, and effecting animated tale. And in a strange way, he will find almost everything he wants. Although essentially … Continue reading The Red Turtle: A movie beyond words

To Pixar and Beyond: Animating the business end of filmmaking

You'd expect a book on the history of Pixar to include lots of drawings, models, and frame blowups. But you'll find only words in Lawrence Levy's To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History. But then, To Pixar and Beyond is not about animation, design, or storytelling. It's not even … Continue reading To Pixar and Beyond: Animating the business end of filmmaking

Closing the Mill Valley Film Festival with 3D and Disney Animation

Yes, I know. This year's Mill Valley Film Festival closes with several screenings of Loving. But I'm not able to attend any of them. So I finished my Mill Valley Film Festival with two special presentations at the Rafael. Both events were family friendly, and had quite a few children present. The 3D Sideshow As … Continue reading Closing the Mill Valley Film Festival with 3D and Disney Animation

The Phantom Boy doesn’t quite come together

C+ Animated family-oriented fantasy crime thriller Written by Alain Gagnol Directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli Eleven-year-old Leo is very sick. He's in the hospital, will be for months, and he may not survive. But he has a superpower. His spirit can leave his body, fly through walls, and see and hear everything around … Continue reading The Phantom Boy doesn’t quite come together

Steampunk at its best: April and the Extraordinary World

A- Animated fantasy Written by Franck Ekinci    and Benjamin Legrand, from the graphic novel by Jacques Tardi Directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci This charming, French, animated alternative history takes place in Europe, 1941. But it's not the 1941 we know. If you look quickly, you'll get a glimpse of Adolf Hitler, drawing caricatures of … Continue reading Steampunk at its best: April and the Extraordinary World

Quick thoughts: Anomalisa & Hail, Caesar!

I've been busy and sick lately, and therefore haven't caught many new movies. But this past weekend, my wife and I managed to get to Berkeley's California Theater twice, where we saw Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa and the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar! Both are worth catching, although for very different reasons. Anomalisa Early on, I wondered … Continue reading Quick thoughts: Anomalisa & Hail, Caesar!

Sundance Film Festival 2015 Award-Winning Shorts

A- Selection of shorts A dystopian future, war-torn screen tests, scuba diving under ice, and a sexually-frustrated single mom all turn up in this selection of six short subjects that won awards at the 2015 Sundance film festival. I loved five out of the six. World of Tomorrow, Short Film Jury Award a little girl, … Continue reading Sundance Film Festival 2015 Award-Winning Shorts