Animation

TROLLS PREMIERE WITH JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

One of the longest red carpets (rainbow coloured in fact) was installed in front of the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter to accommodate, along its sides, a multitude of fans who adore Justin Timberlake.

As well as voicing one of the leads Timberlake also served as the film’s Executive Music Producer, the soundtrack of which features four original songs including songs by Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick, and Ariana Granda.

Other cast members include Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, Christine Baranski, James Corden, and John Cleese. Our own  Dami Im is the voice of Grandma Rosiepuff.

Justin Timberlake seemed relaxed and happy  to meet his fans posing patiently for selfies and signing autographs.

TROLLS opens in cinemas on December 1.

All images copyright Ben Apfelbaum.

OSCAR WILDE’S THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE

 

The Student with the Red Rose
The Student with the Red Rose

In 2010, acclaimed artist Del Kathryn Barton and renown filmmaker Brendan Fletcher had a casual conversation about working Barton’s series of Oscar Wilde inspired artworks into a short film.

Six years later, Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose, was born.

Currently showing at ACMI, the 14-minute adaption of Wilde’s tale of the same title is now open to the public.

The film took three years to produce with Barton and Fletcher working closely with award-winning post-production house, Method Studios. The team used a mix of handmade props and post-production animation techniques to meticulously craft the piece.

What they have created is an intense and beautiful rendition of Wilde’s original, featuring a chilling score by Sarah Blasko and the voices of some of Australia’s most celebrated actors including Geoffrey Rush and Mia Wasikowska. Continue reading OSCAR WILDE’S THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE

ICE AGE : COLLISION COURSE

ICE AGE 5The fifth Ice Age instalment has come around. Given the previous two films didn’t meet expectations, I was prepared for the worst as I sat down to go on another journey with the Ice Age gang: Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), and Sid (Joey Leguizamo). It’s a decent film, definitely better than its two predecessors, but it could have been fine-tuned into a great one. While the film does recapture a bit of the life of the original and, indeed, had me chuckling periodically throughout, I found it is trying too hard and achieving too little.

The overall plot is entertaining, particularly the cameos by Neil deBuck Weasel (voiced by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson) to help ‘explain’ the pseudo-science governing the film. As the title hints, there is a large asteroid coming towards earth as a result of Scrat’s antics in the prologue and the gang need to find a way to divert it and save the world from mass extinction.

This would’ve been a brilliant story for the original characters to tackle alone (read Manny, Diego and Sid), but instead, they are guided by the ever-crazy Buck (Simon Pegg’s character from the third film) and have also brought a bunch of secondary characters along for the ride: Ellie, Crash and Eddie, Peaches, and Julian (Peaches’ hipster, new-age, no-life-plan, opposite-to-Manny-in-every-way, sub-plot catalyst boyfriend). With all these characters vying for a spot in front of the camera, the film is crowded and I felt I never got to truly reunite with my old friends from the original. Continue reading ICE AGE : COLLISION COURSE

ZOOTOPIA

ZOOTOPIA – CHIEF BOGO, head of the Zootopia Police Department. A tough cape buffalo with 2,000 lbs of attitude, Bogo is reluctant to add Judy Hopps, Zootopia’s first bunny cop, to his squad of hardened rhinos, elephants and hippos. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
ZOOTOPIA – CHIEF BOGO, head of the Zootopia Police Department. A tough cape buffalo with 2,000 lbs of attitude, Bogo is reluctant to add Judy Hopps, Zootopia’s first bunny cop, to his squad of hardened rhinos, elephants and hippos. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

 

It was one of those dreary Sunday afternoons with little to do and plenty of time to do it.

“We should take in a  movie” I said to the little boss. ZOOTOPIA.

“Whaat..the one with those funny actors! Forget it! ” she said. She was feeling persnickety.

“No. You are thinking of Zoolander.

In trepidation I took  her to see it.. Hallelujah! There is a god! She loved it.

Indeed it is hard to score this movie, which is a CGI cartoon by Disney at less than 9.5/10. The Boss gave it 10/10.

Take yourself to see it. If your partner is in one of those moods take her.

Take you mother, your grandmother, your son, your daughter, and any child to see it. They will all love it.

It is clever, witty, insightful, in parts pure genius, and just plain funny. The portrayal of the crime czar Mr Big is incomparable. The sloths are hilarious  …especially, especially in the final scenes.

And the story, well it makes sense too. If you are tired, sick of, can’t understand Deadpool , any/all of the superhero movies and want to see a movie that will carry you comfortably to the end, with no jolts, bumps or dumps along the way, see it. On the big screen.

You will always remember it with a smile.

 

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

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The amazing Dracula Pack is back, better than the original, with fresh animated slapstick for a non-stop adventure ride after Dracula becomes a grandfather. Just like the first film, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 has child-friendly sight gags and screwball punchlines, and corny farce humour and the latest scenario also features some ghoulish fun.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 begins after the wedding of Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) to human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) with the full blessing of Dracula (Adam Sandler). Dracula is now fixated with his new grandson’s lack of vampire heritage (with an appearance to remind you immediately of the ginger-headed children in Pixar’s Brave).   Dracula, together with his undead and other monstrosities decide it is their duty to teach the toddler how to be the best ever little monster.

Continue reading HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE

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“Any more absorbing it’d be a tea towel” says one of the characters in BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE, and he’s right. Too right!

Screenwriter Fin Edquist has fashioned a quintessential quest film from the character created by Dorothy Wall and come up with an origin story of how Blinky Bill became the kind of character beloved by generations and how he met his bestie, Nutsy.

The cute and cuddly koala goes in search of his missing explorer father, flying in the face of the common belief that Dad is a fatality of a failed expedition. To find the truth of his father’s fate, the intrepid eucalypt epicure meets a myriad of mates and a nest of nemesis. Continue reading BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE

MINIONS

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The MINIONS 3D computer-animated comedy movie begins from the dawn of time, with the relatively simple-minded MINIONS evolving from single-celled organisms, and then starting with the Jurassic Era becoming fiercely loyal beings who live just to serve history’s most despicable masters. The forever-young goggles-wearing yellow henchmen, from the two delightful ‘Despicable Me’ childrens’ movies, now have starring roles in this latest film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. Sandra Bullock finally gets the role of a lifetime as the nasty super-villain, ‘Scarlett Overkill’.

‘Scarlett Overkill’ does mention the bard, and to quote William Shakespeare “She vaunted ‘mongst her minions t’ other day” (Henry VI Part 2). This retro ‘Despicable Me’ prequel is set during 1968 initially in New York and Orlando, with wonderful pop culture icons/references throughout. In the Swinging 60s London finale, Scarlett Overkill alongside her inventor husband Herb, wants to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown from the Tower of London. The trio of Minions – Stuart, Kevin and Bob pass the henchmen recruitment process at Villain-Com International. Scarlett Overkill gives the job to her new henchmen, the trio of Minions, KEVIN (the leader), STUART (the teenage rebel with his ukulele) and the diminutive and very lovable BOB carrying Tim his Teddy Bear, and is easily identifiable with his brown/green “Heterochromia Iridum”. Via the bedtime story of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, with “Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf” on the soundtrack, Scarlet threatens to kill the minions if they fail to steal the crown.

Continue reading MINIONS

Jurassic World

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It has been 22 years since the epic blockbuster of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park leaped onto the screen, breaking box-office records and at the time, becoming the highest-grossing film ever. The 14 year intermission between Jurassic Park 3 and the latest instalment Jurassic World was worth the wait.

The film’s incredible scenery and locations was breathtaking to watch, especially in its premiere screening on the big IMAX 3D screen at the Melbourne Museum. Audience members were treated to a tour of the Dinosaur Walk Exhibition, showcasing dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals through skeleton replicas, models, interactive displays and imagery. Continue reading Jurassic World

HOME

 

   

   

 

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HOME is a fast-paced delightful 94 minutes, I really enjoyed watching this movie as did my kids. Released on 19 March, HOME is DREAMWORKS lone theatrical release of this year, and it has been well worth the wait, especially in the 3D version as distributed only in overseas markets by Twentieth Century Fox.

DREAMWORKS marketing for this movie was both clever and unique, because they released from 7 March 2014 a fast-paced, wonderful, charming and captivating 3D DreamWorks computer-graphics-animated four minute comedy short called “ALMOST HOME”, that screened before each new DreamWorks children’s movie, including the 3D Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and 3D Penguins of Madagascar, plus the Blue Sky Studios film 3D Rio 2.

Based on the 2007 children’s science fiction book, written by Adam Rex, “The True Meaning of Smekday” and featuring the voices of Steve Martin, Rihanna and Jim Parsons, HOME has Gratutity (“Tip”) Tucci as its female protagonist, this a wonderful story that has both heart and humour.

Continue reading HOME

The SpongeBob Movie – Sponge Out of Water

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SpongeBob SquarePants is finally back where he belongs providing comedy and rude humour brought together with a complicated and trippy plot, in a brand new adventure showing in Sydney cinemas during the Easter school holidays. You must see this pretty-much surreal SpongeBob SquarePants in the stunning 3D version that easily creates the illusion of reality, and contains an amazing selection of cute live-action footage, classic animation and computer graphics animation. Continue reading The SpongeBob Movie – Sponge Out of Water

Boxtrolls

The-Boxtrolls-6THE BOXTROLLS is based on Alan Snow’s childrens novel “Here Be Monsters”, part of a series of rather ghoulish but quirky and very clever childrens’ books.

Just as in their previous film CORALINE, Laika Animation has worked really hard to stand out with their unique stop motion movies, and their genuine stop motion is so exquisite in every detail and is uniquely charming, as amply demonstrated in the trailers for their third American animated feature length film BOXTROLLS. I am an absolute fan of movie animation in its many forms, however the physical process of creation by the frame-by-frame alteration of every character, still is a very welcome treat for my eyes. Continue reading Boxtrolls

RIO 2

RIO 2 the movie

All those incredible RIO original characters are back, and new character voices are provided by Oscar® nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy® winner Bruno Mars, Tony® winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy®/Tony winner Rita Moreno, plus featuring the clever music of new Brazilian artists and catchy original music by Janelle Monae and Wondaland.

This second animated outing for the blue macaws from the magical city of Rio, is full of energy and eye candy. Blu and Jewel unexpectedly discover, that there are other members of their species located ”Deep in the Amazon”. City bird Blu (Eisenberg) is happily married to Jewel (Hathaway) and this time, they travel to the Amazon with his family and his friends (from the first RIO movie) to look for Jewel’s family, but the villainous adversary Nigel (Clement) the deranged white cockatoo, is again gleefully subversive and keen on revenge. One of my favourite scenes, is the soccer match between the Blue Macaws and the Red Macaws

Continue reading RIO 2

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010) was immensely successful for DreamWorks Animation, and was a runaway critical and commercial hit. We now return to the animated world of Dragons and Vikings, and this second thrilling chapter is a sweeping and very imaginative fantasy adventure, and the intelligent storytelling of the original has been beautifully expanded with ambitious high-speed battle sequences. This is an inspired piece of escapism, heavily infused with more of that independent spirit with a slightly off-kilter aesthetic, that enriched the original movie. Starring the voice talents of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou.

Continue reading HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2

Paul  Giamatti as Rhino in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
Paul Giamatti as Rhino in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

“We have always known that Spider-Man’s most important conflict has been within himself”

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2- RISE OF ELECTRO is a gripping sequel that is just so much better and tighter than the first re-boot of the franchise, THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN. At times, the tone is quite dark, with stunning detailed visuals and non-stop action fight sequences as Spider Man battles with multiple villains, starting with Electro/Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), and including Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan in a standout performance) of Oscorp as the main antagonist.

Continue reading THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2

MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Miss Piggy and Kermit in the latest Muppet film, MUPPETS MOST WANTED
Miss Piggy and Kermit in the latest Muppet film, MUPPETS MOST WANTED

“On a European tour, no one notices that Kermit The Frog has been replaced by an evil froggy doppelgänger (Constantine) who is a criminal mastermind . . . “

This family musical ”comedy” originally was to be titled “The Muppets … Again!” . . . “MUPPETS MOST WANTED (2014) is the Muppet’s eighth cinema release since “THE MUPPETS” (1979). Directed by James Bobin and starring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz, Ray Liotta, Til Schweiger, Debby Ryan, Danny Trejo, Usher Raymond, Celine Dion, and a huge cast of cameos from famous actors, that the adults will all easily recognise.

Continue reading MUPPETS MOST WANTED

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

How To Train Your Dragon (2010), artist Pierre-Olivier Vincent (c) Dreamworks Animation. All rights reserved. Pic Andrew Morley
How To Train Your Dragon (2010), artist Pierre-Olivier Vincent (c) Dreamworks Animation. All rights reserved. Pic Andrew Morley

What does a grumpy ogre, a smart talking bee and a kung fu panda have in common? An exhibition. This week, as part of its 2014 Winter Masterpieces series, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square will open its largest exhibit, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition — Journey From Sketch to Screen.

Continue reading DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

THE LEGO MOVIE

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Best LEGO family adventure movie ever, this modern day satire is subversive and yet counter-cultural. This Australian made 3D computer animation comedy movie film, is already so beloved by USA audiences because this film satisfies audiences of all ages, and the sequel is already being made. Decent plot with very engaging characters, and you will be taken for quite an emotional and hectic ride, but near the end, the story has that unexpected twist, with an intriguing moral lesson for all, that is essentially true to life.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) a forgettable everyman, struggles as an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO mini-figure and is hopelessly and hilariously under prepared, when mistakenly identified by our surveillance culture. When anointed by an underground resistance movement as the “The Special” and the key to saving the world, Emmet is drafted into an epic quest journey (think HOBBIT) to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) the evil tyrant who intends to permanently glue everyone in place. Just like MR.PEABODY AND SHERMAN, there are some surprising voices used as cameos, this time from famous female and male actors. Amazing visuals and yes it is very hard to tell that everything, is not actually made of real Lego pieces.

Continue reading THE LEGO MOVIE

MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN

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MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN is an American 3D computer-animated comedy science fiction movie film about time travellers

Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a lovable talking dog, who is smartest being in the world, business titan, inventor, scientist, a cool musician, Harvard graduate, Nobel laureate, gourmet chef, and two-time Olympic medalist.

Mr. Peabody finds little baby Sherman in a cardboard box, and then adopts him because Peabody wants something that he didn’t have when he was small, a home for him.

Mr. Peabody is the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous “pet” a seven-year-old adopted boy named Sherman (Max Charles), use their time machine – The WABAC – to go on the dangerous time travel adventures in the past on Planet Earth.

Continue reading MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN

FREE BIRDS

FREE BIRDS

FREE BIRDS is an American 3D computer-animated comedy movie film all about changing the American Thanksgiving Holiday with “TURKEYS that Time Travel”, directed by Jimmy Hayward and produced by Reel FX Creative Studios.

Pardoned by the President of the United States, Reggie (Owen Wilson) is a pardoned turkey, and lives a comfortable life at Camp David, enjoying pizza and watching television Jake (Woody Harrelson) is the president and the only member of the Turkeys Liberation Front. They team up and the adventure begins by hijacking a government time machine, and they travel back in time to just before the first Thanksgiving, to get all turkeys off the Thanksgiving menu forever.

Continue reading FREE BIRDS

THE WIND RISES

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PONYO and HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE director Hayao Miyazaki’s final animation masterpiece from Studio Ghibli is the new film THE WIND RISES. At the age of 72, the great Japanese animator Miyazaki Hayao, has announced his retirement.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award nominated THE WIND RISES (風立ちぬ Kaze Tachinu?) is an animated historical fantasy film that is screening in both the original Japanese version with English subtitles, and the voiced English Dubbed version featuring the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jennifer Grey, Elijah Wood and Stanley Tucci. 126 minutes running time and OFLC Rating: PG – Mild Themes.

Continue reading THE WIND RISES

FROZEN

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From the world of 19th-century children’s literature and very loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”, in this century good and evil have become psychologically complex, and also not so clear-cut, and with coherent storytelling we learn that a princess now has to show all her strengths and work to earn her happily-ever-after ending.

Set in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, the beautiful blond, high-strung princess Elsa (Idina Menzel), and has a secret magical problem. Everything freezes when Elsa waves her un-gloved hands. Her impulsive redheaded younger sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), was nearly frozen to death by accident by Elsa the Snow Queen. Anna suddenly falls in love at first sight with Hans (Santino Fontana), a scheming and opportunistic but otherwise is a too-good-to-be-true picture-perfect prince, but Elsa forbids their marriage. Elsa causes eternal winter in the kingdom of Arendelle.

Continue reading FROZEN

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

A perfect Christmas movie- RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

The perfect Christmas movie with all the trimmings of the Santa franchise comes gift wrapped in RISE OF THE GAURDIANS (PG).

When Pitch, the master of dark materials and trainer of nightmares, a kind of Bart Cummings of the fright night fillies, threatens to destroy children’s belief in wonder and rent them asunder with fear, the Guardians of the infantile, Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fair and the Sandman amalgamate to ward off Pitch’s insidious abomination.

Continue reading RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

PUSS IN BOOTS

Dreamworks Animation’s PUSS IN BOOTS (G)

Not quite as successful or sustaining as ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, Dreamworks Animation’s PUSS IN BOOTS (G) is nevertheless an enjoyable romp, a spinoff of the remarkable Shrek series.

Antonio Banderas reprises his role as the fashion footwear feline, one cool cat, a gato that takes the gateaux, and there’s no denying the casting is purr-fect.

The film works best when it focuses on the feline – the milk drinking, the pussy playfulness, the kitty caboodle. When it strides into Zorro zone – an almost irresistible temptation when you have Antonio aboard- it becomes a bit overblown.

Keep the Puss Tom and eschew The Fox, and the Boots has more fidelity and felicity and is less fatuous – in this case Fatuous Catus.

All that litters is not old – it’s just that some writers need to be more malkin savvy for this mouser to sustain feature length without fur-balling.

© Richard Cotter

4th December, 2011

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

A scene from ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

Christmas comes early for cinemagoers with the release of ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, a co-production between Aardman and Sony Animation.

The film is about Santa succession and the enduring success Santa enjoys in circumnavigating the globe on one night.

As depicted at the beginning of the picture, it’s a major military operation, a meld of high tech and magic as 21st century Santa eschews the traditional nine reindeer open sleigh with a star ship, the S-1 that has a Kris Kringle cloaking device Klingons would envy.

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