Not for Tots: Paul Melancon Animates His Toon Tunes

Tots today are totally missing out on the whole Saturday morning cartoon experience. And when I say totally, I mean totally. Saturday morning cartoons are extinct. You might occasionally run across some old reruns on a minor/specialty cable channel, and thanks to the success of The Simpsons, Family Guy and King of the Hill there… Continue reading Not for Tots: Paul Melancon Animates His Toon Tunes

The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated

It’s a somber cartoon cavalcade with this year’s selection of Oscar-nominated shorts, but there’s also plenty of beauty amidst some emotional bombshells. The crude rendering of Dcera (Daughter) adds to the chaotic sadness of a woman recalling a childhood trauma during her father’s final hours. Hair Love isn’t a particularly ambitious production, but the colors flow fast and furious… Continue reading The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated

White Snake

This adaptation of an ancient Chinese folk tale by director Amy Wong and Zhao Ji is more of a realistic puppetry drama than in its previous screen attempts. Basically a simple tale of humans trying to appease their emperor by collecting snakes to give him eternal life by fueling his Taoist powers crafted into a modern… Continue reading White Snake

The Addams Family

The marketing and promotion team for the new animated Addams Family, including pushing Addams-themed pancakes and other menu items at IHOP, has been propagandizing the new film as the Addams’ “first ever animated comedy” when that’s not exactly accurate. Some may remember the short-lived Addams Family cartoons in 1973 and then again in 1991, not to mention an… Continue reading The Addams Family

Abominable

(from left) – Peng (Albert Tsai), Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Yi (Chloe Bennet) with the Yeti, Everest, in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s Abominable, written and directed by Jill Culton.

Crypto-zoology tales about Bigfoot, Yeti/the Abominable Snowman and the like have come quite a long way since their B-movie heyday of the 1970s with movies like the original Bigfoot (1970) and Return to Boggy Creek (1977). There was a rush of lackluster direct-to-video “Bigfoot” releases in the ’80s as well, with Harry and the Hendersons… Continue reading Abominable

The Angry Birds Movie 2

(L to R, front to back) Courtney (Awkwafina), Chuck (Josh Gad), Silver (Rachel Bloom), Red (Jason Sudeikis), Leonard (Bill Hader), Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and Bomb (Danny McBride) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animations' ANGRY BIRDS 2.

The Angry Birds Movie sucked, so when the sequel was announced, I was like “why?!” I had zero expectations for this movie to move the meter at all, not just for me, but for just about everyone. But The Angry Birds Movie 2 is incredibly well-focused and is quite an enjoyable, watchable experience. With top-notch… Continue reading The Angry Birds Movie 2

Toy Story 4

NEW FRIEND! – In Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Bonnie makes a new friend in kindergarten orientation—literally. When Forky—Bonnie’s craft-project-turned-toy—declares himself trash and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. Featuring the voices of Tony Hale and Tom Hanks as Forky and Woody, “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019. ©2019 Dinsey/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been nine years since Toy Story 3, since Andy grew up and put his toys away. Bonnie is in the picture now and has discovered Andy’s old toys. She’s also introduced her own new handmade toy from her art supplies, Forky, a spork with popsicle-stick feet, googly eyes, and pipe-cleaner arms. Like most of… Continue reading Toy Story 4

UglyDolls

The UglyDoll concept started out as a long-distance letter between creators David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim that morphed into the plush toys, which gained cult-like success (but never huge mainstream success compared to other more notable toy properties). Still, UglyDoll’s popularity peaked out around a decade ago (circa 2006/2007). So, it’s just very odd/bad timing… Continue reading UglyDolls

Missing Link

Writer/director Chris Butler’s new stop-motion animation movie is visually dazzling. From a technical (and even a casual) perspective it’s a tight/fun watch from beginning to end. It’s also (well, for an animated feature at least) quite star-studded: Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, and Zach Galifianakis (as the lead, Mr. Link)… Continue reading Missing Link

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel is a headache-inducing, style-over-substance, CGI-flooded 3D film collaboration between Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), which seems somewhat interesting on paper, but when you actually sit down to experience it, well, it plays out like a two-hour long vapid blooper reel of nothingness, a video game demo that you… Continue reading Alita: Battle Angel

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

With an all-star cast featuring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett (as Batman), Tiffany Haddish, Allison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolf, Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, Will Forte, Jonah Hill (as Green Lantern), Channing Tatum (as Superman), and Jason Momoa (as Aquaman), The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is the ultimate (meta) self-aware crowd pleaser… Continue reading The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The first big-screen animated movie based on the Marvel Universe is also the first Marvel movie that isn’t set on Earth-616. That’s the primary reality in all of the Marvel films and comic books. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – which is essentially the origin story of Miles Morales as Spider-Man – even starts by being kind… Continue reading Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Mavis (Selena Gomez) surprises Dracula (Adam Sandler) with a family vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship liner so he can finally get away from all the stress of running the hotel for once. Of course, the rest of Dracula’s monster crew can’t resist coming along, and they do. But once they all leave port,… Continue reading Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Incredibles 2

SUPER FAMILY -- In Disney Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home when a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot that only the Incredibles can overcome together. Also featuring the voices of Sarah Vowell as Violet and Huck Milner as Dash, “Incredibles 2” opens in U.S. theaters on June 15, 2018. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Even though Incredibles 2 may not equal the energy or imagination of that first one, it’s an enjoyable revisit 14 years later, a reminder of what superhero movies were like prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Incredibles was accepted as Brad Bird’s frolic spoofing Marvel’s Fantastic Four, the first heroic family that all other… Continue reading Incredibles 2

Early Man

From Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, who’s tackled chickens and sheep, comes this prehistoric animated comedy that’s simplistic and unfunny to the point of being irritatingly obvious, including a joke where a woman raises her hands over her head and comments, “It hurts when I do this,” for the expected response: “Then, don’t do… Continue reading Early Man

Ferdinand

Disney’s Oscar-winning 1938 short film Ferdinand the Bull was eight minutes long and covered the Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson tale of the pacifist bull who’d rather sit under a tree sniffing the fragrant flowers than butting heads. From director Carlos Saldanha (Rio), the story gets fleshed out to two hours so that the little bull… Continue reading Ferdinand

The Breadwinner

“It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor/ Or if you’re smart or dumb/ A woman’s place in this old world/ Is under some man’s thumb.” Sandy Posey sang it, a good portion of the world practices it! The only reason to bring religion into the running of the state is to impose a specific belief… Continue reading The Breadwinner

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

As long as the apple cart is level on the straight and narrow, it’s never in any danger of toppling over and losing its cargo; but hit a dip in the road and all could be lost. Nowhere near the blistering indictment of communism that was The Nut Job, this sequel begins with the residents gorged… Continue reading The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

Despicable Me 3

A franchise centered around Minions, the most loveable millennial animated characters this side of the Penguins of Madagascar, finds former villain Gru (Steve Carell), teaming with a twin brother(“Dru”) he did not know he had, after he and the wife (Kristen Wiig) get fired as secret agents. The Minions get arrested and spend much of their… Continue reading Despicable Me 3

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

Among a student body of 900, Dash, Assaf and Verti might sound like a legal firm but are actually the sophomore reporters for the student-run newspaper. Considered of little to no value because it’s FREE, and because its subject matter consists of advising freshman to bring their own lunch, while serving detention Dash scours the… Continue reading My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

The Lego Batman Movie

I do not believe any movie in recent memory has managed to piss me off as much as The Lego Batman Movie. “Aw, man – it’s a kids’ movie!” Really? That’s your comeback? Then I suppose all those inside jokes about Suicide Squad were inserted to intentionally fall on deaf ears since kids could not… Continue reading The Lego Batman Movie

Tower

Providing the inspiration for both Peter Bogdanovich’s film Targets and Kinky Friedman’s “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” on August 1, 1966, an ex-marine shot his wife and mother before climbing to the 27th floor observation deck of the clock tower on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Once there, he began randomly firing at pedestrians… Continue reading Tower

April and the Extraordinary World

In a paradise that’s a prison, hurting industry curtails science. In other words, environmentalism is not necessarily what’s best for human progress. That’s what I got from April and the Extraordinary World, an alternate reality animated science fiction tale from directors Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci. During the Napoleonic era, an inventor, Gustave Franklin, creates… Continue reading April and the Extraordinary World

The Book of Life

From private altars and trips to the cemetery to sugar skulls and family gatherings, the Guillermo del Toro production The Book of Life focuses on a wager between La Muerta, ruler of the Land of the Remembered where spirits live on in their loved ones’ memories, and Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten… Continue reading The Book of Life

The Nut Job

My favorite quote goes something like, “Jeff Clark has the right to say whatever he wants, but there are consequences!” Oh, really? Tell that to Pussy Riot! Jeff’s comments in last month’s Stomp and Stammer spurred cowardly musicians and jealous local critics to seize upon the situation as a rallying point for comeuppance for previous… Continue reading The Nut Job