REVIEW: Historia de un oso [Bear Story] [2014]

While Gabriel Osorio Vargas‘ Chilean short film Historia de un oso [Bear Story] tells the tale of a sad, lonely old bear, it does ultimately prove uplifting. Here’s a creature tinkering tirelessly in his shop to put the finishing touches on what could very well be his life’s work and yet any and all success […]

REVIEW: World of Tomorrow [2015]

“I had lunch today” Animator/writer/director Don Hertzfeldt includes a wealth of philosophically introspective gems within his latest sci-fi short World of Tomorrow. None, however, is more poignant than: “That is the thing about the present, Emily Prime. You only appreciate it when it is the past.” Truer words have never been spoken because so many […]

REVIEW: Hell and Back [2015]

“If you’re a priest or a nun, that’s funny. You wasted your life.” You may have noticed posters for the R-rated, stop-motion animated comedy Hell and Back throughout the summer and fall seasons in anticipation of its October release only to find it didn’t come to a theater near you. It was released and took […]

REVIEW: Anomalisa [2015]

“Nah. That’s British Airways.” Leave it to Charlie Kaufman to write a play about human connection and have it be just three actors who don’t physically interact—two playing single characters and the third everyone else with no discernable attempt to differentiate his voice. Then leave it to Dino Stamatopoulos and Dan Harmon of “Community” and […]

REVIEW: Shaun the Sheep Movie [2015]

“Have a … Day Off” Aardman is back after a three-year feature film hiatus with Shaun the Sheep Movie based on their television series “Shaun the Sheep” and it is a delight. It’s incredible to believe this newest entry to the studio’s stable cost only a sixth of critically-panned, computer animation debut Flushed Away‘s budget […]

REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]

“Look who got relevated” You constantly hear about movies needing reshoots, but The Good Dinosaur‘s troubles went beyond cosmetic enhancements into full-blown emergency room triage. I’m talking two years of development before a release date announcement, two more before that date and original director Bob Peterson (who came up with the story alongside his directorial […]

REVIEW: Sanjay’s Super Team [2015]

“Super Team unite!” Sunday school would be a must-attend for kids of every religion if their church, synagogue, mosque, or temple put a fun, pop culture spin on their Gods—guaranteed. How badass would it be to watch a cartoon Jesus using his magic to raise people from the clutches of the evil Grim Reaper? Sure […]

REVIEW: The Peanuts Movie [2015]

“Good grief” It’s been at least a decade since I saw anything Peanuts related so saying that Steve Martino‘s The Peanuts Movie felt like old times has to be the best compliment I can bestow. The story itself doesn’t have the type of classic longevity of its predecessors—A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s the Great […]

REVIEW: Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe [2015]

“Make a wish” It’s amazing that the Ice Age series is still going on let alone the solitary adventures of little Scrat and his acorn. The studio may be just as surprised too since they’ve had to relegate their latest short to UFO conspiracies. Yes, Mike Thurmeier’s Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe sees everyone’s favorite pre-historic squirrel shoving […]

REVIEW: The Prophet [2015]

“And yet you rise above them unbound” After watching the animated cinematic adaptation of Kahlil Gibran‘s The Prophet and hearing his prose poetry read out loud, I can understand both the critical pause and public adoration it’s earned this past century. It consists of the kind of inspirational tales of flowery optimism that many love […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]

“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]