Category Archives: Animation

I am a grown woman who has played a Facebook version of Angry Birds since its inception. Judge me if you must, but suddenly that wasted time has come in somewhat handy now that the inevitable “The Angry Birds Movie” has landed. I compete against strangers in weekly tournaments by launching flightless birds of varying shapes, hues and special combative powers via a slingshot and aiming them ......
Translated literally, “belladonna” means “beautiful woman.” The word rolls off your tongue, implying something dangerous, seductive, delicious. So the fact that “belladonna” is also the alternate name of the deadly nightshade plant tells you a whole lot about historic attitudes toward beautiful women. The belladonna is a relative of the tomato; its berries and leaves are highly toxic. Long ......
It feels somewhat clichéd to call an animated adventure film a “delight,” but it’s the best word for the latest from GKids, “April and the Extraordinary World,” a joyful, accomplished movie that echoes “The City of Lost Children,” “The Adventures of Tintin,” “Metropolis,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and something unique into a, well, delightful piece of work. More directly (and accurately) trans......
Fantasy films aimed at kids don’t have to have political messages, but when they do, they should either be internally consistent, or work through the contradictions in terms that kids can apply to the real world. “Zootopia,” a fantasy set in a city where predators and prey live together in harmony, is a funny, beautifully designed kids’ film with a message that it restates at every turn. Bu......
“The Boy and the Beast,” a new Japanese animated fantasy written and directed by mega-talented Japanese filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda(“Summer Wars”), will probably enter and exit American theaters in a flash. American distributors Funimation are not marketing the film to anyone but established anime fans. After all, Japanese and Asian movies in general are treated like nic......
Of all the Dreamworks Animation franchise lead characters—not that there are many of them—Po, the often goofily hapless but ultimately mighty titular Kung Fu Panda voiced by Jack Black is the most unambiguously and unabashedly lovable. So, “Kung Fu Panda 3” has got that going for it right off the bat. The sunny metrics of the believe-in-yourself scenario the character offers—as appealing a ......
One wishes “Norm of the North” had a blatant or even a subversive political message, if only because it might start an argument about the ways in which “Hollywood is trying to indoctrinate our kids with liberal propaganda about climate change.” That could be fun. Hell, it would be fine if this movie took the opposite route, pushing back against those “liberal H......
2014’s U.S. release of Isao Takahata’s amazing animated swan song “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” was a gift and a miracle in and of itself, but it’s also yielding some dividends. The first great movie of 2016, as far as U.S. releases go, is an animated picture that was made in 1991: Takahata’s breathtakingly beautiful and quietly but devastatingly moving “Only Yesterday,” seeing its firs......
Ever since 1999’s “Being John Malkovich,” he has been on a short list of American screenwriters whose work is so original that he must be thought of as an auteur, even though film is supposedly a director’s medium. Formidable filmmakers have adapted his scripts, includingSpike Jonze (“Malkovich” and “Adaptation”) and Michel Gondry(“Etern......
In the opening scene of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip,” Alvin, Theodore, and Simon, the three chipmunks, throw a surprise birthday party for their dad/legal-guardian Dave (Jason Lee). But things get out of hand. Hundreds of people show up. A half-pipe is erected in the backyard and skateboarders careen through the air. A DJ cranks the tunes. All of this happens before ......