Femme Filmmakers Festival 7 Review: Love is Just a Death Away

Year: 2022 Runtime: 11 minutes Director: Bára Anna Stejskalová By Caelyn O’Reilly “Love is Just a Death Away” is a beauteous little film about finding love in unlikely places.  It’s also about corpse-puppeteering brain parasites. Stop-motion animation seems to always have a fascination with the macabre, the misunderstood, and societal outcasts. From Burton-produced features like “The Nightmare Before Christmas”(1993) and “Frankenweenie”(2012) to the entire filmography … Continue reading Femme Filmmakers Festival 7 Review: Love is Just a Death Away

The Women of the Watery World of Atlantis: The Lost Empire

By Joan Amenn Over twenty years ago, Disney did something extraordinarily out of character. They allowed animators to create a world more like a live action film than had permitted previously. No doubt it helped that the directors of “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001) were Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, who had collaborated on the blockbuster hit “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991. However, the … Continue reading The Women of the Watery World of Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Fantasia Film Review: Inu-Oh

Year: 2021 Runtime:  98 minutes Director: Masaaki Yuasa Writer: Akiko Nogi Cast: Avu-chan, Mirai Moriyama, Tasuku Emoto, Kenjiro Tsuda, Yutaka Matsushige By Harris Dang Set in 14th Century Japan, “Inu-Oh” (2021) tells the story of the titular character, a talented dancer who was born with physical features that leaves him ostracized from the community. He meets Tomona, a blind musician who regales the community by … Continue reading Fantasia Film Review: Inu-Oh

Magical May Review: The Secret of Kells

Year: 2009 Runtime: 75 minutes Director: Tomm Moore Writers: Tomm Moore, Fabrice Ziolkowski Actors: Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally, Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney, Liam Hourican, Paul Tylak, Paul Young By Joan Amenn Anyone who has taken drawing lessons knows that the first thing to master is basic shapes, like circles and triangles. “The Secret of Kells” (2009) is animated with that in mind as it tells … Continue reading Magical May Review: The Secret of Kells

Toy Story 4 Review: Animated April

Since the dawn of stories, sequels have been a dominant form of art. And there are a plethora of challenges that come with creating new adventures for familiar characters. Pixar’s Toy Story franchise isn’t new to the concept of a sequel, and outlines some of the best sequels of all time. These films hold a 98% average on Rotten Tomatoes and have grossed more money with each subsequent entry. And for my money, “Toy Story 4” is the best of the bunch. Continue reading Toy Story 4 Review: Animated April

Film Review: Bubble

Year: 2022 Runtime: 100 Minutes Directors: Tetsuro Araki Writers: Gen Urobuchi, Naoko Sato, Renji Oki Voice Stars: Jun Shison, Riria, Alice Hirose, Mamoru Miyano, Yuki Kaji By Tom Moore The newest film from Wit Studio (“Attack on Titan”) and director Tetsuro Araki (“Death Note”, “Attack on Titan”), “Bubble” (2022), is a flowing fantasy adventure full of visually epic action taking place in a beautifully realized … Continue reading Film Review: Bubble

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Animated April

All due respect to “Big Hero 6” and “Toy Story 3” & “4,” but the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise going 0-3 in the Best Animated Feature category is one of the greatest mistakes in recent Oscar history. Director Dean DeBlois’s trilogy is not only great entertainment, but powerful emotional storytelling about what it means to grow up, and be responsible for others. 2019’s “The Hidden World” brings this franchise’s ideas full-circle, and delivers what might be one of the most satisfying conclusions to a trilogy in movie history. Continue reading How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Animated April

Anastasia Review: Animated April

For this Animated April, I decided to return to a few films that I adored as a child. In the past I have returned to the likes of “Thumbelina”, a film that I realised wasn’t as good as I had remembered it. I’ve always been wary about revisiting some of the other films that played a significant role in my childhood such as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Fox and the Hound” however I’ve decided to rewatch them both. I always felt very wary about re-watching “Anastasia” which had been a real favourite of mine. I really connected with Anya (voiced by Meg Ryan, with singer Liz Callaway doing the songs for Ms. Ryan) who was a spunky, no-nonsense young woman who just so happened to be a princess. I think a lot of girls secretly wish they were royalty even though they try to make out that they’re not ‘girly’. I was one of those types of girls. Continue reading Anastasia Review: Animated April

Klaus Review: Animated April

Wanting to watch something to feel the spirit of Christmas is how I ended up watching “Klaus” (2019) the first time. It ended up being a film that we all loved and deemed eminently re-watchable. This film has all the makings of a new Christmas Classic to be enjoyed by the whole family. It steps away from the traditional tales of how the legend of Santa Claus came to be and creates an entirely new story that still manages to explain the toy-making, the sleigh, the reindeer, the naughty list, the red suit, and, of course, the timeless tradition of Letters to Santa. This film further subverts other Christmas Classics because the central character is not Santa Claus but the new local postman, Jesper (Jason Schwartzman). Continue reading Klaus Review: Animated April

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: How One Movie Revolutionized Animation Again

Since the dawn of movies, animation has been one of storytelling’s most essential mediums, from stitched photography to the first hand-drawn renderings of dwarves and fair women to digitally enhanced visual effects (which are, in effect, an animation unto themselves) to the movements of clay through any number of frames. Animation is even so essential to filmmaking as to render otherwise unfilmable stories accessible to a wide scope of audiences – such was the case with “Flee” (2021) during this past year’s awards season. But not since the days of “Toy Story” (1995) has this filmmaking medium taken such a gigantic leap as in December of 2018, when “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swung onto silver screens to chronicle the ascent of one Miles Morales from a semi-known comic book/video game character to the throne of all Spider-Man movies.  Continue reading Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: How One Movie Revolutionized Animation Again