2018 in Animation

Today I wanted to share with you all a podcast I did with 3 of my friends on the year of animation in 2018. It’s a long one but we covered every release we could from the small to the large.

If you get to listen I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. What did you think about animation in 2018? Any disappointments or surprises?

My ranking of 2018 animation:

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

2. Ralph Breaks the Internet

3. Incredibles 2

4. Sgt Stubby: An American Hero

5. The Night is Short Walk on Girl

6. Mirai

7. Maquia: When the Last Flower Blooms

8. Isle of Dogs

9. My Hero Academia: The Movie

10. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

11. Tito and the Birds

12. Hotel Transylvania 3

13. Pokemon: the Power of Us

14. Liz and the Blue Bird

15. Next Gen

16. Smallfoot

17. The Grinch

18. Maya the Bee 2: the Honey Games

19. DC Superhero Girls: Legends of Atlantis

20. Early Man

21. Gnome Alone

22. Fireworks

23. Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies

24. Sherlock Gnomes

25. Lu Over the Wall

26. White Fang

27. MFKZ

28. Duck Duck Goose

 

Romantic Movies I Like That Most Hate

As a serious devotee of cinema one of the things I get a bit of clack for is my love for romantic movies- particularly romcoms. I am an unabashed fan. I even recently started a new podcast with my friend Amber where we review the Hallmark Movies which are pretty much all romances (we are having an absolute blast by the way). It’s a new channel so if you are interested we could use new subscribers! Anyway in honor of the podcast I thought I would share with you some romantic films that I enjoy, which are often hated on (hate may be too strong of a word but you get the idea).

In no particular order

Last Holiday

Everyone knows I especially love a good romantic Christmas movie and Last Holiday definitely fits the bill. Queen Latifah is warm and lovely as a woman named Georgia who finds out she has a month to live, so she decides to start living her dreams. This includes staying at a fancy hotel in Europe, eating good food instead of Lean Cuisine and buying the prettiest party dress.

LL Cool J plays her co-worker who is impressed with both versions of Georgia and they have terrific chemistry.

Romeo + Juliet

I honestly might like this film even better than Moulin Rouge. I enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s creative take on Shakespeare. He obviously gives it is his own flair but the core story remains in tact. The production design is great and the Shakespeare manages to feel natural.

Most importantly Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio have fantastic chemsitry and the supporting cast including Brian Dennehy and John Leguizamo are great.

No Strings Attached

In 2011 two films came out that dealt with casual relationships. I prefer No Strings Attached. This is directed by Ivan Reitman and it has his charm and engaging scripts. I find myself laughing out loud throughout the film. My favorite parts are when Adam is trying to impress Emma and he makes her a period cd full of songs like Bleeding Love. That always makes me laugh.

It’s no secret that Ashton Kutcher is not the greatest actor but I honestly think he is fine in this and Natalie Portman has never looked sexier in a film. This is a fairly strong R rating but I like it. Mindy Kaling is fun as her roommate.

A Walk in the Clouds

Like Ashton Kutcher, Keanu Reeves is also not the greatest actor in the world especially when he is trying to be sincere; However, there is so much else going for A Walk in the Clouds that I can deal with his performance. Directed by Alfonso Arau this movie looks gorgeous with vineyard cinematography and intimate camera work. I love all the other performances including Aitana Sanchez-Gijonb and Giancarlo Giannini as Reeves’ pretend wife and her strict father.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

Is this movie loaded with contrivances? Sure but at its heart are 3 good people who I want to see happy. I will put up with so many contrivances if a romance can give me that. Plus, I love Topher Grace. He is perfect in this role and Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel are great too. Charming, charming, charming!

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

I admit there may be a bit of nostalgia in this pick. This is a very sugary romance from 90s about a blind girl who becomes a horse diver despite the odds. It’s cheesy but I love Gabrielle Anwar and Michael Schoeffling. She is stunning and they have great chemistry. It’s a breezy 88 minutes and I love it!

Some Kind of Wonderful

I admit this one is a bit of a cheat as a lot of people like this movie but I feel like it is constantly overshadowed by Breakfast Club and 16 Candles and I like this better than both those films. It is fairly predictable story but underneath that plot are 3 very well written and acted characters. I particularly like Lea Thompson’s Amanda who should be the cliched judgy popular girl but she’s not. She has a personality and makes interesting choices. The chemistry between Watts and Keith is so strong. I love it!

The Rewrite

The Rewrite was one of my favorite movies from 2014 and everyone I have shown it to has also liked it. It’s the kind of movie we never get any more but it’s really well executed. Hugh Grant is in top form as a screenwriter who is demoted to a teaching position in a small town. It has something to say about love, work, writing, movies, stories and more. The cast is tremendous with Allison Janney, JK Simmons, Marisa Tomei and more. It’s funny, thoughtful and sweet.

The Longest Ride-

This is probably my toughest sale of this post but I will try. Most Nicholas Sparks movies are awful because they are so emotionally manipulative usually killing off a major character just to make you cry. In The Longest Ride they don’t do that! They get close but then don’t do that. I liked Britt Robertson and Scott Eastman in this. They have great chemistry. I liked seeing them work out their differing career ambitions and I also liked the older couple played by Alan Alda, Jack Huston, and Oona Chaplin. I get why many don’t like it but I enjoyed it.

Serendipity-

Some romances soar on the chemistry of its stars. Such is the case with Serendipity. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack  are so great together and I like them both so much that I enjoy going on this silly ride with them. The whole cast is actually solid with Molly Shannon, Jeremy Piven, John Corbett, Eugene Levy and more. New York never looked better and it’s easy for me to get swept away in the romance.

Just Wright-

Another underseen romance from Queen Latifah on this list. She is beautiful in this film and is a nice contrast to the stunning but vapid Paula Patton (yet still likable in a kind of unlikable role). Latifah and Common have great chemistry and it’s another romance where we like both of them and want to see them happy.

The things that separate them are somewhat contrived but I was invested enough to not care.

Beautician and the Beast-

I suppose this film is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I know it is super contrived but I still enjoy it. Timothy Dalton is hilarious as the uptight dictator and I’ve always loved Fran Drescher. In fact, The Nanny is one of my favorite shows ever and this  is basically a movie version of The Nanny. They have decent chemistry and it makes me laugh. Beauty and the Beast combined with Fran- what more could you ask for? LOL

So there you have it- my list of romantic films which aren’t appreciated enough. What about you? What are some romances you like that most people don’t? I’d love to hear your list.  Thanks!

My Top 15 Films of 2016

It’s finally here my friends! The moment you have all been waiting for. My top 15 best movies of 2016 list!

Here is the youtube version:

You guys have no idea how much thought I have put into this list. I have moved films around and thought weighed the pros and cons countless times. It’s so hard because I like all of these movies for different reasons and how do I decide which reason is better than another? Well, I did the best I could. I must admit I am kind of proud of my list. I think it is thoroughly unique and represents me very well.

So let’s get started!

hidden-figures215. Hidden Figures- I love movies that make me want to cheer and this movie did that in droves. I loved how it chose to forgo the evil redneck violent racist and instead took on institutional racism which I think can be just as virulent and much harder to strike down. I loved all the performances and that it is PG so kids all over the world will know about these amazing women.

hell-or-high-water14. Hell or High Water- Basically a perfectly executed film about two brothers pushed to the edge and the officers who are following them. It has such a sense of place and feels very relevant to many issues we face today. I felt for the characters and was engrossed the entire time. Not my typical genre but it won me over any way.

10_cloverfield_lane13. 10 Cloverfield Lane- I don’t see that many thrillers/horror movies but this one blew me away. I loved how it kept surprising me. I really didn’t know where it was going or what was going to happen. I loved Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman in the leads and even the ending that others didn’t like I kind of dug. It’s one of the only times in recent years I had genuine fun at a horror movie.

presenting-princess-shaw-poster12. Presenting Princess Shaw- 2016 was an amazing year for documentaries and this was one of my favorites. As a youtuber, this story of Samantha from Atlanta who ends up as part of a video for an Israeli man named Kutiman meant a lot to me. It reminded me that this sometimes toxic medium can be a powerful tool to serve others and bond with strangers.

pete's dragon 811. Pete’s Dragon- Yes, I’m kind of ashamed of myself that this didn’t make my top 10 because I loved it so much. This is the kind of movie I want Disney to make. It was small, intimate with humongous heart. I can’t believe they pulled off the dragon on such a small budget. I loved the cast especially Oaks Begley as Pete. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford were completely lovely. It reminded me of live action movies we used to get from Disney that weren’t afraid to be real and deep with kids. Now we get the next warmed over bland remake…

tower410. Tower- This documentary was new and fresh and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It profiles a sniper standout at the University of Texas in 1966 but it uses animation to make the experience more rich and textured. The different characters were compelling with a variety of reactions and getting to see them in the real and animated forms was very absorbing. It amazed me how some had never really dealt with the incident after all these years making the documentary very raw.

zootopia poster29. Zootopia- I admit some of the criticisms of Zootopia had started to get to me and then I rewatched it and remembered how much I love it. Sure the metaphor has holes if you overthink it but it’s still powerful for children and the movie isn’t only the metaphor. There are lessons about never giving up, facing bullies, forgiveness and friendship. Mostly it is about not letting our fears dictate our behaviors. I love Judy as a character and the friendship between her and Nick is very heartfelt. The world building is amazing and it is so funny.

things-to-come8. Things to Come- This film has 100% on rotten tomatoes and there is a reason why- it’s amazing! Isabelle Huppert is incredible in this role of a woman who’s life goes completely upside down in every way possible. She’s devastated of course but it actually becomes this empowering experience for her. It’s a very fly on the wall kind of film without a strong plot but I loved it. Huppert is so great in the lead role and the writing is honest and powerful. It’s the only time I have felt moved to tears by the speech of an agnostic explaining her views on life.

red-turtle107. The Red Turtle- A combined project between director Michael Dudok De Wit and Studio Ghibli is one of the most stunning films I saw all year. With no dialogue, The Red Turtle manages to tell a stirring story about fate, love and how nature sometimes knows best. The animation is awe inspiring and the music is the best of 2016.

lion6. Lion- This is how you do a true story right. I loved everything about this movie. The child actor is incredible and I felt his chaos, joy and fears as he carries the first hour of the movie. Then Dev Patel comes in and does a great job showing the highs and challenges of adoption. Nicole Kidman was fantastic as his mother and the cinematography and music were so well done.

love and friendship35. Love and Friendship- This movie gave me a new Jane Austen book. How can I not love it for that reason alone but it’s not just that. It’s super funny and has an energy and pizazz to it the other Austen adaptations (as much as I love them) don’t. Lady Susan is kind of an anti-hero who’s self-interest ends up being to everyone’s benefit in the end. The dialogue is hilarious as well as the costume, product design and everything else. I love it more each time I watch it.

moana144. Moana- I can hear the shocks now. I am sure most thought this would be my top pick. I really do love it so much. I love Moana as a character. I love how unselfish her quest is. I love the animation, music, humor, and characters. I love that it focuses on Polynesia, which has my heart. I really don’t have any big flaws with it. I just felt my top 3 were a little more unique than this but I LOVE Moana!

hacksaw_ridge_poster3. Hacksaw Ridge- Moana entertained me. Hacksaw Ridge made me want to be a better person. Yes it is super violent but it’s a rare case where the violence actually made it a better movie. I love that Desmond’s abstaining from war is not dictated by his faith but is a personal covenant between him and God. It reminded me of Daniel and the Lions Den. Sure he could pretend and play along, just hold the gun, but that wouldn’t be true to his promise to God. So, when he cashes in that faith with his pleas for ‘One more Lord’ it blew my mind. It made me want to go out and be more faithful and serve others more.

sing-street2. Sing Street- This movie is like joy in movie form. I watch it over and over again. I love everything about it. I love the relationship between the brothers and their dialogue. I love the romance and how they make each other better. I love the music and the payoff concert. It’s a movie I could watch 100 times and never tire of.

your-name31. Your Name- I thought long and hard about it and I believe Your Name is the best movie I saw in 2016. It’s so original, stunning and emotional. It starts off as a fun body swap movie and then a friendship grows which is challenged when a complication is introduced. Then it takes on a sci-fi element that was surprising and I had no idea what was going to happen without being too twist dependent. I loved the characters and what they learn from each other. The animation is stunning and the music (both score and songs) are perfect. It’s a movie that each time I watch I see layers I had missed the first time. It’s stunning and my favorite movie of 2016!

So there you have it! What did you think of my list? How does it match up with your list and what are your favorites of 2016?

And if you were wondering my 16-20 are

16. Kubo and the Two Strings

17. Queen of Katwe

18. Midnight Special

19. Kung fu Panda 3

20. Manchester by the Sea

If you are wondering I will see My Life as a Zucchini next week at Sundance and then I will do my 2016 animation ranking.

Now on to 2017!

Overlooked Films of 2016

Today I posted a video on films I think were underrated or overlooked in 2016. Some of these got good reviews but nobody saw. Some of them I think critics were a little tough on and others have a little of both. I’d love if you check out the video and let me know what you think.

Overlooked Films of 2016 (in no particular order)

The Dressmaker– Very weird messy revenge movie that I liked. Kate Winslet is great and Liam Hemsworth is very hunky in it. I can see why others wouldn’t like it but it was just strange enough to work for me.

Florence Foster Jenkins– A seemingly cloying underdog story that is so much more. There are a lot of subversive elements particularly in Florence and her husband’s unusual relationship. It’s heartwarming but also very sad.

13 Hours- I think if this wasn’t directed by Michael Bay it would have gotten a lot more credit. It was kind of lost in January but I think it is an absorbing visceral depiction of the events at Benghazi and not as political as you might think.

Bridget Jones’s Baby- Sure this film has a million cliches but it made me laugh harder than any film in 2016. Particularly any scene in the newsroom I thought was funny. It is an R rated comedy, like all the Bridget Jones movies, but I liked it.

Eddie the Eagle- Charming underdog sports movie with great performances from all involved. I was having the worst week when I saw this film and it really cheered me up. It’s a must see if you love inspirational true stories or are an Olympics fan.

London Road- It’s been the year of musicals and this is an underseen one. They take the unique approach of using police transcripts as the lyrics for the musical. It is a mystery and as the crimes are investigated we get to know all the citizens of London Road. Plus, Tom Hardy sings in it.

Kung fu Panda 3- This made a good amount at box office but I think it has largely been forgotten by most and I think that is a real shame. The animation was so beautiful and I loved the messages of adoption and Po learning to be a teacher. My favorite of the series.

Knight of Cups- My kind of art film by director Terrence Malick about the bad sides of entertainment and Los Angeles. The cinematography is gorgeous and the acting is top notch. It won’t be for everyone but I thought it was a lovely companion to Tree of Life.

Passengers- Recently this film received a lot of attention because of a plot element determined as ‘sexist’ by some. I disagree. The lead character makes a poor choice but I thought they established why he did this and gave him punishment for it. The movie looks gorgeous and the leads have great chemistry, which is important since it’s a romance.

Midnight Special- Where everyone else is flipping out over Arrival, I prefer Midnight Special. I love the way this film dives you right into the action and doesn’t waste time on exposition and backstory. I loved the acting and what it says about the way different people believe.

Queen of Katwe– A criminally underseen movie. It turns the Disney sports movie on its head by telling a story in Africa about an impoverished girl who learns to play chess. The acting is tremendous and I was impressed how dark and gritty Disney was willing to go. I was really moved by it and I think families should watch it.

Lion- Beautiful film about a boy who is lost in India and then years later works to find his family via Google Earth. I loved everything about this movie from the story, to the performances (especially the child actors), to the adoption message. It was perfect.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life- I wish people could appreciate when a film is done well for a particular demographic. Why must every movie please every person? Anyway, this movie is made for the pre-teen crowd and it is made well. I really liked the way they integrated animation into the story and I thought the performances were heartfelt with a surprisingly emotional message about grief and loss.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople– More of a drama than a comedy for me but a very sweet film about a boy and his foster Dad who must explore the wilderness of New Zealand. I didn’t laugh as much as some but I liked these characters and performances. It has such a big heart and looks gorgeous.

Loving- A very different film than advertised. The court case is a small part of it. Most of the movie is about the couple and how they get through life’s struggles together. I really liked it. My only flaw is that it is a little hard to understand Edgerton sometime.

Have you seen any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comment section and take care!

Ranking Star Trek Movies

Hey guys! So I have done it! I have finished watching and podcasting about all the Star Trek movies. Including Galaxy Quest and our ranking episode that’s 15 podcasts! My friend Tom joined me for these podcasts and it has been so much fun to jump out of my comfort zone and try something new. I’ve been impressed with the variety to the Star Trek movies. Sure not all of them are great but so is the case with any franchise, but they do shake it up quite a bit. There is action, adventure, sci-fi, horror elements, goofy comedy and everything in between.

Star Trek Podcasts

We had some technical difficulties with audio in some of the early podcasts but we hit our stride eventually. I think you will really enjoy them.

Today to conclude the series we did our rankings of the 14 films we watched and I thought I would share it with you guys. I would love to hear your rankings in the comments section.

14. Star Trek: The Final Frontier- William Shatner’s one and only time directing and it is a mess. Garish, sloppy and boring it just doesn’t work

13. Star Trek Nemesis- An intriguing idea of a Captain Picard clone becomes extremely forgettable and with a rape subplot it doesn’t feel like Star Trek

12. Star Trek: the Motion Picture- An attempt to homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey but it doesn’t have the sense of mystery about Kubrick’s film. Long self indulgent shots of the ship exemplify the film for me. I found it extremely boring and I didn’t get into the film like 2001

11. Star Trek Insurrection- The idea of relocating a people is an interesting dynamic along with some strange looking villain people with stretched faces. You also get some humor with the crew getting twitterpated. The villain played by F. Murray Abraham is very bad and it is just very forgettable

10. Star Trek Generations- Best parts of the film are when Picard and Kirk see the lives they could have lived and have to make the choice to return to reality and face their foes. However, we don’t get as much of the two of them as I would like and the production design feels cheap

9. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home- I know this is a favorite of most fans and I do see the value to it. It has nice moments but is a little too silly for me to fully embrace. Scenes like when they are running away from the hospital feel inspired by a 3 Stooges skit more than Star Trek

8. Star Trek: Into Darkness- Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing as Khan and the action is very entertaining. However, the attempts to copy Wrath of Khan I could do without. They feel wedged in and unnecessary.

7. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock- Woefully underrated film with an emotional arc for Kirk as he sees his son killed by the klingons and is mourning the loss of Spock. Some strange elements and Christopher Lloyd is a little over the top but it feels cinematic and fun.

6. Galaxy Quest- Hilarious comedy where particularly Alan Rickman shines as Alexander Dane the serious actor on the Star Trek-like show. Very well written and well made it takes on fandoms and Star Trek without being mean about it.

5. Star Trek (2009)- Very entertaining reboot with a whole new timeline. Great casting and action with a nice character arc for Kirk. I thought Zachary Quinto was a little flat as Spock (he grew on me) and the villain is very forgettable but still very engaging film.

4. Star Trek Beyond- Might be recency bias but I loved the way this film split off into little groups so you got to spend time with the crew in a way no other Star Trek film I’ve seen. The script was funny and it felt like a group of friends working together. I also loved the addition of Jaylah. The climax with the Beastie Boys is admittedly silly but I thought still entertaining.

3. Star Trek: First Contact- Basically a zombie movie in Star Trek. The borgs are a great alien spieces that is menacing and intimidating. The quest to stop events on earth are compelling and the acting is top notch. You get nice emotion from Lilly and Picard in particular.

2. Star Trek IV: Undiscovered Country- Probably the most entertaining Star Trek film. It has it all including a dinner scene where they quote Shakespeare that I loved. Christopher Plummer is in this and is fantastic. The trial of Kirk gives us some of his most emotional moments where he admits his anger over those who killed his son. It’s well made and we get a lovely sign off (literally) for this original series crew.

1.Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan- It’s a bit of a cliche for this to be my favorite but the guts they have to kill off Spock is what puts it over the edge. The scene where Spock sacrifices himself for the good of his friends is emotional and Shatner and Nimoy are so good in it. Also Khan is a tremendous villain and the rivalry between him and Kirk is great. It’s scary at times with horror elements like the bug going into Chekhov’s ear. When it came down to it I feel this is the most memorable of all 14 films and the most gutsy.

So there you have it. What would be your ranking? If you haven’t seen any of the Star Trek movies give at least Wrath of Khan a shot or maybe the new reboots. You just might be surprised. And if not Star Trek I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone. Try something new. Dip your toe in an unfamiliar genre. I have found when I do I am a better for the experiment!

Live long and prosper!

Ranking Animated Films from 2013-2016

Hey guys! Over on my youtube channel I just finished up a series where I ranked 67 animated films I’ve seen from 2013-2016. I stopped this list with Ice Age 5. I would love if you gave these videos a watch but will provide the list below.  In each of the videos I give a little explanation of why each film was placed where it is on the list. Enjoy!

  1. Song of the Sea
  2. Inside Out
  3. Tale of Princess Kaguya
  4. The Lego Movie
  5. Frozen
  6. The Wind Rises
  7. Zootopia
  8. Miniscule: The Valley of the Lost Ants
  9. The Peanuts Movie
  10. April and the Extraordinary World
  11. Big Hero 6
  12. When Marnie was There
  13. Ernest and Celestine
  14. Finding Dory
  15. Shaun the Sheep Movie
  16. Cheatin’
  17. The Good Dinosaur
  18. Kung fu Panda 3
  19. The Jungle Book
  20. The Book of Life
  21. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  22. Monsters University
  23. Wrinkles
  24. Mr Peabody and Sherman
  25. Only Yesterday
  26. The Boxtrolls
  27. The Boy and the World
  28. Anomalisa
  29. The Secret Life of Pets
  30. Rocks in My Pockets
  31. The Croods
  32. Penguins of Madagascar
  33. The Boy and the Beast
  34. The Pirate Fairy
  35. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  36. Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water
  37. Snowtime
  38. Harmony
  39. Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart
  40. Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast
  41. Epic
  42. Hotel Transylvania 2
  43. Ratchet and Clank
  44. Despicable Me 2
  45. The Little Prince
  46. Turbo
  47. The Congress
  48. Henry and Me
  49. Maya the Bee
  50. Planes: Fire and Rescue
  51. Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos
  52. The Angry Birds Movie
  53. Extraordinary Tales
  54. Minions
  55. Rio 2
  56. Planes
  57. Strange Magic
  58. Home
  59. Ice Age: Collision Course
  60. Bling
  61. Free Birds
  62. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  63. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
  64. The Nut Job
  65. The Smurfs 2
  66. The Hero of Color City
  67. Norm of the North

*For the record I would add Kubo and the 2 Strings at 9/71, Phantom Boy at 14/71, Space Dogs: Adventure to the Moon would be 66/71, and Batman: the Killing Joke would be at 68/71. I saw each of those animated films after I made this list

Top 10 Worst Animated Films

So Norm of the North inspired me to create a top 10 list of the worst animated films I’ve ever seen.  Here it is:

lorax22210. Lorax- This bright, messy film ruins Dr Seuss’ subtle message into a story of bland corporate greed.

mars needs moms9. Mars Needs Moms- Gray, drab, motion capture film with a strangely dark message for kids of Moms getting abducted by aliens.

legends of oz8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return- Some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen.  It does not look finished.  The story is cluttered and I nodded off more than once. It is not worthy to bear the name of Oz.

Pound_Puppies_Big_Paw_poster7. Pound Puppies Movie- The worst of the corporate toy movies from the 80s with no creativity or cleverness.  We get the origins of Puppy Power and that’s as lame as you might guess.

fly me to moon6. Fly Me to the Moon- Basically a script of unending fly puns and toilet humor.  Poor animation, annoying characters, stupid story.

hero of color city5. Hero of Color City- Terrible Toy Story rip-off about crayons who come to life.  The animation is awful, the story is boring, humor falls flat.

hunchback44. Hunchback of Notre Dame 2- Takes the subtle dark message of the original and turns it into a maudlin atrocity. Terrible animation, horrible villain and a bell with jewels on the inside is stupid.  The worst of the Disney sequels in my opinion.

norm1113. Norm of the North- Call it recency bias but this may be the worst animated film I’ve seen in a theater.  The story makes no sense, animation is sloppy, villain super lame. Not one good thing to say about it

crazy nights2. Eight Crazy Nights- Disgusting animated film from Adam Sandler featuring jokes in poor taste to put it mildly.  His vocal performances are insulting and annoying.  The songs wouldn’t even work in a bad SNL skit. Terrible film in every way.

dogs christmas1. All Dogs Go to Heaven Christmas Carol- You guys know how dear Christmas Carol is to me and this film adds hypnotized dogs and a she-devil spirit called Belladonna who wants to destroy Christmas.  Making Carface Scrooge doesn’t work because he isn’t the primary villain trying to ruin Christmas.  The Tiny Tim dog is the worst and  The animation is terrible and the songs unoriginal.

Ranking 2015 Animated Films

Hi guys!  I hope you are having a good start to 2016, but let’s look back at the animated films of 2015.  Over all, I’d say it was a pretty good year.  Having not seen Anomalisa I’d say we had 5 films that were excellent, 2, maybe 3, that will make my top 50 animated countdown.  As a point of contrast last year 4 films made the countdown.   I’d also say the bad movies of 2015 weren’t as bad as 2014 so that’s good!

Yesterday I posted my ranking of the animated films of 2015 on my channel and I’m really proud of the how the video turned out.  I was able to use clips and hopefully introduce people to the smaller animated films they may not have heard of.  I have reviewed all of these films on this blog so you are all probably familiar with them but it will hopefully be a good reminder.  I would really appreciate it if you gave this a thumbs up if you like it.  Thanks!

So here’s my ranking of the 2015 animated films (like I said minus Anomalisa which isn’t released yet in my area and I will wait till blu-ray to see)

home-poster14. Home- a muddled story with inconsistent characters hurts a well animated entry from Dreamworks.

strange magic13. Strange Magic- a jukebox musical take on Midsummer’s Night Dream is sunk by a dopey script with uncreative song choices.

minions12. Minions- a side character getting the starring role doesn’t work here.  All over the place story-wise and didn’t make me laugh.

maya the bee1011. Maya the Bee- cute, well animated movie for toddlers with a nice message about being yourself.  A stock Saturday morning cartoon villain without much grown-up appeal but I thought it was cute.

un gallo10. Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos- an animated film with subtitles out of Mexico.  Not perfect but for the $5 million budget I thought it was pretty creative and funny.  A pleasant surprise.

hotel trans29. Hotel Transylvania 2- a pleasant family comedy sequel to the original Hotel Transylvania.  It kind of wimps out on the ending and I miss the ensemble feel of the original but innocuous and fine. The animation is pretty good.

prophet poster8. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet- the strongest part of this film is the animated shorts that describe the poems of Kahlil Gibran.  They are beautiful but the framing device is very preachy and felt like a Sunday School lesson.

The Spongebob Movie Sponge Out of Water 3D7. Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water- a wacky, somewhat insane movie but I enjoyed it.  The only bone I have to pick with the film is the marketing was deceptive as the ‘out of water’ portion was very brief.  Still, if you want something weird and different give it a watch.

shaun the sheep poster6. Shaun the Sheep- honestly probably my favorite comedy, not just animated comedy, of 2015.  It’s an adorable film that made me laugh with impeccable animation from Aardman.

cheatin poster5. Cheatin’– an adult animated film from Bill Plympton that isn’t for everyone but I found it beautiful and moving.  The artistry alone in the hand drawn sketchy animation should be seen by animation fans.

when marnie94. When Marnie was There- an emotional final film from Studio Ghibli about a family rescuing a girl from deep depression.  The animation is gorgeous and lush and the sound design, music perfection.  I loved it’s bold take on mental illness and it’s a film that really made me think.

good dino233. The Good Dinosaur– an underappreciated entry from Pixar in my opinion.  I loved the relationship between Arlo and Spot and the journey they go on.  I thought it was surprising and sometimes funny, sometimes scary.  And the animation is stunning.

peanuts2. The Peanuts Movie– one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen.  It was everything I could want in a Peanuts Movie.  It kept it simple and focused on Charlie Brown trying to gain confidence.  I love that.  I loved Snoopy and the Red Baron and all the choices from the music to the amazing hybrid animation.

inside out61.Inside Out– a stunning achievement from Pixar.  I loved this movie and I love it more each time I see it.  I love the dual character arcs with Riley and Joy.  I love Bing Bong and Sadness and the message of the film.  I love the animation and the music and everything else.  It’s perfection!

So there you have it.  My ranking of the 2015 animated films! What would be your ranking?  Put in the comments section and let’s talk about it! And if you see any of these smaller films I’d love to hear what you think.

2015 vs 2014 Better Animation Year?

So I’ve been thinking about the year in animation to get ready for my video I am doing with Art from A to Z Reviews today.  I’ve really enjoyed the year but I keep thinking about last year.  Is 2014 better than 2015 for animation?  There can be cases made for both years.

Take a look at these vs images comparing the two years and then vote at the end which year you think was strongest.

Big Studio Films

big studios vs

Bad Movies in 2014 vs 2015

bad vsWhich year has the best of the best movies?

best of year vsThe biggest box office for 2014 vs 2015?

box office vsThe independent films of 2015 vs 2014:

artistic vsThe original films of 2014 vs 2015

original ideas vsWhich had better comedies? I’m torn because I like all 4

comedies vsBest sequels?

sequels vs2

This should be very interesting.  I think 2014 in the end was stronger just because you had so many top notch movies Lego Movie, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Song of the Sea, Book of Life, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6 and The Boxtrolls were all excellent.  And then even the middle tier stuff wasn’t half bad.  I think Inside Out is amazing better than all but Song of the Sea from 2014 but put that aside and it becomes more clear 2014 was best.