Tag Archives: animation

Top 25 Animated Movies of the Decade: Part 2

10 Dec

December 10th, 2009–

Ok, here we go. The top ten animated films of the last decade. There’s not much to say here that I didn’t mention in the first installment of this article. Honestly, this was such a great 10 years for animation in general, that even limiting the choices and ranking them has been a fool’s errand. But, I guess I’m that fool and the following represent what I think are the finest accomplishments of the form. Each and every one of these could be competing for number 1. Here goes… Continue reading

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Top 25 Animated Films of the Decade: Part 1

8 Dec

 December 8th, 2009–

The list-athon continues here at Cinematropolis, as we get closer and closer to year’s end. Last week I took a look at the top 15 Asian films of the decade, and today I’ve got animation on the roster. One of the things I learned from the last list, is that 15 is just too brief a number to really capture some of the decade’s best in a given category. I’m a HUGE animation fan and to even suggest that the achievements of the last decade can be distilled into even just 25 choices, let alone 15, is difficult. As it has to be limited, I have settled for a two-part list: one for the first ten, and one for the second, with 5 choices for honorable mention. Altogether that’s 25, and the honorable mentions and numbers 20-11 are up first. Enjoy! Continue reading

Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree

31 Oct

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Happy Halloween everyone! Here in Baltimore it’s a foggy, overcast morning. Here’s hoping the sun comes and we can see some of those brilliant autumn leaves illuminated properly. Hard to believe the end of October is here already.  In keeping with the holiday, I’ve dug up the Cartoon Network adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. A wonderful and childlike animation that offers the cultural and historical context for the holiday wrapped up in a story of young friends venturing out to save one of their own.

Bradbury has been evoking smoky autumn evenings and golden, leaf-strewn afternoons for years in his work and his affection for this particular holiday is evident. He doesn’t skimp on the ghouls here but it isn’t scary and it offers some educational details about the traditions and heritage that lurk underneath the candy-giving and costume-wearing.

As it isn’t available on DVD, I’ve put the entire thing up right here. If you get the opportunity, check it out. And keep your ears peeled for Leonard Nimoy as Moundshroud, the foreboding old man who owns the Halloween Tree. Continue reading

Cinema Bites #2: The Tell-Tale Heart

7 Oct

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Oct 7th, 2009–

Today is the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s death  and what kind of Baltimorean would I be if I didn’t give the man credit? Well, I was hoping–prior to my illness here–to do something a bit more in-depth. I may yet. But for now, check out this short film that really does phenomenal job of bringing to life one of Poe’s finest short stories: The Tell Tale Heart.

All these years later, and this animation is still  haunting. The narration by the always great James Mason is perfect and can nearly drive you mad just by listening to it. This is easily one of my all time favorite short films and it’s based off of a classic story by one of the greatest authors to ever pick up the pen. Enjoy!

Studio Ghibli Announces Their New Film! ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter’!

29 Sep

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September 29th,2009–

Well, this is certainly great news, although I think it would be more surprising if we heard nothing regarding Studio Ghibli, the Japanese aimation studio that has been producing quality traditional hand-drawn films for decades. Headed by Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli is responsible for such animated masterpieces as Nausicca:Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, the recent Ponyo and Grave of the Fireflies. So, while  it’s akin to learning that tomorrow pizza will still exist and it might taste more awesome than ever, the news that Studio Ghibli is preparing another animated release for 2010 is wonderful to hear. It’s expected , but it’s still comforting to know. Continue reading

Trailer Round-Up: Solomon Kane, Princess and the Frog, Descent 2, Up in the Air, more…

11 Sep

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September 11th, 2009–

Hey everyone. I hope your week has gone well and that the weekend is even better. Here were are again with a new bunch of trailers. There’s a new look at Disney’s latest 2D animated film and one more trailer proving that George Clooney never stops working. Best of all, there’s finally a peek at Solomon Kane, the fantasy adventure based off Robert E. Howard characters. Lets start first with the followup to Neil Marshall’s 2005 horror classic The DescentContinue reading

Now Playing: Apocalypse is Feast for the Imagination in ‘9’

10 Sep

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9 (PG-13) Directed by: Shane Acker. Writers: Pamela Petter & Shane Acker  79 minutes.

cinemagrade A  Shane Acker’s 9 is all kinds of proof that good things–great ones even–can come in small packages. Trumped up and marketed out of the wazoo recently (it’s nice to see studios finally coming behind their more unique fare) this sci-fi fantasy isn’t just a story about diminutive warrior dolls battling robotic monsters in a burned-out future, it’s also an elaborate fable that approaches art. The most fascinating part is that it does all of this in a scant 79 minutes. It’s fast-paced, exotic and beautifully rendered in tones of steampunk apocalypse and Victorian gothic horror. It may be animated, but it isn’t exclusively for children. I’d dare to guess that it will more than frighten most younger children. But when the familiar and haunting strains of Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ echo across a fractured, nightmare landscape, Acker demonstrates that he isn’t just a crafty visualist but also a gifted filmmaker. He shakes up several different genres, themes, motifs and myths into one large stirring pot and what emerges is both unique and fearsome. Continue reading