Wednesday, December 21, 2011
One of the films I was not looking forward to this season was "Puss in Boots." I liked the first Shrek, but after awhile the franchise and characters lost their attraction for me. Then Jeffrey K decides to spin off what I think is one of the weakest characters into its own franchise!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Oscar blitz continues – I went to a screening world premiere of Steven Spielberg's “The War Horse” at the prestigious Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.
It was the full Hollywood red carpet treatment – hundreds of paparazzi, the cast, and of course Mr. E.T. Himself. I said a few short statements and introduced the young cast. He stated that the sold out theatrical show was playing right next door in Lincoln Center, but he couldn't convince the horse “Joey” to appear at the premiere.
Then the film began – it was very beautifully shot, reminiscent of “Gone With the Wind” visually – black silhouettes against a red sunset sky. The acting was terrific, especially Joey the horse, but for some reason I wasn't entirely invested in the story. Perhaps it was made for kids, like “Black Beauty”, and a number of people I talked to thought it was a little melodramatic.
But I enjoyed the film and I give it a B-.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
I realize that Happy Feet 2 can out a few months ago, and I'm a little behind schedule – But I was finally able to see the animated sequel by George Miller.
I saw the original film and thought it was full of charm and entertainment, even though it's not my kind of story. And it of course did great box office.
The sequel, however, is a mess. I was never sure what was going on – (spoilers to follow) there were all these strange references to moss taking over the terrain, then an evil read tsunami was approaching, and we follow two krill on some kind of lost adventure. Then we see the polar bears struggling, humongous icebergs floating about, and then humans on a trawler cruising about. And all these ideas never came to anything, except for one large iceberg that inexplicably traps thousands of penguins in an icy death valley and the only way to save them is by dancing that somehow builds a snowy staircase for their escape.
It's bizarre how Warner Brothers, once the great animation studio of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, can't seem to release an animated success.
I unfortunately give Happy Feet 2 a D.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Well, now it's my turn to hold an event at MoCCA! On December 13th from 7-9pm I'll be holding an exclusive master class on my career and new work. I'll be showing 3 new films – “Waiting for her Sailor”, “Summer Bummer” and a sneak peek at my brand new TV pilot work in progress, “Tiffany the Whale”. Also, I'll be talking about my career as an independent animator and creating drawings to illustrate my career. To top it off, everyone who comes gets a free Bill Plympton Christmas card and sketch! So bring your friends (it makes a great Christmas gift) and I'll see you there at MoCCA! I think there are still a few seats left.
For information, check out the site here: http://moccany.org/content/education
Thursday, December 8, 2011
In his own words.. very broken English, but clear (Just a note.. I know nothing of the politics behind any of this.. I'm only admiring the art and context, and the artists contribution to beauty):
Great lived experience in the refugee camps in Tinduf. Thank you very much to the organization and all Saharawi´s families who welcomed us because I can,t never forget.
Is incredible the history of the Saharawi people who live since more than 36 years in exile. Fighting a peaceful way with projects as Artifariti. The Sahara, under hard conditions of life, living in the so called “desert of the deserts” a land that has no end, where time doesn’t exist. This mystic culture, full of magic is in a political conflict whose solution isn´t appropriate for many countries, including mine.
The old Saharawi’s villages that are found in the Moroccan occupied Western Sahara, have been and continue today being victims of crimes against humanity. Are separated from the liberated Sahara by “the wall of shame” a military wall, defended with large military forces on the front line, and protected with millions of land mines by the liberated part.
Say that art crosses borders, after seeing the reality I am proud to contribute mi little grain of sand, transmitting a message of peace and freedom
for more info, access MESA's photostram on Flickr here. Amazing stuff, really happy to have stumbled upon this.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I've been a fan of Mr. Svankmajer's surreal animation ever since I first saw a selection of his films in Annecy about 25 years ago. I particularly liked “Dimensions in Dialogue”, where all these everyday objects come in confrontation with each other and battle for domination.
Well, I was I invited to the prestigious Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY for the US premiere of “Surviving Life”, his newest feature. I don't know if he's getting tired in his old age or if he's running out of money, but the usual beautiful surreal images were replaced by cheap Photoshop paper cut-outs on black and white city photos that gave it a Terry Gilliam Monty Python look, but without the humor.
The story was actually pretty interesting, about a guy who falls in love with a beauty he discovers in his dreams, and his wife goes into his dream to get back at the temptress. Unfortunately, it was slowed down by weird excursions to his psychiatrist session – very boring!
The film was completed in 2010 and never released in the US (it was financed by a Japanese corportation) But if you want to see some animation that's pretty unique, or if you're a diehard Svankmajer fan, check out “Surviving Life”.
I give it a C+.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
While I was at the CTN event, I heard through Facebook that my Winsor McCay project “The Flying House” won the animation prize at the Williamsburg Film Festival. Wow – just think about it! Winsor McCay won a film festival prize! What a concept. 80 years after his death, one of his animations wins a festival award.
The earliest major film festival was held in Venice in 1932, only two years before his death, so he did not have much opportunity to have his work shown.
My hopes are that Winsor McCay is somewhere up in his surreal cosmos smiling down on me, happy from the fact that 90 years after creating “The Flying House”, his last film, the cartoon is finally getting the attention and respect it deserves.
Wow, a 90 year posthumous animation prize – let's hope that this will be just the beginning of more accolades for Winsor McCay and his wonderful “Flying House”. Also, be sure to watch for a DVD of the Flying House which includes both versions of the great film, plus expert opinions by the likes of Jerry Beck and Leonard Maltin, plus a few cool surprises – so check it out this spring!