Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Upcoming Studio Art Sale and two film reviews

I've got two film reviews and a major announcement to cover today - 

If you saw my review of "Cryptozoo" you probably remember I voted it the worst animated feature of the year.  Well, now I believe it's got stiff competition.  I just saw "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" at an Academy screening and apparently the producers have hopes for an Oscar.

As I was watching this technically pretty film, I was wondering,"How the hell did they get the money to make this piece of crap?" It's about a talking sea shell (with a very ugly design) who lives in an empty house and he talks about his mundane life.  The only event in the film worth mentioning is when Lesley Stahl visits to interview Marcel for "60 Minutes". 

Who would invest money is a script like that?  I was fuming, why can't I get money to make my films?  Is Lesley Stahl a big investor?  Is there a huge body of snail fan backers?  Then, after talking to people I found out that apparently Marcel began as a star on the internet with a huge fan base and the investors figured "It's a ready-made audience."  

In any case, apparently it's doing well in the cinemas and has already made a million bucks!!  Imagine that?  My next film will be called "Snail's Face".  I give it a D-

The other film I watched was "The Gray Man" directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.  And it was a gas!! The story has Ryan Gosling's character being recruited from prison to be a U.S. Special Ops hitman who has morals. However, another branch of the Special Ops needs a pendant (McGuffin) that Ryan has, so they send an immoral hitman, played by Chris Evans, with an unlimited budget to retrieve the pendant any way possible.  

What's really unique about this film is that there's so much crazy surreal action.  These set-piece battles are like mini-features that build and build and climax in glorious and surprising ways.  I would guess there is about ten times the action of a James Bond or "Mission: Impossible" film.  It was interesting that the Russo Brothers showed up for a Q&A after the screening and they talked about what fans they are of Hollywood action films and how they were influenced by their predecessors.  I give "The Gray Man" an A.

The last bit of news I want to talk about is a Studio Art Sale I'm having in September to offer a lot of my artwork and merchandise for sale.  This will include art from my classic shorts "How to Kiss", "25 Ways to Quit Smoking", "Guard Dog" and "Your Face", plus original art from my features, from "The Tune" to "Revengeance".  I haven't done this for a few years, but now that my work is a big hit at auction houses I feel like it's time for me to cash in on the many fans I have.  More details will be posted here soon, but we're shooting for the weekend of September 17-18 at my studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  

I hope to see you there - I have to warn you though, I'll probably have Matt Groening and Steven Spielberg on the phone. 

--Bill P

Friday, July 1, 2022

Film reviews - "Lightyear" and "The Sea Beast"

I've been able to see a couple of films recently, despite my busy deadline schedule.  Both of these films were preview screenings, in order to get some buzz going - so, I took my son, Lucas, with me, and we got free soda and popcorn!

The first film was "Lightyear", from Pixar/Disney, directed by Angus MacLane.  It's the back-story for Buzz Lightyear (from "Toy Story") and his adventures as a young space commander.  It measured up to Pixar's beautiful visual standards - but the film took place over many years, and for me, that took away a lot of the potential in-the-moment excitement. 

The only character I really loved was the cat robot - he was kind of a synthesis of R2D2 and C3P0.  In a film without much humor, he added a lot of laughs, which I appreciated. 

But my big problem with the film was at the end, it got very confusing as to what was going on, there were so many rules and characters that my brain kind of shut down and I just watched the visuals - which were very nice. 

I give "Lightyear" a B-minus.

The next film I watched with my son - to get a little children's perspective - was "The Sea Beast", directed by Chris Williams ("Moana", "Big Hero 6", "Bolt).  Immediately at the beginning of this film, I could feel that this was something very different from your usual Pixar/Marvel-type movie. 

The visuals are exquisite.  I saw elements of Herman Melville and N.C. Wyeth, and characters straight out of an Errol Flynn film from the 1930's and I was hooked.  The action and battle sequences were fantastic - and the point of the film was very meaningful.  I'm sorry, I'm going to give away the ending - but the monster is really a hero and everybody sings "Kumbaya" at the end.  

The hint at the beginning that the beast is really a good guy was that the design of the monster fish was way too cutesy and pink.  That was not a scary monster. But, nevertheless, I loved this film and my son kept yelling throughout the film, "I love it!"  

So I'll give "The Sea Beast" an A. 

If you're looking for some more movies to watch on this long holiday weekend, I just found out that 
"Adventures in Plymptoons", a documentary that was made about me back in 2011 is available on Tubi for FREE.  It was directed by a friend of mine, Alexsiya, and it's really a fun watch, but you didn't hear that from me...

Here's the link:

My distributor, the wonderful Shout Factory, has also made most of my animated features available on Tubi, and they're also FREE, so if you've got some extra time this weekend after the BBQ and the fireworks, you can make a whole movie marathon out of it!  

"The Tune"

"I Married a Strange Person"

"Mutant Aliens"

"Hair High"

"Idiots & Angels"


"Revengeance" (co-directed with Jim Lujan)

Well, I guess you don't have to ask me what my new favorite streaming service is... (It's Tubi.). My thanks to Tubi and Shout Factory for making all of these films available for FREE!  I think you have to watch a few ads, but so what?  You could watch all my features in a day, instead of waiting for the DVDs to arrive in the mail!  But if you still like DVDs, too, which is OK, I sell them on my web-site...

Boy, when did the Fourth of July get so commercialized?  Anyway, if you can't make it to the movie theater this weekend, I've given you another great option!  

--Bill Plympton