Animated Predictions Ahead of the 95th Annual Academy Awards

My predictions will be about the animated content that are nominated for the 95th Academy Awards, and afterwards, I’ll name my top three favourite feature films.

The Oscar Statue and the 95th Academy Awards Out of all the categories I’m interested in for the upcoming 95th Academy Awards, all I need to know is who’ll take home the statue in the category of animated shorts and films. Next is feature film only because the list will see a lot of top contenders–most of which I’ve seen–go head to head. I’m not only considering technical achievement but also the best performer in the package. And later tonight, I’ll find out if I’m even close to seeing my favourite works take home The Oscar.

When I’ve seen all these films than the handful when compared to previous years, what I offer are thoughts on who’ll make the top three out of the five or ten that’s been nominated in each:

Animated Shorts

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse Promo PosterThe Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

The deeper symbolism nestled in an otherwise surreal narrative defines why this work must be one of the best. I enjoyed it because of the netherworld quality. But to know more, I recommend reading my review, since I’m finding it tough to say anything new without repeating myself.

The Flying SailorThe Flying Sailor

Like Puss and Boots: The Last Wish, a dreamy short takes the idea of asking, should we be afraid of Death? How can we confront it after being thrown by an explosion, and the only thoughts are, “am I going to survive the landing?” There’s more to this work, which my analysis and review covers. Between this piece and the next, they define the top two choices of which should win.

The Ostrich Told MeAn Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It

This stop-motion marvel wins because of its crazy meta moments. For example, there’s The LEGO Movie and The Matrix. That combination is a simple winner to me, after watching this work, I even have to question existence. And although we can’t penetrate past the veil of current reality, perhaps what’s out there is truly scary, indeed. The dialogue will leave you thinking about life, the universe, and everything, too!

Animated Films

Guillermo del Toro’s PinocchioGuillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Del Toro can do no wrong in his retelling of a classic tale. It’s dark and enchanting. I don’t need to say anymore. And between this and him also executive producing the next work, this year may well see him needing to build a shed to house all those awards he has.

uss in Boots: The Last WishPuss in Boots: The Last Wish

The exuberance and challenge of facing death upfront is what makes this movie special. With this title, we can learn why the writers went the direction they did, and hopefully cheer for Puss as he regains a new set of “regenerations” (but not like in Doctor Who) to allow more stories to be told in his future. For a full review, please check out my original post.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes OnMarcel the Shell With Shoes On

I’d be very surprised if this work wins. There’s a simplicity in this film’s design to really tug at the heart, and you just have to read my review to understand why this movie rounds out my top three choices for taking home the Oscar.

Feature Films at the 95th Annual Academy Awards

To be fair, some people are watching just to find out if their favourite film will take the top spot for best all around. In the 95th Academy Awards Feature Film catagory are these top three choices.

A poster of two men standing by a sea shore with a dog lying between them. The tagline reads: "Everything was fine yesterday."The Banshees of Inisherin

When stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are paired up to play two lifelong friends only to have it self-destruct, what’s not to like? We can learn from this film. Some of it will break your heart, given the lost friendships that happen to us all, but as for how we can all grow from it, that’s why this film deserves special mention.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

This wicked sci-fi family drama really breaks a lot of conventions, and Michelle Yeoh gives a performance of a lifetime when she plays herself, a character, a rock, and even more. Although it’s essentially about dysfunction, why this picture shines is that it too recognises the value of cinema and the choices we make. For spoilers, my movie review can be read here.

The FabelmansThe Fabelmans

After giving my review, some voters may well have to honour Stephen Spielberg. Even though they’re putting this work ahead of others, the film celebrates the early days of cinema from a perspective few rarely know about. To see how these early pioneers become the greats we respect now depends on how much of the real backstory you know.

That fictional version of Spielberg can also be the next Cecil DeMille or even D. W. Griffith (minus the rough spots). But after watching the mini-docs about the making of this work, it’s easy to know who this movie loves.

Relax, I’m From the Future. So What Can Absolutely Go Wrong (or Get Right)?

Luke Higginson’s movie doesn’t borrow a lot from the well known flicks of yesteryears. Instead, Relax, I’m From the Future plays with the tropes differently.

I'm From the FuturePlaying at the Victoria Film Festival
Odeon 2, Feb 8th, 8:30pm (limited tickets left at the door)

Casper (Rhys Darby) is from the future, and he’s out to change history just a little …. or a lot! However, in Luke Higginson‘s expanded version of his short film, Relax, I’m From the Future, what he’s altered has ramifications to more than the lives of those he met. It’s also about preventing that world he left from happening. For those curious as to where this movie will screen next, please visit the official Facebook page.

Many fans of this genre are aware these tales concern cause and effect. This time traveller is after Percy (Julian Richings), and it’s not because this down-and-out punk rock artist is ready to end his life. To interfere must mean something. Fans of this British-Canadian actor know him best as Death from The CW‘s Supernatural and depending on how well one knows his vast filmography, he’s a much loved character actor. I think seeing him in a non-enigmatic role is a huge sell.

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Robotics, Existentialism and Jung_E. So What’s The Glitch?

To truly understand Jung_E may well require a sequel. This android’s future is in question and when it has pictorial moments right out of Gunnm, a Japanese manga I love, the similiarites I’m finding demand it.

jung_e posterAvailable on Netflix

In the future, the planet Earth is no longer habitable, and humanity’s life in orbital colonies has become harder. A civil war broke out after some of them formed their own government. In the conflict Jung_yi (Kim Hyun-joo) the soldier, not Jung_E the android, become a legend. The movie explores a bit of her life and sadly, she’s no Joan of Arc. I would have appreciated that nod, but she is just another model in the production line.

This replicant whom analysts are studying has this woman’s memories, but it’s tough to figure out what made the woman tick. Her decoration is because she pulled a Hail Mary. Through flashbacks, we learn why she became a soldier. And although this story is solid, I was hoping for more about the current state of affairs between why the Allied Forces want to fully clone her and why this war against the Andrian Republic lasted this long.

At first, I thought this movie may be a take on Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm)’s complex themes of existentialism. To put a consciousness in another body has consequences. But here, it doesn’t go further than to understand Jung’s memories. She’s a skilled fighter and can lead an army. But to replicate all of that to other clones requires digitising those memory engrams that make her tick.

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Countdown to Launch and Sending Wandering Earth 2 the Stars

In the second movie, simply titled Wandering Earth 2, we see three tales unfold in this prequel.

Wandering Earth 2

Well Go USA
Now Playing in Theatres
(Please check local listings)

The prequel to Wandering Earth (movie review here) won’t be lost to everyone. In the second movie, simply titled Wandering Earth 2, we see three tales unfold in this prequel. One concerns the geo-political wrangling required to get the Moving Mountain Project going. The second is about who are the pilots of the upgraded International Space Station which will help guide the planet’s sojourn into deep space. And last, dealing with the detractors who are resisting the locations where the rockets are built.

What this story lacks are original names given to these projects. It’s a minor quibble since like today’s studios who hide the name of the production while filming, nobody is supposed to figure the final title of the project. I enjoyed the first movie because it reminded me of other rescue humanity features. Plus, the theme of any Lunar New Year movie is to be positive during a difficult time. To save a planet requires food for thought, which this film offers plenty of!

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The Rabbit Jumped over the Moon and Going Beyond with this Year’s Lunar New Year Top 10 Movies

This list of Lunar New Year Top 10 Movies includes shorts, and must touch upon some aspect of the celebration.

Chinese New Year Rabbit Free Stock Photo - Public Domain PicturesNot every film released during the start of the moon calender truly reflects the celebration, and to put together a proper list that does so is tough. In my Lunar New Year Top 10 Movies list, I consider that the story has to touch on either some aspect of the celebration or extols some virtue from it. To really be reflective upon this South Asian celebration means putting some meaning behind the work rather than releasing it at this time of year.

Sometimes these movies feature the zodiac animal as part of its story and other times, they do not, just to help commercialise it. Those living in China had two films–Legend of a Rabbit and Moon Castle: The Space Adventure to enjoy back in 2011 when this bunny leaped into everyone’s hearts. Jumping twelve years later to now, all I could find is the charming-animated short, “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit!” by animation studio Game Science.

Depending on whom you ask, this jubilee can mean one of a few things. The better ideals include wishing others spiritual well-being, celebrating family togetherness, and looking ahead to brighter futures.

While I have a stockpile of Asian films to watch during the 15-day celebration, not all of them are about this special occasion. A few titles from last year took a while to offer up a home video release I could purchase, others are from the Internet (in public domain or hiding on YouTube), and the rest are playing at cinemas for all to enjoy. I could watch a film each day, but I don’t feel there are enough appropriately themed takes to fill a top fifteen. I am adding shorts which are just as great.

The two Wandering Earth films will count as an entry, and before I go into greater detail about the latest that debuted today, I feel the seminal work that really represents the spirit of the day begins with:

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