Tag Archives: Stop-Motion Animation

Just How Crazy is Henry Selick’s Wendell and Wild?

20 Nov

Wendell and WildStreaming on Netflix

Henry Selick doesn’t get to make a lot of movies, and that’s mostly because the stop-motion medium is very time-consuming. In his latest independent work, Wendell and Wild is perhaps his darkest work to date. It concerns themes concerning how to deal with life after the death of loved ones, and making pacts with the devil. In this film’s case, it’s about two demons. They get top billing in the posters than the actual heroine, Kat (Lyric Ross).

She has to face her fears. This teen blames herself for causing the car accident which resulted in the loss of her parents a long time ago. To come to terms with what actually happened is tough, and that’s enough to get Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Jordan Peele, who also helped co-write) to take notice. These two creatures from the nether realm want to run away, but to go somewhere where their father can’t find them means getting help from the mortal world. And the only way they can is with a Hellmaiden. When they learn Kat is next in line, they haunt her dreams in no time and offer her a chance to see her parents again.

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TheNFB’s has Zeb’s Spider World Premiere at VIFF! It Won’t String You Along.

1 Oct

Zeb's Spider

Zeb’s Spider isn’t so itsy bitsy, and this woman can give Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world from the animated movie, Luck, a run for her money. They both live in sub-basement apartments, and just have a lot of problems in life to face. This down-and-out individual is deathly afraid of arachnids, and as for what she does to the wall crawler is an entertaining variation of a cat and mouse tale.

This stop-motion animated short produced by the National Film Board of Canada is making its world debut at the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival today, and has two screenings (please see below for details).

But before the eight legged wonder can be called friend, they must work out their issues. This human’s place is often riddled with other pestilence, and without this tiny wonder, her life might even take an even worse fate. What this short by Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis offers is more than a fable. There are some insights to what defines some people, and scares others. Some might say encounters with the unknown can become a wake-up call.

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All That Matters is That Even Mice Belong in Heaven

13 Dec

How to Watch Even Mice Belong in Heaven (2021) Streaming Online – The  StreamableBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on
Amazon Prime Video

Google Play
Vudu

It’s tough to say if the Czech made Even Mice Belong In Heaven will hit a chord with audiences world-wide, but there’s a simplistic charm to like in this work directed by directors Jan Bubenicek and Denisa Grimmová.

Part of it is due to the artistry put into this stop motion work. The concept design is not too sophisticated, and the presentation recalls the style from those Rankin/Bass classics. It’s also just as comparable to Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I like to think it’s a different take on All Dogs go to Heaven but thematically, the scare about whether a pecking order matters in the world “Of Mice and Men.” That idea is furthered in Zootopia.

This film follows Whizzy (Simona Berman), a mouse who is too brave for her own good. After ripping off a bit of fur from Whitebelly (Graham Halstead), a sleeping fox, she thinks she’s as brave as her pops. But her bravado is short-lived. Whitebelly awakens and chases the rodent to a road with a quickly approaching vehicle coming towards them both.

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From TIFF to OIAF to ImagineNATIVE. TheNFB’s The Hidden Island of Ethics

16 Sep

Meneath: The Hidden Island of EthicsBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Official Selection at
Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 9-18)
Ottawa International Animation Festival (Sept 22-Oct 3)
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (Oct 19-24)

Please check links for showtimes

Anyone who has followed the media reports about the discovery of a mass grave on the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops, BC, may find Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics disturbing. Children from local tribes were plucked away from their families because someone thought it was best to teach them a different way of life. These places were operated by the Catholic Church, and it didn’t change hands until much later. The Canadian Government never knew what went on, and was left holding the bag.

This stop motion animated work by Terril Calder is evocative, powerful and moving. The story she constructed is an eerie look at what may have happened back then. Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this tale.

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[Fantasia 2021] Who’s the Master with Dreams & Monsters? Mad Gods?

19 Aug

Mad God (2021) - IMDbFantasia Film Festival 2021
Available to Stream on Aug 22 & 24
Tickets purchases available here.

Mad Dreams & Monsters is available in The Monster Collection (Amazon USA Link)

Anyone who saw Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters before going to see Mad God at Fantasia Film Festival is ahead of the game when getting to know how this film came to be. No prior knowledge is necessary, but this documentary by Gilles Penso and Alexandre Ponce will help. It’s a love letter to the man, and every film he made movie magic in. It includes his contributions to television (The Pillsbury Dough Boy) too. 

The transition to filmmaking took place when he met Dennis Muren who was looking for talents to staff Industrial Light & Magic. He is the creative mind behind realizing Dejarik, a weird chess-like game that Chewie and R2D2 played in episode IV and since then, his cinematic legacy was set in stone. The fact he had to recreate it for the new trilogy meant looking for those original molds and casts. 

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