Archive for March, 2010

Vampires in Havana (Vampiros en La Habana) 1985

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on March 23, 2010 by dpallee

Pepito (right) and his Cuban friend from "Vampires in Havana"

Every now and then I enjoy a silly comedy and Vampires in Havana (Vampiros en La Habana) is a great little animated story about a trumpet playing vampire named Pepito. The year is 1930 and Pepito (also known as Joseph Emmanuel Von Dracula) is busy trying to thwart a Cuban dictator named Gerardo Machado with wacky plots and sexcapades involving Machado’s wife. While all this is going on in Cuba, the Chicago based mob of vampires is busy trying to supress the efforts of vampire scientist, Werner Amadeus Von Dracula, (the mob wants to keep their monopoly on indoor beach resorts for vampires) who has supposedly created a serum that allows vampires to become immune to sunlight. The drawings are loose and playful, somewhat reminding me of the style Depatie-Freleng used for their lesser viewed cartoons like Hoot Kloot or Roland and Ratfink. The character Pepito is very similar in nature to Lupin from the Lupin III movies and makes for corny dialogue with funny twists. Behind all the action is some really great trumpet playing by legendary trumpet player Arturo Sandoval. Vampires in Havana (subtitled in English, audio in Spanish) is fun to watch but be forwarned for the young; there is some nudity and light violence.

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Fooly Cooly-aka FLCL (2006)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on March 13, 2010 by dpallee

Haruko Haruhara on her vespa from "Fooly Cooly"

I was a bit hesitant to include this posting as I have found that anime is a bit like scotch-you have to develop a taste for it. I have reviewed a few Japanese style animated movies on this blog but didn’t want this to become the home of that style animation only. That being said, I do feel the series Fooly Cooly (also known as FLCL, or Furi Kuri (フリクリ) deserves praise for it’s superb blend of a traditional manga approach to characters amidst some really creative drawn sequences. Originally released in 2006 this series made a splash on Adult Swim and became a cult classic in no time. The show has been described as a mixture of science fiction, comedy, romance and philosophy but aside from being a humorous storyline, the artwork gives an expressive flow to everything that makes it entertaining on a number of levels. The basic plot revolves around a boy named Naota, whose humdrum life explodes with adventure when an extraterrestrial investigator named Haruko bursts forth and runs him down with her vespa wielding a blue vintage Rickenbacker 4001 left hand reverse strung guitar. Haruko works for the Galactic Space Police Brotherhood and-I don’t want to give away any more of the plot as discovering the twists in the storyline is half the fun of watching this series. Savor this one even if you only get the chance to watch one episode.