Archive for July, 2012

The Man and His Bird (1975)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 29, 2012 by dpallee

This short film by Russian animator Anatoly Solin is a great impressionist film about a man and his pet bird. The social statement made by this film is enhanced from the surreal approach to backgrounds and characters, with music score by Sophia Gubaidulina, written by Roza Khusnutdinova and directed by Solin. Smaller films such as The Man and his Bird help stand as inspirations to those that watch by showing how a concept can be visually conveyed to an audience without the use of dialogue, rather relying on imagery and color to express and tell the tale.

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The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 22, 2012 by dpallee

Naveen (left) convinces Tia (right) to kiss him in “The Princess and the Frog”.

The animated classics we have all watched from the fine artists at Walt Disney keep a tradition of film excellence with the 2009 release The Princess and the Frog. This feature length film represents a continued standard of quality animation and story adaptation, and introduces us to the first African American princess in the family of Disney characters. As is tradition with Disney animated features, this movie has a multitude of facts and trivia that true animation geeks could look up but I suggest to anyone that loves such memorable productions as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid or Lady and the Tramp to see this one just because it’s good.

 The story is based in a younger age New Orleans where Tiana (voice of Anika Noni Rose), a young woman, has a dream to own a restaurant. She is given an opportunity to cater a party which her childhood friend is giving for the Prince of Maldonia. Prince Naveen of Maldonia (voice of Bruno Campos) is transformed into a frog by the Haitian Witch Doctor, Doctor Facilier (voice of Keith David) and the story goes from there with all sorts of wonderful characters and musical numbers along the way. Additional voices for this film include John Goodman as the voice of Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff and Oprah Winfrey as the voice of Eudora, the mother of Tiana.

 If you have not seen this great Disney movie yet make sure to catch it soon. Even though this film did well with box office numbers the marketing of The Princess and the Frog left it unnoticed by a younger audience rather quick. Make sure to include this on your list of Disney must-see films and delight in quality art and animation.

The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 14, 2012 by dpallee

Con men Miguel (left) and Tulio (right) from “The Road to El Dorado”

 Dreamworks Studios, known more for their 3d animated features, gave us a real treasure in 2000 with the release of The Road to El Dorado. This film ha all the elements of an enjoyable comedy with superb detail to the animation, art, script and score. Although critics have given this film a mixed review, I find it quite enjoyable to watch again and again. The timing of the dialogue matched to the anticipation of the characters works well, their theatrical exaggerations are humorous and nicely animated.

 The story takes place n Spain, the year is 1591. Two grifters named Miguel (voice of Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (voice of Kevin Kline) win a map in a game of dice and stowaway aboard a ship headed for the New World. Their intentions are to find the legendary city of El Dorado to greedily get as much gold as possible. The dialogue between these two characters carries a great storyline, enhanced by the voice talent of Rosie Perez as the young native girl Chel who helps them one they become received as Gods in the lot city.

 Soundscore is provided by the Academy award winning team of Tim Rice and Sir Elton John which plays for a fitting sound track. Additional voice talents include Armand Assante as the insane high priest and Eward Jame Olmos as the benevolent tribal leader. The opening credits capture the feel of this pre-Conquistador era so don’t miss one minute of this classic.

Osmosis Jones (2001)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 3, 2012 by dpallee

Drix (left) the cold capsule and Osmosis Jones (right), the white blood cell from “Osmosis Jones”.

The live action/animated film, Osmosis Jones ,is a fun, funky film that did not play well at the box office when it opened to US and British audiences in 2001 but took on new life as a home video release. The film’s four directors (Tom Sito and Piet Kroon doing the animated portion and the Farrelly Brothers directing the live action segments) bring two stories into one to show how a man’s body fights off a potentially fatal virus. Comedic legends Bill Murray and Chris Rock tag team viewers throughout the film with the help of such noted actors as Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce and the chilling performance of Lawrence Fishburne as the villainous pathogenic agent, Thrax.

The story introduces us to Frank (played by Bill Murray), a widowed zookeeper that eats junk food, never exercises and ignores his health, all to the dismay of his daughter, Shane (played by Elena Franklin). The movie takes us from the outer world to the inner world of Frank’s body where an entire city lies full of organs, body fluids and a street wise member of Frank’s inner body police force named Osmosis Jones (voice of Chris Rock). Jones begins to hunt down this elusive criminal that wishes to do in his human host, following clues that eventually lead Osmosis Jones to the final showdown with the villain Thrax. The animation segments play out like a typical cop action film but with the use of imaginative characters and dazzling colors, this movie brings a nice twist to a familiar theme. The character Drix (voice of David Hyde Pierce) is a cold capsule Frank swallows to fight of his ailment, unaware that his problems are much more severe than a common ‘bug’. Drix provides what relief a capsule can but it will take a team effort from him and Jones to thwart the sickness inside Frank’s body.

The movie is riddled with clever adaptations from myriad police movies yet manages to give a humorous spin that makes the whole film great entertainment for viewers of all ages. Bill Murray’s portrayal of this grungy single parent is paced perfect for the film and no one actor overshadows another. The cast works perfect with one another to give a great movie to enjoy.