Snausage Fest: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

Rather astonished to find Isle of Dogs defeat my expectations and become one of my least favorite Wes Andersons, if not the least. Anderson is one of my absolute favorite filmmakers (I know, I know, join the club), but like a lot of my faves, I have significant reservations. It’s no great insight to point […]

An Act of Journalism: Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir

Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir could easily be filed away under any or all of the following genres: documentary, autobiography, memoir, journalism, and nonfiction. If there’s one thing all of these have in common, it’s that none make for natural cartoons. The exception that proves the rule is Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, which began life as […]

George Lucas Cedes Control: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

After writing and directing three Star Wars prequels between 1999-2005, it’s easy to forget that back in the 1980s, series godfather George Lucas opted out of directing Episodes IV: The Empire Strikes Back and V: Return of the Jedi. Now Lucas appears once again to be ceding control over his most famous baby. He’s back […]

The Only Child: Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick’s Coraline

I saw Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline on its opening day in my favorite movie theater, the best possible venue to see any remotely visually ambitious movie: the Clearview Ziegfeld in New York City. Fittingly, my tickets were misprinted “Caroline,” a misnomer that is a recurring plot point. Coraline was written and directed by […]

Brad Bird Steals His Own Movie in Pixar’s The Incredibles

Like writer/director Brad Bird’s Ratatouille, The Incredibles is a virtually perfect movie. Bird’s astonishing one-two punch for Pixar builds on the animation studio’s reputation for deep emotional resonance already earned by Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo and later reconfirmed by Wall-E. But Bird’s films add a welcome maturity that proves the medium of animation can be, […]

A Pen & Ink Memoir: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis

Named after the ancient Persian city, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis is a memoir of her life in Europe and Iran after the Iranian revolution. This animated feature joins the growing ranks of comic book adaptations that prove that comics are not only about superheroes that dress up in animal-themed costumes to battle crime. Hopefully […]

Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo is childlike but not childish

Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo immediately preceded Pixar’s slightly more sophisticated collaborations with director Brad Bird, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Despite being one of Pixar’s most kid-friendly films, Finding Nemo is paradoxically full of death and anxiety. But Stanton works in the proven tradition of its spiritual ancestor Bambi, which also famously features a mother’s arbitrary […]

But seriously, why so serious? Batman goes anime in Gotham Knight

Batman: Gotham Knight is a direct-to-DVD production from Warner Premiere, intended as a back-door prequel to the feature film Batman: The Dark Knight. Warner Bros. has tried this tactic before, and will again. 2003’s The Animatrix was a planned interlude in The Matrix franchise, enjoying extensive involvement from filmmakers the Wachowski Brothers. Coming soon is […]

Think Different: WALL-E

With the delightful WALL-E, Pixar continues its as-yet unbroken winning streak of instant-classic films for all ages. From among their oeuvre, my personal tastes run toward the darker and more psychologically complex The Incredibles and Ratatouille by director Brad Bird. Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E certainly ranks among Pixar’s greatest hits, all films that will resonate decades […]

Dreams and memory in Satoshi Kon’s Paprika

There’s a huge interest in Japanese manga and anime in the US, but it’s rare for an anime feature film to get a theatrical release. From the name and poster alone (indeed, what caught my own interest), one might not even guess Paprika is foreign-language, let alone anime. Anime is a medium, not a genre, […]

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