Monday, December 11, 2017

Elf on the Run

I just watched this movie through my cable's on demand service directed by Agurtzane Intxaurraga. It is about a girl and also an elf who escapes from the forest into a carnival, to be captured by a circus ringmaster and then set free by the girl. The girl is mad at her mother for being mean to her, especially compared to her baby brothe,r a series of events partially brought on by her accidentally breaking her mom's camera in a Rube Goldberg-esque way. This alienates the children she's playing with who leave and don't come back for the rest of the story. I don't want to spoil too much so I'll stop there save for a few critiques.

The highlight of the movie is the art direction and animation which is surprisingly good for what is a low budget production. The story is a bit above average, notable more for not including annoying characters and including the right pieces than for pushing boundaries. To put it succinctly, it's a direct to video sort of film but for once it's actually good. At least until the dance party moments in the ending. The version of the film I watched is dubbed in English and I probably would have enjoyed it more in the original language which I'm reasonably sure is Spanish. This film is a little weird in that it's available in a lot of places but there's little information available on it.

I give the movie a 7.5 out of ten. It is the best animated film I've seen since Mune. I might share my thoughts on Mune or Short Peace soon. I tried to catch A Silent Voice in theaters but it was only playing at night and I had to work. I'll have to watch it on DVD when it comes out.

For those who are reading this post in the United States, contact your local congressional members and tell them to support net neutrality. If you look at this site, you'll be able to identify your local congress persons and find out whether they support net neutrality or not. If they don't, let them know that you won't stand for it.

https://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now

Friday, April 28, 2017

North of Blue and Window Horses

I found out through Animation World Network that Joanna Priestly is creating North of Blue, an abstract animated feature. Read about it there for your self. The trailer has yet to be released.

http://www.awn.com/news/joanna-priestley-retrospectives-screenings-set-stuttgart-bfi

Window Horses is an animated film about a shy poet who goes to a poetry festival in Iran. It's showing in festivals right now. I hope to either catch it at a festival or see it in a later commercial release. There's no saying how long this film will stay obscure.



I'm currently working on a page with information on film availability. One change I may make in the future is promoting films that are simply old and not just obscure ones. After all, many animated films are becoming less and less obscure. I'm also entertaining the idea of making an animation web forum for overshadowed movies outside of the mainstream of US and Japan. See you all again when I make the next update.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Defunct Animation Blogs

Over time there's been a lot of animation blogs that produced good content but eventually shut down for one reason or another. It's a bit frustrating to see some of the best animation blogs and even communities disappear and to make it worse, half the time you're not sure why the blog closed.

Frames Per Second Magazine link
Animatsiya in English link
Ha Neul Seom link
Michael Sporn's Splog link
Too Long for Twitlonger link
Animondays link
Keith Lango Animation link

I have been around the animation community for a long time and seen a lot of blogs close. Frames Per Second closed because of the death of Emru Townsend who couldn't find a kidney for transplant. Animatsiya in English closed because of the blog runner Niffiwan's frustration with video takedowns and probably from moving on in life. I still don't know why Ha Neul Seom closed down and it's a shame and I don't know why Your Daily Cartoon has stopped. Michal Sporn's Splog, as anyone who's visited it knows, ended when Michael Sporn died. Too Long for Twitlonger had some really interesting commentary but wasn't around for very long. Animondays was a good blog though I remember surprisingly little of its content aside from the Craig Bartlett interview. Keith Lango had perspective and animation tips but got caught up in work.

Some blogs are as far as I can tell, still around but haven't been updated in a while.

Animation Backgrounds
The Animation Activist
AniPages Daily

Many of the great sites of the animation blogosphere are gone or on hold. The English Animatsiya(Russian animation) community is dead and tensions between the US and Russia are very high(Syria, elections, etc...). IMDb has closed down all its forums. The only movie stores left in my area are big box stores and video game stores. In brighter news Netflix is investing in original content some of it good, but distributors getting into the animation game isn't how I wanted the progression of animation to happen.

I'll be updating this blog and making improvements. My links section is badly out of date. There is more to do and I need to get to it.

Edit-4/9/2017 Removed Your Daily Cartoon from the defunct blog list as I see that it has recently been updated.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

2D Animation Comment My "Illegitimate Email" Kept Me From Posting on Animation Anomaly

Below are my comments on the Animation Anomaly thread The Real Reason 2D Animation Isn't "Viable". This is a response to Aaron Keefe.






I understand your point that 2D animation done on the computer and not just colored on it is technically 2D computer animation. I've made allusions to the pinscreen and how digital animation is technically just a high resolution color pinscreen

I think that it is possible to make 2D computer animation just as stunning as the 3D variety. One way is to harness noise art in a figurative sort of way. Another is to harness artificial evolution of 2D images. One more way, at least a couple of years into the future is thought printing. That would revolutionize visual art in allowing anybody with a vivid imagination to print out artworks with just a couple of mental visualizations. It would be invasive if done publicly if bad thoughts come up, so it would most likely be done in private and only the results would be shared in public. It's not just art that would be revolutionized by this. Communication itself would be revolutionized. As somebody who doesn't want to become a cyborg, I find the future worrisome.

Even for those with more limited visual imaginations, I expect computer drawn animation to be outdated soon. After all, why draw anything when you can have a computer create patterns that imply depth and can be shared in an online database? After all, just about every basic shape has been drawn before by somebody. I suspect that the future will be a combination of drawing and pattern sharing. Through this system, artists will be able to create animations that are more detailed than those that came before them. It will be like the word guess feature on today's smartphones. This is how the particular example of noise art will be harnessed.

Between those three basic tricks I mentioned, 2D artificial evolution, thought printing, and what I'll call 'permuting', hand drawn animation as we know it may soon no longer exist in its current state, except in the hands of die hard fanatics.

It's possible to do many of these things in 3D too, but that's a whole different subject. For one last note, while these technologies may open new possibilities, they won't take away from the dedication that it takes to be the best that one can be. Artificial evolution takes a lot of forethought in deciding what direction to go in, thought printing takes a well used imagination filled with many images honed through practice, and permuting takes a level of shape sorting that may overwhelm people with its over-complexity and sorting of fine details. If you're wondering about anatomy, there are already websites with 3D images available for animal skeletons. Expect more things like that in the future.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. I have more to say on 2D animation, but I'll leave if for another time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Treasure Planet 1982

I was perusing the links of Your Daily Cartoon(what's happened to that blog, anyway?), and I stumbled upon a blog called Animation Obscura. One entry featured the Bulgarian animated film from the 1980's, Treasure Planet directed by Rumen Petkov. The video was first uploaded in September and the blog post featuring it was made just over a month ago.

Enjoy this animated film and check out the blog here.




I hope you like it and if so, leave a comment.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Midori Ko and Ere Erera Izik Subua Aruaren

I received two artistic animated features for my birthday and I'd like to talk about them both. Spoilers are ahead.

Midori Ko is an experimental animated film, done in colored pencil, that is about a young woman who likes vegetables and hates meat. It's set in a near future Japan where food is in short suppl. The film gets its narrative start when this young woman finds a vegetable with a human face that looks like a bak choy, from an experiment of five men with heads shaped like human body parts. The film has many interesting characters but the plot is spare and leaves questions open to what was going on. Why does Midori's computer turn into a creature when it's not in use? Why does the bak choy baby deflate when Midori accidentally sits on it? During the second half of the movie there are many moments dedicated to mimicking other works of art at the expense of the half baked story. My final word is that the film can't decide whether it wants to be a strange work of art or an eccentric narrative film. My rating is a 5 out of 10.

Ere Erera Izik Subua Aruaren, a mouthful of a name, is a fully abstract animated feature film created by painting on celluloid. It starts with a flurry of colorful assaults on the senses as you struggle to get used to the strobing animation technique. After a few minutes it begins to experiment with styles before it starts to focus more on one thing at a time. The film has no sound whatsoever and considering that, the film's strobing effects might be considered an asset. The film has a great flaw, however. At a point more than halfway into the runtime it starts repeating one general pattern over and over again, the first one being what looks like crumpled gray paper over a black background. This is followed by a sort of web of bubbly circles and several other things. The film never regains the vivacity it had at the beginning. I rate the film a 7 out of ten.

I would like to talk more about these films with anybody who has seen them. For those who haven't seen them yet, they're available at the sites below. The sites below are selling them at the time of this posting. Who knows for how long?

http://www.worldwide-artbooks.com/wwb_title.php?titleno=68705

http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Independent-Japanese-Animation-Vol-2-NEW-Arthouse-Blu-Ray-Disc-Kurosaka-/191801873409

Have fun. I still need to see Consuming Spirits so I may do a post on that.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dick Deadeye, Or Duty Done on YouTube

I've gotten out of the habit of searching for good animated films on the web. This feature, based on Gilbert and Sullivan operas and the drawings of Ronald Searle is a film that many have been dying to see. I hope you like it and maybe some day you'll be able to own it on DVD or Blu Ray. Enjoy and feel free to comment below if you enjoyed the film.