Creative Commons license icon

movies

Movie review: 'Robot Dreams' (2023)

No votes yet

Movie poster, Dog and Robot walk hand in hand down a New York City street. Robot Dreams (trailer) is a 102-minute animated film released in December 2023, made by Arcadia, Lokiz and other studios. Based on a 2007 graphic novel (Amazon US - UK - Spanish edition) by Sara Varon, this Spanish-French production was written and directed by Pablo Berger, who had never worked in animation before, so he collaborated closely with art director José Luis Ágreda and storyboard artist Maca Gil for a year and a half to plan the project. It worked out really well!

Two neat things: it's a 2D film in an overbearingly 3D market, and there's no dialog. It takes place in a slightly alternative version of New York City in 1984, a funny-animal one. The main character, "Dog", lives in a Manhattan apartment. He's extremely lonely. One day he sees a TV ad for robot friends, so he orders one; after putting it together - he's not lonely anymore! Aside from this modern leap in artificial intelligence and robotics, the film is as early-80s as it gets: boomboxes, cassettes, VCRs, and Walkmen.

Review: 'Hundreds of Beavers'

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

'Hundreds of Beavers' poster "I don't get the joke. Is it dirty, or what?"
-Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States of America (attributed)

You guys remember Bitter Lake?

Way back in the before times, when dinosaurs roamed the land, there was a tiny, micro-budget, barely feature-length "fan-movie" known as Bitter Lake, featuring a cast entirely clad in fursuit to represent its anthropomorphic animal characters, made by furries, for furries.

Before Bitter Lake, I'd never considered this method to realize a furry movie, and after Bitter Lake, well, I still haven't. Noble experiment, sure. Quality movie? Well, we're not reviewing Bitter Lake now, so let's just move along…

Hundreds of Beavers is a sort of outside the fandom take on the "fursuit movie" that, after playing film festivals last year, had a very short theatrical release this year before launching on various streaming services. It is a black-and-white, mostly dialogue-free slapstick comedy featuring newbie fur trapper Jean Kayak (co-writer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) as he struggles to survive in the wilderness around the Great Lakes region of pre-United States America. Fellow co-writer Mike Cheslik directs. The movie features beavers, raccoons, rabbits, dogs, skunks and wolves, all played by actors in mascot costumes.

Movie reviews: "The Tiger's Apprentice", "Heroes of the Golden Mask", "Rumble"

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

The Tiger's Apprentice posterLet's review some computer-animated films! Here are trailers for:

The Tiger's Apprentice,
Heroes of the Golden Mask,
and Rumble.

Short version: The Tiger's Apprentice, action, one character has a tiger form, lots of Chinese culture, story is nothing great. Heroes of the Golden Mask, terrible. Rumble, wrestling-sponsored sports comedy, very formula loser-wins story, maybe of interest to furry macro fans.

Movie review: 'The Animal Kingdom' (2023)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

'The Animal Kingdom' poster The Animal Kingdom (trailer) is a 128-minute live-action French film released in 2023 (Le règne animal). It's the second movie directed by Thomas Cailley, and co-written with Pauline Munier.

Set in modern-day France, there's been a worrying development: some people are slowly mutating into animals, and society has not been adjusting well. The story follows a small family, Émile (Paul Kircher), a disaffected and conflicted teenager, and his father François (Romain Duris), who move to the south-west of France to be near the family's mother, Lana, who's been in government care ever since she began to change. A road accident makes her fate unclear, adding stress to an already stressful situation. With many people heavily biased against the mutations, Émile finds himself starting to change too.

Despite the fantastical premise, it's primarily a drama about the relationship between Émile and his father. I'd hesitate to call it a coming-of-age film, because Émile isn't going to become an adult - at least, not a human one.

Review: 'Kung Fu Panda 4'

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (7 votes)

'Kung Fu Panda 4' poster I've already seen this movie twice, paying full price both times. Kung Fu Panda 4 is the first movie I've watched multiple times in theaters since Zootopia. I liked it, is what I'm saying. It is part of the Kung Fu Panda series of movies, which would be important to furry movie fans even if they weren't very good. No other fully-anthropomorphic-animal-populated movie franchise out there has gotten to four movies. Fortunately, the series has consistently been one of the better animated franchises, furry or not.

In this fourth instalment, directed by Oklahoma's own Mike Mitchell (with co-director Stephanie Ma Stine), the titular Kung Fu Panda, Po (voiced by Jack Black), first Dragon Warrior of the Valley of Peace, is tasked with finding his replacement by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffmann) – explicitly identified as a red panda for the first time in the series. Unwilling to accept giving up his role as protector of the Valley, he instead joins sneaky fox thief Zhen (voiced by Awkwafina, Zhen is not one of the "big three" fox species of red, Arctic and fennec, but a rarely-seen Corsac fox) on a quest to defeat the Chameleon (Viola Davis; no bonus points for guessing her species), an evil sorceress with the ability to shapeshift and steal kung fu powers, like a PG funny animal version of Mortal Kombat's Shang Tsung.

Trailer: DreamWorks Animation's 'The Wild Robot'

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

"Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?"
"Can you?"
-The one good part of I, Robot

Bogged down in all the recent controversy about "generative AI" is that one of the reasons the research began was, in creating a program that can "create" a painting, we are theoretically trying to answer the evergreen science fiction question of whether a machine can become, well, perhaps not "human". Maybe a better word would be "anthropomorphic".

DreamWorks Animation's The Wild Robot will be coming to theaters September 20 of this year. Pretentious preambles aside, this movie is not just of furry interest because it has a robot that can be described as anthropomorphic; the trailer reveals plenty of animal characters who can also be described as anthropomorphic.

Quack to the Future?

We caught this announcement from several places. Here it is from World of Reel: “Pixar is developing a new movie, this one set to be the first musical in the toon company’s history. The movie is titled Ducks and its main characters are exactly what the title suggests. Pixar’s upcoming slate already includes Elio, Toy Story 5, and Inside Out 2 — the latter being released this summer, the other two in 2026. Ducks seems to be eyeing a 2027 launch.” You’ll know when we do!


image c. 2024 Pixar Animation Studios

Netflix Heard The Call

More from that article at Cartoon Brew. This time it’s a new “hybrid” (live action / CGI) feature called Woody Woodpecker Goes To Camp. “Netflix hasn’t released many details about the film yet, but the streamer did say that accomplished kids and family TV director Johnathan Rosenbaum (Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour) is helming from a screenplay by Cory Edwards, Jim Martin, and Stephen Mazu… A brief logline reads: ‘After getting kicked out of the forest, Woody thinks he’s found a forever home at Camp Woo Hoo — until an inspector threatens to shut down the camp’. The only casting details shared so far indicate that Eric Bauza is involved, presumably as Woody’s voice.” We can all find out more when the film arrives on April 12th.


image c. 2024 Netflix

You’re A Star!

Thanks to Cartoon Brew, we found out about several interesting new animated films coming soon to Netflix. Among them is Thelma the Unicorn. “Thelma is a small-time pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous music star. In a pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma is transformed into a unicorn and instantly rises to global stardom. But this new life of fame comes at a cost.” Don’t know much about this one otherwise, but it’s directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) and Lynn Wang (Unikitty!), and it’s due on May 17th.


image c. 2024 Netflix

Pink Passion

We stumbled across this announcement in Variety recently: “Germany’s Studio 100 Media and Spain’s 3Doubles Producciones have teamed to develop animated adventure comedy Flamingo Flamenco. The script has been written by Rob Sprackling, whose credits include Shaun the Sheep Movie, Gnomeo & Juliet, and The Queen’s Corgi. Flamingo Flamenco follows the journey of Rosie, a young and exuberant flamingo, as she navigates personal loss and seeks to rediscover the joy of dance. The action is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Fuente de Piedra lagoon in Andalucía, Spain… The family-friendly entertainment feature ‘promises an enchanting and passionate blend of adventure, comedy and heartwarming moments’, according to a statement from Studio 100 Film, adding that the film ‘…emphasizes the importance of perseverance, self-discovery and the power of determination’. ” No word yet about any possible distribution in North America, but the film’s not scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2026. In the meantime, check out that poster! (Girl!)


image 2024 Studio 100 Media

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

2023 movies

This year’s list contains movies directed by Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Hayao Miyazaki, Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese.

It also contains two adaptations of toy properties and two Marvel movies! Got to let people know it’s still me.

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

A review of 'Migration' disguised as a how-to guide for movie reviews (or vice versa)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

'Migration' movie poster How do you review a movie?

Let’s take, as an example, the movie Migration. The purpose of a review is to give the reader an idea of what the movie is like, and whether or not they might want to spend the time and money to watch it. The basic facts of the movie should be listed; so, in this example, Migration is a computer animated movie from Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets, Sing), directed by Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales). I included examples of the creator's previous work that might give my audience some idea of what to expect. However, this can easily be found on free sources like IMDB or Wikipedia, and a review is not just a recitation of facts.

A brief plot synopsis is usually a good idea. In Migration’s case, the story is about a family of ducks (Kumail Nanjiani as father Mack, Elizabeth Banks as mother Pam, Caspar Jennings as son Dax, Tresi Gazal as daughter Gwen and Danny Devito as uncle Dan) who decide to migrate from their tiny pond to Jamaica. It plays like a road trip comedy, but with ducks. Along the way, they have adventures with a decrepit heron (voiced by Carol Kane) and her mute husband, a one-legged pigeon (voiced by Awkwafina), a caged parrot (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and a cult-like group of farm ducks, while being chased by a chef who specializes in duck à l'orange.

Once we have details of what Migration the movie is, we can move on to the reviewer's opinion.

Foster’s Not Home, but…

This came to us out of nowhere, but now we’re very, very curious. John Krasinski has written, produced, and directed a new live-action/CGI fantasy film called IF, starring Cailey Fleming. She plays a young girl who discovers that she has the ability to see people’s imaginary friends (known as IFs for short). She also discovers that the mysterious Man Upstairs (played by Ryan Reynolds) has the same ability. Now a group of IFs are begging these two special humans to help them find new kids to be with now that their own have grown up and abandoned them. As you can see from the trailer, there’s a lot of anthropomorphic interest here. It’s scheduled to be released next May.

Review: 'The Boy and the Heron'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

The Boy and the Heron The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.