Tuesday, January 22, 2008

the long and short of it

The 2008 Academy Awards. For those of you who are as indifferent as I am towards some of the Academy's choices of nominees for Best Picture, etc., I bring you a quick rundown on the more *cough* interesting *cough* nominations. Not that Michael Clayton isn't a swell flickit very well could beit is merely the fact that I am too bored by its trailer to make any effort on my part to see it. Juno or bust. That said, I will now proceed with the list of animation nominees.

Best Animated Feature:

This I'm dying to see. I read Marjane Satrapi's books and really enjoyed them. The animation on this piece looks simple, yet elegant - very much like the books themselves. Fingers double-crossed? Check. (Sony Pictures Classics - Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)

I loved this movie a lotstory, characters, animationthe works. I'm torn between this and Persepolis, which I haven't even seen yet. Pixar is the bee's knees, but I gotta show my support for the foreign underdog in this case. Maybe. We'll see. (Disney/Pixar - Brad Bird) Winner!

Meh. Without Pixar, 3-D features just aren't that great. Surf's Up was another letdown. I'm a fan of mockumentaries (woot, Christopher Guest), but this just didn't deliver the laughs like I thought it would. Props for trying a new style, though. (Sony Pictures Releasing - Ash Brannon and Chris Buck)

Best Animated Short:

An animated interview with John Lennon, eh? Could be good, but I prefer something with a story, a plot. Still, from what I've seen the art direction is quite fascinating as it morphs line art and digital art in quick, quirky motions. (Josh Raskin) Watch the trailer.

I was really mesmerized by Tutli-Putli's eyes, and then I realized they were real! Real, as in live action footage seamlessly overlayed digitally onto the stop-motion puppet itself. And it's extraordinary how well the eyes show the emotions of Tutli-Putli while the rest of her face remains inanimate. They really mastered the effect. Beautifully shot. Awesome character movement. I'm rooting for this one. (Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski) Watch.

A silly little 3-D short with really great lighting. Not my favorite of the group, but a delightful romp, nonetheless. (Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse) Watch.

Beautiful paint-on-glass from Russia. What an unbelievable talent, to have to keep working forward, to paint over your own best work again and again in order to achieve beauty on a grander scale - it's madness! This one may just take the cake. Unfortunately, I haven't found an English translation, but that doesn't take away from the visual splendor of it all, now, does it? (Alexander Petrov) Watch part 1, 2, 3.

Stop-motion version of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf" tale. There's some really nice stuff here and it's got a little humor in it as well. The characters really have, well... character. Great job with the sets, too. I definitely had fun watching it. (Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman) Watch. Winner!

There you have it. So tune in Sunday, February 24th to ABC (that is, if the "big shots" at the media companies can get over their "bigness" and throw the writers a bone) and watch Jon Stewart host this year's ceremony. He's great, movies are great, and animation is greatest - watch already!


stephen said...

I was really digging the eyes in madame tutli-putli, and was wondering if it was possible to have that same kind of intensity in the eyes without having to use real eyeballs.

then I saw peter and the wolf. His eyes when he's looking at the wold through the fence. Pretty awesome, and just as captvating as tutli-putli's eyes.

Steven said...

What? No update on your new job here? You'd think that would be big news on your animation site... Maybe some photos of your new lair?