Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kids’ “Rastamouse” received scores of complaints



Rastamouse” has plenty of detractors, mon.

Figures provided by broadcast regulator Ofcom indicate that the animated TV show about a crime-solving Rastafarian mouse was Britain’s most complained-about children’s program of 2011.

Rastamouse is made in Wales and digitally animated by Dinamo Productions. It consists of 52 10-minute episodes.

Viewers were concerned that the series “stereotyped black people.” They also lamented the patois language that characters use.

However, the British Broadcasting Corporation described Rastamouse, aimed at children under six, as one of its most popular shows of 2011.

The first episode, Da Crucial Plan, aired on digital kids’ channel CBeebies on January 31, 2011. It caused 13 complaints to be made to Ofcom. The BBC received 200-odd complaints about the series in its early broadcasts.

In “Da Crucial Plan,” da Easy Crew — the crime-fighting trio made up of Rastamouse, Scratchy and Zoomer — devise a clever plan to lure a cheeky cheese “teef.” Their slogan is “Makin’ a bad ting good.”

None of the complaints were upheld by the regulator.

While Dinamo Productions declined to comment, the program’s production company, Three Stones Media, didn’t reply to phone calls or e-mails.

“We’re a strongly multicultural production company making a program about characters co-created by a Rastafarian,” producer Greg Boardman said in a 2011 interview with The Guardian. “We think they’re great models who use logic and problem-solving for the good of a positive, creative community.”

He added: “The show has a strong message: through love, understanding and respect, Rastamouse will make a bad thing good. The whole package — music, color, rhythm and rhyme of speech — engages kids and enables that message to be heard by a wider audience.”

About 90% of the “couple of hundred” complaints about the show early last year concerned the language that the characters used, a BBC spokeswoman said.

“We have had a huge amount of positive feedback about Rastamouse, which continues to be a hit with our young viewers, and which was consistently in the top ten CBeebies shows viewed on iPlayer throughout 2011,” she added.

Last year, the stop-motion show was nominated a coveted children’s BAFTA award in the pre-school animation category.

Rastamouse is an adaptation of a book. It’s been attacked on Web site Mumsnet by parents who charged that the characters are crude stereotypes and encourage little ones to use non-standard English.

However, dreadlocked poet Benjamin Zephaniah backed the characters’ use of Jamaican patois.

Rastamouse, created by Trinidadian Rasta Michael De Souza, had led to a valid debate about how black people are portrayed on TV, he said.

Trial over image of bearded Mickey Mouse postponed

Photo: APF

Cairo banner protests against Naguib Sawiris (Photo: APF)

The first hearing in the trial of an Egyptian telecommunications magnate who tweeted a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie was postponed Saturday.

Naguib Sawiris had been charged with insulting religion, but the billionaire was a no-show, said a judicial source.

The new hearing will be held February 11, Sherif Kamel said.

Sawiris spurred criticism after joking that Mickey and Minnie would be forced into conservative garb if Islamists took power.

The Coptic Christian businessman apologized for the caricature after Islamists urged a boycott of Mobinil, the cell phone service provider he owns. Even so, Islamist lawyer Mamduh Ismail filed a case against Sawiris, who heads Orascom Telecom.

Another lawyer, Ali Ahmad Borham, charged Saturday that the cartoon he tweeted was an “unprecedented” attempt in Egypt at making fun of religion, the source added.

Wet Hare (1962) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Wet Hare (1962) - Looney Tunes

Wet Hare (1962) - Looney Tunes

CotD: In his second of two appearances in “Wet Hare“, Blacque Jacque Shellacque tries to equal Bugs Bunny and falls short.

Wet Hare (1962) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Bugs is taking his daily shower when the water in the stream subsides as Blacque Jacque Shellacque builds a dam.

Watch “Wet Hare ” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

French theater, TV actress Rosy Varte dies at 88

Rosy Varte

Rosy Varte

French actress Rosy Varte, a veteran of 50 feature films over nearly 40 years, died Friday night in the American Hospital in Paris. She was 88.

She was a voice actress in the cartoon Western movies Daisy Town (1971, as Lulu Carabine) and La Ballade des Dalton(Lucky Luke, The Ballad of the Daltons) (1978, as Miss Worthlesspenny).

Varte died after fighting bronchitis, which degenerated into a lung infection, said her husband, director Pierre Badel.

She appeared in over 100 plays in several Paris theaters, including the Champs-Elysées Comedy, Theatre Edouard VII and Vieux Colombier Theatre Workshop. She was part of Jean Vilar’s theater, where she was seen in Ubu Roi in 1958.

An ethnic Armenian, she was born Nevarte Manouélian in Istanbul, Turkey on November 22, 1923 (some sources say 1927).

Varte often appeared in comedies. From 1985 to 1993, she had the title role in 333 episodes of the hit TV series MaGuy, co-starring with Jean-Marc Thibault in the hit television series of the same name on Antenne 2. In 2007, she won the 2007 7 d’Or award for best actress for her role.

Operation: Rabbit (1952) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon

Operation: Rabbit (1952) - Looney Tunes

Operation: Rabbit (1952) - Looney Tunes

CotD: Wile E. Coyote breaks his silence for the very first time in “Operation: Rabbit“, and also, for the first time, faces Bugs Bunny.

Operation: Rabbit (1952) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Wile E. Coyote, nemesis of The Road Runner, makes the first of several attempts to use Bugs Bunny to satisfy both his craving for food and his mental craving for the thrill of capturing some helpless desert animal with an elaborate scientific contraption.

Watch “Operation: Rabbit ” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Five animated shorts nominated for Genie Award

Genie Award

Genie Award

Five nominations in the Best Animated Short category of the 32nd Annual Genie Awards were announced Tuesday by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television at simultaneous news conferences in Toronto and Montreal.

The Genies are the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars.

The nominees are Choke (Michelle Latimer), La Cité entre les Murs/Inner City (Alain Fournier), Muybridge’s Strings (Koji Yamamura, Michael Fukushima, Shuzo John Shiota and Keisuke Tsuchihashi), Romance (Georges Schwizgebel, René Chénier and Marc Bertrand) and Wild Life (Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby, Marcy Page and Bonnie Thompson).

Here are descriptions of the five hopefuls:

When Jimmy leaves his First Nations reservation, drawn by the lures of city life, he finds himself confronting a world he could never have imagined. In his encounters with the city’s lost souls, he is reminded that no matter how far you travel, you cannot escape who you are. Inspired by the life of the late teenaged artist Kyle Morrisseau (grandson of famed painter Norval Morriseau), Choke uses stop-motion animation to explore themes of urban isolation and the individual search for identity in modern society.

La Cité entre les Murs/Inner City
In a city hung between two endless walls, a boy with only pigeons for company tries to seduce his remote neighbor with wacky inventions.

Muybridge’s Strings
In this meditation on the nature of time, Koji Yamamura creates a poetic clash between two worlds, exploring the irrepressible human desire to freeze our fleeting moments of happiness. The filmmaker moves freely between the lives of photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a Japanese mother, observing their attempts to suspend the course of life. Part reminiscence and part daydream, Muybridge’s Strings is an offering of pure cinematic joy by one of contemporary
animation’s great masters.

While on an airplane, a traveler’s spirit plunges into a dream world. Here, under the influence of the unknown, the logic of his desires prevails and a grand romantic saga takes shape. Animated with pencil, pastels and acrylics, this animated film by Georges Schwizgebel is a dazzling transcription of a Rachmaninoff scherzo. Following the twists and turns of one of the composer’s sonatas, the film masterfully transports us through music and movement, erasing the boundary between desire and reality.

Wild Life
In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick, and the folly of living dangerously out of context.

Meanwhile, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Café de Flore received 13 Genie nominations, and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method received 11 nominations. Both films are nominated for Best Motion Picture and Achievement in Direction.

Rounding out the Best Motion Picture category are the award-winning Monsieur Lazhar, the suspenseful The Whistleblower and the crowd-pleaser Starbuck.

“2011 was a vintage year for Canadian films,” said Helga Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “Academy Members have a major challenge ahead of them.”

The 32nd Annual Genie Awards will be broadcast at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. Newfoundland Time) on Thursday, March 8 on CBC Television. Genie32 will be held at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

“Tintin” up for two British Academy Film Awards

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” has received two nominations for this year’s Orange British Academy Film Awards, Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger announced Tuesday at BAFTA’s London headquarters.

Besides being up for Animated Film, the motion-capture The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn is nominated in the Special Visual Effects category alongside the live-action Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The other two nominees in the Animated Film category are Arthur Christmas and Rango.

The Short Animation nominees are Abuelas, Bobby Yeah and A Morning Stroll.

The Artist has received 12 nominations. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated in 11 categories, Hugo has nine nominations, My Week with Marilyn has six nominations, and The Help and War Horse are each nominated five times.

Drive, The Iron Lady and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 have four nominations. The Descendants, Moneyball, Senna and We Need to Talk about Kevin all have three nominations apiece, and Shame, The Ides of March, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Bridesmaids each receive two.

The Artist is nominated in the following categories: Best Film, Original Screenplay, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Make Up & Hair, Costume Design, Sound and Production Design. Michel Hazanavicius is nominated for Director, and Jean Dujardin is nominated for Leading Actor. His co-star Bérénice Bejo is nominated for Leading Actress.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Adapted Screenplay, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound. Tomas Alfredson is nominated for Director and Gary Oldman for Leading Actor.

Completing the Best Film lineup are The Descendants, The Help and Drive.

The Orange British Academy Film Awards take place Sunday, February 12 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. This is the 15th year of Orange’s sponsorship of the Film Awards.

The ceremony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One. Red carpet coverage will be hosted by Edith Bowman on BBC Three.

Bewitched Bear (1960) – Yogi Bear Cartoon Episode Guide

Bewitched Bear (1960) - Yogi Bear Cartoon

Bewitched Bear (1960) - Yogi Bear Cartoon

CotD: Originally part of the The Huckleberry Hound Show, “Bewitched Bear” featured the bear that would go on to his own show, The Yogi Bear Show.

Bewitched Bear (1960) – Yogi Bear Cartoon Episode Guide

Yogi and Boo Boo use a flying broom from a witch to steal picnic baskets.

Watch “Bewitched Bear ” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Cinema editors nominate trio of animated movies

ACE Eddie Awards

ACE Eddie Awards

Three animated films have been nominated by the American Cinema Editors for the 2012 ACE Eddie Awards, the society announced Monday.

For Best Edited Animated Feature film, the nominees are the Golden Globe-winning The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn (Michael Kahn, A.C.E.), Puss In Boots (Eric Dapkewicz) and Rango (Craig Wood, A.C.E.).

The awards will be presented Saturday, February 18 at the Beverly Hilton.

ACE, the American Cinema Editors, is an honorary society of motion picture editors founded in 1950. Film editors are voted into membership on the basis of their professional achievements, their dedication to the education of others, and their commitment to the craft of editing.

Shaun the Sheep, Superman in English pub brawl



Police in an English town listed as a serious assault an incident in which Superman, Captain America, Shaun the Sheep and Tigger got into a donnybrook at a watering hole.

The King’s Head pub, located in Holt in north Norfolk, was the scene of the mix-up involving the cartoon quartet.

The tag-team assault took place just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

Holt’s new sergeant, Simon Little, told members of the town council about the case while giving his first crime roundup report. Though listed as a serious assault, the case had its “light hearted” side, he said.

“The victim was in fancy dress dressed as Superman with Captain America, and the suspect was Shaun the Sheep, who was working in conjunction with Tigger,” Little continued.

“Enquiries are ongoing with that one.”