Monthly Archives: November 2012

Disney’s John Carter Remains in VFX Oscar Race

John Carter

John Carter

Disney’s dis­as­trous hybrid “John Carter” is one of 10 films which remain in the run­ning in the Visual Effects cat­e­gory for the 85th Acad­emy Awards, the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences announced Friday.

Com­bin­ing CGI ani­ma­tion and live action, John Carter was released March 9. The major money-loser was orig­i­nally con­ceived as a live-action film by Brad Bird. Explored as a tril­ogy of films, this first film was based on just the first Edgar Rice Bur­roughs novel.

Other films on the short­list for the Visual Effects cat­e­gory of the Oscars are The Amaz­ing Spider-Man, Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hob­bit: An Unex­pected Jour­ney, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, Sky­fall and Snow White and the Hunts­man.

All mem­bers of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the 10 short­listed films on Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3. Fol­low­ing the screen­ings, the mem­bers will vote to nom­i­nate five films for final Oscar consideration.

The 85th Acad­emy Awards nom­i­na­tions will be announced live Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 10 at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Gold­wyn Theater.

Acad­emy Awards for out­stand­ing film achieve­ments of 2012 will be pre­sented Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 24 at the Dolby The­atre at Hol­ly­wood & High­land Cen­ter, and tele­vised live on ABC. The Oscar pre­sen­ta­tion also will be tele­vised live in over 225 coun­tries worldwide.

Bah, Humbug: SpongeBob Banned From Xmas Lighting

SpongeBob SquarePants

Sponge­Bob SquarePants

Bureau­crats in Wolver­hamp­ton, Eng­land refused to let Sponge­Bob Squarepants go on stage for the city’s Christ­mas lights turn-on cer­e­mony because it was felt that his cos­tume was to large for him to climb five steps to the platform.

Health and safety con­cerns also stopped him from being lifted onto the back of a float due to the crowd of 2,000 — includ­ing many fam­i­lies with young chil­dren — that showed up to see the car­toon char­ac­ter. That means Sponge­Bob couldn’t be car­ried around town.

Many young fans couldn’t see him Fri­day night because the children’s char­ac­ter could only be on ground level.

How­ever, the yel­low guy was allowed to meet and greet fans in Beat­ties and Mar­ket Square. Health and safety rules meant that he could spend just two 40-minute ses­sions with fans.

Bring­ing Sponge­Bob to the big event cost £1,845 ($3,000 U.S.).

John Williamson, 45, of Wolver­hamp­ton said that his nine-year-old daugh­ter Lola was left in tears after she couldn’t see her idol.

Bah, Humbug: SpongeBob Banned From Xmas Lighting

Bah, Hum­bug: Sponge­Bob Banned From Xmas Lighting

It’s ridicu­lous to ban a children’s char­ac­ter from a Christ­mas lights switch on,” he fumed. “You would hope the coun­cil wouldn’t be such health and safety scrooges and let the kids have a good look at their character.

Lola had been talk­ing about see­ing Sponge­bob Squarepants for days, but was incon­solable when she couldn’t even get a glimpse of him.”

Sponge­Bob had been expected to turn the lights on along­side Coro­na­tion Street star Sher­rie Hew­son, but the soap opera star had to press the but­ton by herself.

Wolver­hamp­ton City Coun­cil lead­ers called last week’s event a success.

The Christ­mas lights switch-on was a great suc­cess, with huge crowds turn­ing up to Mar­ket Square to enjoy the free event,” said Mark Black­stock, the council’s out­door events man­ager. “Unfor­tu­nately, the char­ac­ter actor play­ing Sponge­Bob Squarepants was unable to climb the stairs on to the stage because of his costume.

Health and safety con­sid­er­a­tions meant we were unable to lift him on to the stage using the tail­gate of one of our vehi­cles because of the high num­bers of peo­ple around the stage.

This meant that Sponge­Bob Squarepants was unable to appear on stage dur­ing the event. But he did spend an hour and 20 min­utes meet­ing fans both in Mar­ket Square and Beat­ties House of Fraser.

As the actor could only be per­mit­ted to stay in his suit for 40 min­utes at a time, again for health and safety rea­sons, we arranged the two 40-minute meet and greet ses­sions to enable the pub­lic to see him close up.

Dur­ing this time, he met as many young fans as pos­si­ble at both loca­tions, though we of course apol­o­gise to any­one who couldn’t see him on stage and was unable to meet him in person.”

Ten-year-old Jes­sica Drew, a pupil of Wood­field Junior School in Penn, joined her Girl Guide group to watch the light­ing ceremony.

The fire­works were really good and we enjoyed it, but we were dis­ap­pointed that we didn’t see Sponge­Bob. We just thought that he hadn’t turned up because we never saw him once. There was no sign of him on stage at all,” she remarked.

Just two years ago, another cos­tumed car­toon char­ac­ter let fans down at the city’s Christ­mas lights bash. Peppa Pig had to cut down on her meet-and-greets over con­cerns that she would over­heat in her suit. The woman in the suit cut short the visit her­self, say­ing that she had gone over her time limit in the costume.

Beat­ties staff offered to wear the suit them­selves to pre­vent chil­dren and par­ents from being dis­ap­pointed chil­dren and par­ents. How­ever, they were told that they couldn’t take on Peppa’s role. At the time, Beat­ties said the meet-and-greet had lasted longer than expected in spite of health and safety rules.

Jennifer Lee joins Chris Buck to direct Disney’s Frozen

Frozen

Frozen

Walt Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios announced Thurs­day that it has tapped Jen­nifer Lee to join Chris Buck at the helm of its 53rd full-length ani­mated fea­ture, Frozen, which is slated for the big screen on Novem­ber 27, 2013.

Lee, who has con­tributed to the film’s screen­play, is one of the screen­play writ­ers of this year’s arcade-hopping adven­ture Wreck-It Ralph.

The comedy-adventure Frozen fea­tures the voices of Kris­ten Bell and Idina Menzel.

When a prophecy traps a king­dom in eter­nal win­ter, Anna, a fear­less opti­mist, teams up with extreme moun­tain man Kristoff and his side­kick rein­deer Sven on an epic jour­ney to find Anna’s sis­ter Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encoun­ter­ing mys­ti­cal trolls, a funny snow­man named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff bat­tle the ele­ments in a race to save the king­dom from destruction.

Frozen pro­ducer Peter Del Vecho says that the match-up is per­fect: “Jenn has a real con­nec­tion to the film and cre­ates dynamic and relat­able char­ac­ters. Her sense of com­edy, adven­ture and story struc­ture, paired with Chris Buck’s vast expe­ri­ence and incred­i­ble instincts, cre­ate an ideal sit­u­a­tion for this film.”

Lee’s screen adap­ta­tion of John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is being pro­duced by Troika Pic­tures. She has an orig­i­nal screen­play in devel­op­ment with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, and her orig­i­nal script Lucid Dreams was optioned by Wolf­gang Peterson’s Radi­ant Pro­duc­tions. Lee holds an MFA in Film from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and a BA in Eng­lish from the Uni­ver­sity of New Hampshire.

Buck directed (with Kevin Lima) Disney’s 1999 high-swinging fea­ture Tarzan, which won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Music/Original Song (Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart”). He directed (with Ash Bran­non) 2007’s Oscar-nominated Surf’s Up for Sony Pic­tures Ani­ma­tion. His cred­its within ani­ma­tion also include 1989’s The Lit­tle Mer­maid, The Res­cuers Down Under (1990) and Poc­a­hon­tas (1995).

With orig­i­nal songs by Tony Award win­ner Robert Lopez (The Book of Mor­mon, Avenue Q) and Kris­ten Anderson-Lopez (In Tran­sit), Frozen appears in Dis­ney Dig­i­tal 3D in select the­aters. For more infor­ma­tion, visit www.facebook.com/DisneyFrozen.

Cartoon of the Day: Transylvania 6–5000

Transylvania 6-5000

Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000

Released on this date in 1963, Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000 was the last Bugs Bunny car­toon directed by Chuck Jones. And this car­toon is thor­oughly Chuck. From the back­grounds to the char­ac­ter design to the tim­ing, this short is a one-stop les­son in Jon­sian car­toon directing.

After tak­ing a wrong left turn, Bugs ends up in the cas­tle of a blood­thirsty Count. Luck­ily, Bugs knows the secret work, and con­founds the Count’s attempts to retrieve Bugs’ blood.

Note that when Bugs rings the cas­tle door­bell, the chimes play the open­ing notes of the TV series “Alfred Hitch­cock Presents.”

A fit­ting cli­max to Jones’ career at Warner Bros, or a card­board epi­taph– what do you think?

Animated Edmond Was a Donkey A Winner at Francophone Fest

Edmond Was a Donkey (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Edmond Was a Don­key (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Franck Dion’s ani­ma­tion “Edmond Etait Un Ane” (“Edmund Was a Don­key”) won the prize for best inter­na­tional short film Fri­day at the 26th Fes­ti­val inter­na­tional de cinéma fran­coph­one en Acadie, held in Monc­ton, New Bruswick.

Jurors Chris LeBlanc, Émi­lie More­ault and Nisk Imbeault rec­og­nized the National Film Board of Canada release “for (Dion’s) capac­ity to cre­ate an effect of total immer­sion in in a skill­fully con­cep­tu­al­ized uni­verse, and for the uni­ver­sal­ity of the theme that can touch on all human marginalities.”

Tied for the “Coup de coeur du pub­lic” prize was Phil Comeau’s feature-length doc­u­men­tary Frédéric Back: Grandeur Nature. Back is a Cana­dian artist and direc­tor of short ani­mated films.

Friday’s award cer­e­mony was held dur­ing the festival’s evening at the Capi­tol theater.

Phineas and Ferb Up for Producers Guild Award

Phineas and Ferb

Phineas and Ferb

Dis­ney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb” was the sole ani­mated pro­gram announced Wednes­day as a nom­i­nee for the 24th Annual Pro­duc­ers Guild Awards.

Phineas and Ferb is up for the Award for Out­stand­ing Children’s Pro­gram. Other shows nom­i­nated by the Pro­duc­ers Guild of Amer­ica in the same cat­e­gory are the live-action Good Luck Char­lie (Dis­ney Chan­nel), iCarly (Nick­elodeon), Sesame Street (PBS) and The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafe­te­ria Takeover (HBO).

Nom­i­nees were also announced for the Nor­man Fel­ton Award for Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of Episodic Tele­vi­sion, Drama; the Danny Thomas Award for Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of Episodic Tele­vi­sion, Com­edy; the Award for Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of Non-Fiction Tele­vi­sion; the Award for Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of Live Enter­tain­ment & Talk Tele­vi­sion; the Award for Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of Com­pe­ti­tion Tele­vi­sion; the Award for Out­stand­ing Sports Pro­gram; and the Award for Out­stand­ing Dig­i­tal Series.

All other nom­i­na­tions for the 2013 Pro­duc­ers Guild Award cat­e­gories will be announced Jan­u­ary 3, along with the indi­vid­ual producers.

All 2013 Pro­duc­ers Guild Award win­ners will be announced Jan­u­ary 26 at the Bev­erly Hilton Hotel. This year, the Pro­duc­ers Guild will also award spe­cial hon­ors to Bob and Har­vey Wein­stein, J.J. Abrams, and Tim Bevan and Eric Fell­ner, among oth­ers. The 2013 Pro­duc­ers Guild Awards Chair is Michael DeLuca.

Cartoon of the Day: Mexican Joyride

Mexican Joyride

Mex­i­can Joyride

Released sixty-five years ago today, Daffy Duck took a Mex­i­can Joyride down to Tijuana for a lit­tle bit of rest and relax­ation. Directed by Art Davis, we can never resist pick­ing a Davis car­toon for CotD, even up against Arthur And The Invis­i­bles and Jet Fuel For­mula, the very first episode of Rocky and His Friends.

Daffy Duck, singing “Gau­cho Ser­e­nade,” dri­ves down to Mex­ico for a vaca­tion. After a burn­ing expe­ri­ence with Mex­i­can food, Daffy takes in the bullfights.

As if at a base­ball game, Daffy heck­les the bull (“He’s blind as a bat! Throw the phony out!”). The bull chases the duck around the arena. Daffy tries the “Good Neigh­bor Pol­icy,” offer­ing the bull a “Cig­a­rette? Sparkling cham­pagne? A lit­tle gin rummy, per­haps?” Daffy pulls a hat trick, bet­ting the bull to guess what som­brero he’s hid­ing under. When the bull guesses wrong, he cries over los­ing his money. Daffy vol­un­teers weapons to help him com­mit suicide.

The bull chases the duck with a machine gun into town, where the duck packs his bags and dri­ves home, unaware that the bull is in the back seat.

Art once said that this car­toon was inspired by a week­end get­away he and some of the oth­ers had in Mex­ico. Must have been a fun trip! So show the love for Art Davis, and like this car­toon, or rate it on BCDB… where you can also watch it online!

Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Coming to Vancouver

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

Between Decem­ber 14 and Jan­u­ary 3, the Vancity The­atre and The Cin­e­math­eque — both located in down­town Van­cou­ver — are co-hosting Cas­tles in the Sky: The Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli.

It’s a major ret­ro­spec­tive of films from the world-renowned anime stu­dio Stu­dio Ghi­bli founded in Tokyo in 1985 by direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

Per­fect for tran­scend­ing the win­ter greys, these films prove that Stu­dio Ghi­bli is every bit the equal of any ani­ma­tion stu­dio in the world or in film history.

All Stu­dio Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will be screened in 35mm in the English-language ver­sions. All films at the Cin­e­math­eque will screen in Japanese-language prints with subtitles.

These films are open to all ages. Princess Mononoke is clas­si­fied 14A; all other titles are rated G or PG. The Vancity The­atre offers a spe­cial rate of $7 for youth under 19.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
“Best Ani­mated Film of All Time”- Time Out Mag­a­zine
“When­ever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile” — Roger Ebert
Fri­day, Decem­ber 14, 6:30 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 21, 5 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 3:50 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 2 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1988, 35mm, 86 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voiced by Dakota and Elle Fan­ning, Tim Daly
Two lit­tle girls and their father move into a beau­ti­ful old house in the coun­try­side to be near their mother, who is seri­ously ill in hos­pi­tal. Largely left to fend for them­selves, Mei and her big sis­ter Sat­suki encounter a strange and beau­ti­ful world of for­est sprites named “Totoros.” Miyazaki’s most beloved film is sim­ply mag­i­cal and mag­i­cally simple.

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
“A joy to watch.”- New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 3 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1984, 35mm, 117 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazake
Voice cast includes Ali­son Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Edward James Olmos, Chris Saran­don
Miyazaki’s first film as writer-director (based on his own suc­cess­ful manga) is an extrad­i­nar­ily rich fan­tasy film, an eco-allegory set in a feu­dal, toxic future and a spir­ited adven­ture movie. Led by the coura­geous Princess Nau­si­caa, the peo­ple of the Val­ley of the Wind are engaged in a per­pet­ual con­flict with pow­er­ful insects called “ohmu,” guardians of a poi­so­nous (and spread­ing) jungle.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
Enchanted and enchant­ing… fast and funny; weird and won­der­ful. Mostly won­der­ful.” — Peter Brad­shaw, The Guardian
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 5:20 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 17, 6:30 p.m.; Thurs­day, Decem­ber 20, 5:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2001, 35mm, 125 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: PG
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Dav­eigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Chik­lis, John Ratzen­berger
Chi­hiro and her par­ents are en route to a new home when they drive through a mys­te­ri­ous tun­nel and enter a deserted town. When her folks start gorg­ing on food and trans­form into a pair of pigs, Chi­hiro dis­cov­ers this place is not quite as empty as she had imag­ined. This is a place of spir­its, gods, mon­sters and witches.
“Picks up a res­o­nance, weight and com­plex­ity that makes it all but Shake­spearean.… No other word for it: a mas­ter­piece.” — Tony Rayns, Time Out
SIX STARS (excep­tion must be made for the excep­tional). Spir­ited Away is a feast of won­der­ment, a movie clas­sic and a joy that will enrich your exis­tence until you too are spir­ited away. I don’t expect ever to love a film more.” — Nigel Andrews, Finan­cial Times

Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff)
“You’ll be plan­ning to see Ponyo twice before you’ve fin­ished see­ing it once.… It offers up unfor­get­table images [..] images that use the logic of dreams to make the deep­est pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to our emo­tions, and to our souls.”- Ken­neth Turan, NPR
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day Decem­ber 19, 6:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 3:45 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 4:15 p.m.
Japan, 2008, 35mm, 101 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Cate Blanchett, Liam Nee­son, Matt Damon
Miyazaki’s strange and beguil­ing fan­tasy film about a sea spirit – it’s an odd eco fable about the ter­ri­ble power of the sea, but illus­trated with such beauty and imag­i­na­tion it trans­ports us entirely into another world. Rated G, this is suit­able for chil­dren of all ages.
“Miyazaki knows the secret lan­guage of chil­dren; he dives deep into the pool of child­hood dreams and fears and, through his ani­magic, takes chil­dren down to where they can breathe, and feel, and be free.” — Richard Corliss, Time

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
“Com­plex, superbly ren­dered, and wildly eccen­tric — even by Miyazaki’s own stan­dards.”- J Hober­man, Vil­lage Voice
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 6:15 p.m.; Tue. Decem­ber 18, 6:30 p.m.
Japan, 1997, 35mm, 134 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: 14A
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Min­nie Dri­ver, Claire Danes, Gillian Ander­son.
Set dur­ing the Muro­machi Period (1333–1568) of Japan, Princess Mononoke is the tale of a mys­ti­cal fight between humans and the Ani­mal Gods of the for­est. Aimed at a slightly older audi­ence than most Ghi­bli fare (it is clas­si­fied 14A), this epic folk tale shows the influ­ence of Akira Kuro­sawa (a Miyazaki fan him­self) and of John Ford, too. The film was the most suc­cess­ful ever at the Japan­ese box office (prior to Titanic), and named the film of the year in Japan’s equiv­a­lent to the Acad­emy Awards.
“A sym­phony of action and images, a thrilling epic of war­riors and mon­sters, for­est crea­tures and mag­i­cal spells, with an under­ly­ing alle­gory about the rela­tion­ship of man and nature.” — Roger Ebert

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
“Fre­quently astound­ing.” — Richard Har­ring­ton, Wash­ing­ton Post
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 12 noon; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 5:45 p.m.
Japan, 1986, 35mm, 124 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leach­man
An island in the sky? The story of a young boy who sees a girl float­ing down from the sky. He comes to her aid in her flight from sky pirates, the army and secret agents. An adven­ture story influ­enced by Trea­sure Island and Gulliver’s Trav­els, Cas­tle in the Sky is dynamic, imag­i­na­tive fam­ily enter­tain­ment with valu­able lessons about tech­nol­ogy and ignorance.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
“Smooshes fan­tasy and his­tory into a pastel-pretty yarn as irre­sistible as his fem­i­nism.” — Jean­nette Cat­soulis, New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 4:10 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1992, 35mm, 94 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers
Pigs will fly! This cock­eyed trib­ute to Humphrey Bog­art and Ernest Hem­ing­way fea­tures an anti-fascist flier (who hap­pens to look like a pig) track­ing sky pirates over the Adri­atic in the 1930s. An exhil­a­rat­ing romp with a melan­choly under­tow — and amaz­ing fly­ing machines!
“Teems with Miyazaki’s per­sonal pas­sions [..] ren­dered with the utmost detail and beauty. As stir­ring as Casablanca, and as sophis­ti­cated as Only Angels Have Wings, it’s a sub­lime chival­ric fable.” Nick Brad­shaw, Time Out

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
“Aston­ish­ing in its visual splen­dor and delight­fully enter­tain­ing, this mag­i­cal fam­ily film about a lit­tle witch-in-training, from Japan’s cel­e­brated ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyazaki, is not to be missed.” — Los Ange­les Times
Wednes­day, Decem­ber 26, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 2, 4:15 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1989, 35mm, 103 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Deb­bie Reynolds, Phil Hart­man, Janeane Garo­falo
In keep­ing with tra­di­tion, 13-year-old witch Kiki dusts off her broom and flies away from home for a year of inde­pen­dence and self-discovery in the big city. Her only com­pan­ion is her beloved black cat, Jiji.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
“A stun­ning exam­ple of a pure, dis­ori­ent­ing dream logic that cin­ema pro­vides all too rarely.”- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 4:30 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2004, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Voices: Chris­t­ian Bale, Lau­ren Bacall, Blythe Dan­ner, Emily Mor­timer, Jean Sim­mons
Teenager Sophie is cursed by the Witch of Waste and finds her­self trapped in the body of an old woman, and is unable to tell her mother or any­one else what has hap­pened. She finds help of sorts with the wiz­ard Howl, liv­ing as a ser­vant in his aston­ish­ing walk­ing cas­tle. Sophie is an inno­cent who must prove her resource­ful­ness, courage and con­vic­tion in a bewil­der­ing, alien world.

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
“Pom­poko is a delight­ful, often uproar­i­ously funny film, at once child­ishly irrev­er­ent and thought­fully mature. Being a Ghi­bli work, it is beau­ti­fully ren­dered and tech­ni­cally impec­ca­ble, with a great num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces.”- Tom Mes, Mid­night Eye
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 2:15 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 3:30 p.m.
Japan, 1994, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Isao Taka­hata
Voices: Jonathan Tay­lor Thomas, Clancy Brown, JK Sim­mons
Imag­ine Water­ship Down, Stu­dio Ghibli-style. Instead of rab­bits, we have rac­coons. And not just any rac­coons — these crit­ters have mag­i­cal pow­ers of trans­for­ma­tion. As their habi­tat is stripped and paved by the encroach­ing humans, the good-natured but rather undis­ci­plined for­est crea­tures embark on a cam­paign of dis­rup­tion and distraction.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
“An enchant­ing, mag­i­cal fable with a twisted vein of sur­re­al­ism.” — Neil Smith, BBC
Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 3:45 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 5:45 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 4:20 p.m.
Japan, 2002, 35mm, 75 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Voices: Anne Hath­away, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry
School­girl Haru bravely saves a cat’s life — and finds her­self sum­moned to the King­dom of the Cats for her pains, where she is to become the wife of the Cat Prince! When she refuses, she starts sprout­ing whiskers and furry ears.… What’s a girl to do?

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
“A beau­ti­ful film.” — David Jenk­ins, Time Out
Wednes­day, Janu­rary 2, 2 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1995, 35mm, 111 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Yoshi­fumi Kondo
Voices: Brit­tany Snow, Cary Elwes, David Gal­lagher, Court­ney Thorne Smith
A lovely change of pace from Stu­dio Ghi­bli, this is a teenage first-love story, set in a real­is­ti­cally observed mod­ern day Tokyo. Book­ish school­girl Shizuku meets her soul mate with a lit­tle help from a portly cat.

Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) for the lat­est info and listings.

Cartoon Of The Day: Hittin’ The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hittin' The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land

Released this day in 1931, Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land is a found­ing mem­ber of the infa­mous Cen­sored Eleven is also one of the least seen… I guess that is the point of being censored.

A kindly old Uncle Tom brings Fluffy down to her sweet­heart Cap­tain Piggy’s river­boat. As he dri­ves back in his horse and buggy, Uncle Tom ends up in a grave­yard where var­i­ous skele­tons come to life singing the title song. Uncle Tom flees the grave­yard but falls in the river where Piggy saves him. As Piggy comes to Uncle Tom’s res­cue, a vil­lain tries to make off with Fluffy.

In 1968, United Artists (then own­ers of the A.A.P. library of pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Mer­rie Melodies car­toons) com­piled the car­toons they con­sid­ered too poten­tially offen­sive to be shown on tele­vi­sion, and with­held those car­toons from dis­tri­b­u­tion. AT that time, UA felt that these eleven car­toons should be with­held from broad­cast because the depic­tions of black peo­ple in the car­toons were deemed too offen­sive for con­tem­po­rary audiences.

This car­toon is one of those with­held from dis­tri­b­u­tion, one of the so-called “Cen­sored 11.” (The “Eleven” are: Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lelu­jah Land (MM,1931), Sun­day Go to Meetin’ Time (MM, 1936), Clean Pas­tures (MM, 1937), Uncle Tom’s Bun­ga­low (MM, 1937), Jun­gle Jit­ters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (MM, 1938), All This and Rab­bit Stew (MM, 1941), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (MM, 1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (MM, 1943), Angel Puss (LT, 1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (MM, 1944)). More recently, when Ted Turner became owner of the library, he con­tin­ued the ban, and refused to allow any of these car­toons to be shown or released on video. To date, these shorts have not been offi­cially broad­cast on tele­vi­sion since 1968.

Sound­track:

  • Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lalu­jah Land,” Music by Rube Bloom, Lyrics by Joe Young, Sung by Var­i­ous Characters
  • De Camp­town Races,” Music by Stephen Fos­ter; “Mys­te­ri­ous Mose,” Music by Wal­ter Doyle

So watch this one today, and let us know what you think– rightly sup­pressed or much ado about nothing???

Gumball Gets Two British Academy Kids’ Animation Awards

Brian Cosgrove

Brian Cos­grove (left) was pre­sented with the Spe­cial Award at the British Acad­emy Children’s Awards by long-standing friend and col­league David Jason.

Car­toon Net­work Europe series “The Amaz­ing World Of Gum­ball” was the win­ner in both the Ani­ma­tion and Writ­ing cat­e­gories Sun­day at the British Acad­emy Children’s Awards.

The show, which airs on Car­toon Net­work UK, was pro­duced in asso­ci­a­tion with Dan­de­lion Stu­dios, Boul­der Media and Stu­dio Soi.

Ben Boc­quelet, Mic Graves and Joanna Beres­ford were sin­gled out for their work in ani­ma­tion, Boc­quelet, James Lam­ont and Jon Fos­ter were hon­ored as the writers.

Other British Acad­emy Children’s Award nom­i­nees for ani­ma­tion were The Amaz­ing Adren­a­lini Broth­ers (Pesky Productions/POP), The Gruffalo’s Child (Magic Light Pic­tures in asso­ci­a­tion with Stu­dio Soi/BBC One) and The Mechan­i­cal Musi­cal Mar­vel (Chris Ran­dall and Julie Boden; Sec­ond Home Studios/THSH Birmingham).

In Pre-School Ani­ma­tion, the win­ner was Peppa Pig (Philip Hall, Joris van Hulzen and Phil Davies; Ast­ley Baker Davies/Five).

Oth­ers nom­i­nated for Pre-School Ani­ma­tion were Ras­ta­mouse (Greg Board­man, Euge­nio Perez and Derek Mog­ford; The Ras­ta­mouse Company/CBeebies), Timmy Time (Jackie Cockle, Liz Whitaker and David Scan­lon; Aard­man Animations/CBeebies) and Tree Fu Tom (Daniel Bays and Adam Shaw; Plug-in Media/Blue Zoo Productions/CBeebies).

The award in the Inter­na­tional cat­e­gory was given to Sponge­Bob SquarePants (Paul Tib­bitt, Casey Alexan­der and Zeus Cer­vas; MTV Net­works International/United Plank­ton Pictures/Nickelodeon UK).

The ani­mated Share A Story 2011 (Dave Hick­man, Carl Hadley and David Hes­lop; CiTV Creative/CiTV) won in the Short Form category.

CBBC was named Chan­nel Of The Year, defeat­ing CBee­bies, CiTV and Cyw.

Brian Cos­grove, the man behind clas­sic children’s ani­ma­tions The BFG, Count Duck­ula, Dan­ger­Mouse and many more, was hon­oured with the Spe­cial Award for out­stand­ing cre­ative con­tri­bu­tion to the industry.

Cos­grove formed Manchester-based ani­ma­tion stu­dio Cos­grove Hall with his busi­ness part­ner Mark Hall in 1975. The stu­dio quickly estab­lished itself as the lead­ing pro­ducer of ani­mated pro­grammes in the United King­dom. It cre­ated shows and films that have enter­tained mil­lions of peo­ple all over the world, includ­ing Bill and Ben, Noddy, Rain­bow and Chorl­ton and the Wheel­ies.

The Spe­cial Award was pre­sented to Cos­grove by long-standing friend and col­league David Jason.

I had the plea­sure of work­ing with Brian Cos­grove and Mark Hall a num­ber of times, and it was always a joy. The qual­ity of the cre­ative work, the high stan­dard on which they based every detail of every project was so reas­sur­ing for one of the newer peo­ple like me,” Debra Gillett explained.

No mat­ter how long the day, work was always fun, and felt like a fam­ily get­ting together every time we met to record the next set of episodes. Cossie, as he was affec­tion­ately known by some, knew what he wanted down to the last minute detail, and the result was won­der­ful, orig­i­nal shows which were enjoyed all over the world. I am so pleased that his work is being rec­og­nized with this well-deserved award.”

Cos­grove and the team at Cos­grove Hall were also cham­pi­ons of Manchester’s arts and cul­tural scene, so much so that mem­bers of Joy Divi­sion (Bernard Sum­ner), The Stone Roses (John Squire) and Inspi­ral Car­pets (Craig Gill) all worked under Cos­grove and Hall’s tute­lage at some point in the studio’s life.

Said Cos­grove: “After 40 years of mak­ing children’s pro­grams, it is an honor and a priv­i­lege to be receiv­ing this Spe­cial Award from BAFTA. On hear­ing I would receive the Award, I was thrilled!

I’ve been lucky in many ways, par­tic­u­larly that I’ve spent my whole career doing what I would have cho­sen to do as a hobby, and I was for­tu­nate in find­ing the right per­son, Mark Hall, to work along­side. Together, we built a com­pany that gave work to a whole gen­er­a­tion of artists and film­mak­ers, and hope­fully, via the pro­grams we made, brought plea­sure to many gen­er­a­tions of viewers.”

In the BAFTA Kids’ Vote, the partly ani­mated The Smurfs won for Fea­ture Film.

Sunday’s cer­e­mony took place at the Lon­don Hilton on Park Lane.