Short Film Saturday: One Froggy Evening (1955)

Was recently reminded of this short. It has the accolades, but had it not been for Michigan’s 90s cameos and his stint as mascot for the WB Network he might by far less renowned now than he is.

Michigan J. Frog – 1955 – One Froggy Evening from Ikarus on Vimeo.

Short Film Saturday: Stapler

I think SNL even aired this once, then it popped up again online not too long ago. Mike Judge’s development of Office Space is not unlike a lot of other works inasmuch as it took a few forms. These shorts were all about Milton. In an animated short, an awkward, oppressed doormat can be the focus. Less so in a feature. So there Milton was a piece of the puzzle but not the centerpiece. It’s still really funny and at the core the same kind of humor that has given the feature its longevity.

Short Film Saturday- Roger Rabbit

In keeping with the concurrent themes of animation, the “amusement park studios” I also got around to thinking (based on last week’s post) about some lesser-known or under-utilized characters. I think that the animated short proceeding a feature is still a viable commodity and on occasion you will see a new attempt at one. Usually the new class are characters established previously in a feature, even when that character is new. Following the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit there were a few shorts made to try and prolong the character’s notoriety. I’m not certain but I think these were the only two made. I thought, and still do think, they’re great. They’re a tip of the hat to the classics in a hyperactive interpretation of animated slapstick tropes.

61 Days of Halloween- Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Originally referred to as Garfield in Disguise, this special has sort of gotten lost in the shuffle. While one cannot argue that it holds the same kind of distinction as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown it does fit the mold better as a traditional Halloween tale. If you’re like me the appeal of the strip has in large part dwindled over the years but this like many of his specials does stand the test of time.

It too is about the day in its essential form: trick-or-treating, ghost stories and getting a good scare and it hits all these points on the head.

While I am not inherently afraid of clowns I too would be scared out of my wits if Binky the Clown screamed me to life on any given morning.

What I had literally forgotten about is that there are songs in this short and also that aside from that the score is rather effective. So not only do you have the pleasure of listening to the voice of Lorenzo Music but you have toe-tappers as well.

What’s best is that even though the tale is a little primitive it does, in fact, provide scares. The Old Man’s ghost story is fireside storytelling at its best and the animation of said ghosts is rather impressionistic which is nice to see.

Ultimately, it’s a very well-rounded adventure that is worth getting on DVD since it’s not an annual TV staple.


Oscar Nominated Short Films, Animated

The Lost Thing (Passion Films)

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend my first ever screening of Oscar Nominated short films. The live action shorts will screen next weekend for more information you can visit the official site.

Madagascar, a Journey Diary (2010): Bastien Dubois (France)

While this is a very interesting film in terms of technique narrative-wise its nothing much to write home about. In fact, it plays sort of like a documentary except without disseminating nearly enough information.

Let’s Pollute (2009): Geefwee Boedoe (USA)

This film is truly a hysterical one. It’s in the format of an educational video in which it instructs the audience how to pollute and further degrade the environment. Of course, while you’re laughing the effect is that of reverse psychology and you start thinking about how you can better conserve resources.

The Gruffalo (2009) (TV): Jakob Schuh, Max Lang (UK/Germany)

There are two standout reasons that garnered this film its nomination: the first is the voice cast. There are a lot of recognizable names attached such Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane. However, what is even more impressive is the animation. it’s perhaps the most impressive 3D animation I’ve ever seen (it’s not projected as such I’m talking technique). Having said that the story is far to simplistic, repetitive and downright redundant to be as long as it is. It could’ve have used some tightening up.

The Lost Thing (2010): Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann (Australia/UK)

This would be my second choice as winner. It is without question the most subtle of the candidate films. There is some creativity in technique as well as story-telling here, principally in storytelling it tells of odd creatures showing up and no one knows where they belong. There is definitely a non-blatant parallel to humanity drawn which is just great.

Day & Night (2010): Teddy Newton

I have linked above to a full review of this film I was prompted to view upon its release. This screening reiterated my belief that it should win. Not only is it a truly smart idea but it’s classical Disney which is what draws people to Pixar. This film plays like the old free flowing montages Disney was famous for such as those in Alice and Wonderland and Dumbo. While it’s not as subtle as the above film its message may have even more resonance and is not so on the head such that it detracts from the film.