Monday, March 08, 2010
Late last week I went to a screening of "The Secret of Kells" (trailer), the latest animated feature from director Tomm Moore. The film has won a handful of awards including the audience choice award at the 2009 Annecy, as well as a nomination for best animated feature for the 82nd Academy Awards. It has also been selling out all of its shows here in New York and apparently has made the highest weekend gross ever at the IFC Theater in the West Village. Not bad for an animated film!!
I must say I really liked this movie! It had a marvelous, unusual visual style, lots of flat graphic shapes, lots of textures.
It takes place near by and within the walls of the medieval abbey of Kells. The Abbot's nephew, Bendan, longs to work in the scriptorium with the rest of the monks illustrating illuminations for the abbey's manuscripts, and when a mysterious and talented monk arrives, Brendan attempts to uncover the ancient pagan secrets of Cromm Crúaich that lie outside the walls of the city and ultimately becoming a gifted illuminator himself. Even if it means breaking the wishes of his Uncle the Abbot, who is continually obsessed with the completion of the city walls and the threat of the approaching Northern invaders.
I thought the animations were very fitting, and that the feel and uniqueness of old Ireland really shown through the entire production, which im sure was one of many a goal of the Irish team that developed it.
I really cant recommend this film enough.
The director and comic book illustrator, Tomm Moore kept a really nice blog/journal throughout the entire process called the blog of Kells
Also, here is a nice interview of Tomm on GhibliWorld
I believe there will be a theater release of this movie in the US early March.
This is clearly the best film Ive seen so far the 2010 NYICFF
Monday, March 01, 2010
Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror (trailer)
Last weekend I went and saw the screening the New York International Childrens Film Festival had for Oblivion island, the latest from Japan's legendary Production I.G studio. Although they say its an all 3D movie, its actually a nicely combined 3D props and characters, with a combination of 2D and 3D backgrounds. Its a tricky thing to combine and I think they were really successful in executing it. The main character, Haruka has a nice, luscious Range Murata feel to her, (youve probably seen a lot of his characters on the covers of Udon publishings "Robot" magazine.) She's a feisty, really cute, typical seeming Japanese teen age heroine. She looked a little doll like in the eyes, but for me they really nailed the lips. Its an odd critique for sure, me focusing on the lips, but the attention to detail in the way they looked and were rigged made a huge impression on me- a lot of 3D animated characters lips are neglected, so bravo to you Production I.G for nailing the lips on that character. Her side kick companion Teo was fine, and all the typical villains and thugs, although very formulaic, didnt bother me as much as the mad rush and frantic pace the story took in the last 20 minutes- so much to resolve! So right, could of been edited, but all in all, I really enjoyed this film. I and the mass of very young viewers probably would have enjoyed it even more if it were 20 minutes shorter- an hour and half is a long time for a little kid, and a long time for a not so little kid as well!
Ill be attending quite a few more films at this festival and look forward posting a few of my impressions from each film- next up, the Secret Of Kells.