From Atlantis to Interzone


Boom on the Fourth of July
July 4, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Animation, Film

For my American visitors, here is a special treat for you on your day of independence celebrating and fireworks: the classic, Oscar-winning Tom & Jerry short The Yankee Doodle Mouse from 1943.

This is one of my favourites of the Tom & Jerry film canon, and one I fondly remember catching many times on Cartoon Network as a child. Now you too can experience the joy of a mouse frequently blowing things up in a cat’s face.



The Best Non-Christmas Film Christmas Scenes
December 25, 2008, 2:34 am
Filed under: Animation, Film

Christmas is a time for TV schedulers to remind the public of the good old days when holiday-centred entertainment involved grinches learning the error of their ways, children poking their eyes out with BB guns and how wonderful a life it really is, as opposed to now where the cinematic Christmas diet consists of Tim Allen donning a fat suit every few years and the annual putrid festive comedy starring Vince Vaughn. There are quite a few good Christmas films amid all the crap over the years. Particularly festive examples such as A Christmas Story and The Shop Around the Corner still hold up very well. Some of my favourites, such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Proposition and Eyes Wide Shut, simply use the holiday season for setting purposes.

That’s all well and jolly good, but what I want to talk about is high quality scenes concerning Christmas from films that are not actually set primarily around the holiday season. I’ve decided to share with you, my potentially enthusiastic audience, some of my favourite Christmas scenes from non-Christmas films. Let’s get merry!

American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
Not only does this Christmas party scene showcase Bale’s brilliant performance, it also contains the amusing image of yuppie psychopath Patrick Bateman wandering around with fake reindeer antlers. In addition to this, an important message is provided: women do not want breast implants for Christmas. That’s something I’ve certainly kept in mind over the years.

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Batman: Gotham Knight (Various, 2008)
December 16, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Animation, Film

Being an anthology feature with contributions from various anime studios as well as directors, there was always a strong likelihood that this direct-to-DVD effort would not prove to be wholly satisfying and this is unfortunately the case. As is often the case with adaptations of the Caped Crusader’s struggles, the depiction of villains from the Batman rogues gallery provide the best entertainment. “In Darkness Dwells” focuses on an abduction case involving Scarecrow and Killer Croc. Quite a creepy atmosphere is created with this one thanks to some very brooding animation, creepy underground settings and particularly good voice work. The sound, on the whole, is one of the best parts of the entire film with great casting and music. “Deadshot”, the only other story to focus on an established Batman villain is probably the best segment of the lot with, in my mind, the best animation and the greatest sequences execution-wise. It’s easily the most thrilling tale of the six and possibly the darkest of them in terms of violence alone. Very nearly matching this one animation-wise is “Crossfire” which is rather interesting in that it focuses on two of Gordon’s detectives, one of whom rather dislikes the Dark Knight’s efforts. The conclusion to this story is the best part as Batman emerges from the flames after a mob brawl in quite a powerful scene.

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WALL•E (Stanton, 2008)
December 8, 2008, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Animation, Film

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It’s so nice when great ambition and creativity results in such a wonderful final product. Indeed, “wonderful” is a word that keeps coming to mind when thinking of Pixar’s latest. It is an extraordinarily realised work in more ways than one. The world, or rather universe in this case, that Stanton and his team have created, on a technical level, is one of the most astounding feats achieved in animation. Aesthetically it is a beautiful marvel, with Earth-set sequences up there with the best dystopian works, space travel sequences that are absolutely divine and spaceship design of such glorious creativity and imagination. The CGI is pretty much flawless and this may perhaps be the most gorgeous film of its kind yet.

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