Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nightcap 2/7/16- THE PROPHET and EXTRAORDINARY TALES on DVD, The Cesar Animated film nominees are at NYICFF, what we cover and Randi's links

Two recent releases from GKids Films have hit home video and both are worth your time and money to see them.

KAHLIL GIBRAN'S THE PROPHET comes from producer Salma Hayek and director Roger Allers who did THE LION KING. The film is an adaption of the classic novel and it contains some of the most stunning imagery ever put on film. The film tells the story of a poet under house arrest who is being sent into exile by the authorities. As he walks down to the ship he pauses and talks to people he meets on his way. The conversations, taken from many of the notable sections of the book become mini movies directed by some of the greatest directors working in animation. Bill Pympton, Thom Moore, Nina Paley and other all provide sections and they are so beautiful they will bring tears to your eyes and a lump in your throat.

As good as the guest director sections are the story of the poet that forms the spine of the film is nowhere as good, with run of the mill animation and a simplistic story line about political injustice. I the section works at all it’s because of the voice cast which is headed by Liam Neeson.

Reservations aside the film is, in large part, a cinematic work of art and should be seen. My review from NYICFF from last year can be found here. To buy it on DVD go here.
The other film just release is EXTRAORDINARY TALES which is an animated collection of stories from Edgar Allen Poe. I have a full review sitting unfinished in my drafts folder, so a full review is coming. However until then you should just go out and see the film. The film has shifting visual styles with come pieces working better visually than others, but vocaly all of the storytelling is excellent.

If you need a reason to see the film consider it has Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi and Guillermo Del Toro telling stories. Lee’s work is some of his final screen work and it’s awesome. Also awesome is Del Toro who is so good you realize that if he gives up directing he could do some voice work. The Lugosi section was not done via a séance, it’s a short film that takes an audio recording of the great one reading The Tell Tale Heart and adds moody art. It’s an amazing piece that should silence any doubters as to how good Lugosi really was. To buy it on DVD go here

Both are worth your time.
Just a heads up-

All three of the French Cesar Award nominated animated films ADAMA, APRIL AND THE TWISTED WORLD and THE LITTLE PRINCE are playing at the New York Children's Film Festival. As of this writing tickets for all but the LITTLE PRINCE are still available.

Go here for tickets
Question of the day- Would you rather be able to see all of the big releases, the ones everyone sees and which are overwhelmingly mediocre or would you rather see a whole spectrum of small films no one know about where many are going to be some of the best you’ll see all year- this is the dilemma of doing Unseen FIlms
As part of the changes to Unseen I’m changing what is covered slightly. It will affect the film sent my way and make clear how will we report on festivals.

With more and more stuff being thrown my way via screening links and screeners what I say yes to is going to be more solidly things I actually want to see. That maybe a no brainer but I’ve been hit with more than a couple of clunkers lately and the time it takes to write up a bad film isn’t worth the effort. If I say yes to a film I will still review it, but at the same time I may only give you a paragraph. However unless there is something that really clicks with me I’m going to decline.

As far as Festivals are concerned I’m still going to wade in and write up what I see. However I’m going to continue what I did with last year’s Tribeca Film Festival which is do capsule reviews where I’m not moved. I will write up each film and let it go where it does. If I have a lot to say I will, if I don’t I won’t. Hopefully as a result all of the pieces I do will be better.

The reason I'm doing this is pure survival mode on my part. I was drowning in so much being tossed my way. I think it's great that Unseen has been found, but at the same what was once a series of great finds has become a series of films I don't think anyone really wants to see. It's so bad that I groan when some people email me. On the other hand there are several people who have become my conduit to the promised land.

Bear with us.

As we slide toward our sixth birthday we're going to be going through a patch which maybe a tad awkward. After reviewing over five thousand films in six years we are a tad bit worn out...but willing to march forward.
Randi's Links

London and the fire
The man behind the Looney Tunes sound effects
Movie Marketing: HAIL CAESAR
Lost cat found

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