What the Hell YouTube?!

This isn’t a review or anything, but I thought it important to share.

 

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Screen Squinty’s Discussion Channel.

Hey All!

Just letting you all know that i have a channel up at Disqus, “Favorite Animation” For some animation discussion, have a squinty if your interested!

I also have The Animation Zone, for all things animation as well!

“Favorite Animation” https://disqus.com/home/channel/favoiriteanimation/discussion/channel-favoiriteanimation/hello_and_welcome/

 

-Thanks! Screen Squinty.

“Felidae” A Review.

 

felidae-1
“Felidae.” Screen Shot, Property of Senator Film Distribution

Film: Felidae.

Directed by: Michael Schaack.

Running time: 82 min.

Released: 1994.

Felidae is a fascinating 1994 German Adult animation based off of a 1989 novel and series of the same name by Akif Pirinçci. It is about a house cat named Francis who recently moves into a new neighborhood and gets caught up in investigating the murders of other felines.

This is not the kind of animated feature that you would stick the kiddies in front of unless they have a great deal of maturity to understand graphic (violent) imagery. This is a story that takes talking animals to a whole different, nitty-gritty level.

The first thing to note is the differences between the original German voice acting and the English dub later developed. You can tell right off when doing a comparison between the two, that the voice acting and the lines is definitely better in the German one, the voice actors matching their characters personalities quite well, with Ulrich Tukar as the voice of Francis and Mario Adorf as Blaubart. The English version cleaned up a lot of the language which actually felt part in setting the tone, particularly of Blaubart, and did have some noticeable differences to wording outside of that which was not to the film’s advantage.

So like with anything else that is done in a language different from your own, if your English, stick to the subtitled version if you want the full effect of the film.

The animation was a rather fascinating mix of the standard, though good, quality of animation during that period, but then you get these moments where it takes a step above itself, particularly in Francis’ dream sequences, and one in particular whose contents won’t be given away, but its style works well with the disturbing and potent imagery you’re not likely to forget.

There is also a sense of environment with this, an idea of the sort of old run down once lofty urban district which is established through the movements of the cats, done particularly well through a really well animated and detailed chase scene between Francis and the cult followers.

The story itself is another highlight, appropriate given the popularity of the books, the narrative flows from one sequence to another well enough, though there are moments that do feel a little rushed, it does weave its mystery in a very engaging way with equally engaging characters, Blaubart being a nice humorously crass counterpoint when it gets a little too heavy at the right times. It actually reads almost like a film noir, with some of the tropes of the genre, but not dominantly so.

One of the things going against it is that there are certain things that do make it dated, and a product of its times, such as a scene or two of less than PC use of homosexuality in a negative connotation, particularly exemplified in the scene between Kong and his crew and Francis and Blaubart in the first half, but that is very brief thankfully, and doesn’t impact with the rest of the film, so it can be skipped.

The other negative perhaps is that while the climatic ending was really well done, the “bad humans and there corruption” message did feel a little forced here, almost shoe horned in with those last words of the antagonist, and then Francis before he passes out. It felt already established and stated by the antagonist’s backstory already, but then again, it is a product of its time, and it didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the film.

This was a great film that has a really compelling narrative and tone that sucks you in, a great set of characters in Francis and Blaubart, great animation, particularly in the dream sequences, and a gripping action-filled ending, if a little preachy here and there. Definitely a recommended watch for those who enjoy a good horror/mystery, are not squeamish, and like good quality adult animation.

Felidae Trailer (sound is not the best quality but its the best of the lot):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXytNduYSj0

Originally Posted: http://screensquintyanimationzone.blogspot.ca/2016/01/screen-squintys-nostalgic-felidae-review.html

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Screen Squinty’s Personal Log #2: “Steven Universe: Ep. 1-10.”

In this review, I will be going over the entirety of the episodes that have been aired up to the date of the day this is posted. Each episode will be given an informal review/commentary, and what I think really stands out, both good and bad.

There will also be spoilers, it can’ be helped in some sections, so heads up.

Episodes 1-10.

1. Gem Glow.

I admit that the first episode wasn’t my favorite.

This felt very kiddish even for a kid show, and I wasn’t overly impressed with the animation style, particularly in Steven’s character design, but then we see the gems, and their unique characteristics, the style of the temple in which they live, the introduction of a unique fantasy adventure story with a non-traditional family unit, and lastly, the odd sort of charm that is exuded through Steven’s innocent exuberance and the Gem’s reaction to his obsession with frozen kitty shaped treats, and a bit of action, it actually wasn’t a to bad of an episode. not my favorite, but not bad, looking back in hindsight.

RIP Ice Cream Cat.

2. Lazar Light Cannon.

This episode was the first that gives a hint at some of the amazingly well done and creative animation we will be receiving from this show, plus the heart. Watching Rose’s Cannon blow a giant crystal eyeball out of the sky was beautiful to watch, particularly combined with Greg’s expression.

The nice little touch of Greg’s hot dog wisdom as the password was a real feels moment, establishing in a very brief and subtle way, the relationship that Greg had with Rose and how much they loved each other. It occurred to me in this moment and throughout Greg’s introduction as a character, that this was going to be one of those rare shows in which, while this does have the parent trope of Mother died/gone for plot purposes, this episode does however, begin to establish her a bit into the story, and Greg himself as this very real individual that is not some authority figure that a child character will need to thwart to do something the parent thinks is dangerous, nor the unintentional/intentional asshole type parental that leaves their kid conveniently alone for plot. Greg is just this guy who is willing to help when asked, leery of the magic surrounding his son, but still willing to do what is necessary as well as support him with this sort of retired laid back attitude, yet still comes across as this caring father figure.

A very refreshing episode filled with just the right amount of attractive visuals, decent and unique characterizations, and a touch of real emotion.

RIP Greg’s upholstery.

3. Cheeseburger Backpack.

This was a fun little episode that took the ridiculous notion of a cheeseburger backpack and a crumbling ancient temple to present Steven’s first adventure outside of his home town.

Props has to go to Perl for her hilarious expressions and her humorous fussiness, and perhaps the uniquest talking doll on the market that was a mild poke at the toy industry.

RIP Motion Sick Doll.

4. Together Breakfast.

Together Breakfast Recipe
• Four toasted Waffles
• A large slathering of either chocolate syrup or maple syrup.
• 3 small bags of microwave popcorn.
• Whipped cream.
* The Soul of a sinister entity.
• One strawberry on top.

This was one of those episodes that somewhat highlights the awkward stage the animators were having with Stevens face in the early days of the show, though the animation wasn’t all bad in this one, there was great depictions of the inner sanctum of the temple and the personal rooms of the Gems. At times it even had an almost surreal quality to it.

The humour was good to, even utilizing the musical score of the episode, and Steven’s amusingly tragic attempts at getting his mother figures to eat breakfast together with him as best buds (i.e family). The final fate of the breakfast, it’s relatively safe to say, you don’t quite predict happening, and it makes you laugh afterwards.

This episode was also good at providing a solid beginning basis at displaying some of the interpersonal relationships in the family both with each other and as a whole.

RIP Together Breakfast.

5. Frybro

This was the episode that really brought me into the franchise.

It’s this strange mix of humour, jaded commentary on “productive member of society”, action, and a surprising amount of gore for a children’s show, yet was still all technically bloodless.

I loved this episode, everything about it was gold with Steven in top form, a good secondary character, and Pearl’s dead pan expression was brilliant.

RIP creepy costume.

6. Catfingers.

This was perhaps the creepiest of the episodes form the first season.

This episode introduces the power of transformation that all Gems have (though Pearl doesn’t use it as far as i can tell in the show), though Amethyst seems to be the only one interested in using all the time.

Pearl gives her small bit of exposition on transformation, and then Steven, obviously interested, tries to train in changing into something, only to succeed with the mixed results (which will be a recurring thing with Steven’s powers) that quickly escalate.

This episode had a nice couched theme of being cautious when trying out new things, particularly doing something you aren’t familiar with outside of responsible supervision. Kind of a standard moral in a kids show, but they do it in a way that both presents the warning (scarily so) and yet presents the lesson to the parents as well, that children sometimes need to have a little faith put into them to fix their mistakes or if they can’t, come to them when they are overwhelmed (though this later one was not a strongly laid out).

I particularly enjoyed the imagination that someone in the production department must have wielded when they came up with the climax of this episode. It’s actually an episode I would recommend for Halloween for adults as well as the younger set.

I give it two meow’s up.

RIP Steven’s cats.

7. Bubblebuddies.

This episode introduces Connie to the character roster for the first time outside of the opening credits, as well as Steven gaining a new ability.

The dialogue between Connie and Steven works really well for a first episode with these two together, though it does help that they are trapped in a magical bubble together, particularly with Connie’s uncertainty juxtaposed with Steven’s eternal optimism in close quarters.

The rest of the characters were delightful as well, with Sadie trying to help with her usual brash confidence and Lars…well, Lars is Lars really. Steven’s dead pan expression at his sum up of their relationship was amusing.

Onion continues his creepy factor as he pulls out popcorn to enjoy the spectacle of his trapped contemporaries in a bubble, and the Gem’s, who had a minor role in this episode, were further cemented their position as parental figures as they play out the “classic parents embarrassing the offspring” trope.

RIP Random boat.

8.Serious Steven.

This was a good episode that stretched the animators a bit in some creative use of scenes with the strawberry field battle ground, the various trap laden rooms in the Gem Ship, and the construction of the Gem ship itself as whole, particularly with the visual hints of some of the Gem’s history on the walls.

Props humour-wise has to go to Steven’s serious face and The Wickerman (Cage version) “Deleted Bee’s Scene” reference.

RIP tea cup ride.

9. Tiger Millionaire.

I love how in this episode Beach City gets a bit of world building in the revelation that it has underground masked wrestling of all things, and Steven’s eyes when he found out that Amethyst was a secret wrestler was, for lack of a better word, darling.

This episode had a lot of creativity, particularly in Steven’s wrestling persona of Tiger Millionaire throughout this episode, and Steven’s reactions as the character, particularly the moments when his notion of where the pretending of the personality blurred with taking the personality to seriously, was nicely couched within the story.

There are a couple of interesting themes one can glean from this episode:

The commentary on finding a place where one can be oneself and respecting those spaces was well done, interchanging with the moral of not being so critical of individuals themselves who choose to be something others may not necessarily approve of was perhaps one of the primary ones.

This was also a good rip on the male dominated wrestling in general.

RIP random chair.

10. Steven’s Lion.

It was hard to tell who was more deadpanned, the pink lion or Garnet.

The humour was a bit mixed this episode, but the animation was good, with a well portrayed bad ass pink lion (later called Lion) introduced for the first time into the show, and some creative work with the magical sand glass when it uncontrollably builds castle parts out of sand, which was some really cool animation to see.

The dynamic between Lion and Steven was precious, and reflected what one expects from a child with there first pet, taking center stage from the Gems.

I admit I am intrigued by the pizza stew store, I thought that was a clever bit of additional expansion to Beach City, and a part of me is intensely curious about what a fish stew pizza would be like in real life.

RIP best sandcastle ever.

More Coming Soon…

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Adventure Time Personal Log!

adventure time
Clip shot “Adventure Time Tittle” Google Images. Property of Pendleton Ward and Cartoon Network.

Just taking time to announce that i am doing an informal, sort of reaction log of my progress as I watched the show Adventure Time for the first time.

It can be found on this site under “Personal Log: Adventure Time” at  https://screensquinty.wordpress.com/personal-log-adventure-time/

I will continuously be updating it, and will  let people know, via my Twitter and Facebook, which you can find in my “links” section, if your interested.

 

Screen Squinty’s Little Witch Academia, 1 & 2: A Review.

Film Shorts: Little Witch Academia and Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade.
Directed and Created by: Yoh Yoshinari.
Released: 2013, 2015.
Running Time: 26 min and 53 min.

Capture2
“Little Witch Academia”, Promotional Artwork, Retrieved from Wikipedia.org, Property of Trigger.

The first installment Little Witch Academia (2013), was a short animation that was produced by Trigger for the 2013 Anime Mirai (a funding project for young animators) about a somewhat inept but enthusiastic girl named Akko who is inspired into becoming a witch by a magical performer called Shiny Chariot, whom she idolizes, and hangs out at her magic school with her friends, Sucy and Lotte.

The second installment, Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade (2015)  was a longer sequel partially funded through Kickstarter after the initial release of the first one garnered some modest fanbase. In this one the main character in conflict with her friends as they struggle to create the best parade (a punishment) so they can avoid expulsion.

First off, if you are a viewer who is seriously picky about the quality of their anime, then these shorts are definitely up your ally visually. The animation here is just spectacular! Fluid, malleable, colourful, enduring, and the character designs are unique to each character to aide in strengthening each individual identity.

The animation of the opening of the first installment especially was a real visual treat!

The characters outside their design, are rather likable, and some even funny, though Akko can come across as a little to bratty at times, particularly in the second installment, but in the end she realizes the character flaw, so she works well enough as a main lead, though definite props go to to the sidekicks and background characters.

Sucy is one of the best characters in both of the films, sort of like a cross between Severus Snape from Harry Potter franchise, Raven from Teen Titans. Everything she does and says is almost always funny, her utilization of potions is always fun to watch, with much of the best humour coming from her quarter, and her almost cartoon Dracula-like design is the best of the lot by far!

One of the draw backs of the films is that the pacing of the story of the first one doesn’t match the short time frame, feeling a little rushed. The second film seemed to be trying to rectify that, and it was an improvement in pacing. Despite that though, it did present some interesting elements that I wished could have been flushed out bit more, such as the relationship between the witches and the non-magicals, the hints of gentrification among witch culture, the history behind the Sorcerer’s stone (and yes, if your harry Potter fan you roll your eyes, but to be fair, it wasn’t the first to use that magical prop.)

There are some problems with the characters such as a few of them coming across as a bit to stereotypic such as Diana, the condescending overachiever aristocrat who comes across like a less dickish Draco Malfoy (also from Harry Potter) for example, and the under utilization of the 3 new characters Amanda, Constanze, and Jasminka from the second movie, who each had something very interesting about them, but wasn’t fully explored or utilized, though with time constraints and the focus being the friendship of the main cast, it was likely not a concern.

This is why while they work alright as short films (with the second treading that line very finely I might add)I feel they would be great to watch as both a full length TV series to really flesh out the characters, history, and the story, or even a feature length film, perhaps.

The only other nitpick would be the English dub which was also not overly well done, and can distract from the film, though the actresses for the Japanese version are pretty good, with the exception of Diana, whose voice sounds a little too mature for the age she is supposed to be.

Overall these were very well done anime with its strengths resting in its animation and characters, and felt like a nice little homage to Harry Potter while still maintaining its own identity. I would recommend giving it a watch.

Little Witch Academia “Minotaur Scene”:

 

Both films are also on Netflix.

 

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Screen Squinty’s Top 10 Most Anticipated 2016 Films.

Hello all, and Happy New Years to those who celebrate it this time of year. with the start of 2016, I thought I would kick off the list with some of my own most personal anticipated films for the year.

There are likely some things that didn’t make it onto this list that many of you will flay me for, which doesn’t mean they are not worth watching, just that these films are the ones that make me most excited to see.

So without further ado, here is my top 10 most anticipated films of 2016 (in chronological order by month).

1. Kung Fu Panda 3 (January, 2016).

Having been a fan of the amazing animation, story, comedy, action, characters, and voice talents of the previous two installments, fans of the Kung Fu Panda trilogy like me are looking forward to the conclusion to the trilogy and hopefully more of the amazing talents that went into the previous installments.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgBWSPD6MUU

2. Hail, Ceaser! (February, 2016).

This is a film that was written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen with a lot of big names attached to the film such as Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum. The Trailers for this comedy look very promising in story premise and visuals, and the fact that it is also a bit of a period piece in the golden age of Classic Hollywood, makes it all the more appealing.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRqKieJzCeo

3. Deadpool (February 2016).

A big fan of the Merc with a mouth, this is the comic book hero (or antihero) film that I am most looking forward to. While the February release date is a bit worrisome, at the same time it can be considered somewhat smart, as it won’t be in competition with some of the big heavy hitters of spring and summer, and the screenplay is written by screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who had a hand in writing the hit film Zombieland (2009), and finally the promotions, which have been an excellent, and hint that this rendition of Deadpool will hopefully be more faithful to the source material.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIM1HydF9UA

4. Zootopia (March 2016).

The premise for this animated film from Disney is promising with an entire world where different anthropomorphic animals of all kinds live together. Best of all, from what the trailers show, there is a bit a mystery in the story line, and the team up of the rabbit cop and the fox character looks promising, and the voice talents so far are top notch.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvEzTjuM81A

5. X-Men Apocalypse (May, 2016).

What really needs to be said, this is Apocalypse, one of Marvel’s most ancient and powerful supervillains. It will be interesting to see how his depiction will be received by fans, especially as this version seems a bit more emotive then some of the other variations, particularly the 1990’s animated television series version, which is one of the best depictions of the supervillain ever done. It’s also sure to be an epic looking battle, being the granddaddy of all mutants.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COvnHv42T-A

6. Star Trek Beyond (July 2016).

This time it looks like we might be getting something a bit different in story then the rehash of old material that was the common criticism of the previous two. There is some concern that the director, Justin Lin, doesn’t appear to have directed a science fiction film before, though he is the director from the sitcom Community, and directed Fast and the Furious 3-6, so it will be interesting to see how this film will turn out as opposed to J.J Abbrams.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sml23ogwy4w

7. The BFG (July 2016).

This Disney film is based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. The book and the 1989 film, had a mildly darker tone as it tells the story of giants, children, and royalty, so it will be interesting to see if Disney will keep that aspect, which is part and parcel of most material from Dahl. It is directed by Spielberg, which adds another layer of anticipation as an auteur, and finally the promotional teaser was a good introduction to the film.

Teaser Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG5MtenlP-A

8. Suicide Squad (August, 2016).

Seeing Harley Quinn, a favorite of mine from DC on the big screen, is something I am looking forward to. A villain/anti-villain story is always appreciated, whether it will be good or not, is yet up for debate of course, but being already familiar with the Suicide Squad premise from other sources, it proves intriguing to see it’s concept as a live action Blockbuster, now that Hollywood has hit its stride in superhero films.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI3hecGO_04

9. A Monster Calls (October, 2016).

This is a film based on an award winning book for youth, a fantasy drama about a boy whose mother is dying of cancer (echoing the original creator of the premise of the story who was going through chemo at the time and died before she could write her story) about a boy who has a relationship with a monster that appears at his window one night and shares stories that reflect the human condition while at the same time, causing both hardship and healing for the boy throughout the encounter. The film has heavy weights like Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster, and Sigourney Weaver as the cold grandmother.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r1Kniofm5Y

10.Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (November, 2016).

This is a film based on the writer of one of Harry Potter’s School books, which was also released by the author J.K Rowling, set in the 1920’s. What makes this film exciting I that it is set in the cannon of the popular franchise as a form of a prequel that is not based on a written plot so much as a novelty from the franchise itself, and it looks at the Wizarding World from the perspective of adult wizards instead of school age characters which is an intriguing concept and opens wiggle room for further films as the world of Harry Potter is expanded outside of that central character.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeRBEeKiSA8

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