Animation

Monsters University

Pixar and Disney are going back to college (and back into sequel/prequel territory) with Monsters University. The movie, of course, acts as a feeder school into Monsters, Inc., and features John Goodman and Billy Crystal in their old/younger voice roles. The film is being directed by Dan Scanlon (one of the writers on Cars), and while it’s not at all an indicator of quality, this first teaser trailer is pretty dull. It’s not at all imbued with the kind of Pixar magic we’ve come to love – with its generic voice over and obvious gags. The timing doesn’t even seem right. Check it out for yourself:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s stop-motion! In space! This clever music video for Matt Mendez features a furious blast through the great beyond in a paper cassette tape. Commentary on the journey music can take us on? Or just a really cool video? You be the judge, and see if you can spot the Planet Express spaceship in the background while you’re at it. What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Pay close attention to the outstanding lighting design in this animated short from Base14. It’s a combination of exaggeratedly detailed backgrounds and comic-strip-simple characters, but even beyond the beauty, the real joy is the story. Oh, and the adorable cartoon fox. In it, a young girl hunts down the vicious killer of her family’s chickens. No doubt Humans vs Foxes will be the next big mash-up blockbuster. For now, enjoy this sweet piece of work (and maybe watch The Fox and the Hound as an ironic double feature). What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to io9 for the discovery. They have great taste.

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Wreck-It Ralph 2012

As it turns out, the ghosts from Pac-Man and Zangief from Street Fighter are part of an Anonymous support group and help each other through the hard times of being the villain. It’s a thankless job, one that often sees you spinning inward into a single pixel or exploding with only coins left to mark your memory. It’s that kind of world building that can be expected from Disney‘s Wreck-It Ralph. The first trailer of the animated flick that stars the vocal talents of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch proves that the imaginations at work here filled up the studio. It seems like more than a standard story of a man trying to find his way in the world, although that’s definitely the framework; Ralph escapes his game and tries out all sorts of others. Beyond that, there’s a sense of wacky playfulness going on. It’s a universe of video game characters, and director Rich Moore and company seem to have had a hell of a fun time with it. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? The full title should end with “About How We’re Incredibly Small But Definitely More Than A Little Bit Clever.” So we’re this speck on another speck that only seems enormous to us because of how tiny we are. Yet it’s tiny compared to the sea of space around it. It’s even tiny compared to other specks. So how do we know how far away the others specks are? Isn’t that a bit like ants measuring how far away a mountain is? This beautiful video – comprised of simple animation and some adorable light bulbs – is as informative as it is entertaining. Seriously. In just four minutes you’ll be able to sound far smarter than you actually are. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Evan Seitz Animation

Evan Seitz creates excellent animations with minimalist flair. His work is hypnotizing both because the images seem to blossom from the middle of the screen – constantly attacking the viewer – and because they’re playfully cool. In the case of his movie-centric videos, they’re an aggravating quiz of iconography that only stays on screen a nanosecond shorter than it often needs to. In other words, he makes the kind of videos that are entertaining even when frustrating. They always have a theme (colors, locations) which help with guessing the movie titles, but they’re never as easy as they might seem at first. How many movies can you name?

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Wreck-It Ralph 2012

There was almost no way that Wreck-It Ralph would have been entirely done in 8-bit. It would have been a bold move, but even if Community does it, it doesn’t mean a major studio should be that adventurous. I mean, they probably should, but they usually aren’t. Still, Disney’s project looks incredibly cool – and aimed squarely at the video game generation. The fine folks over at /film dug up these character designs – one for Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and a few different concepts for his lady love Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman). Check them out for yourself:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? First of all, this is an advertisement, but it’s got to be from a different planet where ads are allowed to look like this. Melting colors and transcendental, drug-addled spoken word spilling out Thompson-esque into a pool of ink that transforms into wild beasts, flowers and a cabin somewhere in the middle of your mind. It’s gorgeous, eyebrow-raising work from String Theory, so try to forget it’s selling you something. Or just hand over your money and run naked into the desert. Either way. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Thanks to Rory O. for the suggestion.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s The Raid. Made with claymation cats. By Lee Hardcastle. Do you need an embossed invitation? What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener for sharing this on his site.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? What does nine months of animation work look like? What does it look like when it focuses on an elderly man raging out after not being offered a subway seat? These are the questions of our time. Fortunately, Sean Soong has answers. Just check out that frame above. This short is epic in its detail and scope, not shying away from spilling a little red ink. Truly gorgeous work with an adorably deadly old dude. For more information, check out the feature on the film over at The Creators Project. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? The Avengers parodies were inevitable, but animator Junaid Chundrigar just won with a fantastic exploration of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and other Marvel heroes on their bad days. Instead of a story, Chundrigar relies on quick, slap-stick style comic moments. Venom struggles with an ice cream cone, Spidey meets a helicopter head on, and a city burns when a meatball gets dropped. It’s funny, and the animation has an adorable Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe that makes this short even more agreeable. No surprise that the fine folks at Short of the Week sent it along – they know quality when they see it. I can’t help but think Joss Whedon would love this. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In the first few frames, it’s natural to wonder how The Eagleman Stag was made. It’s simultaneously easy to figure out and utterly simple to deny you’ve got the right answer because it just seems to painstaking. Make no mistake. This is highly complicated, insanely detailed stop-motion animation. It’s also more than a miracle of sweat and mechanics. It’s a thrilling, epic tale about a man’s full life and the important discovery that defines (and redefines) it. Sweet, stirring and expertly crafted, this is the kind of film that deserves standing ovations and a shelf full of honestly-earned awards. What will it cost? Only 9 amazing minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films

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Here’s the thing about Clifford the Big Red Dog: he was massive, playful, and he got into trouble all the time because he didn’t fit in. It’s a plot-flimsy character with a deeper message for kids (especially those who don’t fit in), but Universal is teaming with a company seasoned in stretching out children’s fare into feature run-times. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is working with Illumination Studios (The Lorax) to bring the giant scarlet mutt to life. Screenwriter Matt Lopez (Bedtime Stories, Race to Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) is set to write the character first introduced by Scholastic Books and author Norman Bridwell. All in all, it sounds like a solid partnership to bring a childhood icon to the big screen. They just have to find screens big enough now.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Difficult to describe with its unconventional style and strange blend of live-action layered into an antique animation that’s equal parts cut-out and hand-drawn. It’s something like Salvador Dali meets Terry Gilliam. Either way, both would smile to see this. Perhaps the most endearing element is the sound design – done entirely by human voices not-at-all-trying to hide that they’re human voices. It’s definitely different, but it’s beautiful. Plus, there’s a lesson. One taught with the tongue planted so firmly in its cheek that it draws blood. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” in Cuba in 1951, and half-a-century later, Hagen Reiling has used the story as inspiration to create a piece of animation that’s a mix of classicism and innovative. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s a dull world out there. Your job has been shoved into a shoebox and means about as much, your time to create has been reduced, and there’s a bizarre light coming from your stomach. We’ve all been there. Mark Osborne‘s inspired short film delivers that timeless story in a color-drained way by using stop-motion animation and a little bit of magic. What will it cost? Only 6 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films. Special thanks to site contributor Adam Charles for suggesting this one.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? With its noir sensibilities, gorgeous animation and killer cool concept, this short film from Eddie White and Ari Gibson is like taking a long drag off a cigarette that’s been kept in the freezer. It toys around with double meanings as if words were its catnip, and Nick Cave offers his world-weary voice as narrator, tripping his tongue over some rich texts and tricky art work. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films. Thanks to Rosie H. for sharing this with us.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s absolutely the look of the animation that steals breath here, but in this shot from Paris Mavroidis, it’s also the tension created by the simple act of falling. He turns it into an aerial ballet – a sort of synchronized free fall where women in bright bathing suits jump off of sky diving boards. It toys around with geometry and dimensional space in a trippy, yet graceful way. Like taking shrooms in a tuxedo. Plus, there’s even a last laugh (after the oddly affecting question of what will happen when all of these sky dancers run out of sky). What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Hollywood is filled with people clambering to get noticed in a sea of noise. When that hard work has paid off and an aspiring filmmaker catches the eye of a studio or producer, this appears to be a big break. However, the good folks at AnimatedViews.com remind us that a big break in this town doesn’t always mean that your career is made. AnimatedViews offers a detailed and intimate story behind the rise and fall of Disney’s Circle 7 Animation Studios, a company launched in 2005 to generate sequels to the wildly popular Pixar properties. More specifically, they profile Circle 7 writers Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir, who first broke into entertainment as part of Second City and The Groundlings.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? From the sweeping soundscape of industrial music to the first-rate CGI effects to the raw and dynamic visuals, everything about this short film is stunning and fantastic. The imagery is conflicting and toys with the mind – a cow meanders down a highway with a decaying billboard in the background, a happy mascot sings the joy of a new solution to radiation-riddled cities while the husks of civilization prove otherwise. All of this delivered along with the gritty narration of a man with cracked lips and a voice worn from swallowing gravel creates a huge rust-covered impact. Watch it, and the District 9 connection should be clear, but this is an animal all its own. Amazing work from Factory Fifteen. What will it cost? Only 6 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films. Special thanks to Hector P. for sending this to us.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
B+
published: 04.17.2014
B-

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