Showing posts from 2021

Song of the Week #6: "The Ballad of High Noon"

I was finally able to catch Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast this weekend, and I have to say it certainly lived up to the hype. There’s a lot to love about this movie, from the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, the exquisite performances from both the seasoned veterans and newcomers in the cast, to a script that’s brimming with heart and humor. But one aspect of the film I don’t see a lot of people mention is the way it incorporates footage from other films- most notably Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon, using not only a scene from the movie itself but scoring two pivotal scenes with the film’s theme song, the aptly-named (and Oscar-winning) “The Ballad of High Noon.” It was a bold choice to be sure, but who could blame Branagh? It’s a great movie, and a great song- and the subject for today’s installment in Song of the Week. (via Wikipedia) For those of you haven't seen High Noon... well, you really should get on that, it's a classic! Aside from being a taut, tightly edited thril

Song of the Week #5: "Ghostbusters"

Well after much anticipation(?), Ghostbusters: Afterlife plopped into theaters like a wet fart, accompanied by mixed reviews and general annoying chatter online. I myself haven’t seen it, and I don’t particularly want to! Quite frankly I’m sick of Ghostbusters! I’m sick of the whole damn franchise! I’m sick of the fact that it even is a franchise! Why? Who needs it? Who saw the original movie and thought, “Yeah, this needs to be something grown men will argue about three decades later”? Ghostbusters was a perfectly entertaining comedy, but did it really merit all the drama that surrounds it? Did it warrant a nostalgia-baiting legacy sequel? Or any sequel period? I certainly don’t think so, but I’m not a Hollywood executive, unfortunately. Still, I shouldn’t be too negative; there’s a holiday this week after all. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I think we should focus on things to be thankful for. For starters, The Great Oscar Baiter is back after its lengthy hiatus! And second

A Year in Shorts Day 365: "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Well, we made it. The 365th day in a Year in Shorts. And it seems oddly fitting that our last shot will also be our ( actual ) last UPA short. Before I started this blog, UPA was not really an animation studio that I spent much time considering. Oh sure, I was aware of them. But I never really paid them that much attention, or considered the impact they had on the world of animation as a whole. That started to change the first time we covered them, just four days shy of an entire year ago, to the point where I now consider myself a pretty big fan! And so let us bring things full circle, and close out a Year in Shorts with their 1953 short, The Tell-Tale Heart. (via Wikipedia) Released in 1953 and directed by Ted Parmelee, The Tell-Tale Heart is (obviously) adapted from the short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe, although the more cultured among you might better recognize it from the "Squeaky Boots" episode of SpongeBob . Strangely enough, 1953 saw the release of a

A Year in Shorts Day 364: "Madame Tutli-Putli"

They say nothing is scarier than the unknown. I’m not sure if I’m inclined to agree with them on that- surely bears are scarier?- but I understand the sentiment. How could I not? I’m a senior in college, facing down the barrel of true adulthood. That’s pretty scary. And who knows what the future holds for us in The Great Oscar Baiter? And perhaps scariest of all- what the hell is Madame Tutli-Putli actually about? Frankly I don’t know. But I know that it’s scary as hell! (via TV Tropes) Directed by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Madame Tutli-Putli is the final film released by the National Film Board of Canada we'll be covering in our Year in Shorts. (Considering the fact that tomorrow is the last day of our Year in Shorts, I'm confident I haven't made a mistake this time!) Released in 2007, this stop motion follows the titular Madame Tutli-Putli as she and all her worldly belongings take a train voyage to... somewhere. Already this short is starting off on the r

A Year in Shorts Day 363: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse"

The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has not been adapted into film too many times, but he’s had decent success at the Academy Awards. Fredric March won his first Oscar for playing the role, and the Spencer Tracy film managed to score some nominations a decade later. At the same time, films featuring the titular duo don’t have as much success- The Pagemaster didn’t get any awards traction, and don’t even get me started on the unforgivable lack of nominations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s up in the air if the inevitable film adaptation of the hit (?) Broadway musical will be an awards contender, although hope certainly springs eternal. Still, the balance is weighted in the favor of yes when you consider today’s short, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse. And if you’re STILL not convinced that today’s short is sufficiently Halloween-themed, it’s certainly the scariest thing I can think of- our final Tom and Jerry short! (via IMDb) Desp

A Year in Shorts Day 362: "The Lady and the Reaper"

In recent years Spain has taken prominence in the world of animation, perhaps most notably with Sergio Pablos’ Klaus. (If you haven’t seen Klaus, schedule it for this year’s Christmas viewing!) What kicked off this upwards trend, I have no idea. But I do know the first Spanish animated film to receive attention from the Academy was today’s short, Javier Recio Gracia’s The Lady and the Reaper. (via Wikipedia) Released in 2009 and produced by none other than Antonio Banderas, The Lady and the Reaper is the heartwarming story of an old woman who really just wants to die and the damn doctor who refuses to let her. (It makes sense in context, ok?) What follows is a battle of the wills between the confident doctor and the easily frustrated Grim Reaper, who engage in a sometimes literal tug-of-war with the woman's soul. Like a lot of the shorts we've covered the past couple of days, The Lady and the Reaper combines an old school sense of humor with modern animation styles. (I swea