Tuesday, January 23, 2018



1) DEAR BASKETBALL (Glen Keane Productions, USA - PENCIL - Directed by Glen Kean, written by Kobe Bryant, music by John Williams!) Kobe Bryant's basketballs dreams voiced by himself. Stunning pencil drawing by Glen Kean. A beautiful celebration of pure pencil animation. Oscar Winner and a win for pencil animation

2) GARDEN PARTY (MoPA, France - CGI - Written and directed by : Florian Babikian, Vincent Bayoux, Victor Caire, Théophile Dufresne, Gabriel Grapperon, Lucas Navarro) Froggy seduction in a grand villa where nature takes its course.

3) LOU (Pixar, USA - CGI - Written and directed by Dave Mullins.) Lou, a very original protagonist, lives in a kindergarten lost-and-found box and takes care of toys and bullies. Superbly designed and animated, as always.    

3) NEGATIVE SPACE (IKKI FILMS, MANUEL CAM, France - STOP-MOTION - Directed by Americans Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter) A unique father/son bonding process based on a poem by Ron Koertge.

5) REVOLTING RHYMES (MAGIC LIGHT PICTURES, UK - CGI - Directed by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer - based on the wonderful book by Roald Dahl and the equally wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake. The writing is the star here as are Blake's inspirational drawings and I can't help wondering why Blake's gorgeous style wasn't used with hand-drawn animation for this. CGI is not the medium for Dahl or Blake.


1) THE BREADWINNER (Cartoon Saloon, Ireland. International co-production:Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg - HAND-DRAWN - Directed by Irishwoman Nora Twomey) Based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis, Parvana, a young Afghan girl must dress as a boy to support her family under patriarchal Taliban rule. 

2) BOSS BABY (really?!) (DreamWorks, USA - CGI - Directed by Tom McGrath) Tough baby brother is not warmly welcomed by his big brother.

3) COCO - (Pixar, USA - CGI - Directed by Lee Unkrich. Screenplay by Adrian Molina) Heartwarming and culturally-correct tale of young Miguel's, search for answers during Mexico's Day of the Dead celebrations. Stunning lighting, gorgeous design, lots of skeletons, fine animation. The biggest ever animated hit in Mexico. (Will the new Oscar rule make this an automatic winner or will Academy members vote more judiciously for the winner than they have for the nominations? New Oscar rule: voting for Best Animated Feature is now open to all Academy members who tend to favor big American studios, unlike the animation branch that has more eclectic and educated animation tastes.) Oscar winner.

4) FERDINAND (again, really?!) (Blue Sky/20th Century Fox Animation, USA, CGI - Directed by Carlos Saldanha) - Ferdinand, the giant but sensitive bull escapes his fate. 

5) LOVING VINCENT (BreakThru Productions Trademark Films - Poland/UK - HAND-PAINTED - Written and directed by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman) The story of Vincent van Gogh's death told in rotoscoped oil paintings.  Won Best Animated Feature Film Award at the 30th European Film Awards in Berlin.

Friday, December 29, 2017


1) ANTHONY DOERR – One of the bright spots in 2017 was the discovery of the luminous, mosaic writing of Anthony Doerr. Cypresses seethe, roots prowl and stars burn in his wide, spacious worlds 
full of light and air. 
2) NO-ONE CAN SEE YOUR LIKES - Twitter has reworked its algorithms so your followers can’t see your LIKES. If you want your followers to know 
what you like, RT it.
3) CAKES INSPIRED BY ART - Thiebaud, Mondrian, Klimt.
4) BOOKS INSPIRED BY ART - V.S. Naipaul, Donna Tartt, Tracey Chevalier
5) ART INSPIRED BY BOOKS - Picasso, Millais, Dali.
6) LIVING WITH GREAT ART – Picasso, Bacon, Uccello.
7) THREE FRENCH NUDES – Duchamp, Léger, Picasso.
8) IT’S NOT ONLY HARVEY - It’s about considering women like resources.
9) TEN THINGS MEN CAN’T SAY ANYMORE - Why didn’t she say something sooner?
10) IT’S NOT ONLY JOHN LASSETER - While the art of animation is cutting edge, the culture is primitive and misogynistic.
11) ART INSPIRED BY FOOD - Da Vinci, de Heem, Arcimboldo

BOOKS:  ↑↑↑ Mmm - ↓↓↓ Ugh – These are just my subjective impressions. 

1) ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
During WWII, Werner in Germany and Marie-Laure, a blind girl in France, are caught up in an intrigue about a fabulous gem. Doerr gets the smells and streets of Paris and St. Malo so right, but it’s surprising that he gets the food, so important in French culture, so wrong. 
This is the third time I’ve read this book and it is my all-time favorite Le Carré. He gets out of grey London and shows us exotic and still British Hong Kong (in the rain, in a typhoon, in the fog, in the moonlight). We also visit Laos and Viet Nam at the end of the US war. Lots of action, some of it shocking. Marvelous protagonists seething with anger, stoicism and lust. This really needs to be a movie: Stephen and Timothy Cornwell at the Ink Factory, what are you waiting for? 

3) ABOUT GRACE, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
The protagonist has a super-power but Doer keeps it so tightly wrapped in reality that it seems almost plausible. A heart-rending character who endures much suffering and world travel in a good cause.
4) TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, John Le Carré ↑↑↑
A masterpiece of richly observed spies in dreary London venues, a convoluted chase after a mole with barely perceptible hints and clues. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss them but you won’t care because the writing is so superb.
5) FOUR SEASONS IN ROME, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑
If you’ve never been to Rome, read this book first. It’s one of the best introduction you can have to the Eternal City. Doerr quotes Pliny the Elder while baby-sitting his twin sons and is amazed that Roman doctors charge him nothing for his wife’s overnight stay in the hospital.
I always wondered if the book was the source of the magic of BLADE RUNNER, supposedly based on this book but, after reading it it seems  Ridley Scott is the film’s magician.
Shells and marine snails feature in the title story and reappear in ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. Scintillating writing on diverse subjects.  
8) MEMORY WALL: STORIES, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
The title story has an element of fantasy/science-fiction but is all about humanity and struggle. More spacious, dazzling writing.
9) THE NIGHTINGALE: A NOVEL,  Kristin Hannah - ↓↓↑
Wanting to see what sort of fiction was on the NYT best-seller list, I read this novel that takes place during WWII: two sisters who are supposed to be, but could never in a million years be, French, move woodenly through an unrecognisable France. They predictably encounter hunger, danger, nice & nasty Nazis and naturally, join the Resistance. This book made me scream and swear.
10) DARKNESS AT NOON, Arthur Koestler – I understand this is a masterpiece, but the translation is so awful it’s painful to read. 
I may not finish it.