KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando talks about two animated film programs.
Related Story: Animated Fare
KPBS-FM Film Chat: Animated Program
By Beth Accomando
Air date: February 18, 2010
Q: If live action films aren’t living up to your expectations, KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando says there’s plenty of animated fare on hand to entertain you. There are no new animated features opening but there are two programs featuring short animated works in town. So Beth what do filmgoers have to choose from this weekend.
BETH: Over the years Spike and Mike have developed a reputation for showcasing. delightfully Sick and Twisted animation. Their latest endeavor is called "A New Generation.” Co-founder Spike Decker says the program represents a shift in programming.
BETH: So the emphasis is still on finding the best animation around. And sometimes the sophistication Spike talked about involves returning to old school techniques as with the do-it yourself style stop motion projects "A Town Called Panic" and "Western Spaghetti" that prove you don’t need CGI. And although this is a new generation we also get veterans like Bill Pylmpton with this brilliant Christmas tale.
Q: Are there any other standouts from New Generation?
BETH: I’m glad to see a short that won best animated at Comic-Con getting screened again. The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl is a hilarious spoof of nature shows. There’s also a very sophisticated allegory from France called Crab Evolution.
Q: But Spike and Mike are not the only game in town this weekend if you’re looking for animated films. So what else is there to choose from?
BETH: The Oscars are just around the corner, March 7 to be precise, and as usual Landmark will be showcasing both the live action and animated shorts that have been nominated for an Academy Award. So if you’re partaking in an office Oscar pool and always blow the animated shorts category because you’ve never seen the nominees, here’s your chance to see them.
Q: How do these compare to the shorts served up by Spike and Mike?
BETH: I think Spike and Mike’s New Generation offers a more diverse selection and I think they are more groundbreaking in terms of animation techniques and content. But the Oscar Shorts does have one major draw – a new Wallace and Gromit film. Wallace and Gromit are the claymation characters created by Nick Park and Aardman studios and they continue to charm and delight me. In their latest outing, Gromit tries to save Wallace from a predatory female.
The Oscar Shorts program opens tomorrow (Friday) at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. Spike and Mike’s New Generation continues on select weekend days through March. For more information on both programs, check out Beth’s blog at K-P-B-S-dot-O-R-G-slash-cinema-junkie.