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Animated Fare

Two Programs Serve Up Animated Shorts

Credit: Aardman

Above: "A Matter of Loaf and Death"


KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando talks about two animated film programs.


If live action films aren’t living up to your expectations, 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. "Spike and Mike's New Generation of Animation" continues at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla and Landmark's Ken Cinema hosts "The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2010" (opening February 19).

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," and while the emphasis in not on the sick and twisted, it is on finding the best animation around. On hand are clever do-it-yourself stop motion animations such as "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 his brilliantly titled and stunningly animated "Santa the Fascist Years.”

I’m also glad to see a short that won best animated film at the Comic-Con International Film Festival 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."

But Spike and Mike are not the only game in town this weekend if you’re looking for animated films. 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.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Autour de Minuit


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, "A Matter of Loaf and Death," Gromit tries to save Wallace from a predatory female.

"The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2010" program opens Friday at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. "Spike and Mike’s New Generation of Animation" continues on select weekend days through March.

You can listen to my interview with Spike Decker.

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