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Tag: Animation (1-10 of 281)

Best of 2014: 'Over the Garden Wall' is incredible, and you probably missed it

Last week, I wrote a bit about some of the best animation of the year. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s pretty solid. But not long after I wrote that list, a few friends of mine (and some commenters!) wrote me to say that I had overlooked something huge: Over the Garden Wall. Created by Patrick McHale, Over The Garden Wall was a miniseries that ran for five consecutive nights in November on Cartoon Network. It got very little promotion, and passed most people by. But it was short—just 10 eleven-minute episodes long—and the people who brought it to my attention tend to have very good taste, so I decided to watch the whole miniseries in one sitting.

It’s one of the best things I’ve seen this year.

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Horsemen and other assorted oddities: 2014's animation highlights

Now is a pretty great time for animation—there’s never been a wider array of strange, smart, and subversive cartoons for audiences of all stripes. While not all of them hit it out of the park in 2014—we’re looking at you, Chozen—the good ones were often brilliant, easily on par with the best live-action fare.

Before we get to our favorites, a small bit of housekeeping: For the purposes of this list, we’ll be excluding films from this roundup. Cool? That said, here are the year’s highlights:

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'Big Hero 6,' 'Lego Movie,' 'Boxtrolls' among Annie Award nominees

Recognizing the greatest achievements in animation, the nominations for the 42nd annual Annie Awards have been announced.

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60 reasons 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' is the most disturbing kids' movie ever made

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25 years ago today, an animated musical hit theaters—and soon became a beloved classic that sparked a franchise including multiple feature-length sequels, a TV spinoff that ran for three seasons, and oodles of merch.

That movie… is The Little Mermaid. Strangely enough, though, the same description fits All Dogs Go to Heaven, Don Bluth’s lighthearted romp about a very bad dog and the little girl who teaches him how to love. Aww. Except All Dogs is also a horrifying phantasmagoria of murder, demons, drinking, gambling, hellfire, and blue eyeshadow. Sure, this is all sort of par for the course for Bluth; the former Disney animator has a reputation for making movies that skew much darker than the ones made by his former studio. That said: In retrospect, it’s remarkable that All Dogs was (a) released into theaters as is, (b) somehow considered a children’s movie, and (c) transformed into the kind of property that’s immortalized via Kids Meal toys.

Sure, movies like Watership Down might give the flick a run for its money. But after rewatching All Dogs, I feel pretty confident in saying that this is the most upsetting (ostensible) kids’ movie ever made. Why? Let me count the ways.

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'Simpsons' couch gag reveals Homer's insides are unsurprisingly gross -- VIDEO

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From a coma to intentional weight-gain to crayons up the nose, Homer Simpson’s body has been one 25-season-long punchline on The Simpsons. In the hands of award-winning Polish animator Michal Socha, that portly, balding, radiation-tinged vessel is also a work of art.

It’s not pretty — no one ever expected Homer’s liver to be the picture of health — but Socha’s imagining of the Springfield resident’s innards makes for a very cool couch gag. Kicking off Sunday’s episode, What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting, the director’s opener is a minimalistic Fantastic Voyage, drawn only in red, black and white. The whole family takes a tour of Dad’s body, where intestines dice doughnuts (and nearly Marge) and a can of Duff — yes, a can — flows freely. Take a look: READ FULL STORY

'Batman: Strange Days': Watch Bruce Timm's 75th Anniversary cartoon -- VIDEO

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Batman turns 75 in May. Parent company Warner Bros. plans to celebrate this anniversary by continuing to produce ridiculously successful Batman movies, TV shows, videogames, comic books, and pogs, or whatever kids today play with.

But also, they’ve just released a new short animated film created by the great Bruce Timm — the animation guru who was a key architect in the family of DC animated shows, including all-time-great Batman: The Animated Series and the maybe-better-if-you-don’t-mind-the-future Batman Beyond. The short is called Batman: Strange Days, and features Hugo Strange (get it?) and a lot of fog. Watch it below: READ FULL STORY

'Family Guy': Celebrate the best of times with our favorite Brian/Stewie moments -- VIDEOS

[Spoilers ahead!]

Brian’s sudden passing on the latest episode of Family Guy also marks the death of one of the core relationships of the series: between the loyal, family dog and the youngest and most nefarious Griffin, Stewie. We’ll miss that dynamic, but to celebrate the “Life of Brian,” here are some of our favorite Brian and Stewie buddy moments:
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'Simpsons' celebrates Marcia Wallace: 5 more of Mrs. Krabappel's best episodes

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When Fox announced that it would pay tribute to the late Marcia Wallace by re-airing one of her Simpsons character’s greatest episodes, there was only one logical choice: “Bart the Lover,” a gem from season 3 in which Bart plays a cruel prank on his teacher, Edna Krabappel, by answering her personal ad with a series of letters from a fake dreamboat named Woodrow. Like all the best episodes of The Simpsons, “Bart the Lover” is both hilarious and poignant. It also helped Wallace snag an Emmy in 1992. (She was nominated again in 1994 for a guest spot on Murphy Brown.)

But while “Bart the Lover” may be Mrs. Krabappel’s best showcase, it’s certainly not her only one. After all, Wallace voiced Edna in a staggering 178 episodes altogether, as of the new half-hour that will premiere Sunday. (The Simpsons plans to retire her character, though the show hasn’t yet explained how.)

So how can a Simpsons fan honor Springfield Elementary’s most bawdy, jaded, surprisingly sympathetic educator this weekend? First, get the name right; it’s kra-BA-ppel, not Crandall. Second, spend a few hours rewatching these five episodes, which represent the best of Edna. And sorry, “Nedna” fans, whoever you are; nothing about that random pairing makes the cut.

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'Harlem Shadow': Russell Simmons, Common team for Jazz Age animated hero series

Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons says he has  October’s New York Comic-Con circled on his calendar for the first big reveal of The Harlem Shadow, a new animated online superhero series that will be set in the Jazz Age and features hip-hop star Common in the title voice role.

The series is an adaptation of the indie small-press series of the same name from RavenHammer Comics and the creative team of Brian Williams and Christian Colbert. (That version of the hero is shown in the poster image above.) After the Javitts Center debut, some early content will be online by year’s end at All Def Digital, the YouTube channel from Simmons and Brian Robbins of Awesomeness TV.
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Nick Offerman, brain-eating dinosaurs, and the wild world of Fox's late-night animation

Not many TV shows were specifically designed for the way many of us watch television today—namely, by watching for ten minutes on our iBrains, making GIFs of the best scenes, then flipping to the next show while we fight about the last one on Twitter. But Fox’s new Animation Domination High Def lineup, a late-night block of cartoons that premieres Saturday night, couldn’t be more suited to this kind of short-attention-span theater: the acronym spells out ADHD for a reason. The first two shows in the series, Axe Cop and High School USA!, are flat-screen-ready in all their two-dimensional glory, and they’re only ten minutes long (not counting commercials), so they’re grouped into a brightly-colored, highly-imaginative half-hour showcase that should appeal to children, stoners, and anyone else who can appreciate the appeal of Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman playing an axe-wielding cop who fights bad guys by getting dinosaurs to eat their brains. (More on that later.) Through the ADHD web site, which was designed by the awesomely primitivist, neon-loving art collective Paper Rad, you can create your own GIFs with the ghost of Steve Jobs or watch any number of deeply strange and funny animated shorts. (My personal favorite is called “Gosh Josh! Weird Beard!”) Or if you’re an old person like me, you can just blow the archeological-dig dust off your remote control and watch ADHD on an actual television set during its intended time slot, just like our ancestors did.

Not too long ago, Fox led the charge in making cutting-edge cartoons. But now that Adult Swim regularly churns out innovative series like the existential stop-motion saga Morel Orel and the blaxploitation saga Black Dynamite: The Animated Series, Fox classics like The Simpsons and Family Guy look quaint by comparison. So it makes sense that Fox tapped Adult Swim’s Nick Weidenfeld, who produced Morel, Dynamite, and cult hits like Childrens Hospital, to run its ADHD block, with Adult Swim alumnus Dinos Stamatopoulos (that’s Star-Burns to you Community fans) creating one of its first shows. High School USA! is an Archie spoof that’s updated for Millennials, complete with sexting jokes, teenage girls who are BFFs with their moms, and that special brand of rah-rah enthusiasm that can only belong to a generation raised on whole-wheat Cheerios cereals and self-esteem.

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