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12:00 PM on 12.21.2013

Nick's Flixmas: The Nightmare Before Christmas

If you've ever stepped into a Hot Topic or talked to a thirteen year old during their "dark" phase, chances are you've heard of The Nightmare Before Christmas. How and why did it blow up the way it did? It's a great film...

Nick Valdez


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11:00 AM on 07.03.2013

Teaser Trailer: The Boxtrolls

Here's a short teaser trailer for Laika's (the team that brought you Corpse Bride, Coraline, and one of the best films of 2012, ParaNorman) upcoming project The Boxtrolls (which is based on the Alan Snow novel Here...

Nick Valdez



RIP Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) photo
RIP Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013)
by Hubert Vigilla

Ray Harryhausen, the legendary special effects pioneer, stop-motion animator, and creature creator, died today at the age of 92. Harryhausen's work has influenced generations of filmmakers and special effects artists, and holds a special place in many people's hearts. Our condolences to Harryhausen's family and friends.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories come from Ray Harryhausen. I remember watching Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans, and Sinbad movies on VHS with my Uncle Mike (who is the reason I became a movie geek), and ditto Mysterious Island, The Valley of Gwangi, and Mighty Joe Young. For a good stretch in my early adolescence, I did my best to watch Harryhausen movies whenever they were on cable, because there was a genuine sense of magic and wonder in everything that he touched; he imparted life to his Dynamation monsters.

I also recall being at the San Diego Comic Con years ago and attending a panel with Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, and Forrest Ackerman on stage together. It was a wonderful hour of anecdotes and reminiscences from three people whose fingerprints are still all over science fiction and fantasy. Though all three of these men have now passed away, their fingerprints will remain.

The Harryhausen family's official statement is included below.

[via Coming Soon]

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7:15 PM on 02.07.2013

ParaNorman creators to make The Boxtrolls

ParaNorman is the movie that should be winning best animated picture awards left and right, but isn't because it had nowhere near as big a budget or marketing push. But everyone who saw it loved it and the fine folks at ...

Matthew Razak

1:00 PM on 02.01.2013

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio put on the back burner

I suppose the laws of probability would dictate that out of the million or so projects Guillermo Del Toro has on his plate at any given time, at least a couple aren't going to come to fruition. That doesn't excuse how depress...

Thor Latham



Jenika's Top 5 Animated Movies of 2012 photo
Jenika's Top 5 Animated Movies of 2012
by Jenika Katz

In recent years, a lot of animated movies have been formulaic and underwhelming, but 2012 brought us the variety and quality that has been missing in the genre for a while. Sure, Disney brought back Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. in 3D, and things like Madagascar 3 still exist, but there were enough new releases that the obvious money-grabs were not so odious. Plus, Finding Nemo in 3D was gorgeous, so shut up.

Animation is always a gamble, since impressive technique can go unnoticed due to a terrible story, and great writing is often watered down to appeal to more to a young audience than to the parents that accompany them. 2012 seemed to understand the dearth of high-quality animated films out there, and it really delivered. In a year that brought us a black-and-white movie about a dead dog, a princess movie without a prince, and three full-length stop motion films, which ones rose above the rest?

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11:00 AM on 11.27.2012

Two behind the scenes clips from ParaNorman Blu-ray

I reviewed ParaNorman back in August and found it to be pretty fantastic, due in no small part to the mind blowingly detailed stop-motion animation. With the Blu-ray/DVD releasing today, a couple of promotional cli...

Thor Latham

3:00 PM on 10.01.2012

These new Frankenweenie posters are all vintagey and cute

To help ring in the month of "Monstober," Disney has released six new posters for Tim Burton's recently released stop-motion movie Frankenweenie. The movie's story centers around a young Victor Frankenstein who brings his bel...

Liz Rugg



Review: Frankenweenie photo
Review: Frankenweenie
by Jenika Katz

Let's be real: Tim Burton hasn't exactly been churning out hits lately. Between Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows, it's hard to have a lot of faith in the man anymore. What seemed to be passion projects seem more and more to be sad shadows of his former work, the sort of things generally reduced to mockery. Seeing Burton revive an old project might have once been exciting, but now it brings with it the dread that something once cherished might be completely ruined by whatever it is that this man has become.

So what, then, is Frankenweenie? Disney fired Burton when he brought his original short to them, unsure of what to do with his odd stylistic choices and a zombified animal. Over twenty years later, the short is back in a full length, paid for by the team that rejected it initially. Was it Burton that changed, or simply the material? What would have to differ in order for Disney to change their minds? Would Burton fans rejoice at his return to form or sadly shake their heads yet again at his lack of inspiration?

As it turns out, Frankenweenie might be just what both Burton and Disney were looking for, and the audience comes out on top.

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10:00 AM on 08.21.2012

Behind the scenes video: The faces of ParaNorman

We all know somewhere in the back of our heads that stop motion animation takes an insane amount of work, but it isn't until you see behind the scenes things like the above video that you really begin to understand just how ...

Liz Rugg



Review: ParaNorman photo
Review: ParaNorman
by Thor Latham

I think there's a point in everyone's childhood where one feels displaced from their surroundings and possibly alienated from their friends and family. It's just a part of growing up and it helps us appreciate ourselves as individuals before we finally get thrown back into the fold of society. For some kids though, being singled out isn't really a choice, and it isn't individualism that they need, but acceptance from those closest to them. Norman is one such kid. All he wants is for someone to listen, for someone to try and understand his plight, be it his sympathetic mother, his narrow-minded father, or his self centered cheer-leading sister. It's something a lot of us go through growing up, and it makes Norman instantly likable and easy to relate to. 

Of course, Norman can see and speak to the dead, so his problems probably dwarf most of ours.

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3:00 PM on 08.15.2012

Trailer: Paranorman

Why isn't Paranorman out yet?!? I know it comes out in two days, but man is it a long wait. This trailer just serves to present more of John Goodman's goodness and the sweet, sweet ear candy of the film's score. It's th...

Nick Valdez

7:00 PM on 08.09.2012

Brothers Quay retrospective starts at MoMA 8/12

For the New Yorkers out there, the Museum of Modern Art begins a massive retrospective on The Brothers Quay starting Sunday, August 12th. You may know The Brothers Quay best for their creepy yet oddly beautiful works of stop-...

Hubert Vigilla

3:00 PM on 08.06.2012

Flix for Short: Batman: The Dark Knightfall

Playing with Batman toys has never looked this good. Derek Kwok and Henri Wong of Parabucks, a company that specializes in cool looking visual effects (check some out here), painstakingly took the super detailed Hot Toys Bat...

Nick Valdez

8:00 AM on 07.30.2012

Watch the hard work it takes to make Paranorman look good

I am unabashedly supportive of Laika's Paranorman. When it comes out in three weeks (August 17th!), I'm wrangling up a huge group of people to see it with me. To further prove that Paranorman will be the greatest thing ...

Nick Valdez

7:00 PM on 07.11.2012

Kickstart a stop motion Charlie Kaufman film

Here's a collection of words I didn't expect to see assembled in this order today but are nonetheless a pleasant sight: Starburns Industries has launched a Kickstarter for a stop motion animated film titled Anomalisa, written...

Jason Savior

6:00 PM on 06.29.2012

Watch this cool 360 degree tour of Frankenweenie's sets

I always love behind the scenes things for stop motion films. It's so magical for me to have a look at the real scale of these puppets and sets with real people milling about and working in them. Disney has heard my desires f...

Alex Katz

5:00 PM on 06.20.2012

8 new posters for Frankenweenie show off characters

While a lot of people nowadays think that Tim Burton has gone a little off his rocker, perhaps returning to stop-motion animation will bring back what we first loved about the ubiquitous director. His upcoming Frankenweenie i...

Liz Rugg



Del Toro, Gustafson to co-direct Pinocchio photo
Del Toro, Gustafson to co-direct Pinocchio
by Jason Savior

Guillermo del Toro's will share the helm on his forthcoming 3D stop-motion Pinocchio with Mark Gustafson, it was announced today. Gustafson served as animation director on Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox after Henry Selick left the project to direct Coraline.

The film is adapted from Gris Grimly's novel of the same name and sets the Pinocchio story in Italy between the first and second World Wars. "It was a time when everyone was behaving like a puppet, except the puppets," says del Toro, impishly but meaninglessly. His darker Pinocchio will feature "lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations," and a "bleak landscape of robbers and thugs."

Production is due to start in summer 2013 and last a year. A hint at casting from del Toro? He's considering Tom Waits as Geppetto. All in all, an intriguing project.

[via Variety]

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10:00 AM on 05.10.2012

Flix for Short: The Eagleman Stag

You know an animated short is awesome when it's racking up awards like no tomorrow. The Eagleman Stag is about an entomologist's experiences when he discovers a new kind of beetle. It's more about the feeling than the actual...

Jenika Katz



Review: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits photo
Review: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits
by Xander Markham

[This was originally posted under the UK title The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. It has been reposted to coincide with the US release.]

Aardman are one of those rare companies almost impossible to dislike: they've cornered the market in large scale stop-motion animation, and the level of artistry involved in each of their productions demonstrates why. Pirates! Band Of Misfits is replete with puns and gags hidden in the background, whether the name of a shop, a story in a newspaper or poster on a wall. The attention to detail is stunning and demands the viewer keep their eyes flitting across the screen to not miss anything, even though return viewings will certainly be rewarded with a fresh trove of delights.

If a viewer is to be asked to pay such surgical attention to each shot, this is the right film for it. Everything from the animation to the character models are as comically rich as expected from the people behind Wallace And Gromit, with a deft touch not only for capturing the nuances of movement for maximum comedic effect, but the timing as well. Considering how long it takes for these movies to be made and how painstaking the process, the ease with which it plays out is an astonishing achievement.

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10:00 AM on 04.10.2012

Tim Burton finds new favorite to write stop-motion script

We don't usually cover gossip here on Flixist, but Tim Burton's love life trumps previous policies. Burton's previous love affair with Johnny Depp has not gone unnoticed, as he casts the man in damn near all of his projects. ...

Jenika Katz