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And You Think YOU’RE A Fanboy…

Something else that slipped below the radar, even though it appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. Brigsby Bear is a new surreal live-action comedy produced by the Lonely Island folks from Saturday Night Live. According to Wikipedia, the story goes like this: “James Pope was kidnapped from a hospital as a baby and since childhood all the way to adulthood has known nothing about the world except Brigsby Bear, a children’s show character fabricated by his kidnapper parents. One day, James is rescued and brought out into the real world where he learns that Brigsby Bear is not a real children’s show. Confused and baffled by these turn of events, James sets out to make a Brigsby Bear movie to show the world what he has learned.” Starring Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as James, the film is directed by Dave McCary. Other notable names in the cast include Greg Kinnear and Mark Hamill. Sony Pictures picked up Brigsby Bear and will release it to theaters at the end of July.

image c. 2017 Sony Pictures

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Listen to the Masked One!

More tie-in stuff coming our way as we get closer to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2. Now Marvel Press give us a new hardcover illustrated book called Rocket’s Rules. “Ever wonder how to navigate a quantum asteroid field? Escape a deep-space maximum-security prison? Insult a powerful adversary without anyone catching on? You’re in luck! In this ultimate intergalactic survival guide, Rocket covers everything you need to know – including what it takes to be a good member of a team. So pay attention and read up!” It hits the shelves (like a missile!) right before the movie comes out, but you can pre-order it now over at Simon & Schuster. [Tip #1: Don’t call him a raccoon!]

image c. 2017 Marvel Press

A Whole Lotta Bull

Thanks to Furry. Today, we got our first look at the newly-released trailer for Ferdinand, an upcoming animated movie from Blue Sky. And thanks to an article over at Cartoon Brew, we have a whole lot more information about it too!  According to the studio, “Ferdinand tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.” It’s directed by Carlos Saldanha, who of course gave us not only Ice Age: The Meltdown but also Rio. Wrestling superstar John Cena (fresh off his turn as a voice actor in the Surf’s Up sequel) stars as the voice of Ferdinand the bull, but the Cartoon Brew article also features a huge spread of character designs and voice actors from the film. Look for it this winter.

image c. 2017 Blue Sky Studios

The Wolves of Ireland

Cartoon Brew has a first look at Tomm Moore’s latest animated feature called Wolfwalkers. Mr. Moore, you may recall, is the Irish animation director responsible for The Book of Kells and Song of the Sea, both of which won praises from furry fans and animation lovers the world over. This new feature sounds even more anthropomorphic: “Wolfwalkers tells the story of 11-year-old Robyn Goodfellow, a young apprentice hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack of wolves. Her life changes though after she saves a native girl, Mebh, which leads to her discovery of the Wolfwalkers and transforms her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.” The article includes a teaser trailer the creators just recently released.

image c. 2017 Cartoon Saloon

Man on the Island of Monkeys

And no, we’re not talking about Kong of Skull Island either. Cartoon Brew has an article about a new animated film in development called Kensuke’s Kingdom. “Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), Kensuke’s Kingdom follows the story of a young boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions.” Directed by animation veterans Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, the film combines a variety of 2D techniques for a rather unique overall look. No word yet on any plans for international distribution, but the Cartoon Brew article includes a proof-of-concept short film the directors have been showing around lately. It gives you a good idea what the film might look like.

image c. 2017 Lupus Films

Monster in the Mountains

Recently, Netflix released a teaser trailer for OKJA, an upcoming film that (we will admit) caught us by surprise! Directed by Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer) and starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film tells the story of a young Korean girl named Mija who befriends a monstrous creature– the result of a genetic experiment that has produced a being “somewhere between human and animal”. We only catch a glimpse of OKJA from the trailer, but already horror and fantasy fans are buzzing. Look for OKJA this June on Netflix.

image c. 2017 Netflix

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And the Aardvark Shall Lead Them

Thanks to a recent YouTube post about upcoming animated films, we learned of a new feature in production called The Ark and the Aardvark. Here’s the ad blurb: “The story follows an outcast aardvark by the name of Gilbert [voiced by Miles Teller], who becomes the reluctant leader of a ragtag group of misfit animals that need to be led to the mighty ark before the impending flood. Along their journey, they band together to conquer unforeseen obstacles, and ultimately, Gilbert discovers within himself the inner strength and ingenuity to prove that in a world of ‘twos’, he was truly destined to be The One.” Currently in production at Unified Pictures, the film is being directed by John Stevenson — co-director of the original Kung Fu Panda. No word yet on a precise release date (or who is going to distribute it), but it’s supposed to come out this year.

image c. 2017 Unified Pictures

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The Annie Awards for 2016

Your humble ed-otter journeyed to UCLA for the 44th annual Annie Awards — the Oscars of animation, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood. As expected (or hoped by many furry fans!), Zootopia dominated the evening in the feature categories, taking home Annies for Storyboarding, Character Design, Writing, Directing, and Best Feature. It was not a sweep, however, and Kubo and the Two Strings was not far behind: It won awards in the feature categories for Editing, Character Animation, and Production Design. Voting for the Best Voice Acting in the feature category resulted in a tie, shared by Auli’i Cravalho for Moana and Jason Bateman for Zootopia. A new category, Best Independent Feature, was won by the subtly anthropomorphic film The Red Turtle. Disney’s film The Jungle Book won an Annie for Character Animation In A Live Action Production (though it’s still controversial if the film counts as that). Best Short was won by Pixar’s popular birdie film Piper, while Best Student Film went to a European short about dinosaurs called Citipati. Over in the TV broadcast categories the most popular winner of furry interest seemed to be Dreamworks’ Trollhunters, which won for Storyboarding, Character Design, and Character Animation. The Best Television Production for Preschool Children went to Tumble Leaf, while the Best TV Production for Children went to to Adventure Time. Visit the Annie Awards web site for a complete list of the nominees and winners. Congratulations to all!

image c. 2017 Walt Disney Animation

Do Only Cats Have Multiple Lives?

It seems as if we’ve been seeing trailers for A Dog’s Purpose for a long long time now, but it’s finally set to actually hit theaters at the end of this month. It’s a live action film directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules), based on a novel by W. Bruce Cameron. Josh Gad (Frozen) stars as the interior voice of a domestic dog, initially named Bailey. We say ‘initially’ because after several years living with a beloved human boy, Bailey dies… only to be re-born as another dog with another human companion.  And so on and so on, different lives as different dogs with different humans… until, several lives down the road of eternity, he meets up with Bailey’s original companion. IMDB has more.

image c. 2017 Amblin Entertainment