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iCMFF: Animation Thread
Topic Started: Nov 20 2017, 01:59:57 AM (638 Views)
outdoorcats
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Welcome to the 2017 iCheckMovies Film Festival!

This is the first annual festival to be held here on the iCM Forum, and the third of its kind which originally started on the IMDb message boards (you know, back when those existed).

For the full program guide and a brief explanation of what the festival is, look no further than here.
For the unofficial challenge thread, look no further than here.

Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award. This is not connected to the Unofficial Challenge and therefore it does not matter when you saw the films in question.

Other sections:

Main Slate
English-Language Independents
International (I and II)
LGBT
Arthouse
Documentaries
Just Before Dawn
Shorts Programs

This is the thread where we rate and discuss the films in the Animation section.

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April and the Extraordinary World dir. Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci. 2015, 105 min. Posted Image
Starring the voices of Marion Cotillard, Jean Rochefort, and Olivier Gourmet.
A wildly imaginative and magical animated steampunk vision from some of the creative minds behind Persepolis, April presents an alternate-universe 1941, technologically still trapped in the 19th century, where a resourceful young girl goes on a journey in search of her missing scientist parents.

Posted Image




The Boy and the Beast dir. Mamoru Hosoda. 2015, 119 min. Posted Image
Starring the voices of Kôji Yakusho and Shôta Sometani.
With The Girl Who Leaped Through Time and Summer Wars, Hosoda established himself as one of the most visionary talents in anime. With The Boy and the Beast, a psychologically complex and gorgeous young adult fantasy, he channels everything from classic Kurosawa to Herman Melville in his tale of a young human boy who stumbles upon the hidden world of the god-like beasts, and becomes the unlikely apprentice of their grouchiest and most uncivilized member, Kamemetsu (Yakusho).

Posted Image




Miss Hokusai dir. Keiichi Hara. 2015, 93 min. Posted Image
Starring the voices of: Anne Watanabe and Yutaka Matsushige.
In this gorgeous, mature, period animated drama, the work of a historic “ukiyo-e” painter is seen through the eyes of his daughter, who strives to be an artist in her own right. Presenting his film as a “slice-of-life” series of episodes, Hara crafts a loving ode to art and artists, complicated by fraught family ties and bittersweet emotions.

Posted Image
Edited by outdoorcats, Nov 20 2017, 02:20:24 AM.
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RogerTheMovieManiac88
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Just a marker post for now. Looking forward to these three! Greetings to my fellow judges in this section.
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matthewscott8
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My aim is to see all these in a triple bill on Saturday, then I will have really good grounds to compare them.
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3eyes
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I tried 2 of these already -- I don't remember why but I abandoned April about halfway through. I got the DVD for The boy and the beast but there were no subs or closed captions -- I have hearing loss, so that was a wash. I do have Miss H in my streaming queue and aim to watch it anon, if my eyes will let me.
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Onderhond
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I liked Miss Hokusai a lot, The Boy and the Beast was somewhat of a disappointment. Not a bad film, but not up there with Hosoda's best. Might watch April ... looks interesting.
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jvv
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April and the Extraordinary World - 5/10

Felt like a rip-off of Ghibli with more violence and less charm. I watched the English dub and that might have been a mistake, because the voices didn't seem to fit the characters to me. To end on a positive note; the talking cat was cute.
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sacmersault
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Miss Hokusai: I remember I was very excited about this film before it came out, but it was not very good. The animation is good, but the story is not interesting. I thought it was going to focus more on the main character as a painter herself, but it kind of went everywhere without going nowhere. 6/10
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cinephage
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The boy and the beast - 9/10
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Teproc
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By chance I've actually seen all of this. None of them really live up to their promise unfortunately... I think my favorite is Miss Hokusai ? It's very pretty.

Miss Hokusai - 6/10
April and the Extraordinary World - 6/10
The Boy and the Beast - 3/10
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cinephage
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jvv
Nov 20 2017, 11:47:03 PM
April and the Extraordinary World - 5/10

Felt like a rip-off of Ghibli with more violence and less charm. I watched the English dub and that might have been a mistake, because the voices didn't seem to fit the characters to me. To end on a positive note; the talking cat was cute.
Actually this is the adaptation of a comic book by Jacques Tardi, a very prestigious french cartoonist and illustrator.

Posted Image

He invented characters such as Adèle Blanc-Sec and illustrated various french novels, like Celine's Voyage au bout de la nuit. His favorite period is the early XXth century or late nineteenth, his stories usually take place in Paris or on the battlefields of Verdun and other WWI famous spots...
Spoiler: click to toggle


So that's quite unexpected for me that it would look like a Ghibli rip-off, as Tardi is very far from any japanese influence. I didn't see the movie, though...
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Teproc
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It has a bit of an environmentalist side to it, which I guess people associate with Ghibli ? But I agree that I don't really see a connection otherwise.
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jvv
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Miss Hokusai - 6.5/10

The animation is very nice to look at, but I'm probably missing some cultural background to fully appreciate the movie.
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jvv
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The Boy and the Beast - 5/10

They just kept hammering in the theme of the movie, no subtlety whatsoever.
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Eve-Lang-El-Coup
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jvv
Nov 20 2017, 11:47:03 PM
April and the Extraordinary World - 5/10

Felt like a rip-off of Ghibli with more violence and less charm. I watched the English dub and that might have been a mistake, because the voices didn't seem to fit the characters to me. To end on a positive note; the talking cat was cute.
I don't get what you thought was ripped from Ghibli. I think the closest film in their repertoire I can think of in terms of plot is Laputa.
The first thing that popped into my mind was Tintin. I haven't read any TinTin but from the images I've seen the art style and period aesthetic are a match and I'm pretty sure Tintin tackles large-scale conspiracies too, but I may be wrong as I have not done any validating research.
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Eve-Lang-El-Coup
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cinephage
Nov 21 2017, 06:16:24 PM
He invented characters such as Adèle Blanc-Sec.
Have you read the comics? What did you think of Luc Bessons' adaptation?

From what I remember it was typically goofy Besson fun.
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te18
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April and the Extraordinary World (2015) 7/10
This felt very much in the spirit of a Miyazaki animation (although I agree with Eve-Lang that its similar in many ways to Tintin also), with a story centred around flight and invention, traversing various diverse settings with quirky characters and plot devices. I thought the animation work was lovely and really brought the at times complicated story to life. I would have enjoyed it a bit more if it were grounded in its steam-age setting for longer before embracing its more fantastical elements but as a whole it flowed pretty well.
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St. Gloede
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April and the Extraordinary World (2015, Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci)
In alternative world where the Napoleon empire never fell, scientists have been disappearing for decades, and one teenager might have a secret life giving serum. It is definitely a very atmospheric take on a steam driven Paris, in a 1930s-1940s, and will likely attract audiences just for this reason.

It's distinctive French animation style allows for a lot of charm, but there is an odd dichotomy at play here, between it's elegant semi-minimalism, and it's more juvenile and child friendly plot. As it progressed I felt it was harder and harder to take it seriously. It is clear that the target audience is very young, or at least so it feels, and this is also where it falls.

The style carried it for a very long time, but as the climax strips aside the atmosphere there are suddenly few legs to stand on. 5.5/10.

The Boy and the Beast (2015, Mamoru Hosoda)
The classic archtypes of the boy and his eccentric sensei gets a twist as the boy is lost and exluded, discpvering a hidden world of beasts, and the master is just that. Hosoda brings is typical strong atmosphere, that makes the potentially child-like notes del more mature, solemn and complex.

At the core of it all is the relationship, and the emotion, as well as the balance between the human needs and what can be provided in the magical world. There is nothing new here, and I would even say it is the Hosoda film that is the closest to a film for the young teen market. All the same it is so well done, with strong character portraits, great chemistry and a lot of fun, with good over and undertones of more solemn nature. 7.5-8/10.

Miss Hokusai (2015, Keiichi Hara)
Beautifiully designed, Miss Hokusai is a fairly emotional biography of a father/daughter artist relationship, complete with silly gags and everything you would expect to make the story as audience friendly as possible - including opening the entire film with modern music that really clashes with the period setting. It is a very good film but little choices like this, and it's slightly thin nature makes it fall short of greatness. 7/10.
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sortile9io
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Avril et le monde truqué (Desmares, Ekinci, 2015) — Not a big fan of talking animals, specially cats (and I think it wasn't strictly necessary in this case), but the story involving scientists in search of the ultimate invention in a parallel timeline was lively and compelling from the beginning to the end. It was also nice to see some European animation rendered in the tradition of the ligne claire. 8/10

Bakemono no ko (Hosoda, 2015) — Apart from a trick in the script (concerning the true identity of one of the characters) everything flows very naturally with a perfect balance between cheerfulness and gloom. I appreciated the mutual and squabbling master-pupil relationship that prevented the story from repeating the habitual Karate Kid story while creating several humorous notes. 7/10

Miss Hokusai (Hara, 2015) — Beautiful, interesting and unusual (for an animation film), the episodic narrative fits well the purpose of illustrating different sides in the life of the Hokusai as well as the origins of some of their artwork. 8/10
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Lonewolf2003
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Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai (Miss Hokusai) (2015): 7.2

Bakemono no ko (The Boy and the Beast ) (2015)
: 7.2 - I was liking the humoristic and emotional take on the master-disciple very much. But the movie lost momentum from the moment
Spoiler: click to toggle
The reveal of the final nemesis comes out of nowhere and the message of the movie is, like jvv said, not hampered in very subtle. All with all an entertaining movie that didn't totally live up to its great start.
Edited by Lonewolf2003, Dec 3 2017, 10:45:15 PM.
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matthewscott8
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3eyes
Nov 20 2017, 02:23:45 PM
I tried 2 of these already -- I don't remember why but I abandoned April about halfway through. I got the DVD for The boy and the beast but there were no subs or closed captions -- I have hearing loss, so that was a wash. I do have Miss H in my streaming queue and aim to watch it anon, if my eyes will let me.
I believe the Boy and The Beast is free on Amazon Prime if you have that.
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beavis
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1. April and the Extraordinary World - 7.3
2. The Boy and the Beast - 7.3
3. Miss Hokusai - 7

Most of what I could say about these has already been said by most people. In general I felt all three were interesting, but flawed.

I was excited for some Tardi and Hokusai, but indeed the stories were not developed in a very interesting way. But Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) was also dissapointing on the Tardi front and Hokusai Manga (1981) is not a good reccomendation for a Hokusai movie either (Sharaku (1995) is though! even though Hokusai is only there in the sidelines of that movie). So maybe that kind of material doesn't translate well.
Keiichi Hara had already made an anime masterpiece though, with Karafuru (2010), so that one was especially a let down. Boy and the Beast might have the best animation of the three, but the weak ending kind of "ruined" the movie a bit for me. As always I am mild when giving marks; weighing in objective factors next to subjective feelings... they are nicely develloped works, with more good than bad elements, but a 7 is still pretty forgettable stuff in my book.
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Lonewolf2003
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Avril et le monde truqué (April and the Extraordinary World) (2015): 7.2 - nice little animated adventure movie with no pretense of being anything more than that. It reminded my of reading comics as a kid (the European, not the American kind).
Edited by Lonewolf2003, Dec 5 2017, 11:25:14 PM.
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te18
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Miss Hokusai (2015) 5/10
I can see where the beauty in this film lies and understand how people who wouldn't go for the typical anime fare might see it as a fine antidote to the more action-centred films of the genre, but it's not the kind of animation I go looking for. Narratively there's very little of interest except for the occasional flirtation with spiritual or supernatural elements, and certainly not enough to hold my attention properly.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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百日紅~Miss HOKUSAI~ / Miss Hokusai (Keiichi Hara, 2015)
Posted Image

Transcends the literal in knowing peace.
Or as David Lynch would say: "Beyond the beyond." *waving one hand with a slight upwards inflection*


Screenshots
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blocho
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April 7/10
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RogerTheMovieManiac88
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I wasn't knocked out by any of these three but they were all pleasantly rewarding and intriguing and memorable.

I'd rank them as follows:

'Miss Hokusai' - 8/10
'The Boy and the Beast' - 8/10
'Avril et le monde truqué' - 7/10

Three animated delights!
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sacmersault
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April and the Extraordinary World: I really had high hopes for this movie. It had been towards the top of my list for a while, but for some reason hadn't gotten around to see it. It really dissapointed me. The animation is very pretty, a cross between old French/Belgian comics and modern graphic novels. Apart from that, I really disliked the story. I don't really have much to say about it. 5/10
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sacmersault
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The Boy and the Beast: Very good movie. It was a bit long and could have been a few movies individually, but good nonetheless. 8/10
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sacmersault
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Finished Section: Not the best animation films in the past few years, but not bad.

The Boy and the Beast 8/10
Miss Hokusai 6/10
April and the Extraordinary World 5/10
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ChrisReynolds
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I managed to watch Miss Hokusai and April and the Extraordinary World.

Both have a lot of things to like but have flaws. Miss Hokusai has beautiful animation, but the story isn't interesting and didn't go anywhere. It came across as scenes from the lives of Hokusai and his daughter. Most damagingly, the blind daughter died, and there was hardly any emotion there at all. On the plus side, I loved the magical realism scenes where the animation is used to show fantasy sequences to get across the experience of artistic realisation.

April and the Extraordinary World was fun. The realisation and design of the steampunk world was fascinating and beautiful. There are some great sequences where the steampunk machinery goes into action, particularly the scene where the house grows legs to escape from the villains. The story itself was OK, but could have been better, with tighter pacing and tension to keep interest high. The police inspector's tiresome slapstick attempts to capture April and her friends brought the film down.

My scores:
April and the Extraordinary World 6/10
Miss Hokusai 5/10
Edited by ChrisReynolds, Dec 11 2017, 05:50:25 PM.
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Eve-Lang-El-Coup
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April and the Extraordinary World - 7
The Boy and The Beast - 7
Miss Hokusai - 5
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St. Gloede
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This was a very weak selection, but I would vote for The Boy and The Beast as the winner.
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