Saturday, February 09, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation: Parent's Guide

The Oscar Nominated Shorts Programs are a rare opportunity to see some of the short form films nominated for Academy Awards on the big screen. Last year I was really excited to take my kids to see the Animated selections but I couldn't find a single helpful resource online providing information on content since the packages are unrated. So hopefully, this post will reach at least one parent in a similar situation. I took a chance again this year and took my kids to the 2013 program and it really is a delight for the whole family.

The show this year consists of 8 shorts and some host segments. Seven of the cartoons are dialogue free - which makes the host segments a nice filler of sound in an otherwise quite theater. There is no bad language in any of the shorts, one of the hosts says hell or damn in an off-cuff remark. There are no gory or violent images in any of the shorts either.

Two of the films contain brief/tasteful nudity. Of course, it's cartoon nudity and it's not graphic or sexual in any way. The second film on the lineup, Adam & Dog, features Adam & Eve of Bible fame. Adam is seen nude throughout most of the picture. He's drawn in a cartoony style and even though he is seen from the front quite a bit, his man parts are only vaguely drawn. It looks more like he's wearing long underwear. Eve is seen nude in one scene, from a slight distance. She is sitting down so you only see her top half, the caricature reminded me of how a girl is drawn in one of those silly Playboy magazine comics. If you explain to your kids going in, that the man and woman are Adam & Eve none of it is shocking, inappropriate, or profane. Since the cartoon has no dialogue it's a little hard for kids to pick up that it's supposed to be Adam & Eve.

Dripped is the seventh film in the collection. The short centers on an art thief who eats the paintings he steals and takes on characteristics of the paintings. At one point he eats a painting of angels, at which point he spouts wings. His clothes shed off, with a very brief glimpse of his cartoon pee-pee and cartoon behind. It's super quick and not graphic at all.

In the end, the 2013 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts is really a fun treat for kids. The two films that bookend the program are the most kid appealing: Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare and The Graffalo's Child. Also featured is Paperman which was seen by many before Wreck-It Ralph this past holiday season. Besides The Simpsons short, which is really funny and really sweet, My 7 year old enjoyed Adam & Dog the most. He's a big sucker for dog stories. My 9 year old singled out Fresh Guacamole as his favorite - a stop motion film using everyday items to represent food.

It's a fun night out at the movies and a way to introduce your kids to other types on animation besides Ice Age and Spongebob.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

January Movie Round Up

The first week of the month, I did my traditional weekly round up of movies I saw - then I took the rest of the month off. Here's a quick run down of the rest of the large amount of movies I viewed this past, very cold month!

Frankenweeine (2012) Visually interesting but ultimately boring stop-motion animated tale of a boy who brings his dog back to life. The kids loved it!

Die Hard 2 (1990) This was the only one in the series that I had never seen. Not near as good as the first one, there's some plausibility issues that probably stood out even more in 1990...but it's still a half decent action flick and I'm still on board for Part 5 in a few weeks!

Compliance (2012) I heard so many fantastic things about this movie and it really was a let down. Based on true events about a prank phone caller who, pretending to be a cop,  gets a fast food manager to violate the rights, privacy and body of a teen aged coworker. While the story itself is intriguing, the movie doesn't ask enough questions along the way leaving us with stupid characters on screen. There is also a completely unsatisfying ending.

Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) I know the original Airplane! is technically a better movie, but this is the one I saw first...and a million times on HBO when I was a kid. Love, love...LOVE this movie and can quote pretty much the entire thing.

Mulan (1998) In the Disney Princess cannon, this less marketable tale often goes overlooked but it's a solid film and still alot of fun.

Ernest Rides Again (1993) Thrilled to have this out on a brand new DVD, it's been a long while since I've seen Ernest's 5th big screen adventure...even though it's much lower budget than the four Disney produced films before it, it's really one of the best - perhaps my second favorite Ernest film after he Saves Christmas. Ernest helps a professor uncover an ancient cannon containing the royal jewels of England. Ernest spends over 20 minutes of the film on a runaway cannon and it is a delight!

Iron Man (2008) Finally sat down and watched the origin story of Iron Man and enjoyed it like every other male who has seen it.

Ted (2012) Family Guy guy's movie about a foul-mouth talking teddy bear has some funny moments but it's not going to be the comedy classic that I should have/could have been.

A Haunted House (2013) I loves me some parody films...simply put, this is THE WORST one of these films to come down the pike...EVER! I laughed once and the other three people in the theater snickered at best. This is just an unfunny movie with body parts, body functions and sex as the punch line to every since gag. Horrible.

Rock of Ages (2012) I could not have enjoyed this musical tribute to Hair Bands of the 80's and more. A rocking good time of a movie from start to finish with boat loads of great music and some fine performances in the acting department as well. I can not recommend this movie to anyone enough!!!

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) You gotta hand it to a movie that makes adults and kids laugh for 90 minutes straight. Also, another one of my "saw it a million times on HBO when I was younger" films.

Deal of the Century (1983) One of Chevy Chase's more overlooked films, never a favorite of mine but I love Chevy so I gave it another watch - pretty dated and not very funny.

Joyful Noise (2012) This is what you get when you mix High School Musical, Glee and a Tyler Perry movie all into one.

Pitch Perfect (2012) What Bring It On was to cheer leading, Pitch Perfect is to acapella singing competitions, in fact this movie should have been called Sing It On. Fun, but not great.

9 to 5 (1980) One of my all-time favorites, my mom and I used to watch this all the time back when it first came on HBO. I can still hear her laughing every time Dabney Coleman gets hoisted up by the garage door opener.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) I'm always proud of myself when I watch one of the Best Picture nominees. I didn't think too much of this one, about a little girl growing up in a strange little town outside the New Orleans levees.

Walking The Halls (2012) Redbox tricked me into renting a TV movie - a Lifetime TV movie nonetheless. It's actually a fairly tight thriller about a high school prostitution ring led by the school's security guard. However, no girls actually "walk" the halls.

Hey There, It's Yogi Bear (1964) This was one of the 5 non-Disney kids films floating around when I was a kid. I always thought it meandered on for way to long, but seeing it for the first time in many, many years it actually holds up very well as a feature length version of the classic animated shorts. Better animation, lush backgrounds, a move involved story and some catchy tunes make this a fun picture.

The Avengers (2012) Finally showed this to my kids, they loved it. It's an awesome movie!

To Rome With Love (2012) Woody Allen's most recent film, four separate stories laid out over gorgeous shots of Rome. This was one of Woody's most enjoyable films in the past few years.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) Some funny bits, but mostly lazy dated jokes...especially when it's coming from Mel Brooks. Jokes about Rodney King, Air Nike, and Arsenio Hall have no shelf life.

Movie 43 (2013) This sketch film is getting horrible reviews, but if you like sketch movies then you should like this collection of silly but funny skits filled with an Oscar winning cast. There is a lame frame story involving Dennis Quaid pitching movie ideas to a studio exec, but the skits are clever and just the right lenght. Not a single sketch overstays it's welcome, something that can't be said for the godfather of skit films The Kentucky Fried Movie.

17 Girls (2011) American audiences expect a certain amount of closure at the end of a movie. The French however do not, and this story of 17 high school girls who all decide to get pregnant together - is interesting but goes nowhere.

The Invisible War (2012) Oscar nominated documentary about the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the United States military. This is known as an investigative documentary which plays like a 90 minute news story...but it's done very well. A handful of compelling stories will turn your stomach inside out.

January Movie Count: 32
Best New Movie: Rock of Ages
Best Rewatch: Ernest Rides Again

Worst New Movie: Dark Shadows
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