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Big Bear, Little Mouse

It looks as if we’re finally getting some motion on the long-in-development film Ernest & Celestine. This 2D animated feature from France tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a middle-aged bear and a young mouse, and how they learn to realize their dreams and overcome bigotry by working together. Based on a series of books by Daniel Pennac, the film version is directed by Benjamin Renner (A Mouse’s Tale), Stephane Aubier, and Vincent Patar (A Town Called Panic), and produced by Studio Canal.  There’s a trailer up on YouTube, and according to Animation Magazine, it’s likely to come to North American shores in the fall of 2013.

image c. 2012 Studio Canal

'The Honey Cooler' debuts in Denver

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The Honey CoolerThe Honey Cooler, the noir film with a hard-boiled detective, furries, and Lucha Libre wrestlers, debuts on November 7 at the Hi-Dive in Denver, Colorado.

The film, covered previously on Flayrah, is described as a "lurid tale of animal-costumed sex and private dicks", and tells the tale of a "washed-up detective who gets hired to track down a missing executive and turns up all sorts of high weirdness".

Writer-director Ryan Demers will be in attendance at the premier, along with most of the cast and crew. Admission is free.

Can Sean Connery's voice save 'Sir Billi' from its own CGI?

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

Sir BiliDoes Sean Connery have a death wish?

That is the only reason that I can think of for his investing money, executive-producing, and voice-acting in the forthcoming first Scottish CGI animated feature, Sir Billi.

The Cartoon Brew website has the latest trailer, which is unbelievable. The humans and talking animals are the ugliest that I have ever seen. (Well, except for Hoodwinked, but that at least had a clever plot.)

Sir Billi is about, to quote CB’s Amid Amidi, a retired skateboarding bald senior-citizen veterinarian (Connery) with Gordon, his anthropomorphic homosexual pet goat with bladder problems, who wears a Bruce Lee-style yellow jumpsuit and thinks that he is a dog. Together they set out to rescue Bessie Boo, Scotland’s last beaver, and Wee Dave, a cute rabbit who helped raise her.

Motion picture: 'Escape from Planet Earth'

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Escape from Planet EarthIf Avatar could win the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture in 2009, then Furry fandom should LOVE Escape from Planet Earth. More blue aliens! Furry aliens! A plot that will remind you of Planet 51! Lots of 7-11! Originally scheduled for a 2010 release but now due out from the Weinstein Company and Rainmaker Entertainment in Vancouver on February 14, 2013.

Maybe. The Weinstein Company is being sued for $50,000,000 over this movie, and a judge has ordered an advance private screening of it. Watch the trailer while it’s available.

Animated Animal Farm — Sort Of

Andy Serkis is a well-known actor, both in front of the camera and… behind the animation, as one of the world’s most famous motion-capture models. You’ve seen the results of his work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also in movies like King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now Cartoon Brew has passed along the word the Mr. Serkis is looking to direct his own feature film — and wouldn’t you know it, he plans to do it using mo-cap! George Orwell’s famous allegorical fantasy Animal Farm has been filmed before of course, via traditional animation and also puppetry.  Now Mr. Serkis has bought the rights to the story and has it currently in development, hoping to direct the film himself. No word yet on a projected release date, but Mr. Serkis is currently working on a “proof of concept” short film to help him secure financing.

image c. 2012 Cartoon Brew

Furry Movie Award Watch: October 2012

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

This is a close year, ladies and gentleman. This year we are going to have to wait until November to know which movie will take the crown for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, as compared to the last five years, where it was Pixar/Pixar/Pixar/Pixar/the movie that came out in the spring. You could call it by February each of those years and not look completely stupid. Not so, this year.

The 2012 Pokémon theatrical movie is on the Cartoon Network on December 8

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (6 votes)

Pokemon Kyurem Keldeo PosterHow the mighty have fallen! In November 1999, when the first Pokémon theatrical feature, Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, was released theatrically in the U.S., it was distributed by Warner Bros., played on 3,043 screens, and was the #1 grosser earning $85,744,662. Its final box office was over $163 million.

This year the 15th annual Pokémon movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice, which opened as the #3 grosser in Japan on July 14, will be shown only on the Cartoon Network on December 8. Ho-hum.

Well, here is the English-language trailer.

Animated film: The troll is not a dog ["The Snow Queen"]

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Snow Queen, written in 1845 by Hans Christian Andersen, did not have any anthropomorphic characters in it. Hollywood; excuse me, Moscow; has corrected this omission. Not in the 1957 Soyuzmultfilm feature, which was a faithful enough adaptation of Andersen’s tale but with a talking raven, but in the new Wizart Animation 80-minute CGI feature, directed by Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe, coming in Russia in December.

The story has been modernized and expanded for today's audiences, with a non-human troll added as a major character (for comedy relief); and Gerda has been given a pet ermine, who is not very anthropomorphic but is smarter than the average ermine. [Animation Magazine]

Book into animated film: 'The Saga of Rex'

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

The Saga of RexIn August 2011, Flayrah published a favorable review of The Saga of Rex by animator Michel Gagné.

The Saga of Rex is a surrealistic whimsical science fiction tale that is really just an excuse for Gagné’s incredible imaginative graphics. The plot, if you want to call it that, is that the Guardian-Shepherd of the planet Edernia (a godlike being) summons a fleet of Gathering Ships to fly throughout the galaxy and harvest (kidnap) “specimens” to transport into Dream Globes (alternate worlds) where they will serve as hero-champions for Edernia’s metamorphic sentient Blossoms. (Readers who want to find meaning in this are told, “Those secrets have been lost in the catacombs of time.”) Rex, “the adorable little fox” from Earth, becomes the specimen of Aven, a Blossom who comes to love Rex and transforms herself into a sometimes-winged blue foxlike mate for him. I think.

As I said, just forget about plot and lose yourself in Gagné’s scintillating artwork. Rex’s Dream Globe is a wondrous, mysterious world that encompasses whole galaxies. It is full of strange, flowing, usually amorphous life forms, both benign and hostile. Rex rescues and is rescued by alien beings; he passes through trials of water and fire; he dies and is transmogrified into a savior. Basically, The Saga of Rex is 200 pages of mind-blowingly gorgeous semi-abstract s-f artistry. It is not to be missed.

Now, Gagné has launched a Kickstarter project to raise $15,000 to start an animation studio and turn his book into a classically animated film. He has already gotten $12,152 in pledges, with 26 days to go. See his four-minute video explaining the project.

New from India

Delhi Safari is a new full-length CGI animated feature from India, directed by Nikhil Advani and animated by Krayon Pictures. It tells the story of a group of rainforest animals in India, who find their forest is being destroyed and paved over by human encroachment and construction. They take it upon themselves to travel to Delhi, with the intention of using a “bilingual” parrot (he speaks both human and non-human languages) to voice their complaints about the destruction of their home. The film has been picked up for international distribution by Fantastic Films, and it recently opened for a limited engagement in North America. Filmed in Hindi, the English version of the film features the voices of Jason Alexander, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Jane Lynch, Vanessa Williams, and Brad Garrett. Watch the international trailer on YouTube, or visit the Delhi Safari Facebook page.

image c. 2012 Krayon Pictures

'Kamlu ...Happy Happy', another Indian animated feature

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

So the camel can talk. Can he fly?

Have you ever heard of Kamlu ...Happy Happy, a 3D CGI Hollywood-Bollywood co-production directed by Govind Nihalani that will be released on November 2? In India, anyway, in Hindi. Produced by Krayon Pictures, the same studio that made Delhi Safari, in fact.

This English-language trailer shows it to be a children’s fantasy about a young talking camel who wants to fly, who gets mixed up with a human princess, an enigmatic magician, lots of villains, and so on. Will it play in America? I’m sure the Bollywood producers hope so.

Rare TV screening of uncut 'Mr. Bug Goes to Town' this Sunday on TCM

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Mr. Bug Goes to TownIt’s been announced since August 3, but it just occurred to me that it hasn’t been announced on Flayrah yet. This coming Sunday, October 21, from 8:00 p.m. (EST) in the evening until 5:00 a.m. the next morning, Turner Classic Movies will feature “Rare Animation” including three features and eighteen shorts, hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne and the Cartoon Brew’s Jerry Beck.

The three features will be the Fleischer Studios’ Gulliver Travels (1939) at 8:00 pm., Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941) at 9:30 p.m., and Lotte Reiniger’s independent silent The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) at 1:15 a.m. the next morning. It is Mr. Bug Goes to Town, a.k.a. Hoppity Goes to Town, that makes this of interest to Furry fans.

Kitchener, Ontario November animation festival includes two anthropomorphic features

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Marco MacacoThis year’s 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, on November 15–18, 2012 at The Crysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, will include Mamoru Hosoda’s The Wolf Children, along with more than eleven other animated features unreleased in North America.

The list includes the 2012 Danish Marco Macaco (trailer) by director Jan Rahbek, featuring a tropical island full of anthropomorphic monkeys, a monkey policeman, monkey pirates, and a monkey Giant Robot.

Review: ‘Hotel Transylvania’ is furrier than you think, but not much better

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (7 votes)

Hotel Transylvania posterI watched Hotel Transylvania because I have a weakness for Gothic archetypes, not because I was expecting it to be any good. It is a movie not only starring Adam Sandler, but even produced by him. Well, I can say this is the best thing Adam Sandler has done in years, but that still does not matter much on the good to bad scale.

I did not watch this movie because I intended to review it for Flayrah; about halfway through the climax, in which the movie’s protagonist takes the form of a talking bat and sticks that way until the denouement, I realized furries might want to know that. I mean, yeah, werewolf in the trailers and TV spots and all, but if you decide to see this movie, see it for the cute talking vampire bats.

Not much else reason.

'Koochie Koochie Hota Hai' postponed again to July 2013

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Koochie Koochie Hota HaiOneIndia Entertainment, “India’s #1 Language Portal”, reports that the long-delayed Hindi-language Koochie Koochie Hota Hai feature, supposedly completed in 2009 or 2010 but release-delayed (because of poor box-offices in India for Indian-made animated features) until December 10, 2012, has been postponed again until July 2013.

The feature, a CGI-animated funny-animal remake of the hugely popular 1998 Hindi live-action Bollywood feature Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, is an anthropomorphic sci-fi (time travel) romantic comedy-drama with lots of singing & dancing. See Flayrah's April story for more details, or watch the English-language trailer.

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