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Review: 'April and the Extraordinary World', animated film

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

A woman and a cat leap across rooftops, with twin Eiffel Towers in the background. April and the Extraordinary World [trailer] is the English dub of a 2015 French animated film, originally titled Avril et le monde truqué. There was a limited North American theatrical release in April 2016.

Furry-wise, it's borderline: a likeable talking cat sidekick, plus a little extra anthropomorphism that I can't discuss without spoiling. Its main appeal is for steampunk fans. If that's your thing, it's definitely worth a look!

Coming in August to Japan: 'Rudolph and Ippaiattena' ... and Godzilla?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Toho Films has just released an aw-it’s-cute trailer for its August 6 CGI theatrical feature adaptation of author Hiroshi Saitō’s children’s book Rudolph and Ippaiattena. But Toho has also added a mention of one of its other big summer releases, Godzilla: Resurgence. Japan still has theatrical monopolies, so these features released by Toho Films will only play in the Toho Cinemas theatrical chain.

Anime News Network has news on the film’s voice actors, Saitō’s original children’s book series, and a translation of the trailer’s text.

Here comes Mr. Fuzzypants

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The movie Nine Lives with Kevin Spacey as a cat – “Kevin Spacey as you’ve never seen him before” – will be released on August 5, 2016. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and produced by EuropaCorp, also starring Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken, Robbie Amell and Malina Weissman.

This is not a reincarnation fantasy. Spacey plays Tom Brand, a ruthless businessman who becomes trapped in the body of his 11-year-old daughter Rebecca’s pet adult cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. The article/press release in the Independent describes him as “a talking CGI cat”, but this first trailer shows him as a non-talking live cat, though with lots of VFX. Maybe he’ll talk and become CGI in later trailers. None of the publicity gives the name of the trained cat.

This will be a nice contrast to all of the CGI animated talking animal movies of 2016.

'Top Cat Begins' -- in Britain

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Here is the British trailer for Top Cat Begins, directed by Andrés Couturier, that was released last October 30 in México as Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla. It’s coming on May 27 in the U.K., distributed by Warner Bros. (so can the U.S. release be far behind?)

It was produced for only $8,000,000 (estimated). While I’m tempted to say that it looks it, it’s really not bad for only $8 million these days. It was produced by Ánima Estudios in Ciudad México, the makers of that Oz movie with the Day of the Dead look, Wicked Flying Monkeys. Haven’t seen that yet? Don’t worry; you will.

Look at the lip sync. Was this movie made for English or Spanish dialogue? What do you think?

'Cats and More Cats' anthology to launch at Further Confusion 2016

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Cats and More CatsCats and More Cats; Feline Fantasy Fiction, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2016 in San Jose, California over the January 14-18 five-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered online from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Cats and More Cats is a reprint anthology of 14 short stories and novelettes of feline fantasy fiction (“the best of the best”) from 1989 to the present, most of them out-of-print today, plus a new essay and an extensive bibliography of cat fantasy books. This is designed to appeal to both science fiction and fantasy fans, and all cat-lovers.

FurPlanet Publications, $19.95 (261 pages). Wraparound cover by Donryu. ISBN 978-1-61450-297-5

Review: 'Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana' by Mary E. Lowd (by GreyFlank)

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Otters In Space: The Search for Cat HavanaIn an uplifted universe, where the humans sneaked away when no one was looking, Earth is largely cats and dogs.

The dogs rule, at least in North America, and two sisters are trying to get more feline representation in what is supposedly a democracy. Events conspire to separate the sisters, and the level headed sister, Kipper, is forced into a wild adventure to find her sister, or at least solve the mystery that seems to threaten them both.

This is book one of three, with the third coming out soon.

See also: Reviews by Fred and dronon.

FurPlanet Publications, January 2012, 2nd Ed.; trade paperback $9.95 (176 pages); ebook $5.99.

'Blazing Saddles' + animation = 'Blazing Samurai'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Blazing SamuraiCan a massive theatrical animated hodgepodge make a massive theatrical animated anthropomorphic hit? That’s what a lot of people are hoping when Blazing Samurai, an animated pastiche of the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, only with samurai in Old Japan instead of cowboys in the Old West and animated cats and dogs instead of humans, hits the theaters in August 2017.

How much of a hodgepodge is it? Blazing Samurai is announced as the first feature produced by former Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Yair Landau’s Mass Animation online company, founded in August 2008 to “develop wikimovies and content using a new production model – a virtual animation studio and an open invitation to artists around the world to collaborate in creating the next generation of animated stories.” Mass Animation has attracted “over 58,000 participants from 101 countries”, and has produced the 5-minute “Live Music”, advertised as “the first ever theatrically released crowdsourced animated film”.

Cats or dogs?

Cats
41% (7 votes)
Dogs
59% (10 votes)
Votes: 17

Trailer: 'Rock Dog'

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

So, Disney goes out of there way to advertise the very anthropomorphic nature of next animated movie (you couldn't resist the awful fur pun, could you, Disney? It's okay, we know how it is.), and it turns out everyone and their Rock Dog has chosen to come out with similar movies within months of each other. Rock Dog, though a Chinese production with no American release date (it does have an October 1 Chinese release date), is meant to be the movie that breaks Chinese animation into America.

And it's every bit as anthropomorphic an animal world as Zootopia or Kung Fu Panda 3, and, at the very least, it looks much more promising than Legend of a Rabbit.

2016 movie showdown, part 5: Zootopia vs. The Secret Life of Pets

Zootopia
78% (14 votes)
The Secret Life of Pets
22% (4 votes)
Votes: 18

Trailer: 'The Secret Life of Pets'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

And we've just become furry Variety.

Illumination Entertainment has released a trailer for The Secret Life of Pets, due summer of 2016, "a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day," according to Illumination's own description.

Given how jam-packed 2016 is with fully anthropomorphic animal movies, the fact that this movie only features talking animals makes it feel like almost a footnote (Finding Dory is another 2016 movie with "only" talking animals that would in any other year be the upcoming furry movie, but is also dealt with as an after thought, if at all). That being said, at the very least skip to the pogoing poodle at the end of the trailer.

Update (11/25): A second, Christmas themed trailer highlighting characters has been released.

Mass Hysteria!

In other words, dogs and cats living together… in one book! Let us explain… Graphic Classics (from Eureka Productions) is a series of graphic novels based on, yes, classic literature. Now for Volume 25 of this full-color series they present a special double issue with two books back-to-back: Canine Classics — Stories for Dog Lovers, and Feline Classics — Stories for Cat Lovers. ” Featured are “The Emissary” by Ray Bradbury, “Ancient Sorceries” by Algernon Blackwood, “The Beast from the Abyss” by Robert E. Howard, and 17 more great stories and poems, including two from the volume’s co-editor, John Lehman.” Check it out over at the Eureka web site for a full list of stories.

FelineClassics

images c, 2015 Eureka Productions

images c, 2015 Eureka Productions

Nobody Move Or The Doggy Gets It!

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s a new article about an upcoming animated film called Blazing Samurai. Does that title sound a little familiar? Maybe it’s because the whole idea of the movie is an animated re-make of Mel Brooks’ classic western comedy Blazing Saddles — but this time, with dogs. And samurai. Yes. “In this version, a dog named Hank travels to a small town in ancient Japan to fulfill his dream of becoming a samurai. He discovers the town is populated entirely by cats, and must overcome prejudice while learning how to be a great warrior from a once-great samurai cat named Jimbo. Chris Bailey, who directed the Disney short Runaway Brain and animation directed Alvin And The Chipmunks, and veteran animator/story artist Mark Koetsier will co-direct from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper.” The film is being distributed by Open Road Films, who last year brought us The Nut Job. Check out the rest of the article, and look for Blazing Samurai to hit movie screens in April of 2017.

image c. 2015 Open Road Films

image c. 2015 Open Road Films

One Little Monster And Her Family

Katie Cook is well-known these days as one of the main writers and sometimes artist of IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book series. Well, she has also created her own on-line comic series called Gronk: A Monster’s Story, which follows the adventures of a young and rather adorable monster… living out in the human world. Unable to make it as a scary thing that bumps in the night, she instead moves in with a young woman, her mischievous cat, and her friendly but very large dog. After several years on line, this full-color all-ages comic has now been collected into three softcover volumes by Action Lab Entertainment — all of them currently available at the Gronk web site.

image c. 2015 by Katie Cook

image c. 2015 by Katie Cook

A Doll and Her Cat in The Clockwork City

Image Comics have been proudly announcing their new fantasy graphic novel Hinges, written and illustrated by Meredith McClaren. “This graphic novel introduces the nuts and bolts of a city called Cobble, where one girl new to the city, Orio, must depend on help wherever she can find it. Her assigned familiar, Bauble, has his own agenda however. As the two explore the walls of the city, they find they are not the only new arrivals. ” Her “assigned familiar” appears to be a cat, and Orio herself appears to be… constructed. What does it all mean? Find out when Hinges comes to comic book stores this February. Or, take a read through the interview with the creator over at All-Comic.com.

image c. 2015 Image Comics

image c. 2015 Image Comics