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Movie review: 'Isle of Dogs'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

isleofdogsreview.jpgDirector Wes Anderson has a lot of cinematic trademarks that make his movies, well, Wes Anderson movies. There's the whole love of more or less symmetrical shots, for instance. A frame from a Wes Anderson movie is often recognizable as such for this reason alone. He's the writer of all his own movies (with occasional co-writers, of course). In tone, his writing features normal to the point of banal dialogue in unusual circumstances. This is reflected in his movie's art direction; for instance, in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he filmed parts of the movie on an actual boat at sea, and other parts on a flagrantly obvious sound stage. The thing about doing this is that creating a huge stage and filming at sea are both difficult things to do that also don't really complement each other. He creates comedies, but they are often very dark; at one point in The Grand Budapest Hotel, for instance, an innocent woman's severed head is held up, and the primary emotion felt is relief. Under normal circumstances, the standard critique would be his films are tonally inconsistent, but, as even the sets are at war with themselves, this is obviously on purpose.

Also, he is known for violently killing off dogs in his movies. That's a thing he does.

Which brings us to Isle of Dogs. There is literally a plot to kill off every dog in the movie. Turns out, Wes Anderson might actually like dogs, however, because that's the villains plot, not the movie's.

Movie review: 'The Shape of Water'

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

The Shape of Water movie poster.The Shape of Water (trailer) is a 2017 fantasy-drama film from director Guillermo del Toro, based on an idea he'd had since childhood. Essentially he wanted to make a happier version of the 1954 horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon, with the humanoid fish monster and the female lead falling in love.

And that's exactly what happens in The Shape of Water! It takes place in 1962, starring a mute woman named Elisa who's part of the cleaning staff at an American government research facility. In one of the labs, she learns of "the asset", an intelligent humanoid amphibian creature who's being tortured. Falling in love with him, she wants to set him free with the help of a small group of collaborators.

Animal voices for upcoming 'Doctor Dolittle' movie announced

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

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Robert Downey Jr. took the still unusual step of announcing the cast of his upcoming movie, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle via his personal Twitter account. Downey Jr. will play the titular character, Doctor Dolittle, a children's book character created by Hugh Lofting who has the ability to talk with the animals. The character has been played in previous film adaptations by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy.

Movie review: 'Paddington 2'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

paddington2.jpg"Paddington 2 honors its star's rich legacy with a sweet-natured sequel whose adorable visuals are matched by a story perfectly balanced between heartwarming family fare and purely enjoyable all-ages adventure."
- Rotten Tomatoes Paddington 2 Critics Consensus

"I'm gonna wait for the goofy gorilla review."
- the late ba, Internet commenter

Reviewing Paddington 2 at this point is less an exercise in reviewing a movie than reviewing the very idea of a reviewing a movie.

It broke the record on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes for most reviews for a movie that still managed to retain a "100% positive" rating on the site with 187 "fresh" reviews, beating the previous record holder, Toy Story 2, which had 163. And though Flayrah reviews do not count towards the 'Tomato-Meter', even if they did, I have no intention of Armond White-ing the movie. It's a good movie. See it.

Story of a romance between a woman and a fish scores 13 Oscar nominations

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (17 votes)

The Shape of Water movie poster Though The Shape of Water is not traditionally furry (by either the "covered in fur" or the fandom definition), rarely does a movie about the romantic relationship between a human and a humanoid fish monster score 13 Oscar nominations. Writer and director Guillermo del Toro's science fiction fable, inspired by a famous scene in the classic Universal horror picture Creature from the Black Lagoon, is the odds-on favorite to win the Best Picture prize, which will make it the closest thing to a furry movie to claim that prize if it does.

In addition to its Best Picture nomination, it also gained nominations for del Toro in Best Directing and Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (along with screenwriting partner Vanessa Taylor). Del Toro had been previously nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for Pan's Labyrinth (which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which is often credited as a second nomination for del Toro, though technically the nominee there was the country of Mexico due to the odd rules of the category). If del Toro wins for Directing, he will be third of a trio of Mexican directors nicknamed "The Three Amigos" to win the award this decade, after Alfonso Cuarón (winner for 2013 with Gravity) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (winner for 2014 for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and 2015 for The Revenant).

Update: March 4, 2018: The Shape of Water has won Best Picture (Guillermo double-checked the envelope), making it the first science fiction movie to win the prize, with additional wins in the categories of Directing, Production Design and Original Score, giving it four total Oscars from its 13 nominations.

2017 Ursa Major Awards nominations to open

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (21 votes)

Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards will open on January 11, the first day of Further Confusion 2018. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.

Find out more details at how to participate at our webpage: http://www.ursamajorawards.org/

The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the twelve categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2017

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (30 votes)

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Surely, readers don't need the rules for a simple year end top ten list explained to them, but in case someone does, you can find them in one of the older lists.

Movie review: 'The Star'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (22 votes)

thestar.jpg"Jesus our brother, strong and good, was humbly born in a stable rude."
-"The Friendly Beasts", folk song

"Well, we folks of the animal kingdom have our own version."
-Roger Miller, folk singer

Organized Christian theology has never really answered the question whether or not animals can be saved, but popular Christianity, as practiced by people rather than priests, has always seemed to think that salvation is available as much to animals as to humanity. A frequent way to tell the story of the Nativity is via the use of anthropomorphic animals. As a young child, I was at one time or another a lion and a firefly in various church Christmas pageants. Lions have traditionally been used in Christian art to symbolize Christ as King, though fireflies have never been very associated with Christmas in specific or Christianity in particular. I remember singing "This Little Light of Mine", anyway.

Which brings us to the original little light of Christianity and titular object of The Star. This is yet another retelling of the Nativity through the eyes of the animal kingdom, this time updated to slick CGI animated comedy. It's the same old story, but approximately 2.2 billion Christians around the world would attest it's a pretty decent story. So, it's got that going for it.

Movie review: 'Sheep and Wolves' (2016)

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (24 votes)

A Russian poster for the movie.Sheep & Wolves (trailer) is an 85-minute Russian CG-animated movie that came out in 2016, also known as Волки и овцы (Volki i ovtsy). The writing and production took five years by Wizart Animation, whose earlier film had been The Snow Queen (2012).

Sheep & Wolves didn't quite break even at the box office, and received mixed reviews. After I watched it, I have to agree it's a middle-of-the-road film. It's not bad, it's not great - it's thoroughly so-so. On the positive side, the animation is good and very furry! But the writing... it's for kids aged six and above. There's not much in it to appeal to adults; it's what I call a "babysitting film". Plunk your tykes down in front of it and keep them distracted for a while. Still, I'd rank it a notch or two above Alpha & Omega.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' to feature crystal foxes

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (7 votes)

Vulptex

Furry fans may have noticed a seconds long clip of crystalline, possibly fox-like critters scampering around the trailer for the latest instalment of Star Wars, subtitled The Last Jedi. The upcoming movie was the subject of a cover story by the magazine Entertainment Weekly, and one of the things covered were these "crystal foxes", which are known as vulptices. The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released December 15 (which technically means it's opening Thursday, December 14 for "previews") in America, and now furry fox fans have a reason to get excited.

Movie review: 'Guardians' (2017)

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (14 votes)

The Guardians' English promotional image.Guardians (English trailer) is a Russian superhero film released in February 2017. The early trailers looked promising - fights, explosions, and a bear-guy! It's the Russian Avengers! Expectations were high, and it did well on its opening weekend... and was so disappointing that by its second weekend, it only took in 10% of its previous box office revenue.

It's a very formulaic movie. This isn't necessarily bad - Sing was formulaic too. But if you're going to use a formula, you have to do it well. You have to add a couple of entertaining surprises, mix it up a little, and maybe throw in some humor that mocks the very structure you're relying on. Guardians fails on all these counts.

Disney reveals main cast for 'The Lion King' remake

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (13 votes)

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The main cast for the live action remake of The Lion King has been announced by Disney. Donald Glover will play the lead role of Simba, while Beyoncé has been confirmed to play the role of Nala, finally settling rumors that Disney was trying to cast the pop star in the role.

Retrospective review: 'Dog Soldiers'

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (5 votes)

dogsoldiers.jpgFirst of all, happy Halloween!

For our final foray into lycanthropic cinema, comes— a movie I saw as a Sci Fi Channel original movie. It never even had a theatrical release in America. I will point out that it is by far the greatest Sci Fi Channel original movie ever produced, but I need hardly point out that is not a big accomplishment.

But, sometimes, hidden in the terrible filler, something emerges from the shadows. Perhaps I waste my time watching bad Sci Fi movies, but they provided a baseline. It's harder to know when you've got a good werewolf movie if you've never seen a bad or even just indifferent werewolf movie. Of course, if you don't have the patience to sit through the bad (with or without the MST3K patter), you can just take my word for it.

Dog Soldiers is a gory blast.

Movie review: 'I Am Dragon'

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (19 votes)

The dragon swoops down on Mira to carry her away from her town. She never stands in that location during the film.I Am Dragon (trailer) is a Russian fantasy/drama film that came out in 2015 and yes I know it's technically a wyvern. When I showed clips of it to dragon furries, that's the first thing they said, in a tone of voice like I'd gotten their hopes up and then betrayed them.

For a live-action film, it uses a lot of computer graphics (around 85%), and looks pretty good! The setting felt very real to me. Production costs were about $18 million, and it flopped at the box office. As movies go, it's... ok. I say this with some reluctance. If you're a fan of dragons, you're not missing much.

Back-story: A line of dragons lives on a secluded island, and in a medieval town, the people perform a ceremony and song with which they offer their maidens as sacrifices. This summons the dragon who flies off with one of them, until one day a warrior decides he's going to rescue the woman he loves. He finds the island (too late to save the maiden), slays the beast, and the sacrificial rite is turned into a local wedding ritual, minus the dragon.

Retrospective review: 'An American Werewolf in London'

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

anamericanwerewolfinlondon.jpgOccasionally, there comes a pair of movies that share remarkably similar themes that come out together. Sometimes, as in Antz versus A Bug's Life, there's evidence that one of the movies was designed as a direct competitor to the other. More often than not, however, there's just something in the water. Just last year, Disney went out of its way to advertise how unique a movie Zootopia was for featuring a fully anthropomorphic animal world in the one year in the history of American feature animation where that was not a unique quality. These things just happen.

1981 was one of those years, featuring not one, but two werewolf movies utilizing cutting edge (for the time) makeup effects that also happened to be horror comedies as opposed to straight horror movies. The Howling came out first, but it was the scrappy underdog that went up against the real Hollywood juggernaut, An American Werewolf in London, written and directed by John Landis, an up and coming director who hung out with the likes of Steven Spielberg.

Though An American Werewolf in London is an acknowledged classic of the horror genre and features a ghoulish sense of humor (Landis was, and still is, best known for Animal House, early poster taglines noted this movie featured "a different kind of animal"), it is, like The Wolf Man, very much a tragedy. And not all the tragedy is on screen.