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Opinion: The top ten movies of 2013

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (6 votes)

Both are round, orb-like fruits, while one is usually red on the outside (though green, yellow and even orange are possibilities), its smooth, thin skin usually eaten, with firm, off-white flesh that ranges from sweet to sweet with varying degrees of tartness in flavor, with small brown seeds found inside the core of the fruit, while one is orange, obviously, with dimpled, but still smooth to the touch skin that, while edible, is rarely eaten directly, with much juicier flesh that is usually tarter, but not always, and still very sweet, with small tannish seeds throughout.

What am I doing? Oh, just comparing apples to oranges. Anyway, here are ten movies from 2013 you should watch sometime.

Tales of the Seal Folk

[Back from CaliFur, and we have so much to talk about!]

Over at Cartoon Brew they have premiered the brand-new trailer for the upcoming animated film Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore. Like Moore’s previous film The Secret of Kells, this new feature will be hand-drawn in a traditional 2D fashion with a highly stylized design. And, like that first film, this new one is based on the legends and lore of Ireland — in this case, the story of the Selkies, magical beings who are seals in the ocean but can shed their furry skins to become humans on the land. “Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. ” As with The Secret of Kells, Songs of the Sea has been picked up by GKIDS for distribution in North America. Now if we could just get a firm date for its release!

image c. 2014 GKIDS

image c. 2014 Cartoon Saloon

Review: 'Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure'

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

Alpha and Omega 2 - A Howl-iday Adventure So I managed to watch this ancient movie and see if it was any good for others out there. I didn't see many anthropomorphic movements; I missed most of the first movie, but I've seen footage and snaps of them standing up like humans and acting like them. I was disappointed that they didn't use that much in the sequel; I suspect the directors avoided it. Unfortunately, Alpha and Omega 2 is short; the whole thing was about 40 minutes long, without counting the credits. It wasn't very surprising; I'd heard people complaining. While I hope the third one will be longer [one whole minute longer], let's start by talking about the graphics.

This is my first review on Flayrah; also, don't expect my English to be that great, I lack certain words I need I think, and it's a bit of my style, especially if I had to extract nearly everything.

Also, spoiler alert! If you don't want to get spoiled, watch it first or skip them somehow.

Review: 'Jonathan', by Russell O’Neil

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Jonathan The spirit of Thorne Smith lives! Or it did in 1959, when this novel was published. Transformation was never so funny, or so inebriated, as when they wrote it.

There were no moral implications in Arthur Green’s watering the Scotch; it was purely an executive maneuver. A less efficient administrator might simply have apologized for having forgotten to stock his trailer with whiskey, but Arthur knew that his particular victims would then merrily have forgiven him and produced their own. If they were to drink, as they surely were, it was obviously better to have them do so from his unproofed stock than from their own authentic supply. (p. 1)

Arthur is the Hollywood producer of a Western being filmed on location somewhere in the Mexican desert. In the production company are Arthur, the harried producer; George McKaye, the matter-of-fact director; Jonathan Cartwright, the reluctant scriptwriter and Carol Holloway, his loyal secretary; Max, the practical horse wrangler; Bruce Gentry, the egotistical cowboy star; Melissa Drummond, the self-centered leading lady; and Beverly Dawn, a ditzy starlet. And Lightning, Gentry’s noble steed, who is in reality Gladiola, a well-trained but dimwitted and oversexed mare.

Jonathan, a heavy drinker and practical joker, is only at the production in the desert because his contract forces him to be there for on-the-spot rewrites. Jonathan loathes being away from “civilization” (the largest metropolises where alcohol is readily available), so he brought a large supply with him. He also loathes the vain Gentry, who takes advantage of his stardom as much as he can. Jonathan has been trying unsuccessfully to get Arthur Green to film one of his non-Western screenplays for three years. Jonathan seldom travels anywhere without Carol, his super-efficient secretary who is his pal in his binges, keeps him from getting fired, and has a crush on him.

NYC, Appleton-Century-Crofts, March 1959, 214 pages, $3.75. Based on an idea by Ann Noyes Guettel. Frontispiece by Doug Anderson.

Bye Eddie

The world of movies lost another big name this week when actor Bob Hoskins passed away at the age of 71. Though he was known throughout much of the world for his dramatic roles (and earned award nominations for several of them), here in the United States he will perhaps forever be best known for his role as gumshoe detective Eddie Valiant, playing opposite a crazed toon bunny in the groundbreaking 1988 live action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which went a long way towards putting animation back on the American landscape after a long slump in the previous decade. But not even counting that, Hoskins had numerous roles in movies with more than a bit of Furry Fandom interest. Some of them cringe-worthy (Mario Brothers, anyone?), some of them wonderful (like the voice of Boris the goose in Balto), and some of them rather obscure (he played Badger in a 2006 British TV movie of The Wind in the Willows). Check out his page at the Internet Movie Database to find out just how diverse his career was. He will be missed.

image c. 2014 Walt Disney Pictures

image c. 2014 Walt Disney Pictures

Join the Colony

Making its premier at WonderCon this year (in Anaheim, California, of course!) was Termites, a new animated film concept by Matthew G. Hill, Barrett Kime, Tighe Damron, Melanie Makaiwi, and Tom Wentworth. The crew have started up a Kickstarter campaign to finance their project. Simply put: What would happen if a colony of termites in a fancy home got wind (sorry, sorry…) that the house is about to be fumigated? “Through the eyes of young Termite hero, Larkin, we dive into both the fascinating narrative world (4 arms, anybody?), the exquisite landscape of artistic possibility, and the raw emotion of a tragic, yet inspiring story”. The campaign is running on Kickstarter until May 17th.

image c. 2014 The Colony

image c. 2014 The Colony

Newly published: Fred Patten's 'Funny Animals and More'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

Funny Animals and More Funny Animals and More: From Anime to Zoomorphics, based on Fred Patten’s weekly columns from Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research animation website, was published March 26 by Theme Park Press. It is available in paperback and digital formats, and on Amazon.com.

The book is about animation and comic books rather than specifically anthropomorphic animals, but cartoon and CGI funny animals are a major theme. Topics include anime cat girls; Pokémon and Monster Rancher; Astro Boy and Atomcat; how a popular 1970s anime TV series led to the import of thousands of baby North American raccoons into Japan as pets, whose descendants are ruining thousand-year-old Buddhist and Shinto shrines today; animated Summer Olympics mascots like Misha the bear cub, Sam the eagle, Hodori the tiger, and Cobi the sheepdog, from 1972 to 2012; Patten’s favorite childhood comic-book funny animals like Amster the Hamster, Doodles Duck and his nephew Lemuel, Nutsy Squirrel, Dunbar Dodo, and SuperKatt, and how he would still like to see them animated; Crusader Rabbit; rats in animation; Reynard the Fox in animation; and Disney’s forthcoming 2016 Zootopia.

'Peanuts' to appear as big-screen movie in 2015

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Peanuts, the much-loved comic strip by the late Charles M. Schulz, is set to become a 3D animated movie.

The movie, scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, is being made by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. The writer is Brian Schulz (the grandson of Charles), and the producer is Charles Schulz's son Craig. Craig Schulz is keeping details a secret, saying only "it's about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that's about as far as I'm willing to go".

Ryan Reynolds listens to ‘The Voices’

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Voices Here’s another movie with furry aspects for 2014 to add to the addendum to the addendum to the addendum; The Voices, a movie that Wikipedia helpfully describes as a “comedy crime horror thriller film”. It features Ryan Reynolds hearing voices from his pets, notably a dog who acts as his conscience, and a cat who would prefer he just kill people.

Korean cinema: Toilet-paper Merlin turns pianist into cow, who's saved from incinerator by com-sat in robot girl form

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Korean animation looks enough like Japanese animation that it is usually lumped together as anime. But I don’t think that even the Japanese have made an animated feature like The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, directed by Jang Hyung-yun and released in February in Seoul.

Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop announces this South Korean release about a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents. It falls into the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it category -- and Jerry has the trailer, so you can see 1'22" of it.

Read more: Review at TwitchFilm.com

Here Come the Birds ['The Art of Rio']

Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead brings us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2.  My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.

image c. Titan Books

image c. Titan Books

'Alpha and Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games' - marks for effort, animation still needs work

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Alpha and Omega 3They're making these sequels fast; I think they've been working on them the past three years, ever since the first movie came out. Check out the trailer. [TheChriZ1995] The movie is in stores March 25; the Blu-ray & DVD edition is exclusive to Walmart and is currently offered for $18.96; it'll also be on iTunes for $14.99/$9.99 HD/SD.

While Alpha and Omega 2 had a very low quality, with a lack of shading and choppy animation, at least they tried to work on the issues for this one. It's a huge graphics upgrade from the second movie. Sadly the animation still needs work to be smooth like the first Alpha and Omega movie. Yet while the quality may not match up to the original, at least they are trying - I think it looks reasonable for what is essentially an extended TV show. For a company that isn't Pixar, they're doing a fairly good job at the moment.

I have a feeling some people on here may not like it, but this is for those who might want it, even if they never heard of it. It's great to have the fandom for this, though.

Downloadable Dreamworks

More from the folks at Cartoon Brew: Dreamworks Animation have announced three new CGI animated series they will be producing as part of their mega-distribution-deal with Netflix — and guess what? All three of them are anthropomorphic, in one way or another. King Julian of course follows the adventures of the crazy lemur from the Madagascar movies and the Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Puss in Boots, who needs no introduction; and Veggie Tales in the House, a new iteration of the well-known faith-based animated TV show. All of this follows the 2D animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., which Dreamworks premiered on Netflix last December. The three new series will be available before the end of 2014.

image c. 2014 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2014 Dreamworks Animation

Video: 'Muppets Most Wanted' trailer

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Looks like we have an addendum to the addendum; but since this movie comes out next week (and our own beloved editor is apparently clueless about its existence), now is a good time to share the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted.

Muppets Most Wanted stars (besides the Muppets, obviously) Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell and is directed by James Bobin. It hits American theaters on March 21.

Voting begins as 2013 Ursa Major Awards ballot released

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.

Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.

As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.

The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.