The Book of Life
Mexican-themed cartoon offers unexpected seasonal treats
Classic fairy tale takes Disney to a winter wonderland
The Rabbi’s Cat
Arabesque animated fable offers a feline’s take on Middle Eastern religion
From the very first frames, viewers can tell the adult-oriented French cartoon The Rabbi’s Cat is going to feature some lovely, bright animation and an exotic setting. That’s almost but not quite enough to leaven a muddled story that requires a bit too much contemplation. The film is based on the work of French comic book artist Joann Sfar, who wrote and directed the lavishly animated, mostly successful biopic Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. Sfar co-writes and co-directs The Rabbi’s Cat, ensuring the artist’s vision is, for better or worse, fully preserved.
The Princess and the Frog
Disney is back to form with clever updating of classic tale
A few years ago, Walt Disney Pictures tried to declare an end to “traditional” hand-drawn, 2-D animation. Then they bought out cutting-edge 3-D animation studio Pixar, which promptly took over all cartoon-related duties at Disney. Pixar seized the opportunity to announce that the death of traditional animation was greatly overstated. (God love those Pixar people.) So here we are, several years later, ready to ogle the first honest-to-goodness Disney toon in the classic mold in many a moon: the fairy tale-informed The Princess and the Frog. Ignoring ill-advised computer-animated experiments like Meet the Robinsons and Bolt and direct-to-video junk like Bambi II and The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove, this is the first time Disney’s looked like Disney since ... 2002’s Lilo & Stitch at least.
Alibi Illustrator and PJ Men Selected for Sundance Film Festival!
The Sundance Institute announced its short film program for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and Alibi illustrator and graphic designer Jeff Drew made the esteemed list. (According to Sundance, “This year's international short films were selected from a record 2,588 submissions.”) He animated and directed “One Square Mile of Earth,” the anointed entry. (See all of Jeff’s illustrated, animated and musical projects at JeffDrewPictures.com.)
His anthropomorphic animal comedy was co-written by Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen, better known as The Pajama Men, who are in London right now with their original comedy show The Last Stand to Reason. (Read fresh interviews with them in The Guardian and The Times.) “I was the guy in the audience calling out locations,” says Jeff of his job in the improv-based, living room writing sessions. “It’s ‘A PJ/JDP Joint.’ Just like Spike Lee! ... Just kidding!” Jeff tells me this as he simultaneously designs 20,000 ads and the cover for the Alibi issue going to press today.
This isn’t the first time Jeff’s been to Sundance. His "Walk" animated short screened there in 2002. It’s proof that once you go JD, you never stop craving the flavor. (Or, at least, you crave it once every eight years.)
The 2010 Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 21-31 in ice-cold Park City, Utah.