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Netflix Heard The Call

More from that article at Cartoon Brew. This time it’s a new “hybrid” (live action / CGI) feature called Woody Woodpecker Goes To Camp. “Netflix hasn’t released many details about the film yet, but the streamer did say that accomplished kids and family TV director Johnathan Rosenbaum (Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour) is helming from a screenplay by Cory Edwards, Jim Martin, and Stephen Mazu… A brief logline reads: ‘After getting kicked out of the forest, Woody thinks he’s found a forever home at Camp Woo Hoo — until an inspector threatens to shut down the camp’. The only casting details shared so far indicate that Eric Bauza is involved, presumably as Woody’s voice.” We can all find out more when the film arrives on April 12th.


image c. 2024 Netflix

You’re A Star!

Thanks to Cartoon Brew, we found out about several interesting new animated films coming soon to Netflix. Among them is Thelma the Unicorn. “Thelma is a small-time pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous music star. In a pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma is transformed into a unicorn and instantly rises to global stardom. But this new life of fame comes at a cost.” Don’t know much about this one otherwise, but it’s directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) and Lynn Wang (Unikitty!), and it’s due on May 17th.


image c. 2024 Netflix

Pink Passion

We stumbled across this announcement in Variety recently: “Germany’s Studio 100 Media and Spain’s 3Doubles Producciones have teamed to develop animated adventure comedy Flamingo Flamenco. The script has been written by Rob Sprackling, whose credits include Shaun the Sheep Movie, Gnomeo & Juliet, and The Queen’s Corgi. Flamingo Flamenco follows the journey of Rosie, a young and exuberant flamingo, as she navigates personal loss and seeks to rediscover the joy of dance. The action is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Fuente de Piedra lagoon in Andalucía, Spain… The family-friendly entertainment feature ‘promises an enchanting and passionate blend of adventure, comedy and heartwarming moments’, according to a statement from Studio 100 Film, adding that the film ‘…emphasizes the importance of perseverance, self-discovery and the power of determination’. ” No word yet about any possible distribution in North America, but the film’s not scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2026. In the meantime, check out that poster! (Girl!)


image 2024 Studio 100 Media

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

2023 movies

This year’s list contains movies directed by Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Hayao Miyazaki, Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese.

It also contains two adaptations of toy properties and two Marvel movies! Got to let people know it’s still me.

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

A review of 'Migration' disguised as a how-to guide for movie reviews (or vice versa)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

'Migration' movie poster How do you review a movie?

Let’s take, as an example, the movie Migration. The purpose of a review is to give the reader an idea of what the movie is like, and whether or not they might want to spend the time and money to watch it. The basic facts of the movie should be listed; so, in this example, Migration is a computer animated movie from Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets, Sing), directed by Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales). I included examples of the creator's previous work that might give my audience some idea of what to expect. However, this can easily be found on free sources like IMDB or Wikipedia, and a review is not just a recitation of facts.

A brief plot synopsis is usually a good idea. In Migration’s case, the story is about a family of ducks (Kumail Nanjiani as father Mack, Elizabeth Banks as mother Pam, Caspar Jennings as son Dax, Tresi Gazal as daughter Gwen and Danny Devito as uncle Dan) who decide to migrate from their tiny pond to Jamaica. It plays like a road trip comedy, but with ducks. Along the way, they have adventures with a decrepit heron (voiced by Carol Kane) and her mute husband, a one-legged pigeon (voiced by Awkwafina), a caged parrot (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and a cult-like group of farm ducks, while being chased by a chef who specializes in duck à l'orange.

Once we have details of what Migration the movie is, we can move on to the reviewer's opinion.

Foster’s Not Home, but…

This came to us out of nowhere, but now we’re very, very curious. John Krasinski has written, produced, and directed a new live-action/CGI fantasy film called IF, starring Cailey Fleming. She plays a young girl who discovers that she has the ability to see people’s imaginary friends (known as IFs for short). She also discovers that the mysterious Man Upstairs (played by Ryan Reynolds) has the same ability. Now a group of IFs are begging these two special humans to help them find new kids to be with now that their own have grown up and abandoned them. As you can see from the trailer, there’s a lot of anthropomorphic interest here. It’s scheduled to be released next May.

Review: 'The Boy and the Heron'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

The Boy and the Heron The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.

Review: 'Five Nights at Freddy's' (the movie, not the game)

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (12 votes)

fivenightsatfreddys.jpgDo you like scary movies?

I do. A downside of reviewing movies for a furry site is that you don't get to review horror very much, and when you do, it kind of feels like you're stretching more than a little (not pseudo-apologizing for this one, though, it's awesome). What you end up reviewing mostly is movies whose intended audience is for kids, and though the primary audience of Flayrah seems to be adults, its sometimes important to acknowledge that there are limits to what can and can't be done in a lot of more mainstream productions featuring talking animals.

Which makes it even wierder to finally get to a wide-release horror movie featuring a bunch of characters the furry fandom has embraced (if e621 is any indication), and my most positive response is, "yes, but the kids'll love it!"

Five Night's At Freddy's is a (very soft) PG-13 horror movie, directed by Emma Tammi, and is an adaptation of the 2014 horror video game of the same name, created by Scott Cawthon, who is a credited writer on this movie. The premise features an abandoned "dinner and a puppet show" pizzeria and arcade haunted by ghosts who possess the old animatronic puppet attractions. Though given a theatrical release, it's also available on the Peacock streaming service.

Finally Starting to Get Crabby

So to speak… We’ve been hearing about the new CGI film Under The Boardwalk for a while, but mostly about its release getting delayed again and again. (Seems to be a trend these days.) Now thanks to Cartoon Brew we found out it’s actually coming out — in a rather rushed manner, with almost no advertising. The movie will be coming to Paramount+ streaming in a few days, and today it begins a limited run in theaters… while also today, Paramount released the very first trailer to the Internet. ““When timid Jersey crab Armen meets bold tourist sea crab Ramona, it causes shell-shocking tension in the community. But when the duo are swept away by a storm, they embark on an epic journey to find home. Their courage unites their families, paving the way for great summers to come, Under the Boardwalk.” Director David Soren is known for animated films like Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and Turbo.


image c. 2023 Paramount Pictures

Current and upcoming animated films (2023-2024)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

It's been 18 months since the previous list of current and upcoming animated films, so why not do an update? Last time, I thought I did a pretty good search, and then Mink found more.

What's become clear is that thanks to Covid, film distribution is a mess. Some animated films are endlessly delayed, some get shown early at film festivals before getting a limited release up to a year later in their home country, and some just... show up, and it's anyone's guess which streaming services will carry them, or for how long.

For many of the films below, I can't find streaming versions yet - this might be because I'm in Canada. If you find out they're available in your area, let us know in the comments. (Justwatch has been a great help.)

I'll provide ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with [I=] and [RT=], if available. This list relied largely on Wikipedia. It's an okay source for older films, but isn't especially reliable for upcoming titles. So this is definitely an incomplete list. For babysitting films, Sturgeon's Law usually applies (90% of everything is crud). But perhaps there will be a few unexpected surprises - time will tell! So first, let's talk trends.

Review: 'Strays'

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

strays.jpgReggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a cute, scruffy little mutt who lives with his owner, Doug (Will Forte), who hates Reggie. Reggie was actually adopted by his ex-girlfriend, and Doug blames Reggie for her leaving him, despite the fact that he is generally a terrible person himself. He only kept Reggie around just to hurt her.

Doug continuously tries to get rid of Reggie, who believes the frequent trips far out into the country ending with a tennis ball thrown into a random field followed by Doug not waiting for him to bring it back is a game. Reggie seems not to realize that this is not fetch until, out of desperation, Doug leaves him in a city over two hours away. There, Reggie meets Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who finally is able to explain to him that what’s going on here is so not fetch. Reggie and his new friend, as well as Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), decide to make the arduous trek back home, not to reunite Reggie with Doug as dog and master, but so Reggie can seek revenge for his mistreatment, specifically by biting Doug’s penis off.

Movie review: 'The Great Wolf Pack' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Great Wolf Pack ®: A Call to Adventure is a 45-minute 2D animated mini-movie produced in 2022 by Great Wolf Resorts, an American chain of family-friendly hotels featuring indoor waterparks. Most of the animation was outsourced to Mexico, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Kent Redeker. The IMDB page mentions an additional writer I couldn't find in the closing credits, M.J. Offen.

The movie is for young kids and can pretty much be skipped. There's a group of young animal friends in the forest: Violet the wolf and Sammy the squirrel (action girls), and Oliver (a raccoon tinkerer who always talks using the most loquacious and unnecessarily wordy vocabulary), who are joined by newcomer Wiley (the coyote wolf), and finally Brinley, a young bear with self-confidence issues, who of course gets chosen as the Special One by a spoon-wielding spirit and is given the Magical Rock to guide them on their quest.

Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

tmntmutantmayhem.jpgI’ve said before that it may be impossible for me to dislike a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, but that does not mean that I don’t recognize that some TMNT movies are better than others.

The two gold standard TMNT movies, at least for me, are the original live action version and the original animated version. Going the other way, I think the most recent live action movies, plus the third movie in the original trilogy, are a bit over-hated, but still weak. Meanwhile, the movie that most resembles the newest movie, Mutant Mayhem, at least in my reaction to it, is The Secret of the Ooze. They’re both fine, and a lot of fun, and I think a lot of both casual movie-goers and series fans will enjoy them. But they’re not my favorites in the series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, directed by Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears, is only the second animated feature for the Ninja Turtles (at least theatrically; various feature length spin-offs of the animated series have gone direct-to-video/streaming/television, but I’m ignoring them), which is surprising, because if there’s one franchise that feels like it just needs to be a cartoon, it’s this one.

Movie review: 'The Amazing Maurice' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

The Amazing Maurice poster. Cat not to scale.The Amazing Maurice (trailer) is a 93-minute UK-Germany computer-animated film released in late 2022. Directed by Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann, the screenplay by Terry Rossio (Shrek, and many others) is an adaptation of the 2001 children's fantasy novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

"One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair."
-- from Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure

Set in Pratchett's Discworld comedic fantasy universe, The Amazing Maurice is the story of a cat (Maurice, voiced by Hugh Laurie) and a group of rats who have acquired speech and intelligence. Together they travel from town to town with a young human musician named Keith, running a pied piper scam. Maurice wants them to make as much money as possible, but the rats would like to move on and find a place where they can live in peace and harmony, finding inspiration in their revered text, Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure.