Roughly in descending order of how much I loved ’em.

World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)

Duh.

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos (Konstantin Bronzit)

An ode to friendship and space travel. Pretty traditional-looking animation with some fun effects (I loved when the stars turned into falling snow) and a beautiful story. Bronzit has made a bunch of shorts including the oscar-nom Lavatory Lovestory.

Prologue (Richard Williams)

Firstly, holy crap, Richard Williams is still working. Looks like a very good figure-drawing exercise come to life – a single “shot” detailing a violent gladiator fight and the moments before and after.

If I Was God (Cordell Barker)

That’s National Film Board of Canada legend Cordell Barker, of The Cat Came Back and Strange Invaders fame. The animation here does not disappoint, terrific stop-motion, though the story’s just alright: reminiscing of schoolday fantasies.

Sanjay’s Super Team (Sanjay Patel)

Saw this with The Good Dinosaur.

Bear Story (Gabriel Osorio Vargas)

From Chile – Lonely bear has a complicated mechanical box that tells his life story of being kidnapped and imprisoned by Pinochet’s police zookeepers, losing his family while away – though in the mechanical version his family stays. Not wowed by the animation but I loved the inventiveness of the “mechanics”. Doesn’t Osorio mean “bear river”? Was that bear the director?

The Loneliest Stoplight (Bill Plympton)

Not Plympton’s best work about inanimate objects in love (that’d be The Fan and the Flower), but cute. Patton Oswalt voices a stoplight who’s had some good times but is now mostly forgotten since everyone takes the highway.

The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse (bunch of French directors)

Hard to focus with the girl behind me saying “soooo cute!” over and over, but I guess a fox and a mouse take turns saving each other’s lives and become friends. Second animated movie I’ve seen this month casting owls as the villains.

Catch It (bunch of French directors)

A wannabe Ice Age, meerkats vs. a vulture. Every year when this program needs to fill time it throws in something animated by a gang of French people.


These shorts programs are fun, even though World of Tomorrow looked better on my TV than on the movie screen somehow. Watched the 2014 program at The Ross and the 2013 in Atlanta… and I guess the 2006… so I’d have some catching up to do if I got a sudden urge to watch all the oscar-nominated animated shorts ever… not that I’d do a thing like that.

The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger (2010)

Because the advertising billboard looks cool. Then he finds out the horrible truth and with his mom’s help, rebels against the burger factory. Has a different look, Bill says he drew with sharpie on small sheets of paper, and I believe he said painter Kandisky was his coloring inspiration.

Gary Guitar (2007)

Gary invites Vera Violin out. Obstacles threaten to derail their picnic, but Gary is prepared for almost anything, and friend/annoyance Danny Drum helps out with the rest. Was meant to be a pilot.

Gary makes the mother of all sandwiches, which will later be used as a weapon against a fire-breathing robot:

Waiting For Her Sailor (2012)

One minute, one gag, but a good one.

Summer Bummer (2012)

Colored-pencil illistration of unrealistic fears of sharks in swimming pools.

The Flying House (1921, Winsor McCay)

Kickstarter-fueled restoration of McCay’s final film (a predecessor to Up), using McCay’s newspaper cartoons for color reference. I had Mr. Show flashbacks when they blew up the moon.

Tiffany The Whale (2012)

Rivalry between two top runway models, a woman with huge blonde hair, and a whale. Long and talky – I’m surprised Bill meant this to be a pilot as well, since I’m not sure where else you can take a whale-as-model story.

Drunker than a Skunk (2013)

Cool poem by Walt Curtis (subject of Gus Van Sant’s Mala Noche and of an hour-long doc by Plympton). The poem’s partly lost under music and effects so I watched this twice, but the animation is wonderful – my favorite on the disc.

Horn Dog (2009)

Finally I get to see the fourth dog film. The dog finds love in the park. Tries to give her gifts, but imagines terrible repercussions a la Guard Dog. Finally settles on a violin serenade but accidentally kills her owner.

Guard Dog Global Jam (2011)

Based on a Marv Newland concept called Anijam, Plympton coordinated online to get animators to recreate Guard Dog, one shot each. The best bit: the guy with the laughing-girl shot subcontracted each frame to different illustrators. Good story on the commentary about this film’s near-failure – submissions were open and they thought nobody was signing up, but really it was so many people the server crashed.

and from the Cheatin’ blu-ray:

The Gastronomic Shark (Bill Plympton)

A very silly, very short, bad-taste piece on human meal options for sharks.

There’s more on the Dogs & Cows disc, commissioned shorts and extras, which I haven’t explored yet.

More consistently great than part one, with higher high points (Robert Morgan!). I’m tempted to make a playlist of ABCs highlights and edit myself a super-anthology but I’ll wait until part three comes out next year.


Amateur
Imagined scenario of cool, efficient sniper in the air vents taking out his target, then reality of tight insect-infested ducts full of nails. Great ending. Director EL Katz also made Cheap Thrills.


Badger
Directed by and starring Julian “Howard Moon” Barratt. Asshole nature-doc spokesman (Barratt) is abusive to his crew, gets eaten by badgers.


Capital Punishment
Local gang of vigilantes take a dude suspected of killing a girl out to the woods and clumsily behead him. Meanwhile the girl turns out to have run away, is fine. Director Julian Gilbey made A Lonely Place To Die, which is probably better than Wingard’s A Horrible Way To Die.


Deloused
I probably would’ve skipped ABCs of Death 2 had I not heard that Robert Morgan was involved. This was… inexplicable… and amazing, and ultimately makes the entire anthology worthwhile. Involves insects and beheadings and knife-arms.

Equilibrium
Funny and well put-together, with single long takes simulating time passing. Couple of idiots stranded on a beach are unexpectedly joined by a pretty girl. Jealousy ensues, then they return to bliss by killing the girl. Alejandro Brugu├ęs made the Cuban Juan of the Dead.

Falling
Israel/Palestine, woman whose parachute is stuck in a tree convinces a rifle-toting kid to cut her down, he accidentally shoots himself in the head. Nicely shot, anyway. Directors Keshales and Papushado made Israeli horrors Rabies and Big Bad Wolves (a Tarantino fave).


Grandad
Grandad is tired of his disrespectful grandson living with him. Jim Hosking is working on something called The Greasy Strangler next. Grandad Nicholas Amer has been around, worked with Peter Greenaway, Jacques Demy and Terence Davies.


Head Games
During a makeout session, a couple’s facial features go to war with each other in classic Plympton style. One of two Bill Plympton anthology segments from this year – we missed The Prophet.


Invincible
Old woman will not die, siblings want her inheritance and try everything to kill her. Stylishly shot (as are most of these, so it’s maybe not worth writing that anymore). Erik Matti (Philippines) got awards for crime flick On The Job last year.


Jesus
I think it’s supposed to be payback on a couple of dudes who torture and murder homosexuals, but when the kidnapped gay guy displays his demonic powers I’m not sure what’s going on anymore. Dennison Ramalho wrote latter-day Coffin Joe sequel Embodiment of Evil and actor Francisco Barreiro is showing up everywhere this month.


Knell
Initial scene where girl witnesses supernatural globe over the building across the street followed by people in every apartment turning violent was like Rear Window meets The Screwfly Solution, then it continues in the direction of total doom. Directors Buozyte and Samper are apparently Lithuanian, also made a surreal sci-fi thing called Vanishing Waves.


Legacy
Guy to be sacrificed is being set free and is arguing with this decision, and I lose the plot after that, but there are groovy, cheap Metalocalypse-looking gore effects. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is Nigerian, has made a million movies so far since 2003.


Masticate
Drugged-out flesh-eating fat man goes on rampage before he’s killed by cop, all in slow-motion and set to a jangly pop song. Robert Boocheck made a short that apparently played in an anthology called Seven Hells.


Nexus
Cleverly timed and editing, goes for tension instead of twist ending since we figure out early on that the distracted cabbie is gonna hit the guy dressed as Frankenstein. Larry Fessenden made Habit and Wendigo and The Last Winter, all of which have been on my to-watch list forever and just came out on blu-ray.


Ohlocracy (mob rule)
After the cure for zombiesm is found, human zombie-killers are sentenced to death by a kangaroo court. Hajime Ohata made the non-Kafka movie called Metamorphosis.


P-P-P-P Scary!
Poppy, Kirby and Bart look like escaped convicts, have big noses, meet a face-morphing guy who does a jig, blows out their candles and murders them inexplicably. Todd Rohal made The Catechism Cataclysm, and I might’ve guessed this was him.


Questionnaire
While a guy correctly answers questions on an intelligence test, we see flash-forwards to the “career opportunities” the interviewer has in mind for him (brain transplant with gorilla). I watched Rodney Ascher’s The Nightmare just last week.


Roulette
German game of Russian Roulette ends with the sixth-chamber guy shooting his beloved instead of himself, as some unknown evil approaches. Marvin Kren made Rammbock and Blood Glacier.


Split
Like a remake of Suspense but with more baby murdering. Hammer-wielding intruder destroys family of cheating husband(s) during a phone call.
Juan Martinez Moreno made horror-comedy Game of Werewolves.


Torture Porn
Girl in porn audition turns out to be Cthulhu, I guess. Jen and Sylvia Soska are identical twins who made American Mary and Dead Hooker in a Trunk.


Utopia
Self-driving incineration machines deal with non-beautiful people. Vincenzo Natali made Cube and Splice.


Vacation
Dude is on phone with girlfriend when dude’s friend reveals they’ve been doing drugs and prostitutes while on vacation. The friend is disrespectful, and one prostitute stabs him many times with a screwdriver. Jerome Sable made last year’s Meat Loaf-starring Stage Fright.


Wish
Kids go inside their off-brand Masters of the Universe playset, discover it’s horrible in there. Steven Kostanski made Manborg, which looks similarly wonderful.


Xylophone
Kid won’t stop playing her damned toy xylophone while babysitter Beatrice Dalle (of Inside, the first actor I’ve recognized since Julian Barratt in letter B) is trying to listen to opera records. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo made Inside, of course. Credits say Beatrice is the grandmother not the babysitter, which makes sense since babysitters should leave antique record players alone.


Youth
Miyuki hates her mom and stepdad, imagines them dying in tremendous ways. Soichi Umezawa is a longtime makeup artist who worked on Bright Future and Dr. Akagi.


Zygote
Dad abandons pregnant mom with a 13-year supply of a root that delays labor. Horribleness ensues. Chris Nash has made a bunch of shorts.

As mentioned in the shorts post, Bill Plympton came to town, presenting his feature Cheatin’. I’ve always loved his work, but from vague memories of The Tune and I Married a Strange Person I’ve assumed his shorts to be far above the features. This week changed everything, as I caught up with the great Idiots and Angels on DVD and saw the beautiful Cheatin’ on the big screen.

Cheatin’ (2013)

I memorized the trailer, and rest of the movie did not disappoint.

Sure there’s a lot of cheatin’, but it’s all based on a terrible misunderstanding.

Bought on blu-ray, so will watch again and write more (with screenshots).


Idiots and Angels (2008)

First of all, any movie that uses “Kommienezuspadt” by Tom Waits is alright by me. Stylish as ever, a scribble-noir in shades of brown and gray with flashbacks and imagination sequences and inventive transitions – and no spoken dialogue.

It’s the kind of story that calls for animation. Bitter gun salesman wastes his evenings at a lonely bar until he starts growing angel wings. He’d like to get rid of the do-gooder, perpetually re-growing wings, and the man’s doctor and greedy bartender would like the wings for themselves. There’s a shooting, a resurrection, a spate of pub bombings, argument over a girl, and crazy bird dreams.

Bill Plympton came to town! I prepped by rewatching his Dog Days DVD, various shorts from other sources, and the feature Idiots & Angels.

Guard Dog (2004)

One of the first films he made without a film camera: colored pencil on paper, scanned into computer.

Guide Dog (2006)

Inspired by Charles Addams, a cartoonist who focused on death and violence. The DVD commentaries seem straightforward, but then he says he assumes he didn’t get complaints from blind people about Guide Dog because they didn’t see the film.

Hot Dog (2008)

Don’t know why I was harsh to some of these shorts in past posts, since the Plympton dog is one of my favorite animated characters. Think I overdosed on Plympton shorts a few years back and had to decompress.

Shut-Eye Hotel (2007)

Cops check in to Shut-Eye Hotel to figure out why clients who stay on the top floor wake up without heads. The culprit: a pillow with teeth. Bill says this was his first use of computer animation, but it didn’t work out financially, and he was testing out a color scheme he’d use in Idiots & Angels.

Spiral (2005)

“You think it’s easy bein’ abstract?” A circle, square and triangle are performing a repetitive abstract dance until the audience starts shooting at them. Inspired by an exasperating (and state-funded) screening of a Paul Glabicki short twenty years prior.

Santa, The Fascist Years (2008)

“They called it blitzenkrieg.” Narrated, animated newsreel of when Santa turned to weapon manufacture, invading neighboring countries to obtain raw materials. Nice Great Dictator reference.

The Fan and the Flower (2005)

Great love story from sitcom writer Dan O’Shannon.

How to Make Love to a Woman (1995)

First, finding the right woman. Then body parts, kissing, hugging, etc, all calmly explained by a narrator, always ending in grievous harm to the man onscreen.

Push Comes To Shove (1991)

Two guys hurt each other in ever more inventive ways.
Didn’t this used to run on MTV?
One of my favorites.

The Exciting Life of a Tree (2000)

Tree’s-eye-view of dangerous forest life.

Luv Race (2008)

Live event combining a dating game with a track race. Where’d this come from? Apparently a commissioned film, no credits. Chrome tried to translate the page at gauguins.com, came up with “Bill Plympton (Bill Plympton). This is the American NY resident, but is not Bill Clinton, you can find those.”

Also watched a couple musical segments from The Tune (1992) including No Nose Blues (“Talk is cheap, oh but so are you”) and Flooby Nooby (all puns, with a huckster singer who hilariously can’t handle the song’s whistling chorus) … a 2001 TV special for Cartoon Network called 12 Tiny Christmas Tales … and a great Weird Al video.

Don’t Download This Song:

Oh no, I got behind on the blog and didn’t write about these.
I tend to forget shorts pretty fast, so I’m using web sources to recall which of these was which.

Me and My Moulton (Torill Kove)
Narrated memoir of three girls growing up in a normal town with not-normal parents – they are art and design obsessed, and when the kids ask for bicycles they finally get a weird one the proud parents have mail-ordered. Kove won best picture in 2006 for The Danish Poet.

Feast (Patrick Osborne)
We saw this before, playing with Big Hero 6, and I forgot to mention it then. Dog’s-eye-view of food, food, doomed human relationship, more food. Osborne worked on Bolt, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.

The Bigger Picture (Daisy Jacobs)
One of my favorite things: wall drawings and real objects interacting, 2D and 3D blending, like the drawn animations on paper-mache backgrounds in Rocks In My Pockets, or in a different sense, the dimension-based drama of Rabbit and Deer. But while I love the idea, it’s still a drab little story about fighting siblings and a dying parent.

A Single Life (Blaauw/Oprins/Roggeveen)
My favorite – also the shortest. Woman puts a 45 on the player, and finds that if she skips to different parts of the record, she travels to different times in her own life. IMDB claims the story was conceived on a drunken college night.

The Dam Keeper (Kondo & Tsutsumi)
Lonely pig runs the windmill that keeps the darkness at bay, but nobody in town loves or respects him so one day he lets the darkness in. Both directors worked on Pixar movies. This was cool, dark and imaginative, so naturally there’s talk of sequels and franchises and live-action remakes.

Sweet Cocoon (Bernard/Bruget/Duret/Marco/Puiraveau)
A student film, I think. A caterpillar is fat!

Duet (Glen Keane)
Keane has been in animation forever, was a lead character animator on many Disney features, and this is his first solo film. A boy is sporty, and a girl is graceful, and they like each other, all in one continual, fluid animation. Katy thought it reinforced oppressive gender roles, but that was before she saw the new Cinderella.

Footprints (Bill Plympton)
Moebius-strip footprint-following detective story.

Bus Story (Tali)
Another memoir, this time of a young woman who dreams of being a bus driver, so rents a shitty bus from its grumpy owner. Tali made La Pirouette, which I saw in 2002 and liked, though I can’t remember at all.