Animation

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The Unbeatables

11 Aug 20144 stars

An enjoyably quirky football-themed animation featuring the voices of Rupert Grint and Rob Brydon

The Unbeatables (original title Metegol) is probably the last film you would expect from Argentinean director Juan José Campanella. His first feature since the moody, labyrinthine and ultimately Oscar-winning thriller The Secret In Their Eyes is a…

How to Train Your Dragon 2

10 Jul 20144 stars

The animated vikings 'n' dragons sequel arrives full of its predecessor’s invention, wit and flair

Cast your mind back to 2010, and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders’ animated adventure How To Train Your Dragon. Inspired by the series of YA books by Cressida Cowell, this tale of a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his impossibly…

The Nut Job

8 Jul 20142 stars

Bluntly animated and over-complicated Ice Age spin-off offering low entertainment

Like last year’s Free Birds, in which enterprising turkeys build a time machine and attempt to stop the first Thanksgiving, The Nut Job feels like an archly contrived excuse to justify the groaning pun of the title. The story of an eccentric squirrel…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: When Michel Gondry met Noam Chomsky

10 Jun 2014

The distinctive filmmaker's latest project is an animated conversation with the political theorist

Arguably the best thing to have come from Versailles since the peace treaty, writer and director Michel Gondry returns to the fray with two new feature films. The idiosyncratic auteur behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind let his own high…

The Wind Rises

21 Apr 20144 stars

An engaging, deeply moving and mature Studio Ghibli film that exudes intelligence and compassion

Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki has taken a few curtain calls in the past; if his final film is to be The Wind Rises, then he’ll be going out at the very top of his game. A beautifully animated study of Japanese aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi…

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WATCH: The hilarious teaser trailer for Aardman's Shaun the Sheep movie

3 Apr 2014

The scene-stealing sheep from Wallace and Gromit is set for his own big-screen adventure

A teaser trailer for Aardman Animation's Shaun the Sheep movie has landed, and it's reassuringly hilarious. While the new footage doesn't offer any plot details – the movie itself won't be released until 2015 – Aardman's signature talent for humanising…

McLaren 2014 festival shines a light on underappreciated experimental filmmaker Norman McLaren

27 Mar 2014

Filmmaker Iain Gardner: 'Were he still alive today he’d be at the forefront of digital technology'

When it comes to Scottish icons, we hear a lot about bards and Bonds, hip musicians and blockbusting painters – but some trailblazers still slip under the radar, even when their work has transformed an industry or an art form. The Stirling-born…

The Congress

27 Feb 20143 stars

Psychedelic animation/live action hybrid from Waltz with Bashir director Ari Folman

Robin Wright hasn't had a good part in 15 years. Her entire career has been blighted by poor choices – in relationships as well as roles. At this point in time, it'd be better for her if she bowed out of showbusiness entirely. This is the rather…

WATCH: The Lego Movie character trailers

30 Oct 2013

Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman star in 2014 Lego Movie

After providing the medium for many movie poster homages and reenactments of well-known film scenes through the years, it's good to see the interlocking construction toy making it to the big screen in its own right. In the days running up to the first…

Highlights of the Scotland Loves Anime 2013 festival

8 Oct 2013

Five reasons to visit the Glasgow and Edinburgh showcase of the latest Japanese animation

The Scotland Loves Anime festival returns for its fourth year with a broad selection of Japanese animation. Visiting both Edinburgh's Filmhouse and the GFT, the festival provides one of the few chances to see anime on the big screen in Scotland. Plus…

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Monsters University

24 Jun 20133 stars

Pixar's Monsters Inc prequel, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman, just doesn't hit the spot

It’s a Pixar film, so Monsters University of course has verve, comic confidence and copious visual polish. But less of its home studio’s famed precision has been applied when it comes to establishing who the film is actually for. Kids weaned on 2001’s…

Wolf Children

6 Feb 20134 stars

Expert storytelling from Anime director Mamoru Hosoda

Although this Japanese animated film tells a story about people who can turn into wolves, it would be a mistake to assume that it is just for kids. Directed and co-written by The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’s Mamoru Hosoda, Wolf Children is a complex…

The King of Pigs

25 Jan 20133 stars

Korean adult animation with a thought-provoking storyline and great attention to detail

The first feature from award-winning shorts director Yeon Sang-ho has a visual look reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli production allied to a narrative in the classic film noir manner. Bankrupt businessman Hwang Kyung-min murders his wife and then reaches…

2013 Manipulate festival of puppetry and animation

22 Jan 2013

Programme includes work by TIP Connection, Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson and The Paper Cinema

Now in its sixth year, the Manipulate Festival has evolved into a highlight of Scotland’s cultural calendar. In 2013, the puppetry and animation festival returns to the Traverse but adds Summerhall to its list of Edinburgh venues too and boasts its…

The animation companies behind The Illusionist, The Ooglies and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

1 Nov 2012

Ink Digital, Ko-lik Films, Axis Animation, Red Kite and Show Them Pictures

When Pixar wants to tell a Scottish story, the world listens. But the global popularity of Princess Merida in Brave is only a small part of the story in terms of Scotland and animation. There’s a growing confidence, skill and expertise in the industry…

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Frankenweenie

20 Sep 20125 stars

Tim Burton’s latest is a triumphant black and white animation

The commodified pseudo-weirdness of Tim Burton has become a bit of a bugbear, even for those who once fell hard for his particular brand of whimsy. Wearying in its repetition of the same Goth-lite tropes, over-reliant on Johnny Depp’s cutesy bug-eyed…

Revisiting: Frankenweenie (1984)

19 Sep 20124 stars

Tim Burton’s original Frankenstein tribute is lovingly constructed, despite its troubled past

It’s hard to know what Disney were thinking when they took on Tim Burton in 1979. Freshly graduated from CalArts (alongside future Pixar bods John Lasseter and Brad Bird, as well as The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick), Burton had…

It's Grimm Up North

23 Aug 20121 star

Animated character grotesquesset in fictional Hardington leave you cold

The first two episodes of this animated series introduce us to a handful of characters - through stories based on fairy tales and fables - who live in the fictional town of Hardington. The animation is distinctive and quirky and the first film in…

Arthur Christmas

14 Nov 20112 stars

Jolly enough, but lacking usual Aardman Animation wit and charm

(U) 97mins In over two decades since Wallace and Gromit’s A Grand Day Out, Aardman Animation have become a byword for family entertainment, but Arthur Christmas, their latest attempt at a blockbuster, never reaches the same lovable heights. As he…

Reel Science events programme among highlights of Edinburgh Film Festival

17 Jun 2011

Tomboy, My Brothers and Project Nim among film highlights

After my fearless leader’s less-than-generous appraisal of this aged Festival’s opening night, I’m hoping to bring a little bit of love for EIFF back to these web pages. Admittedly, the pared-down nature of this year’s Festival is most noticeable in the…

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Top 5: Artists lending their talents to children's TV voice-overs

28 Mar 2011

Featuring Derek Jacobi, Stephen Fry, Arthur Lowe and more

Ah, the life of the serious actor. All that serious acting they have to do; all the line learning, the getting into character, the understanding and channelling of the character's emotional vulnerabilities and personality traits. Its enough to drive a…

Manipulate festival - Puppetry and animation festival avoids the P word

14 Jan 2011

Traverse season features cult animation and visually arresting films

Simon Hart is trying not to use the P word. When he describes his annual Manipulate festival, he prefers to call it a celebration of visual theatre (with the teasing strap line: ‘innovative theatre arts for consenting adults’) than to say anything about…

Chico & Rita

16 Nov 20103 stars

(15) 93min This Spanish-made, English-language, feature-length animation joins the ever-growing list of highly unconventional, beautifully realised, adult-oriented cartoons made outside of America that also includes The Illusionist, Waltz with Bashir…

Document 8 and Africa in Motion

22 Oct 2010

Two spirited local film festivals

The term ‘human rights cinema’ may sound too much like hard work for the average cinemagoer. But for the last seven years Document, the Glasgow-based International Human Rights Film Festival, has been demonstrating that films about human rights simply…

Alpha and Omega

22 Oct 20101 star

(U) 88min Improbably dedicated to the late Hollywood wild man Dennis Hopper, who provides the voice of pack leader Tony, Alpha and Omega is a cutesy animation for toddlers only. Sultry alpha wolf Kate (Hayden Panettiere) is expected by her pack’s…