Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on Netflix

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

The Belladonna of Sadness from Japan, directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

‘The Belladonna of Sadness’ on Amazon Prime and Fandor

The Belladonna of Sadness (Japan, 1973), a lost classic of Japanese animation, is an erotic drama by definition, but it is quite a sophisticated one that is part subversive folk tale, part rock ballad musical, and part experimental filmmaking. Set in an unnamed kingdom in an abstracted medieval Europe, it’s a provocative film about female […]

Animation on Blu-ray: ‘Your Name,’ ‘Napping Princess,’ ‘In This Corner of the World’ from Japan

Your Name. (Funimation, Blu-ray, DVD) Napping Princess (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray, DVD) In This Corner of the World (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray, DVD) Japanese animator and filmmaker Makoto Shinkai turns his own young adult novel into Your Name. (Japan, 2016), an animated feature that brings a fresh approach to the classic comic situation of body swapping. In […]

Steven Spielberg directs the big screen adventure adapted from the Herge graphic novels

‘The Adventures of Tintin’ on Netflix

The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Steven Spielberg’s first foray into motion capture filmmaking, turns the legendary boy journalist and globe-trotting adventurer from the early graphic novels of Herge into a big screen hero, complete with trademark cowlick and best friend canine Snowy watching his back. Spielberg and his collaborators (notably co-producer Peter Jackson) chose to […]

Blu-ray: ‘DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection’ on Warner

DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Blu-ray) Warner Bros. is struggling to create its own live-action superhero universe on the big screen to compete with the huge, interconnected Marvel Comics Universe, and mostly falling short. But for the past decade, Warner Home Video has been producing a steady series of direct-to-disc animated […]

Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner, and Julie Newmar voice the characters in this animate feature

Blu-ray Animated Originals: ‘Batman vs. Two-Face’ and ‘Justice League: The New Frontier’ Commemorative Edition

Batman vs. Two-Face (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD) The 2016 DC Animated Movie Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, featuring Adam West and Burt Ward, stars of the campy original 1960s TV series Batman, as the voices of Batman and Robin and Julie Newmar reprising her purr as Catwoman, proved popular enough to inspire a sequel. Batman […]

‘My Life as a Zucchini’ – Oscar-nominated animation from France on Netflix

The Academy Award-nominated animated feature My Life as a Zucchini (France, 2016) uses stop-motion animation to tell the bitter-sweet story of an imaginative, vulnerable boy nicknamed Zucchini who is orphaned after the death of his abusive, alcoholic mother and sent to a foster home. But while it is set in France (the view from Zucchini’s […]

‘Miss Hokusai’ on Netflix

Miss Hokusai (Japan, 2015) is actually an artist from early 19th century Japan by the name of O-Ei Katsushika, a young woman who trained under her father, the legendary Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika. Based on the biographical manga “Sarusuberi” by Hinako Sugiura, this is an episodic animated feature, like a collection of memories and vignettes […]

Animated feature from France based on the graphic novels of Jacques Tardi

‘April and the Extraordinary World’ – Steampunk animated adventure on Netflix

April and the Extraordinary World (France, 2015), inspired by the graphic novels of the great French comic artist Jacques Tardi, is a steampunk adventure set in an alternate reality Paris where the World Wars never occurred, electricity was never discovered, twin Eiffel Towers anchor a direct cable-car route to Berlin, and the smoke that powers […]