Archive for the animation Category

Liberty Eyes – my experimental film

Posted in animation, cinema, movie posters, video with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by reccaphoenix

I now present the blogosphere debut of Reccalux’s greatest film to date: my experimental collage animation “Liberty Eyes”.

My main stylistic influence was Ken Jacobs.

My film examines colonialism and its aftereffects in Ghana via handpainted movie posters and Nana Agyemang Ofosu’s poem “Virgin Liberty”. It also comments on cultural “dumping”. “Liberty Eyes” screened at the UC Berkeley Pacific Film Archive in 2010 as part of the Film And Video Makers At Cal program “Fleshed Out.”

Review: What’s New Pussycat (1965)

Posted in animation, cinema, mod, reviews/opinions with tags , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by reccaphoenix

What’s New Pussycat (1965, UK) 35mm, color, dir. Clive Donner & Richard Talmadge, written by Woody Allen

I’d been dying to see this one for a while.  I love Woody Allen’s films, my two favorite Peters (O’Toole and Sellers) are in this film, it’s from the ’60s, Tom Jones sings the theme, Burt Bacharach did the music, and Richard Williams (great animator) did the opening titles.  If you, like me, fell in love with Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia and wanted to see him in a film with some women, then….this is one for you.  At least it would be, if not for some major issues.  The many things I mentioned above make the film appealing on a cosmetic level but are not combined in the best way they could be.

This film concerns a great number of characters and love polygons, which I will try to sum up the best I can…showing one of the film’s weaknesses – too much going on.  But then again, it’s a kind of Continue reading

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)

Posted in animation, cinema, reviews/opinions with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2009 by reccaphoenix

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) UK, dir. Tony Richardson. Color/35mm/Panavision.

I recently saw this film because it features the two stars of my favorite film Blow-Up, David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave.  Furthermore, it has animated sequences by the incredible Richard Williams, who I’m a big fan of.  I was not disappointed.  It’s a solid war film and satire with some great animation and acting.    I’m mostly going to discuss these aspects rather than going for my usual full review.

The visuals are great.  This is a nicely-shot film, making full epic use of the widescreen frame in many shots.  Secondly, the animated visuals are fantastic.  They make up the opening credits as well as several transitional scenes, all done entirely in the style of 1800s political cartoons and engravings.  It’s really something special.  Here’s some images to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

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View all the images in an album here:

See what I mean? Pretty cool, eh?

As for the close-ups in that image set, those are just there to show you how different Redgrave and Hemmings look from their roles in other films. That just goes to show the power of good costuming and make-up, I suppose.
It’s not that great a film to be honest, but the animation segments and visuals do make it worth watching at least once. The film is rather long and jumps around – it can’t really decide on its tone. Yes, I don’t have much to say here. Nothing constructive, anyway. I just wanted to share some amazing images from this film, mostly.

trailer: (it’s a pretty lame trailer, and it’s way too long. It barely shows any of the animated sequences!)
To make up for the trailer’s lack of awesome animation, here’s the opening credits of the film:

Why You Must Watch “Kino’s Journey” (even if you hate anime)

Posted in animation, anime, reviews/opinions, television with tags , , , , on August 30, 2009 by reccaphoenix

After a long state of disillusionment with most anime, I found a real gem in Kino’s Journey (キノの旅) And trust me, because being a film nerd, I’m very picky about my films and TV series.

Many people dislike anime because they find it “poorly/cheaply animated” and “too difficult for non-fans to understand,” or they don’t like the exaggerated facial expressions and stylistic devices found in many popular series.  Many also complain of overly lengthy stories with too much “filler” material, lack of depth, and how many series are similar to one another.  “Film people” especially tend to dismiss anything not directed by Hayao Miyazaki without a second thought.

Luckily,  Kino is here to provide a breath of fresh air for all the jaded film people (and non-film people) out there.  Here’s my breakdown.

Why you should watch Kino’s Journey:

  • Episode count and structure: Kino’s Journey is only 13 episodes and the structure is episodic.  No complex character histories and stories to keep track of, no filler, no extended battle sequences.
  • It’s really deep: This series makes you think.  And not in an over-the-top preachy way, either.  It’s almost a type of existential wandering story.
  • Simple but awesome: No over-the-top battles and magical powers here, folks.  The premise is almost neorealist in its simplicity: the two main characters, Kino and Kino’s motorrad (motorcycle) Hermes, travel around the world, stopping in each place for only 3 days.  That’s it.  But don’t let that simplicity fool you because as I said before, this series is full of psychological depth.
  • Good animation and design for a TV series: Don’t expect the animation quality of something theatrical like Ponyo, but you’ll be surprised by the quality here.  It’s simple like most anime, but I feel that the simplicity works for the story, which is “simple” in itself.  The style is also really neat – Kino travels through a fictional, almost steampunk kind of world, so the designs of clothing, machinery, etc. are all very “retro.”  Check this out:
Kino and Hermes

Kino and Hermes


nice background...

….see what I mean?

  • Really good sound design: animation sound can be tricky because everything has to be created.  And oftentimes anime sound is just “there.”  However, in Kino, especially in episode 12, I noticed some very creative and effective sonic transitions and distortion.  By the way, the music for this series is quite good.  It’s got a sort of ambient-world feel to it.
  • No weird Japanese-culture things: You don’t have to know anything about Japan or anime to watch this series.  Anyone can watch it.  Except young children, because it can be a bit scary at times.

Watch this show!  Try it out!  It’s only 3 discs (13 episodes) and will only take about 5 hours to watch all the way through.  Recca highly recommends it!

Quickie Reviews: WALL-E, She’s The Man

Posted in animation, cinema, reviews/opinions on July 7, 2008 by reccaphoenix

WALL-E (USA, 2008 ) Pixar Animation Studios. Animated Feature Film.  Color.

Outstanding on nearly every level.  Visually stunning and epic, the film uses the Chaplin-esque plucky Wall-E and his dialogue-free yet heartwarming and funny encounters with Eve, an iPod-like reconaissance robot, to create a touching story that makes good use of old films and the dystopia genre’s conventions, yet still presents a new and exciting story.  Citing everything from old scifi films like 2001: A Space Odyssey to the old musical Hello Dolly and some old popular songs, Wall-E is a masterpiece of postmodern science fiction dystopia, and an environmentally and socially relevant reminder of where we are headed.  Yet, despite all this “fearmongering” (as some like to call it), it remains a positive and uplifting picture.  My favorite Pixar flick yet.  Rating: 10/10

She’s The Man (USA, 2006) dir. Andy Fickman.  Feature film.  Color, 35mm.

A teen version of Shakespeare’s “12th Night,” in the tradition of other Shakespeare adaptations like Ten Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man tells the story of Viola, a confident soccer player at a fancy prep school whose team gets cut.  She is rejected by the boys’ soccer team, and decides to prove she can play soccer as well as the boys…by defecting to a rival prep school and disguising herself as her brother Sebastian.  I did not decide to watch this film by myself, but found myself mildly amused by much of it.  Viola (Amanda Bynes) is a strong and funny character, and despite some very laughable dialogue and awkward situations, the film pulls off its story fairly well.  The camera work in the soccer matches, while decidedly more MTV-esque than most films, is pretty unique.  The film features a couple of good covers of older songs, too, although it can’t help but throw itself into the “training montage to music” cliche a few times.  Overall, this is pretty solid for a teen film, and though I don’t know how faithful it is to Shakespeare, it shows the relevance of Shakespeare’s sex comedies in today’s world.  Rating: 6/10

New “Cartoon”: Spoof of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Posted in animation, cinema, shameless parody, video with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Here’s the latest product of RECCALUX “animation” studios (a.k.a. me).

Enjoy! And please rate the video on YouTube

It’s a parody of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a famous German silent film. If you’re wondering about the irritating music: the DVD distributed by KINO used a crappy “modern” score done on synth and guitar that sounded just about as bad (if not worse) than the soundtrack I created by mashing up 2 unrelated songs. It’s about what the real thing sounds like >: )

Tolen (“The Knack…and How To Get It”) and Tezuka

Posted in animation, anime, cinema, manga, mod, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions, television with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Two characters that seem to share a lot of similarities….

Exhibit “A”, Rock (a.k.a. Rokuro Makube):


Exhibit “B”, Tolen (“just Tolen.” ):

out for a motorbike ride with ANOTHER bird...

Tolen is from The Knack…and How to Get It, one of my all-time favourite films. It was made in 1965. Rock in his evil-with-sunglasses incarnation was inaugurated in The Vampires starting in 1966. Coincidence? Maybe. We also have to consider that The Knack didn’t premiere in Japan until February of ’66, so Osamu Tezuka would have already been working on Vampires for quite some time.

But it’s fun, huh? They both wear suits and ties. They both have ’50s-like haircuts. They both wear dark sunglasses and are “bad.”

So maybe Tezuka didn’t base Rock on Tolen, but I’ve found an even crazier coincedence in MW. When Father Garai asks Yuki about the girl’s necklace, Yuki reveals that he keeps a bunch of them “on hand…to give to girls, of course,”:


Tezuka, Osamu. MW. New York: Vertical, 2007: p. 126. [Originally published 1976-8]

Tolen not only also keeps necklaces around to give to his girlfriends, they look almost exactly the same as Yuki’s. They’re hanging on a peg on the wall in this photo:

necklace time ;)

Coincidence? I think that aside from Rock’s most likely incidental similarity to Tolen, this scene in MW strongly suggests that Tezuka had at least seen “The Knack,” unless the whole necklace thing was a custom of the times.

Here’s something about Tolen that bothers me, though. He can’t seem to make up his mind about whether he’s a mod or a rocker. It was 1965, he had no excuse for not having made up his mind 😛 He has a big motorbike, a ’50s haircut, and leather gloves….but he also wears a suit and Chelsea boots, listens to jazz, and has a cool, detached attitude. So which is it, Tolen?! Maybe he figured that if he was ambiguous enough he could pick up mod girls and rocker girls. Opinions?

Maybe Tolen’s actor should have played Rock in the live-action TV version of The Vampires……