Eleven short films and a 30-second introductory piece Jakob Schuh and Saschka Unseld's "Bunnies" (Germany, 2002) make up this theatrical compilation of animated films assembled by Mike Judge (TV's King of the Hill) and Don Hertzfeldt. In Bill Plympton's Oscar-nominated "Guard Dog" (2003), a hyperprotective pup and his owner walk in a park teeming with crazed squirrels and homicidal flowers. Jen Drummond's "The F.E.D.S." (2002) gives Food Education Demo Specialists their say as they share tales of distributing samples in a Texas supermarket. David Russo's black-and-white "Pan with Us" (2003) illustrates Robert Frost's 1914 poem with heavily manipulated filmed images. In Peter Cornwell's stop-motion horror-comedy "Ward 13" (Australia, 2003), a hapless accident victim is trapped on a sinister ward run by a mad doctor and his Lovecraftian pet project. Jonathan Nix's whimsical "Hello" (Australia, 2003) chronicles the travails of a shy fellow with a tape deck for a head; he gets romance lessons from an aging sage with an old-fashioned Victrola on his shoulders. Tim Miller's sci-fi "Rock Fish" (2002), uses CGI to imagine a futuristic fisherman trying to reel in a DUNE-style (1984) sandworm. In Georges Schwizgebel's allegorical "The Man with No Shadow" (Canada, 2004), a discontented denizen of a colorless world makes and regrets a Mephistophelean bargain. Another CGI piece, Tomek Baginski's "Fallen Art" (Poland, 2004), unfolds in an isolated military installation where madmen in uniform use corpses to create grotesque animated trifles. Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby's "When the Day Breaks" (Canada, 1999) follows a sweet-faced housewife piggy who, after seeing a stranger run down by a car, gets a startling glimpse of the world's infinite interconnectedness. Eccentrically named stop-motion animator PES is represented by the 25-second "Fireworks" (2004), which turns gumballs, pennies and candy corn into colorful explosions. Hertzfeldt's gloomy "The Meaning of Life" (2005) concludes the program, alternating footage of ranting stick figures both human and bizarrely alien with serenely drifting celestial spheres. The standouts include "When the Day Breaks," whose gentle surface and anthropomorphized animals offer a profound glimpse of the human condition, and the enchanting "Fireworks," whose only message is that exploding Peeps look cool. Plympton's "Guard Dog" is on familiar ground, but fans of his mordant work won't be disappointed "Rock Fish" feels like a professional audition piece and "Ward 13," while amusing, is too long for its slight conceit. Given the dearth of outlets for short, noncommercial animation, fans of the form shouldn't miss this collection.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: NR
- Review: Eleven short films and a 30-second introductory piece Jakob Schuh and Saschka Unseld's "Bunnies" (Germany, 2002) make up this theatrical compilation of animated films assembled by Mike Judge (TV's King of the Hill) and Don Hertzfeldt. In Bill… (more)