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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Star Wars, Animation

Release Date:

May 4, 2023

Plot Summary:

Just released at Star Wars Celebration: Watch the new trailer for Star Wars Visions: Volume 2, featuring nine new shorts from nine celebrated animation studios from across the globe. Streaming May 4 on Disney+.

Disney +

 

Title: “Sith”

Studio: El Guiri

Writer-director: Rodrigo Blaas

 

Rodrigo Blaas is an Emmy Award®-winning director who has spent more than 20 years in animation. After co-founding Stromboli Animation in 1997, Blaas joined Blue Sky Studios in 2000, working on the feature film Ice Age, before transitioning to Pixar Animation Studios. There, he worked on such projects as Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), and Wall-E (2008) and on the Oscar®-nominated short film La Luna (2011). More recently, Blaas partnered with Guillermo del Toro to develop the award-winning series Trollhunters, served as creative director for Mikros Animation Paris and, in 2021, created El Guiri Studios in Madrid with his partner, Cecile Hokes. He also wrote and directed 2009’s award-winning short film Alma.

 

Title: “Screecher’s Reach”

Studio: Cartoon Saloon

Director: Paul Young

 

Paul Young is a co-founder of Cartoon Saloon, an IFTA winner and Oscar®, Emmy® and BAFTA nominee. He produced the animated features My Father’s Dragon, WolfWalkers, The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner as well as award-winning TV series including Puffin Rock, Dorg Van Dango, and Viking Skool.

Title: “In the Stars”

Studio: Punkrobot

Writer-director: Gabriel Osorio

 

Gabriel Osorio majored in Fine Arts at Universidad de Chile, later specializing in 3D animation. After working in commercials, movies and television series, he founded Punkrobot Studio. Since 2008, he has directed projects for children’s television including Flipos, Muelin y Perlita, Soccer Girls, and television spots. In 2016, his short film Bear Story became the first Latin American project to win an Oscar® in the animated short category.

 

Title: “I Am Your Mother”

Studio: Aardman

Director: Magdalena Osinska

Magdalena Osinska is an award-winning director who has been with Aardman for eight years. She has directed stop-motion, CGI, 2D and live-action commercials including Wallace & Gromit’s “The Great Sofa Caper” and “Share the Orange.” Osinska directed development of the children’s series Joyets and has also directed films including Spirits of the Piano and Zbigniev’s Cupboard. A graduate of the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, UK, as well as the Polish Film School in Lodz and Art College in Warsaw, Osinska is currently developing the feature film Jasia, based on her grandmother’s memories of WWII Poland.

 

Title: “Journey to the Dark Head”

Studio: Studio Mir

Director: Hyeong Geun Park

 

Rising star Hyeong Geun Park had already made a name for himself when he entered the Korean animation industry in 2017, thanks to his strong drawing and animation sensibilities. He has directed animation for dozens of cinematic game trailers and has since expanded into animated series, working on projects including Dota: Dragon’s Blood: Book 3 (2022) and Lookism (2022). Journey to the Dark Head is the first title he has executive produced from start to finish.

 

Title: “The Spy Dancer”

Studio: Studio La Cachette

Writer-director: Julien Chheng

 

Julien Chheng is CEO of Studio La Cachette, an Emmy Award®-winning French animation studio he co-founded in 2014 with fellow Gobelins school’s alumni Oussama Bouacheria and Ulysse Malassagne. Chheng was trained in visual development at Disney and has worked as a character animator on acclaimed 2D animated features The Rabbi’s Cat, Mune, and the Academy Award®-nominated Ernest and Celestine. In 2021, he won an Emmy Award® as animation executive producer of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, for which he also served as animation supervisor. In 2022, Chheng directed with Jean-Christophe Roger the Cesar-nominated feature Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia.

 

Title: “The Bandits of Golak”

Studio: 88 Pictures

Director: Ishan Shukla

Ishan Shukla started his career as a CG artist in Singapore. For more than a decade, he spearheaded projects ranging from TV commercials to series and music videos. His 2016 animated short, “Schirkoa,” was long listed for the Academy Awards® after receiving dozens of awards and playing at 120 international festivals, including SIGGRAPH Asia where it was named Best in Show. He then set up his own animation studio to work on adult-oriented animated feature films including a feature-length version of Schirkoa, set to hit festivals in summer 2023.

Title: “The Pit”

Studios: D’art Shtajio and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Writer-director-executive producer: LeAndre Thomas

Co-director: Justin Ridge

 

LeAndre Thomas is an award-winning writer and director from Oakland, Calif., whose most recent film won Best Director at the Pasadena International Film Festival. In addition to his independent films, Thomas is a part of the franchise studio team at Lucasfilm Ltd. where he has worked for more than 11 years being credited on recent titles such as Light & Magic, The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, and many more.

 

Justin Ridge executive produced the Emmy®-nominated series Star Wars Resistance. His credits also include Star Wars Rebels, Storks, The Cleveland Show, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

 

Title: “Aau’s Song”

Studio: Triggerfish

Writer-directors: Nadia Darries and Daniel Clarke

 

Nadia Darries is a director, animator and co-founder of Goon Valley Animation, with an avocation for songwriting. Born in the Cape Flats in South Africa, Darries has worked on high-end animated film and motion design as an animator, project manager, creative director and director since 2015. Her experience includes animating at Triggerfish Animation Studios on the award-winning BBC films Stick Man, Revolting Rhymes, and Highway Rat.

 

Daniel Clarke is a Cape Town-based director and artist working in animation, film and illustration. He started his career in animation in 2008 at Triggerfish Animation Studios, where he has served as production designer, art director and director on projects such as the feature film Khumba, BBC’s Stick Man, and The Snail and the Whale. In 2018, along with James Clarke and Daniel Snaddon, he completed the graphic novel Kariba.

 

via: StarWars.com

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The Acolyte | Official Trailer | Disney +

Star Wars series that takes viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Drama

Release Date:

June 4, 2024

Director:

Leslye Headland

Cast:

Dafne Keen, Amandla Stenberg, Jodie Turner-Smith

Plot Summary:

Star Wars series that takes viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.

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Maya’s Story To Echo Through Time

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Vincent D'Onofrio (Wilson Fisk) & Alaqua Cox (Maya Lopez) (Disney)

Here is the review of Marvel Studios’ Echo, now streaming on Disney Plus.

Plot

Marvel Studios presents “Echo,” spotlighting Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) as she is pursued by Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) criminal empire. When the journey brings her home, she must confront her own family and legacy. Streaming January 9 on Disney+ & Hulu. Set your Disney+ profile to TV-MA to stream. All episodes will be available on Hulu until April 9.

Starring: Alaqua Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Chaske Spencer, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, and Devery Jacobs.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez / Echo (Disney)

Review

There is in total 5 episodes and it was available immediately and this is really amazing, allowing us to binge watch the season in 1 sitting. A big part of Echo’s storyline focuses on giving the viewer a glimpse into her ancestral history and her past with the Kingpin of crime.

Maya develops as a strong character in this story more than the Maya we met in the Hawkeye series. Alaqua Cox really delivers an exceptional performance. As always Vincent D’Onofrio plays his heart out as Wilson Fisk, the notorious Kingpin who has been dominating our screen since the Daredevil TV Series on Netflix back in the day. We get a few surprises, even though short pieces, but it is still appreciated and I will not spoil those surprises in the hope that you will go and watch the episodes later and experience the same level of joy I experienced.

A lot of effort was done with regards to the language options. Choctaw was added as a language option on Disney Plus. I read that some of the cast learned American Sign Language (ASL) in order to communicate with Alaqua on set and this really warms my heart. A lot of research was done on the Choctaw nation and was incorporated as part of Maya’s storyline.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez / Echo (Disney)

Some of the less positive notes are the series was rated as meant for mature audiences only. However, the action scenes were little and not as brutal as expected if compared with the likes of the Daredevil series. Maya’s powers was also changed slightly from the comic books but it takes a positive turn closer to the end. Really looking forward to the part Maya / Echo will play later on as I feel she portrays the part of a hero very well.

I highly encourage watching the original Netflix series’ Daredevil and Hawkeye to get the background of some of the key characters in this story. I highly encourage subscribing to Marvel Unlimited to read up about Maya Lopez / Echo, Wilson Fisk / Kingpin or any of your favorite Marvel characters.

There is a mid-credits scene that you don’t want to miss, but no post-credits scene. The mid-credits feel familiar to the comic book direction.

I rate this series a 3.5 out of 5. Maya’s story will echo through the cinematic universe, as a story of bravery and strength. Sometimes all you need is a healing hand, a key theme from Marvel Studios’ Echo. I’m looking forward to more of Maya on the screen.

Watch all 5 episodes on Disney Plus now!

Echo Official Trailer (Marvel Entertainment)

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Doctor Who: The Giggle, A Wildly Satisfying Finale That Teases A Promising Future

Russel T. Davies’ Whoniverse-reshaping finale is a thrilling, heartwarming, chilling, and satisfying hour of telly, that never eases up.

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SPOILER’S AHEAD!

As brilliantly put by beloved Doctor Who companion Donna Noble, “That was completely nuts!” The final episode of the three 60th anniversary specials, “The Giggle” may just well be the most bonkers, yet impeccable piece of Doctor Who TV… ever. Where last weeks special “Wild Blue Yonder” saw writer Russell T. Davies deliver a masterful episode in restrained storytelling, “The Giggle” is the showrunner unleashed. Throwing epic musical numbers, eerie moments of horror, impactful social commentary, and a divisive yet satisfying final 20 minutes result in an unrelenting hour of telly, and perhaps the best episode of Doctor Who ever.

Kicking off with John Logie Baird’s invention of the television in 1925 as well as introducing audiences to “Stooky Bill” – a real puppet who could put Annabelle to shame – “The Giggle” quickly picks up where “Wild Blue Yonder” left off. In the midst of world wide carnage, the Doctor (David Tenant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) must search for answers as to why planes are falling out of the sky, and human beings are busy beating each other up on the streets, leading the two to the celestial Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris), one of the most powerful beings in the universe.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

Russell T. Davies is never one to shy away from delivering a script oozing with his rightful fury at current social climates. Take previous episodes like “Midnight” “The Long Game” and “Turn Left” for example all offering impactful stories with themes of human nature, the power of media, and anti-immigration prejudice respectively. Here, Russell T. Davies satirically imitates anti-vaxers, anti-maskers, conspiracy theories, and government empathy brilliantly. Some of it may be a little on the nose – such as a hilarious and obvious dig at Boris Johnson – but it more or less works in favour of poignant, and well-crafted satire.

“The Giggle’s” mad cap, and unprecedented energy is only more apparent through the episodes many tonal shifts. Under the guise of another property, this constant tonal shift would have felt jarring. But in “The Giggle” the episode pivots in-and-out of horror, comedy, musical, and drama effortlessly, adding to episodes manic and unpredictable nature.

Keeping on theme with last weeks unnerving episode, “The Giggle” is surprisingly steeped in horror. Especially for those who suffer from pupaphobia, the fear of puppets. Whether its the imagery of that “gosh darn” creepy doll, Stooky Bill, or the Toymakers endless gothic labryinth, “The Giggle” is another terrifying episode of Doctor Who, proving once again that this sci-fi show isn’t for children. No scene is scarier perhaps than the haunting scene with Stooky Bill’s wife, Stooky Sue, who’s found crying in the corner of a dark room, before creeping towards Donna chanting a horrifying rhyme. But its all played for laughs when Donna nonchalantly beats the puppet senseless.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

Elsewhere, Neil Patrick Harris’ Toymaker who stole the show. His multi-faceted, and multi-accented villain proves to be the deadliest enemy the Doctor has ever faced, as well as perhaps the most entertaining. Harris’ intoxicating performance enthuses the Toymaker with fear, intelligence, and a playfulness unlike any villain we have seen before. His celestial abilities are terrifying and unparalleled, making the Master – the Doctors nemesis/best friend – look like an amateur. Through the subtle yet deeply fascinating line, “I made a jigsaw out of your history” – explaining, teasing and disregarding the recent messy Whoniverse canon with ease – the Toymaker becomes much more of a threat. Lets not forget the unexpectedly brilliant “Spice Up Your Life” musical number where the Toymaker effortlessly turns soldiers into balloons, once again proving his celestial power.

Bringing back David Tennant – the most popular actor to ever take on the role – was perhaps Davies’ wisest decision upon returning, and reviving the show. Tennant’s return doesn’t just provide a great headline for the show that would drive its viewers back after an incredibly messy past few years, but also offers a heartwarming vulnerability to a character who hasn’t stopped running, fighting, and caring for nearly two decades. The Doctor has never taken a second to grieve, or stop running. He’s lost innumerable companions, and was responsible for destroying half the universe with the Flux. A messy piece of Doctor Who canon which has now been beautifully woven into the Doctor’s character thanks to Russel T. Davies.

Davies delves into the characters vulnerability, and insecurities forcing the Doctor to question his being, and ability to save others. The line “I’m all sonic, and TARDIS, and Time lord, take that away, what am I?” is an incredibly powerful piece of character development, made all the more impactful through Tennant’s performance. The Doctor has always put himself above others, but “The Giggle”, more specifically Donna, encourages the Doctor to stop trying to sacrifice himself for others, and to instead take a second to care for himself.

With Tennant returning to the role, audiences will instantly have that connection to this version of the Doctor, making his vulnerability much more heart-wrenching, and his ending much more satisfying.

Tate was equally fantastic as she has been through all three specials. Her confident, and hilarious performance continues to prove why Donna Noble is one of the best ever Doctor Who companions, and her chemistry with Tennant is deeply infectious.

Still from “The Giggle” (BBC Studios)

The episode carried a lot of emotional stakes way before the title music kicked in, what with the episode forcing viewers to sit through another David Tennant regeneration. However, what was supposed to be an emotional finale, resulted in an unprecedented and incredibly exciting final 20 minutes. Davies introduced possibly the most divisive aspect of the show… well ever. We are of course talking about, Bi-generation. The idea that instead of changing faces, the Doctor instead becomes two Doctor’s. A current Doctor, and a new Doctor. This not only served as a great way to introduce Ncuti Gatwa, who instantly proved himself as an extraordinary Doctor, but also gives the 14th Doctor a satisfying arc that finally lets him rest.

Bi-generation is a fantastic concept for now, but in the future, this idea could lose all the emotional weight a regeneration used to harbour. Saying goodbye to a current incarnation of the Doctor was never easy. But, if Bi-generation is a continued element then no regeneration will be as impactful or emotional as it once was. For now, it was perfect.

All in all, “The Giggle” – and collectively all three specials – are some of the best work Doctor Who has ever put out. The final special of the 60th celebrations served as a satisfying and emotional goodbye to the modern era of Doctor Who and an exciting tease at the franchises future. It’s an undoubtedly bonkers satire, that blends horror, musical, comedy, and drama elements together to create the best and most heart-warming Doctor Who episode ever. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us Whovians.

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