It's official. This is the year of animation. So many films from the genre are sprouting up like spring daisies that it's making the Oscar race for Best Animation Feature Film a nail-biter. And it's only midyear. Add to the list of strong contenders the fifth chapter in the Ice Age franchise, a doozy of a yarn that couples the creation of the planets with earth's impending doom by a runaway meteor.
The race for the Best Animation Feature Film Oscar is on. Finding Dory may be the most touching and sentimental contender. On the other hand, The Secret Life of Pets has got to be the coolest of the challengers so far. It's a thoroughly amusing comedy thanks to the over-animated Kevin Hart and dour sarcastic Louis C.K. Those two make the lead characters vibrant. They make you want to get your bark on.
Writer/director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) has brought his ten-year project to life and his efforts have culminated in a history lesson that is surprising and confounding on many levels. His thoughtful script, with its well-formed characters, memorable dialogue and evocative settings, doesn't paint a rosy Utopian picture of blacks and whites living together in perfect harmony
"I did it my way..." No, Ethan Hawke doesn't sing those lyrics in this faux bio/film about jazz great Chet Baker. But judging by his thoroughly convincing performance and writer/director Robert Budreau's impressionistic screenplay and artsy direction, that was their mindset during this movie's production.