Briefly: Aardman Animation has a big presence in movie theaters this year and next, as the company is prepping two animated features for release. There’s the CGI family holiday film Arthur Christmas, for which we just saw a pair of new trailers. And then there’s Pirates!, which is a stop-motion picture that looks like quite a bit of fun.

And now Aardman’s Nick Park, the man most famously responsible for Wallace & Gromit, is reportedly writing a new feature that does not feature his famous inventor/canine duo. Read More »

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I’m a sucker for the animation of Nick Park. Though it was good to see him working in features, I think that Wallace and Gromit are much better off anchoring short films. Park’s most recent short with the man and dog pair, his first film project with the characters since 2005′s Curse of the Were-Rabbit and their first new short since 1995(!), is A Matter of Loaf and Death. The short aired in the UK and Europe over the last Christmas (i.e., if you’re not in the US this is old stuff) but will finally be getting a real US release via DVD next week.

We’ve got a clip from that, and for something new, check out the trailer for a very pretty German short film called Urs, after the break. Read More »

GeekBomb: A Brief History of Stop-Motion Animation

Editor’s Note: This is the debut post by Kevin Kelly, who will be offering his expertise in geekdom in a new /Film daily blog feature called GeekBomb. Welcome Kevin to /Film!

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline opens this weekend, and it’s directed by Henry Selick, one of the few modern masters of stop-motion animation. Although he was trained as a traditional animator, he really came to fame with stop-motion, having directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Monkeybone. In the day and age of everything being whipped up in CGI, it’s really a testament to see people work in a medium that requires hours of tedious work on films that can take an extremely long time to produce. Which is why the Sundance opening night film Mary & Max was such a treat.

Whenever someone mentions stop-motion, most people tend to think of one of the above movies, or the equally excellent Chicken Run or Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, both co-directed by the amazing Nick Park. And just to be clear, I’m not calling Monkeybone excellent… but the stop-motion moments are pretty damned awesome. You just have to love a naughty monkey sometimes. Even though most of those films are fairly recent, stop-motion animation has been around in one form or another for more than one hundred years. Click through for the highlights and milestones of this under appreciated art form.

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