i lost my body review

Watch out The Addams Family! There’s only one true animated film about a severed hand, and it’s the Netflix film I Lost My Body. Jeremy Clapin’s impressive first feature, this French animated movie is an artsy, macabre, mostly very emotional story told from the point of view of a severed hand with a case of reverse missing limb, who is on an epic quest to reunite with its owner. 

Taking a minimalist, nearly lyrical approach to storytelling, Clapin opens his movie with a black-and-white flashback (one of many throughout the film) of a young Moroccan boy, Naoufel (Hakim Faris) whose father is teaching him how to capture a fly with his bare hands. Then we cut forward to a fridge in a small room, out of which comes a severed hand. After freeing itself from a plastic packaging and jumping out a window, it begins an arduous and frenetic journey through Paris. It’s a series of misadventures as the film flashes back and forth between the hand’s travels and Naoufel’s youth and moments leading to him being separated from his hand.

Read More »

Greatest Episode of Lost

Fifteen years ago, a television show changed Network TV and serialized genre storytelling forever. Combining Survivor with Twin Peaks, Lost quickly became a global phenomenon. It made its large cast overnight superstars, and it inspired dozens of copycats with its use of flashbacks, and its character-first approach to the story that was still sprinkled with a fascinating mystery involving smoke monsters, polar bears and eventually time-travel. We’re still living in the shadow of Lost, and when you watch Game of Thrones or This Is Us, you can still see its influences.

But what we’ve come to associate with Lost weren’t exactly there from the beginning. The pilot used flashbacks, sure, and episode two started the tradition of focusing on a single character’s flashback each episode. However, it wasn’t until episode three, ‘Walkabout’, which aired 15 years ago this past weekend, that Lost truly cemented itself as a ground-breaking new player in Network TV. ‘Walkabout’ managed to combine the show’s characters-first storytelling with a rich mystery by introducing the mystical properties of the Island, and by using the flashbacks to really flesh out the characters and take the audience by surprise with memorable twists.

Read More »

Ride Your Wave Review

Masaaki Yuasa has made a career out of weird yet beautifully crafted anime. From the trippy and enthralling Mind Game, to the loopy Lu Over The Wall, and even the brutally graphic and unforgiving DEVILMAN crybaby, you know you’re in for a ride when his name comes out in the credits. Though at first glance his newest feature, Ride Your Wave, may seem like his most accessible film yet, it still offers an emotional and eye-popping visual feast that is as cheesy and predictable as it is charming, touching and funny. Tears may be shed, and you’ll have the theme song stuck in your head for days. Read More »

The Shed Review

Vampires have gotten a bad rap in recent years, losing a lot of the mysticism, romanticism and sheer horror that usually come with creatures of the night. Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet director Frank Sabatella wants to bring vampires back to their roots with a film that is part drama about bullied teens and part sci-fi movie about a kid hiding a fantastical creature in their house a la Mac and Me, but instead of a Coca-Cola loving alien, it’s a bloodthirsty vampire living in a shed.

The result is The Shed, a dark and poignant look at bullying and how easy it is to fall into a dark path of revenge, while also being a traditional horror movie.

Read More »

The Promised Neverland

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Horror is one of the most under-seen genres in animation. Because audiences don’t follow flesh and blood people, it may be a bit harder to connect emotionally to the horror the characters experience than it would be with live-action. This often results in anime shows which rely more on gore or music for scares, or thrillers that barely dip their toes into horror – until The Promised Neverland.

CloverWorks studio’s adaptation of the manga with the same name wants to challenge the notion that horror doesn’t work in animation, with a story that is as terrifying as it is emotional and simply adorable (yes, we’re talking about Phil).

Writing about The Promised Neverland is tricky since the concept of the show itself is a such a big surprise that I’ll try my hardest not to spoil it. You should just know that the anime follows a group of orphans living together in the Grace Field House. They have everything they could want in life – they’re well-loved, well-fed, have an excellent education, and no cares in the world. But everything changes when two of the older orphans discover that there’s a terrible and deadly secret that awaits the children that get “adopted.”

From there, the show becomes a cat-and-mouse game of secrets and escape plans as the children uncover the sinister purpose of the orphanage. It’s a tense story full of cliffhangers, intrigue, and the most adorable 4-year-old orphan that will break your heart and have you worried for his true allegiance (yes, Phil, we still mean you). Read More »

The McPherson Tape

One of the joys of attending Fantastic Fest is discovering hidden or forgotten gems through its repertory programming. Last year they played the French thriller Dial Code Santa Claus, which is about a kid forced to fend off against a home invader on Christmas, which came out a couple of years before Macaulay Culkin ate his cheese pizza in Home Alone, and was never released in the US.  This year they offered a different yet equally fascinating “lost” film. This time around, Fantastic Fest audiences were treated to a one-time-only screening of what has been called the very first horror found-footage movie The McPherson Tape, made in 1989 – 10 years before The Blair Witch Project. 

Read More »

Wrinkles the Clown Trailer

Right in-between Pennywise the Dancing Clown and Joaquin Phoenix’ Clown Prince of Crime, a different type of clown wants to make it to the big screen – Wrinkles the Clown. Director Michael Beach Nichols takes a hard look at one of the most fascinating Internet legends of the past few years, a clown that is apparently hired by parents to scare their kids. As Marisa Mirabal wrote for the site, Wrinkles the Clown is an intriguing magic trick of a film, and it’s true, Nichols takes a simple premise – investigating the story behind a viral 2014 YouTube video that showed a sinister clown mask-wearing individual emerging from underneath a child’s bed – and evolves it into an exploration of the internet itself and its ability to spread wild tales and why we love to feel scared.

I had the opportunity to interview the man behind the documentary, director Michael Beach Nichols, at Fantastic Fest and talk about the film, its big twist, the internet and more. For clarity and spoilers-sake, the interview has been edited so as to not ruin the surprise, and believe me – you’ll want to experience the insanity that is Wrinkles The Clown yourself when it arrives on October 4, 2019.

Read More »

The Devil is a Part-Timer Review

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

When you’re trying to convince a newcomer about the diversity of anime shows and the power of the anime medium to tell vastly different stories, show them an action show, followed by something completely different – like a comedy. On paper, you’d think something like a slice-of-life drama or a workplace comedy wouldn’t benefit from being done in animation, but along comes something like The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, which turns its high-concept into a hilarious comedy, and it makes you realize that anything could benefit from being animated.

What if I were to tell you that Demon Lord Satan, the Devil himself, nearly conquered his world of Ente Isla but right before killing his enemies, a hero named Emilia forces him to escape through a gate that transports them both – as well as Satan’s right-hand demon Alciel – to modern day Tokyo? With no powers and rent coming up, what’s Satan to do but take a part-time job working at a fast food joint called MgRonald’s?

From there on, The Devil Is a Part-Timer evolves into a hilarious, often sweet and thought-provoking comedy. Though it isn’t afraid to dip its toes into some fluid and exhilarating action scenes, the focus is always on Satan’s struggles to stay afloat the current economy, and whether people can actually change.

Read More »

Carole and Tuesday

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Shinichiro Watanabe has made some of the most iconic and influential anime of the past 20 years, with some of the best soundtracks in the industry. His first show, Cowboy Bebop, was the perfect midpoint of anime storytelling and Western pop culture influences, resulting in an exhilarating sci-fi western with a killer jazz soundtrack. He followed that up with Samurai Champloo which combined Japan’s Edo-era samurai road trip story with a hip-hop soundtrack and visual style. Even his thriller anime series about a terrorist attack, Terror in Resonance, was heavily influenced by the music of Sigur Rós. 

All this is to say, if you watch a Watanabe anime, you’re bound to get a blending of genres and visual styles, plenty of references to Western pop-culture, and a fantastic soundtrack – and Carole & Tuesday may have his best musical work yet. The series follows Tuesday, a runaway rich girl who, taking a page out of Cyndi Lauper’s book, runs away from her privileged life with nothing but a guitar and a dream. After finally making it to Alba City, a metropolis on Mars that attracts those who want to become somebody, she meets Carole, an orphan and refugee from Earth who plays the piano and works many part-time jobs. Soon they’ll move in together to start making music and try to make it as singer-songwriters in a world where life has become entirely automated and all art is being made by AI.

From there the show becomes a sweet and optimistic exploration of the power of music and creativity that feels like it could very well be set in today’s New York despite it being set in Mars in the distant future. Oh, and of course the soundtrack has some of the catchiest songs you’ll hear all year – including what should become an anthem for frustrated people everywhere.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

A Good Woman is Hard to Find Review

Director Abner Pastoll made a great first impression with his 2015 debut feature Road Games, the bilingual, twisted tale set in France and starring Barbara Crampton. For his sophomore film, Pastoll trades the rural France setting and the Hitchcockian vibes for a Park Chan Wook-esque thriller and the gritty realism of urban Ireland in A Good Woman Is Hard To Find. The result is a kitchen sink drama, a pulpy crime movie, and a bloody revenge tale all held together by one hell of a performance.

Read More »