7 items from 2017
At multiple points throughout “Kubo and the Two Strings,” the title character instructs his audience to “pay careful attention.” Luckily, the team behind one of 2016’s most striking animated films makes focus incredibly easy.
Animation directors often see their visions smoothed out to pacify audiences, but “Kubo and the Two Strings” just doesn’t look like anything else. Even as the film navigates some familiar animated tropes (talking animals, fraught parental relationships, talk of destiny), it unfurls its mythology with great economy and impressive scale.
The man at the helm is Travis Knight, president and CEO of animation house Laika since 2009. After serving as a lead animator on the studio’s three previous features (“Coraline,” “ParaNorman,” and “The Boxtrolls”), “Kubo and the Two Strings” is Knight’s first stint in the director’s chair, shepherding this original tale of a young boy who must brave a treacherous voyage to assemble »
- Steve Greene
The International Film Music Critics Assn. has announced nominations for the 13th annual Ifmca Awards for excellence in musical scoring in 2016. Leading the pack are Michael Giacchino and Justin Hurwitz with five nominations each, and Abel Korzeniowski, with four.
Giacchino is nominated for his work on comic book fantasy film “Doctor Strange” and the socially conscious box office hit “Zootopia.” In addition, his song “Night on the Yorktown” from “Star Trek Beyond” is up for film music composition of the year. A 36-time Ifmca Award nominee, Giacchino previously received score of the year honors in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” and in 2009 for “Up.”
Hurwitz’s “La La Land” work has already been a force this season, taking home two Golden Globes among countless other prizes. The contemporary homage to Hollywood movie musicals earned him Ifmca noms for score of the year, comedy score, and film music composition of the year. Hurwitz »
- Dani Levy
For many Kubo and the Two Strings was the cream of the crop of very good animated movies in 2016. Arguably the most ambitious project yet from Laika studios, it’s a film that is by turns thrilling and moving, and it’s all bolstered by a fantastic score from Dario Marianelli.
Ahead of the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release, I caught up with Kubo’s director Travis Knight – who is also President of the stop-motion animation studio – to talk about the challenges he and his team faced in making the movie and how the themes of Laika’s latest are personal for him. We also discuss the studio’s voice casting process, including the controversial issue of casting white actors to play Asian characters. Have a read below…
It’s been a few months since the movie was released in cinemas. »
- Gary Collinson
A young boy with a magical gift sets out on a thrilling quest to discover his family’s legacy in Laika’s newest film, Kubo and the Two Strings. The latest masterpiece from the animation studio behind the Academy Award®-nominated films Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls is out now on Digital, Blu-ray™ and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The Ultimate Laika Collection box-set will be released on the same date.
To celebrate, we are giving away an official poster signed by director Travis Knight and Blu-ray, with two runner up Blu-ray prizes.
Hailed as “an exquisite, beautiful film,” (Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood) Kubo and the Two Strings has captivated audiences of all ages, earning an extraordinary 97% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the best-reviewed films of the year!
From acclaimed animation studio Laika comes an all-new epic adventure starring the voice talents of Academy »
- Paul Heath
Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli was presented with a unique opportunity with Laika’s “Kubo and the Two Strings”: Creating a score for a film in which the music specifically drives much of the narrative.
“For me it’s always a bit of a mixed blessing when a film like that arrives,” Marianelli says. “It’s almost like having to split myself in two. I had to create an entirely new personality for the player that is in the film, and at the same time I have to keep my own personality for the rest of the score, and hopefully there is going to be a meeting point for the two.”
The film, which tells the story of shamisen-wielding youngster Kubo who can bring objects to life with his fierce plucking, is the second Laika movie for Marianelli after “The Boxtrolls.” He says he enjoys the company’s process because, »
- Kristopher Tapley
A total of 145 scores were recently announced as being eligible for this year’s Academy Award, with everything from perceived frontrunner “La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz) and “Jackie” (Mica Levi) to outliers like “Sausage Party” and “Elle.” The final five will be nominated on January 24. In the meantime, avail yourself of this Spotify playlist featuring selections from 110 of the eligible scores — as well as the full list of every eligible score.
The Abolitionists,” Tim Jones, composer
“Armenia, My Love, »
- Michael Nordine
As Martin Scorsese once said, “Music and cinema fit together naturally. Because there’s a kind of intrinsic musicality to the way moving images work when they’re put together. It’s been said that cinema and music are very close as art forms, and I think that’s true.” Indeed, the right piece of music — whether it’s an original score or a carefully selected song — can do wonders for a sequence, and today we’re looking at the 35 films that best expressed this notion this year.
From seasoned composers (e.g. Carter Burwell, Clint Mansell, Cliff Martinez, and the Kluges) to accomplished musicians (e.g. Mica Levi and Scott Walker), as well as a smattering of soundtracks (e.g. 20th Century Women and American Honey), each musical example perfectly transported us to the world of the film.
Check out our rundown of the top 35, which includes streams to »
- Jordan Raup
7 items from 2017
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