12 items from 2015
Re-Animators: Kaufman & Johnson Brilliantly Translates Kafkaesque ‘Sound Play’ From The Stage To Stop Motion
Springing from the mind that spewed an incredible string of transcendent work from Being John Malkovich to Synecdoche, New York, writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman‘s Anomalisa is yet another wholly original work, vastly different in form, but no less Kaufmanesque, narratively speaking. This go round he’s partnered with Duke Johnson, one of the creative minds behind the stop-motion production studio Starburns Industries (Moral Orel, Frankenhole), to rework a story he’d penned under the alias Francis Fregoli and produced for the stage as a ‘sound play’ back in 2005 for the Theater of the New Ear. The result is an inventive bit of stop-motion brilliance which seizes upon the inherent falsities of its chosen medium and employs them as a driving force in the examination of tedium and the apathetic perception of sameness as one grows old. »
- Jordan M. Smith
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman
The original Anomalisa was a “sound play” by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation), performed before an audience only twice. The “sound” aspect referred to the fact that its main character has a disorder that makes him see everyone with the same face and hear the same voice. Character actor Tom Noonan (The House of the Devil, Manhunter) acted out this sea of parts on stage opposite David Thewlis’ (Naked, Restoration) Michael Stone. Stone, famous in the world of customer service, is a married motivational speaker struggling with depression and the need for intimacy when he lands in a Cincinnati hotel for a contracted engagement. There he ruminates about a love he threw away and finds hope in a new woman named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Thanks to Dino Stamatopoulos (writer, animator, perhaps best »
- Lane Scarberry
Read More: Telluride Review: Charlie Kaufman's Marvelously Strange 'Anomalisa' is An Animated Identity Crisis Aspen Filmfest has announced a surprise addition of another awards-season favorite to their jam-packed lineup. The festival, now in its 37th year, will include Charlie Kaufman's Venice award winner "Anomalisa" in its slate. "Anomalisa," which has received mounds of critical acclaim since its premiere at Venice, is a strange and surreal stop-motion film written and co-directed by Kaufman and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and David Thewlis. The official synopsis reads, "Michael Stone, husband, father, and respected author, is a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he's scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible excape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales. »
- Aubrey Page
There really isn’t anybody like Charlie Kaufman. The widely adored writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is finally back with his first film since 2008’s Synecdoche, New York, collaborating with stop-motion animation magician Duke Johnson, and also Kickstarter, to bring us this strange and beautiful delight called Anomalisa.
As the title would suggest, it’s in a category all to itself. This should not be a surprise to people familiar with Kaufman’s previous work; he has one of the most unique writing voices in the world, and his films have attracted intense admiration for their ability to translate his personal experience of the world into stories that resonate on an intellectually universal level.
Conceived as a sound play for composer Carter Burwell’s Theater of the New Ear (for another sample of this format, Kaufman’s Hope Leaves the Theater can »
- Darren Ruecker
"Anomalisa" changed my life. Now, before you roll your eyes, I mean that literally. I would point out that films have changed my life before because they have played for me at the right time or, in a few cases, the wrong time, and I am sure they will change my life again. Hell, if you want to make the argument that pretty much every single milestone I outlined in my recent 25 Years In La series was because of or related to movies, I think it's a pretty safe argument to make. After all, I've said before that this is my church, the place I go to find my center, to be challenged, to grow, and to see the world around me through myriad eyes. Sitting in the Princess of Wales Theater in Toronto, it was about halfway through "Anomalisa" when I realized I was having one of those experiences, »
- Drew McWeeny
Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has emerged after seven years with his new film, the animated Anomalisa. Following a premiere at the Venice Film Festival, he sat down during the Toronto International Film Festival for an enlightening 30-minute conversation. The stop-motion film features Michael Stone, played by David Thewlis, who is […] »
- TFS Staff
Anomalisa won big in Venice on Saturday with The Grand Jury Prize. Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, the Anomalisa stars David Thewlis as a customer service guru, Michael Stone, who thinks that everyone else in the world is the same person. He spends a lonely night in a hotel room until he meets, Lisa, voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who doesn't look and sound like everyone else. Tom Noonan amazingly plays everyone else. “This is such an extraordinary honor," said Johnson upon accepting the prize. "We set out to make this movie more than three years ago and we didn't
- Ariston Anderson
★★★★★ Charlie Kaufman and Duke Jones' Anomalisa (2015) is a deep, witty and moving portrait of alienation filmed in stop-motion animation. It's quite unlike anything else shown at Venice, or anywhere else for that matter, but if it helps: imagine Aardman Animation doing a Philip K. Dick adaptation. "What is it to be human?" asks Michael Stone (David Thewlis at his most drawling and grumpy), a famous motivational speaker in the midst of an existential crisis. "What is it to ache?" He is visiting Cincinnati for a speaking engagement, but he struggles with every interaction. He's tersely polite but barely able to keep the irritation out of his voice when dealing with his friendly taxi driver - "Go to the zoo: it's zoo-sized".
In Stone's world, everyone speaks with the same voice. Tom Noonan's voice to be precise, who is credited as 'The Rest of the World' in the end titles. »
- CineVue UK
In “Anomalisa,” an inspirational speaker in crisis checks into Cincinnati’s (fictional) Al Fregoli hotel, named for a delusional condition in which paranoiacs believe that those around them are not who they appear to be, but a single tormentor hiding behind multiple disguises. That’s a helpful bit of trivia to consider before entering into Charlie Kaufman’s latest brain teaser, this one originally mounted (just twice) for composer Carter Burwell’s “Theater of the New Ear” sound-play experiment and rescued from obscurity by a team of imaginative producers who thought it might make an interesting stop-motion project — which it does, exceptional even, although it’s unclear just who they imagined might be the audience for such a cerebral cult offering.
“Anomalisa’s” existence is a minor miracle on multiple levels, from the Kickstarter campaign that funded it (the credits give “special thanks” to 1,070 names) to the oh-so-delicate way the film creeps up on you, »
- Peter Debruge
Read More: Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup, Including 'Steve Jobs,' 'Black Mass' and Rooney Mara Tribute If the confounding twists of "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation" and "Synecdoche, New York" fused with the tone of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and collided with an episode of "Robot Chicken," the result might resemble the peculiar animated odyssey "Anomalisa." Co-directed by Charlie Kaufman and animation director Duke Johnson, the movie boils down Kaufman's penchant for peculiar soul-searching mind trips into their natural state: A strange audiovisual journey through a troubled mind that's at once divorced from reality and attuned to its haunting secrets. Unlike many Kaufman screenplays, "Anomalisa" hits a discombobulating note from the start, when it introduces the brightly colored stop-motion universe of motivational speaker Michael Stone (tenderly voiced by David Thewlis). Michael and »
- Eric Kohn
With apologies in advance to the people of Cincinnati, in the worldview of Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson's "Anomalisa," or at least to the misfortune of its characters, the Queen City represents a soul-crushing dullness and boredom that could drive any man mad. For customer service guru and author Michael Stone (brilliantly voiced by David Thewlis as a classic Kaufman-esque misanthrope), already fundamentally unhappy and in the midst of a huge existential crisis, Cincy is a grueling hell on Earth of fatuous people and irritating small talk. In all fairness, it could be any faceless and anonymous city — part of Kaufman’s aim is to examine and send-up the mundanity of the business trip and that odd experience of feeling like an alien exploring the world of this not-quite-real, single-serving fantasy existence where people wait on you hand and foot. Kaufman’s latest loopy movie, the kickstarted stop-motion animation film “Anomalisa, »
- Rodrigo Perez
I interviewed James Coburn in late 1998 for the cover story of the February 1999 issue of Venice Magazine. I had grown up watching Coburn on the late show, but also seeing him on the big screen, first-run. Meeting him was a thrill as he entered the living room of his manager, the late Hilly Elkins', home in Beverly Hills. Coburn was elegant, charming and had the grace of a cat. The only thing that revealed the health problems that had nearly done him in were his gnarled hands, the result of severe arthritis. We spoke about his role in Paul Schrader's newest film, "Affliction," which would earn him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Later, as I walked Coburn to his Acura Nsx sport coupe, he bid me a warm farewell.
Several months later, I encountered him again at The Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica. I went up »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
12 items from 2015
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