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With: (voices) James Bachman, Emma Cunniffe, Antoine Menard, Alain Choquet, etc.
Written by: Matthew Walker, Bill Plympton, Joel Trussell, Stefan Muller, Luis Nieto, Satoshi Tomioka, PES, etc.
Directed by: Matthew Walker, Bill Plympton, PES, Smith & Foulkes, Joel Trussell, Dave Carter, Steve Dildarian, Stefan Muller, Luis Nieto, Georges Schwizgebel, Satoshi Tomioka, etc.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: English, French, German, Japanese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 87
Date: 03/18/2013

The Animation Show 4 (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Toon In, Flip Out

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This traveling collection of 18 animated shorts and series, from curator Mike Judge, is a mixed bag, but the gems far outweigh the duds. English animator Matthew Walker comes out on top with a pair of really good ones, Operator and John and Karen. Most of the animated shorts in this collection go for sound and fury with an emphasis on speed, shock and violence, but Walker's shorts are disarmingly low-key and much funnier than the rest. In the first, a man telephones God. In the second, a polar bear drops by the home of a penguin for an apology. An exceptional film from the Gobelins School of Animation, Blind Spot, makes inspired use of cutting: what happens in a convenience store holdup and what the camera sees are two different things. I loved Western Spaghetti by the New York filmmaker known as PES; it's a stop-motion wonder about how to make a meal out of toys and other non-food items. George Schwizgebel's Jeu from Switzerland is a free-form short with some lovely, mind-bending images. Stefan Mueller's Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Hazen and Mr. Horlocker, from Germany, about a cop investigating some noisy neighbors, has some memorable moments, and one of the greatest drug trips ever filmed. And the great Bill Plympton returns with the touching Hot Dog, about a little mutt who dreams of becoming a firefighter. From there, things deteriorate, all the way down to a vulgar, uninspired series called "Yompi the Crotch-Biting Sloup."

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