Year's best

My 2010 favorites

I hate to compare things I love.  But for the sake of a more interesting blog post, I’m going to anyway.  In real life, I don’t really like playing favorites, because different books and movies and stuff all have their own spirit, and are ultimately incomparable.  But let’s disregard that for a few moments.

For books, the nominees are books I finished reading for the first time this year, regardless of their release date.  Movies, TV shows, and film scores must be from 2010.  (Books I only read a few chapters from (which actually make up a majority of my reading) are not qualified.)

And here we go… and Happy New Year!

Year’s best live-action film…

inception (Obviously.)

Year’s best animated film…

dragon1

Year’s best TV show…

fringe

Year’s best film score…

dragon2

Year’s best non-fiction book…

genius

Year’s best fiction book…

anathem

Best whatever else…

Best documentary…

wsb

Best school…

am

By S P Hannifin, ago
Movies

Some Christmas gifts…

As they say: “Christmas is when you get stuff! You need more stuff!”

Well, Christmas is over… it came and went as fast as a day goes by.

I got some great stuff – here’s a picture! Here are my favorite gifts…

Dollhouse: Season Two [Blu-ray]. I only saw two episodes from the second season, and then the show got cancelled and I decided to just wait until it came out on DVD… or blu-ray in this case. So I’m really looking forward to watching this.

Drawn to Life: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures Volume 1 and Volume 2. These books are about drawing for animation. But even if you’re like me and stink at drawing, these books are still very interesting, and many of the principles still apply to 3D animation. I checked the first volume out from the library and read the first 30 pages a few months ago and knew that I definitely wanted to own them. I can’t wait to read more.

To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. The story of how Pixar began. Unfortunately it ends at Cars, I think, so it feels like there should be a sequel in another decade or so. (I suppose it’s always better to wait for a couple decades when people are more willing to talk about past projects more openly.)

Speaking of animation history, Waking Sleeping Beauty is a must for all animation lovers. It’s not really about animation itself, but the business and the people behind it; more specifically about the Disney animation studios from about 1984 to about 1994. It is very interesting… one of the highlights are animator Randy Cartwright’s home movie studio tours, in which he strolls the halls and nonchalantly introduces future-big-names, like a young Tim Burton, Glen Keane, Joe Ranft, John Lasseter, Eric Larson, and some guy who asks if he’s allowed to be recording with that camera. It’s an awesome gem. I wish it was longer! Oh, there’s also part of a lecture by Howard Ashman on why he thought musicals went so well with animation, which was very interesting. I wish I could’ve heard the whole thing!

The How To Train Your Dragon score. It’s just awesome.

Inception: The Shooting Script. Because it is also awesome. Has some great handwritten notes by Nolan, an interview with him, and some concept art. A true Inception fan should get it.

Great stuff! Woohoo!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Animation

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon came out on blu-ray yesterday. I missed seeing it in theaters, looks like it would’ve been fun to see in 3D. Anyway, I had heard great things about it from other animation students and it didn’t disappoint; it’s a really fun film with some great flying dragon epicness. It also has the best film score I’ve heard this year, as you can hear by this sample (if it hasn’t been removed for copyright violation yet), music by John Powell:

And here’s just a little talk with some animators from the film who graduated from the animation school I’m currently attending, Animation Mentor:

Finally, here’s a podcast interview with the directors of the film. Fun stuff!

Beauty and the Beast also recently came out on blu-ray, and it looks fantastic; blu-ray is truly the way all 2D animated films should be seen. The clarity of the drawings are just awesome. You can really see the pencil markyness like never before. And the backgrounds also look especially vivid.

By S P Hannifin, ago