Monday, January 4, 2016

Anomalisa Presents Raw Humanity... With Puppets

Often, when we write about stop-motion animated feature films, we are chatting up our friends at LAIKA about quirky titles like Paranorman (with zombies) or Coraline (with the terrifying "Other Mother") or Box Trolls ( know..Trolls!) I don't wish to take anything away from the artistry Laika brings to this medium, but when the subject matter is about monsters, we are pretty sure we'll like it in the end. For this reason, i'm fairly intrigued by Anomalisa, which utilizes modern stop motion puppets to tell a story we would likely have overlooked if it was merely actors in an indie film. Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) & Duke Johnson (Mary Shelly's Frankenhole) team up for the story of a man and a woman and a meeting that may have been destiny.

Michael Stone, husband, father and respected author of "How May I Help You Help Them?" 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 escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life. A beautifully tender and absurdly humorous dreamscape, from the brilliant minds of Charlie Kaufman (SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK) and Duke Johnson ("Community" episode, Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas), this stop-motion animation wonder features the vocal cast of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a stirring strings-based score by Carter Burwell. The darkly comedic and surreal stop-motion journey of a man's long night of the soul, ANOMALISA confirms Charlie Kaufman's place amongst the most important of American filmmakers, and announces Duke Johnson as a major creative force. Starring Jennifer Jason LeighTom Noonan and David Thewlis.

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