Recollections of a beloved pet and an experiment in worldwide crowd-source documentary head the new offerings at Ogden's Art House Cinema 502. ---
British author/journalist J. R. Ackerley's 1956 memoir My Dog Tulip recounted the writer's 15-year friendship with his pet German Shepherd--and the animated adaptation of that story (pictured) by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger is one of the most creative and charming animated features you'll find anywhere. Employing a hand-drawn style transferred to computer, the filmmakers explore the episodic recollections of Ackerley (voiced by Christopher Plummer) as he and Tulip share a variety of misadventures: a visit from Ackerley's pushy sister (Lynn Redgrave); various attempts to find Tulip a "husband;" difficulty in finding a veterinarian able to handle the rambunctious dog. The result could have been just a variation on Marley & Me with a dose of wry British wit, but the animation soars when exploring Ackerley's fanciful ideas about Tulip's interior life. The result is something rare among animated features: a singular creation, intended for grown-ups, that finds a way to exploit things that only animation can do.
Life in a Day has its own innovative idea in mind: a challenge by YouTube and producers Ridley and Tony Scott to have people around the world chronicle their lives on Saturday, July 24, 2010. The ambitious project wants to do nothing less than capture the entirety of 21st-century human experience, from middle-class Americans to peasants in some of the poorest places on Earth, and the result -- not surprisingly -- is somewhat scattershot in its effectiveness. While lead editor Joe Walker finds time to allow a few characters more than token seconds of screen time, and montages connect basic similarities like putting together breakfast and falling/staying in love, the film itself is more of a curiosity than a cohesive piece. It works only to the extent that individual moments resonate, and only a few such moments really come to the forefront. Perhaps its very lack of extraordinariness is the point, but that still doesn't add up to a truly fascinating piece of filmmaking.