The Animation Show | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Animation Show

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Now in its third edition, this touring anthology concocted by animators Don Hertzfeldt (Rejected) and Mike Judge blows the doors off the recent Spike and Mike packages: its 12 shorts are funny and entertaining but also artistically impressive. In the British Rabbit Run Wrake animates children's primer images that are followed around by basic spelling words; a boldly colored 2-D experience, it pits a boy and girl with a yen for animal slaughter against a crazed little idol that can swat wasps and turn them into precious gems. Hertzfeldt's Everything Will Be OK (reviewed this week in Section 1) consolidates the optical experimentation of his previous opus, The Meaning of Life, creating a highly expressive story about a stick-figure everyman who finds himself battling a lethal illness. In Overtime, a witty and poignant French computer animation, puppets clearly modeled on Kermit the Frog are thrown into crisis when their creator keels over dead. And PES's two-minute Game Over, which closes the show, may be traditional stop-motion animation, but it's the most wildly imaginative item, using sound effects and household objects (cupcakes, birthday candles, pretzels, watches, toy cars) to re-create the classic arcade games of the 80s (when a plastic bug gets zapped it explodes into the head of a daisy). 81 min. Bill Plympton (Guard Dog) will attend the Friday screenings. a Fri 2/9, 7 and 9 PM, and Sat 2/10, 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:30 PM, Music Box.

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