'Way Cool Comix—From Goofy to Ghoulish | Chicago Reader

'Way Cool Comix—From Goofy to Ghoulish

Fifteen short videos ranging from comedic to somber to feel-good multicultural. In Obie Scott Wade and Michael Adamo's "Hole in One," from the series Julius and Friends, a bear residing in "the world's first planned community for cartoon characters" begins to worry after discovering a hole in its "perfectly manicured" lawn but then relaxes when an Asian bunny emerges to exchange gifts with him. Charles E. Bastien parodies boy bands in "'Ntalented," from the series Pelswick: girls faint whenever a new member is announced, while the boys disdain anyone who likes the band's music. In Becky Bristow's "Mr. Winkle's Monkey," from the series Cramp Twins, a boy becomes convinced that a soap factory conceals an animal-testing lab and resolves to capture it on videotape. Much recent cartoon animation is visually bland, but the two best pieces on this program are striking: In the labyrinthine The Forest, by Taiwanese animator Li-wei Chiou, a humanlike forest creature gazes wistfully at the towers of a city, but when he journeys there it proves even denser than the woods. And in Natalia Berezovaya's Russian short It's My Life precisely articulated drawings with flickering textured surfaces lend a distinctive edge to a piglet's existential musings. 96 min.

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