If you’re not lucky enough to get to a screening of Miramax’s Renaissance this weekend, there’s more accessible animation to be found in the form of visual effects in the new releases The Science of Sleep from Warner Independent and Flyboys from MGM. The latest feature from director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Science is getting a limited North American rollout in 14 theaters while producer Dean Devlin’s WWI action-thriller, Flyboys, gets a wide release in more than 2,000 venues.
A bittersweet fable, The Science of Sleep (La Science des Reves) stars Gael Garc’a Bernal (Motorcycle Diaries) as Stephane, a young man whose love life is complicated by his inability to separate his dreams from his waking life. In his sleep, Stephane hosts his own TV show, flies above an animated cardboard city and communes with charming creatures that resemble arts & crafts projects come to life through stop-motion animation. In all, there are between 70 and 80 animation shots created by a small group of artists who set up a makeshift studio in a barn in the south of France. Highly imaginative, the film is a bit of a return to form for Gondry, who has created amazing animated music videos for the likes of Bjork and The White Stripes. For more details on the making of the film, pick up the latest issue of Animation Magazine.
Flyboys employs visual effects by Framestore CFC, Double Negative, Electric Effects and Machine to recreate harrowing aerial dogfights in this fictionalized tale of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of young Americans who became the country’s first fighter pilots by joining the French military before the U.S. entered World War I. The film stars James Franco of a break fro filming Sony’s Spider-Man movies. His last starring role was in the military-based flick Annapolis, which came and went with little fanfare.
Also opening wide today are Paramount’s Jackass: Number 2, Jet Lee’s Fearless from Rogue Pictures, All the King’s Men from Sony/Columbia and School for Scoundrels from MGM and the Weinstein Co. Weinstein’s Dimension offshoot has also released Feast, the last feature produced via the Project Greenlight reality series spearheaded by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The tongue-in-cheek horror flick employs mostly practical effects to depict a monster attack on the patrons of a country bar. It arrives in 146 theaters just three weeks before its DVD release.