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Isle of Dogs (2018)Isle of Dogs (2018)

Wes Anderson wrote, directed, and produced this dramatic comedy that opened at the Berlin Film Festival, where he won the award for best director. It's an animated film that uses the old school "stop-action" technique in which physical objects are manipulated in small increments for each successive frame, and so when sped up they appear to be moving, in contrast to the newer technology of computer-generated imagery (CGI). The movie is set in the dystopian future of Japan's "Megasaki City," which is ruled by an evil mayor named Kobayashi. The mayor hates dogs, and so after a viral outbreak of "snout fever," he declares that the city has reached a "canine saturation point," and banishes all the dogs of Megasaki to a dreadful place called Trash Island. This despite the fact that a Professor Watanabe and his fellow scientists have found a cure for snout fever, and also that the first dog to be banished is Spots, the beloved pet of the mayor's adopted nephew Atari Kobayashi. The plot of the movie is thus young Atari's search and rescue mission among the banished dogs on Trash Island.  Anderson has been criticized for gross stereotypes and cultural appropriation, but in my view this was still a clever and creative film that would make for a great family film night.

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