The films of Charlie Kaufman often deal with isolation, loneliness, and depression – and his latest film Anomalisa is no exception. Directed by Kaufman and Duke Johnson and based on the stage play written by Kaufman, this stop-motion animated film brilliantly takes advantage of the medium with inspired stylistic choices and the peculiarities that we are accustomed to from Kaufman. The result is a heartbreaking story about a man desperately seeking an escape from the mundanity of his life, and not really succeeding. Along the way, Anomalisa contains moments of profound beauty, as these stop-motion puppets struggle with emotions and problems which are startlingly human.
The very best fantasy films hypnotize with an aura of uneasy wonder, as though we are observing something foreign yet fundamentally familiar. The Dark Crystal from Jim Henson and Frank Oz is just such a film. Heralded as “the first live-action film with no human characters”, Henson and Oz weave a fabulous aphorism of the duality of human nature set on a scarred, alien world. The result is a piece of magic – a dark fantasy film for children that respects their intellects and emotions and thereby resounds as an absolute classic.