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By Scott Knopf | March 8, 2009

Some people are just made to be enemies. Tom is always going to hate Jerry. Most of America’s going to always hate George W. I’m always going to hate my college roommate who threw parties when I went out of town and refused to clean up his friend’s vomit off my bathroom floor. In the case of “Life on a Limb,” a feisty tree squares up against an equally feisty lumberjack. The battle is legendary. Branches fly with a fatal fury. Axe swings are met with tire swings. There’s even an homage to Mowgli (of “Jungle Book” fame). Rudyard Kipling would be proud.

David Chai, an animation instructor at San Jose State University, has released several short films and won a handful of awards from numerous film festivals. He opened the House of Chai, an animation studio which has created films such as “Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot” (2005) and “Aletta Out of Water (2007). In “Limb,” Chai’s animation style is extremely clean. His characters are memorable, their faces are expressive, and everything they need to say is spoken without words. We get the each character’s backstory and motivations from just a few quick shots. Chai and his crew made a cohesive and really entertaining film. Bravo.

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