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Blogs Animafest Zagreb 2011 Call for Entries

Animafest Zagreb 2011 Call for Entries

Call for Entries for the competition program of the feature edition of Animafest is now open.
Feature edition of the 21st World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb will be held from 31 May – 05 June 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Animated feature films completed in 2009, 2010 or 2011 with a running time of 60 minutes or longer are eligible to apply.

For more information visit Animafest web site at www.animafest.hr.

Submission deadline is 01 March 2011.

Blogs Blu-ray: COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY (2010)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:32pm

Some of the best elements of Jan Kounen's real-life love affair tale are the cinematography, production design and costumes. They are exquisitely represented in this Blu-ray. Coco Chanel's monochromatic style is rich with deep blacks and pearly whites. In 1080p, the picture is crisp and detailed, while retaining the original film grain feel. When splashes of color are introduced, the picture quality remains firm and rich within the cool ascetic the film is trying to create.

As for the soundtrack, the disc is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless. Even though this is a quiet drama, the soundscape is filled with the noises of the environments. Claps and jeers fill the room during Stravinsky's disastrous first performance of "The Rites of Spring." The sounds of the woods fill the outdoor scenes at the estate. Stravinsky's bombastic music moves the LFE track. All the elements from dialogue to sound effects to music are perfectly balanced.

Blogs COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY (2010) (***)

This drama might have not been planned as a sequel to the Audrey Tautou film, COCO BEFORE CHANEL, but it works as one. The story of this film picks up pretty much where the other film left off. This film doesn't have the same ambition or storytelling sophistication, but it does tell a compelling story of a sexual affair where the woman holds all the cards.

The film begins in detail with the disastrous first performance of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." A producer tells Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen, CASINO ROYALE) that the work is too modern for those use to "Swan Lake." The famed fashion designer Coco Chanel (Anna Mouglalis, THE CAPTIVE) was one of the few in the audience who saw it as a new masterpiece. The work stuck with her so strongly that years later when she meet the composer again, she offered to be his sponsor. So Stravinsky, his sick wife Katarina (Yelena Morozova) and their brood of children moved into Chanel's country estate with her. Right from the start, Mrs. Stravinsky knew that their benefactor had more than just an interest in music.

Blogs If You’re Happy & Unemployed, Clap Your Hands….

By Lisa Kaye | Monday, September 27, 2010 at 4:36pm

Seems these days it’s not such a bad thing to be sitting on your bum, getting a tan, catching up on your reading or any other activity you were meaning to get to and couldn’t because you were over-worked and well, very employed. It’s not that your lazy by any means. So next time someone gives you a dirty look or rolls their eyes because you are still looking for your next job, just smile and clap your hands.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #11: Team Idiots Descend on Lower Manhattan

Today's a big day—we've been scouting the local schools for volunteers to help spread the word about Idiots and Angels opening up in NYC on October 6th. We've built a group of 15 or so eager volunteers called "Team Idiots". Their bold mission is to go around midtown and the lower Manhattan area putting up posters and placing stacks of our postcards, so hopefully everyone will be aware of our film opening. It's called guerilla marketing.

Blogs Blu-ray Buzz – The King Comes to Blu-ray

The king of all movie monsters comes to Blu-ray this week. Superheroes, real life artists, war and other indie fare grace this week’s column as well.

Pick of the Week
King Kong
The original giant ape comes to Blu-ray for the first time. Now I haven’t seen a film from the 1930s presented in 1080p, but what could be a better title to start with? The epic adventure has stop-motion animation and special effects that are still impressive today. How did they make the spears thrown at Kong seem so fluid? Fray Wray as Ann Darrow the woman who charms the savage beast is an iconic figure in cinema do to this one film. Even those who haven’t seen the picture know the imagery of her being carried up the Empire State Building. While Peter Jackson did an amazing job re-imagining the film, nothing can replace the original, which made us care about the monster more than the humans he terrorized.

Blogs WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (2010) (***)

Rest assured, WALL STREET fans have nothing to fear, this film does not taint the original. Oliver Stone does what successful sequels all do — build on the chapters that came before. While this critique of Wall Street is not as cutting as the 1987 film, it does have something to say about the current U.S. financial environment.

Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, ROMANCING THE STONE), the ruthless trader from the original, has been released from jail after serving eight years for insider trading. It's 2008 and he has written a book that reveals the precarious footing the financial system is on. Wall Street big wigs just ignore him. But he does draw the attention of young hotshot broker Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf, TRANSFORMERS), who just happens to be engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION). Jake wants Gekko's help digging up info on billionaire broker Bretton James (Josh Brolin, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), who both have an ax to grind with.

Blogs LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE (2010) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 3:38pm

Zack Snyder puts his unique stamp on this animated adventure. Based on Kathryn Lasky's young adult book series, the film is like LORD OF THE RINGS performed by owls via photoreal animation. The straightforward narrative is made more compelling simply through the visual originality.

Blogs LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE (2010) (***)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 3:37pm

Zack Snyder puts his unique stamp on this animated adventure. Based on Kathryn Lasky's young adult book series, the film is like LORD OF THE RINGS performed by owls via photoreal animation. The straightforward narrative is made more compelling simply through the visual originality.

The story begins with the young owl Soren (Jim Sturgess, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE) telling his little sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria) the tales about the great battles of the Guardians. His brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten, TV's TRUE BLOOD) is tried of hearing about these old myths. Excited following their first flying lessons, the two brothers sneak out of the nest to practice without parental supervision. By accident they fall to the forest floor where they are kidnapped by agents of St. Aegolius, an orphanage that brainwashes its young owlets into being soldiers for the Pure Ones, led by Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton, THE SQUARE) and his bride Nyra (Helen Mirren, THE QUEEN). If the owlets are not the right breed or refuse to conform, they are hypnotized by the moon and forced to pick out metal flecks from the pellets owl cough up.

Blogs Movie Review: 'Legend of the Guardians': '300' with Feathers

By Joe Strike | Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 8:51am

You’ve probably heard about the Uncanny Valley: not a geographical location, but the precipitous drop in peoples’ comfort level when they come across something that’s almost human… but not quite (like the replicants in Zemeckis’ mocap movies). Well, in Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians you’ve got owls – dozens and hundreds of owls who look almost like real life owls… but not quite. It’s that quest for the absolutely perfect replication of wind rippling the tiniest hairs in their feathers or the way light glints and reflects off their wide eyes: Guardians achieves it – at the expense of the audience they’ve just tossed into the Valley.

Blogs Four Keys to Creative Transformation: The Results of a Prototype Test in China

By Robin King | Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 5:16pm

Creative transformation means doing it differently! This post describes a two year experiment in designing and implementing a training school based on four key principles that enhance the learning process. Based on core competencies, it used a range of novel methods to motivate and develop professionally related skills in an accelerated system of feedback loops and rapid iteration.

Blogs Idiots’ Diary #10: Street Team

Part of my campaign to build up the crowd enthusiasm for my Idiots & Angels premier in NYC is getting the animation students involved. I've planned a number of school visits to help spread the word to my most hard-core audience. Yesterday, I visited Marty Abrahams' class at The School of Visual Arts here in NYC.

Blogs Fireflies West Ride Shines Light on Cancer Research & Treatment

Our industry is often focused on producing entertaining media to help sell products, so when I heard about members of our community coming together for the Fireflies West fundraising cycling ride for cancer I was moved – no persuasion needed – to write about this amazing endeavor.

Blogs Blu-ray Buzz – Charades & Oscar Winners Are Blu

This is a lighter week leading up to some packed weeks to come. The Pick of the Week is the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never directed. Two Oscar winners and two interesting new releases are also here.

Pick of the Week
Charade
Stanley Donen's thriller is what many have called the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never directed. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn star in this thriller that surrounds Hepburn's dead husband, stolen money and hidden identities. The repartee between the leads with the sharp dialogue is a highlight of the pure joy of this picture. The stars are stalked by James Bond-esque villains, played by James Coburn, George Kennedy and Dominique Minot. Additionally, Walter Matthau plays a CIA agent who keeps us in tune with how dangerous the situation is getting. The plot keeps the audience guessing what is really going on right up until the fantastic conclusion. In preparing this week's column, I ran over an interesting trivia fact about the film too. Universal Pictures mistakenly did not include a copyright at the end of the credits and therefore the film fell into public domain immediately on release due to the pre-1978 U.S. copyright law. Now that's a serious oops.

Blogs THE LOSERS (2010) (**1/2)

Based on the Vertigo comic book series, the film is the better A-TEAM movie released in 2010. The backstabbed black ops team tale doesn't blaze new ground, but unlike the other A-TEAM film of 2010, it mixes violence, humor and some over-the-top action with a dash of character motivation.

Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, WATCHMEN) leads his black ops team into Bolivia to hit a high profile target. But in the midst of the action, the team discovers children at the compound. They decide to rescue the kids, but discover no one, even the team, was to survive the mission. The operation was being run by Max (Jason Patric, THE LOST BOYS), a powerful government spy who ruthlessly makes deals to defend America and his own self interests — the latter is his chief objective.

Blogs PETER AND VANDY (2009) (**1/2)

There are a lot of well-written scenes in this indie romance, but they don't quite add up to a fully fleshed out film. Writer/director Jay DiPietro has a good ear for the way people really talk and how arguments in relationships tend to center around mundane things like ordering food. He shows us many episodes like this in a relationship that starts passionately and descends into ugliness. These episodes jump through time to juxtapose the good and the bad. There is good and bad in this approach.

We first meet Peter (Jason Ritter, MUMFORD) and Vandy (Jess Weixler, TEETH) during a romantic picnic looking out at the Statue of Liberty. The idyllic scene doesn't end as romantic as either hoped for. They met on a park bench during lunch as Peter tells Vandy that the Chinese restaurant she order from will make a chicken salad instead of the fattening fried rice. An awkward meet cute for sure. Vandy is dating someone, but Peter impresses her with a sweet gesture. Soon enough they are dating and hurling insults at each other over how to make a peanut butter sandwich.

Blogs THE TOWN (2010) (***1/2)

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 11:19am

As the film tells us at the start, the Charlestown section of Boston is the bank robbery capital of the U.S.  It also gives a quote from a Charlestown resident stating that the town was a great place to grow up, but it ruined his life. The characters are products of this environment. It defines them whether they like it or not.

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck, GOOD WILL HUNTING) is the brains of a bank robbery crew. It's sort of the family business; his father Stephen (Chris Cooper, AMERICAN BEAUTY) is serving time for robbery. During the latest heist, his best friend James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner, THE HURT LOCKER) takes an unnecessary hostage in petrified assistant bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA). Doug feels bad about the whole thing, so he follows Claire to make sure that she is okay. It also doesn't hurt to know what she knows.

Blogs CATFISH (2010) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 5:52pm

Serendipity often plays a huge part in some of the greatest documentaries ever made. Like Errol Morris with THE THIN BLUE LINE or Ross McElwee with SHERMAN'S MARCH, filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman had their cameras ready when a story presented itself. They began filming before they really knew what they had. When they started there is no way they could have imagined how crazy the journey to the end would be.

Ariel's brother Nev is a professional photographer. He often shoots dancers. After one of his pictures appeared in the newspaper, he received a painting of the photograph from Abby, an eight year old living in Michigan. The paintings show talent. Over time he develops a pen pal relationship with the young girl. Her mother Angela says that her daughter's paintings have sold for upwards of $7,000. Nev becomes friends with them on Facebook and starts chatting up Abby's older sister Megan, a singer and wannabe model. They talk on the phone and Nev certainly is falling for the pretty girl. His brother and Joost thought they were filming a story of how technology affects modern romance. They got that and so much more.

Blogs Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum (podcast) x 18

This week on the Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum: a big announcement, time-travel, and special guest filmaker/animator/object-manipulator/shadow-hugger Janie Geiser. Join Joel, Alan, Sam Olschan, and Computer as they discuss with Janie the finer points of puppet-performance, the gallery vs. the theater, funding your personal art, and how to fix your apartment or life with gaff tape.

Blogs NEVER LET ME GO (2010) (****)

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 4:23pm

Due to its subject matter, this film should be called sci-fi. But its tone is far closer to a somber period piece. Mark Romanek, whose only other feature film was the sad thriller ONE HOUR PHOTO, has kept the same straightforward tone of the book from Kazuo Ishiguro, whose novel REMAINS OF THE DAY was adapted into a somber film as well. Romanek never sensationalizes the material into some kind of conspiracy thriller. He asks one philosophical question and spends the film answering that question in an emotionally powerful way.

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