Every now and then Paramount Pictures puts out a nice spread (mini-sandwiches, sliders and open bar, not to mention those killer chocolate chip cookies – there goes my diet) in their overlooking-Times Square 3rd floor screening room. Tonight it’s in honor of Pirates of the Carribean-meister Gore Verbinski, in town to promote his premiering-in-March, Johnny Depp-starring, first animated feature Rango.
Ever wonder how Wile E. Coyote would feel if he ever caught the Road Runner? (Actually, Seth MacFarlane did more than wonder; in his Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy show, with the bird long digested, Wile E. turns to Jesus to fill the void in his heart.) The inept arch-villain Megamind has the same problem; now that he’s finally offed his nemesis, the smug ‘n smarmy superhero Metro Man… what’s left to do? Terrorizing Metro City and kidnapping feisty reporter Roxanne “Roxie” Ritchi doesn’t have the same zing without someone to oppose him. There’s only one option left – and it ain’t looking for Jesus…
Disney’s 1995 backup animated feature A Goofy Movie – and one of its songs in particular – struck a chord with a generation of school kids who are now in college. Fan videos and mash-ups are nothing new, but one student took it a step – or two – further…
On a rainy October Monday we media types, invited by the Disney folks, gathered at a midtown NYC arts center. The lure: a peek at the studio’s two big holiday events: Tron Legacy and Tangled, their CGI-animated de/reconstruction of the Rapunzel story. I’ll go out on a bit of a limb here and call Tangled Disney’s liveliest animated feature in a long time and their best fairy tale updating ever.
When Warner Bros. asked Matt O’Callaghan to return their yin-and-yang, would-be predator and hoped-for prey pair Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, to the big screen – only in CGI-shape and 3D-depth, O’Callaghan took a deep breath and delivered the goods – and fortunately for all involved with the production, without once resorting to Acme technology…
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.
Fathers and sons – both onscreen and off – figure in Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea. Onscreen, a teenage prince kills his royal dad and makes off with the man’s sword; offscreen, Goro Miyazaki, the son of Japan’s best-known animation director takes over a project his dad initiated but never found the time to direct. Wish fulfillment or mere coincidence? Does a sword equal a man’s career? You be the judge…
I really wish I could’ve, I wanted to like The Sorcerer's Apprentice more, but the movie tries way too hard, hitting you over the head with its fantasy premise instead of slowly drawing you in.
Despicable Me is a neat and snazzy treat. This time Universal has a definite contender for a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination.
John Lasseter’s always said Pixar wouldn’t make another Toy Story unless they could come up with a narrative that would do the characters justice. Guess what – they have.
Animation, Experimental, Narrative, Spec Commercials – and Stereoscopic 3D shorts; something for everyone at the Be Film Festival.
No marching brooms, cartoon mice, dragons or robotic tentacles: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina star in Jerry Bruckheimer’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Robots, superheroes, teen-age angst, the return of Bugs Bunny – and free lox; it’s Cartoon Network’s annual ‘up front’ unveiling of its new schedule.
Coprophilia, necrophilia, aroused onscreen genitalia, an endless supply of “fuck”s, “shit”s and language even less polite; it must be The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!
Disney artist hi-jinks… nasty caricatures of Eisner, Katzenberg and a host of others… not to mention how Walt’s animation studio was dragged, kicking and screaming from old school storytelling into hip ‘n edgy territory; it’s all in Waking Sleeping Beauty, Disney producer Don Hahn’s warts-and-all documentary of the studio’s 1980’s 2D rebirth.
The Miscweant plays with fire watching How to Train Your Dragon – and decides the movie is hot stuff.
Trying to get an adult animated series onto cable? You might want to learn how Devin Clark, creator of Comedy Central’s new series Ugly Americans went about it.
A gallery show lures the Miscweant away from his laptop and into a refined repository of fantabulous imagery – to watch cartoons.
Blue Sky’s David LaMattina and Chad Walker are the creators of Brownstones to Red Dirt, a documentary centering on a pen pal program linking kids an ocean apart who have the odds stacked against them: at-risk Brooklyn sixth graders and African war orphans. Want to do something nice for kids in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and Sierra Leone Africa at the same time – and come away with a beautiful piece of art for your troubles? It’ll cost you a few well-worth-it bucks,
It’s a neat trick for a small Irish studio to snag an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and go head to head with Pixar, Disney, Henry Selick and Wes Anderson, not to mention beat out Hayao Miyazaki for a slot. It’s even more impressive when it’s the first time you’ve directed anything longer than a few commercials or TV segments. But that’s what Tomm Moore has done with Secret of the Kells - and on a budget that’s probably less than what any of the other films spent promoting themselves.
Beyond South Park and Dr. Katz, not much has stuck to Comedy Central’s cartoon wall. Drawn Together came close with three seasons. Lil’ Bush vanished with Bush II’s presidency, TV Funhouse came and went awfully fast back in Y2K – and anybody even remember Shorties Watching Shorties or Kid Notorious? Well, next month Comedy Central tries one more time with Ugly Americans, a higher-than high concept show that just might stick around for a bit.
How did this film manage to snag an Oscar spot alongside films that cost over $100 million dollars with $50 million marketing and promotion budgets? How did it manage to beat out DreamWorks, or even the deity of animation, Miyazaki himself?
Maybe I was in a bad mood when Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs came out. Maybe I just resented the idea of taking one of my kids’ favorite picture books and pumping it up into a full-length feature, so I passed on it in the theaters.