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.
Nick’s The Last Airbender – the movie based on the channel’s long running animated adventure – won’t be out until July, but the toys are already in the pipeline, and the prototypes went on display for a select audience the week before the New York Toy Fair began on Valentine’s Day.
There are ten Best Picture Oscar nominees this year? Big deal, nobody cares about Best Picture... what's really important is the Best Animated Feature, everybody knows that. Who will win?
As you probably know, The Princess and the Frog is Disney’s first 2D effort in five years. It took John Lasseter, a Pixar guy who now runs all of Disney animation to get the studio to return to its 2D roots. Lasseter and company knew they had to hit a home run to make people care about hand-drawn animation again. Hey, it’s a Disney movie – there’s gotta be a happy ending, right? Damn straight – a happy ending to both the movie and the studio’s mission to show the world 2D’s still got the goods.
Pete Docter remembered me – or at least my Route 66 pin. I have a whole collection of them, shiny metal lapel pins I’ve gathered over the years. Pete arrived and our chat began. I started by mentioning I’d last seen him way early in the year at Disney’s New York screening room. “And you were wearing the Route 66 pin,” Pete said without a pause. “A different jacket, but I remember the pin.” When you’re in charge of a $175 million film, you develop an eye for details.
SpongeBob SquarePants’s been around for either a decade or ‘eleventy-seven’ years. Scooby Doo aside, I can’t think of another TV cartoon character who’s broken into the mainstream with the same staying power as the classic Warner and Disney characters. The Flintstones and Scoob may be fondly remembered by many, but when was the last time you completely cracked up watching them? (For me frankly, never.)
If you take the J train over the Williamsburg Bridge, get off at Kosciusko Street and walk a few blocks west, you’ll come to a storefront that looks like it’s home to a going out of business sale. Inside is a bar and club called “Goodbye Blue Monday”: the place is decorated not unlike Pee-wee’s playhouse or the home of some mad collector of antique TV sets, mountains of action figures and bizarro furniture. I’m there because way in the back Tom Stathes is holding his first Cartoon Carnival.
You know the tingles, that feeling running up and down your spine when you experience something awesome. Last month the Disney folks were kind enough to invite me to a preview of Ponyo – and I swear a day and half later the tingles were still with me.
Hey kids! Play the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Drinking Game! It’s easy! It’s fun! You’ll get boozed out of your mind! Here’s how to play…
My first reaction to Kung Fu Panda was, (bored, Droopy voice), whoopee, here we go again: hopeless slob (Jack Black, who else?) makes good in spite of himself, done with that trademark DreamWorks unattractive angular character design.
Mea culpa, friends. I just saw a lengthy promo reel for the film hosted by Ol’ Bullet-head himself, Jeff (nyah-nyah Michael, I’m still a player, what are you doing these days?) Katzenberg – and I am blown away. This is going to turn into an Anton Ego review (end of Ratatouille Anton that is), but here we go.