Thursday, July 29, 2010

'Tangled' Featurette: Creating the Look

Above you'll find a very interesting featurette for Disney's upcoming CG film Tangled. It has interviews with directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, as well as other crew members. They discuss how Disneyland was their main inspiration for Tangled's universe. It's a great watch that reveals a lot of new plot points and scenes from the film.

Tangled comes out on the 24th of November later this year.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Comic-Con Day #3-4: Scott Pilgrim, 'Die Hard 5', and Even More 'Avengers'

The last two days of Comic-Con were a bit slower news-wise than the first, but we still got some great news from the entertainment world...

First, we get a little more information about where Joss Whedon will be taking The Avengers. In the video above, he discusses how he intends to keep the super squad "a family" but also keep the intense confrontations between the superheroes, especially between Iron Man and Captain America.

It looks like Mr. Whedon certainly knows his Avengers. But I'd expect no less from such a diligent and geeky filmmaker. The Avengers will be released in theaters in 2012, if all goes according to plan.

While discussing the upcoming action movie The Expendables with reporters, Bruce Willis mentioned that an announcement regarding Die Hard 5 "is imminent. The coin is about to drop."

I loved Live Free or Die Hard, and all of the other films starring our favorite New York Cop, John McClane, so I am excited to see what they'll dish up in this next sequel. It is impossible for them to beat the first Die Hard, but it is also very difficult to mess up an action movie starring Bruce Willis. More news about this will be reported right here as I find it...

Edgar Wright is a really great director. He directed Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and, most recently, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I am super excited to see Scott Pilgrim. It's a great graphic novel, and the style of the film looks very unique and interesting. Some very, very lucky folks at Comic-Con got treated to a sneak peek of the film, and, according to CinemaBlend, it "plays well beyond the hype, an enormous burst of energy and imagination that both plays with every cinematic convention we know of and re-invents the form entirely." I am very excited to see the film. To read more about the screening at Comic-Con click here, and to read about the great panel on the film go here.

While we're talking about Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I thought I'd bring up the upcoming film, Paul, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver, and Jason Bateman. It is being directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland). Here's the plot synopsis from IMDb: Two British comic-book geeks (Pegg and Frost) traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

This should be a really funny movie, especially since it was written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Click here to read about the Paul Comic-Con panel.

Last (but certainly not least), here is a link to an article about Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens at Comic-Con. I am so excited to see this film. Jon Favreau is an excellent director, and I love that he is going to shoot Cowboys and Aliens in the style of the classic westerns. The film, which comes out in 2011, stars Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Sam Rockwell.

If you can't get enough of this great Comic-Con news, here are some quick links, courtesy of /Film, Cinematical, and Cinema Blend:


Friday, July 23, 2010

Sequel to 'Nemo' in the Works?

Pixar has gone a bit sequel-crazy lately. Toy Story 3 just came out, Cars 2 is slated for next summer, and Monsters, Inc. 2 is just around the corner. It makes you wonder what other film continuations the geniuses at Pixar might have in the works.

Well, it just so happens that Jim Hill might have the answer. He has recently discovered that Disney has just registered various new domain names:


Now, of course, just registering a domain name doesn't mean that Pixar is planning on turning their popular underwater adventure into a trilogy, but it certainly means that they're thinking about it.

What would you think of a Finding Nemo 2 and 3?

Personally, I am against the idea. Don't get me wrong--I absolutely loved Toy Story 2 and 3, and I am very excited for Cars 2 and Monsters, Inc. 2, but I just love to see completely original stuff come out of Pixar. Don't you remember how you felt after, most recently, Up and WALL-E? Sure, re-visiting old friends is fun and all, but it is much more fun and interesting to experience brand new characters in a brand new, Pixar-created universe.

If they do end up making a sequel to Finding Nemo, I'm sure they'll have a good reason for it. Like Mr. John Lasseter says about sequels: "Great sequels make the original even better. Sequels that rehash the same thing make the original less good in my mind. And to me, the value of building a franchise that will last forever for a company lies in that everything you do with those characters be better than the last."

So, if Finding Nemo 2 is better than the first, bring it on Pixar. But, first, how about some brand new characters and a little bit less with the sequels? Just for now anyways...


Comic-Con Day #2: More Del Toro, Tron, and Ruffalo as 'The Hulk'

Day 2 from Comic-Con didn't bring many surprises. Nothing like Del Toro's announcement regarding The Haunted Mansion, or the sad news about The Hobbit. Still, there were some interesting things you might want to know coming out of San Diego today...

First, I'll keep you up to date on Del Toro--both on his Haunted Mansion project, and everything he's working on. Above you will find the official, just-released logo for the film. To read the full press release that accompanied the very cool and stylized logo, head over to /Film here.

Supposedly, the visionary filmmaker will only be writing and producing the theme park-inspired film, and not directing. Instead, he has a horror film and a stop-action Pinocchio in the works. I am excited for those. To read more about Del Toro's announcements of the day, click here.

Tron, Tron, Tron. You began as such a simple idea but have exploded into a cult phenomenon. Comic-Con loves you, I love you, and we all love hearing news about you. Oh, Tron, why must we wait longer to see you in your brilliant, computer-generated wonderfulness? Well, since we can't see you until December 17, we thank you for the above brand new still taken from the movie.

If that doesn't get you excited to see Tron: Legacy, I don't think anything will.

There was big news regarding The Avengers announced yesterday, and some new news today. Several weeks ago, I was very sad to discover that Edward Norton would not be reprising his role as The Hulk for Marvel's Avenger's film. He is my favorite actor, and I thought he made a great Bruce Banner. But, instead, Marvel has all but made it official that the new Hulk will be *sigh* Mark Ruffalo. Sure, he's an OK actor. Maybe even good occasionally (like in Shutter Island), but as the Hulk? Pa-lease. Don't make me laugh. They definitely should have stayed with Norton. Oh well, at least Ruffalo will be led by superstar Mr. Joss Whedon.

Above you will find a trailer for the recently announced DC Comics spinoff flick Red. Does it look a lot like the A-Team movie? Yes. That one Losers movie released a few months ago? Definitely. But, unlike those two films, this one actually looks good. And more action-y. Plus, it's starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman.

Sign me up for two of those, please.

Remember yesterday how I said I'd have loved to be at that panel with J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon? Well, I couldn't be there. The next best thing to being there would have been a video of it. Well, we don't have that either, but we do have the next best thing after that: a transcription. Click over to /Film here to read through it. They talk about all kinds of different great stuff. It is definitely worth the read.

That's all there is to post for now, but as Comic-Con wraps up, I'm sure the studios will throw some more curve balls at us. Stay tuned here for all the latest Comic-Con, Disney, Pixar, and Movie news.


Coolest Man Alive Legally Changes Name to Buzz Lightyear

Briefly: 26-year-old Englishman Steve Bolto was very excited for Toy Story 3's British premiere this week. So excited, in fact, that he had his name legally changed to Buzz Lightyear. In defense of his decision, Bolto (now Lightyear) explains:

I'm a massive fan of Toy's a great name, a great film and my girlfriend is going to love telling people she's going out with Buzz Lightyear
And I thought I was Pixar's biggest fan...


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comic-Con Day #1: Guillermo, Avengers, Tron, and More

Comic-Con is a yearly gathering of entertainment buffs and geeks. It is the mecca of movies to which only the most hardcore nerds pay pilgrimage. And, being such a respected event, it is always the place for studios to reveal their most exciting news. So, after day one of Comic-Con, here is a big news post for you to find out what there is to know coming out of San Diego today.

This first bit of news isn't really news at all, but more of a confirmation of what we already knew: Joss Whedon is directing The Avengers. He announced this while on stage with fellow geek director J.J. Abrams (I would have loved to be at that panel discussion with Joss and J.J.). Whedon says that he was a fan of the early Avengers comics, and that he is "excited and humbled at having the opportunity to direct the film". As a Whedon fan (especially Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog) and an Avengers fan, I am very excited to see what the combination of the two will result in. Something epic, no doubt.

Also, the two above images were just released today from Comic-Con. Click to embiggen. (They're pretty massive--desktop wallpaper anyone?)

This next news story is definitely the most exciting of the day: Guillermo Del Toro will be co-writing and directing The Haunted Mansion! He will be roughly basing the film on the theme park ride, and, more specifically, the Hat Box Ghost. And, don't worry, Eddie Murphy won't be anywhere near this one. Del Toro humorously commented that "we are not returning Eddie Murphy's calls." He also said that "We are not making a comedy. We are making it into an e-ticket ride. It will be scary and fun, but the scary parts WILL be scary."

While speaking to THR, Guillermo said that "Walt Disney is one of the creators of some of the scariest images in my childhood. People forget that he not only made sweet images but also images of nightmare. We to honor that side of the legacy."

I agree with him on that point. I am very, very excited to see what the visionary director has in store for the grim, grinning ghosts.

While on the topic of Guillermo Del Toro, a panel at Comic-Con today made it sound as if The Hobbit is having major production issues, and may be released several years from now, if at all. The panel is said to have been like the setting of a morgue. Read more at Obsessed with Film here. It's really too bad...

Above you will find one of the many maquettes for WETA/Peter Jackson's Wind in the Willows. They were on the floor at Comic-Con today, and look really great. The film will be live-action with animatronics. Very cool. I can't wait to see what the team behind Lord of the Rings does with the classic tale from Kenneth Grahame.

Since it was announced two years ago, Tron Legacy has always been a huge topic among the Comic-Con crowd. So, this year, Disney showed 8 full minutes from the film to the mesmerized crowd. For a synopsis on what they got to see, head over to /Film.

That's all of the Comic-Con news for today, but come back tomorrow because there is sure to be another tidal wave of news all about Disney, Pixar, Movies, and everything in-between.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New 'Airbender' Series Announced

Comic-Con 2010 has begun, and that means a flood of entertainment news. Nickelodeon has gotten the ball rolling this year with an announcement all about a spinoff of their Avatar: the Last Airbender franchise. No, they didn't announce another Shyamalan mess, but, thankfully, a whole new animated TV series.

Here is the official synopsis:

The Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after the events of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ and follows the adventures of the Avatar after Aang – a passionate, rebellious, and fearless teenage girl from the Southern Water Tribe named Korra.

Korra’s quest eventually leads her to Republic City–the epicenter of the world of “Avatar.” A metropolis powered by steampunk-type technology, the city is inhabited by people from all nations. Korra finds that Republic City suffers from rampant crime and is also dealing with an anti-bender revolt. Korra is tutored by Aang’s son, Tenzin, in the ways of airbending.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this yet. I am incredibly excited to see more animated Avatar, but it will be near-impossible for them to match the humor, suspense, and very deep character arcs of the original series. Can they replicate the slapstick comedy of Sokka? Maybe. The awesome philosophies of Iroh? I doubt it. The intense character of Zuko? Not in a million years.

But all of this is premature. After all, the original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are still heavily involved in the project. This new series starring a waterbender named Korra (who, according to execs at the studio, is "hot headed, independent, and ready to take on the world") could be just as great as the original. Or it could be a complete flop. We will find out in 2011 when this new series debuts on Nickelodeon.

Source: WSJ


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pixar Lends a Hand to 'Tron'

A film has to tell a good story and have a solid screenplay. Everything--the special effects, actors, jokes--should come after, and should cater to the movie's story. And no one in the film industry (and perhaps the world) knows more about story than the brilliant folks at Pixar. It is for this reason that the team behind Tron: Legacy asked Pixar if they'd lend a hand and beef up their script.

It was back in early March, and director Joe Kosinski decided that even though they'd finished up filming, his movie just wasn't good enough. So, he scheduled some re-shoots focused purely on giving the sci-fi flick more character, story, and heart. But first, he'd see what the masterminds in Emeryville thought of his nice little movie. He held a Tron: Legacy screening for John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Brad Bird, TS3 screenwriter Michael Arndt, and others from the Pixar brain trust.

Following the screening, Disney hired Arndt and Bird to write some pages for the six-day reshoot, which took place last month. Sean Bailey, Disney’s president of production, had this to say on the collaboration:

What I give Joe and the filmmaking team immense credit for, is this was all born out of how do we give the fans the best movie we can. We were very fortunate that Pixar wanted to play a part in it.
This is certainly a good sign. I was weary of how Tron: Legacy would end up, but now that Pixar's Midas' Touch has graced the film, I'm a little more optimistic.

We'll know for sure come December 17...

Source: EW


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bringing 'Ratatouille' to a Whole New Dimension

I am happy to say that Pixar's eighth masterpiece, Ratatouille, will be theatrically re-released. Unfortunately, it will be re-released in the 3D format. Bob Whitehill, the stereoscoipc supervisor at Pixar, revealed this during a recent discussion based on his 3D work for Toy Story 3:

Ratatouille is one that we’re exploring doing [3D conversion on] and Brad Bird is very open to some changes, you know, some very subtle changes but slight reframings. If a character’s reaching forward and a pinky goes off screen, we’ll adjust the camera and the character a little bit to have the hand on. So that said, if the director’s open to minor modifications on a library title then that’s wonderful and we’re really excited about doing that.
You can see his complete video interview at the UK movie blog HeyUGuys here.

This is such great and awful news. I love that I'm going to get to see Ratatouille again on the big screen, but I hate that it will be in 3D. The studios have manufactured this 3D phenomenon in order to push their own agendas. I had thought that Disney and Pixar would not sink so low as to join them, but it appears that they are now wholeheartedly embracing the Great 3D Scam of the Early 2000s.

Oh well, like I said, at least we'll all get to see Remy up on the silver screen once more.

Don't expect to see this being released for at least a few more years due to the timely 3D conversion process.

Source: HeyUGuys


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Some Thoughts on 'The Last Airbender'

This will be a quick post stating my opinion on M. Night Shyamalan's recently released film The Last Airbender. While you're reading it, keep in mind that I am a huge fan of the Nickelodeon cartoon that the live-action film is based on.

M. Night Shyamalan's career started great. He released The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, all of which were great. Then he got himself into a string of real stinkers: The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening were all completely awful movies.

However, I was planning to forgive Mr. Shyamalan for his less-than-acceptable recent set of movies if he was able to successfully adapt my favorite cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Let's just say I am not planning on forgiving him anytime soon. This movie was the last nail in his coffin for me.

The Last Airbender had numerous problems, but the main problems started first and foremost with M. Night's horrific screenplay. When did he decide that he should write? Because he shouldn't. Film-making is storytelling. Anyone who tells you different would make an awful filmmaker. That is why The Last Airbender was so bad--it did a terrible job telling the story, which is always a movie's number one priority. And, like I said, this problem of not getting the story across to the audience began with his disjointed script. Anyone who has never seen the series will be completely lost in a sea of seemingly unrelated scenes and vignettes of familiar characters doing stuff, with only Katara's narration as a weak life vest. There were a lot of times where there'd be a scene that I slightly recognized from the series, but I'd think "Is there something that makes this scene make sense in the context of this live-action version?" And the answer was always 'no'. The Last Airbender was not an adaptation of Book One of the classic series, it was a half-hearted attempt at a plot summary. Movies tell stories, and The Last Airbender has no comprehensible story. And not only that, but he had such a great story to work from!

Characters and Humor
But the problems didn't end there. M. Night Shyamalan's screenplay successfully sucked out all of the wonderful humor and endearing characters that made the series so great. Aang's childlike wonder and love of having fun? He killed it. Sokka's slapstick comedy routines and hilarious love for food? Gone. Even Uncle Iroh's roundabout ways of providing Zukko with advice that would always make me laugh were completely removed. Shyamalan had such great source material filled with thorough character arcs and some of the best humor out there, and he completely removed all of the good stuff. Why? I think it still has to do with his poor writing, and also a little to do with poor acting talent.

Special Effects
However, the action sequences and special effects were good. The airbending was hypnotizing and the water- and firebending did look realistic. The fight scenes where no bending was involved were very well-choreographed, and the big effects, like the walls of water and flying Appa, provided great visuals. What Mr. Shyamalan lacks in story skills, he makes up for in the ability to create great visuals. Unfortunately, great visuals do not make a great movie. (A great story does.)

And the lack of a great story undermined the great effects. If I don't care about whether or not the main character fighting in this battle will live or not, I won't find the fight exciting or entertaining. Peril is a natural instinct we love to watch, and we can't have that without strong characters or story, neither of which were present in The Last Airbender.

If you've put up with my brief but passionate ranting about The Last Airbender until now, chances are that you've already seen the series and the film and agree with me. M. Night Shyamalan had the most funny, exciting, and story-intense series to adapt, and he ended up with an empty shell where happiness and entertainment used to live. And the problems all started with his terrible screenplay. The series had so much suspense when it came to the big chase between Zukko and Aang, but the live-action film lacked all suspense, let alone a comprehensive plot. It didn't even have a real climax. And, the characters didn't even pronounce any of the names right! But, in Shyamalan's defense, this was a lot like The Golden Compass, where they had to fit hours and hours and hours of stuff into just an hour and a half. But it still should have been better than this. Avatar: The Last Airbender will always be one of my favorite cartoons, and Shyamalan's The Last Airbender will always be one of the biggest cinematic disappoints.

I give The Last Airbender a 2 out of 10 (and that's an even better rating than Rotten Tomatoes gives it).


Friday, July 2, 2010

'Rango' Trailer

The new trailer for an upcoming animated film, Rango, has just been released. Watch it above.

The film is being produced by Nickelodeon Studios, and stars the always-great Johnny Depp.

Here's the unofficial synopsis from Wikipedia:
The story of Rango, a chameleon with an identity crisis, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery taking place in the western town of Dirt.
This trailer looks promising. The animation looks spectacular and the premise has a lot of potential for both jokes and strong characters. However, there is also a lot of potential for them to over-do their jokes and end up with an annoying, hour-and-a-half long skit show of a lizard in Mexico.

Let's hope they can keep the humor powerful, but also develop a strong story with great characters.

The film is directed by Gore Verbinski, stars Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, and Timothy Olyphant, and will be released some time next year.

Stay tuned for more on Rango...

For more, visit