Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Up' circa 1965

Above you will find a "Premake" trailer for Up. Using very clever special effects and editing, the above film portrays a trailer for the hypothetical film Up from 1965. Very, very cool.


DreamWorks epic to star Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine

It has just been revealed by DreamWorks Animation that their upcoming 3D epic, Rise of the Guardians, will star Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, and Isla Fisher.

Peter Ramsey will be directing the series, along with co-director William Joyce who is the author of the upcoming series of novels The Guardians of Childhood, upon which the film will be based. Also worth mentioning is the fact that everybody's favorite ex-Hobbit director, Mr. Guillermo Del Toro is on as executive producer!

The screenplay "follows a group of heroic childhood legends, each with extraordinary abilities. When Pitch (Law), an evil spirit akin to the Boogeyman, lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world."

When announced in 2009, DiCaprio was set to voice Jack Frost, which has been taken over by Star Trek star Chris Pine. Other character's include the Easter Bunny (Jackman), Santa Claus (Baldwin), and the Tooth Fairy (Fisher).

This plot sounds rather cliché (and is just begging for awful jokes), and you know how I feel about 3D. Also, the star-studded cast is never a good sign--when a studio packs stars on the screen it usually always means they're compensating for something. That something is usually story. Still, I won't pass judgment on this project just yet; that isn't fair.

However, I will pass judgment once it's released on November 21, 2012.

(But, honestly, I'm way more looking forward to DW's Peabody.)

Source: Variety


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Oscar Noms and My Predictions

Well folks, it's that time of year again, and award-winning is in the air. The Oscars are taking place in just over a month, and, right on schedule, the nominations were announced today. No real surprises as far as the nominations go, although perhaps a but more noms for The King's Speech than expected--although this isn't a bad thing, seeing as it was a wonderful film. Still, the list is worth a look.

Below you will find the complete list of nominations, as well as my predictions of the winners bolded. Keep in mind there is a distinct difference between who I think will win and who I think should win. Bolded will be who I think will win.

And now, without further ado, this year's Oscar nominations!

Best Picture
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King’s Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'
'Toy Story 3' (more info at TPB here.)
'True Grit'
'Winter’s Bone'

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, 'Black Swan'
David O. Russell, 'The Fighter'
Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech'
David Fincher, 'The Social Network'
Joel and Ethan Coen, 'True Grit'

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, 'Biutiful'
Jeff Bridges, 'True Grit'
Jesse Eisenberg, 'The Social Network'
Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech'
James Franco, '127 Hours'

Best Actress
Annette Bening, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Nicole Kidman, 'Rabbit Hole'
Jennifer Lawrence, 'Winter's Bone'
Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'
Michelle Williams, 'Blue Valentine'

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, 'The Fighter'
John Hawkes, 'Winter's Bone'
Jeremy Renner, 'The Town'
Mark Ruffalo, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Geoffrey Rush, 'The King's Speech'

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, 'The Fighter'
Helena Bonham Carter, 'The King's Speech'
Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'
Hailee Steinfeld, 'True Grit'
Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom'

Best Animated Feature Film
'How to Train Your Dragon'
'Toy Story 3'

Best Foreign Film
Mexico - 'Biutiful'
Greece - 'Dogtooth'
Denmark - 'In a Better World'
Canada - 'Incendies'
Algeria - 'Outside the law'

Best Original Screenplay
'Another Year'
'The Fighter'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King's Speech'

Best Adapted Screenplay
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'
'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter's Bone'

Best Art Direction
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I'
'The King's Speech'
'True Grit'

Best Costume Design
'Alice in Wonderland'
'I Am Love'
'The King's Speech'
'The Tempest'
'True Grit'

Best Original Song
'Coming Home' - 'Country Strong'
'I See the Light' - 'Tangled'
'If I Rise' - '127 Hours'
'We Belong Together' - 'Toy Story 3'

Best Original Score
'How to Train Your Dragon' John Powell
'Inception' Hans Zimmer
'The King's Speech' Alexandre Desplat
'127 Hours' A.R. Rahman
'The Social Network' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Documentary
'Exit Through the Gift Shop'
'Inside Job'
'Waste Land'

Best Film Editing
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'The Kings Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'

Best Makeup
'Barney's Version'
'The Way Back'
'The Wolfman'

Best Sound Editing
'Toy Story 3'
'TRON: Legacy'
'True Grit'

Best Sound Mixing
'The King's Speech'
'The Social Network'
'True Grit'

Best Visual Effects
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'
'Iron Man 2'

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
'Killing in the Name'
'Poster Girl'
'Strangers No More'
'Sun Comes Up'
'The Warriors of Qiugang'

Best Visual Short Film (Animated)
'Day & Night'
'The Gruffalo'
'Let's Pollute'
'The Lost Thing'
'Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)'

Best Short Film (Live Action)
'The Confession'
'The Crush'
'God of Love'
'Na Wewe'
'Wish 143'

The Awards ceremony will air February 27 on ABC.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another New 'Pooh' Poster

Although I still love the simplicity of the first Winnie-the-Pooh poster, this new one is great. Still minimalistic and beautifully-drawn; and we get some reassurance that they aren't drastically changing (or getting rid of) any of the characters that we all know and love.

Kudos to Mr. Lasseter. It is a breath of fresh air to see something so timeless and universally-loved being revived in such a classy and wonderfully-straightforward manner.

Just a few more months...can't wait to see it...can't wait...can't...


Mr. Peabody to get a new voice from Downey

Briefly: One of my favorite contemporary actors, Mr. Robert Downey, Jr., has been cast in a new film for DreamWorks, Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The film, of course, will be based on the original cartoon, which was a part of Jay Ward's classic Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Although I hope it will be as good as the following clip from the original show, I have my doubts--especially since it is coming to you from the writers of the recent Yogi Bear flop. Although, it is being headed by Rob Mikoff, director of The Lion King and Stuart Little. I just don't know what to think yet; I have so many conflicting emotions about this project . . .


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'TS3' Award Updates

Everyone's favorite animated film of last year has been raking in the awards. Last night it won, to nobody's surprise, the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. Pixar has swept the category every year since its creation half a decade ago.

In his acceptance speech, Lee thanked everyone at Disney and Pixar, John Lasseter, Randy Newman, and the whole cast of "an animated movie that beats with a human heart." His speech was certainly the most genuine (and funny) of the evening. Watch it in its entirety here.

In addition to this honor, Toy Story 3 has been nominated for three Orange British Academy Film Awards by BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The nominations include Animated Film, Adapted Screenplay, and Special Visual Effects. The awards will be presented in a few weeks on February 13 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

Also, Toy Story 3 has won a Critics' Choice Award and the Golden Tomato from the king of all film review websites, Rotten Tomatoes.

All of these honors bestowed upon Toy Story 3 are excellent and well-deserved. However, they will be small bananas compared to the Oscar for Best Picture that I am certain Toy Story 3 is going to win.


(I hope . . .)


Monday, January 10, 2011

'Winnie-the-Pooh' Poster

To the left you will find the newly-released poster for WDAS' upcoming film Winnie-the-Pooh.

Awesome. Just great. This poster is very minimalistic, yet tells a story all in itself. It is well-drawn, simple, and makes me want to see the movie even more. This is easily one of my favorite movie posters, well, ever!

Winnie-the-Pooh, which will be the last film out of Walt Disney Animation Studios for a few years (expect the next in 2013 or so) and the last hand-drawn film from them for even longer (2014/15), will be released this summer! I am very excited to see it; not only do I love all of the Pooh characters, but I just adore the animation style that this film is going to be re-embracing. Boy am I glad that Lasseter took the reigns on this one and prevented a straight-to-DVD, CG disaster of a film and turned it into something that I know I will love . . .


Friday, January 7, 2011

UPDATED: So long, C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A

I hope you took lotsa pictures, folks, because, the large "C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A" letters that used to grace the entrance to Disney's California Adventure are officially closed from the public starting today (Tuesday, January 4). They are being removed, along with the rest of the "Sunshine Plaza," which includes the entrance turnstiles, those godawful bathroom tiles, shops like you'd find at your local mall, and all of the other generic and un-Disney things wrong with that area.

In their stead will be a bustling Buena Vista Street from the 1920s when Walt first ventured to the big city in pursuit of his dreams, complete with Red Trolley cars and a Carthay Circle Theater. Alternate entrances will be used and will be a huge pain for everyone, but it's all for a good cause--the park will finally be where it should have started all along . . . and all it took was more power to the creatives taken from the cold-hearted and soul-less suited minions of one Michael Eisner...

UPDATE: Below you will find a photo of the construction barriers placed in front of the park. This would hardly be worth an update, were it not for the presence of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's (and other previously-unknown characters') pronounced positions on the construction wall. Very cool. Let's hope they can integrate the wonderful character of Oswald into the revamped park itself... See more pictures of the construction wall here.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Barks Comics to be re-published!

Carl Barks is one of the greatest storytellers of the past 100 years. The creator of Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, and everything else "Duck" that we love about Disney, he told hundreds upon hundreds of wonderful stories and adventures through his fantastic comic books. I am the proud owner of about 25 of these comic books, but that is nothing compared to his entire canon of work. Every story is so funny and thoroughly entertaining. He worked very hard to make each character unique, as well as make every story very different and engaging. Carl Barks was definitely a true master of Duck Comics.

That is why I was ecstatic to find out that, starting this fall, all of his comics are being republished, in hard cover anthologies! Read all of the details here, and be sure to pre-order yours as soon as they're available! Many Disney fans aren't privy to the treasure trove that was the collection of Carl Barks' work--if you aren't aware of it, become aware! They are really, really great and special things to read.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Top 10 Films of 2010

I love movies. I love writing them, shooting them, watching them, and analyzing them. There isn't anything like seeing a really great movie, is there?

Here are the movies from last year that I thought were really great. Without further ado, My Top 10 list of movies from 2010:

#10: Red
Yeah, I know. An empty action flick makes it on the "Top 10" list for the entire year? What is up with that?! Well, I loved this movie. It's one of those movies where, once you manage to shut your brain off and just enjoy what you're seeing, you will be thoroughly entertained. There was not a strong story in the slightest, but I still loved it. I know, I know--this is coming from the guy who is all about story, story, STORY!, but sometimes it's nice to not have to analyze a film and just be able to appreciate some good old-fashioned grenade baseball by a mentally-ill John Malkovich...y'know?

#9: Legend of the Guardians
Zach Snyder, the director of Watchmen and 300, is the only director I know of who can manage to make a film about owls so amazingly epic. Legend of the Guardians was the classic hero's journey tale of a supposed weakling experiencing the world through a journey of trials to eventually undergo self-discovery and better themselves and others. It has been a done thousands of times since stories were first told ages ago, but it never gets old--it just works . . . especially when there are owl sword fights, it is amazingly animated (did you see that "water on the feathers" sequence?!?), and is just great storytelling with likable characters.

#8: How to Train Your Dragon
DreamWorks doesn't have what I'd call a perfect score as far as their films go. They are very much hit (Kung-Fu Panda) and miss (Bee Movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, every Shrek after the second one...), but I was pleasantly surprised by How to Train Your Dragon. It had a very good story (definitely the hero's journey, once again), wonderful animation, and lots of "heart" which we aren't used to seeing from Mr. Katzenberg...

Read my full review of the film here.

#7: Inception
A heist movie that takes place in . . . the mind?! Directed by Christopher Nolan?!? Are you kidding me?! That combination made this one of my most-anticipated films of last year. Momento and Dark Knight easily rocketed Mr. Nolan to my top 5 favorite directors, and I was very interested to see what he'd do with a completely original work. And he didn't disappoint. There was action, humor, philosophy, and even a great, ambiguous ending that we all love debating so very much. For all of that, though, I feel like it was missing the "x factor"--maybe it's the fact that I had already seen and loved Shutter Island and was kinda sick of seeing Leonardo whining about his dead wife. Maybe I just couldn't relate to the characters' situations. Or maybe it's just that I'm subconsciously upset that Christopher thought of the film premise before I did. Whatever the reason, it is still a phenomenal film, and deserves its #7 slot.

#6: Tangled
Yeah! The 50th film to come out of Walt Disney Animation Studios has got it all (or at least most of "it"). Humor, heart, gorgeous animation galore, and some of the funniest animated characters I have ever seen . . . it's all there, and it's there in heaping quantities. The story is solid, the characters are well-animated, and it is just great entertainment. My one beef with the film, however, was its soundtrack--there were no good songs! I was very disappointed in Mr. Menken, especially after his previously-impeccable track record. Still, Tangled is a wonderful film.

Read my full review here.

#5: Shutter Island
What a great film. I love period movies, and the 1950s especially. The style of the film--very "Hitchcockian"--was great to look at. The way the shots were lined up, the sets were decorated, the characters acted, and even the color tones used, all helped to really suck you onto Shutter Island. In that respect, the film definitely delivered--a movie should transport you to a different time and place, and Shutter Island definitely did that. And, not only did it do that, but its superb acting performances, major twist, and (yet another) ambiguous ending made it a joy to watch and an Oscar-worthy movie. It had story, great acting, and a twist; what more can you ask for?

#4: The King's Speech
I went into this movie not knowing much about it. I knew it was a period piece about a guy doing a speech or something, but that was about it. I wasn't expecting anything out of it except maybe a history lesson, but I was sorely mistaken--I enjoyed it. Like, really enjoyed it. Taking the simple premise of "A guy who has to give a lot of speeches has a speech impediment," they made something really special. It is funny, dramatic, and engrossing. The suspense and tension the director managed to get across to the audience is awe-inspiring; you really do get butterflies in your stomach when Colin Firth steps up to the microphone to deliver his speech. Easily the best part of the film, however, was Geoffrey Rush's performance as His Majesty's speech coach--he was very funny, very witty, and just a joy to watch. If you haven't seen The King's Speech, go see it. Right now. You won't be disappointed.

#3: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, created something really special with Scott Pilgrim. When I first saw Sin City and 300 and the other Miller adaptations, I thought that was the quintessential "Filmographic Graphic Novel." I was mistaken; Scott Pilgrim is. The more "interactive" components, like the pee meter in the bathroom and the bursts during the fight sequences made this movie the graphic novel movie. It was just so cool to watch. And, not only that, but it was so funny. All of the characters were perfectly cast, and the story was really engaging. I don't think there was one thing wrong with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Not a thing...

#2: The Social Network
Talk about buzz. This is probably the most-hyped film of 2010, and deservedly so. David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Benjamin Button) is easily in my top 3 favorite directors of all-time. The Social Network portrays a really gripping story and utilizes great acting to enhance the story even further. And, not only was the story great, but the screenplay itself was. The dialogue was so wonderfully-crafted and just perfect--it was witty when it had to be, subtle when that was key, and powerful during the several climaxes. That screenwriter should (and definitely will) win an Oscar. Everything about The Social Network was great. Just great.

#1: Toy Story 3
This should be no surprise to my regular readers out there. I am not choosing this film because it is a Pixar film, but because it truly, truly was the best film of 2010. It had a flawless story, even more character development for characters we've already seen twice before, humor, action, homages to classic movies, a great score, gorgeous animation, and more "heart" than I know what to do with. There is too much to say about how great this film was, so I'll just point you to my full review right here.

Well, there you have it, folks. The best movies of last year. Obviously, I loved many more movies than just those 10, but these are the best of the best, and each one of them deserves its spot. Once the Oscar nominations are announced I'll post my predictions here, but I hope this satiates your film-thirst for the time being.

On to 2011! . . .


JHM: TS3's Producer and her Journey to Success

Briefly: Recently published on Jim Hill Media is a very interesting article on how Darla K. Anderson, producer of A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., Cars, and Toy Story 3, got her start in show business and landed the dream job of a lifetime.

It all started with her luckily running into a bigwig from Hollywood, some menial tasks at random production houses, and the eventual discovery of a little studio called Pixar. She was initially hired (after 18 months of holding out for Pixar to actually start hiring) as the head of the commercial division at the struggling studio while they also began production on Toy Story. After proving her worth in the commercial division, she was given the job of producing A Bug's Life, which, as she states in the article, "was the film that proved that Pixar wasn't a one hit wonder."

The article goes on to discuss her role with Toy Story 3, and more about her and Pixar Animation Studios in general. It is a very interesting read, especially for people trying to break out into the movie business (like yours truly). Read all about Darla's wonderful story of luck and persistence here.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Massive Link Round-up: 'Toy Story' short gets a plot, Awards, Postage stamps, and more!

Happy New Year, everybody!

Since Disney, etc.'s posting has been on a temporary hiatus as of late, this shall be a massive link round-up summarizing all of the important Disney, Pixar, entertainment, and "everything in-between" news from the last few weeks. Enjoy....

At the top of this post, you will find some wonderful mash-up art from DeviantArt user iamclu, courtesy of HeyUGuys. It is just awesome, ain't it?...

Rumors that a Toy Story short will be attached to Cars 2 have been all but confirmed. After it was leaked that the next short will include Ken and Barbie going to Hawaii, Mike at The Pixar Blog did some very thorough investigating and discovered an product page for a picture book based on the short. Here's the synopsis:

Bonnie is off to Hawaii, and Barbie and Ken are excited to go along on their first tropical vacation! But when they're accidentally left behind, it's up to Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the toys to create a Hawaiian paradise right in Bonnie's room.

Based on the latest animated short featuring the toys from Disney/Pixar Toy Story, this full-color storybook includes punch-out postcards that girls and boys ages 3-7 will love sending to their friends!
Read all about the short and its synopsis at The Pixar Blog here or Amazon here.

Above you will find a video tribute, The Beauty of Pixar, by Leandro Copperfield, who says that "Pixar's films have always been important in my life." It is a very well-edited video, and will remind you just how great Pixar is.

As we get further and further into this Awards season, more news of the Oscars are being leaked and announced. Recently, Variety has reported that Disney will not enter Randy Newman's Toy Story 3 score into the running for Best Original Score. Instead, they will focus their efforts on promoting his tune We Belong Together for Best Original Song. It really is a great song, and helps to lighten the mood of the film while it plays during the closing credits. Not only that, but it is a great song on its own. It definitely deserves one o' them little gold guys. Also, I think it is a smart move for Disney not to enter Newman's score--there are tons of great scores this year, and I doubt the Academy would vote for a score that is simply (yet expertly) an extension of two already-existing scores.

You may have heard of Disney's brilliant "For Your Consideration" ad campaign for where they are comparing stills from Toy Story 3 to past Best Picture winners including The Sting, Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music, Platoon, Shakespeare in Love, and Slumdog Millionaire, among others. They are very funny, and I hope they manage to snag Pixar the Best Picture nom and, with some luck, the award itself. Go to the Disney Awards site here to see the newly-released series of advertisements, as well as an additional (and boldly hilarious) one here.

Current accolades for Toy Story 3 include: being at the top of Moviefone's list of the best films from 2010, being at the top of Rotten Tomatoes' list of the best films from 2010, being on Quentin Tarantino's list of the best films of 2010 as well as Edgar Wright's top 5 list, a Golden Globe nom for Best Animated Feature, being one of the films honored on AFI's list of the top ten films of 2010, and being at the top of Time Magazine's list of the best films from last year. With all of that under its belt, how can you say that it won't win that Best Picture Oscar? I think it will. It just has to...

While we're on the topic of Pixar, it's worth noting that the U.S. Postal Service has announced that later this year, a collection of commemorative Pixar stamps will be released. They'll be in sheets of twenty, include the above five designs, and instead of having a set value, they'll be valid for every first-class letter forever. Expect to see them on August 19 later this year.

Above, you will find a behind-the-scenes video for the upcoming animated film Rango. The short video, which features Johnny Depp, is very interesting, showing how director Gore Verbinski coached the voice actors while also incorporating their movements into a type of mo-cap/animation hybrid. It's really quite interesting...

The headline How Disney Designed The Military's Electromagnetic Launch System says enough about this article. A bizarre, surprising, and thoroughly engaging read... Check it out here.

In an interview with Collider, David Fincher let loose the information that his upcoming remake/adaptation 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will be in 3D. Although I hate 3D with a fiery passion, I am very, very excited to see a version of Jules Vernes classic story told with modern effects by one of my favorite directors. Read the full interview here.

Tron: Legacy was visually-stunning, but was quite under-whelming. The story was weak, the acting was dry (although I appreciated seeing Jeff Bridges returning to a Dude-type philosophy on the big screen), and the overall feel of the movie just didn't do justice to its original counterpart. I couldn't even follow the Light Cycle scene well enough to enjoy it! I certainly agree with RT's 49%. However, it is doing decently at the box office, having made over $130 million so far. They still need $40 million more to make their money back, but I'm sure that they will...

Let's conclude this New Year's link round-up with a bang. Watch the above video of the "Fountains and Fireworks" show that was shown at Disney's California Adventure a couple of nights ago...

And that's all there is to post about for now! You are now completely up-to-date on all Disney, Pixar, entertainment, and everything in-between news. I hope you enjoyed it, and be sure to keep checking your favorite blog for all of the best news...

And once again, Happy New Year!