Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Mission: Impossible 4' trailer debuts

Above you'll find the first trailer for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. It's being directed by someone you're most likely familiar with, Brad Bird, the Oscar-winning guy who brought you Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles. M:I4 marks his foray into the world of live-action filmmaking.

The movie is being produced by J.J. Abrams, the awesome dude behind LOST (speaking of which, did you see Sawyer in the trailer? Jump to 1:03 and watch closely...awesome!), Mission: Impossible 3, Super 8, Fringe . . . a lot of stuff. It stars Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and, as I said before, Josh Holloway.

I cannot wait!! It looks spectacular.

Unfortunately, though, I'm gonna have to wait until December 16 later this year, when it's released into theaters (and IMAX!).


Monday, June 27, 2011

Hanks says 'Toy Story 4'?

Tom Hanks, whom you may know as Sheriff Woody, recently sat down with the BBC to promote his upcoming film, Larry Crowne.

During the interview, however, his granddaughter comes up which prompts interviewer Tim Muffett to pry Hanks about the possibility of a Toy Story 4. (Video, around 2:26.)

Hanks replies: "I think there will be, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think they're working on it now. There you go."

Although, it is entirely possible that Tom is just referring to some future Toy Story Toons, which we already expect to come out of the studio. Let's just hope this is the case, especially after the poetic, bittersweet ending of Toy Story 3. It's the perfect place to leave the toys, and it's impossible to top that film's finale.

Or, perhaps we will see another feature with everyone's favorite Cowboy and Space Ranger. If we do, it won't be until 2015 at the earliest.

Developing . . .


'Cars 2' rules weekend Box Office

Although Cars 2 may not be that great, people are definitely packing into theaters to see it. Box Office Mojo reports a take of $66.1 million at the domestic box office.

That puts the flick's opening numbers at the fifth best for a Pixar movie--it's almost tied with Up which opened at $68.1 million.

It's playing in 4,115 theaters, and is expected to remain strong throughout the next couple of weeks, although the new Transformers this weekend and the final installment of Harry Potter next month very well might lure audiences from unloading their wallets into Emeryville, especially after how the critics received Cars 2.

However, Cars 2's revenue stream is really gonna come from merchandising, seeing how Cars is the current merch champ among any other Pixar film, at over $5 billion in sales (and that's as of April 2009).


'Brave' teaser

Below you'll find the long-awaited teaser trailer for Pixar's Brave, attached to all digital copies of Cars 2. The animation is spectacular, and the narration/title tie-in is very clever. Enjoy.

Brave will be released in just under a year, on June 22, 2012.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

My 'Cars 2' Review

Most of the things you've heard about Cars 2 are true. It's fast-paced. Action-packed. Full of Mater-in-a-foreign-country-making-a-fool-of-himself gags. It feels like a James Bond movie. However, it is missing one very important component we've learned to expect from Pixar films: heart.

The opening scene is by far the most spectacular, in which Finn McMissile makes a daring escape from an oil rig, complete with explosions, zip lines, and a roaring soundtrack.

Then, the film slowly goes downhill. Several scenes in, at the Wheel Well Hotel when Mater calls in to a talk show to defend Lightning McQueen's reputation, you find yourself asking yourself, "When is this going to end? C'mon, get to the point already!" I felt this numerous times during the movie, which not only took me out of the story, but made me rather annoyed. Very un-Pixar and poor storytelling.

But the movie's not all bad. Although you lose interest during some scenes, the plot keeps you intrigued for most of the film. You want to see Mater succeed, and you also empathize with his plight of always being the fool. It gives audience members a good message, which is to always be yourself (although the message could be taken a bit too far, for Lightning tells Mater to be himself even if he'll, say, ruin an important party or destroy a city). Also, when Lightning talks with Guido's uncle in Italy, the message gets to be very heavy-handed and obvious. In Ratatouille the message was artfully implied. WALL-E's basic moral had to be read between the lines of a robot love story. Toy Story 3's message was irreversibly intertwined with the story and plight of the characters. Cars 2's message was apparent, blatantly preached to the audience, and less impacting than that of any other Pixar film.

The score is wonderfully subtle with a different motif for each city, the animation is spectacular and hypnotizing, and the whole film was strewn with clever, city-specific jokes and gags. However, it was just missing that extra umph we've come to expect from Pixar--the heart. It felt more like a good DreamWorks movie than something under Lasseter's name. The main characters were interesting and intriguing, but every other character (including even Finn McMissile) were very flat and boring. The twist at the end is dry and predictable. I really, really wanted to like it, but I found myself wanting more. Perhaps I'm just comparing it with other Pixar films--after all, it's not that bad of a movie. Just a bad Pixar movie.

I give it a 6.5 out of 10.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

'Hawaiian Vacation' still, interview, and toys

Pixar released the above photo from the upcoming short Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation. You'll be able to see it before Cars 2 starting tomorrow! If you don't know yet, the basic premise is that Barbie and Ken stowaway in Bonnie's backpack, thinking they are going to Hawaii. When they wind up in her bedroom, however, Woody and the gang try to bring Hawaii to the plastic couple.

Read a short talk with the director, Gary Rydstrom, at AWN here. He discussed how they "wanted to give all the characters their moments, and this seemed like a good story to hang all the characters on."

I can't wait to see it!

Earlier today, while walking through the toy store to see if I could find any new Cars 2 toys, I stumbled upon the below toys--Woody and Buzz dressed in their luau attire. They are made, of course, by Thinkway Toys.

At $49.95 each, I couldn't get myself to pick them up just yet. However, Buzz in a grass skirt with a glow stick and Woody in a Lasseter-esque shirt, as you surely know, was incredibly hard to pass up. These puppies are Toys R Us exclusives, but you can check them out at the online store here and here. (Also check out the ones I didn't see, including Jessie, Ken and Barbie.)

See the short in theaters tomorrow, before every showing of Cars 2!!


'Brave' updates

With Cars 2 coming out tomorrow, everyone's already setting their sights on the next Pixar flick, Brave.

At the top of the post you'll find the first official still from the film, released by Pixar in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. Expect a hi-res version soon.

Queen Elinor

Lord Macintosh

The Wise Woman

Princess Merida

More exciting then that pic, though, is the above concept art, offering a look at some characters we've yet to see. Very cool! What a wonderful style.

Also, the official Brave site has gone live at Disney.com/Brave. Not much content yet, but worth a look.

Brave comes out exactly one year from yesterday, on July 22, 2012.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'La Luna' drawing

Posted just moments ago by Enrico Casarosa to his Flickr account is the above photo. It's a drawing of La Luna's main character, a boy named Bambino. Surprisingly, the drawing is on a Post-it note.

Very cool!


'Brave' teaser poster spotted in wild [UPDATED]

Discovered by an eagle-eyed member of DVDizzy.com's forums, to the right you'll find a teaser poster for Pixar's next feature, Brave.

The poster features the film's tagline, "Change Your Fate," along with the release info of Summer 2012.

Keep your eyes out for a teaser of Brave before Cars 2 this weekend, too!
Update: Entertainment Weekly has released the official poster here. Accompanying the poster is some commentary from director Mark Andrews on how the film will utilize"darker elements" than we're used to with Pixar--a very intriguing thought . . .

What a beautiful design, especially for a teaser!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pixar goes ROTTEN! (UPDATED)

Well, it was bound to happen eventually: Pixar has a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a site which combines the reviews of many critics to create a single, average rating.

Contrary to what I thought would happen after reading some early reviews, Cars 2 currently has a rating of 59%! Now, obviously, this rating can go up after more critics see and rate the film, but it is almost assuredly going to be Pixar's lowest rate film to date.

It currently has 17 ratings, 10 "rotten" and 7 "fresh".Stay tuned for my review in just a few days. Now I'm not sure what to think of the film. I'm still excited to see it, but my expectations are, well, undecided.

The end of an era . . . .

UPDATES: Cars 2 now has a rating of 55% on RT, and has been voted on by 23 critics.

As pointed out by yensid98 in the comments, Rotten Tomatoes isn't always a fair aggregator of reviews out there. While it is legitimate and reliable, it's important to take a range of different sources into account. Metacritic, a site similar to Rotten Tomatoes in the fact that it combines many critics' views to attain a single, overall rating, currently has a score of 62% for Cars 2 with 5 critics having rated the film. Still not a spectacular score, but we'll see what we all think come the day after tomorrow!


'Cars 2' Interviews Aplenty

With the release of Cars 2 less than 3 days away, the PR push is gearing up big time, and that means, in addition to reviews of the film, tons of new interviews!

I've been searching the internet for fresh interviews, and have found plenty of them for your reading pleasure. Enjoy:

Movies Online talks to Director John Lasseter about his motivations for making a sequel, the story process, 3D, and more stuff. Nothing new or incredibly exciting in the interview, but still a good read to get you excited for this Friday!

Collider has an interview with Michael Caine about the voice work he did for Finn McMissile (as well as some talk about The Dark Knight Rises). It's a good interview, in which Caine discusses the differences between live action acting and animation, this role compared to his past spy roles, etc. Good read.

CinemaBlend and ComingSoon.net both have interviews with Giacchino. He talks about the challenge with this film due to the very different atmospheres in each city, the fine line between an homage to spy films and a parody, his inspirations, etc. Two great interviews with the greatest film composer in the business today.

The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Lasseter, in which he discusses the villain of the film being "Big Oil. Obviously the interview is spoiler-filled, sobe weary, but that also means it's got some new information in it... Read it here.

Finally, Movie Viral has a roundtable (once again) with director John Lasseter. He talks about the animation process, 3D, and more... Nothing groundbreaking in this interview, either, but it'll keep your Pixar Fix at maximum levels until Friday, and that is very important.

Well, those are all the interviews I have for now! Stay tuned for more news on Cars 2 as its release gets ever nearer . . .


Monday, June 20, 2011

Mystery Pixar Pic to Hit Theaters in 2013 (UPDATED)

Deadline.com reports that Pixar is cooking up another blockbuster that is set to take over the movie screens of the world on November 27, 2013. All that is currently known (at least outside the Pixar story factory) is that it's a new, original story and not a sequel.

I've got the date set on my calendar!

UPDATE: Some buzz around the Inter-Nets suggests that this project may be the mysterious Pete Docter/Dinosaur film we've been hearing about recently, especially since Pixar had a dinosaur-themed night at their studio back in April, featuring a screening of Spielberg's Jurassic Park.

Stay tuned as I learn more about this rather interesting announcement....


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Early Reviews for 'Cars 2'

Some news outlets have been treated to early screenings of Cars 2 (with surely more to come in the next few days), and now they're posting their reviews. Now we'll finally have a sense of where our expectations for Pixar's next feature should be.

Variety raves about the film, discussing how it is a "rare sequel that not only improves on but retroactively justifies its predecessor," and that the "lightning-paced caper-comedy shifts the franchise into high gear with international intrigue, spy-movie spoofery and more automotive puns than you can shake a stickshift at, handling even its broader stretches with sophistication, speed and effortless panache." Needless to say, before ending even the first paragraph of the review, it is apparent that Variety believes Pixar has another masterpiece on its hands!

The Hollywood Reporter calls Cars 2 "yet another Pixar winner." McCarthy writes that Cars 2, thankfully, doesn't rely at all on it's predecessor, claiming that the "beautifully designed sequel stands easily on its own four tires." Being a huge Giacchino fan, I can't help but mention that it's mentioned in the review that "Michael Giacchino's score has the effect of a super-charger on the film, as if it needed one." The review gives a brief plot synopsis, as well as plenty more accolades for the film.

HitFlix, a less well-known film site, isn't quite as gracious with its praise for the film, claiming that the film's logic made his "head explode." More plot details can be found within the review.

Well, those are all the major reviews that have come out so far. Stay tuned for more!

I should have known to wholeheartedly trust in Pixar--oh Luxo, will you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?! . . . I am ashamed.

Oh, and I'm also very excited to see Cars 2! (And to write a comprehensive review for all of you lovely folks.)

Less than a week away . . .


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Full 'Muppets' Trailer

Above you'll find the full trailer for The Muppets, released earlier today.

Finally!! I'm so sick of seeing Kermit and The Gang be dragged into shameless Hangover and Green Lantern parodies. I am very glad to, at long last, see some actual plot from the upcoming film!

Now I'm finally getting more excited for The Muppets...


'Toy Story'... Unleashed!

Briefly: If you didn't notice, above this paragraph (courtesy of Cartoon Brew) is a re-imagining of Woody and Buzz as totally awesome, detailed action figures.

Unfortunately, they appear to be custom, one-of-a-kind figures.

If only Disney would hire this guy to bring the figures to market . . . I would most certainly empty out my wallet to have these guys sitting on my shelf.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Andreas Deja has a blog!

The famed Disney Animator (and one of my favorites) Andreas Deja, who headed animation in such films as Hercules, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog and the upcoming film Winnie-the-Pooh, has officially set-up his own blog!

It is very interesting and informative for any lover of Disney or animation in general...