Pixar, Don Draper and Dinosaur-Riding Nazis Star in the 10 Best Movie and TV Stories of the Week

don draper and up

The biggest news of any kind this week was the Supreme Court ruling the Defense Against Marriage Act unconstitutional. While that’s likely relevant news to a lot of people in Hollywood, it’s not really a movie-related story (though it inspired a discussion of related movies on our Broken Projector podcast). As for things specific to cinema and television, Pixar‘s promise to focus on original features is surely the most notable. But I also find it the most curious considering the disappointment with the studio’s last non-sequel, Brave, and some of its recent original shorts. Originality does not equal quality, and it doesn’t have to be exclusive to works that aren’t based on other properties either. Cars 2 and Monsters University aren’t weaker because they’re a sequel and a prequel, respectively. That’s a very lazy excuse for what’s really weaker writing and filmmaking in general. For all we know, the future fresh features will be as “original” as Cars.

Enough ranting about anticipated originality, though. This week was also filled with excitement over an Independence Day sequel, an Iron Sky sequel, a Django Unchained reunion, the idea of Mad Men repeating itself and the anniversaries of movies from a time when Hollywood was not necessarily more original but at least much more interesting and imaginative. So let’s look back on the week in our movie and TV and catch up with whatever we missed. For instance, have you left a comment regarding your choice for Vin Diesel‘s Marvel role yet?

Start your weekend right after the jump.


Pixar Cutting Back on Sequels

Pixar Character LogoEd Catmull, the studio head, shares the obvious: ‘For artistic reasons…it’s really important that we do an original film a year’…This news comes after the studio’s announcement late last month that revealed dates for four upcoming features (from 2016 until 2018)…While we don’t know much about the four new features, it’s assumed that one of them will be Lee Unkrich’s untitled film about Día de los Muertos, and Catmull’s comments seem to signal that we can expect at least one sequel (or prequel) in the bunch (based on the “every other year” formula). We can only hope that it’s the one sequel all Pixar fans seem to desire – The Incredibles 2!” – Kate Erbland


Vin Diesel to Star in Unknown Marvel Movie

Vin Diesel Sub-Mariner“A Badoon in Guardians of the Galaxy? Thanos in Avengers 2? Sub-Mariner? Doctor Strange? Bald Ant-Man? Is there going to be an Iron Giant 2? With so many movies in production for their next phase, there are a ton of options for what Marvel wants to do with Vin Diesel (including the possibility that they simply want him to autograph their DVD of The Pacifier), but, yes, according to the sharp eyes of Superhero Hype, Diesel announced via his Facebook page that the studio wanted to have a meeting.” – Scott Beggs


Mad Men Final Season Theories

madmen-banner“Don becomes an American folk legend. Our favorite theory about not just how the series will end, but who Don Draper will end up being comes from Lindsey M. Green over at Medium. While you need to read the whole article (it’s bonkers in the best way possible), Green basically theorizes that Don will end up being America’s favorite plane hijacker, D.B. Cooper. Hey, if you’re going to reapprorpiate the ‘falling man’ into something wholly original, this is the way to do it.” – Kate Erbland

More on Mad Men:
How Mad Men Deftly Dealt with the Events of 1968
Mad Men: It’s All Fun And Games Until They Shoot You In the Face


Questions Left Unanswered by World War Z

World War Z“What actually caused the zombie outbreak? There’s not really an explanation. There’s no mention of a probe returning from Venus with extraterrestrial contaminants, no accidentally leaked biological weapon or toxic chemicals, no voodoo magic. In the beginning of the film, news reports call the outbreak a form of rabies. Later the infected are just called zombies, in a sort of knowing nod to a pop culture tradition that seems to exist in this onscreen world. From what I’ve read, the closest thing to a source was initially mentioned in the script as having been based in China, but the line was eliminated in hopes of appealing to the country’s distribution censors (it seems not to have mattered anyway). So, I just assume the outbreak originated with a diseased pig in a kitchen in Macau, a la Contagion. As in the case of that film, the world never figures out the true cause (even if the audience is let in there at least), which is often the case in real life. Nobody knows for sure who Patient Zero was for many plagues and viruses nor the definite source of other epidemics. And as it so happens in the movie, it doesn’t really end up mattering what caused the outbreak.” – Christopher Campbell


Cheaper Actors Returning For Independence Day 2

independenceday“It’s true that Will Smith is such a highly paid star these days that Roland Emmerich has said he isn’t even going to try to get him to come back for his upcoming Independence Day sequel, but he also said that some of the other names from the first movie are going to return, and in a recent conversation with Movies.com he confirmed two of those names. Said names are Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, who you’re probably familiar with. Now all we need is confirmation that Judd Hirsch is going to be back as Goldblum’s dad, and then we can all breath a sigh of relief. Those two had crazy chemistry.” – Nathan Adams


Iron Sky 2 Promises to Be a Dinosaur-Filled Improvement

Iron Sky 2Iron Sky — aka the Moon Nazi Movie — wasn’t really my cup of crazy tea, but it found a dedicated cult audience, so it’s not all that surprising that director Timo Vuorensola wants a second shot at the fourth Reich…But you know what? Even though the first was a messy bore of non-comedy, I have high hopes for a sequel because 1) it has Udo Kier again, 2) it offers them another shot to get modern Nazis right, and 3) I’m a sucker for anyone who has ego enough to claim they’re making ‘the most awesome science fiction film of the decade.’ With a concept as fun as dino-riding Nazis, why not hope for the best?” – Scott Beggs


The Best Surprisingly Low Budget Effect In a Big Budget Movie Is…

JurassicParkWaterJurassic Park Created A T-Rex’s Steps With A Guitar String. The story of the concentric rings formed by the oncoming T-Rex contains every aspect needed to make it the perfect simplistic solution in an otherwise complicated shoot. For starters, it was thought up on the fly by Spielberg, then handed down to special effects producer Michael Lantieri who, after a bunch of research, found himself at a total loss on how to do it. So in the true spirit of MacGyver filmmaking, Lantieri only found his solution at the very last minute, plucking on a guitar at home the night before the shoot. It was this that created the perfect circles he was looking for, and so on the day of shooting it was only a matter of sticking a string under the car.” – David Christopher Bell


Mean Business on North Ganson Street Promises Django Unchained Reunion

DJANGO UNCHAINED“The gist of things is that DiCaprio and Foxx will both be playing disgraced cops…who team up in order to take on a case in a rundown rust belt town where the local police have been mysteriously getting executed gangland style…Out of control protagonists forced to team up, a case that’s too dangerous for the normal police force to handle—it sounds like Mean Business could be exactly the kind of awesome buddy cop movie that Hollywood used to do so well, but hasn’t been able to recreate over the last fifteen years or so. If we can just get a director who actually knows how to construct and shoot an action sequence attached to this thing, we should be reliving the glory days of Lethal Weapon and Die Hard in no time.” – Nathan Adams


Who Framed Roger Rabbit Turns 25

monkeys-who-framed-roger-rabbit-590x350“There’s nothing wrong with being a little naughty. Who Framed Roger Rabbit wasn’t entirely a kids’ movie, and neither were a lot of classic cartoons. Jessica Rabbit recalls the sexuality of Tex Avery films, for instance, particularly Red Hot Riding Hood, which had been partially censored due to its depiction of a lusty wolf. Her number in the Ink & Paint Club scene is clearly a direct reference. Jessica became a sex symbol phenomenon following the release of this film even making the cover of ‘Playboy’ in November 1988 with a human model wearing a drawn-on costume. Later, the Laserdisc release sold ridiculously well thanks to the revelation that you could see her bare crotch in an isolated frame…Also, one thing that I don’t think I paid much attention to 25 years ago, the weird gag in which Eddie awkwardly rams the top of his head into the underside of Jessica’s massive boobs as he’s picking up his pants.” – Christopher Campbell


Sleepless in Seattle Turns 20

Sleepless in Seattle“What I’ve come to appreciate in the twenty years that Sleepless in Seattle has existed is what I’ve come to appreciate about most of Ephron’s work. In short, there are actual stakes in the film, the kind you can only truly recognize as you (and, conversely, it) grow older. And, no, not just romantic stakes involving Sam and Annie (though the film’s tagline ‘What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?’ sure makes that whole thing sound pretty damn important), but whole life stakes when it comes to young Jonah. Malinger’s character has already been through plenty – we’re basically on year two of Jonah’s mom-death-induced depression when the action kicks up in the film – and it’s hard to imagine that another major upheaval in his life centered around a female figure won’t ruin him forever. That’s a stake. That’s something real. And that’s not something we get from the vast majority of romantic comedies being made today.” – Kate Erbland


Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

Read More from Christopher Campbell
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