Andrew Stanton

Marlin and Dory in Finding Nemo

As a parent, there are certain films that you commit to memory. This is not out of necessity, nor is it specifically out of desire. These movies burn their way into a mother or father’s memory banks because they are often set on constant repeat over the course of months – if not years – to keep the kids happy. The technology of home video systems allows movies like The Lion King and Finding Nemo to play on an infinite loop during the day. After watching a film like Andrew Stanton‘s Finding Nemo 186,000 times, a parent starts to look at it different. He or she will forget it’s a story of talking fish featuring sharks on a twelve-step program and surfer dude turtles. Parents will start to question the internal logic of the film and wonder whether any of it is actually possible. Spoiler alert: it’s just a cartoon, so it really doesn’t matter. Still, one can’t help but wonder if the story of a dedicated father clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) would be able to do what he does in the movie. Forget probability odds of literally finding one fish in the massive sea. Watch it enough times on repeat, and you’ll get to thinking: Would Marlin really be able to find Nemo?

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johncarter-truth1

Mars has been the source of fascination for writers of science fiction for more than a century. Even today, after decades of knowledge about the Martian landscape, which has included orbiting probes and rovers that have landed to collect samples. However, before humans even came close to red planet, writers have set their sights on our closest planetary neighbor. Ray Bradbury wrote The Martian Chronicles stories in the 1940s, but thirty years before that, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the John Carter of Mars series. It took a hundred years to make that book series into a big-budget feature film, but Disney achieved that last year when Pixar director Andrew Stanton helmed what might be the biggest financial disappointment for the Mouse House (at least until Gore Verbinski gave us The Lone Ranger this past summer). Still, many have heralded John Carter for its scope and vision, including staying as true to the original source material as possible in today’s world of blockbuster cinema. Some have said that John Carter was the first action hero and possibly the first superhero. After all, he certainly acted like one, leaping across the Martian desert. These feats of leg strength began when he first arrives on Mars, learning to walk on a new planet. Once he gets his Mars legs, John Carter is able to jump like the athletic love child of Superman and Michael Jordan. It starts with long bounds, but soon he is able to vertically leap over people, Martians, and even […]

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Star Wars

You know the story. At this point it’s basically the new shot heard ‘round the world: Disney has bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion, George Lucas is retiring from the Star Wars game, and three more Star Wars films are planned for production starting in 2015. Lucas and the new Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, have stated that they have archives of story treatments for more books, TV shows, and films… but with Lucas stepping back from the property, who are they going to get to direct these next three episodes in the ongoing Star Wars adventure? Let’s take a look at some candidates, whether they be likely, unlikely, or long shots.

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Finding Nemo 2

Before there was the massive bust-a-roonie that was John Carter, Andrew Stanton was one of Pixar’s most essential and beloved filmmakers – he not only helped write and conceive of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, he also penned A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., WALL-E, and Finding Nemo (all of which he directed or co-directed, save for Monsters, Inc.). However, despite his stand-out animation resume, Stanton (like so many other before him) itched to jump into live-action, which is how he ended up with John Carter, and well, we all know how that turned out. After this year’s live-action flop, some mused if Stanton would be put into “director jail,” barred from ever making anything of substance or note again. Yet, one massive misstep does not always spell disaster for filmmakers and, fortunately for Stanton, he still has that completely awe-inspiring resume to back up his work – particularly when it comes to animation. And, if Deadline Sydney is to be believed, Stanton is returning to his roots in more ways than one. The writer and director is now reportedly set to direct a Finding Nemo sequel for Disney and Pixar, and while that’s nice and everything, why the heck does Finding Nemo need a sequel, even with Stanton at the helm?

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Pixar Wall-E Commentary

Oh, those geeks and their wonderful ways of storing minuscule tidbits of information and pulling them from their mental storage unit to spur on debates. What must it be like to listen to a group of them talk about a movie they love? How about a movie they’ve all worked on? That’s exactly what Disney and Pixar did for WALL*E. They’ve pulled four of the geekiest minds on the production crew, minds that would analyze every, minute detail of a film and test it for accuracy, and let them talk all over the film. And, like any good geek conversation, the pop cultural references come with each, nerdy breath. So, without any further ado, it’s time to find out what this Geek Squad has to say about WALL*E.

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For more than fifteen years, Pixar has represented the gold standard in computer generated films. Since the studio’s early days of making groundbreaking short films to producing Oscar-winning feature-length movies, Pixar has become a brand associated with quality animation and adorable characters. There have been some bumps along the road, from a love-hate-owner relationship with Disney to some questionable sequels, but few studios can boast such a consistent level of quality and innovation. This week, Pixar will be releasing its 13th full-length feature, Brave, with an entire new cast of characters different from any other Pixar film. This gives us a chance to look into Pixar’s past and remember some of the favorite characters from their films.

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Pixar Character Logo

If there’s any outfit that celebrates the team sport aspect of filmmaking, it’s Pixar. What began as the Graphics Group at LucasFilm has evolved into its own behemoth of wonder and magic. Not just pioneers of technology, they’ve sought to invent in order to put stories out into the world – using computer animation for the ancient purpose of spinning tales and crafting characters. Led by Ed Catmull, the production house (which was bought by Disney in 2006) boasts luminaries like John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and many more. There newest film, Brave, is in theaters this week, so here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from RenderMan and company.

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John Carter is Visually Spectacular

As far as we know on Reject Mars, Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter is “full of action,” and that’s exactly how we like it. The Disney epic from Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s classic Barsoom series was so many years in development that, for awhile there, it felt like it would never get made. But get made it did! And, in the case of a film like John Carter, one that relies so much on world-building, alien creatures, and massive battles to tell its story, it’s perhaps best that the film was crafted in a time rife with the kind of cinematic technology that could bring Barsoom to life. Next month, Disney will release John Carter on home video, and they’re cramming the release full of all sorts of goodies that center on the making of the film, including a bonus scene that focuses on the work that went into one of the film’s most impressive scenes. In our exclusive first look clip below, a very excited Mark Andrews (who penned the screenplay with Andrew Stanton and also served as 2nd Unit Director on the film) explains to us how one of John Carter‘s biggest and flashiest stunts was accomplished, using green screens, skill, and some good old-fashioned ingenuity. Check it out after the break!

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Boiling Point

John Carter lightly transported itself into theaters this past weekend, securing a relatively meager $30m opening domestically, though it managed to secure another $70m internationally. While I will eventually make a defense of the economics at play here, it is hard to argue that John Carter isn’t a domestic failure, considering it came in second to The Lorax, which debuted a full week earlier. On top of that, John Carter has a suspected $250m budget with marketing costs guestimated in the $100m range, for a total investment of around $350m. The critics have been somewhat kind to the civil war veteran’s debut – while the average review seems to be “it’s alright,” there have certainly been some hyperbolic highs and very few hyperbolic lows. Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for DVD. Scattered among those are bold claims that film will live on with your children as a classic, which are probably a bit off the reservation. There is little doubt that in at least several ways John Carter failed, ways that were easily avoidable and ways that make me fairly angry with the system.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to hide in a cave, hoping against hope that some mystical bald alien will beam him to Mars so he can make a pass at the ridiculously gorgeous Lynn Collins in a brass bikini. Unfortunately, no one came to his rescue, so he snuck into an abandoned house in upstate New York to terrorize some people. Again, no one came. That left Kevin to skip his movies this week so he could go to the library and find a book that would allow him to curse Eddie Murphy into not speaking. He hasn’t been heard from since.

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John Carter

This weekend presents you with the opportunity to do many things. If you’re in the Central Texas area, you’re probably hitting up SXSW 2012 alongside the intrepid staff at Film School Rejects and many other fine publications. But if you’re note falling down drunk on the streets of Austin, trying to punch-kick everyone following a screening of The Raid, you may want to escape to another wild wonderland: Mars. Beginning today, Disney is releasing John Carter into theaters. Based on the century-old book “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Carter follows a Civil War veteran who is transported magically to Earth’s red neighbor, where unknowable danger, a classic hero journey and the love of a gorgeous, tough princess await him. Also, he encounters 9-foot tall, four-armed green aliens who sound like Willem Dafoe, vengeful war mongers played by the likes of Dominic West and a CGI-enhanced landscape created by a team led by Pixar alum Andrew Stanton. All-in-all, it’s quite a ride. And to give you an idea of why you should just ignore the poor early buzz and simply enjoy the ride, we’ve compile a list of 7 Very Good Reasons to See John Carter This Weekend. Join us on this magical journey…

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Willem Dafoe on John Carter

John Carter hits theaters today. And whether you’re buying into the hype that it’s a big-budget film that is destined to fail or you’re listening to the great number of film critics — including our own Robert Levin — who are saying that despite its faults, it’s the first legitimate event film of the year, it’s still going to be hitting theaters. For those seeking more information before a decision is made, we’ve got you covered. Over the next several days we’ll be rolling out conversations with John Carter‘s creative team, including the likes of director Andrew Stanton, producers Lindsey Collins and John Morris, as well as some of the film’s stars. We begin today with an intimate chat held with veteran actor Willem Dafoe, who plays Tars Tarkas, the leader of a Martian species of 9-foot tall, four-armed green aliens who live in the harsh deserts of Earth’s red neighbor. Over the course of our chat, we talk about being a veteran actor who can still perform in physically demanding roles, Andrew Stanton’s directing style and what Dafoe has to say about performance capture and its place in awards season.

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John Carter Mondo Poster

John Carter arrives in theaters today consumed by terrible buzz and reduced expectations, with prognosticators of all stripes predicting a monumental flop for Disney. It’s a 3D, $250m affair that’s tracking worse than the second weekend of The Lorax, they say, and it’s a ridiculously expensive gamble for a first-time live-action director (Andrew Stanton, of Finding Nemo and WALL-E fame). In the press, the narrative has been written: You don’t want to see this movie. And that’s a shame, because it’s actually quite good. It’s sad that we’ve reached a cultural place where a bold, imaginative science-fiction effort like this, a film with beautiful imagery and a well-founded allegiance to gloriously pulpy source material, is so easily dismissed. Not to get all Armond White here, but the contemptible gleeful scorn being heaped on the film by Nikki Finke and others just reemphasizes how little so many people who write about movies actually care about movies. If they gave a damn about, you know, art, they’d have to acknowledge that at the very least this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s century-old novel “A Princess of Mars” harkens back to the grand mid-century Disney tradition of films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which took great pleasure in immersive production design. You could take or leave the plot, though I’d mostly take it, but there’s no disputing the fact that Stanton has rendered Mars as a complete universe unto itself, full of zooming spaceships and cluttered, towering cities, a weird and altogether […]

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Director Andrew Stanton, being somewhat of the miracle worker that he is, has managed to capture the strengths of the original Star Wars trilogy while avoiding much of what was wrong with the prequels with his John Carter. This Disney epic provides for all of a boy’s basic needs, wants, and desires that Lucas’s prequels didn’t deliver upon. Stanton knows their sweet spot – and yes, I know how creepy that reads – by hitting all the major checkpoints required for them: beefy hero, beautiful love interest, sweet weaponry, non-pandering comic relief, big aliens, and exciting flying things that could not look more like the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. How do these amazing devices work, you ask? They just do. Stanton treats the more fantastical aspects of John Carter like George Lucas did, “It’s just there, and who cares how it works or how it got made?” Overall, John Carter bears both many connections and thankful distances to the Star Wars series. Just how Luke Skywalker saw the vast universe Lucas created, there’s not one scene of Carter condescending to the mechanics or bizarro nature of the world – Mars, which they call “Barsoom” – he’s thrown into and never saying something along the lines of, “Isn’t this costume goofy, guys? (*wink* *wink*).” When things get silly, Stanton and his cast always play it straight-faced and with nothing but respect, like the original Star Wars films did. Carter doesn’t question the idea of huge white apes, he […]

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Many things have been said about Disney’s John Carter. From bloggers who say it’s “full of action” to a marketing department at a major studio that’s having trouble explaining what, exactly, the hell John Carter is to the general public. Nerds know. Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ century-old story Princess of Mars know. Those of us who have seen it know that there’s plenty within it to love. So what else can be done to give you a reason to see it when it hits theaters this Friday, March 9? How about a 10-minute clip featuring the back story of our title character (played by Taylor Kitsch), an appearance by Bryan Cranston and almost some ‘of Mars’ kind of action. It’s not the high-flying, impressively scaled scenes from the movie, but this 10-minute clip should give you a good idea of what’s going on. If you’re still needing more, well, we’ve got more coming.

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Last month we got a really fun and nicely old-fashioned horror movie, a found footage superhero movie becoming a surprise hit, a terrific hitman/horror/love story, and a B-movie featuring Denzel Washington kicking ass. It was better than an average February. As expected like every year, we’re dealing with a packed March. There are two possible franchise starters and one of the funniest comedies we’ve seen in quite sometime, so we’ve got a pleasant month ahead of us. Honorable Mentions: Friends with Kids (a fine dramedy) and The Deep Blue Sea (a semi-festival favorite), and Silent House (another film with Elizabeth Olsen being terrorized? I’m in.) Check out the ten must-see movies of March below.

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Do you have some interest in seeing more from Disney’s upcoming sci-fi adventure John Carter? Chances are that you do, as many of you are probably the types who are (a) familiar with the century-old source material or (b) just into that kind of thing in general. Based on this epic image gallery — 116 stills in all — we can see that Pixar alum Andrew Stanton’s first foray into the world of live-action (sort of) is heavy on spectacle. It’s a big story told over the massive landscape of Earth’s closest neighbor. Sexy martian princesses? Check. All-out war between alien races? Check. Giant white wolf ape motherf&*kers? Boom, you’ve got that, too. Forget whatever preconceived notions you have based on the trailers and check out the slick gallery of images that we’ve left for you after the jump.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: WALL-E (2008) The Plot: In the distant future, humanity has abandoned Earth (presumably after it got all jacked up in the Mayan Apocalypse), leaving behind a small waste collecting robot, WALL-E, who has faithfully executed his programming by cleaning up all the trash we’ve left behind and crafting it into cute little bundles. His predictable life is turned upside down with the arrival of EVE, a reconnaissance robot he falls in robot love with that leads him on a journey across the stars that will alter the course of humanity.

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Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises

What is Movie News After Dark? … um, it’s about movies. And it takes place after the sun goes down. We begin this evening with another new image from The Dark Knight Rises, one of several that worked their way onto the web today thanks to Entertainment Weekly. Unlike all the previously interesting shots from the film, this one does not involve Bane. It’s Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) standing in front of the bat-suit. I love that bat-suit.

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Paul Thomas Anderson

I didn’t think it was possible for me to be any more excited about P.T. Anderson’s upcoming religious drama that was at one point called The Master. First off, Anderson is one of my very favorite directors, so anything he does is going to excite me. Secondly, Philip Seymour Hoffman is starring as the L. Ron Hubbard stand-in who serves as the main character, and he’s about the best actor on the planet. And third, much like Anderson’s last film, There Will Be Blood, this one is going to feature a score by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood. Last time around that equaled aural awesomeness. But now there’s a new rumor swirling around the project that is almost too cool to believe, and coming from these sources, I’d say it’s pretty dang reliable. Cinema Blend was peeping in on a Twitter conversation between two directors from the Pixar stable, Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton, about movies being shot in 65mm, and they uncovered the tidbit that Anderson is going to be the next director to utilize the format. Somewhere in the thread of the conversation Bird said to Stanton, “ … Nolan shot a lot of Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. I think PT Anderson’s next is 65 too.” To which Stanton replied, “The Master is indeed in 65. They nearly lost a camera shooting in the Bay.”

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published: 11.19.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
B-, C
published: 11.18.2014
B+
published: 11.14.2014
B+


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