Cartoon Network

Austin Cinematic Limits

Up until last week I never heard of Adventure Time. (I will chalk this up to not having easy access to cable television, specifically Cartoon Network, rather than my utter lameness.) So, it was not until the announcement that Mondo Gallery was opening an Adventure Time themed art show — featuring 40 pieces of original art and posters from 31 artists (the show is on display through May 26) — that I first heard of Finn and Jake and the Land of Ooo. Considering that Mondo’s tastes are typically in line with my own, their love for Adventure Time intrigued me. Luckily, the gallery opening was to be paired with an Adventure Time Marathon Screening and Feast — hosted by Mondo and featuring series creator Pendleton Ward and voice actor Tom Kenny (Ice King) — at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. What better way to get introduced to Adventure Time than with a two-hour immersion into nine episodes (including two world premiere episodes), served up with a three-course menu (including “Everything Burrito”, “Wizard Rainbow Dogs”, “Decorpsinator Puffs” and “Meatman Meat”) designed by Alamo Executive Chef John Bullington, and seated alongside a sold out audience of rabid Adventure Time fans? Oh, yes, the fans! Seeing all of the fans decked out in Adventure Time costumes got me all the more excited to experience whatever it was I was about to see. I mean, how often do people dress up like characters from bad television shows? (Okay, don’t answer that.) I was […]

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Channel Guide - Large

Darkwing Duck, Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko’s Modern Life, X-Men, Pepper Ann. The ’90s were the best time for animated children’s programming, right? But, of course, I was a kid in the ’90s, so I’m biased. If I’d grown up in the ’80s I’d probably cite Thundercats, Jem, and He-Man as examples of how that decade was killing it and think the crap that all of the little jerks in the ’90s were watching lacked soul or guts or whatever. Until recently, my 20-somethingness had caused me to be totally dismissive of contemporary cartoons. I know, it’s a really odd thing to be pretentious about but in a lot of cases—in fact, most cases—it was warranted. But then I watched Regular Show and Adventure Time, two Cartoon Network animated series that have been getting a lot of love from kids and adults alike, and now I’m begrudgingly starting to think that I’ve been completely wrong about the ’90s.

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So one day you’re walking along when you find an alien pod where a strange watch-like machine attaches itself to you – giving you the power of 10 different extraterrestrials. These things happen. At least they happen to Ben 10 – the hit animated show that spawned several spin-off shows and a lot of merchandise. It’s no wonder Joel Silver has taken a liking to it. The producer has even found an interesting screenwriter to build the project for the big screen. According to Variety, Silver has hired Henry Poole is Here writer Albert Torres to bring the alien master to life. Henry Poole was definitely an underappreciated dramedy, but the real writing audition for Torres came in the form of a rewrite on the Akira remake. A bit more in the Ben 10 wheelhouse. What’s interesting is that Torres also wrote the script for the Chuck Palahniuk book adaptation Survivor back when Francis Lawrence was attached to direct. This guy sounds particularly versatile. What’s doubly interesting is that there have already been two live-action Ben 10 movies – both made for television, directed by Bill and Ted alum Alex Winter. It’s undoubtedly different, but does anyone else get the Green Lantern vibe off this? Aliens, a magic device on the hand, the color green everywhere. It feels awfully similar.

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Between Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Looney Tunes Show, Cartoon Network is so far two for two on their cartoon reboots. But in a further attempt to take the kid programming crown away from rival Nickelodeon, the network has gone back to the nostalgia well again, and this time they pulled out the beloved favorite, Thundercats. Now before everyone stars rioting outside the Cartoon Network HQ, let me say that they are probably one of the most creative networks in the business and the idea of a Thundercats reboot can work in the right hands, and guess what. It did.

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Since the entire planet will implode next year due to all the cars and cows butt-spitting noxious gases, and because of the overwhelming success of Avatar accredited to the presence of blue-skinned humanoids, Cartoon Network plans on making a live-action Captain Planet movie. The press release states that the network would be pairing with producer Don Murphy to make the film a reality. Amongst his credits are, of course, Natural Born Killers, Shoot ‘Em Up, and the Transformers franchise so a movie where a blue guy in a midriff-showing unitard flies around handing out magic rings to children sounds right up his alley. Of course, the elephant in the room is that this movie comes at a time where man-made global warming is still being discussed in the public square. Producer Susan Montford will also be working to bring the movie to theaters, and she had this to say: “With the earthquakes, tornadoes, melting icebergs and all the other problems threatening the world right now, Earth really needs her greatest defender.” Words fail. What actor will they convince to cover himself in body paint for the role? My vote is for Step By Step‘s Sasha Mitchell because 1) his awesome flat top 2) his fighting skills and 3) he was last relevant when Captain Planet was last relevant.

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Cartoon Network has a show called Ben 10 that’s ridiculously popular with young boys at the moment. I’ve never heard of it before, but I imagine that some of our readers with children are all too familiar with shelling out big bucks to their grubby little offspring so they can buy all of the latest Ben 10 whosits and whatsits. I mean, when they made a live-action special based on this character, four million people watched. I didn’t even know that many people still watched cable TV in total; this thing has to be huge. And you know what happens any time something becomes a well-known brand name in the world of anything. Hollywood looks to make it the next big summertime franchise. This time it’s legendary producer Joel Silver looking to help Ben 10’s jump from small to big screen happen. I’m sure you’ve heard of him, he produced pretty much every amazing thing ever, like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Predator, The Matrix, and Hudson Hawk. Okay, so maybe Hudson Hawk isn’t awesome, but point is: Silver has been around the block. For the people behind Ben 10, having him on board to put this project together must be seen as a real coup. As a matter of fact, I have a quote from the chief operating officer of Turner animation Stu Snyder that says as much right here, “I cannot think of anyone better suited than Joel Silver to develop a theatrical action-driven adventure based on our franchise […]

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Everybody has that children’s program that holds a special place in their hearts. For some it’s Transformers. For others it’s The Muppets. Many would say Sesame Street. And plenty hold some classic Nicktoons up to a high standard. For me, (despite my constant cheering for the classic Nicktoons I just mentioned) nothing tops The Looney Tunes. Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the crazy bunch always managed to put a smile on my five-year-old face. And when I refer to the bunch, I’m not talking about the abortions that are the films of the last few years. I’m talking about all those great cartoon shorts from back in the day. Back when political correctness wasn’t a term, and good writing was important, regardless if kids could get the jokes or not.

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Remember 2009? Of course you do. It was full of some really good films that have continued to grow their audience in the last two years. But none of them seemed quite as cult heavy as the blaxsploitation throw back, Black Dynamite. The film is everything a good cinefile appreciates about the sixties and seventies. Now I know what your thinking, “the sequel is coming?! Yes!” Sadly it isn’t that. Instead I have better news. What would you do if I said that very soon you’ll be able to receive a weekly dose of Black Dynamite in television form? That’s the question Cartoon Network is asking because /Film reported today that the network has officially picked up an animated series based on the film. The series will be directed by Carl Jones of Boondocks fame and will feature the vocal talents of the cast of the film including, Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Kym Whitley and Byron Minns. The series is set to begin in early 2012 on Adult Swim.

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Transformers are Still Robots, and They Still Blow Things Up

If you’re one of those people who need a fix before the new movie comes out next year, this will do, but realize it’s much more like the traditional animated series for kids

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