Chris Miller

For the longest time Legos were pretty much the best toy to give a kid who liked to build things or who was showing the first sparks of creativity. They were just a big pile of multi-colored, plastic blocks when you started out, but with a little bit of ingenuity and elbow grease, a kid could spend an afternoon turning a pile of Legos into anything. That’s all changed over the course of the last ten years or so though. These days Legos are all about branding themselves as tie-ins to pre-existing properties. They’re about following a set of instructions to turn those plastic blocks into an X-Wing, just like you saw in Star Wars, or building them into Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, just like you saw in Harry Potter. It’s long felt like those of us who prefer Legos to be a means of creative expression and not a means of further worshipping the work of others have been left out in the dark. But in film directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, we may have a couple of allies. These are the guys who made Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming 21 Jump Street, and their next project is going to be a movie about Legos. I know that sounds nauseating at first, but you should hear them out. Their ideas actually sound pretty dang great.

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While doing press for 21 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and, more importantly, Clone High) discussed their “LEGO” movie over at Warners and name-dropped The Matrix, The Magnificent Seven, Lord of the Rings, Time Bandits and Star Wars as tonal and plotting inspirations. The point? If you’ve got a moronic task to bring pieces of plastic to life, go huge. It worked for Michael Bay, and this team brings more to the table in terms of character and story. So, this thing could be awesome (in the oldest sense of the word, Wesley). That’s definitely a thought to get used to, but something even crazier is the idea that Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker could be making appearances. When he mentions Star Wars, it might be more than a reference point. According to Collider, Miller offered up that the usual yellow pieces won’t be the only things saving the day. “I will give you one piece of tidbit which is that there are some [Intellectual Property] characters, LEGO characters, but we can’t say who they are (laughs). That’s not really a tidbit, but it’s not just all original characters, there are some from other things that you might recognize.” It seems unlikely that they’ll get the spotlight, but with the involvement of director Chris McKay from Robot Chicken, it seems like LEGO Batman be hanging out at the bar with LEGO Indiana Jones for a few pop culture references while LEGO Hermione […]

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If you’re interested in every major plot beat in the forthcoming 21 Jump Street movie, this trailer’s for you. Based on the non-comedy television show that launched Johnny Depp, the comedy film stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a mismatched pair of cops who join an undercover division that infiltrates a high school to crack down on a new drug. No word on whether Huggy Bear makes an appearance. The three-minute red band trailer definitely has its share of jokes. Here’s hoping they aren’t the only ones:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on some 3D glasses to look at some puss… in boots, that is. He proceeds to rewrite fairy tale fiction to include more bodily function humor, an egg-shaped Zach Galifianakis and a hairy but still sexy Salma Hayek. Then, he heads to the reference department of his local library to discover who really wrote the complete works of William Shakespeare. When all signs point to Neil Miller as the real author, Kevin gives up, realizing he’s out of time. So he brings sexy back and heads out to kidnap Amanda Seyfried so he can occupy Hollywood and start a revolution together… or get arrested.

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Finally, a supporting character from the Shrek franchise who earned their chops the hard way, enduring arduous animated battles and even more arduous stunt voice casting, has gotten a film of their very own, a fuzzy family affair that will make the whole brood giggle. No, sadly, it’s not those adorable flying Donkey-Dragon babies (trivia! Wikipedia tells me they are named Debbie, Coco, Bananas, Peanut, Parfait, and Éclair), but it’s Dreamworks’s own answer to “what would Zorro be like if he was, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, actually a cat?” That’s Puss in Boots to you, amigo. Antonio Banderas returns to the role he originated, a Zorro-meets-French-fairy-tale feline famous for stealing both bullion and babes. But what if Puss was, gasp, not a criminal at all, but a misunderstood kitty desperate to return to the mother he loves, a innocent cat framed for a crime he didn’t commit, a bipedal boot-wearing bad boy who is quietly concealing a heart of gold? What if then? Well, you’re about to find out.

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If you steal enough scenes, you’ll end up becoming the star. That’s the theory at least, and it seems to have worked beautifully for the tuxedo-esque Madagascar comic relief known as Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico – voiced by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and John DiMaggio respectively. The screenwriters behind Megamind, Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons are currently working on a feature film to follow-up the success of the characters that’s already spilled over into their own special short and television show. This is actually pretty cool. You’ve got proven characters that are consistently funny, Megamind was on the higher end of children’s flick quality, and with Mr. Popper’s Penquins, it seems like there’s a new trend emerging. Pretty soon Young Adult novels will focus on teenage girls falling irrevocably in love with cold-hearted, way-too-casual penguins. Here’s another opportunity for DreamWorks to prove themselves in a Pixar-dominated world. [THR]

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The good news is that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are on a new project. The bad news is that it’s a giant commercial for plastic squares.

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