Frozen

Frozen Disney Movie

There are few movies that stay so firmly in the public discourse this long after their release. Even with the boost of awards season, we’re focused on what Summer 2014 will bring instead of pouring new thoughts about Gravity or 12 Years a Slave into old wineskins. Yet here we are with yet another editorial on the Frozen pro-gay agenda, this one from Akash Nikolas taking the ho-hum angle by attempting to link classic Disney films like Dumbo — and really an entire history of the studio — to LGBT supporting subtext. Frozen‘s pro-gay? What isn’t? By giving a queer reading of multiple movies from multiple eras Nikolas has achieved something clever, using hyperbole to point out how any movie featuring a character who learns to be comfortable with himself or herself can be read as a metaphor for homosexuality. Because of course it can. But coming out of the closet (or the genie bottle, of the ice castle) isn’t the sole visual metaphor in these movies. Emergence from a timid existence to embrace/learn your unique talent/destiny is a hallmark of the hero’s journey, and in every case (even Frozen) is so broad that it could mean absolutely anything. Feel isolated because jocks tease you for being in the school play? Let it go. Alienated because you’re a hardcore Republican living in Austin? Let it go. Lonely because you love playing jazz but none of your friends think it’s cool? Let it go with syncopation. It’s fascinating that have latched onto the concept of Frozen being pro-gay because of a very general, well-worn theme […]

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Game of Thrones Frozen Mash-Up

With the grand tradition of wasting time on a Friday (your job’s not that important), and the grand tradition of blending two popular things together, it’s unsurprising that there are two Game of Thrones/Frozen mash-ups competing for pre-weekend internet dominance. It’s also surprising that we haven’t mashed up those two grand traditions more often. They seem made for one another. The question now is which Game of Thrones parody video will win the day. In this corner, we’ve got Daenerys, Jon Snow and (ahem) Mad King Joffrey belting out “Let It Go” as a means to assert their dominance over Westeros. In the other corner, we’ve got the Cast of Kings crew using new “Let It Go” lyrics to lovingly mock the show (and the amount of beards on it). Who’s parody sheen will reign supreme? Watch them both for yourself:

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The Snowman Short Film

Why Watch? An adorable snowman loses his nose, a group of mischievous (or hungry) rabbits decide they want to eat it, and a clumsy race over a frozen lake ensues. Naturally, silent film slapstick is involved. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially the same thing Frozen did with its teaser trailer (plus a reindeer and minus the rabbits), and that’s why Kelly Wilson and Neil Wrischnik, the filmmakers behind The Snowman, are suing Disney. It’s a keen, sweet little short. Pleasant for all ages with simple animation and a sharp comic sense of raising the stakes that works to make the battle for a snowman’s nose smile-inducing. Also, the rabbits are fat, leading me to believe that they’ve been successful at de-nosing other snowmen before this. There’s obviously the curiosity of the suit, and Slate goes down the icy rabbit hole quite a ways on that, but you can see the short for yourself by clicking through the embed below.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt in MYSTERIOUS SKIN

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Mysterious Skin Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Brian (Brady Corbet) played Little League together when they were kids, but they were never really friends. They drifted even further apart as they grew up, and a decade later they’re complete strangers. The two do share a secret though, one that has shaped them into the troubled young men they’ve become. I’ve meant to watch Gregg Araki‘s acclaimed film for years now, and now that I finally have I’m happy to say my expectations have been exceeded. It’s a haunting tale of innocence lost that delivers a powerful emotional punch as their two stories unfold. It’s not a matter of mystery as to what exactly transpires, but seeing the two deal with their past in such varied and self-damaging ways is frequently heartbreaking. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, gallery, commentary, deleted scenes, audition tapes, trailer]

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2014 Academy Award Best Picture Nominees Cartoon

A hijacking, the search for a child, a con game, an AIDS activist, a hometown reunion, a space exploration, a hunt for freedom, a genuine artificial love, and a wolf. These were the stories we told in 2013. Scratch that. These were some of the stories we told in 2013. The Oscars are an annual reminder that our focus has been reduced from hundreds of movies down to a few. It’s also a reminder that there is artistic work worth celebrating — beyond hype, beyond internal politics, beyond surface-level silliness — every year. We’re awash in it. Dozens  of titles that won’t even be name-dropped tonight. Inside and outside the ceremony’s spotlight, there are a powerful amount of brilliant films. There are so many amazing movies in existence that we don’t have enough time in a life to watch them all. That sounds slightly depressing (especially for completists), but it’s really a silver lining on top of a silver lining. It’s a non-stop parade of outstanding. Now, as we watch a few of the movies (out of a few of the movies) earn gold, it’s important to remember that the full list of stories being told reaches to the moon and back. We’ll be updating this post with the winners as they come in throughout the night. Here are the winners of the 86th Academy Awards.

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Animated Feature

Since its inception in 2001, the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature has been awarded to a wide range of movies. Though in recent years — 5 out of the last 6, to be exact — it’s basically been The Pixar Award. Despite the quality of the other contenders, Pixar seems to wrap it up without fail year-in and year-out. This year, there is no Pixar film nominated, leaving the field wide open for a bunch of newcomers. From cavemen to super-villains to ice princesses, this year’s group of nominees is diverse. But does that make it a more competitive field? We explore as we break down the nominees and predict a winner (shown in red).

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Original Song

This year’s nominees for Best Original Song come from four films that tackle very different subject matter – fighting an evil villain (with the help of some tiny yellow friends), finding love in unexpected ways, learning to accept who you are, and the story of a man who lived an extraordinary life. But there is one thing that unites all these songs: an uplifting spirit. Songs featured in films should capture the feeling of the film itself and all four of these nominations do just that in very different and compelling ways. Some will move you to tears where others will put a smile on your face, but the one thing all four will do is make you feel. The fact that all four nominees are going to be performed live by Pharell Williams, Karen O, Idina Menzel, and U2 promises this category’s presentation to be one of Oscar night’s best moments. We break down the nominees with my prediction of which song I think will win in red…

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Guardians of the Galaxy - Groot

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Frozen Princess Elsa

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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All this business of staring at screens can be a little tiring. Film and television are incredibly entertaining mediums (as is the act of frenetically refreshing various websites for the latest news about film and television), but every once in a while, it can be nice to find a show that’s not a brightly-colored image projected onto something. And like most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by leaping to one’s feet and belting out a showstopping Broadway musical number. It turns out that it’s a fairly common issue because all your favorite stars are rapidly making the change from Hollywood’s sound stages to New York City’s actual stages, and that statement is 100% factual as long as “your favorite stars” are Kevin Smith, the various creative folks behind Frozen, and Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.

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Frozen

By now you’ve likely already heard about the debacle surrounding a Frozen screening at a multiplex in Pinellas Park, Florida in which a house full of parents and children were subjected to “sexually explicit content.” After some family-friendly trailers followed by Get a Horse (Disney’s short attached to Frozen), some sensitive material reportedly graced the screen for two awkward minutes. One patron recalls shielding her son’s eyes but preventing him from being able to “get the sound down real good.” Patrons were given free tickets and an official apology by the Park Place Stadium 16. Sites across the web covering the incident seem to have all agreed that the sounds in question were from the NSFW trailer for Lars von Trier’s customarily controversial and much-covered new film Nymphomaniac, a rumor that apparently originated from a comment on MoshNews‘s coverage. But is it actually plausible that a multiplex owned by Regal Cinemas would “accidentally” show a shocking trailer for a limited release film that doesn’t even have a US opening date? While misplaced trailers, out-of-order reels, and showing a film on the wrong screen was commonplace in the stone age of projecting films on film, in the era of digital projection such a thing is pretty much impossible.

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the small one

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. I can’t actually confirm that Frozen co-director Chris Buck had a hand on The Small One, an animated short released 35 years ago this month. Only his Wikipedia entry connects him to the film, noting that it was uncredited work. And he’s not included in any extended credits to be found for the production, which is known to have involved other new recruits like Henry Selick and Jerry Rees. In one interview, Buck acknowledges that he was a trainee at the studio starting in the summer of 1978 but that his first assignment was as an “in-betweener” for The Fox and the Hound. Well, maybe he still breathed in an area in which Don Bluth and his team were making this little-remembered movie. If it’s not really either his short start or his earliest work for Disney, which he’s worked for on and off over the decades, just skip ahead to another possibility I’m featuring this week. This is still a good time to look at The Small One, regardless. The anniversary of its debut will be December 15th, the date it arrived in theaters attached to a re-release of Pinocchio. The pairing seems a bit strange considering The Small One is about a cute little donkey, whose drawn appearance resembles the jackasses in the 1940 classic, and the latter is the stuff of nightmares. For kids […]

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FROZEN

The royal family of Arendelle is hiding a secret. The eldest daughter, Elsa, was born with a magical gift that allows her to create snow and ice simply through thought. She uses her power for playtime with her younger sister, Anna, but one day she causes an accident that almost kills the littlest princess. Troll magic is used to wipe the memory from Anna’s mind, and the castle closes its doors to keep Elsa separated both from the public and from her sister. Years pass, and the two now-grown princesses prepare for Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) coronation as the new queen. Anna (Kristen Bell) is excited as the event means not only more face-time with Elsa but also her first exposure to the outside world in a decade. Dignitaries and townspeople are invited in for the celebration, and it’s not long before Anna has met and fallen in love with a young prince named Hans (Santino Fontana). What should be yet another reason to celebrate instead triggers an icy outburst from Elsa that reveals her powers and terrifies her subjects. Accused of being a monster, she takes off into the mountains leaving a town trapped in permanent, crystalline winter behind her. Disney’s newest animated feature, Frozen, is a fun and witty delight from start to finish. Far more of a musical than the studio’s recent releases have attempted to be, the film ties together an unconventional take on princesses, heroes, and villains, with a melodic ribbon of songs both catchy and affecting. […]

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Frozen

When it comes to group movie-going, it’s not always a question of who you can take to see a film (as we previously explored with Blue Is the Warmest Color), but who you should take to see a film. Such is the case with the week’s expanding Disney release, Frozen, which has “holiday weekend crowd pleaser” written all over it. The latest entry in the Disney princess canon (we are still partial to The Little Mermaid, but what can you do) has some familiar elements – Princesses! Dead parents! Fairy tale magic! Singing! – but it’s also nicely rounded out with some sassy humor and the occasional twist on a trope (let’s put it this way, one character very keenly scoffs at another’s chattery depiction of falling in love at first sight and it provides some very welcome respite for Disney’s romantic notions). But does that mean that the film has an appeal that will reach beyond the usual Disney fans? We think so – simply because there plenty of people you should take to see Frozen who will enjoy it immensely, thank you for making a solid holiday weekend film pick, and spend the next five weeks loudly asking strangers if they want to build a snowman. The magic of Disney! And also of getting out of the house and away from leftovers!

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Spider-Man with Green Goblin

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Still from film Frozen

First came Tangled. Then came Wreck-it-Ralph. Now, Frozen might just be the film to cement Disney’s return to the world of quality animated features. Because these things are decided in threes, apparently. The first theatrical trailer for Frozen has just been released, and it may just be the trailer, but the classic Disney vibe feels a little subdued. Were Frozen not a fairy tale – and it is, being loosely based off Hans Christian Anderson‘s “The Snow Queen” – the emphasis on humor might be a little overwhelming. The set up we’re given for the story is especially hokey, with some boilerplate narration and a whole lot of hokey puns. “Ice Guy” or “Nice Guy”? “Snow Man” or “No Man”? I thought society had already moved past this after the abomination that was Bee Movie.

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BIG HERO 6

Despite the recent bout of sequel and prequelitis that Pixar has suffered (arguably from a Patient Zero named Disney), the ships seem to be creatively righting themselves. They’re also apparently tethering themselves to the Golden Gate bridge in order to watch the sunset. The picture above is from Big Hero 6, which is one of many projects that The Mouse opened up about during this year’s D23 conference. It’s one of the biggest signals of Marvel sensibilities merging with Disney — an exciting prospect that could bring some fantastic comic book properties to the big screen beyond the post-Avengers plans through, gulp, 2021. There’s a world out there of comic heroes that may not be right for live-action, and it’s encouraging to see that Disney understands that potential and is willing to take a chance. There are some innovative ideas here, nestled in a comfortable nest of old favorites (and, yes, a few cash-grabs). Luckily for now they all look gorgeous.

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Olaf Frozen

Channeling DreamWorks’ favorite nut-hunting squirrel, Disney has released a mini-cartoon to serve as the teaser trailer for Frozen from director Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up). As the story of a pair of adventurers trying to end a magic-induced winter, it’s unfortunately not an animated remake of Adam Green’s ski lift horror flick from 2010. Hopefully Disney will get on that soon. Kristen Bell voices Anna, the hero who partners with Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) to end Elsa the Snow Queen’s (Idina Menzel) reign of wondrously beautiful icy conditions. None of them are in the trailer, though. Instead, we’re treated to Olaf, a wacky snowman (Josh Gad) who gets in a fight with a reindeer over his delicious, delicious nose. Enjoy the slapstick on ice:

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hr_Alvin_and_the_Chipmunks-_The_Squeakuel_1

What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?

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Jennifer Lee

Seeing as Wreck-It Ralph was Disney Animation’s most well-received movie in quite a while, the studio has wasted no time in getting one of its main creative talents to work on a new project. Today they announced in a press release [via ComingSoon] that Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee is not only going to be handling some writing duties on their upcoming animated feature, Frozen, but that she will also be serving as co-director alongside studio vet Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up). Frozen is an adventure tale about a magical kingdom that’s suffering under a spell that keeps it trapped in a perpetual winter. Its main characters are a brave young girl named Anna, a burly mountain man named Kristoff, and a reindeer sidekick named Sven. The main thrust of the film’s narrative is said to be this trio’s journey to find the Snow Queen and find a way to reverse her spell, which of course leads to them encountering treacherous mountain passes, all sorts of magical whatsits, mystical trolls, comical snowmen, and who knows how many other examples of weirdness along the way. Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Kristen Bell and Enchanted’s Idina Menzel are already on board to supply voices.

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