Inside Out

Disney/Pixar

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Pixar short Lava

Pixar’s current state of the union might be decidedly forward-looking — especially since we’re not getting a new Pixar feature until summer of next year, a major break with tradition that has been punctuated by pushbacks, switcheroos and even a little bit of regular confusion from th beloved animation studio — but that doesn’t mean that the creative giant is hiding what could be their next great film. Pixar showed off five minutes of their next film, Inside Out, to a batch of Los Angeles film journalists last night, and while the reaction to that little slice of footage was universally effusive, we’re far more interested in the other thing the group got to watch — and a complete thing at that. As is the norm for Pixar pictures, Inside Out (that’s the one about a young girl who is kind of literally battling her own emotions, which are all personified and raging inside her, get it?) will be paired with a brand new Pixar short, a short that was shown in its entirety to that same group last night, who also loved it. But what is Lava about? Well, love, incidentally.

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Cropped image from the teaser poster for The Good Dinosaur; JPosters

Not since 2005 has a summer passed without the release of a Pixar film, starting with Cars in 2006. Each June (or May, in the case of Up) has been their official month, all the way up until the release of Monsters University last year, bringing us to 2014: the summer without Pixar. In case this absence has caused you to fall behind on your upcoming Pixar trivia, or you’re just used to obsessing about Pixar each June, we’ve assembled a list of pretty much everything there is to know about the projects they have in the works. Read on for the official facts and an unsolicited theory or two:

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loving vincent 1

This could be the most ingenious mix of animation and the documentary style since Nick Park’s Creature Comforts. Is it technically a documentary? I don’t know, but I’m calling it one for now. “Mockumentary” doesn’t seem to fit, and anyway the film will be dealing with a genuine investigation into the circumstances of Vincent Van Gogh‘s death. The expert talking heads here are from long ago. They are the people whose portraits were famously painted by the artist (including Postman Joseph Roulin and Adeline Ravoux), and their testimonial dialogue is based on actual letters and diaries and other artifacts telling of what they knew of him, much of which comes from his own words. There is likely some fictionalizing involved, but that’s fine. Docs aren’t always fact-exclusive. Loving Vincent is like time travel by cinema, and I’m certain it’s going to be an incredible trip. From the producers of the wonderful Oscar-winning stop-motion short Peter and the Wolf (watch it here) and directed by Dorota Kobiela (The Flying Machine), this new animated feature may be one of the most ambitious ever made. The plan is to have it completely consist of oil paintings on canvas, for every frame, the number totaling 56,800. Even with 40 painters on board it’s going to take a lot of time, though they’re hoping for a 2015 release to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s suicide (or murder?), and it’s also going to take a lot of money. The latter is where you might come in, as […]

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Houseguest

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. First of all, let me disappoint everyone by clarifying that The Houseguest is not technically softcore pornography. It doesn’t even include nudity except for a man’s backside. But it is part of one of the anthologies put out by Playboy in the early 1990s called Inside Out, which are comprised of shorts that are predominantly of a a softcore nature. Alexander Payne, whose latest feature Nebraska is out in limited release today, directed three erotica shorts for the label. The earlier two were co-written by himself and regular collaborator Jim Taylor and one of them appears in the first video in the series while the other is lost or buried. The Houseguest, meanwhile, was scripted by Ken Rudman and appears on Inside Out III. But let’s come back to the film at hand in a moment. Technically, Payne’s short start is a 1985 student film titled Carmen, which is a silent, 18-minute take on Bizet’s opera of the same name updated and set in a gas station. You can find the whole thing on a British DVD from Cinema 16 compiling American shorts, including films by Tim Burton, Todd Solondz, George Lucas and D.A. Pennebaker. And you can watch a very brief clip from this short, showing a mentally challenged cashier being seduced by the title character, after the jump.

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Pixar Inside Out

It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached a point where it’s surprising to hear about an original movie from Pixar. Back in 2011 when Inside Out was vaguely first announced, the studio was coming off of Cars 2, and it felt like the sequel obligation behemoth was off their back. Between then and now, follow-ups started to feel like the norm. Now the path has cleared a bit, and Pete Docter‘s current project is something fresh to get excited about. The filmmaker recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the Siggraph CG convention and revealed a few ambitious details about the 2015 animated flick that lives inside the brain space of a little girl.

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