John Lasseter

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Earlier this week, a rumor began floating around that Bob Peterson, director of Up, would no longer be directing Pixar’s latest (and thankfully, non-sequel) feature, The Good Dinosaur. Well, it turns out the rumors are true – Peterson is off the project. Pixar’s president, Ed Catmull, offered a few words of explanation on the sudden change: “All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.” That description of Peterson as so “deep in [his] film” that “a different perspective” was needed almost makes him sound a little unhinged. Like he chased the rabbit too far down the Good Dinosaur hole and had spent the last several months locked in a supply closet, constructing a crude time machine to get a more accurate representation of what dinosaurs really looked like. But apparently Peterson still has some degree of sanity, as this move isn’t a firing – Peterson will still remain with the studio.

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Disney

There’s a scene in this movie, Disney’s Planes, in which a group of international superstar propeller-driven racing planes come together for a massive race round the world. One of the planes is from Mexico, wears a luchador mask and calls himself El Chupacabra. We watch as he spies a sultry, well-painted, French-speaking plane. She’s Rochelle, the rally champion from Canada. He falls in love and must serenade her with a mariachi version of The Miracles’ 1976 hit “Love Machine.” Heavy emphasis on the “chhhh” sound in “machine.” As you might imagine, this wins her interest and they fall head over heels for each other, a love that involves lipstick marks on his wings and pet names between them such as “Chalupa” and “Chimichanga.” In a movie so haphazard with its horrible stereotype-driven character creation, this is actually one of the less offensive moments. And that’s pretty bad. Because as we discover within 30-seconds of Planes, this is the laziest brand of kid’s film: the kind created by a bunch of marketing executives in a 90th floor boardroom. It’s sad to see it pillaging the strong, if flawed brand built by Pixar’s Cars.

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Magic Kingdom

According to Jon Favreau, the world will have to wait for Magic Kingdom, and that’s a good thing. In an interview with Crave, the director noted that his past three films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens) have all been made under the gun of a release date and preliminary poster art. It’s arguable that that rush had an effect on overall quality. By “arguable,” we mean, “almost assured.” Of course, Pixar is happy to help with the methodical, only-when-the-story-is-ready approach. “What we’ve been doing is writing a script, going up to Pixar, meeting with the brain trust, coming back down, bringing on artists, story editors and putting it together as though it were an animated film so that by the time we actually film it, we’ll have a rock solid story,” Favreau said. Of course, it’s in no way an official Pixar film, but Disney seems keen to use them and John Lasseter as a valuable creative resource.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column returning from the long weekend with but a few items, all of which are like to make you quite happy. In fairness, they make me happy. I can’t say much for the rest of you, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. We begin this evening with another shot from The Dark Knight Rises. (I wonder if Catwoman still knows how deadly a kiss can be.) A number of websites have begun publishing tales of a visit they made to the set of Christopher Nolan’s latest last year. None of the individual accounts are worth your attention, but the folks at ScreenRant have made use of them, pulling out the best of the best for a Dark Knight Rises set visit round-up. Finally, something useful for the reader!

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Aural Fixation - Large

With Dark Shadows set to hit theaters this weekend, Warners hosted a small Q&A this past Tuesday to highlight what will be composer Danny Elfman and director Tim Burton’s fourteenth film together. I am notorious for getting lost on studio lots (I once accidentally wandered into a background shot during the filming of Private Practice while looking for a screening room), but I was pleased (and relieved) when I arrived and realized this event was being held outside making it easy to find (although the long line of Elfman fans flanking the venue was also a pretty clear indicator). It was a nice change of pace to be outside on a warm afternoon and seemed to put everyone in a good mood. While the Q&A was moderated, the goal of the afternoon was primarily to open the floor up to the fans and have them ask the questions. This can be a precarious opportunity when the questions are unfiltered (and sometimes cringe worthy) as anyone who has attended a Q&A can attest to. However this afternoon the questions (save for a few – no, Oingo Boingo will not be getting back together) were incredibly thoughtful and interesting. Elfman noted that doing events like this are something he gladly takes time to do as he loves interacting with fans and this was clear as he took every question seriously and gave each person his undivided attention when answering. The event was also to commemorate the release of Elfman and Burton’s 25th Anniversary […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that happens every night, bub. And it will deliver unto you the best of the entertainment-related things that happened today. Also, there will be mustaches. We begin tonight’s late late edition of News After Dark with an epic mustache. No, not this column’s author’s epic mustache. It’s an image of what Burt Reynolds looks like in his cameo on Archer, one of the better shows about animated spies to hit cable television since… okay, I ran that into the ground. It’s really good. Burt Reynolds makes it even better.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is inspired by Larry the Cable Guy and his character of Mater in the Cars movies. After all, if a buck-toothed rusty redneck pick-up truck can travel the world, why can’t a bald-yet-hairy fat guy from Ohio can do so as well. Kevin lurked in the streets of Tokyo, hoping to stumble onto some classy British spies and uncover a plot to undermine green energy sources. Then he brushed off his teaching degree and got a job at a middle school where he drank profusely, slept through the day and threw dodge balls at the kids. When he tried to explain to the cops that he was just following in the way of Cameron Diaz’s character from Bad Teacher, they just laughed at him and hauled him away.

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Why Watch? Because it’s early magic. Pixar has another movie hitting theaters tomorrow, and it seems like the consensus points to a bit of the magic that makes their animation stand out being lost on this one (just as it was lost on its predecessor). But even if you’re not interested in Larry the Cable Guy making a lot of jokes as a tow truck, this short is a nice shot of history and heartwarming to brighten the day. It’s easy to see Toy Story being born from this short directed by John Lasseter, but it’s a good thing the technology evolved. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out Tin Toy for yourself:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with sex symbol and film legend Angie Dickinson, discuss the parasitic relationship between studios and theaters, talk Bellflower‘s marketing strategy, and play a game we’re calling “Co-Directors.” Former assistant theater manager, massive film fan, and creative director at Rock Sauce Studios John Gholson explains how studios and theaters work together. He also makes a sex comedy featuring Andy Griffith seem just as enticing as it is in real life. Angie Dickinson has starred in over 50 films, played iconic roles from Rio Bravo to Ocean’s Eleven, and she was kind enough to spend some time talking to us about working with Sam Fuller and Frank Sinatra, creating her characters, and how movie-making has changed. FSR’s own Culture Warrior (and one of the Talking Heads) Landon Palmer braves a segment where we come up with directors we’d like to see work together, pitch a project for them, and figure out if it has a chance of getting made. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Murder sounds like it could be a massive hit. Plus, our very own Jeremy Kirk matches movie news wits with Peter Hall from Hollywood.com. Who will triumph at the sound of the correct answer bell and who will be forced to narfle the garthok? Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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If you were to tell me that you thought Cars to be one of the more mediocre and “kiddy” titles in the Pixar catalog, I’d be hard pressed to find any sort of argument for that. It is, on the Pixar spectrum, the low end of things. Charming, sure. But it lacks the heart and humanity the storytellers of Emeryville were able to pull of with far less human characters (see Wall-E and Toy Story 3). So the fact that the release of a trailer for Cars 2 comes not with a bang, but a whimper, should come as a surprise to absolutely know one. The gang — Owen Wilson voicing race car Lightning McQueen and Larry the Cable Guy voicing Mater the dimwit tow-truck — is back and this time they are headed oversees to Tokyo. There they get caught up in a world of flashing lights and international espionage. Espionage that will involve a British Aston Martin voiced by Michael Caine. At least I think it’s Michael Caine…

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Toy Story launched everything, and after millions of fans, billions of dollars in box office, and a shelf full of Academy Awards that might as well be labeled “Reserved for Pixar,” we find ourselves on board a train that refuses to slow down and seems to keep getting better with every new stop along the tracks. I was fortunate enough to speak with Lee Unkrich, the director behind Toy Story 3, and we discussed what makes toys upset, the personal tragedies in life that helped him tell the story, and what Pixar’s goals are for the future.

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bluray-header

Hey kids, it’s time for a very special edition of This Week in Blu-ray dedicated to the three releases from Walt Disney Home Entertainment, a trifecta of beautiful Pixar movies coming at you in 1080p.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Couple’s Retreat, Paranormal Activity and Toy Story & Toy Story 2 in 3D Double Feature.

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disney-marvel-2

If you didn’t have a chance to keep up with all of this Disney buying Marvel business, don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered…

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keatonkentoystory3

Somehow Mr. Mom and Batman will be playing the voice of the Ken Doll for the upcoming Pixar project. How will the actor cope with not having any junk?

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princessandthefrogheader

A few years ago, Disney announced that it would no longer be doing 2D animation. We’re lucky they changed their minds.

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Bolt

Have you ever heard someone use the word ‘ridonculous?’ Me neither. That is, until this nonsensical hybrid of ‘ridiculous’ and ‘donkey’ showed up in a Disney film…

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Tinker Bell

I have a very special little treat for all of our readers who are big Disney fans. For the first time in history, one of Disney’s most beloved characters will find her voice. Tinker Bell, long known as Peter Pan’s helpful, yet silent partner, will be seen for the first time in her own film, this time with a speaking part. Walt Disney has hooked us up with a first look at the film, which includes two video clips. First up is the film’s official trailer, which can be seen below: Next up is a special clip that includes an introduction by John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios: The voice of Tinker Bell is played by Mae Whitman (Independence Day, One Fine Day) with a supporting cast that includes America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Raven-Symone (College Road Trip), Lucy Liu, Jesse McCartney and Anjelica Huston. As a fan of Disney movies, I will admit that this new Tinker Bell film is intriguing, but it is interesting to note the differences that can be seen between how Tinker Bell was animated back in the day with this new CG animated version. Sure, it looks clean, but it is quite a bit different in my mind. I’m not sure if it will have the same effect for other fans but for me, the film loses something in the transition to CG. Despite what I think, Tinker Bell will still hit shelves on DVD and Blu-ray October 28, […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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