Monsters Inc

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The sequel to beloved Pixar property Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, is mere weeks away from arriving in a theater near you, and Disney and Pixar have just now released a trailer that pulls on the heartstrings in a decidedly firm fashion. Sure, all our other looks at the film, a prequel reunion of Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (voice of John Goodman), have been varying degrees of cute and funny, but the film’s final trailer is the sweetest one of all. Why so darling? This one focuses on the big dreams of a little Mike, and it’s just the most adorable little personal journey story, and just soooo, just sooo…just awwww! It’s just adorable! We can’t help it (we apologize). And, yes, it’s also funny and filled with hijinks and college fun. What a mix. After the break, get the warm and fuzzies for Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan (again) with the final trailer for Monsters University.

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Monsters University - International Poster

While not many films about professional partners doing their jobs together tend to make audiences sit back and wonder, geez, I wonder what these two were like in college?, not many films about professional partners doing their jobs together came with the sort of sweetness and humor that Pete Docter‘s Monsters, Inc. did. Next year’s prequel to the Pixar hit, Dan Scanlon‘s Monsters University, takes us way back into the early years of Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski’s (Billy Crystal) friendship and matriculation at, you guessed it, Monsters University. Lucky for us, the project has started to roll out some teaser posters (and they are OMG adorable, squeee), including an international one up top and a domestic one after the break. Who knew college could be so totally charming?

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Finding Nemo 3D

“It really is a huge project to do a 3D version of one of our films,” explains Pixar veteran and Finding Nemo co-director Lee Unkrich. “As opposed to just a 2D to 3D conversion that you typically see. Those are a lot of work as well, but that’s a lot of gimmickry and trickery to create the false illusion of depth. In our case, it’s kind of like going back in a time machine and getting to make the movie a second time.” It begs the question, especially as we find ourselves a week away from Finding Nemo swimming back into theaters with an additional dimension. A week that has seen the release of a new trailer for Monsters Inc. in 3D, a release that will take place in December. Hollywood has been in love with 3D for years, of that they’ve made no attempt at secrecy. And it isn’t just releasing new movies in 3D, but bringing back classics with an added dimension that’s got the number crunchers excited. From Titanic to The Lion King to Star Wars, no great property can escape the clutches of the third dimension. But as they are in so many ways, Pixar is different. Or at least they should be, right?

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Eagle-eyed fans of Pixar can tell you that the studio is a big fan of littering their movies with Easter Eggs; which is a fun way of saying they stick junk from their past films in the background of their current films. Most prominently, they have a long standing tradition of hiding the Pizza Planet truck – which first appeared in the original Toy Story – in every film that they make (other than its strange snub in The Incredibles). Want proof? This Pixar Wiki entry on the truck has compiled a screen grab of each case of this rusty junker showing up in a Pixar product. But what about Brave, you may be asking? Well, the film has been out for a couple weeks now, and Walt Disney Studios seems to be worried that people are going to stop talking about it, so they’ve emailed around some handy screen grabs that point out the secrets they have in store for us this time around. Both come in the scene where the film’s princess protagonist, Merida, visits the wood carving shop of the tricky old witch she strikes a deal with. The first image, which should come as no shock, features Toy Story’s now iconic pizza delivery truck. Look, it’s right there sitting on her workbench:

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Pixar Scenes We Love

The love of discussing movies is something you and I share, dear reader. Otherwise, what the heck are we doing here? And with few exceptions, there isn’t any kind of film that I love talking about more than the various works of animation created by talented artists, renderers and storytellers throughout the history of the medium. Few do it better and merit as much discussion as the folks from Emeryville, California’s own Pixar Animation Studios. And with the release of their 13th film this week, a princess story called Brave, it’s reason enough to discuss some of the best individual scenes from the Pixar catalog. Personally, I’ve never been hooked on franchise pieces like Toy Story or Cars, but have always loved Pixar’s more stand-alone efforts. Many of which, as you’ll see from the assembled list, come from visionary storytellers Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter. These filmmakers and their teams have pushed the envelope, even inside the already expansive confines of Pixar’s world. From their films I’ve assembled six Scenes We Love from the films of Pixar Animation Studios. It may not be the definitive list, but it’s certainly the one that lives within my own movie-loving heart.

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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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Monsters University

Pixar and Disney are going back to college (and back into sequel/prequel territory) with Monsters University. The movie, of course, acts as a feeder school into Monsters, Inc., and features John Goodman and Billy Crystal in their old/younger voice roles. The film is being directed by Dan Scanlon (one of the writers on Cars), and while it’s not at all an indicator of quality, this first teaser trailer is pretty dull. It’s not at all imbued with the kind of Pixar magic we’ve come to love – with its generic voice over and obvious gags. The timing doesn’t even seem right. Check it out for yourself:

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Boiling Point

John Carter lightly transported itself into theaters this past weekend, securing a relatively meager $30m opening domestically, though it managed to secure another $70m internationally. While I will eventually make a defense of the economics at play here, it is hard to argue that John Carter isn’t a domestic failure, considering it came in second to The Lorax, which debuted a full week earlier. On top of that, John Carter has a suspected $250m budget with marketing costs guestimated in the $100m range, for a total investment of around $350m. The critics have been somewhat kind to the civil war veteran’s debut – while the average review seems to be “it’s alright,” there have certainly been some hyperbolic highs and very few hyperbolic lows. Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for DVD. Scattered among those are bold claims that film will live on with your children as a classic, which are probably a bit off the reservation. There is little doubt that in at least several ways John Carter failed, ways that were easily avoidable and ways that make me fairly angry with the system.

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Hollywood is filled with people clambering to get noticed in a sea of noise. When that hard work has paid off and an aspiring filmmaker catches the eye of a studio or producer, this appears to be a big break. However, the good folks at AnimatedViews.com remind us that a big break in this town doesn’t always mean that your career is made. AnimatedViews offers a detailed and intimate story behind the rise and fall of Disney’s Circle 7 Animation Studios, a company launched in 2005 to generate sequels to the wildly popular Pixar properties. More specifically, they profile Circle 7 writers Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir, who first broke into entertainment as part of Second City and The Groundlings.

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The Gift Guide: Collectibles

It’s the final countdown. Dunuh na naaaa. Less than two weeks to go until Christmas, so naturally now’s the time to start buying things. Who needs organizational skills when you can imbue that action-film frenzied spirit into your final rounds of festive gift buying? Since I’m the collectible fiend around these parts, I’ve been tasked with listing the essential holiday gifts from that world for every film fan. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve mentally spent way too much money in compiling the list myself. But hey, occupational hazard. Anyway, here follows 15 of the must-have collectibles for this holiday season, some regulars of the Merch Hunter column will recognize, and some will be brand new. Either way, they’re what movie lovers want. As this is my handiwork, you can expect a general mix of the uber-expensive and ultra-collectible as well as the affordable and accessible, more charming options. No snob am I….

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Disney’s limited engagement re-release of a 3D-ized The Lion King is poised to cross the $80m mark today, which means the latest news from the studio is essentially of the “what took you so long?” variety. Disney and Pixar have announced that they will give the 3D re-release treatment to (at least) four more titles over the next two years. You can start swinging your Nemo plushie around in a plastic bag right about now. And you want to put on your Ariel wig? Should I wait for you to sprout legs, too? Fine, I’ll wait. Disney and Pixar have picked Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and The Little Mermaid as their next titles to get an added dimension and a return to theaters. Beauty and the Beast will dance into theaters first (anthropomorphic tableware and all) on January 13, 2012. It will most likely demolish its mid-January competition, just like Simba snapped right through September. Pixar will join in on the re-release mayhem with Finding Nemo swimming back to theaters on September 14, 2012, followed by Monsters, Inc. on January 18, 2013. The long-awaited prequel to Monsters Inc., Monsters University, will open (in 3D!) later that year, on June 21. Disney will then re-release The Little Mermaid on September 13, 20123. As a kid, The Little Mermaid was tied with 101 Dalmatians as my favorite Disney flick, so the six-year-old in me is hysterically screaming on the heels of this news. All of the films will get […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s hard to say, really. All we know for sure is that NASA is trying to cover it up. Chances are that you’ve seen tonight’s lead photo before — it’s one of many spy shots from the set of Man of Steel featuring Henry Cavill’s new look as Superman. But lets talk about this for a moment. What do we think about this? Is it the fanboy kryptonite as Hero Complex might suggest? I’m not convinced that anything is good or bad for the Superman franchise anymore. Perhaps staying dormant would have been a good idea. But then again, I’m the guy who liked Superman Returns. If Zack Snyder is going for different, he’s certainly found it.

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It’s no surprise that Pixar is going into its bullpen to choose a director for their sequel to Monsters, Inc. Neil cast his vote for Angus MacLane (who directed the Wall-E short Burn-E), but we can now confirm that the job has gone to Dan Scanlon. This will be Scanlon’s first feature film, but he has a writing credit on Cars, a co-director credit on the short Mater and the Ghostlight, and he’s acted as a storyboard artist on several project. It’s difficult to say what kind of job Scanlon will do with Monsters University, but he’s got the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the Pixar team. The question really is, what will fans want to see in the sequel? What kind of partying does a young monster do while away at school?

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This year is the first in a while that Pixar hasn’t had a movie on our Most Anticipated List, but that might change next year since they’ll be re-introducing the world to Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc Fortunately, they’ll be doing so by taking us all back in time to the rowdy college days at the University of Fear where the two became friends. They’ll most likely go on some epic, wacky adventure between rounds of fear pong and chasing one-eyed co-eds. Making Monsters Inc 2 a prequel is a potentially great idea because it opens up the world to more explanation and the kind of adventure that won’t seem quite as forced as seeing Mike and Sully take down another bad guy in the corporate structure. Plus, you know, all the raves. [Twitch]

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Nine years after the hugely successful Pete Docter directed Monsters, Inc. hit theaters, new chairman of Walt Disney Studios Rich Ross announced a second installment slated for November 2012 at a media event on Thursday.

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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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With today’s release of Up on DVD and Blu-ray, there is also some news from Pixar central about director Pete Docter and his next project.

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