Monsters University

discs bounty killer

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Bounty Killer The future! Corporations grew too powerful and went to war with each other with the real victims being the rest of society. A council was organized to issue bounties on the heads of CEOs responsible for the apocalypse, and Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre) are two of the best bounty killers to answer the call. Throw in an army of Juggalo-like Gypsies, Gary Busey, and the female Terminator from Rise of the Machines (Kristanna Loken), and the two bounty killers are forced into a surprising fight for their own lives. This low budget, post-apocalyptic action/comedy packs more fun, creativity, and clear love for movies into its ninety minute run-time than far too many big Hollywood productions manage these days. Sure there’s overly excessive CGI abuse (some of the blood/explosions), but there’s also a lot of bloody practical effects, cleavage, and impressive action sequences. Even better, the damn thing is surprisingly funny too. Director Henry Saine and his co-writers deserve a shot at the big leagues. (But not before we get a sequel please.) [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Behind the scenes, trailer]

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Dan Scanlon

For writer/director Dan Scanlon, Monsters University does not necessarily mark his directorial debut. He wrote, directed, shot, and starring in an independent comedy called Tracy in 2009. But to compare making an independent live-action comedy to being in control of a $100-million plus budgeted animated tentpole film at Pixar — based on an existing and beloved Pixar property, no less — seems like an unfair need to do. In this context, Scanlon is the rookie. Charged with bringing characters like Mike and Sully back to the big screen, the director seemed very aware of the prestige that goes along with directing at one of the film world’s most innovative houses. Yet, as we sat down at a table just outside The Steve Jobs Building on the Pixar lot to talk about his Pixar directorial debut, the longtime storyboard artist and writer (Cars, Brave) was one other important thing: calm. If there was ever any pressure for the young writer/director, it has long come and gone. At this point, he seems to be enjoying this part of the ride. In our conversation, we talked about the pressure, the innovation and the lessons learned during his first run in the director’s chair at Pixar.

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review monsters university

The friends you make in college are the ones you make for life, right? Monsters University certainly thinks so, using the film as a prequel to Monsters, Inc. to tell the origin story behind how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley’s (John Goodman) scare-tastic team came to be. After a class field trip to Monsters Inc., Mike sets his eyes (ahem, eye) on going to Monsters University and becoming a Scarer. The problem is – no one thinks Mike is scary. Despite his enthusiasm, things only get worse when he ends up in class with the large, brash Sulley, a monster who has the right look (and the famous Sullivan name to back it up), but who also has it out for “know-it-all” Mike. After a mishap during their final, the rivalry and tension between Mike and Sulley only increases and Mike decides that entering the Scare Games is the only way to get his dream of becoming a Scarer back on track. But because you must be a part of a team to enter the games, Mike decides to join one of the less popular fraternities on campus, OK (Oozma Kappa), made up of the kooky middle-aged Don Carlton (Joel Murray), two-headed monster Terri and Terry Perry (Sean Hayes and Dave Foley), awkward Scott “Squishy” Squibbles (Peter Sohn), and laid-back goof Art (Charlie Day.) This rag tag group must come together to win the games, but before they can even enter, they need a sixth member – and that is where Sulley comes in.

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Pixar Character Logo

This week’s opening of Pixar’s latest film, Monsters University, a sequel starring fan favorites Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, also signals the debut of another perennial Pixar favorite – the accompanying short film. Since the animation house’s second theatrical release, Toy Story 2, every Pixar feature film has kicked off with an all-new short. Some of them have been instant classics (like For the Birds, Day & Night, and my personal favorite, Presto) and some of them have fallen somewhat flat (I forgot about Geri’s Game, Boundin’, and Lifted almost immediately after watching them). Three of them even won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (and of the twelve already released, ten of them were nominated for the award). The short attached to Monsters University, Saschka Unseld’s The Blue Umbrella, is a different kind of short film for Pixar. Its use of photorealistic CGI is a departure from the more traditional animation styles that Pixar’s shorts have previously utilized, and one that teeters on the edge of the so-called Uncanny Valley. Putting it another way – realizing the entire thing is computer-animated is both obvious (it does focus on the love story between anthropomorphized umbrellas) and unsettling (it sometimes looks too “real” to be fake, though we’re not talking Mars Needs Moms levels of weirdness). It does, however, still have that Pixar charm and emotion (really, it focuses on the love story between anthropomorphized umbrellas), though the bulk of its creativity is focused on ancillary characters […]

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dan scanlon andy

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.  Dan Scanlon has worked at Pixar for almost twelve years (he started the day before 9/11), and it’s taken this long for him to direct his first solo effort for the studio, Monsters University. Actually, though, that’s not a very long time to wait, especially considering he’s the youngest person there to helm a feature (he turns 37 two days after the movie hits theaters). Prior to this, he co-directed the 2006 Cars short Mater and the Ghostlight with John Lasseter and had been a storyboard artist on Cars, Toy Story 3 and Disney DVD sequels The Little Mermaid II and 101 Dalmatians II and was on the senior creative team for Brave. In 2009, Scanlon put out his award-winning feature debut, a non-Pixar-based live-action mockumentary he stars in titled Tracy, which you can watch as a web serial here. That’s not all the past works of his you can watch online. Much like Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who got the Short Starts treatment a few weeks back, Scanlon has been quite generous and not at all shy about his early work. He’s personally uploaded a handful of films he made in high school and at Columbus College of Art and Design, many of which he appears in or voiced characters for (in The Chase he plays a guy who likes to be peed on, which hopefully isn’t a sign […]

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Man of Steel

Last month was all over the map in terms of reactions. Almost every major, and a few of the minor, releases were met with raves and naysayers: Iron Man 3 made up for the second Tony Stark film, but wasn’t without its own issues; The Great Gatsby, which yours truly ate up, saw some critical venom; Star Trek Into Darkness has its feverishly passionate fans, despite a clunky villain and plenty of leaps in character and dramatic logic; Now You See Me was good fun, but didn’t fare well with critics; and some took Noah Baumbach‘s charming Frances Ha to task for following a character who can go to Paris for two days. There’s a handful of releases this month which are destined for heated discussion, at least during their opening weekend. A few of those movies make up the must-see releases of June 2013.

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monsters-university03

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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mnad_darkest

Tonight on Movie News After Dark, Community is dead, the documentary is better, AMC is making sci-fi shows now and filmmakers are having their films taken away for no good reason. Everything is a mess, but we’ll sort it out together.

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Monsters University Concept ArtMonsters University Concept Art

Back in 2009 when Up came out, most sane people wouldn’t have had anything negative to say about Pixar. Even with the Cars sequel looming ahead in 2011, the company hadn’t really shown signs of dilution from Disney, and they were coming off a hot streak of films (Ratatouille, Wall-E and Adventures with Carl Fredricksen) that proved children of all ages could enjoy moving films that were funny, adventurous and had a sense of depth. Watching the new UK trailer for Monsters University, it feels a little alien, but I can’t even imagine what the 2009 version of me would think. Beyond the look (and the recognizable characters, of course), it doesn’t seem Pixarian at all. It’s flat. Completely messy. There are a few character moments and a few gags that seem funny, but overall it just seems unnecessary. What is this thing?

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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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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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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 a focused, coordinated strike upon the oppressive barrage of movie blogs who think you should really be reading 700 words on the latest third-tier casting rumors for the next Adam Shankman movie. We take all the interesting news and otherwise notable articles of the day and bring them together, in one place, where you can kick ass and gain knowledge quickly. It also includes some funny videos. Because everyone loves funny videos. With Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun finally getting to theaters (and iTunes — go watch it!), Canuxploitation is on its way. To celebrate, Quiet Earth asked Canadian grindhouse cinema expert Paul Corupe to write of Canuxploitation’s weidest, wildest Canadian exploitation movies. Yes.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s your definitive source of Pixar pandering, at least for tonight. But hey, at least we get it out of the way in a single article. Try reading other sites — it’s Pixar this, Pixar that, even the new Batman reboot will be done by Pixar. Good grief. That said, we watched The Incredibles on Blu-ray this evening and it was INCR… you get the idea. Now on with the news. We begin tonight with news that excites me. It’s no secret that Max Brooks’ book “World War Z” is a personal favorite of mine. It’s exceptional in every possible way and one of the great zombie apocalypse stories ever written. So to see it come to life as a movie is risky, but worth it. When the project was reportedly in danger a few weeks ago, I was sad. But now I’m happy(ish) again, as a new report says that World War Z could get financing and even begin shooting this summer. If I could, I would will this project to happen. It may be impossible, but I’m going to try.

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