Rio

Newt

It’s not often that Pixar misfires on something but, if these newly-posted pieces of concept art for their cancelled feature Newt are any indication, the animation studio might have slipped up when it came to letting this one go. FirstShowing dug up some new concept art from the film, posted by illustrator Katy Wu (via The Pixar Times), and these charmingly adorable pieces join another cache of Newt pictures that FirstShowing also posted back in 2010. Newt was originally slated for a summer 2011 release (which is why you might remember seeing its cute little logo splashed around in 2010 and 2009), but was ultimately cancelled because its plotline was too similar to that of Rio, which opened in April of 2011. That film (a Blue Sky production) focused on a domesticated macaw whose owner discovers that he’s the last male of his kind, leading them to travel to Rio de Janeiro to meet the last female of his kind to, you know, make some stuff happen. Which is why it’s so unfortunate for Newt that the project was to center on the last remaining blue-footed newts who get tossed together to, ahem, again, make some stuff happen, though matters are complicated by the fact that they hate each other. If these concept pieces are to be believed, it looks like the two overcome their issues and have some great adventures, which is why it’s just so sad that we’ll most likely never get to see this project. Seriously, even […]

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What exactly is Epic, the next animated feature from the makers of Ice Age and Rio? If its new trailer is any indication, it’s going to be a mishmash of two well-established storytelling tropes, that of the mystical, tropical wonderland (think Fern Gully or Avatar) and that of the secret world where tiny people live right under our noses (a sort of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids meets The Secret World of Arrietty). It also seems like a movie that’s going to combine big adventure (forest warriors!) with silly humor (talking slugs?). Official word on the story says that Epic tells the tale of a teenage girl who gets transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between good and evil is taking place. There she teams up with a rag-tag group of characters to join a fight that’s going to have huge consequences for both their world and ours. That doesn’t give away much, but at least it indicates that this is going to be a story with real stakes.

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Song

While my feelings on the Best Original Song nominees (and my disappointment in the lack of songs nominated) are pretty clear, the two songs that have been nominated do tap into those universal feelings of figuring out who you truly are and where you truly belong. And come Sunday, February 26th, one of these songs will be an Academy Award winner. As we get closer to the big day, we here at FSR wanted to take a moment to give the nominees a final look and make our predictions on what should happen along with what we think will happen. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Boiling Point

They say laughter is the best medicine and well, world, I’m dying here. I need my medicine. I need to laugh. I need to be entertained, but it seems every time I try to chuckle these days, someones standing right there to make me feel bad about it. Over the last few weeks in this column, I’ve mostly pointed the finger at big corporate entities bowing to some outside force, whether it’s a perceived notion that they must be politically correct to the point of being historically incorrect or whether it’s removing a joke that probably cost thousands of dollars to animate to not offend a small handful of people in a far off land with a disease that’s rapidly disappearing. Today, I point my finger elsewhere. I point it at you. I point it at them. I point it at us, a society that has lost its sense of humor – and that is a damn shame.

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Aural Fixation - Large

With the 84th Academy Award nominations announced last week (and me finally coming up for air post-Sundance), I wanted to give the five Original Score (and two Original Song) nominees a closer look. Each nominated score is full-bodied and as varied as the films they are featured in ranging from fun (John Williams for The Adventures of Tin Tin) to lush (Ludovic Bource for The Artist) to dramatic (Howard Shore for Hugo) to tense (Alberto Iglesias for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to emotional (John Williams for War Horse) while each of the nominated songs are quirky and catchy (Bret McKenzie’s “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett’s “Real In Rio” from Rio.) While I am not going to propose to understand why the Academy makes their choices the way they do (the lack of Drive and Shame nominations alone had me scratching my head last week) and I do not think that the scores and songs that were selected are unworthy of their nominations, I was still left with some questions when looking into who may come out on top on February 26th.

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Whereas Pixar has dominated the category in recent years, the sense that Cars 2 isn’t a shoe-in for awards season is offering a spotlight to a wider field. In fact, it’s also a wider field that will beget more nominees – if there are 16 eligible in the given year, 5 nominees will make the short list. If the numbers stay steady, this would mark the third time since the Best Animated Feature‘s inception in 2001 that there are more than 3 films up for the big prize. According to The Wrap, the list of films that have been submitted for consideration include: The Adventures of Tintin, Alois Nebel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Gnomeo & Juliet, Happy Feet Two, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mars Needs Moms, Puss in Boots, Rango, Rio, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, and Wrinkles. Just because they’ve been submitted doesn’t meant they’re all eligible. Several haven’t done qualifying runs in Los Angeles theaters, and many are questionable because of their use of motion capture or live-action blend. In the mo-cap cases of Tintin, Happy Feet Two and Mars Needs Moms, filmmakers have been asked to discuss their methods and intentions with the process in order to prove eligible. The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks are also animation/live-action hybrids, so their fate is unclear at this time. Without them, and without, say, the Czech Republic’s rotoscoped Alois Nebel, the […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

Back by popular demand, This Week in Blu-ray is here and ready to take on a big week of reviews in high definition. Sine we’ve been away for more than a few good releases, many of them have been included in this week’s entry. The highlights are many as we traverse through a world of major TV box set releases, great animated adventures, raunch comedy from the 70s and 80s, raunch comedy in the modern era, big action, big muscles, charming documentaries and at least one movie you should absolutely avoid at all costs. Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series Seeing as this column has been away for a few weeks and I’m going to be catching up with some of the best and brightest releases we missed, I’m calling for a temporary rule change and allowing myself two — count ‘em — two picks of the week. First, because it would be near impossible for me to choose between the two. And (b), because they fit so well together. The first of these two must-have television sets is Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off about a secret British agency led by a mysterious American named Jack Harkness who has one advantage over the hordes of aliens he comes into contact with: he can’t die. Led by this immortal man, a team of gifted, otherwise ordinary humans work to protect humanity from any threat, be it alien, supernatural or otherwise strange and interesting. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “I […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news compendium that rounds up all the best links from here, there and everywhere in between. It usually isn’t quite so obsessed with lists ordered numerically, but today is Friday and Friday is fun day. We so excited for the weekend, so lets read some lists! We open tonight with Tom Cruise looking ridiculous in the first image from Rock of Ages. The Adam Shankman directed film will see Cruise play Stacee Jaxx, a famous rocker who falls for a fresh-off-the-bus country bumpkin. It’s another one of those 80s nostalgia trips, star filled and ready to remind us that anyone whose name is Stacee with two e’s is not to be trusted.

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The Reject Report

And I hope they’re teaching math. But this class is probably more about learning skills like flinging energy beams from your eyes or learning how to hone you telekinetic abilities. I kind of wish I had some of those right now. That way I’d know exactly how many audience members will be attending X-Men: First Class this weekend, and my numbers will be a bit more accurate than they were this time last week. Thanks a lot, Kung Fu Panda 2. Regardless, it seems pretty evident First Class will come in #1 this weekend, as it opens unopposed. That is, if you consider the gargantuan second weekend Hangover Part II is likely to have. Still, I’m sticking with my guns. First Class all the way, but its debut might not be as astonishing as some would hope. Let’s look into that more right now.

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The Reject Report

They set sail. They walked the plank. They scuttled some…things you might scuttle. And in the end, whether it lived up to expectations of analysts or the openings for the previous two films, Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger Tides ripped into theaters with an impressive debut. Unlike Dead Man’s Chest or At World’s End, this fourth entry in the Disney franchise didn’t smash any records, but it ranked fairly well on charts such as biggest May opening and biggest opening day gross. Where On Stranger Tides goes from here is curious. The film ended up costing a reported $250 million despite Disney’s claims they were “cutting back” on the visual grandeur and overall budget. Regardless, the film has already punched out $346.4 million in worldwide ticket sales, so the future seems to be in order for Captain Jack Sparrow to return for Pirates 5.

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The Reject Report

What the hell does that even mean? Of course, you’ll have plenty of time to contemplate that phrase for all it’s worth, as the Reject Report this week is going to be a little lean this week. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hits theaters far and wide, and that’s it, folks. No one dared step up to the May 20th date for counter-programming, because, really, how do you counter-program Johnny Depp? You don’t. That’s how. Even the limited releases this week don’t have anything noteworthy to brush upon. So shiver those timbers, and when you find out what that means, let me know.

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The Reject Report

Sure, Thor came in at the #1 spot for the second weekend in a row. Sure, the big debut of the weekend, Bridesmaids, had to settle for the #2 spot with a little over $10 million less than the summer blockbuster. Sure, the rankings are out there, but it’s hard to deny Bridesmaids the big winner spot of the weekend. For one, the R-rated comedy had a lot more to overcome in terms of mass appeal than Thor. The Marvel fandom is pretty widespread, and a number of comic book fanatics who are frothing at the mouth for The Avengers were certain to head back in and see Thor a second time around. Also, a number of tickets sold for Thor cost more than those sold for Bridesmaids between the price swell for 3D tickets and IMAX. An evening ticket to an IMAX screening of Thor could cost $5-10 more than an evening ticket to Bridesmaids. It’s a factor that is always in effect when a movie is playing in IMAX theaters, but it’s not one that gets considered too often.

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The Reject Report

Hello, May weddings. Hello, May wedding movies. Those maids of the bride sure are going to rake in a boat load of cash this weekend, but a certain God of thunder might have a thing or two to say about them taking his throne. There’s also a 3-D movie coming out from the guy who directed Legion. You remember that movie, right? The worst of 2010 until Jonah Hex came out. Sorry, Jonah. We won’t be invoking your name for too much longer. It’s all part of the Reject Report this week. Now where’s that bag of rice?

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The Reject Report

It wasn’t the record-smashing, jaw-dropping opening Marvel was hoping for. They probably weren’t even expecting as such, but Thor kicked off the Summer movie season with a decent opening. Time will tell if its longevity makes it an Iron Man-like success or a Hulk-like disappointment. The reality will probably fall somewhere in between those two. Thor has a broader appeal than 2003’s Hulk, which ended up dropping 69.7% in its second weekend of release after a $62.1-million opening. Iron Man, on the other hand, opened Summer 2008 with $98.6 million and went on to pull in $318.4 million domestic. Thor‘s sustainability won’t be anywhere near that even though it’s chances of topping the charts next weekend as well seem doable.

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The Reject Report

Finally Summertime is here. Time to kick back on a beach, crack open a nice page-turner, soak up some sun, and listen to the ocean. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll spend at least one night every weekend sitting in uncomfortable seats, listening to disrespectful teens gabbing on their cell phones, munching on 8-hour popcorn, and taking in the latest $200-million epic Hollywood tells me is going to be the end all for cinematic extravagance. Now that’s bliss. First up on the Summer blockbuster slate is the mighty Thor, the next turn in the windy road towards 2012’s The Avengers. It’s not opening alone this weekend. There are a few films being served up for counter-programming, and the Fast and Furious guys are still out there reeking havoc in the streets. But the weekend will be Thor‘s. Let’s take a look at just how much lightning the God of Thunder will be able to catch.

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The Reject Report

Was there really any question about it? After the stunning debut for Fast and Furious in 2009 – $70.9 million opening weekend – you just new Fast Five was going to level every inch of the competition upon its release this weekend. The real question of the matter was how hard was it going to hit and what box office records were in danger of being rewritten? As it stands, Fast Five now has the highest opening in April history, and the chances of this last weekend in April becoming the new opening to the Summer movie season is not completely out of the realm of possibility. The other possibility of a sixth Fast and Furious film is pretty much stamped as definite. With the official start of the Summer blockbuster season and Thor a week away, Fast Five’s chances for longevity might not be as definite, but the sheer energy in the film makes it one that could bring in some repeat viewing.

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The Reject Report

Furious sits alone on a hill underneath a single tree that shades it. Its buddy Fast is out gallivanting around town with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, jacking Supras and drinking Corona like it holds the key to eternal youth, and Furious is sad. That’s okay, Furious, we still like you. And it’s not like Fast Five is going to open huge. It’s not as if we’re looking at another $70+-million opening for a Fast and Furious entry. Fast couldn’t do that without you. Oh, wait, the Rock is in this one, too. Yeah. It probably will. Sorry, Furious. We’ll catch you next time. Maybe.

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The Reject Report

The birds of Rio and the sugar-infused children were too much for the family crowd headed to see Madea’s latest outing this weekend. Madea’s Big Happy Family had anything but the worst opening for a Tyler Perry film, but it is the lowest opening film of his since 2007. It’s also the lowest of the three in terms of Tyler Perry films with Madea’s name branded on the marquee. That’s not to say Madea’s Big Happy Family had a bad opening. You can’t really scoff at over $25 million, and it isn’t like Rio completely trounced the #2 film. The gap is wide enough that we won’t be analyzing Monday’s official numbers to determine a clear-cut winner, but it’s way too soon to start the Madea retirement rumors. Big Happy Family is sure to be viewed as a success for everyone involved especially Perry who is sure to have another Madea film in the works by, say…oh, what time is it?

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The Reject Report

…for Elephants! But seriously, that’s a lot of possessive apostrophes going on in that title. If I wanted to do a remake of this movie – I could. I have the funds – who would I have to get the rights from? Madea? Tyler Perry? Oprah? There’s a lot of ownage going on in here. Lionsgate is hoping for a lot of ownage at the box office this weekend, too. I know you saw what I did there. That I’m pointing it out is chalked up to arrogance. The elephants, cats, and birds of the world might have something to say about it, but there’s little chance they’ll be able to do anything about it. Let’s see how everything breaks down. That is, if Tyler Perry allows it.

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The Reject Report

It’s a time for celebration in the world of animated film. Maybe not dress-up-in-your-favorite-gold-costume-or-mask celebration. We’re not throwing a lavish parade or anything, but an audible “hip hip hooray” might be in order if you’re a fan of computer animation. Rio, the latest such film from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox, came out wings blazing this weekend and easily topped the box office with the biggest opening so far in 2011. The $40 million the film brought in isn’t a record for the studio, though. It didn’t even top the $45 million Horton Hears a Who brought the studio in 2008. However, given Rio‘s worldwide box office thus far – $128.2 million in additional revenue outside the US – the film is well on its way to being a huge success. Plenty of money for the company to bring us another Ice Age film, so all you Scrat fans out there can rejoice.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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