Wall-E

2013.trailermashups

Trailer mashups are a beautiful diversion. On the surface they’re frivolous, but they also manage to re-contextualize the familiar and shine a blinding bulb on thematic similarities. You might get fired for watching them all day (come on, Mr. Danforth!), but there’s a deep power in connecting two seemingly incongruous films or accentuating the copycat nature of tentpoles. There’s a wacky romance to be found in Gravity, a steampunk spectacle in an animated world, adorable Pixar revenge and much more to be discovered. If you watch all of this year’s best, you’ll be overwhelmed with the patterns — not just in the plotting, but also in trailer construction. There’s a bit less Brrrrrwwaaaaaaam this time around, but the hero’s journey is still thriving alongside the explosions. You’ll also notice that pretty much no one makes trailers for Stories We Tell or 12 Years a Slave. Blockbusters are the key targets, and mixing them up with animation and nostalgia seems to be more popular than ever. Oh, and Wall-E. Trailer mashup artists love that damned thing. We like to have fun with trailers here at FSR. Even if we over-think them, hopefully you’ll find something to ponder with our favorites of 2013. Or maybe you’ll just laugh a lot before Mr. Danforth fires you. The guy is ruthless. I think his marriage is on the rocks or something. At any rate, and without further ado: Brrrrrwwaaaaaaam.

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Real Wall-E

The morning’s fascinating articles from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Look – computers will never have souls. It’s disappointing to admit, but we all have to face facts at some point in our lives. Maybe one day they’ll manage to act alive, but they will never feel our love. They have no feelings. They are soulless, uncaring devices that we all too often assign our own humanity to – just like cats. But of course, in film, that would just be no fun. It’s better to have an A.I. that is dynamic and has some kind of personality, even if that personality is a lack of any kind of personality. The key is the voice, and here are some of the most unforgettable ones…

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Rian Johnson’s new film, Looper, is a pretty awesome time travel flick, one with as many elements that are clever and original as there are purposefully derivative and influenced. It’s the kind of smart and stylish sci-fi cinema we expect every once in a while on the festival circuit, like Sound of My Voice (which hits DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday), rather than from a major Hollywood studio. Looper does fit the indie model, though, since Sony/Tristar picked it up for distribution only after it was done shooting, yet as Brian’s review of the film attests, we can still consider it a good sign for mainstream movies of this genre, and we can hope that Hollywood will see Johnson as the sort of directorial talent they need. But is it the best science fiction film since The Matrix? That’s a question posed in a headline from Time magazine yesterday, though its respective post doesn’t address such a discussion let alone attempt to answer the inquiry. Well, if we exclude superhero movies, animated features (Pixar, Miyazaki and The Iron Giant among them) and the Star Trek reboot, Looper is currently one of only two original studio films of its order to be battling for the status of best reviewed since the Wachowskis’ groundbreaking modern classic. The other is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Because I’ve been waiting for months for Cole to need to take a day off from writing Short Film of the Day in order to sneak this one in. Sure, we generally use this daily column to feature great under the radar talents and their short films, but there’s no denying that Pixar is something special in this arena. Attached to the home video release of Wall-E, the story of Burn-E focuses on a robot on the Axiom whose sole purpose is to fix one of the exterior lights. Of course, there are hilarious consequences. It’s Friday, so lets all have a smile with this adorable little robot and his quest for proper exterior lighting. What will it cost you? 7 joyous minutes of your life. Spend the rest of your day watching Short Films. Who needs work, anyway.

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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 Wall-E Commentary

Oh, those geeks and their wonderful ways of storing minuscule tidbits of information and pulling them from their mental storage unit to spur on debates. What must it be like to listen to a group of them talk about a movie they love? How about a movie they’ve all worked on? That’s exactly what Disney and Pixar did for WALL*E. They’ve pulled four of the geekiest minds on the production crew, minds that would analyze every, minute detail of a film and test it for accuracy, and let them talk all over the film. And, like any good geek conversation, the pop cultural references come with each, nerdy breath. So, without any further ado, it’s time to find out what this Geek Squad has to say about WALL*E.

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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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With Brave, Pixar’s latest film, not hitting theaters for another month, the studio is still looking to capitalize on some early summer dollars, particularly when it comes to the impending Memorial Day holiday weekend. The three-day weekend has a surprisingly slim release schedule that’s not particularly kid-friendly (its only two wide releases are Men in Black III and Chernobyl Diaries), so Pixar’s decision to re-release four of their most popular films exclusively to AMC Theatres for the weekend is a total no-brainer. From May 25 to May 28, select AMC locations will be showing Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E on a rotating schedule as part of the “Pixar Summer Movie Weekend.” Each film will also come with a classic short from Pixar and an exclusive new look at Brave. While it would be nice if Americans used the upcoming three-day holiday to, I don’t know, go outside?, there are worse things to do with your kids (or your adults) than to take them to check out some Pixar classics in theaters. Some of these films haven’t been in theaters for nearly five years (Ratatouille specifically), so this offer will likely provide a first chance for some tiny Pixar fans to see their favorites on the big screen, and that’s a pretty charming prospect. Also, if you go to see Wall-E in an Austin-area theater, the odds are high that you’ll see the Head Reject snuffling into his beard.

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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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Reel Sex

As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few weeks away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions. Today is my bottom seven romantic scenes, and next week we’ll post the remainder. I like to keep you all on tenterhooks.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: WALL-E (2008) The Plot: In the distant future, humanity has abandoned Earth (presumably after it got all jacked up in the Mayan Apocalypse), leaving behind a small waste collecting robot, WALL-E, who has faithfully executed his programming by cleaning up all the trash we’ve left behind and crafting it into cute little bundles. His predictable life is turned upside down with the arrival of EVE, a reconnaissance robot he falls in robot love with that leads him on a journey across the stars that will alter the course of humanity.

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Hunger Games Track Suits

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the King of all nightly movie-related link dumps. You get twice the intelligence, half the idiocy, one quarter the amount of snark and exactly the same amount of actual news as other sites will give you. Plus, we always end with something fun. So stick around and read a while. We begin this evening with a shot from The Hunger Games featuring Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Wait. Is there a reason why these characters have such stupid names? Or is it just to do with the future? I need to get around to reading these books, but I don’t know if I can deal with these names. Anyway, I like their tracksuits. I didn’t know this story was set in communist Russia.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that would like you to know that you should not be afraid, for there is far more news in tonight’s edition than the title above might suggest. The title is just a tease to whet your appetite for destruction. Today marked the first official day of shooting on Skyfall, the new James Bond film. The photo above was tweeted out by @007, the official James Bond twitter account, revealing the board for the first shot. In related news: Roger Deakins is shooting this movie? Awesome.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It comes and goes as it pleases, dispensing movie news and interesting links for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure. Be honored that it has chosen you to be in its presence. Word. We begin tonight with a bit of a caption contest — because it’s been a boring end to a boring week and this is my column so I’ll do what I want. The above photo is one of a new batch from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, a behind the scenes pic of Bella (Kristen Stewart, who seems very scantily clad in all photos, if you’re into that sort of thing), Edward (Robert Pattinson, sans sparkle) and director Bill Condon. Dear reader, what do you suppose Mr. Condon is saying to the happy couple?

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Last month we featured one of Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s director tribute montages, the one for Michel Gondry. He did an excellent job showing off the visual power of Gondry, as well as David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Danny Boyle, and Baz Luhrmann. Now he’s cut together a video to showcase the God-like power of Pixar. It’s not like any of us need a reminder of Pixar‘s ability to make us shed waterfalls and get oversized lumps in our throats, but Dijkhuizen does a damn good job of doing so. Heart and wonder is what the studio does best, and this montage perfectly encapsulates how they do it Prepare to feel like a child again:

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The first teaser for John Carter isn’t the astonishing first peek it should be. Instead, it’s oddly underwhelming. Where’s the sense of a grand-scale adventure film? First of all, John Carter seems to be hanging out in any Earth bound desert, not Mars. There’s nothing in this trailer that’ll tell a filmgoer who is unfamiliar with the books that they’re on frickin’ Mars. Besides the quick glimpse of a green martian, very little is here that gives off the vibe that they’re on an alien inhabited planet.

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Culture Warrior

Movies have a strange relationship with history, that’s for certain. On the one hand, they have the ability to bring to life, in spectacular detail, the intricate recreation of historical events. On the other hand, films can have a misleading and even potentially dangerous relationship with history, and can change the past for the benefit of storytelling or for political ends. And there’s always the option of using films to challenge traditional notions of history. Finally, many movies play with history through the benefit of cinema’s artifice. Arguably, it’s this last function that you see history function most often in relationship to mainstream Hollywood cinema. In playing with history, Hollywood rarely possesses a calculated political motive or a desire to recreate period detail. In seeking solely to entertain, Hollywood portrays the historical, but rarely history itself. Tom Shone of Slate has written an insightful piece about a unique presence of that historical mode all over the movies seeking to be this summer’s blockbusters. Citing X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Cowboys & Aliens as examples, Shone argues that this is an unusual movie summer in terms of the prominence of movies set in the past. However, while such a dense cropping of past-set films is unusual for this season, these movies don’t seem to be all that concerned with “the past” at all – at least, not in the way that we think.

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Pixar Studios

Yesterday a trio of Rejects — including myself, Brian Gibson and Dr. Abaius — sat down to watch and review Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray, as I am due to review it for This Week in Blu-ray. And the discussion went to, as it always seems to do, our favorite Pixar movies…

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