As you may have heard, a new Toy Story short is supposed to appear in front of Cars 2 this summer. If you haven’t already seen it, here’s a short clip.
As you can see, Ken thinks that he’s in Hawaii, when he’s really just in Bonnie’s room. But unable to deal with Ken’s disappointment, the rest of the toys recreate Hawaii in the room for him. One will assume hilarity will ensue.
Normally it bugs the crap out of me when people cast doubt over Pixar’s efforts. It’s usually a case of sour grapes or people being tired of Pixar being awesome all the time. So it pains me to admit that I think it’s a little too soon to see Buzz, Woody and the gang again.
I mean, I’m sure the short will be hilarious. Heck. If it was were seven minutes of Ken throwing poses and saying “Why, hello there…” it would be hilarious. Michael Keaton OWNS that character.
All I’m saying is… give us a chance to miss you.
What are your thoughts about the new short? Leave your comments below!
Yesterday Entertainment Weekly posted a new still from the forthcoming Captain America movie featuring Hugo Weaving in full makeup as The Red Skull.
All I can say is “WOW!”
I’ll share that I was somewhat skeptical of Captain America being a success at the box office. Marvel has done a good job of making the character a WWII bad-ass in the last 10 years, but the fact remains that he’s kind of trapped in a hokey, by-gone era with several “Gee whiz!” simplistic trappings. There’s a high probability that this film could turn out very campy if not handled correctly.
This image of Weaving as The Red Skull completely blows that out of the water for me. For a film I was feeling so-so about before, I am now completely on board.
Marvel has been very smart about the publicity materials they’ve let leak out over the last few months. They’re very tuned in to what the fans want to see. First Cap’s shield, then the costume, then the effect of the Super Solider serum and now The Red Skull. Well played, Marvel. Well played.
The more I think about it, the more I think this make up job is absolutely perfect. I didn’t even notice that Weaving’s nose was completely missing until after I poured over the details of the costume. I wonder if they’re using the same guys who removed Ralph Fiennes nose for Voldemort?
And when you get right down to it, Weaving is the perfect choice to play The Red Skull. His villains are the best. Slightly unhinged, thoroughly pissed off and smart as a whip. Always a great combination.
What is your reaction to this new image? Does it have you psyched for Captain America? Leave your comments below!
It’s not often that you open up your e-mail to a picture of documentary director Morgan Spurlock nearly naked. But that’s what I received yesterday when Sony Pictures Classics sent out a press release announcing the poster for Spurlock’s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
Soak it in, ladies…
Gotta give credit to Spurlock on the premise of his new film. I think it will be very interesting to pull back the curtain a little bit and take a peek at the lucrative business of brand sponsorship. Sponsorships have been going on practically since media was invented. But marketers are getting more savvy and less overt with their product placements.
As a marketer myself, I don’t find their maneuvers particularly sinister but, instead, highly fascinating. Especially when it comes to steering consumers toward their products when they might not be fully aware of the effort.
Spurlock will walk the talk in this film, so to speak. According to the press release, the film was FULLY financed through product placement from various brands, all of which are integrated transparently into the film.
“While using brands in film promotion is not new for Hollywood,” says the release “it certainly is new territory for the documentary format. Spurlock exploits the phenomenon to new heights, with everything from branded pizza boxes and in-flight film promotions to branded-everything in-film.
Should be interesting. The movie hits theaters April 22. What do you think? Leave your comments below.
A couple of days ago, Pixar released the third official trailer for Cars 2 – which seems weird because I feel like I’m already seeing commercials and exclusive clips of it everywhere.
For your benefit, I’ve included it here:
The reaction among most of the online movie blogs was typical. People were licking their chops writing up their best disses.
“If Pixar is the standard by which we inevitably, unfairly measure all other cartoons,” wrote FilmDrunk “Cars is the franchise that proves they’re still human.”
“Eh, it’s Pixar,” opined Pajiba “You’ll see it eventually. What choice do you have?”
Look, I’m not blind. I know that Pixar capped this trailer with a bidet joke. If this were a Dreamworks movie, I’d be worried.
But Pixar just came off their best year ever with the largest-earning, best reviewed Academy Award-winning Toy Story 3. You really think they’re going to take a dump in the punchbowl now?
I get it. People don’t like Cars and they don’t understand why Pixar would line up for a sequel – especially when there are more deserving properties to explore like The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc. I’m with you. BELIEVE ME, I’m with you.
But frankly, this kind of snark is nothing new. People have been predicting Pixar’s downfall ever since they hit their stride. I know I’ve said this before, but I remember people bad-mouthing Finding Nemo when it’s trailers first hit the internet. Where are those critics now. Yeah. Shut up.
I freely admit to being a Pixar fanboy and drinking the Kool-Aid. But that’s only because all of these other critics are so damn intent on asserting themselves as being above-it-all. And should Cars 2 tank critically or financially?… They’ll be the first to say “I told you so!”
It’s really unfortunate because no one ever calls these guys out when they’re proven wrong. “Remember when you said that Wall-E looked like garbage on wheels?” There’s no accountability.
I’m guilty of the same cynicism. I won’t pretend like I’m not. I see a movie like Beastly or Red Riding Hood and my eyes roll so hard they nearly fall out of my head.
But there’s a difference between bargain-basement movie making and a studio with an artistic pedigree. To quote Star Wars (for no reason at all), “I find their lack of faith… disturbing.”
I’m not exactly what kind of point I’m trying to make with my observation about Battle: Los Angeles. After doing a quick visual inventory, I think a lot of people came to the same conclusions about it being an Independence Day / Black Hawk Down / District 9 mash-up. For most people, that doesn’t matter.
In truth, I talked to a lot of people who saw Battle: Los Angeles over the weekend and freely acknowledge where it liberally borrows from other sources but they admit being entertained by it all the same.
I don’t know. Maybe it is good. Usually Aaron Eckhart in a movie is a sign of pedigree. Michelle Rodriguez, on the other hand? Well, that kind of neutralizes things a little.
To me, Battle: Los Angeles looks like a more expensive version of that turkey of a movie Skyline, that came out last November. Bigger names, more explosions and a little more polish in the FX department.
One thing is for sure… people REALLY want to see Los Angeles destroyed by an alien invasion. I guess in a post 9/11 world, disaster movies set in New York City are still verboten.
Did you see Battle: Los Angeles over the weekend? If so, be thinking about the comments you’d like to share below in a little bit. But first, some business…
On Saturday, I posted an idea to the Theater Hopper Facebook page about potentially hosting some kind of “show” using Netflix streaming. If you don’t have the service, essentially Netflix allows you and a group of your friends to watch the same movie at the same time.
Logistically, I didn’t know how it works. I don’t know for certain if Netflix will allow people who use different formats of their service – be it X-Box 360, the PS3, Nintendo’s Wii or web-enabled Blu-ray players – to all meet in the same digital space. I also don’t know how many people can view the same movie at the same time.
But the idea proved to be a popular one. Many people expressed immediate interest. So I think it’s worth exploring.
I was told by one user that Netflix DOES discriminate by platform and limits the viewing party by 6 to 8 people. So that means if you have a PS3, you’ll unfortunately be left out of the loop because that’s a piece of technology that I don’t have.
However, I *do* have an X-Box 360 and a Wii. So, if I end up doing some kind of viewing party, it’ll be through one of those two interfaces.
Since the viewing party will be limited, I’m not sure how I will pick and choose which people can participate. I imagine there will be some kind of sign-up form announcing the date and time and it will be first come, first served. If someone drops out or doesn’t show up, I would probably take to Twitter or Facebook to let people know there’s an opening.
I guess what’s really holding me back from pulling the trigger on this is figuring out what the show will actually be. I mean, it’s pretty much impossible NOT do to a direct rip-off of Mystery Science Theater 3000. How do I do a show like this without drawing a direct comparison and (ultimately) failing?
Because let me tell you right now – there will be NO preparation beforehand. Any comments I would make during the film would be completely off the cuff and probably more annoying than funny.
And that’s the other thing… How do you pick a movie that’s entertaining to watch, but not so engrossing that people get annoyed with you butting in every few minutes?
Like I said, I’m not entirely sure what the logistics look like. But I think the idea has merit and people seem interested, so I thought I would bat it around for a little bit and see what everyone else’s thoughts were.
Leave your comments about the Netflix part idea (or Battle: Los Angeles) below. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
Anyway, it’s called “The Art of the Title” – a short montage put together by Ian Albinson for SXSW that is pretty much as-advertised. A series of movie titles displayed chronologically that will (as Garfinkel puts it) “going to make you want to watch movies right now.”
As a graphic designer and a movie buff, I couldn’t agree more. Albinson’s short film lands in the sweet spot where those two spheres of my Venn diagram intersect.
If you’d like to learn more about The Art of the Title, they have a web site where they describe themselves as “A compendium and leading web resource of film and television title design from around the world. We honor the artists who design excellent title sequences.” Check it out!
I put a lot of pressure on myself to make this comic special because it actually has roots in something I posted on Twitter back in November. After seeing the teaser trailer for Sucker Punch and bearing witness to the cornucopia of geek-approved iconography, I tweeted what became the punchline to this strip. “They should have called it ‘Stuff The Internet Likes: The Movie.'”
That off-handed comment was picked up by the good people over at Topless Robot and included in their write-up of the trailer. And, well, I’ve basically been sitting on my hands, waiting to use it ever since.
Fast forward to last Sunday night and I am wracking my brain trying to figure out how to cram everything I want into my usual four-panel setup. I think I sidestepped the issue pretty well with the large diagonal panel in the middle. But it didn’t solve the problem of actually having to DRAW things that are normally way outside my comfort zone.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to illustrate and color a spinning propeller blade? REALLY HARD! Especially when you’ve never done it before.
There were moments when I was drawing this comic that I absolutely hated it and wanted to throw it away. I finished this one in baby steps, that’s for sure.
I will say that after figuring out the problem with the layout, it gave me just enough momentum to start the pencils. And while I hated the pencils when I was drawing them, finishing them gave me just enough momentum to start the inks… and so on.
After nearly 9 years of producing this comic, some things fall into place very easily. NOTHING about this comic was easy. So I really hope you enjoy it!
Feeling guilty yet? Let’s ignore the comic for a minute and talk about Sucker Punch.
I think most people are familiar with my stance against Zack Snyder. He might be the victim of studio marketing trying to position him as the Next Great Visionary Director, but he’s also not shying away from it and I find his hubris off-putting.
Did 300 and Watchmen look good? Sure, they looked good. But how much of that was organic to Snyder – especially when he basically had storyboards from some of the world’s best graphic artists at his fingertips for reference (iconic images that he relied on heavily).
Sucker Punch will be the true test of Snyder’s visual acuity and – begrudgingly – I have to admit, from the trailers, it looks like he will pass.
I do think he’s leaning pretty heavily on the geek iconography, though. It’s like he went to Comic Con and started cherry picking idea from the most popular booths. “Ooo! Girls in short skirts and too much make-up? Okay! Samurai swords? Toss that in! Mech battle suits? I’ll order ten!” Cynically, I believe Snyder’s little shopping spree was set up as a distraction so he would get a pass from Geek Nation.
What’s worse I that I think Snyder is justifying this with mock analysis. In a photo gallery on Entertainment Weekly, Snyder talked about the costuming of the actresses in the film and how the short skirts and plunging necklines reflect objectification.
“…But Snyder says his intention was to make a movie about the very subject of female objectification,” writes Entertainment Weekly. “The look of Babydoll (Emily Browning) was designed to be ”the personification of innocence and vulnerability,” says Snyder, causing the skeevy men in the movie to both target her and underestimate her.
‘The women in the movie take control of the sexual trappings foisted upon them, even turn [that iconography] into their own weapons. The challenge was to confront the concept of exploitation of women without creating exploitative imagery.'”
So, yeah… I call shenanigans on that.
This is off-topic a little bit, but did anyone catch last week’s episode of 30 Rock where they were parodying The Real Housewives series on Bravo? I hated that episode and here’s why… Even when you’re parodying trash television, you’re still MAKING trash television. You dig?
If Snyder thinks he is confronting the concept of exploitation without creating exploitative imagery, he’s failed. Sucker Punch is exploitation PERSONIFIED. It’s 2 hours of explosions and eyeliner. If it doesn’t exploit the women in the film specifically, it is certainly exploiting the audience, their expectations and their passions.
Not that it will matter all that much. Geeks are only fickle when you get the thing they love wrong by getting it mixed up with something else. But the elements of Sucker Punch are non-specific enough that it looks like it’ll push all the appropriate geek response buttons without any of the negative backlash. It’s kind of sinister and brilliant, when you think about it.
Against my better judgement, I might actually end up seeing Sucker Punch this weekend. If I do, I know I’ll be going by myself. This might as well have “NO WUMANS ALLOW’D” stamped on it with big, red letters.
All I know is that it’s been another long winter with dud after dud being dropped into theaters throughout January and February. I might think Zack Snyder is a first-rate hack, but I could be watching Season of the Witch.
And no one wants that.
What’s your take on Sucker Punch? Are you excited to see it this weekend? Are you at all wary of the flotsam of geek iconography that is littering the landscape of this film or am I a completely paranoid jerk?
LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!
It’s probably been decades since I’ve seen the Disney animated classic Bambi. So, when the opportunity arose to review the film’s Diamond Blu-ray release, I must confess that I merely curious by the prospect and not exactly anticipating it.
By that I mean I wasn’t waiting by the mailbox for the review copy to arrive. I don’t mean to be cruel. I’m thankful for the chance. It’s just that, well… Bambi was never one of those movies that connected with me as a child.
I don’t know if it’s the pro-nature theme, the gender ambiguous names of the characters like Bambi and Flower or if it has something to do with one of animation’s starkest bummer scenes. And if you know the story of Bambi, you know what I’m talking about.
What I discovered rediscovered instead was a very thoughtful, organic and beautifully composed film that rightly deserves its revered status among the Disney classics.
Watching Bambi as an adult, I was struck by its painterly style. Specifically, I’m talking about the lush watercolor backgrounds that allude to nature without ever overpowering the scenes.
They characters, too, remind the audience of the raw power and delicate grace of nature in a way that is practically uncanny. The ability for the animators to infuse human characteristics and personality traits into the mix demonstrates the raw talent in the pool during production of what was only their fifth film.
So why is there such a profound disconnect in my mind? I actually blame Disney for that. To a point.
Having marketed the film to the home video audience on and off for the last 30 years, Disney has reduced the scope of the movie to the cute, stumbling fawn that we are introduced to in the first half of the movie. Slipping on the ice, learning how to say the word “bird,” yelling “FLOWER!” at a skunk so forcefully he rolls back into a bed of daisies. I’m sure you can easily envision these scenes just from reading my brief descriptions.
However, the marketing completely ignores the second half of the movie where Bambi, now mature, takes a mate and confronts the scourge of Man. Incidentally, it never occurred to me how heavily The Lion King borrows from Bambi in this regard.
Now, granted, if I were going to pick a theme to push to unindoctrinated audiences, I’d probably go with the happy, fuzzy, lighter first act. All I’m saying is that the second act is so thematically jarring to me – largely due to my own hazy memory – that Bambi almost feels like two completely different movies.
In fact, the environmentalist theme in the second act is so profound, those who criticized Wall-E for having an agenda would probably explode from outrage watching this film. Disney’s message pulls no punches. “Nature is beautiful and should be preserved. Man ruins everything he touches.”
Wisely, is never shown in the film. But the brilliant musical score tells you exactly when he’s near. But when the swirling, pacing strings of “Man’s Theme” rise from the background, there’s no confusion that danger is present. In fact, it’s so simple, even a 4 year-old could recognize it. Watching the film with my son, nervously he would ask “What does that bad sound mean?”
I can think of no clearer example of how Disney pushed the medium of animation and film to communicate emotion without clubbing you over the head with it. That deft and steady hand is felt throughout the film.
The Diamond Edition Blu-ray is stacked with features that are exceptionally thorough – especially when you consider the film is over 65 years old. Probably the most interesting extra feature included on the disc is “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings-Enhanced Edition.” Reading from notes taken during story meetings, voice-over artists bring life to the words of Walt Disney, his writers and animators as they pitch ideas on how scenes will play out before one frame of animation was ever completed. The care and attention to detail these artists paid to the story is evident in these re-enactments.
In fact, the feature plays almost like an audio commentary. But instead of the actors and directors sitting around the room talking about what they thought worked and what they would have tried differently, Walt and his team talk about what will be and stay alarming true to their vision. Animation junkies and/or historians will be facinated by this opportunity to be a fly on the wall.
The Blu-ray also includes two “deleted scenes,” cobbled together from discarded storyboard drawings as well as a deleted song – “Twitterpaited” – which is basically about springtime and falling in love. Additional features made previously available in the DVD release of the film are also included.
Going back to the point I made previously about Bambi being two films and the softer pallet that has been sold to us by Disney over the years… I guess what brought this into focus for me was a specific bonus included with extras – the original trailer for the film from 1942. View it for yourself.
Now compare it to this advertisement for the Diamond Edition Blu-ray.
I don’t mean to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I find it interesting that audiences in 1942 were tantalized with promises of romance, action and heroism with nary a reference to Bambi as a child. Meanwhile, today’s audience is set up for an entirely different experience.
Bambi IS both films and it is a credit to Disney’s storytelling that the film works for both children and adults alike.
But if you were anything like me and was convinced that Bambi was a Technicolor cliche, you owe it to yourself to watch the film and reintroduce yourself to the splendor and refined artistry of Disney’s Halcyon days. You won’t regret it.
It’s dangerous to ponder out loud sometimes. Your questions can come back to haunt you in weird ways…
After being forced to endure relentless and uninspired marketing “synergy” for Hop during NBC’s Thursday night line-up of comedies, I knew I wanted to do a comic about Universal’s holiday-themed cinematic offering.
That’s when I remembered this comic of mine from 2008, where I questioned why there weren’t any Easter-themed movies (aside from the obvious Biblical ones, of course). There seemed to be an opportunity for a secular family movie in this realm. Why hadn’t it happened before.
As and you shall receive, I guess. Considering it takes about three or four years to produce a computer-animated film, I’m kind of weirded-out by the coincidence.
The fact that the movie is produced by the team that brought us last year’s Despicable Me gives me a scintilla of hope. Based on the trailers, I was convinced that Despicable Me was a complete waste of time. But I was wonderfully surprised when I finally sat down to watch the film.
Hop suffers from a similar problem. There is literally nothing about the plot that I can tell you except that baby chicks apparently want to take over Easter and that the lead character poops jelly beans. In fact, considering the film comes out on April Fool’s Day, I’m still not completely convinced we aren’t all being punk’d.
Any time a movie’s marketing campaign leads with the scatological, you know right away you’re in deep doo-doo.
What I find weird is how they roped James Marsden into it? Was Marsden perhaps annoyed that Jason Lee snagged the lead in Alvin and The Chipmunks and figured this was the next best thing? This, combined with Marsden’s voice work on Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore last year really has me worried about a lead actor that is otherwise very winning. All this kiddie flick stuff makes me think he has a niece somewhere that he’s trying to impress.
At least Russell Brand has some culpability from this thing. Although why you’d want a former heroin addict like Russell Brand to voice the lead character in your family movie is a decision only Hollywood could make. I guess giving the Easter Bunny a vaguely sneering English accent makes him more exotic? Not sure what the logic is behind that one.
I’m giving Hop a hard time and probably unjustly so. I actually hope that the movie is more than the sum of its parts because we’re actually considering taking Henry to it this weekend. I don’t know if it’s because I’m desperate to some movie – ANY movie – that I’m willing to line up for this abuse or if it’s I’m morbidly curious, or both. But if we end up going, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
In the meantime, if you want my thoughts on some more traditional family entertainment, be sure to swing by the Bonus Materials blog. I posted a review of Bambi: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray over the weekend that people have been very complimentary of. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the film considering that the only thing I remember of it is the cutesy stuff. If you haven’t seen Bambi in a while, read my review and see if you don’t fit into that category as well.
Be sure to leave comments about this comic as well. Is anyone else anticipating Hop this weekend? Do you think we’ll see more secular Easter holiday offerings at the movie theater in the future? Do my pre-cognitive abilities suggest a potential career in solving murders? Let us know in the comments below!
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