1-20 of 45 items from 2016 « Prev | Next »
Travis Knight may be following in the footsteps of people like Pixar’s John Lasseter, Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and, way back when, Walt Disney himself. The CEO of Laika animation is also a filmmaker for his company – and Knight’s directorial debut, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” opened on Friday and is basking in the largest amount of praise for any Laika movie since the company’s first, “Coraline,” in 2009. Knight, the son of Laika owner Phil Knight, has been working in animation since he joined Laika’s predecessor, Will Vinton Studios, as an intern. (Before he devoted full-time to animation, »
- Steve Pond
Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho may anchor Disney’s upcoming coming-of-age tale as the mismatched leads – one, a wide-eyed explorer; the other, a flamboyant demi-god – but Moana‘s voice cast is packed to the rafters with eye-catching talent.
In the aftermath of Sdcc, the House of Mouse confirmed that Ron Clements and John Musker’s maritime adventure will also feature Jemaine Clement – hot off his turn in The Bfg – Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, singer-songwriter Nicole Scherzinger and the loveable Alan Tudyk, who holds a role in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive overview of those new additions and, more importantly, the characters they’re set to play in Moana, which includes everything from a dim-witted rooster to a 50-foot crab that enjoys nothing more than his own company.
- Michael Briers
With its endearing story, loveable characters and, crucially, $1 billion box office haul, Zootopia is a difficult act to follow.
Yes, the mere fact that Byron Howard and Rich Moore’s animated crowd-pleaser has cemented its place in the history books, becoming the second highest-grossing original film of all time behind only Avatar, ensures that 2016 will stand as an overly successful year for the Powers That Be over at Disney Animation.
But The House of Mouse is nurturing another animated adventure ahead of its theatrical bow in November. Its name? Moana. It’s a coming-of-age tale that revolves around Auli’i Cravalho’s wide-eyed newcomer and her quest across the ocean to pinpoint a mystical island. Teaming with Dwayne Johnson’s larger-than-life demi-god, Moana boasts all the qualities of a family-friendly Disney yarn, including an adorable shot of Cravalho’s heroine as a youngster.
- Michael Briers
Once upon a time, a young film enthusiast was taken by Willis O’Brien’s work in King Kong and decided to devote his life to making fantastical films and memorable creatures that would be remembered for generations to come. This young man was Ray Harryhausen, and the newly released documentary by Gilles Penso, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan showcases Harryhausen’s passions and the passions they inflamed and inspired in others, including such film personalities as Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Terry Gillian, John Landis, and Peter Jackson.
Recently released by Arrow video, the documentary is an obvious labor of love for all involved, as the interview subjects all seem very enthusiastic while discussing Harryhausen and his overlooked contribution to cinema, which has carried on a unique legacy with his use of stop motion animation and the often times ridiculously detailed puppets used to create countless characters and sequences »
- Derek Botelho
Chris Meledandri doesn’t exactly exude power.
Many studio chiefs thrive on the grip and grin of Hollywood events, hogging the attention and drinking in the approbation. When the Illumination Entertainment chief, however, took the stage at the Lincoln Center premiere of “The Secret Life of Pets” last month to introduce the film, he seemed almost apologetic about taking the spotlight. Sporting jeans and a blue blazer, the low-key, even keeled Meledandri looked more like an estate planner settling in for casual Friday than a mogul at an A-list gathering. In look and demeanor, he is far removed from Pixar chief John Lasseter’s Hawaiian shirt-clad, visionary vibe or DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s coiled intensity.
But the animated film’s massive $103.2 million launch this weekend solidifies Meledandri among the most successful people in the animation space and reaffirms his status as one of the movie industry’s biggest hit-makers. »
- Brent Lang
“The Secret Life of Pets” dominated the weekend box office, racking up a massive $103.2 million and launching the first new franchise of the summer.
Its success is a feather in the cap for Illumination chief Chris Meledandri, confirming his status among the ranks of animation giants. The family film, which explores what dogs, cats, and other animal companions do while their owners are busy at work, cost an economical $75 million to produce, roughly half of what most studios spend making animated films. Universal is backing the film, which launched across 4,370 locations.
“The Secret Life of Pets” easily supplanted Disney and Pixar’s “Finding Dory” from first place on the box office charts — it has topped rankings for the three prior weeks. The sequel to “Finding Nemo” slid to second place with north of $20 million, having made more than $422 million to become the highest grossing film of the year on a domestic basis, »
- Brent Lang
Release the Kraken! They're only now releasing this Blu-ray in the U.S.. The patron saint of every special effect fan gets the royal treatment in this career overview capped with industry testimonials and rare film items from a cache of 35mm outtakes found packed away in Rh's storeroom. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan Region B Blu-ray Arrow Video Us 2011 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 97 min. / Street Date June 28, 2016 / 19.95 Starring Ray Harryhausen, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Randy Cook, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Tony Dalton, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Ray Bradbury, Ken Ralston, Martine Beswick, Vanessa Harryhausen, Caroline Munro, Guillermo del Toro, Joe Dante, John Lasseter, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Henry Selick. Original Music Alexandre Poncet Produced by Tony Dalton, Alexandre Poncet Written and Directed by Gilles Penso
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
The time has long passed that Ray Harryhausen was merely a cult figure. By the release of Golden Voyage »
- Glenn Erickson
A likable tale of a wisecracking terrier, his hirsute roommate and a despotic rabbit with a grudge
Comparisons are inevitable between this film and Disney’s Zootropolis, which opened earlier this year. But although both are populated with wisecracking animals, The Secret Life of Pets is closer thematically to Pixar’s Toy Story. Both the dynamic between pets/toys and owners/children and the rivalry between established favourite and new usurper feel as though they have been lifted from the John Lasseter film. The latest picture from the Despicable Me director Chris Renaud, Pets might not have quite the same wit and polish in terms of screenplay as Zootropolis. But it does deliver brilliantly when it comes to visual jokes, action set pieces, physical comedy and unabashed silliness. The sight gags come so thick and fast in this tale of a small terrier, his oversized, hirsute roommate and a despotic »
- Wendy Ide
This Friday, Pixar releases its 17th film (and fifth sequel) “Finding Dory,” itself the hundredth or so computer animated film made in the last couple decades. Andrew Stanton directed and John Lasseter (the chief creative officer of Disney and Pixar) executive produced the feature. Yet just over two decades ago, Lasseter and Stanton were finishing production on the computer animated film that would pivot the medium in a direction so new even their actors could not describe what they were seeing.
Produced for Disney Channel, this 1995 documentary “The Making of Toy Story” provides an overview on production of the first Pixar film. We see the seeds of story development provided by the remarkably young Lasseter, Stanton and “Inside Out” director Pete Docter all the way to Randy Newman composing the final music. The 28-minute doc does not go »
- Russell Goldman
In the first “Moana” trailer, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets an animated makeover to become the legendary Polynesian demi-god Maui. The Disney film tells the story of Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho), a young girl who wants to prove to her people that she can be a master wayfinder. She sets out with Maui on a quest for a mystical island and to find herself. The cast also features the voices of Alan Tudyk and Phillipa Soo. Ron Clements and John Musker co-directed. They also worked on the screenplay along with Taika Waititi, Jared Bush, and Pamela Ribbon. John Lasseter »
- Joe Otterson
Annecy typically attracts 8,000 festivalgoers and what is there to do between screenings? Long lines outside the ice cream emporium Glacier des Alpes suggest many opt for sweet treats. Or they browse Bd fugue’s collection of books and DVDs for animation geeks. Outdoor lovers rent pedal boats on Lake Annecy, and bearing bread, cheese and wine, they simply drift in the sun.
In all 83 countries have entries at Annecy, and Spain has several standouts. For “Psiconautas, The Forgotten Children,” Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez adapted the namesake comic book for teens and adults, and Vázquez contributed the short “Decorado.” The feature “Capture the Flag” from Enrique Gato Borregán is also garnering attention, since it was released in the U.S. in December.
Two high-profile animation directors will conduct master classes and reveal new projects. Guillermo del Toro will present unseen footage of the »
- Ellen Wolff
Disney and Pixar brought a night of family fun to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood for the world premiere of “Finding Dory” on Wednesday. Stars Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson walked the blue carpet before attendees packed into the auditorium to screen the highly anticipated sequel to 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” which director Andrew Stanton described as being “eight years in denial.”
“I spent four years with fish, you try that,” Stanton quipped on the carpet. After watching “Dory” in 3D in 2011, the filmmaker revealed that he was able to finally see the film objectively. “I walked out so worried with Dory, that she hadn’t really gotten over her abandonment issues from being forgotten and lost,” Stanton said. “I didn’t want that for her, I wanted her to have a better life.”
While Stanton penned “Nemo,” he admitted to »
- Mannie Holmes
It’s been 10 years since audiences first got to see Mater and Lightning McQueen on the big screen. Pixar’s Cars opened in theaters on June 9, 2006, following its world premiere at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, Nc. The seventh feature from the Emeryville, CA-based animation studio, it returned John Lasseter to the director’s chair. Cars failed to reach the box office grosses of the three other Pixar movies released before it in the new millennium — Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and The Incredibles — but, unsurprisingly, merchandise sales were huge for this one. A sequel was released in 2011, and Cars 3 is set for a June 2017 release. Other notable June 9 happenings in pop culture history: • 1950: British noir film Night and the City had its U.S. premiere. • 1963: Barbra Streisand appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the third time. • 1984: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” hit the top of the Billboard singles chart. »
- Emily Rome
This year's Zootopia was quite the pleasant surprise. Yes, in the past eight years or so, with the involvement of John Lasseter, Disney has been upping their animated game tremendously. From films like Bolt and The Princess And The Frog to Wreck-it Ralph and Tangled, they've certainly managed to make an amazing comeback. With that in mind, I went into Zootopia with a certain expectation of quality: I expected great characters, a tight script, some funny jokes, a decent amount of heart, and beautiful animation.
The movie more than delivered on those expectations without breaking a sweat. But what I did not expect was for Zootopia to be a well-told social commentary that brings awareness to racial stereotyping. From the get-go, that's what the movie set itself up as, and as I got deeper and deeper into the runtime, it became all the more clear that this was a bona fide classic. »
- Joseph Medina
Disney Animation does it again with a story that treads familiar thematic ground but serves up a fresh, inventive plot that keeps viewers young and old engaged. This Blu-ray + DVD set also includes a satisfying set of bonus materials.
When Disney bought Pixar several years ago, I was among the fans who feared that the House of Mouse might squash Pixar’s innovative approach and turn the animation leader into a studio tasked with churning out endless sequels and rehashes. And then a funny thing happened: While Pixar is still capable of producing unique new stories like Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, the studio has started to rely more heavily on sequels, and Disney »
- Brad Cook
17 years ago today, Trekkies said goodbye to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It was on June 2, 1999 that the series finale of DS9 aired. The series was a moderate success during the seven seasons it was on the air, and it didn’t win over every Star Trek fan. It was different in many key ways from Trek shows that came before it, and that made it divisive. Set on a space station instead of aboard a starship with more serialized rather than standalone storytelling, it was a darker show, dealing with flawed characters and moral complexity. Its influence on Battlestar Galactica is evident, and that shouldn’t be a surprise — BSG co-showrunner Ronald D. Moore got his start with three Star Trek series, including co-executive producing DS9. Also an alum of DS9: Bryan Fuller, who will be showrunning the new CBS Star Trek series premiering next year. (Yes, he »
- Emily Rome
Way back in March 2014, Disney Pixar announced that two long-awaited sequels were finally moving forward, Cars 3 (June 16, 2017) and The Incredibles 2 (June 21, 2019). Last August, we saw the first poster for Cars 3, but we haven't seen or heard much from this animated sequel since then. While we still don't know when the first trailer may debut, new concept artwork has arrived offering our first look at the iconic Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and a brand new character named Cruz Ramirez.
USA Today has the first look at this artwork, along with details about the story from director Brian Fee. Cruz Ramirez will serve as Lightning McQueen's new trainer, as he tries to stay competitive with up and coming racers like Jackson Storm, who is said to have "trounced" McQueen in a race. Here's what director Brian Fee had to say about this new character Cruz Ramirez.
"Cruz Ramirez is trying to »
See Full Gallery Here
Lightning McQueen broke onto the scene as an up-and-coming rookie in the Piston Cup, before storming to the World Grand Prix five years later for Cars 2. But come 2017, Owen Wilson’s cocksure racer will be held up a seasoned veteran, paving the way for a story that involves McQueen entering a heated competition with the new kid on the block.
That’s the core premise fuelling Pixar’s upcoming sequel Cars 3, according to director Brian Fee, who shared the first details and concept art for the follow-up to USA Today.
Having assumed the role of storyboard animator across both Cars 1 and 2 – directed by Pixar stalwart John Lasseter – the stage is well set for Fee’s directorial debut and here, the filmmaker outlines the journey that awaits an older, slightly more grouchy Lightning McQueen.
“Think of where he’d be in his career now in real time. »
- Michael Briers
When I sit through a film such as Zootropolis, Rango, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Eddie The Eagle or Coraline, I can’t help but be thankful somebody has bothered. As a parent as well as a movie lover, I’ve grown to really dislike family movies that just turn up to act as a surrogate babysitter for 90 minutes, with no intention of becoming anybody’s favourite film. The films I'm going to talk about are the family movies therefore that I think both try and do something a bit more, yet continue to fly under many people's radar.
A bonus mention before we get going, and number 26 in the list, much to my surprise: Alvin & The Chipmunks 4. I was expecting next to zero from it, courtesy »
The American Film Institute will give Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees to Rita Moreno and Quentin Tarantino on June 15 at the Tcl Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Both will be recognized for their contributions to the art of the moving image during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony.
The degrees are an annual tradition; last year’s honorees were Angela Lansbury and Lawrence Kasdan. Past recipients include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, James Earl Jones, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams.
Moreno won an Oscar for 1961’s “West Side Story” and is one of the few performers with an Egot (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). She was recently saluted at the Newport Beach Film Festival and her upcoming projects include a “One Day at a Time” reboot for Netflix. »
- Tim Gray
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