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Pixar Sequels Continue – Andrew Stanton to direct Finding Nemo 2

One of Pixar’s most enduring films, 2003′s Finding Nemo, is getting a sequel and a familiar face is returning to direct.

Following his foray into live action with the sci-fi epic John Carter Andrew Stanton is returning to the world of animation for the long expected follow up to the film he directed (along with co-director Lee Unkrich) almost ten years ago.

Deadline have thrown the story out there and while we wait for official confirmation to come in we have to wonder if the ‘concept the studio loves’ is a wholly different idea that Laurie Craig was working on a few years ago. Rumoured to be a reversal of the original film with Nemo seeking out his father Marlin, I’m hoping that we’ll see something a little more original, set in school perhaps?

There is a timelessness which has often been posited as one of the
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Blu-Ray Review: Talented Pair of Young Actresses Carry ‘Ramona and Beezus’

Chicago – With junk like “Marmaduke” and “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” pitching themselves to children like bad fast food, it can be hard for an honestly-good and genuine family film to find an audience. “Ramona and Beezus” is the kind of family offering that will hopefully find a large audience on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s no classic and far from perfect but it’s definitely a success for its target audience that could surprisingly appeal to people outside of its demographic as well.

Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

A film like “Ramona and Beezus” must satisfy two major requirements for this critic. One, unlike most Hollywood family films, don’t talk down to your audience. Writer Beverly Cleary, the author of this film’s source material, is a multi-generational icon because she refused to write fart jokes, simple moral messages, and slapstick. She knew her readers were smarter than most
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Disney nabs comedy spec 'Father Figures'

Disney has picked up the comedy spec "Father Figures" from Laurie Craig. Andrew Panay is producing via his Disney-based Panay Films.

In the story, a 10-year-old boy is being handed off from his father to his stepfather for the weekend, but the handoff goes wrong, and the boy gets lost. The father and stepfather, who have never gotten along, are forced to work together to find their son.

Alex Ankeles of Panay Films will oversee the project.

Panay recently set up at Disney an untitled baseball pitch from "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" scribe Allan Loeb with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Panay is producing that dramedy with Loeb and his Scarlet Fire Entertainment partner Steven Pearl.

Craig, repped by Original Artists, has made a name for herself in the family film business. She worked on "Ella Enchanted," starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy, and "Ramona and Beezus," starring Selena Gomez,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Interview: 'Ramona and Beezus' Director Elizabeth Allen

The Ramona Quimby series have been childhood favorites since the first book, Beezus and Ramona, came out in 1955. Although plenty of those children grew up to be adults who wanted to make these books into movies, author Beverly Cleary wouldn't give up the rights -- until now. Director Elizabeth Allen (Aquamarine), screenplay writers Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay, and producers Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan are finally bringing Ramona and her hijinks to the big screen in Ramona and Beezus, which opens Friday, July 23rd, nationwide.

Ramona and Beezus stars Joey King as Ramona, Selena Gomez as Beezus, John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan as their parents, Ginnifer Goodwin as their beloved Aunt Bea, and Sandra Oh as Ramona's teacher Mrs. Meacham.

Allen and I talked over the phone about meeting Beverly Cleary, the appeal of the Ramona books to each generation, and going viral with Ramona and Beezus.
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Film Review: Beverly Cleary’s ‘Ramona and Beezus’ Works For Young Adults

Chicago – “Ramona and Beezus” may not be the perfect film that Beverly Cleary fans hoped for when they fell in love with these characters but it is successful on its own terms in its refusal to talk down to its pre-teen audience and through the massive future star-power of its talented young stars. I admittedly have a soft spot for any film that places teachers on a higher pedestal than businessman and effectively teaches young viewers to stick to their creative visions. It’s flawed, but “Ramona and Beezus” works.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

2010 has not been an easy year for the Quimby family. Robert Quimby (John Corbett) has lost his job right in the middle of a massive house-remodeling project that has left the family a little strapped financially. Wife Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan) has had to go back to work and even precocious Ramona (Joey King) has taken to selling lemonade and
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New clips and interviews from 'Ramona and Beezus' added!

See new clips as well as interviews from 20th Century Fox's "Ramona and Beezus' family comedy. The film helmed by Elizabeth Allen from the writing by Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay based on the books by Beverly Cleary, opens on July 23rd. Starring are Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh. The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (newcomer Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this all new film based on the best-selling books (over 30 million...and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona's vivid imagination, boundless energy, and accident-prone antics keep everyone she meets on their toes. But her irrepressible sense of fun, adventure and mischief come in handy when she puts her mind to helping save her family's home.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Pics from 'Ramona and Beezus' with Selena Gomez and Joey King

We've just added some new images from 20th Century Fox's family film "Ramona and Beezus" with Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh. The film opens July 23rd and is helmed by Elizabeth Allen ("Aquamarine"). Flick marks Allen's second feasture-length attempt. Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay wrote the screenplay based on the novels by Beverly Cleary. Produced by Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan. The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (newcomer Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this all new film based on the best-selling books (over 30 million...and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona's vivid imagination, boundless energy, and accident-prone antics keep everyone she meets on their toes... Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay wrote the screenplay based on the novels by Beverly Cleary.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Selena Gomez Shows 'Ramona and Beezus' Behind the Scene

Selena Gomez has given fans a sneak peek of her upcoming movie "Ramona and Beezus". On her Facebook page, the 17-year-old Disney star posted the clip which shows crew of the project and also a shot where she tried to scare Joey King's Ramona Quimby.

The upcoming comedy movie follows the adventures of Ramona, portrayed by young newcomer Joey, and her big sister Beezus, played by Selena. Selena and Joey will be seen starring opposite Josh Duhamel, Hutch Dano, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan and Sandra Oh.

"Ramona and Beezus" is based on Beverly Clearly's book with the same name. The big screen project is helmed by Elizabeth Allen, who also directed "Aquamarine" and its screenplay is written by Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay. The movie will hit U.S. theaters on July 23.

Behind the Scene of "Ramona and Beezus":
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'Ramona and Beezus' trailer added. Starring Selena Gomez, Joey King.

First treailer is in for 20th Century Fox's "Ramon and Beezus" starring Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh. The family comedy opens on. Elizabeth Allen directs from the writing by Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay based on the novels by Beverly Cleary. Denis Di Novi produces with Alison Greenspan. The story follows the exploits of rambunctious, accident-prone child Ramona Quimby and her older sister Beezus. See it in theaters from July 23rd this year.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

DreamWorks Barks At Doggy Day Care

DreamWorks has gone barking mad for the script to – wait for it – Doggy Day Care.Written by Laurie Craig, the movie will be set in a day care for – yes! – dogs, and will show what the lovable mutts get up to when humans aren’t around to watch them. So, essentially, it’s Chewy Toy Story, with the hounds – presumably voiced by human actors – getting up to all sorts of allegedly hilarious activities. To which we shall say just one thing: does nobody remember the horror of Beverly Hills Chihuahua? Dear Lord, that film almost brought the world to the brink of war. Do we really want to risk tumbling over the precipice once more?Craig, it must be said, has form when it comes to this sort of thing – she wrote the talking parrot movie, Paulie, in 1998. She wrote the story of Doggy Day Care with two friends, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Julie Goldstein.
See full article at EmpireOnline »

DreamWorks Studios Picks Up Doggy Day Care

DreamWorks Studios has picked up the comedy pitch Doggy Day Care from Laurie Craig.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedy is about what really happens when dogs get together without human supervision.

"We were utterly charmed by the story, and we think audiences will love it as much as we did," said DreamWorks co-president of production Holly Bario.

No production date has been set.
See full article at MovieWeb »

DreamWorks boards 'Doggy Day Care'

Scribe Laurie Craig has sold her pitch "Doggy Day Care" to DreamWorks Studios.

The comedy is about what really happens when dogs get together without human supervision. Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas ("Mona Lisa Smile") and Julie Goldstein ("Chicago"), who created the original story with Craig, are producing.

DreamWorks exec Chloe Dan brought the project to the studio.

"We were utterly charmed by the story they have crafted, and we think audiences will love it as much as we did," said DreamWorks co-president of production Holly Bario.

DreamWorks recently produced another canine-centric family film, "Hotel for Dogs," which Paramount released in January to a $113 million worldwide gross.

Craig, who is repped by Original Artists, wrote the screenplay for the DreamWorks feature "Paulie" and co-wrote "Ella Enchanted." She also co-wrote the adaptation of the Beverly Cleary book, "Ramona and Beezus," which Fox 2000 is producing for an August release.

She most recently wrote "Left Tern" for Fox Animation.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Movie Production Update: February 6, 2009

Once again I bring you the best round-up of all the movie updates announced in this past week's trade reports. Why read a Ton of articles when you can read just one? This week we get new cast members added to films such as Law Abiding Citizen and Carmel. An unlikely trio may team up for a DreamWorks Animated feature. John Carpenter returns to the director's chair with Amber Heard who will also join Johnny Depp in Rum Diary. Jennifer Lopez may be in another movie and that Judy Garland biopic may be quite good. Oh, and Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman are teaming for a new film and check out the casting on Mary, Mother of Christ, that could potentially be a decent little flick. Check out the full list and links are available if the film is in the database already. Enjoy! Title: Law Abiding Citizen

Studio: Overture
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Selena Gomez, Joey King book 'Beezus'

Selena Gomez, Joey King book 'Beezus'
In a pairing designed to get tweens texting each other the news, teen stars Selena Gomez and Joey King have been cast as sisters in "Beezus and Ramona," a film adaptation of the "Ramona" book series by Beverly Cleary.

Gomez will play Beezus, the older sister to the energetic, accident-prone Ramona, who will be played by King.

Elizabeth Allen ("Aquamarine") will direct a screenplay by Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay. Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan are producing for Fox 2000 Pictures and Walden Media.

Fox has scheduled a March 19, 2010, release for the film.

Fox 2000 conducted a nationwide casting call for Ramona, and the role ultimately went to the 9-year-old King after she successfully completed a screen test. The young actress, who has been working since age 4 and is repped by Coast to Coast Talent, has already collected credits that include "CSI," "Medium," "Jericho" and "Entourage."

Gomez, repped by CAA, stars
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted
Opens

April 9


Nothing un-beguiles a fairy tale more than forced whimsy and labored magic, which is precisely what plagues "Ella Enchanted". The film, designed to add a modern kick to the fairy tale by introducing contemporary references and attitudes along with golden-oldie rock songs, never fully achieves the lighthearted tone it so desperately seeks. The Miramax film, directed by Tommy O'Haver ("Get Over It"), does attain moments of charm largely because of the talented and energetic Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries"). Adding singing and dancing to her movie portfolio, Hathaway is very much the star of this movie, and she is a real delight. But with the audience limited to adolescents and younger children, and mostly girls at that, boxoffice potential here is equally as limited.

Ella plays the title character, who at birth is given a gift -- which is really a curse -- of "perfect obedience" by an out-of-control fairy godmother (Vivica A. Fox). This forces her to obey any and every command no matter how ridiculous or demeaning. When her widowed dad (Patrick Bergin) remarries, this brings to the household a wicked stepmother ("Absolutely Fabulous'" Joanna Lumley) and two nasty stepsisters, Hattie (Lucy Punch), who lives to scheme, and Olive (Jennifer Higham), who mentally is several goblets short of a medieval table setting.

The sisters are smitten by Prince Char (Hugh Dancy), but Ella loathes him because his uncle, Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes), acting as regent until Char takes over for his late father, has segregated the kingdom. Sir Edgar has banished the peaceful ogres to the forest and sentenced the gentle giants to forced labor while restricting elves to jobs as entertainers and clowns. Ella, a civil rights activist, unfurls a banner denouncing these restrictions when the prince appears at the opening of the Frell Galleria mall.

The prince, of course, is captivated by Ella, but the curse gets between the two. Encouraged by her former nursemaid Mandy (Minnie Driver), Ella journeys through the kingdom to search for her partying godmother to demand she rid Ella of the curse. Accompanying her are Slannen (Aidan McArdle), an elf who wants to be a lawyer, and Benny (Jimi Mistry), a talking book that can guide her to her godmother.

Unfortunately, Ella's adventures generally lack inspiration, acting more as plot devices than sequences of enchantment or moments of magic. Revisionist fairly tales such as this probably work better in animation, but nobody is doing fairly tale cartoon these days other than "Shrek". Five writers came up with a few amusing anachronisms, but many more, such as references to the O.J. Simpson trial or Rodney King, are more likely to elicit groans rather than chuckles. The fairy tale land itself is a mix of overly bright colors and a bit of CGI but mostly cheesy effects that seem to take pride in their low-tech grunge.

In the acting department, Hathaway shines as a heroine with spunk and sass. She plays this fluff with such disarming ease that it will be fun to see how she handles sterner stuff. Elwes delivers a daft bit of villainy as the dastardly uncle, clearly relishing the chance to revisit the world of his breakout hit, "The Princess Bride", from the dark side. Dancy and McArdle are both appealing young heroes, but Lumley hasn't been given nearly enough interesting bad things to do. Driver and Fox must have owed somebody a favor to get stuck in such lackluster roles.

The film's soundtrack contains several catchy covers of pop/rock classics that should stimulate sales for the Hollywood Records album.

ELLA ENCHANTED

Miramax Pictures

A Jane Startz production

Credits:

Director: Tommy O'Haver

Screenwriters: Laurie Craig, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith, Jennifer Heath, Michele J. Wolff

Based on the novel by: Gail Carson Levine

Producer: Jane Startz

Executive producers: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Julie Goldstein, Su Armstrong

Director of photography: John De Borman

Production designer: Norman Garwood

Music: Nick Glennie-Smith

Co-producer: Susan Miller Lazar

Costume designer: Ruth Myers

Editor: Masahiro Hirakubo

Cast:

Ella: Anne Hathaway

Char: Hugh Darcy

Sir Edgar: Cary Elwes

Slannen: Aidan McArdle

Dame Olga: Joanna Lumley

Hattie: Lucy Punch

Olive: Jennifer Higham

Mandy: Minnie Driver

Narrator: Eric Idle

Heston: Steve Coogan

Benny: Jimi Mistry

Lucinda: Vivica A. Fox

Running time -- 100 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

Film review: 'Paulie' Pawned Parrot Pleases / The adventures of 'Paulie" and his search for his beloved will amuse the young of all ages

He's the "Babe" of birds.

The title character of the delightful "Paulie" is a precocious blue-crown Conure who doesn't merely parrot but can carry on entire conversations in Brooklynese with Joe Pesci-style intonations.

An all-ages audience-pleaser that puts a smile on the lips and a lump in the throat, the handsomely assembled picture dispenses sentimentality without the syrup. It's moving but never mawkish.

The payoff should amount to a whole lot more than birdseed for DreamWorks, which could see "Paulie" best its "Mouse Hunt" at the boxoffice.

Gracefully directed by John Roberts (who previously helmed the underrated "The War of the Buttons") from a winning script by novice screenwriter Laurie Craig, the bird-meets-girl, bird-loses-girl, bird-gets-girl adventure begins in a research lab, where a caged and clipped Paulie (voiced by Jay Mohr and played by an assortment of real-life and animatronic parrots) stuns Russian immigrant janitor Misha (Tony Shalhoub) with his no-nonsense approach to the English language.

Contending that his mouth has always gotten him in trouble, Paulie proceeds to tell Misha his story, beginning with the day little stuttering Marie Hallie Kate Eisenberg) raised him from a fledgling.

Concerned that she was becoming too attached to her pet, Marie's parents (Matt Craven and Laura Harrington) send Paulie out into the big, Cold World. Eventually landing in a pawn shop, Paulie is purchased by a lonely widow (Gena Rowlands), whom he convinces to embark on a cross-country journey in her long-dormant Winnebago in search of his beloved Marie.

Their association proves shortlived, but Paulie eventually reaches his goal -- give or take a few years -- with a little help from Misha, a fellow fish-out-of-water.

While the early pacing is somewhat slow to take flight and Roberts and Craig could have afforded to go funnier (especially where the younger viewers are concerned) without fear of upsetting the film's delicate balance, there remains a finely tuned timelessness to "Paulie" that it shares with those perennial family classics.

Rather than the going tendency toward broadly played cartoonish characters, Paulie's human supporting cast keeps it warmly low-key with affectingly defined performances from Rowlands, Shalhoub and young Eisenberg, as well as from Cheech Marin (as an East L.A. entertainer whose act is literally for the birds) and Bruce Davison (as a research scientist who sees Paulie as his ticket to a Nobel Prize).

Mohr gives Paulie's vocal chords the right blend of smart-alecky brashness and gentle innocence, and in addition he plays the part of Benny, a two-bit thief,

Technical attributes are equally impressive. Animal wrangler Boone Narr (who also corralled the rodents for "Mouse Hunt") coaxes fine work from his feathered friends while the more demanding stuff has been seamlessly handled by a Stan Winston Studio animatronic stand-in.

Cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts ("A Room With a View", "Howards End"), meanwhile, lends the Los Angeles and Arizona backdrops a classy vibrance as John Debney's thoughtful score quietly nudges -- but never tugs at -- the heartstrings.

PAULIE

DreamWorks

A Mutual Film Co. production

Credits: Director, John Roberts; Screenwriter, Laurie Craig; Producers, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn, Allison Lyon Segan; Executive producer, Ginny Nugent; Director of photography, Tony Pierce-Roberts; Production designer, Dennis Washington; Editor, Bruce Cannon; Costume designer, Mary Zophres; Music, John Debney; Casting, Risa Bramon Garcia, Randi Hiller, Sarah Finn. Cast: Ivy: Gena Rowlands; Misha: Tony Shalhoub; Ignacio: Cheech Marin; Dr. Reingold: Bruce Davison; Adult Marie: Trini Alvarado; Voice of Paulie/Benny: Jay Mohr; Artie: Buddy Hackett; Marie: Hallie Kate Eisenberg; Warren Alweather: Matt Craven. Color/stereo. Running time - 91 minutes. MPAA rating: PG.

See also

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