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"The Book of Life" is a colourful, slightly macabre animated story that draws from Mexican culture and aesthetic style. Told as a story-within-a-story, this is a straight-up fairy tale that sees the protagonist go on a traditional heroic quest, with visits to the underworld, battles with raging beasts, and overcoming family expectations.
For a film that has significant events that take place in the underworld, this seems like a weird title.
Originally the film was called "Day of the Dead," which, frankly, is much more in keeping with the film's style. While granting that there are entire swaths of the audience that would be caught, um, dead taking their children to a film of that title, from both a narrative and aesthetic point of view it's a much more apt title.
What's with Mexicans and all this death stuff?
That seemingly offensive question is a rhetorical question that the film explicitly raises, »
- Jason Gorber
Any children’s film that opens with a Le Tigre song and contains a sad matador singing Radiohead is basically alright by me. Death is ‘in’ at the moment in children’s animation, with The Book of Life belonging to a quirky little group along with Frankenweenie and Paranorman (or going back a bit further, The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas). But even among this morbid crowd, The Book of Life racks up an impressive body count. Given that the film bears Guillermo del Toro’s unmistakable fingerprints, this perhaps isn’t surprising, as in this case, animation allows his intricate imagination to run riot.
We open in the ‘real world’ to find four misbehaving children on a school trip to a museum. The guide (Christina Applegate) is teaching them all about the Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) via a children’s fable told through wooden toys. »
- David James
It was the pitch from hell.
Jorge Gutierrez had been granted entry to Guillermo Del Toro’s Los Angeles home, hoping to convince the “Pan’s Labyrinth” filmmaker to produce “The Book of Life,” an animated fantasy centered around the Day of the Dead. He hadn’t counted on doing his pitch outside in the 100-degree heat, with gardeners working all around him, their leaf blowers creating a deafening roar. Nor had he expected to have to cut down his twenty-minute song and dance routine to a mere five minutes, because Del Toro was pressed for time.
“There was life-size statue of Ray Harryhausen that I swear was judging me,” remembers Gutierrez. “I yelled everything to be heard. I almost fell in the pool. I’m drenched in sweat and he’s drenched in sweat.”
At the end of it, Del Toro agreed. The pitch fell flat, but fortunately he »
- Brent Lang
Over the weekend I had a chance to speak with director Jorge Guiterrez about his new film "The Book of Life," which is also produced by Guillermo del Toro. The look of the film is inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) celebrations.
"The Book of Life" is the journey of Manolo (Diego Luna), a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, "The Book of Life" encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.
Here is what Guiterrez had to say about the film.
For me, when I first saw the film, I thought of it as elements of a video game. »
- Kellvin Chavez
In the frenzy of news following this past weekend's premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" at the New York Film Festival, some eager-beavers spotted what they believed was a new Radiohead song, "Spooks," in the film's soundtrack (check it out here). But that wasn't quite accurate. An instrumental jam described as cross between The B52s and Dick Dale, the tune has been a part of the band's live set since 2006, and for fans holding out for a brand new song from Radiohead, this update might be a bit of a disappointment. Responding to word circulating around the web, Radiohead guitarist and "Inherent Vice" composer Jonny Greenwood took to Twitter to clear the air. “I rewrote ['Spooks'] and got Supergrass to play it,” he posted. “It’s good, but not very [Radiohead]!” Later clarifying that it's “only 2/3 supergrass,” Greenwood also said “it’s really a half idea we never made work live. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
With "Gone Girl" in theaters, your ears are being treated to yet another untraditional feat of film music composition from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It's their third collaboration with director David Fincher, and maybe their most intriguing. We talked to Reznor recently and hope to go even deeper on the work later in the season, but for now, let's consider the tradition his and Ross' contribution joins. From the moment sound and image collided in cinema, the entire medium was on a crash course with popular music. Soon enough, merely using pre-existing songs transitioned to filmmakers tapping musical acts, rock or otherwise, for actual score composition. The lineage is rich and intriguing and, more to the point, ever evolving (witness Jay Z's collaboration with Baz Luhrmann on "The Great Gatsby" last year). With Reznor and Ross' latest work in theaters, and with other individuals like Mark Mothersbaugh, Jonny Greenwood »
- Kristopher Tapley
Written for the screen and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
It’s not just that Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies tend to defy any one genre description; it’s that, often, it seems as if the writer-director is trying to play with many genres simultaneously. The only reason that Boogie Nights isn’t the best drama of the 1990s is that it spends a lot of time trying to be the best comedy of the 1990s instead. So Anderson’s newest, Inherent Vice, is a departure in that it mostly sticks to one style (sun-drenched film noir) and one tone (absurdist comedy). It’s also a fine film, which suffers only when measured against the insanely high standard that Anderson’s past work has set.
- Mark Young
Paul Thomas Anderson’s doped-up, stoner mystery noir “Inherent Vice” premiered this weekend at the New York Film Festival (our review). It lead to elation, confusion and more, because it’s a sprawling film with a crazy narrative, but it’s also beautiful, moving and has lots on its mind. While reaction was mixed—critics seemed to love it, but some audiences were confused—perhaps one thing that everyone can agree on is the soundtrack: it’s pretty groovy, dude. The film is, of course, scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and that means more than the eerie, unsettling soundscapes he’s composed for “The Master” and “There Will Be Blood” this time around. With “Inherent Vice” being set in 1970, the score features jazzy freakbeat, surfer rock, golden summery folk, paranoid electronic music and classical mystery orchestration that seems lifted right out of 1940s and ‘50s films. It’s easily »
- Rodrigo Perez
Director Paul Thomas Anderson has a special relationship with Radiohead. He let guitarist Jonny Greenwood carry the score of his 2007 classic There Will Be Blood, and the two teamed again for 2012's The Master. This December's Inherent Vice, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel, will feature the third Greenwood/PTA original score sandwich. But Radiohead proper — not just Greenwood — is involved this time, as well. According to Slate, which just saw Inherent Vice at the New York Film Festival, a never-released Radiohead track plays at some point during the film. Read more New York Film Fest: Will the Weighted Ballot Enable 'Inherent Vice' to Land
- Zach Dionne, Billboard
The film premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 4, and will be released in cinemas on December 12 in the Us and January 30, 2015 in the UK.
Greenwood has worked on music for film before, having provided the soundtrack to There Will Be Blood in 2007.
Watch Radiohead performing 'Spooks' in 2006 below: »
With this weekend's release of Gone Girl, director David Fincher has once again showcased the unsettling sounds of award-winning composers Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (above). Ever since 2010's The Social Network, the duo have become a fixture of Fincher's work. The duo's deceptively minimal sound, with subtle motifs barely hiding cold electronic undercurrents, is remarkably well-suited for Fincher's trademark visual aesthetic, in which every smile and doorway can take on an air of menace if the camera lingers long enough. While he has worked with a number of composers before—most notably Howard Shore—Fincher has found »
- Joshua Rivera
Update: In a tweet to Pitchfork, Jonny Greenwood has clarified Radiohead's involvement in the new song on Inherent Vice. "Except it's really a half idea we never made work live," wrote the Radiohead guitarist. "I rewrote it and got Supergrass to play it. It's good, but not very rh!"
Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice is already one of the most anticipated films of 2014, and now there's even more reason to look forward to the first big screen adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel: According to reports, an unreleased »
Fitting the late 1960′s/early 1970′s era of Inherent Vice (our review), Jonny Greenwood‘s third collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson is an expectedly more relaxed score, while still ramping the paranoid-infused reverberations as Joaquin Phoenix‘s Doc Sportello gets further down the rabbit hole. While we’ll have to wait some time until the excellent score is released, today we have […] »
- Jordan Raup
The good-vibing ’60s are slip-sliding away in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice,” and along with them a certain idea of pre-Vietnam, pre-Manson California life — of boho beach towns and uncommodified counterculture soon to be washed away by a tsunami of gentrification, social conservatism and Reaganomics. Freely but faithfully adapted by Anderson from Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 detective novel — the first of the legendary author’s works to reach the screen — Anderson’s seventh feature film is a groovy, richly funny stoner romp that has less in common with “The Big Lebowski” than with the strain of fatalistic, ’70s-era California noirs (“Chinatown,” “The Long Goodbye,” “Night Moves”) in which the question of “whodunit?” inevitably leads to an existential vanishing point. Not for all tastes (including the Academy’s), this unapologetically weird, discursive and totally delightful whatsit will repel staid multiplex-goers faster than a beaded, barefoot hippie in a Beverly Hills boutique. »
- Scott Foundas
New York - Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice" is probably the most accessible novel he's ever written, set in 1970, a sort of hyper-clever nod to the Raymond Chandler tradition of Los Angeles detective stories. As much as I wanted to like his work, I was never able to really dig in and enjoy Pynchon's books. They felt to me like something to be conquered. With "inherent Vice," I finally found myself caught up in not just his language but with his characters and the world that he was describing. It was my in to the rest of his work, and so it holds a special place for me among his novels. Pynchon is one of literature's true pilgrims, a guy perpetually pushing forward against the constraints of what pop culture will bear. His first book "V." is the story of a discharged sailor who loses himself in the artistic community »
- Drew McWeeny
We're entering the final week of the New York Film Festival, and as such, the big centerpiece film has been unveiled: the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling comic crime saga "Inherent Vice." As far as premieres go, this is one of the more hotly anticipated ones -- the movie doesn't open until December and besides a handful of stills and a recently revealed teaser trailer, virtually knowing had been known about this adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's best-selling novel (the first such adaptation ever).
Well, now we know.
The movie takes place at the tail end of the '60s, with a washed-up private detective named Doc (Joaquin Phoenix) who sees his increasingly complicated life through a scrim of bad vibes and pot smoke. He is visited by a lost love (Katherine Waterston, utterly beautiful) and gets embroiled in a conspiratorial plot that involves, among other things, »
- Drew Taylor
South Park is about to begin its 18th season in the UK, and despite nearly two decades of episodes, it doesn't show any sign of getting 'lame', as Cartman might say.
To celebrate its return, we have chosen our personal favourite 25 from its first 247 episodes.
25. Woodland Critter Christmas - Season 8
A thoroughly bizarre but memorable episode, in which Stan finds himself in the middle of the woods with a bunch of seemingly cute woodland animals. With an irritating voiceover narrating his every move, the critters turn out to be the most evil creatures known to man. Things are pretty f**ked right here, as he would say. Eventually, it is revealed that Cartman is the creator of such an awful story, and it's all just so »
This weekend, Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of the 2009 Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, will receive its world premiere at the New York Film Festival — and now, the film's first trailer has finally been released.
Set in the early Seventies, the clip opens with voiceover narration that advises: "If it's a quiet night out at the beach, and your ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend and his wife and her boyfriend and a plot »
Just in time for Christmas and awards season contention, Warner Bros. Pictures has released the wild first trailer for Inherent Vice.
The film stars Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson; Katherine Waterston; Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Benicio Del Toro; Martin Short; Jena Malone and musician Joanna Newsom.
When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that »
- Michelle McCue
Welcome to another edition of the Rolling Stone "Everything Index," where we rank the week's top pop-culture power players, regardless of whether they have three breasts or not.
Yes, it's been a weird week, and it's only Tuesday. From Jasmine Tridevil's Total Recall-esque exploits to the return of Lizzie McGuire, the battle for pop-culture supremacy has been fierce. Luckily, we've got advanced algorithms on our side; here's our Top 20 for the next seven days. Let's get Indexing!
1. New Kendrick Lamar! Uplifting "i" is a definite departure, but it's more »
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