8 items from 2015
You might not know who Gary Rydstrom is, but you've certainly heard him before. This is a man whose pioneering sound work has won him seven (!) Academy Awards and brought to life groundbreaking technological advancements like the first film presented in DTS sound ("Jurassic Park") and re-crafting sound mixes in 5.1 surround (after his breakthrough work on "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," he and James Cameron created a new multi-channel mix for the original "Terminator"). He's also directed a pair of Pixar short films ("Lifted" and "Hawaiian Vacation") and overseen the English language dubs of four Studio Ghibli movies ("Tales from Earthsea," "From Up on Poppy Hill," "Arrietty," and last year's Oscar-nominated masterpiece "The Wind Rises"). In short: he's kind of the coolest dude around.
And this weekend he adds another accomplishment to his already unfathomably long list, when his debut feature film "Strange Magic" debuts in theaters nationwide. This bizarre, George Lucas-produced animated fairy tale, »
- Drew Taylor
By Anjelica Oswald
When the 87th Oscar nominations for best animated feature were announced Jan. 15 and excluded The Lego Movie, the Internet exploded with confusion and disbelief. The film, which was largely expected by many pundits to win the Oscar, was a critical (holding a 96 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes) and commercial hit (earning $257.7 million stateside). It also earned Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations and won the Critics’ Choice Award for best animated film. It seemingly had everything going in its favor, so what went wrong?
One sentiment is that the animation branch of the Academy, which chooses the nominations, admire hand-drawn traditional animation and want to celebrate and preserve a fading craft rather than nominate solely computer animated and digital films.
The first computer animated film was Toy Story, which was released in 1995 and was nominated for original screenplay, original song and original score. Director »
- Anjelica Oswald
Sony Pictures Animation has brought on Homeland star Mandy Patinkin to voice Papa Smurf in their Untitled Smurfs Movie. Unlike 2011's The Smurfs and 2013's The Smurfs 2, which were live action/CGI animation hybrids, this Smurfs project will be fully animated, sticking closer to the original designs by creator Peyo. The project will give a new origin story to the Smurfs, and, while Papa Smurf is supposed to be "the wise paternal leader" of these tiny blue creatures, that will not always be the case.
Jonathan Winters voiced Papa Smurf in The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, with Don Messick voicing the character in the original Smurfs animated TV series. Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo and Juliet, Shrek the Third) is directing from a script by Karey Kirkpatrick (The Secret World of Arrietty, Over The Hedge) and Chris Poche (Over The Hedge). Jordan Kerner is producing with Mary Ellen Bauder serving as co-producer. »
Studio Ghibli is having a good day since its hand-drawn coming-of-age "Tale of the Princess Kaguya" officially became one of five films vying for the Best Animated Feature Oscar (and possibly at the expense of expected frontrunner "The Lego Movie"). As the revered Japanese animation house starts to pull back from production in the wake of is-he-or-isn't-he-retired figurehead Hayao Miyazaki's turn toward manga-making, its latest "When Marnie Was There" has landed Us release (Deadline reports). A summer 2014 box office hit in Japan, "Marnie" will be distributed stateside in English in Spring 2015 by Gkids, the studio that opened "Kaguya" to the best reviews of any animated film last year. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, this ghost story centered on a 12-year-old orphan's mysterious new friendship could be the last film we see from Ghibli for awhile. It's based on a children's novel from the 1980s by Joan G. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
The film is based on the nonfiction book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team. It’s a factual account of the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya, Sept 11, 2012.
Also Read: TheWrap’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: From ‘Fifty Shades’ to ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Spectre’
The attack left four Americans dead, including U.S. »
- Linda Ge
U.S. animated film distributor Gkids has reached yet another deal with Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli -- this time to handle the North American distribution of "When Marnie Was There." Based on Joan G. Robinson's children's novel of the same name, "When Marnie Was There" is a story about friendship with elements of the fantastic woven into it. Currently, Gkids is in the midst of running an awards campaign around the 2014 Studio Ghibli film "The Tale of The Princess Kaguya." The company also has the film "Song of the Sea" in theaters. Read More: Isao Takahata's 'The Tale of Princess Kaguya' Takes Top Prize at Fantastic Fest »
- Shipra Gupta
Art by Smallsam52
Here’s a wonderful one and half hour conversation between legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki and Roland Kelts at a Uc Berkley event. Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of the films that Miyazaki has made over the years, and it's really interesting to listen to him talk about his career and the work that he’s done. If you have the time, you should definitely check out this video.
A conversation with legendary Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, who was honored earlier that day with the Berkeley Japan Prize (2009-2010). The Berkeley Japan Prize is a lifetime achievement award from the Center for Japanese Studies to an individual who has made significant contributions in furthering the understanding of Japan on the global stage. This event was a part of the Uc Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies' 50th Anniversary program of events. Co-sponsored »
- Joey Paur
One of the most disappointing realities about 2014 was that as box office shrank compared to last year, independent films were often hit the hardest. Despite stellar reviews, even festival darlings like “Whiplash,” “Foxcatcher,” “The Skeleton Twins” and “Dear White People” each grossed less than $10 million domestically. Here are the 17 most underrated movies of 2014 that deserve a second look in the opinion of Variety’s film critics and reporters.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s biggest, most buzzed-about performance of 2014 may have been in “Nightcrawler,” but his best work could be found in “Prisoners” director Denis Villeneuve’s existential thriller about a mild-mannerded Toronto history professor who discovers he has a doppelganger in the form of a bad-boy bit-part movie actor. Virtually a solo — make that dual — performance piece, with Gyllenhaal playing most of his scenes opposite himself (and, in one case, a giant tarantula), this freewheeling mash-up of Davids Cronenberg and Lynch »
- Peter Debruge, Ramin Setoodeh, Scott Foundas and Jenelle Riley
8 items from 2015
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