16 items from 2010
To celebrate October 19th's Blu-ray and DVD release of How to Train Your Dragon, the best animated film of the year, Dreamworks hosted a virtual roundtable with Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. They talk about everything from adapting the original books, to news about the upcoming sequel to the talent they sought to star in the film. Heck, they even expressed their love for animation legend Hayao Miyazaki and Pixar. To read the full text of the Q&A session, read on!
Q - You've directed both live action and animation; do you prefer one over the other?
A - Dean DeBlois: I love both equally. It's all storytelling at its core. Though I've directed a few live-action music and documentary films, Chris and I both have aspirations to direct live action narrative films. We're developing several as we speak.
A - Chris Sanders: Although I constantly have a camera in hand, »
- Lex Walker
Last week, How to Train Your Dragon's directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders fielded questions from the media in a virtual roundtable discussion to promote the Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of the film (read our How to Train Your Dragon on Blu-ray review). Their many insightful responses are below.
You've directed both live action and animation; do you prefer one over the other?
Dean DeBlois: I love both equally. It's all storytelling at its core. Though I've directed a few live-action music and documentary films, Chris and I both have aspirations to direct live action narrative films. We're developing several as we speak.
Chris Sanders: Although I constantly have a camera in hand, I have yet to direct a live-action film, but am very much looking forward to it. I think different stories thrive in different formats and some stories work best in animation, while others »
We start the week with a musical treat and a temporary fix for our Doctor Who habits. On Monday, September 6th, at 8:30pm, BBC3 hosts Doctor Who At The Proms 2010 where a number of Who cast and characters will tap toes and sway eye stalks to Murray Gold's music. We'll have a special remembrance on the day from a fan who was in attendance at the filming of the programme. You'll find it in our TV section on Monday, with an additional reminder about the broadcast.
We heard good things about Deadwood, but missed the show when it first aired here. We reckon we'll rectify that gap in our TV western drama viewing and TCM aims to help, with daily airings »
Silent cartoons, Disney features, Japanese fantasies and Pixar's digital innovations
1906 J Stuart Blackton is credited with being the first to harness stop-motion film-making to basic animation in what is widely said to be the first animated film: Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. Blackton drew cartoon faces on a blackboard and filmed them, stopping the camera in order to erase one face and draw another, before filming the new drawing.
1917 Quirino Cristiani's satire El Apóstol (The Apostle), thought to be the first full-length animated movie, is released in Argentina. It ran at around 70 minutes and comprised 58,000 frames, but all known copies of the film were lost in a fire in 1926.
1937 Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first surviving full-length animated movie. It was also the first in colour, and marked the studio's feature-length debut. Disney's wife, Lillian, apparently tried to talk him out of it, saying: »
- Ryan Gilbey
When the name Hayao Miyazaki is thrown around in a film's synopsis, the reader's ears should prick up and listen, as the man is responsible for some of the best animated films of the past decade, with Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke being just three of my personal favourites.
But when the name is given in the way this one was, you need to hear it with at least a little scepticism. Mai Mai Miracle's director Sunao Katabuchi was the assistant director to Miyazaki on Kiki's Delivery Service, and, as such, can have the man's name dropped into anything he touches from then on.
And it's no surprise, as Sunao Katabuchi's style is quite close to that of Miyazaki's, even if it »
Few animation studios have been as consistent in their output as Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli. Founded in 1985, its animated fantasies are made with just the right blend of humour, melancholy and whimsy to make them appeal to audiences of all ages.
And while Studio Ghibli has embraced new technology in recent years - Pom Poko was the studio's first film to use CG back in 1994 - it remains committed to producing animation using largely traditional, hand-drawn techniques.
While readers are sure to have their own personal favourites, here's our pick of the ten finest Ghibli productions...
With the success of Spirited Away and Ponyo, interest in Miyazaki's previous films has skyrocketed, and I want to introduce you to a few that were recently released in special editions - Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro. Each with the brilliant, quirky characters Miyazaki is famous for, and each with the fun, complex storytelling that make them the kind of treasures that will never get old. Kiki's Delivery Service The wonderful adventure of an adorable young witch who ventures out into the world on her own. Per witch custom, Kiki must leave home and find a town that needs a witch in order to continue her training. Traveling rather further than expected, Kiki finds a town where witches are mere legend, and having few skills other than the ability to fly on her broom, she starts a delivery service. »
- Marc Eastman
Jeff Stockwell ("Bridge to Terabithia," "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys") has been hired to adapt Madeleine L'Engle's award-winning 1962 sci-fi novel "A Wrinkle in Time" into a feature for Bedrock Studios says The Hollywood Reporter .
Considered a literary classic of the genre, the story follows adolescent Meg Murray, her super-genius five-year-old brother and a fellow classmate as they go on a journey across the universe to rescue her missing scientist father. In the process they encounter a great dark force that is swallowing the universe, and a planet under the control of a disembodied brain called It.
Cary Granat will produce. Stockwell is also at work on film versions of Kate Dicamillo's 2006 novel "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" and Eiko Kadono's 1985 child fantasy novel "Kiki's Delivery Service" which was already adapted into a memorable anime by Hayao Miyazaki. »
- Garth Franklin
Few filmmakers today can boast the feats Hayao Miyazaki has achieved in his few films. The imagination he displays in each film bests the most mind-bending science fiction and fantasy movies within the first few minutes alone. It makes you wonder what a feature combining the talents of Miyazaki and a director like Terry Gilliam or James Cameron would produce. At his best (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away), Hayao Miyazaki creates stories with unique, vibrant aesthetics that tell deep, emotional tales appealing to children and adults alike. Since Disney took over U.S. distribution of Studio Ghibli, they've put forth Miyazaki's films and let them retain their purity beyond the Disney stars they use to fill in the American voice acting cast. With Ponyo, there's a sense that Miyazaki may have ceded somewhat to demands from Disney to create a film much more child-centric feature, because this doesn't have that same maturity his other films have. »
- Lex Walker
I was curious how my kids would react to this and made sure the first time I saw it I was in their presence. The entire time I couldn't help but be thankful for the marvelous gift Hayao Miyazaki has shared with the world. Time after time he has made me, my families and my friends jaws drop, scaring us, provoking wonder and leaving us awash in joy. His creations are for all time and his latest, Ponyo, takes perhaps the simplest character arc he's ever used in a narrative to great heights. My kids have literally not had this out of the player since we put it in.
A small fish being named Ponyo disobeys her father to experience life on land amid the humans where she meets a small boy and falls in love. Balance must then be restored to the universe or it will collapse. Miyazaki is »
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has released Hayao Miyazaki's recent hit Ponyo on Blu-ray and DVD this month, together with three films from the acclaimed Japanese animator's 1980s output: Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Kiki's Delivery Service (1989). While Ponyo reflects the increased environmental consciousness that is a feature of the new millennium, all of these films are fresh, charming and overflowing with Miyazaki's characteristic energy, imagination and childlike sense of wonder.
Want to know more: Ponyo is released as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and all four films have also been released on DVD as 2-Disc Special Editions. The Bd release of Ponyo is gorgeous. The high definition format does full justice to the vibrant colors, artistic imagery and delightful background details that are features of this film. That said, Miyazaki's hand-drawn animation style is not filled with intricate details, so high-def is not essential to appreciate his films. »
I'm only featuring one title I watched this last week as I am still working on a Blu-ray piece for the Lionsgate Studio Canal Collection and am almost ready for a review article for the recent Hayao Miyazaki movies that just hit DVD. I just watched Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky for the first time and am going to give the excellent My Neighbor Totoro a watch before starting that piece. Hopefully both will be completed before the week is up.
However, on top of the film reviewed below, I did (sort of) watch David Cronenberg's Scanners, but I got so bored with it I just started doing work and periodically looking up to reassure myself that it was just doing the same thing over and over again. Sure, a head explodes and people can deliver intense stares over and over, but I'll be damned if »
- Brad Brevet
Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are sails onto DVD and Blu-ray today, giving people another chance to re-evaluate whether it is a masterpiece or a disappointment. Also hitting stores is Roland Emmerich's latest disaster thrill ride 2012, Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo, and Jared Hess's much maligned Gentleman Broncos. If none of those flicks particularly interest you, perhaps you'll want to check out the b-movie mayhem of Bitch Slap, Ondi Timoner's acclaimed documentary We Live in Public, or the original Clash of the Titans on Blu-ray. Do you see anything worth renting or buying this week? Where The Wild Things Are  (+ Blu-ray ) 2012  (+ Blu-ray ) Ponyo  (+ Blu-ray ) Gentlemen Broncos  (+ Blu-ray ) The Private Lives of Pippa Lee  (+ Blu-ray ) Bitch Slap  Ninja  (+ Blu-ray ) Wushu Warrior  Alice  (+ Blu-ray ) Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey  We Live in Public  Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak  The Beaches of Agnes »
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Before I get into today's releases, Blu-ray.com has alerted me to a deal at Amazon.com where you can buy the forthcoming Blu-ray releases of Armageddon and Tombstone together for $32.98. Just click here and go to where it says "Best Value" just a little ways below the artwork. There is no telling how long this will last, but the discs will be released on April 27.
I have only had a few minutes to spend with the Blu-ray, since it arrived a little late, but it looks fantastic. This is the first Hayao Miyazaki film to hit Blu-ray here in the States and I can't imagine a better way to see it, and hope »
- Brad Brevet
A slew of Blu-Ray and DVD news to report... First up, Sean Axmaker reports on the Blu-ray release of Hayao Miyazaki's latest, "Ponyo," and special editions of three Miyazaki classics: "Kiki's Delivery Service," "Castle in the Sky," and "My Neighbor Totoro." "They may seem old fashioned and perhaps too sweet for American audiences—his films, while loved by many, have never found the huge audiences that flock to the more knowing and »
Disney's North American Blu-ray treatment of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo ignited an uproar the day it was announced. How dare the Mouse House favor the English language dub featuring the star-studded voices of Cate Blanchett, Noah Cryus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White for lossless audio over the original Japanese dialogue track? They most certainly did to appeal to the North American viewing "masses" and the result is a high definition release that is technically not entirely HD.
Ponyo is a magical reimagining of themes from The Little Mermaid designed to capture the imagination of young children, or those still young at heart, at the expense of alienating audiences seeking something more mature. It is touching and heartbreaking as a small fish, Ponyo, is saved from certain death by a young boy only to be plucked from the boy's care by her father, »
16 items from 2010
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