15 items from 2016
Marni Nixon, who gained fame as a “ghost singer” for Deborah Kerr in “The King and I,” Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” and Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady,” died of breast cancer on Sunday in New York City. She was 86.
In the 1940s, ’50s and into the ’60s, major film actresses without great singing voices were often “dubbed” by anonymous background singers. Studio execs preferred to keep alive the myth that the stars did their own singing. Nixon became the most famous of these — inadvertently at first, because Kerr spilled the beans in an interview about “The King and I” in 1956.
She was born Feb. 22, 1930, in Altadena, Calif. By the time she was 4, her family discovered that she had the rare gift of “perfect pitch” and started her on violin lessons.
By the time she was 7, she was working as an extra or bit player in films, which continued through her teen years. »
- Jon Burlingame
Comic-Con is in full-swing right now, with San Diego being flooded by excited fans and members of the entertainment industry eager to get their latest big breaking news out. Today, Lionsgate is beyond estatic to let everyone know that pop sensation Sia is set to swing into Equestria for My Little Pony: The Movie. This long-awaited animated adventure also got a new release date, and will be in theaters around the world on October 6, 2017.
Playing the role of pony pop star Songbird Serenade, My Little Pony: The Movie, will be one of Sia's first forays into acting. She will contribute two brand new original songs to the film's soundtrack. Sia joins previously announced A-list talent alongside the Mane 6, including Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated actress Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Golden Globe-winning actress Emily Blunt (Into the Woods, Gnomeo & Juliet), Tony,  Emmy Award-winning actress Kristen Chenoweth (Rio 2, The Peanuts Movie »
Has it really been 20 years since Hunchback of Notre Dame hit theaters? Oui, c'est vrai! The 34th animated feature from the House of Mouse, Hunchback has a place among the Disney Renaissance movies of the 1990s, though it tends to be less remembered and celebrated than the likes of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Mulan. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, it’s darker than many Disney pics, and the only animated movie from the studio that’s had a major focus on themes of religion and faith. Though the filmmakers “were told to not make the movie too religious — a pretty daunting task when you consider how much of this story takes place inside of a big church,” animator Floyd Norman said. Hunchback of Notre Dame also had an outcast hero that didn’t look like dashing princes of Disney films past. And »
- Emily Rome
At a signing ceremony in Seoul today, the group announced it has established Signal Pictures with venture capital firm Gemini Investment.
Signal Pictures has invested in Michael Uslan’s Uslan Entertainment, becoming its largest shareholder, and the partners said they plan to produce global content with a focus on China.
Kathy Kim, former Cj Entertainment CEO and current president of Signal Entertainment Group’s filmed entertainment division, was named CEO. Jonathan Kim, currently CEO of HanMac Culture Group, »
- email@example.com (Jean Noh)
Signal Pictures, a new production company that is jointly owned by Korean investors and “Batman” producer Michael Uslan’s Uslan Entertainment, is kicking off with a trio of superhero and action movie projects. A significant portion of its slate will include China-focused projects.
Signal Pictures is headed by Kathy Kim, former CEO of Cj Entertainment, and veteran producer Jonathan Kim (no relation) as president of production. Jonathan Kim, CEO of HanMac Culture, is this week on the Asian film jury at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
The Signal Pictures production slate is headed by its stake in current Uslan Entertainment project “East Dragon, West Dragon,” an animated feature directed by Tony Bancroft, previously director of Disney’s “Mulan.”
It will also board “The Luckiest Man,” a drama the story of New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig, who fought and lost a heroic battle against a form of motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) that was subsequently named after him.
Signal Entertainment has previously worked with HanMac on several Korea-China and global movie projects. Among these, “Making Family”, starring Kim Ha Neul and Aarif Lee, will be released during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival on Sept. 15.
At a launch event in Seoul Kathy Kim said that the Chinese film market is not only growing in size, it is also now maturing. Different genres are being sought by audiences, and she expects this expansion trend to include Asian-themed superhero and animation movies.
“We will be identifying successful IP and creating strong stories with deep characterizations, in order to appeal to the global market. The content will possess uplifting and universal themes that will transcend not merely borders, but cultures as well,” said Michael Uslan.
“What we’re trying to do is not about trying to take a piece of the China market. Instead, we’re trying to work together for Chinese cultural products to have more global appeal and international success,” Jonathan Kim told Variety in Shanghai. “By widening the horizons, we can afford the ever rising production cost and talent prices in China, and making this into a real business, not a gamble.”
- Patrick Frater
Walt Disney is gearing up for a lavish coronation for a princess that few people have seen or heard.
When Elena of Avalor surfaces on Disney Channel at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 22, in a one-hour special of the same name, viewers will have to decide if they want to follow her adventures. The animated teenage character, they will learn, has saved her kingdom from an evil sorceress, but must learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen.
Disney is pulling out all the promotional stops to make sure its fans will want to follow her journey. Princess Elena characters will traipse through Walt Disney World Resort this summer and Disneyland Resort in the fall. Disney Publishing has produced print and e-book titles based on the character and her story. And licensees including Habro, Jakks Pacific, Franco Manufacturing and Children’s Apparel Network have readied dolls, »
- Brian Steinberg
Red’s Planet Book 1
Amulet, 192 pages, $19.95/9.95
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there appear to some things that are universally acclaimed, so science fiction is rife with aliens that like to collect things. Add to the growing list the Aquilari, who ply the spaceways in their flying saucer, scooping up rare and fascinating artifacts. Their most recent acquisition is a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, refurbished into a rural Georgia police car. When the aliens gather it, they did not stop to inspect the contents so they were in for a surprise when out pops a 10-year red-headed girl.
This human, known only as Red, is the focal point of the web comic turned graphic novel Red’s Planet from Disney animator Eddie Pittman (Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, Phineas & Ferb). Launched in 2011 when his own daughter was 10, Pittman has found a wonderful premise for an all »
- Robert Greenberger
On the Spot Broadway Comedy Club, NYC Monday nights, 8:00 Pm
In the olden days ("Tell us great-grandfather") there was vaudeville, where young performers could cut their teeth, playing on the various circuits all around the country. So where do emerging singers and comedians get their time before an audience in this strangest of all eras? Of course there's the web, but tweeting responses or comments below a YouTube video do not in my opinion constitute a flesh and blood audience--those hearty folk who make an effort to move their bodies into a performance space, and let a singer or comedian know in no uncertain terms if they've "got it."
Handsomely patrician actor, Nathan Armstrong took it upon himself to create a venue in which the energy and exuberance of those on the quest for stardom can indeed show what they go -- in abundance. On the Spot is a »
- Jay Reisberg
Image Source: The CW What's better than the first season finale of Grazy Ex-Girlfriend? A cameo from a famous Disney voice actress on the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finale. If you haven't seen Josh's Aunt Myrna before, you've definitely heard her. Lea Salonga is the singing voice of Jasmine in Aladdin and Mulan in the 1998 original and the 2004 sequel. She actually sang "A Whole New World" during an Aladdin reunion last year and blew us all away. You may have noticed a nod to the film when Rebecca and Josh are - spoiler alert - making out on a flying carpet. Apparently Vincent Rodriguez III (aka Josh) was so excited when he heard Salonga would be on the show that he fainted. Look how cute they are! A photo posted by Entertainment Weekly (@entertainmentweekly) on Apr 18, 2016 at 6:31am Pdt »
- Maggie Pehanick
Scarlett Johansson has been plunged into a fresh Twitter storm over her casting in the Hollywood remake of classic Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell.
The first image of the Hollywood star as cyborg policewoman Major Kusanagi hit the web on Thursday as production began on the live-action reworking, reigniting a “whitewashing” row that has been rumbling ever since her casting was announced.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Drew Struzan’s art has given us the iconic posters for Back to the Future, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, The Muppet Movie, and so many other beloved films. He also recently did some pro-bono poster artwork for the documentary Batkid Begins, and now his art is on the poster for another documentary, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, about the Disney animator, the first African-American artist to work at the studio long-term. Earlier this week, news broke of the next opportunity you’ll have to see Floyd Norman: It will screen at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, in Bentonville, Ar next month. The festival created by the Thelma & Louise actress champions women and diverse voices in media. But if you don’t live in Arkansas, you can hope to see the feature-length doc in a few months. Michael Fiore, who made the film with Erik Sharkey, told HitFix »
- Emily Rome
For a generation of young women watching television today, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Melinda May and Daisy Johnson will linger in their minds as idealistic -- but not idealized -- versions of what a woman can be: powerful, capable, clever, altruistic, athletic, diverse, and even a little flawed.
And Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet, the actresses who play two of the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." leading ladies, admit they are acutely aware of just how important their characters are when it comes to both female representation and diversity on TV: Wen was born in Portuguese Macau and lived in Hong Kong before moving to the U.S. as a child; Bennet's father is Chinese American, her mother is Caucasian and she periodically lived in Chicago, Beijing, and Shanghai during her youth.
During a visit to WonderCon in Los Angeles, the actresses joined Moviefone for a frank, forthright discussion »
- Scott Huver
Welcome to another look at the highs and lows of Hollywood remakes. This time, we’ve got one of the better ones, as we compare two of the all-time great screen comedians in two of their best roles. This week, Cinelinx looks at The Nutty Professor.
Jerry Lewis and Eddie Murphy are two of the best big-screen comedians in the history of the film industry. Jerry Lewis’ 1963 hit The Nutty Professor is a comedy classic, which Lewis wrote and directed himself. Eddie Murphy is one of the few comedians talented enough to try to recapture that magic and succeed. Murphy’s remake is so entertaining that it matches the original in overall comedic quality. Which is better? Let’s look at the two versions.
What’s interesting about this comparison is that both versions of The Nutty Professor are the benchmark for the second half of the careers of the respective stars. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Please note: This article contains spoilers for Marvel's Agents of Shield S3 E2, 'Purpose in the Machine'. If you're not watching the show, then either a) What?! You must be crazy (joking!) or b) You've obviously missed an episode due to whatever reason (in which case, I'm so sorry), and are now waiting for viewing options to become available so that you can get back into it (but rest assured, it's worth the wait).
This episode was written by D.J. Doyle, who plays with many themes that will be music to the ears of any analytically-minded fans. This is my jam. Delicious food for thought.
Anyway, now that we've got enough puns out of the way to keep Brett Dalton happy should he ever read this, let's get analysing. (To reference Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog: It's hi-yo, thematic analysis! (Signed Bad Horse.))
If you don't know what a microcosm is, »
You’ve probably noticed the influx of live action fairytales gracing cinemas in recent years. This isn’t about to stop any time soon, since re-spinning a recognisable fantastical yarn with real people instead of animated ones always makes big money for the studio behind it.
This process has become so popular that there are currently more of these live action fairytales in production than Marvel Studios, DC Entertainment or Star Wars movies. That’s a lot of films. (A whopping 21 by our count.)
Although it wadsn’t the first movie of this kind, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland – and its worldwide gross of over a billion dollars – can surely take the credit for kick-starting this trend. Here are all the in-development movies trying to repeat its success, »
15 items from 2016
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