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'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise. 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise, the last action hero There are two impossible missions in the latest Mission: Impossible. The first involves Chechen terrorists, political assassinations, the Vienna Opera House, and a car that unlocks when the user places his hand on the driver's side window (Detroit, get on that). The other impossible mission, one that is not only accepted and completed, but conquered and victoriously ground into dust, is proving that 53-year old Tom Cruise is still an action star. As Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation demonstrates with cruel ease, Cruise isn't just an action hero. In the post-movie star age, he is, with apologies to a certain Austrian bodybuilder whose drawing power is all but terminated, the last action hero. What makes him thus is not just his supreme confidence, compact good looks, and million dollar smile. »
- Mark Keizer
Two film franchises, both just now reaching their fifth film, but nothing alike in overall execution. What makes "Mission: Impossible" so rich and robust as a series, and why is "Vacation" such a drag? The answer to the first part of that question has to do with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, and anyone looking to understand how to build a 21st century franchise would be wise to closely study the model that they've established. Not only has it proven incredibly limber, it seems like they're still just picking up steam. All they have to do now is figure out how to keep Tom Cruise alive and looking exactly like he does right now for the next 100 years. Since it's the Imf we're talking about, I assume they will succeed. When you look at Tom Cruise's career, he came out of the gates really strong. He made his screen debut in "Endless Love, »
- Drew McWeeny
Pixar's latest Inside Out is in cinemas now, and the film is positively jam-packed with Easter eggs for the eagle-eyed among you.
1. Pizza Planet Truck
The pizza delivery truck, a 1978 Gyoza with the licence plate RES1536, has made an appearance in every single Pixar movie with the exception of The Incredibles.
The vehicle apparently makes three different appearances, and seeing as lead character Riley and her mother visit a restaurant (getting served a broccoli pizza of all things!) then it's safe to say that's one moment to look out for.
A113 is the name of a first-year classroom at California Institute of the Arts that saw Pixar luminaries such as John Lasseter and Brad Bird pass through (Bird even dropped a reference into a Simpsons episode he directed).
In Inside Out, »
Pixar's definitely on a roll this year, and Sanjay's "Super Team" (playing in front of "The Good Dinosaur" on Nov. 25) ) is very special and particularly Oscar worthy. It's Pixar's first semi-autobiographical short in which board artist Sanjay Patel ("Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," "The Incredibles") comes to terms with his Hindu heritage, which he was ashamed of as a child growing up in San Bernardino. The little boy tries to watch his favorite superhero cartoon but his father insists that he mediate with him. Bored, he imagines summoning three Hindu deities to fight a three-headed demon in a thematic and stylistic assimilation of West and East (assisted by a lovely score by Mychael Danna, Oscar winner for "Life of Pi"). Read More: "Inside Out" Producer Jonas Rivera on Protecting Pixar's Vision Bill Desowitz: The project really took off when John Lasseter suggested making it a more personal story about your. »
- Bill Desowitz
Do you dream of lending your voice to the next great animated classic? Casting director Jen Rudin has worked on dozens of animated features and knows exactly what it takes to rock those (human or otherwise) characters. On Tuesday, July 28, Rudin will be joining Backstage for a special webinar about auditioning for animated projects. Log in from anywhere in the country, and learn what you need to know about the fun (and creative) field of animation voiceover. You may know Rudin from her popular monthly column, Speak Easy, right here on Backstage. As the owner of Jen Rudin Casting, the long-time CD is known for her work on scores of films including “The Incredibles,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Meet the Robinsons.” Additionally, her book “Confessions of a Casting Director” offers actors an invaluable look inside the audition room. We are very excited to host Rudin for this unique educational opportunity. »
I really, really cannot wait for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Is anyone with me? Oh, all of you. We’re edging closer and closer to that December 18th release, and we’re hoping that Disney and Lucasfilm are going to show us more online in the coming weeks. It looks like the company have something up their sleeves for the middle of August though, as a press release reveals that Disney plan to show off footage from Star Wars as well as their other upcoming properties including Captain America: Civil War and the upcoming Pixar slate at their huge fan event, D23 Expo 2015.
Marvel didn’t pack for San Diego this year, and we not present at Comic-Con to present anything from their upcoming slate, or make any kind of announcements – so are they holding out for their parent company’s Expo? We certainly hope so.
- Paul Heath
Just a heads up -- in case you can't get to Walt Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA from August 14-16 -- heaps of new Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel and Disney movie intel will be coming out of the event, so put yourself on standby for cool previews.
Disney just shared a press release with the 2015 schedule. You'll see it's noted that "a bevy of special guests will be on hand to offer a look at an unparalleled slate that includes Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Jungle Book, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens-and much, much more." Also, "Filmmakers will unveil never-before-seen footage from Pixar's upcoming The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory and Disney Animation's Zootopia and Moana." So if those movies, and all Disney/Pixar projects, are of interest to you, just know some good teases should be coming out of this.
Here's the »
- Gina Carbone
Walt Disney Studios offers an exclusive look at its upcoming projects from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm at D23 Expo 2015, taking place August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Studio will unveil its animation and live-action film slates via two huge Hall D23 presentations featuring surprise guests and many unforgettable moments. Other not-to-be-missed events include a Frozen FANdemonium musical celebration with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and the 20th anniversary celebration of Disney Pixar's Toy Story with John Lasseter and the original Pixar crew.
Hall D23 Presentations:
After meeting the Emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old, taking a trip to San Fransokyo, where a boy genius and his robot save the world, and falling in love with a queen with icy powers who wants to "let it go, »
Disney has announced its full schedule for the D23 Expo, which is set to take place next month at the Anaheim Convention Center in California and will feature big upcoming releases such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Zootopia and Moana, along with much, much more.
Here’s the main presentations…
Friday, August 14, 3 p.m.—Hall D23
After meeting the Emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old, taking a trip to San Fransokyo, where a boy genius and his robot save the world, and falling in love with a queen with icy powers who wants to “let it go,” come see where Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios plan to take you next. In what has become a D23 Expo must-see, »
- Gary Collinson
Disney-Pixar has debuted a must-see full-length trailer for Pete Sohn's The Good Dinosaur, their new adventure into another time. The Good Dinosaur takes place in a world where the dinosaurs never died off and became the dominate species on Earth. One of them is named Arlo, voiced by Lucas Neff of "Raising Hope", and he comes across a small human. The two become friends, and the rest is history. This beautiful trailer is already hitting me right in the heart with emotions and scenes it shows. I love the music, I love the score, I just want to see this already. It looks like another wonderfully original Pixar creation. Must watch! Here's the full-length theatrical trailer for Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, direct from YouTube: The Good Dinosaur is directed by Peter Sohn (director of Partly Cloudy, animator on The Incredibles and Wall-e). Dinosaurs are the dominant species on Earth »
- Alex Billington
Academy invitee Eddie Redmayne in 'The Theory of Everything.' Academy invites 322 new members: 'More diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before' The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has offered membership to 322 individuals "who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures." According to the Academy's press release, "those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy's membership in 2015." In case all 322 potential new members say an enthusiastic Yes, that means an injection of new blood representing about 5 percent of the Academy's current membership. In the words of Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (as quoted in the press release), in 2015 "our branches have recognized a more diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before, and we look forward to adding their creativity, ideas and experience to our organization." In recent years, the Academy membership has »
- Anna Robinson
©Renzo Piano Building Workshop/©Studio Pali Fekete architects/©A.M.P.A.S.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this week that the Los Angeles City Council, in a unanimous vote, approved plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Construction will begin this summer, and ceremonial groundbreaking festivities will occur this fall.
“I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum’s development team to ensure that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will create jobs, support tourism, and pay homage to the industry that helped define our identity as the creative capital of the world.”
“We are grateful to our incredible community of supporters who have helped make this museum a reality,” said Dawn Hudson, the Academy’s CEO. “Building this museum has been an Academy »
- Michelle McCue
Strangely dropping a press release on a historic day where the nation's attention is elsewhere, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their annual list of new member invitees this morning. For those who criticize the makeup of the Academy there was some good news and the stark realization the organization still has a long way to go. The Academy has spent the last eight to 10 years attempting to diversify its membership and this year's class mostly reflects that. There are significantly more invitees of Asian and African-American descent, but the male to female disparity is still depressing. Out of the 25 potential new members of the Actor's Branch only seven are women. And, no, there isn't really an acceptable way for the Academy to spin that sad fact. Additionally, It's important to realize the 322 people noted in the release have only been invited to join Hollywood's most exclusive club. »
- Gregory Ellwood
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 322 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2015. “It’s gratifying to acknowledge the extraordinary range of talent in our industry,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “This year, our branches have recognized a more diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before, and we look forward to adding their creativity, ideas and experience to our organization.” The 2015 invitees are: Actors Elizabeth Banks – “Love & Mercy,” “The Hunger Games” Choi Min-sik– “Lucy,” “Oldboy” Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” Martin Freeman – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Hot Fuzz” Heather Graham – “The Hangover,” “Boogie Nights” Tom Hardy – “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Inception” Kevin Hart – “The Wedding Ringer,” “Ride Along »
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences continues to push for diversity, sending membership invitations to 322 individuals, including a healthy number of people who can help change the org’s demos.
Among the invitees are David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Felicity Jones, Emma Stone, Rosamund Pike, Bong Joon-ho, Justin Lin and Francois Ozon. The Academy has been reaching out to women, foreign-born artists and people of various races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
Accusations of Academy bigotry surfaced yet again in January when the list of Oscar nominees included Caucasians in all 20 acting categories, and few women or racial minorities among the other categories. Director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo of “Selma” had seemed like strong contenders, giving many people hopes of breakthroughs. After initial anger at the Acad, activists began to shift their protests to industry hiring practices. For example, 323 films were eligible for 2014 awards — which means AMPAS should theoretically »
- Tim Gray
Pixar's Inside Out enjoyed the biggest opening weekend for an original, non-sequel film, and so naturally fans are already eagar to hear about a sequel. Will there be one? Considering Pixar has made sequels for the Toy Story, Cars and Monsters, Inc. franchises -- with sequels to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles in the works too -- it makes sense that Inside Out may schedule a part two on the docket following its sensational debut. So what's the latest on Inside Out 2? Speaking to EW, director Pete Docter readily admits that he's not very interested in continuing the story and would rather focus on more original material. "There's no sequel idea from me at this point," he tells them, later teasing... "Never say never." And that couldn't...
- Erik Davis
There are many things to marvel at in Pixar’s Inside Out — the intricate, novel narrative concept, the sad fate of one Bing Bong, the ruthlessness with which it milks every tear from your body until you’re more lacrimal fluid than human, etc. But among all these elements, one stands out: Amy Poehler’s vocal performance as Joy, the film’s chief protagonist. Terrific voice-acting is nothing new in Disney and/or Pixar movies, of course: Think back to Robin Williams in Aladdin, or Patrick Warburton in The Emperor’s New Groove, or Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo, or Jean Sincere in The Incredibles. But rarely do you find an actor who is asked to do this much in a voice role, and who pulls it off this beautifully. The more I watch Inside Out, the more I realize just how much of the film rests on Poehler’s shoulders. »
- Bilge Ebiri
Don’t you even dare call it a “kid’s movie.”
Animation has been around for a while now, starting with silent experiments such as Gertie the Dinosaur, followed by the more traditional Disney fare such as Snow White or Cinderella, and becoming more modern with another round of Disney hits like The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast but also with a touch of the outside thanks to Japanese imports like My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away.
But time and time again, the medium is relegated to kids duty. Like being sent to the smaller table at Thanksgiving dinner.
Brad Bird, director of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, said it best when he referred to animation as a medium rather than a genre. Let’s define genre real quickly: “a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form.”
So that doesn’t confine animation; instead, »
- Zach Dennis
Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out heads to the top with the biggest opening for an original movie in history, topping the previous No. 1 original movie, Avatar, by more than $13 million, with $90,440,272 million in domestic box office opening weekend. The film opened Friday, June 19.
Directed by Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”), and featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Phyllis Smith, Inside Out took in an estimated $132 million globally, with many significant markets yet to open. The film is the second highest Pixar opening of all time, behind 2010’s Toy Story 3, and continues to be well received among audiences and critics alike.
“Inside Out” has an “A” Cinemascore. The movie is at 98 percent on rottentomatoes.com. “Inside Out” was the highest-grossing Disney•Pixar movie of all time in Russia. Friday box office for “Inside Out” ($34.2 M) made it the second largest opening day for Pixar, »
- Michelle McCue
You had only to look at the collected films of Brad Bird to know that Tomorrowland would be in large part a reverie for yesterday. The Iron Giant (1999) was such a friendly evocation of Cold War sci-fi that it belongs, in paperback form, tucked away in the back of a school library. The Incredibles (2004) was a tribute to 60s comics, 60s modernism, and the jazzy vibe of Thunderball-era Bond movies. Ratatouille (2007), with its story of talking rats in a timeless Paris, was a very classical kind of animation. More than anything else Pixar has put out—though Finding Nemo (2003) might come close—its style operates in the vernacular of what Disney animation used to mean in the 50s. Even Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), whose place in Bird's filmography is largely to show if he could handle live action (he can!), is the biggest throwback of that franchise. Its plot centered »
- Duncan Gray
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