12 items from 2014
From Chris Rock's jive-talking zebra in Madagascar to the racial hierarchy in Rio, Hollywood's animated films have been bombarding children with lazy caricatures for years. Should they come with ethnic sensitivity warnings?
These are supposed to be progressive times for movies and people of colour. Django Unchained was a hit action movie about slavery. A black director just won the best picture Oscar for another one (Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave), and a Mexican won best director (Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity). Hollywood is finally starting to reflect the ethnic makeup and sensitivities of its national and global audiences.
But all those dodgy racial politics that have been swept out of live-action movies seem to have quietly found a home. Modern animation is the success story of our movie era. It pushes at the technical frontiers of film-making and gives us visual spectacles previously unimaginable, along with substantial, accessible themes. »
- Steve Rose
Explorers and adventurers alike will be delighted to know that director David Douglas’ Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is as fun and informative a short film as any in recent memory. Captured using IMAX 3D cameras, the documentary presents the country of its title in all its glorious landscapes and colors. Of course, the film wouldn’t be much of anything without its titular creature: the lemur. As picturesque as the rainforest is when rendered in breathtaking 3D, it is the lemurs that bring Madagascar bursting out of the screen with stunning urgency.
The main action here surrounds Dr. Patricia Wright’s efforts to preserve the golden bamboo lemurs. This particular breed was thought to be extinct until she happened upon a few stragglers in what remains of Madagascar’s rainforest. At the onset of the film, only two golden bamboo lemurs dwell on preserved land. Dr. Wright’s team of »
- Adrian Centeno
Later this year we'll get another dose of stop-motion animation from Laika with their new feature The Boxtrolls, but there's also some great stop-motion work coming from Aardman Animation, the studio behind Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2015, they're bringing the popular British TV series Shaun the Sheep to the big screen. The character first appeared in an Oscar-winning animated short called A Close Shave, but now he gets a story worthy of movie theaters. This is obviously more relevant for our friends across the pond, but it could charm Us audiences too. Watch now! Here's the teaser trailer for Mark Burton & Richard Starzack's Shaun the Sheep from StudioCanal: And here's a teaser poster for the film from the United Kingdom (via Imp Awards): Shaun the Sheep is written and directed by Mark Burton (writer of Madagascar, Gnomeo & Juliet) and Richard Starzack, both making their directorial debut. »
- Ethan Anderton
The long, slender Malagasy primates that once thrived but are now skittering ever closer to extinction get their giantscreen closeup in “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” a serviceable Imax 3D nature documentary that duly meets the requirements of the form: majestic and intimate outdoor imagery, a grave yet reassuring lesson on the importance of wildlife preservation, and a short-and-sweet 40-minute running time. The all-important narration duties fall, predictably yet effectively, to Morgan Freeman, reteaming with producer/writer Drew Fellman and cinematographer David Douglas after their 2011 Imax 3D effort, “Born to Be Wild,” whose tale of baby elephants and orangutans grossed $34 million worldwide. While this film’s subjects may not be quite as “awww”-inspiring and it has a fuzzier sense of focus, it should score similarly impressive numbers as a family-friendly educational crowdpleaser.
As dramatized in a brief prologue, more than 60 million years ago a massive storm over Africa washed a »
- Justin Chang
Actor, comedian and producer Cedric the Entertainer has been tapped to host the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards. The awards show will broadcast live on Thursday, June 19 at 8 p.m. Et on The CW. Cedric stars on new TV Land comedy “Soul Man,” which he created and executive-produces, as well. He's alls the current host of syndicated show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” Also read: Forest Whitaker, ‘Before Midnight’ Team To Receive Special Critics’ Choice Movie Awards His film credits include “Barbershop,” “Be Cool,” the “Madagascar” animated franchise, “Intolerable Cruelty” and “Johnson Family Vacation,” among others. The awards are given by. »
- Jethro Nededog
Aaron Paul became a critically acclaimed actor while appearing in a recurring role on the television series Big Love and earned even more praise – and won two Emmy Awards – for his starring role on Breaking Bad. So why is it that the movie Need for Speed, which starred Paul, underperformed in U.S. theaters this past weekend?
Just because Paul is an award-winning actor on television does not mean audiences were going to pack the theaters to see his movie. In fact, there is a long history of wildly popular television stars who fail in their attempt to transition to movie stardom. In many cases, these TV stars made poor choices when it came to film roles. In other instances, viewers simply had no interest in seeing these actors play anything else but their beloved TV characters.
For every George Clooney there are many TV »
- Chris McKittrick
Last December, Netflix debuted Turbo: F.A.S.T., the first series born from its partnership with Dreamworks Animation. According to Variety, three more animated series are coming to Netflix, and like Turbo: F.A.S.T., they will all be based off existing franchises. The most notable of the three upcoming series is Puss In Boots, which will feature the Shrek franchise's breakout feline swashbuckler in his first leading role since he starred in a well-received film of his own. The second series also features a breakout star: Madagascar's King Julien, who became one of the original film's most memorable characters thanks to Sacha Baron Cohen's inspired voice work. The final of the three series takes place within the Veggie Tales universe. The three new series will be joined by five new episodes of Turbo: F.A.S.T. “We could not be having more fun as »
- Sam Gutelle
Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Fantastic Four, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Batman vs. Superman, Gotham, Arrow, Constantine, Son of Batman, Teen Titans Go! and more...
Well, they sure made us wait, but this week Marvel Studios gave us our first look at August's cosmic superhero adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, and boy did they deliver, with the reveal of the first trailer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! leading to what's been described as a "social media smash", with more mentions in the first 12 hours across Facebook and Twitter following its release than Man of Steel managed in 24 hours. The fun got underway on Monday with the arrival »
- Gary Collinson
Fox's Batman prequel series Gotham has added a new villain to its cast, with Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar) set to play newly-created mobster Fish Mooney, who Deadline describes as "an imposing, hotheaded and notoriously sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner with street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book who is not one to be crossed."
Gotham has been created by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist), with Danny Cannon (Judge Dredd set to direct the pilot. The show will revolve around a young Detective Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie (Southland) and will also feature Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth) as Oswald Cobblepot, Zabryna Guevara (The Guilt Trip) as Detective Essen, Erin Richards (Being Human) as Barbara Kean and Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) as Detective Harvey Bullock.
- Gary Collinson
News Louisa Mellor 20 Feb 2014 - 07:41
After Batman prequel Gotham established DC characters Jim Gordon, the Penguin, and Detective Harvey Bullock, it’s gone off-canon with the next announcement. Introducing Jada Pinkett-Smith as new addition to the Gotham universe: Fish Mooney.
Best recognised for her roles in Matrix and Madagascar franchises Pinkett-Smith will be playing "a sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner". The official blurb describes Mooney as having "the street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book. Imposing and hotheaded, she’s not one to be crossed."
If you've followed the trickle of Gotham casting announcements thus far, you might remember the name Mooney as the boss of one Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin. Though new, Pinkett-Smith's character has links to Gotham's established roster of criminals. »
Last summer, This Is The End proved that moviegoers will turn up en masse to see a lot of funny people doing crazy things on-screen, even in projects far out enough to feature cannibal gangs, demonic genitalia, high-speed rapturing and the Backstreet Boys (in under ten minutes of screen time). And so, confirmation that some members of that apoca-comedy’s principal cast, including Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill, will be joining forces for another project shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who took a peek at just how much their last venture picked up at the box-office.
What’s more surprising are the specifics what they’ve planned next. According to TheWrap, Rogen, Franco and Hill will topline a raunchy animated comedy called Sausage Party, alongside Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Michael Cera, Nick Kroll and David Krumholtz.
The flick will follow a heroic sausage »
- Isaac Feldberg
Sacha Baron Cohen is so great at playing the bad guy - he was the station master hunting an orphan in Hugo and a corrupt innkeeper and guardian in Les Miserables. Of course, he made Madagascar's King Julien "move it, movie it" like no one else. So, it's exciting news that the comedian may play the villain in Through the Looking Glass. Johnny Depp ("Mad Hatter") and Mia Wasikowska ("Alice") are definitely coming back for the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. The Muppets' director James Bobin will helm. The challenge to the script is said to be that writers already pulled from Lewis Carroll's novel "Through the Looking Glass" to make Alice in Wonderland.
Disney is scheduling Through the Looking Glass to hit theaters May 27, 2016. »
- email@example.com (Tara the Mom)
12 items from 2014
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