14 items from 2016
He’s a charming character, a fascinating player in cinema history. Absolutely essential viewing for Disney fans and those interested in animated filmmaking. I’m “biast” (pro): big animation fan
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Did you know that Comic-Con awards prizes to movies? I had no idea. But it sounds like pretty much the biggest no-brainer ever that Floyd Norman: An Animated Life won Best Documentary there this year. Anyone who was a kid in the 20th century knows Norman’s work, whether they know it or not: he was an animator and/or a story creator on so many cool things that you won’t believe one man could have spread himself around so much. A very incomplete list of where you have seen Norman’s work and felt his influence: Disney’s animated features Sleeping Beauty, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Louisa Mellor Aug 23, 2016
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a fictionalised version of himself in this action movie spoof Amazon comedy pilot…
Like a supermodel launching a make-up line or an athlete turning coach, playing a parody version of yourself is one way for past-their-prime movie stars to keep the cheques coming. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s TV roles so far have exclusively been as him - on Friends in 1996, on Las Vegas in 2004, on Robot Chicken in 2009 and in double denim and a mullet wig for Coors Light since 2012. Now he’s playing himself in Amazon comedy pilot Jean-Claude Van Johnson, an action-movie spoof from The Expendables writer Dave Callaham.
More properly, he plays a fictionalised Jean-Claude Van Damme, not only a former action movie star but also a former undercover operative, part of a Hollywood network that uses movie-making as a front for covert black ops. (Should Amazon pick it up to series, »
The third annual MondoCon 2016 has been announced and tickets for the monster event are currently on sale. Attendees will be able to purchase The Monster Squad vinyl soundtrack with new artwork by Gary Pullin. Also in today’s Horror Highlights: three Blu-ray clips for The Binding before it debuts on August 2nd, a look at cover artwork and preview pages for Fractured Scary Tales #2, and details and a Kindred Spirits clip from Destination America’s panel at Sdcc 2016.
Third Annual MondoCon 2016 Announcement: Press Release: “Austin, TX-July 27 2016 – Mondo is pleased to announce tickets are on sale for the third annual MondoCon along with an initial lineup of exhibitors and artists. MondoCon 2016 will take place October 22nd and 23rd in Austin, TX at Afs Cinema and Holiday Inn Midtown Conference Center.
MondoCon is a celebration of everything Mondo loves, including movies, art, comics, music, toys and food. It’s a weekend curated with fans in mind, »
- Tamika Jones
While Twitter has been blowing up with crazy reactions from the Emmy nominees, many of the actors and filmmakers are also sitting back and reflecting on the achievements of their show and everyone involved. In official statements following the announcement, actors including Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Idris Elba (“Luther”) and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), as well as behind-the-camera stars including director Susanne Bier (“The Night Manager”), director Ryan Murphy (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) and Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos all offered some warm thanks to their peers and the people they work with.
- Kyle Kizu and Kate Halliwell
Series creator Genndy Tatakovsky and Samurai Jack voice actor Phil Lamarr are among the cast and crew featured in a new behind-the-scenes look at the production on season 5 of the fan favorite action cartoon. Tatakovsky admits that after 4 seasons, everyone felt a little burned out and thought it was time to move on with their careers. However, in the 12 years since the show's first run, Tatakosky is somewhat astonished that its become more popular than when it was actually on TV. Lamarr echoes that sentiment, recalling the many fans that have asked him when the show was returning to wrap up Jack's story. The show is currently in production in Los Angeles and will premiere on Cartoon Network's Saturday Night Adult Swim programming block in 2016. Behind the scenes of Samurai Jack season 5 production. About Adult Swim: Adult Swim is your late-night home for animation and live-action comedy. Enjoy some of your favorite shows, »
Ben Schwartz is prolific. Best known for his work as an actor, in projects such as House Of Lies, BoJack Horseman, Parks And Recreation, and Turbo, he is also a writer (Robot Chicken, The Oscars), a producer (Funny Or Die Presents…, Bronx World Travellers), and director (CollegeHumor Originals). He is also the proud owner of a Primetime Emmy Award for writing music and lyrics for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. But now, he has really hit the big time, because he’s about to star in Blue Iguana with Sam Rockwell.
Soon to be written, directed and produced by Hadi Hajaig (Cleanskin), Blue Iguana is characterized as a dark comedy thriller that’s also a love story. Plot details remain scarce, but the synopsis, as outlined on IMDb, gives some indication of what to expect.
“He’s a low level criminal with no future and just out of prison. She’s a low level lawyer never noticed by others – a lost soul without a life. Their anger and hostility makes them serious criminals. Love happens in the strangest of places.”
Blue Iguana happens in London shortly, and has Sam Rockwell locked in for the lead role – the “low level criminal with no future.” The nature of the role now associated with Ben Schwartz is not currently known, but it is probably a safe bet that he will be playing something akin to “Best Friend No 1.”
If his friendship is with Sam Rockwell, this promises some excellent comedy, as the respective style of the two actors certainly would seem to complement each other – Rockwell with his laid back, mildly irritated delivery, and Ben Schwartz with his trademark self-assured swagger.
The big question is, who will play the “low level lawyer never noticed by others?” This is the key role at this point, as the actress concerned will need to go toe-to-toe with the comedic skill of both Rockwell and Schwartz. My first choice would be Kathryn Hahn – simply because she would be able to play anger and hostility opposite Sam Rockwell with hilarious conviction. Alternatively, I think it’s about time Charlyne Yi got a shot at a lead role. Her measured delivery and deadpan comedy style would serve this role, and this cast, well. Whichever actress lands the part, we should hear the announcement soon, as cameras are set to roll on Blue Iguana in July. »
- Sarah Myles
While Cartoon Network has been in the short-form game quite a while with both animated and live-action series — including pretty much everything in its Adult Swim block — think “Children’s Hospital” and “Robot Chicken” — a growing number of cable networks are starting to realize the power of the platform.
Whether distributed on air, digitally, or across multiple platforms, both episodic and serialized short form series are helping networks stay flexible and relevant in the rapidly evolving entertainment landscape.
“I don’t think any TV business can actually think exclusively about creating content only for television any more,” says Lisa Hsia, exec VP, digital, for Bravo and Oxygen. “So our development teams, all of us, think in terms of creating content for all platforms. Content is content, as far as I’m concerned, and whatever screen it appears on, its success will be measured on its overall impressions and engagement, wherever it exists.”
Hsia has about a dozen short-form series in development, and with good reason: In 2013, Bravo’s online series “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” won an Emmy for creative achievement in interactive media multiplatform storytelling, and its fifth season had nearly 10 million streams. Bravo’s new digital series, “Going Off the Menu,” has been submitted for consideration in the Emmys’ new short form category.
When Paul Cabana joined History last year, he knew that ensuring the long-term vitality of the brand meant courting new viewers, and he felt short form was a good way to woo them.
History decided to take divergent paths into short form: “History Now,” a series of one- to two-minute documentary-style videos, and “Night Class” a block of two on-air and online comedies.
“These represent two very different approaches to talking to new audiences,” Cabana says. “ ‘History Now’ is a new way to target a different audience — young people who may never get cable. We’ve shifted that product to focus on young people who are making history now. Young activists. Young people experiencing things now that we’ll one day look back on as historic, whether it’s the Flint, Michigan, situation, or Black Lives Matter. What better way to curate this living time capsule of history than by doing it in social and short form?”
On the surface, History’s comedy block might not seem a perfect match for the stalwart network, but both its shows — “Great Minds With Dan Harmon” and “The Crossroads of History” — build episodes around a real person or event in history.
“What we’re doing [in those comedies] is different because it’s based in actual fact. That it also happens to be funny and irreverent and feature lots of stars and have this totally unexpected tone was a bonus,” Cabana says. “You walk away knowing these things happened. Hitler was actually rejected from art school. Just as with everything in our programming, there’s a foundation of fact.”
Elizabeth Shapiro, writer, producer, and star of “Crossroads,” applauds History for expanding its brand to include humor.
“Short form allows you to take risks and experiment because it’s not the same amount of crazy money that’s on the line,” Shapiro says. “For a creator like me, it’s a wonderful space to play in because you have a budget to do something awesome, yet it’s not the kind of budget that has everyone scared it won’t work. That left us a lot of room to play. The cool thing is the show is on television but it’s also on YouTube. Straddling those two worlds has the potential of bringing very different demographics together.”
Although AMC had previously done webisodes of “The Walking Dead” and created digital pieces supporting “Breaking Bad” and other series, the network synergized its on-air and digital assets with “Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462.”
“Aside from wanting to re-imagine what short-form content could be, we also wanted to have a way for the period of time ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ was off the air and ‘The Walking Dead’ was on the air to keep that world alive and keep people engaged in ‘Fear the Walking Dead,’” says Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development, AMC and Sundance TV. “The creative driver for ‘462’ was: How do we take a story, tell it in a serialized way in short form, but also do it in a way that continues to immerse people in the beginning of the zombie apocalypse? — which was a big differentiator of ‘Fear the Walking Dead.’”
As such, Stillerman says “462” was a hybrid of sorts, streaming not only digitally, but also airing during commercial breaks of “The Walking Dead.” “The idea of taking these short form pieces and presenting them in a serialized way, those things, structurally, got us interested in trying to tell a story a different way.”
Even better, there was a crossover between “462” and its namesake series by having “Fear the Walking Dead” character Nick [Frank Dillane] watch the ill-fated plane fly overhead, and giving a “462” character, Alex [Michelle Ang] a story arc on season two of “Fear the Walking Dead.”
Across all platforms, Stillerman says “462” had about 8 million views. “We’re very happy with those results. It was a truly original way to extend brands and push promotional messages out through non-traditional [means]. We will absolutely look at other opportunities [in short form].”
While Hsia, Cabana and Stillerman are all committed to the short form format, Hsia says there’s a big learning curve.
“There are so many challenges with digital video series,” she says. “What’s the best way to distribute them? Should you give them all at once in a binge fashion, or should you do it in batches? What’s the best way to let audiences know it exists? How can we leverage social [media] best to spread the word? Do we need to create different versions of the content for different platforms? With a series like ‘Off the Menu,’ should we be creating something for Snapchat or Facebook to encourage people to watch the longer versions? The jury’s still out on how audiences will learn about and enjoy video series, but we’re very pleased with the results so far.”
- Paula Hendrickson
Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln and the cast of The Walking Dead got very silly for Red Nose Day last night on NBC. And it's something fans are going to want to watch right now! The Red Nose Day special brought a number of familiar Walking Dead faces in to join the fun, including Steven Yeun, Sonequa Martin-Green and Josh McDermitt. The gang spoofs the classic Star Wars Holiday Special with their own Walking Dead Red Nose Day special. And it's as goofy and off the wall as one might expect.
After shutting gofer McDermitt out of their little milkshake party behind the set of The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln discovers he's left work with something red on his face. It turns out to be quite a bit of blood. Just the sight of this sticky liquid sends him into a quiet depression. And he expresses his desires for something lighter to brighten his day. »
“Don’t you just wish you could do something… lighter?” Andrew Lincoln asks Norman Reedus during a a little downtime on The Walking Dead set. In a new NBC video celebrating Red Nose Day (which took place on May 26th), the duo imagine what it would be like if The Walking Dead spoofed the opening of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
Featuring Jeff Goldblum and Yvette Nicole Brown as Daryl’s family, Steven Yeun with a ventriloquist dummy named Edmund Rottington III, David Morrissey dressed up as Elvis, Dax Shepard and Chris Hardwick as Han Solo, Melissa McBride ready to do a 16-minute drum solo, and Merle’s hand as, well… Merle’s hand, the intro to The Walking Dead Red Nose Day Special teases quite possibly one of the most entertaining projects that will never get made. But you can still watch the hilarious intro below and think, »
- Derek Anderson
Adult Swim has announced its new and returning TV series. Are your favorites included? The original series returning to Adult Swim are: Black Jesus, Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule, The Eric Andre Show, Infomercials, Mike Tyson Mysteries, Mr. Pickles, Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter, Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Squidbillies, Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories, The Venture Bros, and Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.
New Adult Swim series are: Dream Corp LLC, Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace, Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio, Decker: Unclassified, and Flcl. Adult Swims Pilot orders are: Art Prison, Lazor Wulf, and Chuck Deuce.
Read More… »
Zombies and robots and chickens. Oh my! Adult Swim today announced plans for a Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead special. The show will be a collaboration between Rc creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich and Twd’s executive producer Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple. Cartoon Network said that the episode will be “extra bloody,” as if that’s even possible. This is not the first time Robot Chicken has collaborated with major sci-fi and geek properties. In the past, the show has worked with Star Wars as well as stories from the DC Comics world. The air date has not yet been announced. »
- David Eckstein
Adult Swim is expanding its programming slate with the announcement of 10 new series and specials, as well as a slate of original series to stream on the network’s website. The new online content is created entirely by Adult Swim staff and includes programs such as the daily talk show “Stupid Morning Bullshit,” the call-in swap meet “Williams Street Swap Shop,” and a series that will allow viewers to call in and pitch ideas to Adult Swim’s development execs. New shows coming to broadcast include a “The Walking Dead”-themed “Robot Chicken” special, “Dream Corp, LLC” from executive producer John Krasinski, »
- Reid Nakamura
The CW’s pilot season shopping spree continued late, late Friday with another four drama orders — including the buzzed-about subversive take on the Archie comics, plus trips to Transylvania and Mars.
RelatedPilot Season ’16: Scoop on This Fall’s (Possible) New Shows and Stars
Set in present day and based on the iconic Archie Comics characters, Riverdale promises a surprising and subversive take on Archie and friends, exploring the surrealism of small-town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade. #Flarrow’s Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter are among the executive producers, while Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Supergirl) will pen the pilot. »
Here’s a New Year’s resolution for ya: I resolve to keep rockin’ yer F’n socks off! And to that end…
• Release Date: Available Now on Blu-ray
• Written By: Jason Lei Howden
• Directed By: Jason Lei Howden
I was going to start this ol’ revoltin’ review off with some of my award losing blather about how much I love the perfection of the heavy metal horror subgenre and how wonderful it is that Deathgasm is a sparklin’ new gem in that creepy catagory, but F that, my fiends. You know me, you know what makes my pants tight, and let me tell ya—this is F’n that!!!
Deathgasm concerns the adventures of two metalhead outcasts who join forces with a couple of D&D aficionados to form a garage band. What could go wrong there, I ask ya? Well, »
14 items from 2016
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