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 & 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
After a few underwhelming years with “Monsters University,” “Brave” and “Cars 2,” Pixar returned this past weekend with “Inside Out.” And what a return it was: with $91 million in just three days, the film racked up Pixar’s second best opening ever and its best opening for an original movie. The success has likely been led by the glowing reviews. Oscar buzz is already circulating for Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen’s nearly universally acclaimed film, marking a return to Pixar's glory days. Many fans, including myself, believe "Inside Out" to be among the very best of the studio’s output, but the film isn’t just a great one —it’s also a potentially important one. The film's story follows Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), an eleven-year-old girl whose happy, uncomplicated life is thrown into chaos when she leaves her friends behind due to her family moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Disney-Pixar’s animated “Inside Out” has already broken a box office record with $3.7 million in the U.S. in Thursday night showings.
It’s the highest preview total ever for a Pixar or Disney Animation title, far ahead of $2.6 million for “Monsters University,” $1.4 million for “Big Hero 6″ and $1.2 million for “Frozen,” which also launched previews on a Tuesday night.
“Inside Out,” which expands to 3,946 venues on Friday, has received rave reviews. Recent forecasts have pegged the animated pic in the $60 million to $70 million range for the weekend.
Universal’s second frame of “Jurassic World” is expected to dominate the weekend with at least $80 million. The dino thriller set a U.S. opening weekend record with $208.8 million and has added $87 million through Thursday. It may even challenge the second weekend record of $103 million set by “The Avengers” in 2012.
That means “Inside Out” will be the first of 15 Pixar animated features »
- Dave McNary
In their past films, Pixar found their way to our hearts. It’s “When She Loved Me.” It’s “Define dancing.” It’s “And I look at you, I’m home.” But with their recent features, Pixar lost their emotional thread. Monsters University is a challenging and funny film, but it doesn’t really pull at the heartstrings when it needs to. Brave has a nice central relationship that feels neutered by meshing wacky hijinks with an earnest mother-daughter story. And Cars 2 only conjures emotions because we’re sad and disappointed that the studio could sink so low. Inside Out is a return to form that alters the formula. Director Pete Docter seizes on the emotions that the studio lost by bringing those emotions to the forefront both literally and figuratively. He has found a story that’s not just universal, but also unique in its telling even among Pixar movies. »
- Matt Goldberg
Twenty years ago Pixar Animation Studios released their first feature-length film: Toy Story. It was the first completely computer generated film out there and changed everything. Every other studio making animated films has been trying to catch up to them, not only in terms of technological achievements but in crafting stories that make everyone old and young laugh, cry, and thrilled. Not every single film they've made has been a home run, but their track record thus far has been pretty impressive. This year's release Inside Out is no exception, arriving as the fifteenth feature in the animation house's stable. Given the occasion, I've taken it upon myself to rank Pixar's first fifteen features to settle once and for all what is the best and worst from the studio. I contemplated bringing in the short films that precede each of their features, as many are just exquisite if not better than the films they accompany, »
- Mike Shutt
“At Pixar, we ask a lot of ‘what ifs,’” the studio’s Pete Sohn told a crowd of cartoon devotees (a mix of animation students, professionals and fans) at France’s Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival: “What if the toys come to life when we leave the room? What if the monsters really were real inside the closet? What if a rat became a world-famous French chef?”
So far, those hypotheticals have yielded “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Ratatouille,” respectively, but according to Sohn, “With (‘The Good Dinosaur’), we would ask the biggest ‘what if’ of all.” With that, he cued a clip in which a gigantic asteroid misses the Earth, narrowly averting a mass extinction event: What if instead of being wiped off the Earth, dinosaurs had continued to evolve?
That’s the hypothetical that audiences will see answered when the film opens later this year, just in time for Thanksgiving, »
- Peter Debruge
In a major shakeup, Pixar has replaced almost the entire voice cast of its upcoming animated feature The Good Dinosaur, a project that – not uncommonly for the studio – has gone through much revamping and reconceptualization since it was hatched by Up co-director Bob Peterson (since removed from this film).
Originally, Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, John Lithgow and Frances McDormand were all set to voice characters in the pic, which takes place in a world where dinosaurs never went exist and follows the friendship between a dino and his pet human boy. Though that broad concept has been in place since the project’s outset, it has reportedly been reimagined extensively.
Now, the new voice cast includes Raymond Ochoa as an Apatosaurus named Arlo; Jeffrey Wright as Arlo’s father Poppa; Steve Zahn as pterodactyl Thunderclap; Aj Buckley as T-Rex Nash; Anna Paquin as T-Rex Ramsey »
- Isaac Feldberg
Legacy is the story of five teenagers throwing the ultimate party. Before entering the world of adulthood Sean and his four friends are about to attend the party of a lifetime: Chrome! But when they’re unexpectedly and literally thrown to the curb before ever stepping foot inside, Sean (Franz Drameh: Attack The Block, Edge of Tomorrow), discovers his older brother has a dark and unpleasant history with Damien Chase (Steven Cree: Maleficent, Brave), the party promoter. Unable to deal with the embarrassment, Sean devises a plan to get even…throw a party to end all parties. When Damien gets wind that the five friends plan to topple his empire, he’ll stop at nothing to see them »
- Gary Collinson
This amazing Disney Pixar mashup will melt the coldest of hearts.
The fan-made video goes through all the emotions that you experience watching a Disney film - sadness, fear and anger to excitement, romance and wonder, using iconic scenes from films such as The Incredibles, A Bugs Life and Brave.
Emotions Of Pixar from Lindsay McCutcheon on Vimeo.
The famous romances between Woody and Little Bo Peep and Barbie and Ken, amongst others, also feature.
Pixar fan Lindsay McCutcheon made the video in anticipation of the studio's latest release, Inside Out, which focuses on a girl who uses emotions joy, anger, disgust, fear and sadness to get through life.
It is due to be released »
Film composer Patrick Doyle, best known for his work with the actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, as well as his recent scores for Disney’s “Cinderella” and Pixar’s “Brave,” will be presented with the World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th annual World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium.
The World Soundtrack Awards, taking place this year on Oct. 24, is the culminating event of Film Fest Ghent.
“Anyone who can still recount hearing Doyle’s score for Kenneth Branagh’s debut film ‘Henry V’ in 1989 for the first time, knows that back then a great composer was born,” said Patrick Duynslaegher, artistic director of Film Fest Ghent, in a statement. “The immensely versatile Doyle enriched the films by Robert Altman, Ang Lee, Chen Kaige, Alfonso Cuarón and Brian DePalma with his alternating tragic, »
- Steve Chagollan
Robin Chandler, former head of publicity for Pixar Animation Studios, is joining DreamWorks Animation as head of theatrical publicity, the Burbank-based studio announced Tuesday. Chandler will lead worldwide publicity efforts to boost the studio’s feature films, beginning with the Jan. 29, 2016, release of “Kung Fu Panda 3.”
“Robin’s incredible track record in the animation industry speaks for itself and I am absolutely thrilled to have her leading our theatrical publicity,” Gallagher said. “We have an amazing slate of films on the horizon and I can’t wait to work with Robin and our partners at Fox to share it with fans around the world.”
Chandler left Emeryville-based Pixar as head of worldwide publicity. There, she oversaw not only feature films but in-home, television, theme parks, »
- James Rainey
Read More: 6 Ways Virtual Reality Will Change Filmmaking On Tuesday, almost half a year after debuting its first four-minute virtual reality experience, "Lost," at Sundance, Oculus Story Studio introduced the star of its second project: a hedgehog named Henry, on its blog. Henry loves birthdays and balloons and friends, but his spikes make contact impossible and he only scares potential companions away. "Henry" is directed by Pixar veteran Ramiro Lopez Dau ("Brave," "Monsters University"), and the character was co-created by production designer Kendal Cronkhite ("Madagascar," "James and the Giant Peach") and character artist Bernard Haux ("Brave," "Toy Story 3," "Up"). These animation pros discuss Henry's social struggles in the teaser above. "[Henry is] really the first character in virtual reality," said producer Edward Saatchi. "We've noticed that he's starting to feel »
- Sara Itkis
When it comes to TV awards, digital may be the new cable.
Internet-streaming services Netflix and Amazon are producing award-worthy original programming — and Hulu, Yahoo and AOL are also jumping into the game, looking to garner industry accolades for their content investments and the marketing lift they provide.
The digital insurgents haven’t fully crossed the divide yet, having been shut out of major Emmy wins so far. The highest-profile victories have been David Fincher’s directing win for “House of Cards” season one, and “Orange Is the New Black” co-star Uzo Aduba’s (pictured above) guest actress Emmy last year.
But the tide appears to be shifting. “Cards” star Kevin Spacey won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award this year; “Oitnb” picked up two SAG wins; and Amazon Studios’ “Transparent” won a Globe for best comedy series, while star Jeffrey Tambor nabbed lead actor.
“We are moving »
- Todd Spangler
Facebook-owned Oculus announced its second animated movie Tuesday. “Henry,” which is being described as “a heartwarming comedy about a loveable hedgehog,” will be first shown at a premiere event on July 28, and eventually become available free of charge to consumers buying an Oculus headset once those go on sale early next year.
The movie is all about a hedgehog who longs for friendship, but scares away other animals with his spikiness. It plays out entirely in virtual reality, and Oculus is promoting it with its own micro-site. It’s unclear how long the movie will be, or how much Oculus invested in its production; a spokesperson declined to provide further details.
“Henry” has been directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau, who also did animation work for Pixar films like “Monsters University,” “Brave” and “Cars 2.” Other notable animators involved in the production of “Henry” include Kendal Cronkhite and Bernhard Haux, who »
- Janko Roettgers
After years of development and a late-breaking release date shift in 2013, Disney-Pixar has released the first teaser trailer for The Good Dinosaur. Directed by Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy), the buddy comedy takes place in a world in which the asteroid didn't smash into Earth millions of years ago, leaving the dinosaurs intact. The story revolves around a dinosaur named Arlo who, after a traumatic event unsettles his family, sets out on a journey with an unlikely companion—a human boy. If the title of this film sounds familiar, it's because the project has had a long and somewhat tumultuous history (which is not entirely out of the ordinary for Pixar). It was to be Up co-director Bob Peterson's solo directorial debut, but in 2014 Peterson was removed from the film and some of his ideas (including modeling the dinosaurs off of Amish farmers) were jettisoned in favor of a new iteration of the story. »
- Adam Chitwood
I hate to admit it, but it's true: I failed you guys last month. I don't say that because I ultimately recommended you check out a couple of stinkers in May's monthly movie preview (we'll get to that in a moment), but rather because, of the five movies I mentioned as "must-sees", I actually only saw two of them. I led last month's post with the caveat that there wasn't much of note coming out during May, but still, if I'm gonna recommend movies I should probably watch 'em too, and I vow to do so from now on. Unless I change my mind. Or run out of money. Or everyone else tells me they're bad and that I should run for the hills and avoid them forever. Point is, I'll try. Not to make excuses, but I did have a lot going on last month. I finished grad school, »
- Jordan Benesh
A first trailer has arrived online for writer/director Davie Fairbanks and Marc Small’s “ultimate party film” Legacy, starring Franz Drameh (Attack the Block) and Steven Cree (Maleficent). Check it out below after the official synopsis…
Legacy is the story of five teenagers throwing the ultimate party. Before entering the world of adulthood Sean and his four friends are about to attend the party of a lifetime: Chrome! But when they’re unexpectedly and literally thrown to the curb before ever stepping foot inside, Sean (Franz Drameh: Attack The Block, Edge of Tomorrow), discovers his older brother has a dark and unpleasant history with Damien Chase (Steven Cree: Maleficent, Brave), the party promoter. Unable to deal with the embarrassment, Sean devises a plan to get even…throw a party to end all parties. When Damien gets wind that the five friends plan to topple his empire, he »
- Gary Collinson
Pixar filmmakers take their research seriously. For Cars, this meant a nine-day road trip along Route 66. A visit to Scotland provided inspiration for Brave. And with the latest Pixar release, Inside Out, which opens June 19, director Pete Docter and his team exhaustively studied a different kind of landscape: the mind of an 11-year-old girl. To better understand the constantly changing emotional world of Riley, the movie’s tween protagonist, they consulted with scientists,...
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Apparently this was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it has about as much in common with that as Burger King does with Macbeth. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Lucas gets a story credit and served as executive producer, but this has the whiff of a vanity project for cowriter and director Gary Rydstrom, making his feature debut. Yes, legendary sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who’s won seven Oscars in that field and has created some of the most memorable movie noises ever for films including Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and Minority Report, but who, the evidence of this movie suggests, has no business writing and directing a movie. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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