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Entries in animated films (313)

Friday
Jul222016

1977: The Best Animated Short nominees

Tim here. To celebrate the upcoming Supporting Actress Smackdown, 1977 is the year of the month here at the Film Experience. I'd like to take you back to a different Oscar competition from that year, the four-way race for Best Animated Short Film. It was one of the more interesting slates that category has ever seen, which I hasten to clarify isn't the same as calling it one of the best. But it makes for a pretty unique cross-section of the kind of animation being made in North America, with two nominees from the United States and two from Canada, ranging from a purely abstract experiment with the medium to a literal TV show.

We'll start off with the shortest of the nominees, an offbeat little gag called Jimmy the C (on YouTube – that unpleasant little watermark in the center goes away after a minute). In it, recently-inaugurated President Jimmy Carter waxes rhapsodic over his beloved home state by lip-singing to Ray Charles's "Georgia on My Mind", all through the magic of clay animation. I confess myself stumped: what the hell?...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul212016

On this day: Hemingway, Falconetti, Clueless, Dunkirk

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Corey Stoll as Hemingway

1892 Maria Falconetti is born. Delivers one of the best performances ever captured on film thirty-six years later in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
1899 Famous author and real 'character' Ernest Hemingway is born. In addition to his work being made into films and TV miniseries he frequently pops up as a character in cinema played by everyone from Chris O'Donnell (In Love and War) to Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris - robbed of an Oscar nod though we honored him here) and now Dominic West (Genius) ...and that's not even the half of it.
1922 Don Knotts is born. Mugs it up in 70+ film and TV projects including Three's Company, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Andy Griffith Show - 5 Emmy wins for Supporting Actor thereafter until his death in 2006

1948 Steven Demetre Georgiu is born in London. He becomes the famous folk singer Cat Stevens of "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken" fame. Among his many early classics are the songs from the seminal 70s film Harold and Maude (which ridiculously received zero Oscar nominations). Later changes his name to Yusuf Islam and quits music for many years.
1951 Robin Williams is born
1953 Visual FX man John Nelson is born in Detroit. Gets his first FX gig with Terminator 2 (not a bad way to start) and wins the Oscar on his first nomination with Gladiator (2000)
1955 Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr is born. His best known pictures: Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmóniák and The Turin Horse
1957 Jon Lovitz, SNL's "Master Thespian" and comic scene stealer of 90s pictures is born
1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon; Stanley Kubrick is nowhere in the vicinity at the time.
1971 Charlotte Gainsbourg is born to famous parents in London. Later submits herself to perpetual Lars von Trier torments.
1978 Ridiculously fine looking actors Josh Hartnett and Justin Bartha are born
1981 Singer Paloma Faith is born in London. Plays herself in a weirdly unflattering role in Youth (2015)
1989 Juno Temple is born. Specializes in sexually corrupted childwomen.
1992 Jessica Barden is born. 2016's been a breakout year for her via  "Justine," a bloodthirsty prostitute on Penny Dreadful and her role as "Nosebleed Woman" in The Lobster 
1995 Clueless is 21 years old today. It can drink now though it's always given us a contact high. (Please note: IMDb lists the release date as Wednesday the 19th rather than Friday the 21st but Wikipedia disagrees so I don't know.)
2006 Monster House hits theaters. Receives a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Feature but loses to Happy Feet which... recount!

Well, whichever. At least Cars didn't win!

2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows goes to market in book form. Sells 11 million copies on the first day before being split in two in movie form to reap an extra billion at the box office.
2010 Orlando Bloom goes off the market when he secretly marries model Miranda Kerr
2017 Christopher Nolan abandons sci-fi for a WW II drama Dunkirk, which will open in theaters on this day. Guess he really is pissed about being denied a single Oscar nomination for directing. 

Tuesday
Jul192016

Best Shot(s): Disney's "Zootopia"

Each year we throw an animated movie into the mix of our Best Shot season. It's a handy reminder that Best Shot is about more than just camera work and lighting actors and sets but how filmmaking teams choose to tell the stories they're telling. But even if we think of it only as a celebration of cinematography, animated films have been upping their game there, too, famously hiring high profile cinematographers as consultants as CG animation really took over the world in the last 20 years.

Since we're counting on Zootopia,  one of the year's most beloved films, to be one of the nominees (though it's too early to say "frontrunner") for Best Animated Feature we give it pride of place here today now that it's out on BluRay and DVD. My own choice will come tomorrow due to a last minute screening. But please do enjoy these Best Shot articles from around the web today.

ZOOTOPIA
Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush 
Production Design by: David Goetz and Dan Cooper
Lighting: There are over 45 people listed in Zootopia's credits with "lighting" in their title. 

There are so many great things about this film, but it's its world building I'd like to focus on...
-Sorta That Guy 

People say the messaging is too heavy-handed... I would like to introduce you to something called a FABLE!
- Rachel's Reviews 

It's so damn noir... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

Despite how simple and brief, it still manages to be the defining moment of the film...
-Conman at the Movies *new participant*


The film’s lesson of appearances vitally works in both ways...
-Film Mix Tape

Judy and Nick’s arc is great. And for me, it culminates here...
- Storyphile 

I have a lot of feels about this masterwork...
-Anna, Look! *new participant*

 

Next Week's Special Party (Monday-Friday)
1977's Cinematography Nominees. Pick one of the five films and join us. Details here!

Monday
Jul182016

Oscar Chart Updates: Visuals, Sound, Animation & Documentary

Mos of the Oscar charts are now updated but for foreign film and the acting categories. We'll get to them soon enough but otherwise we've finished the July shifts. 

Things to wonder about right at this moment... (discuss in the comments, plz)

• If The Legend of Tarzan can make any headway towards a Costume Design consideration for Ruth Myers since there's so few "showy" period or fantasy costume films this year outside of the many competing works of Colleen Atwood?
• When we will get our first look at images or footage from the WW II drama Allied (with Brad Pitt) or the sci-fi drama Arrival (with Amy Adams)?
• If Florence Foster Jenkins has any strength in it beyond Meryl? (Costumes? Hair and Makeup? Score?)
• If Marvel Studios will finally break through in tech categories (like Batman films sometimes do) or if they'll continue to snag just one or MAX two nominations for their most popular films like Civil War?
• If Fences, The Founder, and Loving, which all take place across roughly the same time period will be too "muted" in terms of visuals to snag craft nominations or if Oscar will love their possibly modest naturalism?
• Why we've heard so little about How to Talk to Girls at Parties release strategy? Is it going to be pushed back?
• Will Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton goodwill get him an Oscar for Moana despite what sounds like strong competition in the song category? 
• If Finding Dory's massive box office haul we'll be enough to edge smaller originals out of the animation race even though they're sometimes stingy with sequels?

NEW CHARTS
INDEXPICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS |
VISUALS | AURALS | ANIMATION & DOCUMENTARY 

Sunday
Jul172016

Box Office: Ghostbusters, Sultan, Cafรฉ Society

Though the new Ghostbusters couldn't defeat the very family friendly Secret Life of Pets to take the box office crown, it was still a win for Paul Feig & Melissa McCarthy company (their best opening yet, just beating their previous best for The Heat). Other winners this weekend: Sultan, the Bollywood sports drama starring Salman Khan, is now the #1 foreign language release of the year, jumping over the Chinese hits The Mermaid and Ip Man 3; Woody Allen's Café Society experienced more demand in its opening weekend than of his films since Blue Jasmine; and, finally, the provocative survivalist family drama Captain Fantastic led by a typically sterling Viggo Mortensen expanded fairly well. Next weekend will be key for Captain Fantastic with word of mouth; there's neither anything like it in the marketplace nor really anything to compare it to in ages (since maybe The Mosquito Coast in the Eighties?) but unfortunately that much originality in topic and purpose usually hurts movies at the box office in this era of intense branding.

TOP WIDE
800+ screens. arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
๐Ÿ”บ01 The Secret Life of Pets $50.5 (cum. $203.1) 
๐Ÿ”บ02 Ghostbusters $46 NEW Review 
๐Ÿ”ป03 The Legend of Tarzan $11.1 (cum. $103) Review 
๐Ÿ”ป04 Finding Dory $11 (cum. $445.5)  Review
๐Ÿ”บ05 Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $7.5 (cum. $31.3) Review
๐Ÿ”ป06 The Purge: Election Year $6 (cum. $71)
๐Ÿ”ป07 Central Intelligence $5.3 (cum. $117.5)
๐Ÿ”บ08 The Infiltrator $5.2 (cum. $6.7) NEW Review
๐Ÿ”ป09 The BFG $3.7 (cum. $47.3) Review
๐Ÿ”ป10 Independence Day: Ressurection $3.4 (cum. $6.7) 

Sultan is now the #1 foreign hit of the yearTOP LIMITED
Excluding previously wide. 
๐Ÿ”ป01 Sultan $985K (cum. $5.2)
๐Ÿ”ป02 Hunt for the Wilderpeople $563K ($1.4) Review 
๐Ÿ”บ03
 Cafe Society $355K NEW Review

๐Ÿ”บ04 Captain Fantastic $277K (cum. $406K) Review
๐Ÿ”ป05
Swiss Army Man $262K (cum. $3.7) Halfway Mark Achievements


What movies did you catch this week?

Beyond Captain Fantastic and Ghostbusters, I Netflixed it bingeing Stranger Things (we'll talk about it soon) and finally finishing Grace and Frankie Season 2, and I apologize that I didn't have Estelle Parsons on my Guest Actress ballot for Comedy and that Emmy didn't nominate her either. This is why they need blue-ribbon panels; there are just too many eligible shows that voters aren't taking seriously that contain better specific performances than the shows they vote for reflexively in all categories as we saw all over the Emmy nominations.

Tuesday
Jul122016

Q&A: Oscar-Free Dames, Supporting Shortlists, Disney Renaissance

Just answering six reader questions this afternoon for time constraints so we'll do another handful later in the week. Thanks for all the great Qs, readers! Here we go.

GSHAQ: Do you feel the gap is widening between the stories told in mainstream movies and contemporary issues? Oops, that might be an essay. 

NATHANIEL: This question hurts my brain but I'll try. I do fear for the health of cinema which directly addresses contemporary issues. For a long time the movies have preferred past-tense filters for social and political issues, once it's safer since history has sorted out consensus. The best of those past-tense films also address the here and now through their resonant power (see: Selma). And there's something to be said for the facility that good genre films have in addressing the way we live via metaphor (The Babadook, Bridesmaids, and Melancholia are MUCH better films about depression than some earnest dramas that directly take it on) Even superhero films can be reflective of the here and now in spite of (or maybe because of) all their mixed messages and contradictory 'have it both ways' politics. I don't think it's an accident that Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, whatever their disparate qualities, are asking the same questions about Might Equalling Right and whether we have the right checks and balances in place for those in power. These are issues that we're facing in very real ways all over the world. But, that said, we do need a reenergized contemporary cinema. If we can only think about tough issues through metaphor or by dwelling on the past, we have some maturation to do as a society!

It's true that movies made in the right-now about the right-now can age quickly (see movies we've recently discussed like Working Girl)  but if they're any good -- and sometimes even when they aren't -- they make great time capsules about the way we were, the things we valued, and the issues that laid claim to our collective mental real estate.  

BVR: Rank the animated movies from the Disney Renaissance (1989-1999). Extra: which is the most underrated?

NATHANIEL: This is cheating and asking for a top ten list but here's a NON commital answer after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul102016

Box Office: Dory Keeps Swimming as Other Pets Rise.

This weekend Dory swam easily past Captain America to become the biggest grossing US hero of the year. (Captain America still leads internationally by a lot, which is funny if you think about it). That's quite impressive for a forgetful blue tang who could have gone 'straight to video' -- Wait, are we still saying that? If not, what's the new phrase. I'm scared of what this means for the future with all those cheapie animated sequels but it is what happened. The current top ten of 2016 includes only two originals (Zootopia & Central Intelligence) but otherwise it's all brand extensions / revisions. It didn't use to be this way but it's been a slow erosion. Consider by comparison: 2006's top ten had 5 originals; 1996 had 6; 1986 had 7. Since we get less original hits every year how soon until we have none?

It should be noted that an original won the weekend but since The Secret Life of Pets famously steals so shamelessly from the Toy Story template, and since it's been promoting itself for what seems like YEARS already it feels like it's a sequel to itself so should it count? Animated films continue to be the safest box office bets.

Mike and Dave performed fairly well in its opening weekend and The Legend of Tarzan had a strong second weekend. In platform release Captain Fantastic had a decent debut with a teensy tiny theater count: not terrible, not great. Will it win strong word of mouth? We deserve more Viggo in our lives but if we don't support his movie we won't get it.

TOP WIDE
800+ screens. arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
๐Ÿ”บ01 Secret Life of Pets $103.1 NEW 
๐Ÿ”ป02 The Legend of Tarzan $20.6 (cum. $81.4) Review 
๐Ÿ”บ03 Finding Dory $20.3 (cum. $422.5) Review
๐Ÿ”บ04 Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $16.6 NEW 
๐Ÿ”บ05 The Purge: Election Year $11.7 (cum. $58.1) 
๐Ÿ”บ06 Central Intelligence $8.1 (cum. $108.3)
๐Ÿ”ป07 Independence Day: Resurgence $7.7 (cum. $91.4)
๐Ÿ”ป08 The BFG $7.6 (cum. $38.7)  Review
๐Ÿ”ป09 The Shallows $4.8 (cum. $45.8) Costume Honors
๐Ÿ”ป10 The Conjuring 2 $1.7 (cum. $99.3) Heroes and Villains
๐Ÿ”ป11 Now You See Me 2 $1.3 (cum. $62.2)
๐Ÿ”ป12 Free State of Jones $1.3 (cum. $19.2)

TOP LIMITED
Less than 800 screens. Excluding previously wide. 
๐Ÿ”บ01 Sultan $2.2 (cum. $3.2) NEW
๐Ÿ”บ02 Our Kind of Traitor $731K ($2.2)
๐Ÿ”ป03
 Swiss Army Man $690K ($3.1) Best Actor

๐Ÿ”บ04 Hunt for the Wilderpeople $413K (cum. $754K)  Review 
๐Ÿ”ป05
Love & Friendship $326K (cum. $12.9) ReviewPodcast, Best Picture  
๐Ÿ”ป06 The Lobster $309K (cum. $8) ReviewishPodcast 
๐Ÿ”ป07
Maggie's Plan $180K (cum. $2.9) Review

๐Ÿ”บ08 Cold War 2 $165K NEW

๐Ÿ”บ09 The Music of Strangers $144K (cum. $566K)

๐Ÿ”บ10
 Weiner-Dog $105K (cum. $288K)
๐Ÿ”บ11
 Captain Fantastic $98K NEW Review
๐Ÿ”ป12
 Genius $80K (cum. $1.2) Review


What movies did you catch this week? Remember to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Netflix for Tuesday night's "Best Shot" party.