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"While there was imagination to Swiss Army Man, I am on the hate side of it." -Chris

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Entries in animated films (313)

Sunday
Jun192016

Review: Finding Dory

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best things about breakout supporting characters is that the fandom surrounding them comes honestly. Scene-stealers aren't handed their movies, but earn them. So it went with Dory, Ellen DeGeneres's forgetful blue tang who swam circles around every other character in Finding Nemo (2003), figuratively speaking, though she did sometimes swim in actual circles since she couldn't remember where she was going.

Thirteen years later, though Finding Dory takes place just after Finding Nemo ends, we're swimming in circles again with Dory, via a suspiciously similar movie. Let us count the ways...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun192016

Finding Treasure (with Pixar's Dory)

It will surprise you less than Dory, that she's the new queen of the box office. Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar's most beloved non-Toy based title with mainstream audiences (not with us though - we're WALL•E / Incredibles people round these parts), broke records when it swam into theaters Thursday night. The bankability of a little Hart (Kevin) and a Big Johnson (Dwayne "The Rock") made an impact in second position, as well, though it's worth noting that pairing them didn't remotely result in twice their usual opening weekend grosses (these are fairly typical for either of them. Maybe their fanbases are too similar?) Between those two movies requiring nearly 8,000 screens between them it was a rough weekend for other movies with most big and small releases losing a ton of movie houses (yes even Love and Friendship and The Lobster which both had strong momentum until they lost theaters. *sniffle*). There's a lot of summer left but there's only one last tidal wave of box office as we move towards the July 4th holiday and Independence Day, The BFG, and Tarzan soon battle for dominance.

TOP WIDE
arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
๐Ÿ”บ01 Finding Dory $136.1 NEW Review
๐Ÿ”บ02 Central Intelligence $34.5 NEW
๐Ÿ”บ03 The Conjuring 2 $15.5 (cum. $71.7) 
โ–ซ๏ธ04 Now You See Me 2 $9.6 (cum. $41.3) 
๐Ÿ”บ05 Warcraft $6.5 (cum. $37.7) Six Questions

Jude Law & Colin Firth in GENIUSTOP  LIMITED
Under 1000 screens. Excluding previously wide. 
๐Ÿ”ป01 Love & Friendship $797K (cum. $10.9) ReviewPodcast
๐Ÿ”ป02 The Lobster $647K (cum. $6.3)  ReviewishPodcast
๐Ÿ”บ03
 Maggie's Plan $471K (cum. $1.8)  Review

๐Ÿ”บ04 Genius $306K (cum. $442K) Review 
๐Ÿ”บ05
Weiner $144K (cum. $1) Review 

 

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND? 
I caught Neon Demon (ooh boy. that's going to be tough to write about) and rewatched Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - our 50th anniversary celebration of that classic begins tomorrow!

Tuesday
Jun072016

Schuyler Sister, Disney Princess?

With Hamilton fever not relenting any time soon, we're starting to get excited for Lin-Manuel Miranda's next projects, including the resucitated In the Heights movie adaptation and Mary Poppins sequel with Emily Blunt. But we won't have to wait years for his next musical feat: he's partnered with Disney for the music on November's animated Moana.

But he's taking some Hamilton family with him: castmate and Schuyler Sister Phillipa Soo has joined the vocal cast which also includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and newcomer Auli'i Cravalho.

The casting doesn't come with details on her character beyond "villager", with much of the South Pacific-set animated film still under wraps, but surely you're thinking what I'm thinking. Could Soo be following the likes of Idina Menzel and Jodi Benson from Broadway leading lady to Disney princess? Besides, aren't Schuyler Sisters already the girl power heroes we always hope new Disney princesses will be?

Call it a stretch with as little as we know about the film (and she's not the title character - *shrug* details), but considering the composer connection, we can at least expect some gorgeous music to come from the actress. She faces stiff competition for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Tonys this Sunday, but might we even see her performing at the Oscars come 2017? Miranda shares scoring duties with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancini, and could already be safe bets for Original Song nominees thanks to Disney and Hamilton's combined cache. If Soo got one of the film's key songs, it would be quite a thrilling (and fast) reunion.

Moana Opens this Thanksgiving! What other Hamilton cast member would you like to see join the Disney ranks?

Monday
Jun062016

Link Me Amadeus

The Ringer "X-Men Apocalypse Self-Loathing Index" funny stuff on which actors want to be there and which are embarassed by it
Variety Peter Shaffer the man behind the classic plays turned classic movies Amadeus and Equus has died at 90 because 2016 is the worst (The Grim Reaper must want to make his bonus this year or something)
The Playlist Splash is getting a remake (with an unnamed twist). Good luck trying to beat Daryl Hannah as Madison. They'll need it. 

Seventh Row "Matthias Schoenaerts and the art of not speaking"
The Economist Why does The Shining have such cross media cultural staying power? 
Variety wonders if its time for Emmys to bring back blue ribbon panels and divvy up the voting with so much acclaimed television coming from such unlikely places. Why not do it like Oscar's foreign film committees to narrow things down before final nomination voting?
Comics Alliance investigates what's going on with the movie rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner since even Marvel executives have often been wrong about it in quotes. The basic gist is "we don't know" but the punchline of the article is wonderful
Pajiba on Mystique's shape-shifting and the X-Men's Queer metaphors. I like this piece but I still hate the idea of a Mystique movie with Jennifer Lawrence which the internet keeps wishing for. It's the only performance she's ever given that seemed to have zero interest in its own existence. Dear actors, please never take roles you're not interested in if you already have enough money. It only hurts the movie and the audiences. 
The Film Stage new trailer to Phantom Boy from the directors of the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris. Oh, and here's the new poster:

If you'll recall I loved this movie when I saw it at TIFF last September and urge you to go see it when it hits theaters on July 15th. We already have two animated contenders, the other being Zootopia, to really get behind this year for Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature

OffScreen
New York Times great essay by Wesley Morris on how Muhammad Ali evolved from sports idol to the public's conscience

Tuesday
May312016

Netflix Rescues 'The Little Prince'

Back in March, Paramount unceremoniously dumped The Little Prince at the very last minute before its planned release. The animated adaptation of the beloved children's book debuted out of competition at 2015's Cannes Film Festival and unfortunately word evaporated stateside quickly. Even though Paramount did zilch to promote the film, it has been received well globally, even winning the animated film César.

Netflix has swooped in to bring the film to American audiences - exciting news for those of us still anticipating the film, but a downer for those who hoped to see it on the big screen in most markets. This year's animated field is going to be tough to crack, but maybe Netflix can replicate the success they have had with the documentary branch in recent years.

Check out the just released trailer for The Little Prince below. The film begins an Oscar qualifying theatrical release and streaming simultaneously on Netflix on August 5th.

Wednesday
May252016

Lukewarm Off the Presses: Beyond Ragnarok & Huppert Fever

Reheating some news we never got around to! But perhaps it's news to you...

Cate Blanchett will be playing Thor's next big bad "Hela". We assume she's the antlered one in this concept art so we cautiously look forward to that costume. But confession: I don't trust Blanchett in villainous mode (*dodges tomatoes*) since she overdid it in both Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Hanna and nearly so in Cinderella and I don't mean overdid it in a fun comic-book kind of way but just too much overall. Plus the Thor movies are easily the worst part of Marvel Studio's work to date. Other new players in Thor: Ragnarok will be Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (a character I loved as a kid so yay, Tessa). And of course Mark Ruffalo as the not jolly green giant and Chris Hemsworth as the guy with the hammer. For some reason they are forcing Sir Anthony Hopkins' Odin back on us (I thought he died in the ssecond movie?) and Tom Hiddleston is back under Loki's horns which is a pity because he deserves to use his time on other things, now, come on. They've wrung that character dry, they've leaned on him so much. 

Apparently the villain in Star Trek Beyond looks like this. It's actually Idris Elba underneath all that makeup. LOUD SIGH. First Oscar Isaac gets buried in ugly latex for Apocalypse and now Idris? Idris Elba is, and I think the internet will back me up on this assertion, one of the most attractive people on the planet. So why won't Hollywood show us his face? It is really pissing me off. This year he's onscreen as a tiger (Jungle Book) a buffalo (Zootopia), a sea lion (Finding Dory), and this alien but not as a human man you can actually look at. As a pasty white boy I am fully aware that there are people who think I shouldn't talk about race... but as a human person stuff like this is really getting to me. I am not one to jump on every perceived racial slight and proclaim racism (As I said much to the internet's displeasure this past season, I think #OscarsSoWhite was oft-misguided because the actor's branch is not the correct target for such things given both Hollywood and Oscar history) but I can't look at Idris Elba's career, and Zoe Saldana's career (note how she's always blue or green in her movies... until she was a black woman doing blackface -yikes!) and Lupita Nyong'o's career post Oscar (a CGI alien and a CGI wolf so far, but not an actress you can gaze at despite her considerable beauty) and not KNOW that Hollywood's race problem is dire and also, I'd wager, subconcious.

This is not complicated, really, if casting directors, directors, agents, executives, managers, and maybe even the actors on occasion would just think decisions through a little more, especially in regards to the optics. FACT: People like to look at beautiful actors. They always have. Stop hiding them from us! 

Isabelle Huppert is having a good year. I missed a lot of articles on Elle and Isabelle Huppert's time in front of the press at Cannes. In a new interview at the Guardian about Elle and her latest stage performance in Phaedra there's a lot of fascinating tidbits including her repetitive unwillingness to talk about other famous actors but her chatterbox response to questions about directors. She also wants to do more comedies...

Viewers do tend to think of her on-screen persona as a full-on neurotic, steeped in psychosexual anguish.

“Yes, but you can be a comic neurotic too.” So does she feel underrated doing comedy? “I certainly do feel…” she hesitates a moment; I take that as a yes. “That’s why I’d love to work with Woody Allen or Noah Baumbach – to do comedy in that New York vein.” But her serious roles, she insists, often contain more humour than is apparent. “Even The Piano Teacher – although I wouldn’t try to persuade anyone that was an out and out comedy…”

Whew. I was worried for a second. That film is not a knee slapper. As for Huppert in comedy. Can you handle that? I liked her in I Heart Huckabees and especially in 8 Women but in both she was working with or riffing on that dramatic neurotic performance so her comedy was stemming from perceptions of her as an actor, just as much if not more than her actual performances.

 

Tuesday
May102016

Trippy Best Shots: "True Skin" and "World of Tomorrow"

Tonight's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot is our annual short film episode. The genre is sci-fi but we're looking at two trippy but altogether unalike films.

The first is True Skin (2012) which has rather extraordinary visual effects considering it comes from the DIY world of short filmmaking. It was once earmarked for the feature film treatment but when that didn't work out earlier this year Amazon snatched it up to develop into a TV series. The second film is recent Oscar nominee World of Tomorrow (2015) from animation legend Don Hertzfeld. (His career being Oscarless is just not right.) Lets look at the "Best Shots" as chosen by your host and the volunteer panelists elsewhere after the jump. 

Click to read more ...