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Entries in animated films (322)

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.

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.