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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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SMACKDOWN 1954

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Entries in Disney (106)

Friday
Aug282015

Tim's Toons: Three Animated Oddities of 1954

Tim returning to duty.

August has been 1954 Month here at the Film Experience, and it now falls upon me to share with you the animation of that year. And man, it was a weird 'un. The important place to start is noting that in '54, Walt Disney - the man, not the multinational entertainment corporation - was massively obsessed with the creation of his brand-new theme park out in California, and the brand-new television show on ABC that shared its name and served as the new funnel for all his creative and commercial instincts.

With Disney - the multinational entertainment corporation, not the man - thus a bit rudderless, there was a void in American animation like there hadn't been since Mickey Mouse's 1928 debut, basically. Disney itself was beginning to experiment with form in ways that Walt did not approve of, since Walt wasn't paying attention anymore, and the result was things like the Oscar-nominated short Pigs Is Pigs, one of the very weirdest shorts in the studio's history.

More...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug172015

D23: Disney Animation News

Manuel here to talk Disney Animation. As you can see Disney has a very busy (if, yes, remake friendly) slate ahead, and while Pixar will be offering mostly sequels (hey there unnecessary Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and long-awaited The Incredibles II!) with only the Day of the Dead-themed Coco as its original entry in 2017, Disney Animation looks to be picking up the slack. And so, let's look at three images from their upcoming films:

Zootopia (March 4, 2016)

We’ve already seen the teaser and with its release day fast approaching we’ll surely get a full-length trailer soon (perhaps attached to Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur?). And as I worried this might be Disney’s first full-length Dreamworks animated film, the folks at D23 surprised us with a new casting announcement. While Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin play the leads (he a fox, she a bunny; might it be a screwball-ish rom-com?), Shakira will be lending her voice to “Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia.” I kind of love this? But perhaps it’s just memories of Shakira’s early Colombian soap opera beginnings rushing back and reminding me of her pre-worldwide fame persona.

Moana (November 23, 2016)

Disney is surely taking its pledge for diversity in stride. Moana is being directed by John Musker & Ron Clements (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules) and centers on an adventurous young woman who yearns for the sea. Set in the South Pacific, it currently boasts Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as its main voice cast (I wonder what’s kept them from casting its female lead?) who was ecstatic during the D23 presentation, clearly thrilled to be part of this story. I am particularly excited about this film, especially given the artwork that was shown. That she's reminding me of Lilo and Nani (two of my favorite Disney gals in recent memory) makes me all that more hopeful for this film.

Gigantic (2018)

Tangled, Frozen, and now Gigantic. There’s something to be said about re-branding fairy tales, but this new way of Disneyfying titles makes me happy we got The Little Mermaid and not Soaked, Beauty and the Beast and not Cursed. Tangled director Nathan Greno says this will be the “definitive” Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation. Oh, and if you haven’t guessed from that artwork, Jack is a Spaniard during the Age of Exploration who befriends an 11 year old girl giant, so clearly this isn’t your parents’ Beanstalk tale. 

Has the one-two-punch of Frozen and Big Hero 6 amassed enough goodwill to keep you excited about Disney animation’s prospects? Do you have any suggestions as to who Musker & Clements should be casting as Moana?

Sunday
Jun142015

Blogs He Linked

The Dissolve Disney's announces the replacement voice cast of The Good Dinosaur - what is going on with that movie?
Guardian this sounds really cool. Director Gillian Armstrong (Little Women, Mrs Soffel) has made a documentary about the Oscar winning costume designer Orry-Kelly called Women He Undressed. He had a fascinating career and was quite a famous figure in Hollywood's golden age, friends with Bette Davis and more than friends (rumored) with Cary Grant
They Live By Night "This is our Furiousa" a reflection on a rare quiet moment in Mad Max Fury Road
Elle randomness! Talking to the art director of the cover of Madonna's debut album 
NYT talks to the cast of Goodfellas on their 25 year old classic


The Playlist new images from Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups. Isn't it time to release this one? (I'm getting a To the Wonder vibe)
The Guardian looks back at Helen Mirren's breakout part at 22 (!!!) in Age of Consent (1969) 
Shadowplay has a super fun series called "The Sunday Intertitle" and the latest is about Tarzan (1929). I was brainstorming a similar series years ago but never committed so I'm so happy someone else has one! My only complaint is there is no way to link the complete series.
Pajiba wonders why critics and the internet are turning on Game of Thrones for doing the exact same things it's always done (gorey violence, lots of rape, brutal torture, etecetera). I knew to get out after the first season and second book -- definitely way too sadistic/sexist/exploitative for me -- so I've found the recent outrage peculiar since it's describing the show I saw five seasons ago to a T. 
EW Mark Harris on the sudden pop culture fascination with actual transgender celebrities as well as their fictional counterparts, particularly on television

Geeky Fandom
CineMunch continues their amusing favorite actress podcast showdowns. This one's about Pfeiffer, Witherspoon, Binoche, and The Lovely Laura Linney among others
Toybox Penny Dreadful action figures!
New Statesman Excellent piece on the enduring appeal and fan obsessiveness towards Star Wars
HuffPost Disney princes reimagined in queer context
Twitter Mulder & Sculley reunited

Two stories from the real world.
The first is horrific and the second heartwarming. A gay man has been severely tortured and his family's business vandalized in Delta, Utah. I bring this up because I've actually been to this tiny tiny city innumerable times in my life. My mom lives near there in an even tinier city and I've even posted about Delta's one movie theater before. Because that story is just too terrible to contemplate -- it could have been me or any LGBT person or any person thought to be gay whether they were gay or not and will likely be someone else in the future of any stripe (hate & violence being dumb, nonlogical, non discerning and pathological) unless the people are caught. Because that story is too depressing for words, here's a cute story about a NYPD officer who saved a kitten and now the kitten is named after him! Awwww. 

Tuesday
May262015

Review: Tomorrowland

Michael C here. Last week I was here to announce that one of my anticipated 2015 titles exceeded my expectations. This week I need to come to grips how another of my most anticipated could miss the mark so badly.

Like the theme park from which it takes its inspiration, the future in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is not a tangible thing, but an idea, a gleaming Jetsons cityscape forever just over the horizon inspiring the better angels of our nature with its promise of utopia. It’s not “the future”. It’s THE FUTURE! 

Unfortunately, where Disney World can get away with organizing a collection or attractions around nothing but a spirit of uncomplicated hope, a movie needs to build a structure around those feelings, and it’s there that Bird’s film struggles. It aims to stir the soul but its impact is dulled as it gets lost in its scattershot, thinly conceived screenplay. Enjoyment of Tomorrowland depends on one's ability to appreciate its vibe of retro optimism enough to overlook how far short it falls of its lofty ambitions...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May222015

Tim's Toons: Animated Features at Cannes

This week, the Cannes Film Festival was home to the premiere of Inside Out, the new film by Pixar Animation Studios, and one of its best-reviewed pictures. The film is playing out of competition, as has been the recent tendency of most Hollywood products, and animation in particular. It has been a special habit of films made by DreamWorks Animation in the 21st Century, with all sorts of things from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in 2002 up to How to Train Your Dragon 2 last year muscling their way onto the Croisette.

There has, however, been a small but meaningful history of animated movies to have been given slightly more honorable treatment, and allowed to play in the big kids’ sandbox. Since the festival’s first edition in 1946, there have been seven animated features entered into the main competition, if my count is right, and they make for a fascinating cross-section of how the international cinema scene regarded the state of that particular art across the years. Here, in order, are those seven films.

Make Mine Music (1946)
The eighth feature made by the Disney studio, and the third of that company’s dubious “package films”, attempts to make entire features by jamming a bunch of short films into one vague thematic frame. Like any anthology, it has peaks and valleys, though the latter dominate, and the film is infinitely less impressive than its quasi-sequel Melody Time. Let us not be baffled by its Cannes slot; this was the fest’s first year & they were figuring it out, everybody loves Disney, and it’s a nice post-war feel-good effort. It won Best Animation Design, a discontinued award.

six more after the jump including Persepolis and... Shrek 2 (!?)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr272015

Disney's Descendants: Summer TV Camp?

Manuel here bringing a bit of levity to your Monday morning. Sometimes you come across something (a casting announcement, a trailer, a plot description) that leaves you agog. 

Such is the case with this trailer for Descendants, a summer original Disney Channel movie which begins with the premise "what if Disney Villains hadn't died at the end of their respective films but instead were sent to an island prison where they had beautiful children who will now attend the prep school with the beautiful children of your favorite Disney princesses?" I mean. Disney has clearly gone full camp, right? With Kenny High School Musical Ortega, one hopes. Even in describing it it sounds like the sort of thing that'd have made a cool animated series in the early 2000s (you know, alongside Jungle Cubs, Hercules, and The Emperor's New School).

That description doesn't do it justice, so take a look:

 

 

I'm sharing the trailer because I NEED to talk about this. There's so much to discuss! Will Disney ever stop seeing its classic animated characters as anything other than endlessly replicable cosplay opportunities? Will Kristin Chenoweth (as a bite-sized Maleficent) and Kathy Najimy (as the Evil Queen) get the spinoff we probably all would guiltily watch? Tell me everything that came to mind as you realized this was indeed a real thing and not a Tumblr post gone viral. 

Wednesday
Apr082015

April Foolish Oscar Discussion: Animated Features

These two specialized categories can be perplexing from the outside, documentaries moreso, as to what is eligible, why it's eligible, and what motivates people to vote as they do. The official eligibility lists don't arrive until later in the year but for now on the new charts we'll add documentary titles as they make some kind of mark and we'll dive right into animated features, which apart from the foreign produced entries, are much easier to track.

Pixar vs Pixar this year?

This upcoming Oscar season, Walt Disney Studios Animation will be out of the mix after two consecutive wins. Their next features Zootopia and Moana, which both look quite promising, aren't due until March and November of 2016. To fill that giant vacuum, Pixar will likely come roaring back after an uncharacteristic absence last year with two titles Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur

But the contest that's most curious might not be a contest... at least in terms of Oscar. We have two features that are trading on collective international nostalgia for 2D classic properties: The Little Prince and Peanuts Movie. But they're both getting the CG or mixed media approach. That's not so odd since contemporary cinema loves to regurgitate and "update" (shudder) but what's unusual is that both films are clearly trying to mix the endearing flat linework and visual style of these beloved gems into newly three dimensional worlds. A safe bet: these films, particularly The Little Prince which looks "schizophrenic", will be divisive. 

Check out the charts! Which of these films are you most curious about and do you agree with the April Foolish guesswork?