Today marks the 100th birthday of famed illustrator Eyvinde Earle (1916-2000) who has a special connection to the cinema having logged time with Walt Disney Studios, most famously helping to shape the aesthetic of the studio's greatest looking traditional classic, Sleeping Beauty (1959). The artist passed away sixteen years ago but his work lives on. Take a look...
Entries in Disney (117)
It's past time to begin our annual tradition of predicting the future Oscar nominees way before anyone should (yes, I'm aware that nowadays every clickbait site does it the day after the Oscars but we're not into that. Jesus, ppl, let each film year settle!). Let's start with the easiest category in that it's its own world entirely, The Animated Feature. Last year was a relatively thin year for the medium, in that the number of eligible films just barely triggered a 5 wide field. We shouldn't expect a similar dearth this year.
After all 2016's already delivered a possible frontrunner (the delightful Zootopia), a hit that people have already forgotten about (Kung Fu Panda 3... currently #4 of 2016 but have you ever heard anyone talk about it?), trailers to roughly a billion would be cartoon blockbusters scheduled for 2016, and the very tantalizing prospects of an original Disney musical (Moana) and a new Laika feature (Kubo and the Two Strings).
So who do we think will win the nominations this year? I'm not falling into the trap of assuming Pixar is locked up each year (we saw The Good Dinosaur go nowhere, really, in terms of critics and awards enthusiasm) so my big no guts no glory call is that Finding Dory will miss a nomination. Yes, everyone loves Dory and Finding Nemo (2003) but I'm suspicious of a mere fanservice treading of water outing, pun intended, while we wait for a cool original again a la Inside Out. It's a strange reversal that Disney has suddenly taken up the "original" baton and Pixar is wasting its time with sequelitis.
What's below the US radar? Generally speaking online punditry seems to forget that the Academy's animation branch rightly takes foreign cartoons seriously when they're making their calls so something smallish and non American always shows up in the final shortlist. This early -- again, way too early -- I'm guessing that's The Red Turtle. It's due in September from Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli and given those two companies it will surely be beautiful. Plus it's wordless which should be interesting. The other film I'd ink in if I was sure it would be released in time is Loving Vincent, an entirely oil painted (!!!) animated biopic of Vincent Van Gogh.
There's a lot to consider out there: martial artist pandas, red turtles, amnesian fish, little princes, secretive pets, pissed off birds, delicious trolls, singing pigs, genius artists, island girls and demigods, police bunnies and more. Check out the chart and do speak up in the comments.
We've never even discussed Zootopia! What's wrong with us? (Don't answer) What follows is an off the cuff top ten. But consider this intro a number eleven plus: the joy of the movie is that it's not frontloaded at all continuing to offer delights all the way up to its concert finale in its fleet 108 minutes. So don't let this list feel complete: share your favorite things about it in the comments.
(This is assuming you loved it because everyone seems to)
TOP 10 DELIGHTFUL THINGS ABOUT "ZOOTOPIA"
10 Size Matters (in Comedy)
Lt. Judy Hopps, our heroine, would argue that it doesn't but it does. The animators and writers and filmmakers spin multiple jokes from the disparity in size of so many of the characters. And they've really worked the scale out. Few images in the movie radiated more comic bliss then watching a parade of conformist lemmings lining up for hundreds of miniature sweets made from one elephant sized dessert scoop.
09 Bunny Jokes
That throwaway line "your 275 brothers and sisters" and Judy's sly math joke later on "we're good at multiplying!"
Tim here. Easter is upon us, and with it comes the realization that, for a holiday with such prominent iconography and a pre-made adorable talking animal, the movies haven't been able to do much with it. The go-to classic Easter film for generations of TV audiences has been The Ten Commandments, a religious epic that isn't even about the life of Jesus; meanwhile, the secular side of the date has been horribly mangled. Recent attempts at minting new holiday classics include Rise of the Guardians, which devoted all of its energy to pretending to be a Christmas movie instead, and the deeply execrable Hop, a live-action/animation hybrid with James Marsden as the perpetually horrified human companion to an abominable CGI rabbit voiced by Russell Brand.
Dig a little, however, and you can still find some reasonably charming Easter Bunny pictures out in the world. As a public service, may I offer these three Easter-themed shorts, all of them available on the internet.
Funny Little Bunnies (1934)
One of Disney's Silly Symphonies from the middle of that series' life, this is a look at the factory-like process by which a community of rabbits ready the various candies distributed to the Christian American children of the world. Primitive already by the standards of 1934, with its metronome-like repetitions of action and complete lack of a plot, the film nonetheless thrives on account of its gorgeous color palette, blending dreamy springtime pastels with the rich saturation of early Technicolor. Not one of the all-time great Disney cartoons, but at just seven minutes, it goes down nicely. Right up until the split-second blackface gag, anyway, startlingly unnecessary even by the standards of Disney's 1930s infatuation with minstrelsy. (On YouTube)
Two more Easter shorts after the jump!
Thrillist Best Movies of 2016. haha. I don't know exactly how this column is going to work but I'm curious to find out
THR an interview with producer Irwin Winkler on Martin Scorsese's Silence and the Creed sequel
Frontier an oral history of "The Golden Girls"
Twitter Why Leo waited until just now to win an Oscar
Nick Flicks Picks are you following his supporting actress project? The gold numbers reflect full performance reviews
Guardian Fans keep trying to restore Star Wars (1977) because George Lucas doesn't want
Film Mix Tape praises Michelle Visage as RuPaul's Drag Race returns (TONITE. WHEEEE)
Comics Alliance if you want to have yet another superhero's cameo in Batman v Superman spoiled for you, here is the info
Deadline How Mark Rylance won the Oscar without any campaigning
AV Club Disney's next animated feature will be an adaptation of The Nutcracker
i09 a fan film about Darth Maul, the only good thing to emerge from that second Star Wars trilogy
Variety an interview with Julian Fellowes on the series finale of Downton Abbey. Good stuff. Between the exits of Mad Men and now Downton, I have so few shows that feel like they're a part of my life (from staying power) left.
Read Only if You've Seen The Witch
If you've already seen The Witch I'd recommend reading these two takes on its most riveting scenes and primarily its divisive ending and the subversive extent of the femininism within the film. Salon's look at Thomasin as a "Final Girl laced into a puritan bodice" is great and a piece at Vague Visages takes a more mixed tack. Angelica Jade Bastién grapples with what she feels is unearned about the film's jawdropping finale:
I love the film, but how feminist can The Witch be if Thomasin remains primarily a cipher?
Lynn here, chewing on another bit of non-Oscar related movie news.
Ever since it was announced earlier this week that Ava DuVernay had signed on to direct the upcoming film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s much-beloved A Wrinkle in Time, I’ve been trying to imagine just how the director of Selma is going to approach a sci-fi fantasy that features benevolent shape-shifting inter-dimensional beings, entire planets controlled by a single giant brain, and children who literally cross the universe by bending the laws of both space and time. She won’t be starting from scratch, at least; the project’s apparently been in the works for some time, with a script by Frozen’s Jennifer Lee. But this will be the first time the book’s ever been brought to the big screen. It’s frequently, and unsurprisingly, been called unfilmable, and the only previous adaptation – a 2003 TV movie on ABC – was such a failure that it’s best known for the quip it inspired from L’Engle:
I expected it to be bad, and it is.”
In other words, there’s every reason for apprehension. Is there also reason for hope?
As you may have heard Frozen will be coming to Broadway in the Spring of 2018. The original composers will write additional new songs which is smart since the second half of Frozen the movie is weirdly not a musical at all. The songs abruptly end after "Let It Go"
It will be curious to have two versions of Wicked on stage simultaneously, though.
Shade. (I couldn't resist.)
No matter how much one loves Frozen, it's hard to deny that it shamelessly rips off of Wicked. When Wicked's producers rather dimly dragged their feet on a film version of their 3 billion dollar smash (they should have started immediately since it takes years to get a picture made properly and now a picture will feel "old" when it arrives) Disney swooped in with their own version of Wicked called Frozen -- even using the same leading lady with the huge pipes (Idina Menzel) and had their own billion-dollar smash (with endless revenue yet to come in merchandising).
- Sisters / Besties. One is good and likeable. The other is secretive and perceived as "Wicked"
- The "Wicked" girl is strong with magic and this scares people and she hides herself away from the fearful citizens of Arendel/Oz
- During her escape/rise into her power she sings an athem of self-actualization "Let It Go"/"Defying Gravity"
- And then the villagers come after her and the good girl has to intervene. (From their the stories diverge... as they do with the supporting cast, too)
Wicked will obviously still be selling out in 2018 when Frozen arrives. 12 years and a few months into its run it's still always near the top of the box office charts. It will be so strange to see them side by side. Do you have a preference?