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Entries in Frankenweenie (8)

Tuesday
Dec042012

Annie Award Nominations - A Real Race For Once 

Michael C here to see if the Annie Award nominations shed any light on this year’s rare neck and neck Oscar race for Best Animated film.

Frankenweenie captured critics and Annie noms. But not audiences. Will Oscar take to the (un)dead dog?

Animated Feature

  • "Brave" – Pixar Animation Studios
  • "Frankenweenie" – Walt Disney Studio
  • "Hotel Transylvania" – Sony Pictures Animation
  • "ParaNorman" – Focus Features
  • "Rise of the Guardians" – DreamWorks Animation
  • "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" – Aardman Animations
  • "The Rabbi’s Cat "– GKIDS
  • "Wreck-It Ralph" – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Without a slam-dunk frontrunner draining the suspense out of the category for once it's worth sifting through the tea leaves looking for omens. Unfortunately the Annie's nominated everything so it doesn't clarify much. At least they had the good taste to leave out The Lorax, Madagascar 3 and Ice Age 25, which I believe takes place in the early 1970’s.

Lots more after the jump including predictions and celebrity voice acting.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct092012

12 Word Reviews: Pitch Perfect, Gayby, Frankenweenie...

The screenings are everywhere. It's harder and harder to keep up. Herewith some twelve word reviews of things I've seen recently in order to catch up. Naturally, I cheat (sort of) a couple of times. Twelve words is so few... just you try it!

Gayby (OPENS FRIDAY!)
Best friends from college, gay Matt and straight Jenn, decide to have a baby together... the old fashioned way. Hilarity ensues. Personal lives get confused.


12WR:  Plotty but very funny. Celebrates rather than regurgitates stereotypes. Awesome Showgirls joke! B+
Oscar? Not weighty enough even for Spirit Awards but warm and funny enough to age well on DVD shelves despite the "now" topic. It's best hope for awards is turning itself into a sitcom for the Emmys. I'd totally watch this crowd weekly (and it'd be way better than The New Normal which suffers from Ryan Murphy's now familiar Preachy Bull in Broadly Caricatured China Shop voice)

Pitch Perfect
College freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick) joins an acapella group The Bellas. They need to break free of their lame repertoire if they ever hope to win a competition. 
I loved this one while I was watching it and didn't love it in the morning so two reviews...
12 WR (Positive) Weak story, weaker filmmaking; FUN anyway. Key cast shines with great lines. B
12 WR (Negative) Lazily constructed on vastly superior Bring it On template. Funny quick fade. C
Oscar? It's 'Aca-Awkard' to even bring that up. No.

Frankenweenie
Young science-loving Victor resurrects his dead dog Sparky in a Frankenstein like experiment. Once the word gets out the townsfolk lose it.
12 WR: Inventive setpieces, surprises, awesome character design ("Whiskers!") justify expansion of classic short. B/B+
Oscar? It would surprise me if it wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature and it could also feature into sound categories but the lukewarm response at the box office has me suddenly doubting its frontrunner status.

Our Children
Belgium's Oscar submission! A bicultural family slowly crumbles through dependency and depression.
12 WR: Fascinating thematic subtext undermined by miserabilist March-Toward-Doom structure. Suffocating close-ups. C+
Oscar? I doubt it as its very dour without much in the way of catharsis. But I've been wrong before about this always fascinating category.

Secret Life of Arrietty
Arrietty is a "borrower" a little person living inside a house. Will a new sickly human living in the house expose her and her family?
12 WR: Delicate, lovely, quiet... but too much so! Needs more pizazz. Limited characterizations  B-
Oscar? Ineligible for the Animated Feature race

Monday
Oct082012

Don't You (Forget About Link)

Glory of the 80s (and 90s)
Stale Popcorn on the recent trend of movies referencing the heyday of teen cinema like Pitch Perfect's obsession with The Breakfast Club
Scott C details his process in creating his Back to the Future illustration for "The Great Showdowns"
Gawker on Tori Amos and Tim Burton's new projects (Gold Dust & Frankenweenie) which are essentially recreations of past projects
Mondo Musicals sees the directors cut of Little Shop of Horrors and lives to tell about it.

More Linkage 
Gold Derby thinks the Oscar race is over and it's a 'monster sweep' for Les Misérables.  So, essentially we're right back to our initial April predictions :) 
John August, famous screenwriter, is answering fan questions online about Frankenweenie
MNPP Daniel Radcliffe gets horny 
Cinematic Corner reminds us that it's Autumn and we couldn't be happier about that. Beautiful screencaps
Playbill Congrats to Broadway divas Audra McDonald and Will Swenson who were married yesterday
Pajiba 10 Actors You Probably Didn't Know Could Dance. I did know most of these as a musical actors obsessive but Chris Hemsworth's hips took me by surprise

Finally... and taking us full circle back to famous movies of the 80s, did you hear that Peter Gabriel had a surprise for audiences in California this weekend? He brought John Cusack out on stage for "In Your Eyes"!


But it was only for a delivery. It was Gabriel and not Cusack who lifted the boombox up high to echo the actor's famous Say Anything pose.

Saturday
Aug112012

And the LINK said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the Blog

<-- Look it's Russell Crowe as Noah in Darren Aronofsky's hopefully insane biblical epic. I hope he's nicer to the CGI tigers than he was in Gladiator.

Links
Vulture Will now middle age Bill & Ted have another excellent adventure?
Pajiba whoa. Darlene Cates, the nearly immobile obese mama from What's Eating Gilbert Grape (the movie that brought us baby Oscar nominee Leo DiCaprio) has lost 244 lbs.
MNPP Shia Labeouf joins Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac
Towleroad Lady Gaga vs. RuPaul. Fierce x 2? 
Cinema Blend looks at the rumors and facts about Warner Bros plans for a Justice League movie. Warner Bros still doesn't get it though, since so many Green Lantern people are still involved. Wake up WB. Green Lantern was terrible. The Avengers would not have become a beloved mega hit if everyone hated the movies that led to it.
Coming Soon Oooh, track listing for Tim Burton's Frankenweenie remake. Karen O has an original song (will Oscar notice this time? They so screwed up with Where The Wild Things Are and Winona Ryder is on the CD too.  

Just 4 Fun
3 things that made me LOL this morning when I most needed to.
Olympic Booty Appreciation I ♥ the titles so much
Call Me Maybe ♫ Chatroulette version
"Pile of PeeWees" from the Crazy 4 Cult show. Scotty C. is the best

Thursday
Mar292012

Burtonjuice: Thoughts on Frankenweenie (The Original)

BURTONJUICE... on Thursday nights we're looking at Tim Burton films chronologically. Previously we covered his early shorts including the perfect goth calling card in Vincent (1982).

a boy and his dog. til death do they part

As you may have heard Tim Burton is currently rethinking Frankenweenie as a feature film. The Frankenstein story is so familiar as a myth that its ripe for either riffing on and spoofing in. But the short film is so successful at 29 minutes that it's strange to imagine it padded with another hour of footage. I thought I'd type up "things I didn't remember about the original Frankenweenie" but realized that the list would be far far too long as I didn't remember a single thing beyond the premise, that it was in black and white, and that particular boy (Barret Oliver, a major child star in the 80s. What became of him?) and his dead doggie. More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar222012

Burtonjuice: The Disney Misfit Years

BURTONJUICE. Our Tim Burton retrospective begins now...
Every Thursday night until we can't take it  no more! 

Last week I rented the Disney documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty" which I was curious to see again after it's strangely quiet public reception. I really enjoyed the documentary and though it ended like one big long self-aggrandizing commercial for the Magic Kingdom and all they bring to the movies, it's first hour is surprisingly frank about the downward slide of Disney animation in the 70s and 80s and the political tug of wars among the big money executives.

But let's get to the subject. Don't you always forget that Tim Burton started at Disney? I know I do. He never gets a line in this documentary but we do see him briefly twice in the behind the scenes footage while the narrator talks about the generational divide at Disney during the animation studio's near-demise in the 1980s.

Ron Miller knew that Walt's guys were retiring fast. He had to raise a new crop of animators but he was cautious about it. It was this interesting cross generational thing where you still had a few of these legendary artists who were in their 60s and approaching retirement and then a bunch of young people in their 20s who were really really exited and sort of passionate about this medium.

It was thrilling to learn from the masters but there was a feeling that somehow we could be making better films."

Burton doesn't look too happy sitting slack jawed in that tiny cubicle, but that's just his face. Surely the budding filmmaker was excited to be chasing his dreams. Even if his now ultra familiar dreams are far more Gorey lite Gothic than Disney cheerful.

Before his star ascended in the early 80s when two shorts Vincent (1982) and Frankenweenie (1984) gained him a reputation within the industry as a truly distinctive and entertaining filmmaker, he made a handful of very rarely screened shorts. I wish I'd attended the Burton exhibit recently which featured them. Have any of you seen these five?

 
The Island of Doctor Agor (1971) was his first effort at the age of 13. He played Dr Agor. Stalk of the Celery (1979) is a one punchline animated short but you can see Burtonisms especially his love for the mad scientist... though it should be said that Burton's ouevre also includes subversions of this trope, the benevolent (if still mad) scientist. Doctor of Doom (1979) has Burton crashing a party and creating a monster that he sends out to "destroy all beauty." Luau (1982) is a lengthy short that is unfortunately kind of unwatchable on YouTube but it telegraphs a bit about Burton's oddball sense of humor though it also seems a little hornier than his subsequent work. He plays a disembodied head that's the "most powerful force in the universe" and though he tries to turn people into zombies, he doesn't have much luck. At least at first... I gave up 12 minutes in but not before I understood his affinity for Ed Wood. Burton also made a version of the oft- filmed fairy tale Hansel & Gretel (1982) -- which is hard to find -- with the great production designer Rick Heinrichs as his producer. They met at Disney and kept working together.
 
Oscar winner Rick Heinrichs and Tim Burton at work on Vincent (1982)
It only took their collaboration 17 years later to win an Oscar (Heinrichs for Sleepy Hollow) though Tim Burton has famously never been nominated as Best Director. His sole personal nomination was for the animated feature Corpse Bride.
Where were we? Oscar trivia is so distracting. Oh yes, Vincent (1982). We love it. Disney, rather famously, did not. Too dark!

 

My favorite favorite favorite part...
He likes to experiment on his dog Abercrombie
in the hopes of creating a terrible zombie.
Vincent is just wonderful isn't it? A.

 


Vincent's Tim Burton's perfect woman?
Before we move on to Frankenweenie (The Original) next Thursday tell me if I'm crazy but little Vincent's hallucinated dead wife...
He knew he'd been banished to the tower of doom
where he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life.
alone with the portrait of his beautiful wife."
She looks SO familiar. A pinch of Lisa Marie? Two cups of Corpse Bride... a scoop of Helena Bonham-Carter in Alice in Wonderland? What Burton woman does this most remind you of?

 

What's your favorite part of Vincent? And do you think it's too easy to retroactively project meaning on to the early work of famous filmmakers?