Entries in Lord of the Rings (21)
"Groot" a walking fighting talking (well, sort of) tree is easily the best character within the #1 movie in the world right now. I didn't like Guardians of the Galaxy but I loved Groot. So here's a top ten devoted to his fellow upright leafy green characters. Trees have often played key roles in dramas, fairytales, and horror alike whether as fantastical homes, formidable characters or mysterious passageways to adventure.
TOP TEN: BEST TREES IN MOVIES
Honorable Mention: That tree Mowgli was hypnotized in in The Jungle Book, spooky 'Tree of the Dead' in Sleepy Hollow, the Christmas tree Gremlins wield like a weapon, the Swiss Family Robinson's main address, any tree that nimbly supports the weight of Crouching Tigers and Hidden Dragons on its delicate green branches, any tree that gives us opportunities to ogle various Tarzans or George of the Jungles from, uh, below (shush. You're no innocent of ogling!), or virtually any colorful tree in Disney's Alice In Wonderland but particularly the one she reads by and dozes on that dumps her into that trippy world of invisible cats, size-altering portions, and rodents having tea parties.
10 Holiday Trees in Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Located in The Hinterlands these seven trees lead you into your various Holiday towns. We only get to see Halloween Town and "what's this?" Christmas town. If only Jack Skellington could have tried them all out. Imagine him delivering Easter eggs or cupid's arrow. Imagine the production design and merchandising opportunities! For all I know these other worlds have already been exploited in bad straight to DVD follow ups but if so I am blissfully ignorant.
Nine more barking great characters / symbols after the jump...
Anne Marie here, sleep deprived and dazed after a night camping out to cover the big studio announcements for you. Folks, my group camped in line for fifteen hours to get into Hall H, and we still barely got into the back of the hall. Over 6,000 geeks camped out to see what Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, and Marvel have to offer, so the studios are going to have to work hard to meet or exceed expectations. Here's what happened.
Cate Blanchett, Channing Tatum and more after the jump...
I've long had a deep respect for the work Andy Serkis has done in elevating the acting in visual effects. Serkis is, in many ways, the figure head of the fusion form or acting and animation known as performance capture, Hes already given us King Kong, Gollum, and Caesar. But in interviews he's beendownplaying the efforts of animation teams in bringing these highly memorable characters to life. It's really pissing animators off. That's kind of a shame since film is such a collaborative medium. It's also a shame that he himself doesn't get as much credit as he should with his acting peers for how good his work is in these movies. So there's enough lack of credit to go around... deficent credit for everyone. Um... hoorah?
Here's an interview he did in March with i09 about his work on the forthcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and two responses, one angry from Cartoon Brew and one measured but annoyed from the Lord of the Rings animation director Randal William Cook. Cook makes an interesting comparison with Marni Nixon's voice work on 1960s musicals in his rebuttal...
Let me state that Andy really should be considered the principal author of Gollum’s performance, but there’s a hell of a difference between principal author and sole author. The Animators who helped shape Gollum’s performance are actors of a very special type, working at a high level of achievement. They’re not like Marni Nixon singing for Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY, doing only the things that Andy couldn’t do: they were doing the same things Andy did, in concert with him...
Next up for Serkis is his debut in the director's chair, helming Warner Bros live action version of The Jungle Book in which all the animals will be performance captured. This is not, to be clear, the same Jungle Book movie that has been in the news recently with celebrity castings (the one that Lupita Nyong'o signed on for recently) which is an animated film. But with these types of feelings brewing among animators directing his first feature employing tons of them might be a tougher task than first features already always are.
For this very special and ultimately quite spontaneous edition of the podcast, Nathaniel calls a few of his team members to grill them about their moms & the movies. Sadly the entire team was not available -- some of them were being good kids en route to visiting their mothers so they have a good excuse -- but you get to hear from a few of us and how our moms factor into our cinephila. Expect name-droppings of Margo Martindale, Susan Sarandon, I Remember Mama, The Lord of the Rings, A Separation and much more...
You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes.
14:00 Anne Marie
20:30 Tim Brayton
27:00 Funny Girl Interlude & Surprise Guest
32:00 The Guest of Honor, Nathaniel's Mom!
40:00 Exit Music "Baby Mine" with Bette Midler
I can't interview each and every one of you out there listening about how your moms shaped your moviegoing but if you have any key stories, please share them in the comments. I actually teared up making this one. Keep the love a-going. And call your mama or take her to a movie today!
Further Reading To Enhance This Podcast
Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate"
Tim's Home Schooling Essay on "Mean Girls"
Amir's "Hello Cinema"
How Many Barbra Streisand's Have You Seen?
Loretta Young, Nathaniel's Mom's Favorite
The 2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown is just 15 days away! If you're like "um... it's 2013" you should know that each month we look back at a particular Oscar race and debate it.
This month we're having a tenth anniversary party. For context before we get to the main event we're revisiting films. So far we've hit Finding Nemo, The Triplets of Belleville, The Fog of War, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Much Ado About Nothing, and Love Actually.
Let's meet our panelists for the main Supporting Actress event. They'll be sounding off soon enough on Renée, Holly, Marcia, Shohreh and Patty. For now we're asking them "What does 2003 mean to you?"