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Entries in zoology (85)

Wednesday
May102017

Pedro Party: The Outrageous "Dark Habits"

We're celebrating Pedro Almodóvar all week. Here's Nathaniel R on Dark Habits (1983)

Julieta Serrano and Marisa Paredes in DARK HABITS (1983)

It's a Pedro Party! For the next week we'll be celebrating the career of the great auteur Pedro Almodóvar. We were just discussing which male actors we'd love for him to work with but let's let the official party begin with one of his nearly all-female efforts Dark Habits. His 1983 "pelicula" is about a cabaret singer Yolonda (Cristina Sánchez Pascual) who is hiding out in a convent of wacky nuns. But let's not confuse the movie with Sister Act because it would eat that 1992 comedy and then apologize sheepishly over a cake and acid dessert... 

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Wednesday
Apr052017

Review: The Zookeeper's Wife

A portion of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Zabinski, The Zookeeper's Wife, a true story based on the international bestseller of the same title. The Zabinski family run a lovingly crafted zoo in Warsaw but political unrest unnerves Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenberghenough to attempt to send his wife and child away. Antonia, naive and endearingly devoted to her animals, won't have it. Then German bombs hit their attraction, killing many animals. Poland surrenders to Germany quickly. Much to the Zabinski’s horror they learn that their surviving animals will all be killed for meat to feed soldiers unless they can strike a deal with fellow zookeeper and now Nazi officer (Daniel Brühl, Hollywood’s go-to Germanic villain who isn’t named Christoph Waltz). 

While working on this deal with the devil, Antonina and her husband begin a dangerous game, hiding Jews in their now empty zoo until they can figure out a way to get them out of Poland to (relative) safety in a world gone mad...

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Tuesday
Feb212017

Interview: The Global Resonance of "Zootopia" and its Animal Kingdoms

Zootopia gets a lot of its pizazz from the clash of its odd couple leads but behind the scenes things are much more sympatico. When I sat down to interview the director Rich Moore (Wreck-it Ralph) and producer Clark Spencer (Wreck-it Ralph, Bolt, Lilo & Stitch) they weren't so much finishing each other's sentences as they were most definitely reciting from the same page. Rich calls Clark the 'best producer he's ever worked with' and credits him for creating a structure so that the creatives didn't have to worry about the minutae but were kept aware of it to keep them on track.

Unfortunately the third key member of their team Byron Howard, who the project originated with had bronchitis on the day we met. He'll be long since recovered by Oscar night which will likely be a happy one for the team.

Zootopia is the second project Moore and Clark have done together but when we sat down to speak over coffee the spectre of Wreck-It Ralph 2 hung like a comic cloud overhead because, as they joked, they've got deadlines! The film doesn't open until March of 2018 but that's a very short time in the production lifespan of an animated feature.

Byron Howard, Clark Spencer, and Rich Moore won the Golden Globe for Zootopia. Will they win the Oscar, too?

But for now, the wrap up of the long journey of Zootopia on Oscar night. This Disney fable about diversity and harmonious living has been successful all over the world grossing over a billion dollars globally, the fourth most successful picture of 2016 behind three films that had a built-in sequel advantage (Captain America, Finding Dory, Rogue One).

In other words, it's been quite a spectacular runaway success. Selections from our chat follow...

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: on Jungle Book's live-action aping Visual Effects

You may not know the name Robert Legato, but you definitely know his work. He's been on the visual effects teams of all sorts of blockbusters (Armageddon, Interview with the Vampire) and won his first Oscar for groundbreaking work on one of the most popular films of all times Titanic (1997) before creating the system that allowed for Avatar (2009). Hes' got two Oscars (Titanic and Hugo), two BAFTAs (Apollo 13 & Jungle Book) and two Emmys (both for Star Trek series). Will a third Oscar follow next weekend? It looks likely for the live action photorealism of the not really live action Jungle Book

Though a lot of the particulars of his craft are still a mystery to me after our conversation, I've cherry picked some pieces to share with you that are more readily translatable from our moviegoing perspective. 

NATHANIEL R: Rob, I'm not sure where to even begin with your work on Jungle Book. The big takeaway was of course the animals. Are you trying to put all four legged creatures out of work? 

ROBERT LEGATO: That's really the bottom line cause behind all this. How can we prove that you don't need those bastards anymore!?

[Laughter]

The thing is we're not even allowed to use them. You can't bring them on to photograph them for a study. It's against the rules at Disney....

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Wednesday
Feb082017

Would you rather...

It's our favorite celebrity social media game. 

Would you rather...
... visit an art museum with Russell Tovey and pup?
... play with a kitten with Mahershala Ali?
... cuddle with Marc Jacobs dogs with Michelle Visage?
... visit sea turtles named after actresses with Katya Zamolodchikova? 

The photos are after the jump to help you decide.

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Friday
Dec232016

This One's For All You Cat People...

Year in Review. Each day a new wrap up list. Today Nathaniel with a litter of cinematic felines...

 It's time for a purrfect top ten list. The following list is dedicated to your editor's beloved and much-missed furbaby, Monty who left us in August. In honor of Monty, the web's first Oscar pundit cat, here are some of the most memorable felines of this screen year on movies and television.

Sorry not sorry to all the dog people out there. Isn't that unconditional love from your pup reward enough? Must you always demand doggy time? Let we, the crazy cat ladies, have the spotlight this time!

10 BEST CINEMATIC CATS OF 16

10 Mountain Lion The Neon Demon
This menacing cameo is primo WTFery and hard to forget but surely I did forgot some other key cats. You'll fill me in in the comments about felines who might have made this list, I'm sure...

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