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Entries in zoology (83)

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...

Click to read more ...

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....

Click to read more ...

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.

Click to read more ...

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...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov172016

Yes No Maybe So: "The Zookeeper's Wife"

No matter how many times we hear the story of World War II and The Holocaust it seems like we're still susceptible to forgetting their lessons. But at least filmmakers and novelists around the world tried to warn us to never forget. In our current climate where hate crimes are skyrocketing and a demagogue prepares to ascend to his throne after blaming our nation's problems on immigrants, how painful is it going to be to watch World War II movies?

Oh look here's another one...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct242016

Middleburg Day 3: Presidents, Production Designers, and Girl Power

Photo by Mara RoszakSaturday, my final full day at the fest, was a chilly windy day in Middleburg - horseback ride thwarted again! The unplanned theme of the day was girl power. The day began with a lively keynote conversation with AMPAS President Cheryl Boone-Isaacs. The moderator kept mentioning that she was the perfect person to be leading the Academy in these tough times and after listening to her for an hour, we can't disagree! It's quite obvious why they keep electing her. She's extroverted, quite funny, movie-loving, and knowledgeable about Hollywood with quite an interesting storied career behind her in film publicity. After that rousing breakfast conversation, the day ended with a standing ovation for Emma Stone and the dazzling La La Land (it's even better the second time!).

Inbetween those events a 13 year old Kazakh girl inspires in the documentary The Eagle Huntress, a very crowded panel on Presidents in the movies, and a conversation with four time Oscar nominated Production Designer Jeannine Oppenwall...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug122016

World Elephant Day

Happy World Elephant Day!

"Happy" might, alas, be the wrong word given how pachyderms have been treated in this world, practically always shamefully despite so much evidence of their intense family bonds, good natures (unlessly treated cruelly and then who doesn't lose their temper?) and their other cute qualities we may or may not be anthropomorphizing. Elephants may go extinct in our lifetime (which is unthinkable) so here are some charitable organizations you should consider supporting if you can that are fighting to save them. 

Elephant activists also suggests never supporting the ivory trade which is easy and never going to elephant attractions (I once rode on an elephant as a child but I didn't know anything about animal cruelty back then) because most of them have taken from their mothers to train them. If you're interested in a good doc on the subject of elephants in captivity -- or rather the ways their captors grapple with the morality of it and how thinking around the topic is changing, I'd suggest One Lucky Elephant (2011) which is about a circus man giving up the elephant he'd raised and lived with for 16 years. It's both hopeful and sad.

After saying all that it may seem hypocritical to share favorite photos of celebrities with elephants (as these beasts have obviously been trained or been living in captivity) but we aren't perfect and can't resist the combo of movie stars and anything glorious that they happen to pose with. A beauty break with lots more photos after the jump including Lupita Nyong'o, Barbra Stanwyck, and Harrison Ford...

Click to read more ...