Posts Tagged ‘Pixar’
In the 2012 release of Disney’s Brave, incautious princess Merida’s original look features wild red hair, a bow and quiver, and a tomboyish figure. Her appearance is befitting of a Scottish teenager who wants to change her fate by breaking with years of tradition. Her look also defies what it means to be a traditional Disney princess, for instead of being docile and disengaged she is a feisty firecracker who chases after her dreams.
Screenwriters: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi
Length: 1h 33m
Synopsis: Merida (Macdonald) is a Scottish princess, but you wouldn’t know it to look at her. With long, unkempt, fiery red hair and a fondness for tomboyish hobbies she doesn’t often get along with her mother the Queen (Thompson) who, loving though she may be, relentlessly stresses the importance of obedience and propriety. Merida’s crude but kind father, King Fergus (Connolly), plays the peacemaker whose mannerisms and childish immaturity are not the example Queen Elinor wants for their daughter, yet the three get along fairly merrily all the same. One day, however, Elinor schedules a competition for young men seeking Merida’s hand in marriage. The princess impulsively becomes infuriated. A heated argument is had between the two, and in the midst of Merida’s outburst she runs off into the woods and discovers a secluded cabin where a temperamental witch (Walters) dwells. In an effort to change her fate Merida has the witch conjure a spell that would cause Elinor to change – and boy does it ever. The Queen turns into a giant bear, the land’s most feared and hunted creature. Merida is immediately remorseful, but before too many suns have set she and her mother must work together to break the spell before it becomes permanent. Will the rambunctious teenager save her mother’s fate in time, and succeed in mending the bond broken between them?
Director: Brad Bird
Length: 2h 13m
Synopsis: After an IMF agent is killed in an effort to capture the launch codes for Russian nuclear warheads, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his crack team of agents are assigned to find out who took the codes and why. Their efforts, however, lead them to being framed for the destruction of the Moscow Kremlin, which makes Ethan Russia’s most wanted and forces IMF to disavow all of its agents. So with no help from IMF and a huge target on their backs, Ethan and Co. must prevent the stolen launch codes from getting into the wrong hands. Crazy and elaborate plans ensue, with stunts and chases aplenty. What we see may possibly be their biggest challenge yet.
Allow me to explain to you why Cars 2 might forever be known as your first real “flop.”
Some people thought that it was inevitable – that it was just a matter of time before you did something less than extraordinary. You have had one of the most incredibly successful run of releases going all the way back to your first full-length feature film in 1995’s Toy Story. With each new film it appeared that you could do no wrong, following up each critical and financial success with another. What’s more is you have continued to raise the bar for filmmaking practices in general, not just with computer animated family fare. You have become the yardstick to which all storytelling of your ilk must be measured, but it appears the time come when you have finally failed to measure up to yourself.
Netflix and Relativity Media have made a deal that will allow the video-rental giant to stream up to 30 of the studio’s films during the “traditional pay-TV distribution window.” Netflix has deals with all major studios that allows them to stream online a certain amount of those studios’ films, however up until now only Disney and Sony were allowing the streaming of their movies during this period.
The deal will begin with only the 10-12 films that Relativity will release over the next year (their typical output) but Netflix will be able to max out at 30 over the next five years. Both companies have stated that they believe this deal will be the beginning of a different age of distribution, away from pay-TV channels.
“Our continued goal is to expand the breadth and timeliness of films and TV shows
available to stream on Netflix,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.
“We have always been about finding new ways to grow and monetize our business,” Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh said. “This clearly is a natural step in the evolution of the movie business and opens up a whole new world of revenue and marketing opportunities.”
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Quick Opinion: That Netflix is now making streaming deals with non-major Hollywood studios should be encouraging for those who are excited about the idea of “big” Hollywood not having as big a monopoly on exposure. With more streaming movies being from smaller (but not small) production and distribution studios the greater leverage they have in making distribution deals with those bigger companies. The more people see your films – and the more evidence you have that they do – gives you more creative authority because there is less reason to bend over backwards to appease a big distributor’s standards. One easy example to cite is how Disney doesn’t tell Pixar how to make their films, they simply get a cut of the profits for distribution. What this all could do is open up an opportunity for production studios like Relativity (Lionsgate, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures, etc.), who prefer to create movies for peripheral audiences.
Director: Lee Unkrich (co-director of Toy Story 2, Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo)
Screenwriters: Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), John Lasseter (Toy Story, Toy Story 2), Andrew Stanton (Monster’s Inc., WALL-E), Lee Unkrich
Cast: Tom Hanks (The Da Vinci Code), Tim Allen (The Santa Clause 3), Joan Cusack (Kit Kittredge), Ned Beatty (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Length: 1h 43m
Synopsis: Woody (Hanks) and Buzz (Allen) and the gang are preparing themselves for the day that they knew would eventually come, and that day is when their owner Andy (now 17 years old) heads off to college and relegates his toys to either the attic or place of donation. All the toys are in a panic, and despite Woody’s efforts to calm them their hysteria is just too great. What ends up happening to them is that they are given away to a nearby daycare center where they are met with many other toys, but also some unruly toddlers. These hyperactive tots viciously mistreat their new toys, and on top of that not all of the daycare’s older toys are quite what they seem to be. All of Andy’s old toys decide they must somehow reunite with him, but figuring out how to do that will be their biggest challenge yet. Read the rest of this entry »
ComingSoon.net recently conducted an interview with Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla Anderson. Unkrich has been the co-director for Toy Story 2, Monster’s Inc., and Finding Nemo and has been part of Pixar’s creative team since the company’s beginning, which was why he was given the job of directing the Oscar-winning and highly prestigious studio’s first “threequel.”
In the interview Unkrich and Anderson reveal some interesting tidbits about how Toy Story 3 got off the ground, and how the creative minds behind it were able to make it happen.
For starters, Unkrich and a few others tried getting the film started back when Toy Story 2 was released, ready to continue on to another story involving the characters they grew to love. However, legal troubles with Disney kept the film from being made and so the studio was forced to put the idea of a third movie on the back burner. When Disney eventually bought Pixar, the red tape was finally removed and the studio was free to pursue the project head-on.
Michael Arndt, who wrote the script for the film, was met by Unkrich and the others at Pixar after they looked at a copy of the screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine. They liked his work for that movie so much they immediately wanted to get in touch with him in order to maybe start working together. Later that same year Arndt was awarded an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine, which helped give the studio more confidence that they were working with the right guy.
The interview covers a dozen other issues like these, which help paint Pixar as a company that redefines the word “harmony” when it comes to how its creative teams work together to create such memorable films. Definitely a good read for those of you looking forward to Toy Story 3 opening this weekend.
We here at Movie-Thoughts try to find interesting views on anything movie-related, scouting magazines, web pages, newspapers, et al, to get judgments and attitudes from varying corners of our culture. Today in the latest (June) edition of The Catholic World Report we came across an article written by Steven D. Greydanus that, in the spirit of Father’s Day (which as a reminder is June 20th), documents the image of American fathers as depicted in Hollywood films over the past 60 years or so.
Mentioning roles from Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in 1962′s To Kill a Mockingbird, to Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), to Steve Martin in the remake of Father of the Bride (1991), to Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happiness (2006), to Christian Bale in the remake of 3:10 to Yuma (2007), he covers the various depictions of fatherhood as ideal patriarch, pivotal familial figure, impotent supporter, and so on. He even goes on to include in the conversation the depictions of father figures like Mr. Fredrickson in Pixar’s Up (2009).
Depictions of the American father were perhaps never better than with Peck playing Atticus Finch – a widower who despite any possible reservations or grievances about living without a spouse exemplifies the ideal patriarchal figure by being intelligent, morally grounded like no other, nonthreatening by default but firm and steadfast when needed, and self-sacrificing. Conversely, in Father of the Bride (both original and remake) the father is seen as insecure and lacking control of himself as well as others in his family. In 3:10 to Yuma (both original and remake) the father is portrayed as being impotent – meaning he’s unable to provide for his family or sufficiently defend its honor (at the beginning of the films, that is). What all of these depictions do, Greydanus argues – with as various as they’ve become and as unflattering as they can be – is demonstrate not the competence or imperativeness of individual fathers but the importance of the father figure. Whether the father is Atticus Finch, George Banks, Darth Vader, or completely absent, the depicted family dynamic and its accompanying story typically make a case for how influential the paternal role is.
Personally, we found this article to be extremely refreshing. Not just because it didn’t revel in the Father Knows Best personas of yesteryear but because an article like this explicitly stands against the modern-day depictions of the everyday father that you can find on The Simpsons, Family Guy, and yogurt commercials without even having to mention them. With however many sitcoms and commercials that show how overweight, impotent (in all definitions of the word), lazy, and simple-minded fathers supposedly are (which arguably make the case that fathers are by and large ineffectual), it’s nice to be reminded that the real importance of the father figure can always be found in the movies our culture generates. Fathers don’t always know best, but their role helps shape the social fabric of our patriarchal country (for better or worse, depending on your attitude towards the patriarchal arrangement).
Send us your thoughts and opinions on this topic via the comments section of this post or our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!
There is a big debate going on about the influx of 3D movies that has been going on the past few years, and continues going on strong. Some claim that the technology has already reduced itself to a gimmick, while others believe wholeheartedly that it is the future of cinema. Who is right? Can anyone be wrong? In order to come to any kind of conclusion, we first have to look at the facts.
Much of this topic comes down to economics. An article in Variety by Pamela McClintock examines this angle in-depth, and answers a lot of questions regarding why the film industry is so keen on this latest and greatest technology. To put it simply, there is a lot of money in it. The unfathomable success of James Cameron’s Avatar has driven a number of studios into a frenzy, spurring them to make some 2D movies into 3D in order to cash in on the popularity. The upcoming Clash of the Titans (April 2nd) is one such film that was made into 3D at the 11th hour. For some, these half-baked conversions are one of the major points of contention. The claim is that such last-minute conversions are adding to the thinking that 3D technology is nothing more than a money-grabbing gimmick. This may be true, but consider this: producing a film in 3D from the get-go adds $20 million to its budget almost automatically, while converting a film into 3D during post-production only adds $10 million to the budget (some studios even claim $5 million). The issue over post-production conversions, then, may not entirely be an issue about getting more money from audiences, but also about saving money. So, it is not completely about the first goal of business (making profit) but also the third (reducing cost). But what about the second goal (increasing revenue)? Read the rest of this entry »
Star of the hit Mission: Impossible franchise Tom Cruise has pegged the series’ next installment as his next picture, which has meant that him and fellow producer J.J. Abrams (director of M:I 3) have been on the hunt for the fourth film’s director.
Candidates include but are not limited to Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and now Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Pixar’s The Incredibles, Ratatouille). What makes Bird an unorthodox candidate is the fact that he’s never directed a live-action film before, although his two Pixar films have both won Oscars for Best Animated Picture. For these movies Bird has been praised by critics for his storytelling skills and choreographing skills for stunts and chase sequences.
Details about M:I 4‘s story are being kept under wraps, but J.J. Abrams is said to have worked with writers Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum (who Abrams knows from working with them on TV’s Alias) to formulate the script.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Quick Opinion: If Bird is hired to direct M:I 4 it would obviously mean that he would have the blessing of J.J. Abrams, which should be exciting news for fans of the series. Although M:I III didn’t do as well at the box office as Paramount would have liked (which many attribute to negative publicity regarding Tom Cruise’s television antics about his wife Katie Holmes and professed allegiance to Scientology), many fans (such as myself) regarded the film as the best yet in the series. If this is in fact the case, then J.J. Abrams’ involvement should only be considered positive, as well as the news about whoever is hired to direct the fourth film. As proficient as Bird might be at storytelling (I’m assuming this compliment is regarding his prowess with narrative construction, pacing, and emotional wherewithal) I would suggest there be concerns about his ability to direct the type of gritty project that M:I 4 is likely to be. Aside from having to be more hands-on with actors and the whole filming process (as opposed to primarily using computers and voice recordings), he’ll be tested to expand is aesthetic style into the realm of visceral violence and visual maturity. This isn’t all to say that Bird would be a poor choice, but because of these reasons he would definitely make an unusual one.