April 21, 2014

Tag Archives: animation

Woody Allen in Los Angeles without love

HollywoodNews.com: Our LEAH SYDNEY caught up with the legendary Woody Allen last night at the opening of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Woody and his cast premiered “To Rome with Love,” which opens on June 22nd.
LS-How do you feel about the rough and toughness of this business?
Woody- “I’m immune to it. I’m immune to when my films don’t do well I never really care, and when they do well I don’t care. I’ve kept myself out of that. I don’t have highs or lows. I just like to make the films and move on to the next film. This one is opening and I’m already deeply involved in my next film. I’ve moved on to the next film, this film is history to me. “Midnight in Paris” is ancient history. So when they do well that’s great and if they don’t, well there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s not why I’m in the business.
LS-How much of your next film will be shot in New York?
Woody- “A little bit, the rest in San Francisco. “
LS-You know you’re obviously loved in New York and now as much in Los Angeles.
Woody- “I like that both coasts love me. Now if we can just get the middle of the country, I’m home free.”
At the Q&A following the screening. Woody told the crowd:
“I had a wonderful time making it, living in Italy, eating pasta and working with beautiful actresses and scintillating men. If you do like it however, pressure Sony so they don’t put it in the witness protection program. So if you like the picture I’m thrilled, if you hate it and think it was a waste of time, don’t let me know because I get depressed easily.”
LAFF Festival Director Stephanie Allain told Leah about ‘the wow factor’ in getting Woody to come to LA.
“Kicking off the festival with Woody Allen couldn’t be cooler and bringing Woody to LA is a dream. I feel like we did it. Now we have ten more days of amazing movies, conversations, and music. I’m thrilled that the LAFF is getting the recognition that it should.”
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Read also: http://www.showbiz411.com/2012/06/14/penelope-cruz-robert-benigni-make-woody-allens-rome-movie
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Dreamworks Animation: Quality and Variety

HollywoodNews.com: As the initial reviews for Pixar’s Brave roll in (again, I’m waiting till opening day to take the kid), it’s clear that the film is both pretty solid and somewhat disappointing considering the uber-high standards that Pixar has set for itself. I personally think it’s almost dangerous to go into a Pixar film expecting each one to be as good as Up, but I digress. One of the running themes of said reviews is that the film is merely ‘Dreamworks good’.
If you think that’s supposed to be an insult, it is. The meme for the last decade or so is that Dreamworks is not just inferior to Pixar (probably true over all), but a genuinely mediocre producer of mass-market animated films that constantly engages in some of the worst practices of mainstream animation. But as we examine the last fourteen years of Dreamworks Animation, it becomes clear that their reputation is somewhat unfair, akin to judging Pixar based on Cars.
Dreamworks Animation may not have the sheer number of masterpieces as Pixar, but their 24 animated features (double Pixar’s output) show a remarkable range of both quality and variety. They truly are more than just the worst parts of Shrek the Third and the best parts of How to Train Your Dragon.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Walt Disney Studios Unveils Epic Adventure “Frozen”

HollywoodNews.com: Walt Disney Animation Studios presents an epic tale of adventure and comedy in “Frozen,” a computer-animated feature film slated for the big screen in November 2013. Directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan,” “Surf’s Up”) and produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Winnie the Pooh,” “The Princess and the Frog”), “Frozen” features the vocal talents of film/TV/stage star Kristen Bell as Anna, a young dreamer about to take the adventure of a lifetime, and Tony Award ®-winning actress Idina Menzel as Elsa the Snow Queen. The movie will feature original songs by Broadway greats Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
In “Frozen,” a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, so Anna (voice of Bell) must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, on the grandest of journeys to find the Snow Queen (voice of Menzel) and put an end to the icy spell. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.
Bell has starred in a variety of films, including the comedies “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Couples Retreat,” and the upcoming films “Hit & Run,” “Some Girls” and the Farrelly Brothers’ “Movie 43.” On the small screen, Bell is currently starring in the Showtime series “House of Lies” alongside Don Cheadle; she has also starred in “Heroes” and “Veronica Mars.” Broadway credits include “The Crucible” and “Tom Sawyer.”
Menzel, who won a Tony Award® as Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Elphaba in Broadway’s “Wicked” (2004), landed her first role on Broadway in 1995 in the Tony Award-winning musical “Rent.” Film credits include “Enchanted” and the feature film “Rent.” She has appeared in a recurring role on TV’s “Glee” and recently released “Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony,” a live concert with an orchestra led by composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Menzel is currently on a North American concert tour.
Robert Lopez is a three-time Tony Award®-winning writer of the Tony and Grammy® Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon,” which was co-written with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”), and the musical “Avenue Q,” which ran for six years on Broadway and four years in London’s West End. Lopez teamed with wife Anderson-Lopez, whose Drama Desk-winning show “In Transit” is Broadway-bound, to write original songs for 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh,” a stage version of “Finding Nemo” and a new musical called “Up Here.”
Photo Courtesy [...]

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – Mostly clever all-ages fun

HollywoodNews.com: Madagascar 3 is so substance-free that one almost feels the need to apologize for enjoying. It tells a story that is almost thinner than the first film and certainly less introspective than the second film’s family drama. And it rivals Back to the Future II for an almost complete lack of overt ‘drama’.
But it *is* completely enjoyable and again proves that the technical side of Dreamworks Animation doesn’t do anything half-assed. It is a visually splendid adventure that continues the franchise’s refreshingly small-scale storytelling. Come what may, the Madagascar series exists as a definitive ‘western’ animated series with a specifically Jewish sensibility. Once again the primary conflict is ‘untamed wilderness versus civilization’ while the primary character arcs involve our heroes dealing with their own neuroses. Yes there is an outside threat, but the primary battle once again lies within.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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“Rise of the Guardians” new trailer

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: It’s no secret that Dreamworks films often turn out to be far more complicated than their marketing campaigns might imply. For example, Megamind’s marketing didn’t even hint at the jaw-dropping plot twist in the first twenty minutes, nor did it detail any of the major narrative turns in the third act or the ‘must there be evil to co-exist with good?’ subtext that made the movie more than just a gimmick. And Kung Fu Panda 2′s marketing sold easy-going comedy and stress-free action without hinting at the emotionally draining story at its core while Puss In Boots sold bawdy gags instead of trippy fairy-tale adventure.

So when I say this preview looks painfully generic, take it with a grain of salt. But judging just what’s on display, it’s a little disheartening to see a fascinating idea (a look into the lives of the various holiday-themed creatures of our modern American mythology) and use them purely as a springboard for a conventional action picture (uh-oh, Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, and the gang have to stop a random villain!).
Again, I’m hoping there is more to the story, even while I’ll try to avoid as much spoiler information as possible. It’s no secret I hold Dreamworks Animation in very high regard, so I can only presume that they have something more up their sleave. Rise of the Guardians opens on November 21st, which is a new release date (Thanksgiving weekend) for a Dreamworks cartoon. As always, we’ll see…
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
Photos by Dreamworks
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John Carter’s Director Andrew Stanton Talks

HollywoodNews.com: Newly released talk from JOHN CARTER Director Andrew Stanton discussing his life in story last week in Long Beach, CA.
Andrew Stanton is the writer behind the three hugely successful Pixar Toy Story movies as well as the writer and director of WALL-E, the opening sequence of which will go down in, well, my personal history as being one of the most beautiful animation pieces of all time. His new live action movie, John Carter, comes out in March. He takes to the TED2012 stage and starts with a bang: telling a long-winded, accent-strewn, expletive-filled joke that promptly sets the crowd on fire. Storytelling, you see, is joke-telling. And now he continues to challenge himself to see if he can accord his own greatest storytelling commandment–”make me care”–by telling us his own life story … backwards.
“And that’s what ultimately led me to talking about story here at TED.” Two big laughs in a row; Stanton really is a comedian, as well as everything else!
So the story, naturally, starts with John Carter, based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, of which Burroughs is the narrator. “The book is fundamentally making a promise; this story will lead somewhere worth time,” he says. “A well told promise is like a pebble being pulled back in a slingshot that propels you through the story to the end.”
2008
After showing us a clip from Wall-E, Stanton says he used everything he had, wanting to experiment with the idea that storytelling without dialogue was the purest form of cinematic storytelling. That led to another realization: “We all want to work for our meal when we watch a movie; we just don’t want to know that we’re doing it.”
2002
When Stanton worked with Bob Peterson on Finding Nemo, their unifying theory was 2+2. The twist; to make the audience put things together. “Don’t give them 4. Give them 2+2.” No, it’s not an exact science. Stories, he says, are not a widget. “Stories are inevitable if they’re good but they’re not predictable.”
2001
Stanton took an acting seminar with Judith Weston and learned that all well-drawn characters have a spine. ”They have a dominant unconcsious goal that they’re striving for, an itch they can never scratch.” This was a huge moment for Stanton, who took this on as a dominant theme for his own storytelling.
1998
Hooked on storytelling, he read everything he could, and found the phrase by William Archer: “Drama [...]

DreamWorks Animation Hook-Up with Investment Groups in China

HollywoodNews.com: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today announced that it has agreed to form a joint venture with China Media Capital (CMC), with plans to include Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Shanghai Alliance Investment, Ltd. (SAIL), to establish the leading China-focused family entertainment company.
Oriental DreamWorks will engage in the development and production of high-quality original Chinese animated and live action content for distribution both within China and to other territories around the globe. In addition to content creation, the joint venture will pursue business opportunities in the areas of live entertainment, theme parks, mobile, online, interactive games and consumer products.
“We are incredibly proud to establish Oriental DreamWorks alongside CMC, SMG and SAIL in this groundbreaking and historic alliance to create the leading Chinese-branded family entertainment company,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Together with our partners in China, we look forward to building a first-of-its-kind enterprise to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content and family entertainment experiences – not only for the people of China but also for related export markets.”
“We share the same vision with DreamWorks Animation to build a world-class family entertainment company,” commented Ruigang Li, Chairman of China Media Capital. “By combining the expertise of CMC in investment and operation, SMG in media and entertainment management, SAIL in high-tech R&D, as well as DreamWorks Animation in creative processes, innovative technology and global network capabilities, Oriental DreamWorks will be in a unique position to create high-quality content and interactive entertainment products for China and international markets.”
The Chinese companies will hold a majority stake of approximately 55% in Oriental DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation will hold approximately 45%. The enterprise will initially be capitalized with cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million. The joint venture plans to launch business operations in Shanghai later this year.
DreamWorks Animation has enjoyed a great track record of success at the box office in China, led by its blockbuster Kung Fu Panda franchise. Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film upon its release into China in 2008 and last year, Kung Fu Panda 2 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in the region, grossing approximately $100 million.
Photo by Dreamworks SKG
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Oscars: “Rango” cleans up at the VES Awards – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: The VES announced the winners of the 10th Annual VES Awards Tuesday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Gore Verbinski’s Oscar-nominated “Rango” was the night’s biggest winner, collecting four awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture, and Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture.
“Hugo,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” all took home two awards in the Feature Motion Picture categories. The annual event recognizes outstanding visual effects artistry in 23 categories of film, animation, television, commercials, special venues and video games.
The complete list of winners of the 10th Annual VES Awards is as follows:
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Cyndi Ochs, Kurt Williams
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Hugo: Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning, Rob Legato, Karen Murphy
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango: Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special
Inside the Human Body: Phil Dobree, Sophie Orde, Dan Upton
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
Terra Nova – Occupation & Resistance: Kevin Blank, Colin Brady, Adica Manis, Jason Zimmerman
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones – Winter is Coming: Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, Angela Barson, Ed Bruce, Adam McInnes
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial
Dior J’adore: Pascal Giroux, Julien Meesters, Stephane Pivron, Manuel Souillac
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer
Diablo III: The Black Soulstone: Nicholas S. Carpenter, Graham Cunningham, Chris Thunig, Taka Yasuda
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle: Lori Arnold, Yanick Dusseault, Delio Tramontozzi, Jeff White
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar: Daniel Barrett, Florian Fernandez, Matthew Muntean, Eric Reynolds
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – Rango: Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton
Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Canal + The Bear: Laurent Creusot, Guillaume Ho, Olivier Mitonneau, Michal Nauzin
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 155 Wacker Drive: Giles Hancock, John Hanson, Tom Martinek, Scott Younkin
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion [...]

‘Rango’ took top honors as the Best Animated Feature at the Annie Awards

HollywoodNews.com:Paramount Pictures ‘Rango’ took top honors as the Best Animated Feature at the 39th Annual Annie Awards, Saturday, February 4 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. With the expanded list of categories from 25 to 28, and the addition of two new categories – Editing and Best Animated Special Production – this year’s show honored more nominees than in the past. Also new to the ceremony was the live streaming of the event at www.annieawards.org/watch-it-live. The complete list of winners can be viewed at www.annieawards.org. The newly created ‘Member’s Favorite’ award voted on by the entire ASIFA-Hollywood community also went to ‘Rango.’
Newcomer Minkyu Lee’s ‘Adam and Dog’ won for Best Short Subject while Psyop’s Twinings ‘Sea’ was selected Best Television Commercial. ‘The Simpsons’ took Best Animated TV Production and Shadow Planet Production’s ‘Insanely Twisted’ was selected as Best Video Game.
“This was a great evening, with a lot of fun and surprises, “ said ASIFA-Hollywood President Frank Gladstone. “Annies went to a huge variety of individuals and studios. This goes directly to ASIFA-Hollywood’s vision of celebrating the best in animation across project, studio and geographic boundaries.”
Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt ‘s hosting duties kept the show moving at a lively pace. He was joined on stage by animation luminaries, celebrity presenters and comedic talent including animation legend June Foray, J.K. Simmons, Judy Greer, Zachary Levi, Peter Baynham, Mace Heufeld, Weird Al Yankovic, Bruce Boxleitner, Ahmed Best, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Jim Cummings, Phil Lamarr, Diedrich Bader, Daran Norris, Tara Strong, Kelly Stables, Dee Bradley Baker, Nika Futterman, Ariel Winter, Logan Grove, James Hong, Brian Posehn, Greg & Evan Spiridellis and Jim Meskimen (Jib Jab), Bridgit Mendler, Brittany Snow, Jason Marsden and Joe Letteri.
Honored with the Winsor McCay award were Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring and the late Ronald Searle. The Winsor McCay Award stands as one of the highest honors given to an individual in the animation industry in recognition for career contributions to the art of animation.
Art Leonardi was honored with the June Foray award which is presented to an individual who has given significant and benevolent contributions to the art and industry of animation.
Often a predictor of the annual Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Annie Awards honor overall excellence as well as individual achievement in a total of 28 categories ranging from best feature, production design, character animation, and effects animation to [...]

“The Simpsons” plans marathon viewing around 500th episode

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Have you got what it takes to help “The Simpsons” break a world record?
In celebration of the animated program’s historic 500th episode milestone, FOX invites fans of the iconic series to participate in The Simpsons Ultimate Fan Marathon Challenge at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles.
Fans will come together to watch up to 500 continuous episodes of “The Simpsons” in an attempt to break the current Guinness World Record of 86 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds for the longest continuous television viewing.
The contest winner will take home a $10,500 prize and an array of “Simpsons” merchandise. Members of “The Simposns” will be on-site to kick-off the marathon event, and fans and spectators will be able to watch the marathon and visit a fanfare area equipped with interactive elements and animation cells.
The information is below. Think you’ll give it a shot?

WHERE: Los Angeles — Hollywood and Highland Complex Center
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
WHO: Members of THE SIMPSONS
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012
THE SIMPSONS 500th Episode, “At Long Last Leave” Airs Sunday, February 19, on FOX
On Blu-ray and DVD, fans can enjoy and experience more from THE SIMPSONS with never-before-seen footage and extras
Fans can also visit www.TheSimpsonsShop.com to get their hands on all of the latest THE SIMPSONS merchandise, and beginning in February, a special selection of products created exclusively to celebrate the 500th episode milestone

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