January 23, 2017

Tag Archives: Pixar

Pixar dives back into the ocean with the charming sequel “Finding Dory”

Even though some folks bemoan when Pixar goes the sequel route, they still turn up in droves, and that will certainly be the case for this sequel to Finding Nemo, one of the studio’s most beloved titles. This one, Finding Dory, opens this week and is a pretty cute new adventure for the heroes from the first one. It’s basically a slam dunk for the studio, so this is going to be a huge success no matter the quality, but it helps that this is an easy to recommend cartoon. Something tells me that Disney will again be able to print money from this Pixar outing.
The film is, once again, a sequel to Finding Nemo, continuing a trend with Pixar of making follow ups to some of their most popular properties. Here, we’re following Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the forgetful Blue Tang who now is searching for her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy), as she’s remembered her childhood. Along for the ride is Marlon (Albert Brooks), who obviously owes her from last time, and Nemo as well. This search will take them to a Marine Life Institute where Dory thinks her parents are. There she’ll meet a ton of friends, old and new, including octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill). Andrew Stanton is once again at the helm here, co-directing with Angus MacLane and co-writing with the duo of Bob Peterson and Victoria Strouse. The voice cast, in addition to those mentioned, includes Ty Burrell, Idris Elba, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Dominic West, and a cameo of sorts by Sigourney Weaver. Music is by Thomas Newman.
Though this isn’t as good as the first one (probably an impossible bar to clear), there’s definitely plenty of fun to be had here. Personally, I really loved Hank, which is a combination of O’Neill doing strong voice work and the animators at Pixar really outdoing themselves with the creation of the octopus. Watching him is delightful, as is the whole thing really, once the first act is through. It takes a while for things to get going here, but as the second half begins, the movie is firing on all cylinders. It’s not top tier Pixar, but it’s still an easy to recommend family film.
Awards wise, this is probably going to be a very targeted campaign on the part of Pixar and Disney. Sure, with money to burn they’ll throw out a […]

“Anomalisa”, “The Good Dinosaur”, and “Inside Out” highlight the Annie Award nominations

Continuing the deluge of precursors that we’ve already seen drop this week, the Annie Awards have announced their nominations yesterday, with Pixar having perhaps their best day with the group ever. Not only did Inside Out lead the way in terms of nods, but The Good Dinosaur received a lot of noms as well. Also doing well were Anomalisa, The Peanuts Movie, and Shaun the Sheep Movie (plus many more), making for a Best Animated Feature lineup that features those five titles. It’s interesting to see Pixar do as well as they’ve done here, as the actual awards rarely go to them. That could potentially open the way for Anomalisa to pull off the upset, though we obviously shall see.
Inside Out led the way with 14 nominations, including every single one of the Feature categories this year. Next in line with nine nominations was The Good Dinosaur, Minions (despite not getting into Best Animated Feature) with eight, while Anomalisa (somehow snubbed in the writing category), The Peanuts Movie, and Shaun the Sheep Movie all got five citations. In terms of passion, you’d have to say that Anomalisa and Inside Out are the strongest, though the former didn’t do nearly as well as the latter here. Still, what Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman achieved is nothing short of remarkable (look for more on it soon from me), with hopefully at the very least Jennifer Jason Leigh’s voice performance having a chance to win here. Overall though, these are more interesting nominees than usual from this precursor, I’ll say that…
In terms of Oscar, the five nominees in Best Feature here could very well be the Academy’s five, though some of the more independent animated titles out there stand a chance as well. Inside Out is definitely the frontrunner, but voters may very well be won over by Anomalisa before all is said and done. An upset here would go a long way towards that, while a win for Inside Out with the Annie’s would help solidify its lead. Much is still to be decided with Best Animated Feature, but it’s beginning to come into focus now that we’re in December, and that’s important.
Here now is the full list of nominees from the 43rd annual Annie Awards nomination announcement yesterday:
Paramount Pictures
“Inside Out”
Pixar Animation Studios
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
Aardman Animations
“The Good Dinosaur”
Pixar Animation Studios
“The Peanuts Movie”
Blue Sky Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Animation

Pixar has another horse in the Best Animated Feature race with “The Good Dinosaur”

Yesterday, I got a look at Pixar’s other contender this year in The Good Dinosaur, and let me tell you…2015 is a good year for the studio. Sure, Inside Out is getting a bit of Best Picture buzz and has been called one of the best Pixar films in some time, but The Good Dinosaur is no slouch either. Though not quite on par with their instant classics, this movie is very strong and perhaps one of the most beautiful looking bits of animation ever. In that regard, it’s quite special, trust me there. It’s going to be an Oscar contender for sure, so it’s two for two for Pixar this year. It comes out this week and it’s surely about to become a big hit.
The film is a what if about a situation where the dinosaurs never went extinct. What would have happened if that asteroid never slammed into Earth? Well, over millions of years, dinosaurs would have dominated the planet, making an agrarian society of sorts, with humans simple pests. That dynamic changes somewhat for Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa), an Apatosaurus who befriends one while lost and trying to find his way home. Along with his human Spot (voice of Jack McGraw), the two set out on a great adventure in the truest Disney sense of the word, encountering danger but also learning something about themselves in the process. Peter Sohn directs here and co-writes with the team of Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann, and Bob Peterson. As for the rest of the voice cast, they include Sam Elliott, Frances McDormand, Anna Paquin, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn, and more.
What really is noticeable here is how beautiful the movie looks. I scoffed a bit when I heard that an attempt at a Best Cinematography nomination was being made here, but I buy it now. It’s a long shot, but this very well may be the best looking animated feature that I’ve seen in a very long time. The nature on display is absolutely gorgeous. The story is somewhat traditional and nothing to write home about, but the look and feel of the flick is great. Factor in solid voice work and a very pleasing allure to it all and this is an unquestioned success. By and large, this is meant more for kids than adults, but since it’s Pixar, this is hardly a bore for folks in […]

“Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders

Today, for the lately in my mostly weekly category by category contender rundown, I’m moving on from the big eight. Yes, I’ve gone beyond those categories and am now looking at one of the in between ones…namely the Best Animated Feature race. It’s one of the last ones that I’m going to do (still deciding on if the technical categories are getting their moment in the sun or not), at least before I take another look at the races towards the winter, so I hope you enjoy…
Since there are far less contenders in this category as a general rule, I’ll be doing things a little bit differently than normal. Here now are the five particular animated films that I have cracking the unofficial lineup at this point in the year:
1. Inside Out – The heavy favorite this year is Pixar’s latest masterpiece, which could have bigger fish to fry than just the Best Animated Feature category. It’s an absolute lock for a nomination, probably has the win in the bag, and could also show up in Best Original Screenplay as well as potentially Best Picture as well (not to mention a tech category or two). It’s a special achievement and will be remembered by Oscar in some manner, so it’s just a question of to what extent that will happen. It represents the best chance at a cartoon getting into Picture since the change in how voting is done.
2. The Good Dinosaur – Right now the only threat to the throne for our number one contender is this fellow Pixar release. It’s also a high concept flick, though one closer to some of their other projects. It would be quite the achievement if this turned out better than Inside Out, but that would signal an incredible year for animation. We’ll see if that happens, but for now, this is a solid number two. It also has the potential to show up elsewhere, besides just in Animated Feature, so that’s always a plus for a big contender.
3. Shaun the Sheep Movie – If voters decide to go in a different direction, this is certainly an option. It’s the most European option, so if nothing else, it will give the Academy something else besides Disney/Pixar to look into. They’ve gone for this studio before, at least in terms of nominations, so this isn’t a long shot. At the same time though, there’s […]

Ranking every Pixar film so far

I’m hardly the only one to think of this, but with Pixar putting their new film Inside Out into theatrical release today, what better time is there to rank all of their works to date? I’ve obviously seen all 15 films, from Toy Story and A Bug’s Life all the way to this week’s Inside Out. Again, with a list/ranking, my take is not the definitive one, so just keep that in mind. Especially with Pixar, everyone has a different favorite. I do hope you enjoy my version though, and remember not to miss Inside Out, which is a real special flick of theirs…
Here now is how I’d rank every Pixar movie so far:
15. Cars – Not a bad film, per say, but a strangely un Pixar-like outing. By and large, this follows the same beats as Doc Hollywood, which I much prefer. Here, it’s the voice of Owen Wilson subbed in for Michael J. Fox, which is a downgrade. Oddly enough, the highlight is Larry the Cable Guy. It’s nothing to boo and hiss at, but it’s perhaps their most disposable movie.
14. Brave – Rarely does Pixar play it safe, but it felt like they did here. Their take on a Princess movie doesn’t have the brain of their best work, even if it’s among their most visually stunning. Aside from the look of it, you really have a hard time remembering any of the plot details. It’s not as smart as they usually make their movies, so again…it’s not something you avoid, but it’s clearly part of their lower end of the Pixar spectrum.
13. Cars 2 – Notable to me mainly for just how odd it is, the sequel was an improvement on the first one, but not an undisputed success either. A spy movie this time out, it’s closer to a Bond flick than anything else, which sounds insane, I know. As such, it only sometimes works, but the bold direction does help distinguish it a bit among the bottom tier of their movies.
12. A Bug’s Life – This early Pixar entry has a lot of the ingredients that would go into their classics, but at this point, the meal was still a bit raw. I don’t really have many complaints about this one, though part of my lack of cheerleading for it has to do with my preference for the edgier Antz, which came out around […]

“Inside Out” is a moving and Oscar worthy return to form for Pixar

Up until a few years ago, the annual release of an animated feature from Pixar was greeted with much hype and a sense that the company could do no wrong. Then, a couple of less than universally beloved flicks came out and the brand was running the risk of no longer being the gold standard for animated endeavors. Well, now that Inside Out is on its way to audiences this Friday, I can say that no only is this a return to form for them, it’s one of Pixar’s best yet. One of their most ambitious, Inside Out is in some ways their most mature effort as well. It’s really something to rave about.
With a hugely high concept premise, this one rivals anything else from the studio in terms of ambition. Inside Out tells the story of preteen girl Riley (voice of Kaitlyn Dias), who is uprooted from her comfortable Midwest life and moved to San Francisco by her parents (voices of Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan). In her head, her emotions, which happen to be Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling), and Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) struggle to decide how best to navigate a new city, house and school, and literally life. Also among the voice talent is Richard Kind, Bobby Moynihan, Frank Oz, and Paula Poundstone, while Peter Doctor co-directs with Ronaldo Del Carmen and co-writes with Del Carmen, Josh Cooley, and Meg LeFauve. Pixar mainstay Michael Giacchino composed the score, with the end result truly something that’s special.
Part of what sets this apart from other modern animated fare is the embracing of mature emotions that goes on here. Inside Out isn’t afraid to make the case that sadness is a part of growing up, and as such is an essential emotion to deal with. There are moments here that are as emotionally affecting as anything Pixar has ever done. It’s not an overt tearjerker or anything like that, but they earn those few moments that might threaten to open up your tear ducts. Pixar and Doctor especially have long been adept at this, but it’s as subtly done as ever in Inside Out.
That’s not to say that Inside Out isn’t funny, because it is. In fact, one of the final jokes is a visual gag around the time of the end credits […]

INSIDE OUT- New Film Clip

Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head? Disney•Pixar’s original new film “Inside Out” ventures inside the mind to find out.
Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.

When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.
Directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”, “Up”), produced by Jonas Rivera, p.g.a. (“Up”) and featuring an original score by Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in theaters on June 19, 2015.

· Director Pete Docter is the Academy Award®-winning director of “Up.” He made his directorial debut with Disney•Pixar‘s smash hit “Monsters, Inc.,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature film. Along with John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, Docter developed the story and characters for “Toy Story,” Pixar‘s first full-length feature film, for which he also served as supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on “A Bug’s Life” and wrote the initial story treatment for “Toy Story 2.” As one of Pixar Animation Studios’ key creative contributors, Docter garnered an Academy Award nomination for his original story credit on Disney•Pixar’s Golden Globe®- and Oscar®-winning “WALL•E.”
· Jonas Rivera produced the Academy Award®-winning “Up,” for which he was nominated for best picture. Prior to “Up,” he had worked on nearly every Pixar film since joining Pixar Animation Studios in 1994, beginning with “Toy Story” for which he served as production office assistant. His subsequent credits include “A Bug’s Life” (as art department coordinator), “Toy Story 2” (as […]

THE GOOD DINOSAUR / New Teaser Trailer and Poster

The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

Peter Sohn made his directorial debut with the Pixar short film “Partly Cloudy.” He has worked in the art, story and animation departments, and also has voiced the characters of Emile from Academy Award®-winning “Ratatouille” and Scott “Squishy” Squibbles from “Monsters University.”
Denise Ream produced the Golden Globe-nominated film “Cars 2” for Pixar Animation Studios, and served as associate producer for Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning film “Up.” She also has an extensive background in producing visual effects and animation for live action films.

“Inside Out” heading to the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival for its World Premiere

Academy Award® winner Pete Docter, who helmed Disney/Pixar’s ‘Up’ (the first animated film ever to be the Festival’s Opening-Ceremony film), directs ‘Inside Out,’ an original new movie from Pixar Animation Studios. Docter, producer Jonas Rivera (‘Up’), and co-director Ronnie Del Carmen (‘Up’) will be on hand in Cannes, along with members of the all-star English-language voice cast.
“We are overjoyed at being included in this year’s official selection at Cannes,” said Docter. “With ‘Inside Out,’ we spent years imagining and then building never-before-seen settings and characters within the mind. It was an incredible, fun and exciting challenge and now we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head? Disney?Pixar?s original new film ?Inside Out? ventures inside the mind to find out.
Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley?s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned?both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.
When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind?taking some of her core memories with them?Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places?Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.
Directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”, “Up”), produced by Jonas Rivera, p.g.a. (“Up”), co-directed by Ronnie Del Carmen (“Up”) and featuring an original score by Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up”), Disney?Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in U.S. theaters on June 19, 2015.

The ten films most likely to lead the 2015 box office

As much as I clearly obsess myself with trying to accurately predict the Oscars, I also have a slight fascination with attempting to figure out which film will wind up as the most successful at the box office, even if the actual numbers are incredibly difficult to pinpoint. Sadly, most of the time the movies in contention for that crown are iffy at best in terms of quality, but his year might very well be different. 2015 offers up a number of potentially very strong flicks that will vie to be number one at the box office, including a couple that might actually contend for the all time crown. That’s pretty rare (though with the numbers we see year in and year out, it’s slowly getting less and less rare), making the next nine months or so possibly very interesting…
As a quick refresher, this was what the top ten box office hauls of 2014 were, including what some of these made after the calendar changed over:
1. American Sniper ($341,380,905) *and counting
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($337,103,873) *and counting
3. Guardians of the Galaxy ($333,176,600)
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259,766,572)
5. The LEGO Movie ($257,760,692)
6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ($254,916,285) *and counting
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($245,439,076)
8. Maleficent ($241,410,378)
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233,921,534)
10. Big Hero 6 ($221,690,346) *and counting
Here now are the ten most likely films to run away with the 2015 box office crown:
10. The Good Dinosaur – The first of two Pixar releases on this list (as well as the first of two to involve dinosaurs), you know that an animated feature is going to rake it in during 2015…the question is just, which one? This has been a slightly troubled production, so that might be an issue, but if it’s not, watch out. Marketing wise, this is a dream for Disney/Pixar.
9. Trainwreck – I spoke about this comedy yesterday, but there’s a chance that this could be even bigger than Bridesmaids. Consider this Judd Apatow flick a dark horse. I think it’s possibly the least likely, but it’s still one very much worth keeping at least one eye on. A comedy always seems to break out, so why not this one, particularly if it’s the critical favorite it’s shaping up to be?
8. Terminator: Genysis – Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Terminator in a franchise sequel/prequel/reboot that could bring in […]

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