September 18, 2015
        “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September        

Tag Archives: Toy Story

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- 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 […]

“Toy Story 3″: The Top 25 (Best Animated Feature)

Onward we go folks with this weekly series of mine that I’m doing here at the site. Yes, we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories out there to be discussed. As you know, aside from the shorts and something like Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing like I already mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months. Of course, that includes the big eight categories, a few of which I’ve already knocked off. I’m also potentially going to do one that doesn’t exist (a fictitious Best Ensemble category), but that’s just an idea I currently am toying with. We’ll see about that one.
Today I’ll be tackling a category I teased you all about last week, with this one being the…Best Animated Feature field. As you all certainly know by this point, depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing pretty specifically or just giving more of a broad overview of the winners. For now though, I’m still keeping it fairly simple and saving the more expansive installments for the biggest of the categories. Like I’ve said over the past month or so though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the lists anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next couple of paragraphs once again. Also of note here, there won’t be 25 winners listed, since the category isn’t 25 years old yet (and in actuality is still just a teenager). In short, I’ll be ranking the entire history of the category.
This time around, I’m going to be taking the overview route again, since as mentioned above, it’s an abbreviated list. Still, there are a number of different types of animation on display below, from anime to hand drawn to computer animated, so it’s another week where the list contains something for everyone. As such, it’s again a matter of taste, at least to some degree. Are you a Pixar fan? A back of Hiyao Miyazaki? Either way, there’s a cartoon for you here.
I’ll basically just discuss my top ten a bit now, even if that’s a good portion of the entire category’s history. To me, the best winner of this category so far to […]

“Monsters University” and “Pacific Rim” take Hollywood Film Awards Honors

The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards announced today that Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University,” directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, will be the recipient of the Hollywood Animation Award, and Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures “Pacific Rim” visual effects supervisor John Knoll will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony.
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: “John Knoll’s groundbreaking work on Pacific Rim sets a new standard in visual effects. The robots and monsters in the film truly come to life through the best visual effects of the year. Once again, the animation and storytelling of “Monsters University” reflects Pixar’s creativity and greatness.”

The award will be bestowed at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards,” said de Abreu.
Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, in addition to more than 300 million online and print readers’ impressions.
About Dan Scalon
Dan Scanlon made his animated feature directorial debut with Disney/Pixar’s 14th feature film, “Monsters University,” which has grossed over $700 million dollars worldwide since its June 2013 release. He also co-wrote the film’s story and screenplay. As a youngster in Clawson, Michigan, Scanlon possessed a love for Warner Bros. cartoons, animated Disney films and, as fate would have it, Pixar short films. His passion inspired him to study film and animation in high school and in college where he focused on illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). Upon graduating from CCAD, Scanlon began working as an animator and story artist for Character Builders, a 2D animation company that produced feature and commercial work in Columbus, Ohio. Scanlon joined Pixar Animation Studios in September 2001 as a storyboard artist on Disney/Pixar’s award-winning features “Cars” and “Toy Story 3.” During the initial production stages for both films, he worked to translate the director’s story ideas into […]

“Brave” Hits Bullseye With $66.7 Million Another year, another $60-$70 million Pixar opening weekend. Brave (review) is their thirteenth release, as well as their thirteenth number-one debut and their eighth film to open between $60 and $70 million since 2001. Brave, which attracted headlines due to the fact that it was Pixar’s first film with a female lead (and a female director until Brenda Chapman was replaced by Mark Andrews), opened with an estimated $66.7 million this weekend, putting it (for now) just above Cars 2’s $66.1 million debut and a bit below Up’s $68.1 million opening as the fifth-best debut in Pixar history.
Brave pulled in $24.5 million on Friday, which gives the film a 2.71x weekend multiplier, which is actually pretty low by Pixar standards. Still, it’s close enough to the 2.73x multiplier for Wall-E ($23m/$63m), the 2.68x weekend multiplier for Toy Story 3 ($41m/$110m), and the 2.64x weekend multiplier for Cars 2 ($25m/$66m) to avoid any alarm. Movies, even most animated ones, are just a bit more front-loaded these days and Pixar films tend to play like sequels in a popular franchise than stand-alone entries. In terms of total box office, there is always the chance that Brave could play like Cars 2, which (comparatively) flamed out with just 2.8x weekend-to-total multiplier ($191 million domestic) and end up below $200 million.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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John Carter’s Director Andrew Stanton Talks 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Hooked on storytelling, he read everything he could, and found the phrase by William Archer: “Drama […]

“Contraband” scores surprisingly large debut, “Beauty & the Beast” opens well.

By Scott Mendelson I’ve talked a lot about how the under-reported story of 2011 box office was the return to fiscal sanity in regards to production budgets and this weekend is a prime example. We have three big openers, all of which cost under $30 million, which means all of them are well on their way to profitability merely by posting a solid if-not-spectacular opening. Shocking all of Mendelson’s Memos box office analysts (IE – me), Mark Wahlberg powered the low-budget ($25 million) and R-rated Contraband to a $24 million Fri-Sun/$28 million Fri-Mon debut all by himself to win the weekend. Wahlberg has had his share of big weekends (Planet of the Apes, The Perfect Storm, The Happening, etc), but they all arguably had larger factors at play other than just Walhberg’s relatively limited star-power. The closest comparison is the 2005 debut of Four Brothers, but I’d argue that at least some of the credit for that $21 million debut goes to director John Singleton, along with the fact that it was hard-R action picture in a PG-13 time. Comparability, Shooter debuted in early 2007 with $15 million, albeit against the $24 million opening weekend of TMNT and the $19 million third-weekend of 300. Chalk it up to lack of demo competition, a growing appetite for R-rated genre fare, a token boost from Kate Beckinsale’s token fanbase, or something in the marketing that I frankly didn’t see, but Walhberg just scored his biggest ‘all by myself!’ debut of his career.
The picture is a shining example of the most positive trend over the last 1.5 years or so. While Shooter (which had a boatload of character actors in small roles and an apparently larger scale) cost $60 million in 2007, Contraband cost just $25 million to produce, so it will be quite profitable without even factoring in international dollars and the long life that action pictures exhibit post-theatrical (it will play on TNT in the afternoon for decades to come). While the last decade or so has seen a huge decline in R-rated genre fare, owing partially to the 2001 FCC crackdown on marketing such fare to younger audiences, there is a real marketplace for action films that actually show bloodshed, allow characters to use real profanity, and don’t cut away or tone down the sound effects. It is arguably this […]

Oscars: Can “Rango” rustle up an Oscar nomination? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell There have been 10 winners in the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars since the category was created in 2001. Seven of those were produced by Disney, usually through it’s partnership with Pixar Animation Studios.
In fact, Pixar is on a four-year streak that has included “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” “Up” and last year’s Oscar winner, “Toy Story 3.” Many expect that streak to be broken this year, as Pixar’s “Cars 2” wasn’t up to snuff with the company’s previous installments, and far too many creative animated films emerged from Disney and Pixar’s rivals.
“Rango,” for example, charmed critics and audiences from the minute it was released. Gore Verbinski’s attempt at turning the Western genre on its head by viewing it through the unique eye of a domesticated, delusional chameleon (Johnny Depp) collected $245M in worldwide grosses, and earned an impressive 88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Rango’s not just a kiddie-flick (though it has enough silly slapstick to qualify as a pretty good one). It’s a real movie lover’s movie, conceived as a Blazing Saddles-like comic commentary on genre that’s as back-lot savvy as it is light in the saddle,” wrote NPR critic Bob Mondello.
Will Depp and his scaly creation have the chance to compete at the Oscars? It’s very possible, as “Rango” is up for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Annie Awards and likely could find itself in the animation category when nominees are announced on Jan. 24.
Verbinski started his awards journey this year at the Hollywood Film Awards, where “Rango” was honored with out Hollywood Animation Award. He was presented by longtime producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who calls Verbinski “fearless.” And the director lived up to that reputation with his speech. See for yourself, and then watch to see if “Rango” ends up with a well-deserved Oscar nomination on Jan. 24.

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
– Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
– Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”
– Bennett Miller talks “Moneyball.”
– Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
– Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
– David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
– Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
– Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
– Gavin O’Connor for “Warrior.”
– Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
– Charlize Theron, […]

Pixar’s “Brave” shares two exclusive images

By Sean O’Connell As a Pixar fan (and who isn’t, right?), I’m anxiously awaiting next summer’s “Brave” for two key reasons.
First, I need the animation studio to wash the wretched taste of “Cars 2” out of my mouth. As the father of two boys – who, admittedly, don’t mind the sequel – I’ve had to endure the misguided effort on multiple occasions since the Blu-ray release, and it breaks my heart a little more every time I sit through what honestly feels like a slapped-together sequel.
Secondly, I’m excited for the studio to return to the realm of original storytelling. We’ve endured “Toy Story” and “Cars” sequels since Pixar produced “Up.” We have a “Monsters Inc.” prequel on the horizon. “Brave” appears to be a fresh story from the studio that used to crank out memorable fare, and I hope it puts them right back on the pedestal of family entertainment.
Empire has posted two exclusive images from “Brave.” One is above. The other is below. What is that blue light? Makes me wonder.
The film tells the story of Scottish archer Merida, whose parents – King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) – want her to settle down. But Merida, seeking to march to her own drum, makes a decision that goes against her family’s culture, with significant ramifications.
“Brave” features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Thompson, Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. It will be in theaters on June 22, 2012.

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“Toy Story” short “Small Fry” coming with “The Muppets”

By Sean O’Connell When “The Muppets” secret screened at the Savannah Film Festival last weekend, I left the theater on such a nostalgic high that I’d completely forgotten about the original “Toy Story” short that preceded the movie. That’s not a dig on the clever short, but more another compliment lobbed in the direction of James Bobin’s winning “Muppets” feature.
Anyway, this morning, we’re getting an early peek at the Pixar short, titled “Small Fry,” via USA Today. Here’s the scoop.
This one see Buzz Lightyear left behind at a fast food joint after a Happy Meal version of the space ranger decides he’d like to go home with Bonnie instead. Of course, Woody and the rest of the “Toy Story” toys aren’t fooled. Meanwhile, back at the eatery, Buzz interacts with a therapy group of discarded fast-food toys (the most inventive part of the new short) as he tries to figure out how to get back to Bonnie’s house.
It’s sweet. It has the emotional threads of a “Toy Story” film, and goes in a totally different direction from “Hawaiian Vacation” (which preceded “Cars 2”).
You’ll be able to see “Small Fry” ahead of “The Muppets” when it opens in theaters on Nov. 23.
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