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I Saw The Best Minds of My Animation…

March 26th, 2009

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The feature film Howl is currently filming in New York City. James Franco stars as a young Allan Ginsberg (I know! Since when was Ginsberg a total hottie? Movies casting can be so weird…) But anyway, the film will have animated sequences designed by illustrator Eric Drooker and directed by John Hays (of Wild Brain):

“Howl” is a feature film about the obscenity trial of Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking poem, and the young poet who gained fame as a result. The filmmaking duo of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman wrote the screenplay and will jointly direct.

“Howl” is a genre-expanding feature-length exploration of the courtroom drama of the obscenity trial over Allen Ginsberg’s poem, as well as an animated re-imagining of the poem making even more vivid Ginsberg’s extraordinary delivery of the poem.

Drooker has already created illustrations for Illuminated Poems, a collection of Ginsberg’s work that was first published in 1996. Here’s a short article, written [Read more…]

“Princess and the Frog” release moves up

March 11th, 2009

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via Animation Magazine

The Walt Disney Co. has moved up the release date for its 2D animated musical feature The Princess and the Frog to Dec. 11. Previously set to open on Christmas Day, the movie also will get an exclusive run in Los Angeles and New York starting Nov. 25, Variety reports.The movie now opens opposite the Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones, leaving the Christmas Day family market to Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

It would appear that the mouse is afraid of Chipmunks? Things have changed quite a bit since the 90’s, when Disney put The Little Mermaid re release directly up against Fox Animation’s Anastasia. So did Fox films get better, maybe too good to compete with directly, or did Disney lose its nerve in the current economic climate?

-Floyd Bishop

It’s Not Easy Being Bale

February 11th, 2009

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So… this only loosely relates to animation, but I just could not resist posting a link to this livejournal page, which demonstrates what Christian Bale and Kermit the Frog have in common.

And let me throw in a creativity-inspiring clip from Muppet Babies, just to make this more cartoon-centric.

Anne D. Bernstein

A Brush With Benny

January 30th, 2009

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Thanks to Lou Brooks’ and his Drawger Blog for giving me some advance notice so I can make sure I don’t miss TCM’s airing of the original Artists and Models (1937) on Sunday, February 1, at 2 PM EST. Not only does it pair Jack Benny and Ida Lupino, but cartoonists Rube Goldberg and Peter Arno show up as artists in their only major motion picture appearance. Other now lesser-known illustrators are also featured: pretty girlie artist McClelland Barclay, Russell Patterson, Arthur William Brown, and John Lagatta. Who? Check out the links; I didn’t know who they were either.

For cartoonist cameos in a more recent film (direct-to-DVD), see Comic Book: The Movie! (2004), mostly shot at San Diego Comicon. The cast also includes top animation voice talent like Billy West and Tom Kenny. You will NOT recognize Mark Hamill!

Anne D. Bernstein

Hubba Hubba Hubley

January 28th, 2009

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Emily Hubley’s new animation-and-live-action film The Toe Tactic will be screened tonight at MOMA at 6 PM—it’s the theatrical premiere of her first full-length feature! Other showings are Thursday at 8, Friday at 4, and Saturday at 2, Sunday at 3, Monday at 5. The impressive voice cast includes Eli Wallach, Marian Seldes, Andrea Martin, Mary Kay Place, David Cross, Kevin Corrigan and young Lily Rabe (daughter of actress Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe.) Score by Yo La Tengo. FREE for MOMA members. $10 for non-members.

Mona Peek is a young woman engulfed by loss. Her father recently passed away, her wallet disappears, and she is isolated from those around her. Her life, and the lives of her neighbors, are manipulated by four capricious dogs playing a game of cards. Winsome newcomer Lily Rabe interacts with animated forms that push, pull, and caress the film’s flesh-and-blood cohabitants through a journey of renewal.

After the jump, hear a radio interview with Emily Hubley… [Read more…]

“Pinocchio” and others on Blu-Ray in 2009

January 11th, 2009


Disney has announced their 2009 release slate of films. These include Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition (March 10) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Platinum Edition in October. Pixar will be releasing Monsters Inc. and A Bug’s Life.

Pinocchio

Hopefully these Blu-Ray releases will be a better release than that of Sleeping Beauty last year, which received mixed reviews, mostly due to picture quality issues such as DVNR, oversaturated colors, and color timing. There was a post about these issues and the release back in November on Cartoon Brew.

I don’t know if Walt Disney Home Entertainment has learned anything (or changed anything) since their last classic on BluRay release, but I hope they did. The issues listed here are what kept me from buying the Blu Ray release of Sleeping Beauty.

-Floyd Bishop

“T28″ (Gigantor) trailer

January 10th, 2009

Imagi has posted their trailer for the upcoming film “T28″. In the US, the series was better known as Gigantor.

Usually, I’m not a big fan of reimagining or updating old shows or films. For every “TMNT” there are five “Underdog” type films. It looks like Imagi has got a great film going here. Let’s hope that their other update film, “Astroboy”, does well enough to keep the great movies coming!

-Floyd Bishop 

Make Mine Coraline

January 2nd, 2009

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The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco (655 Mission Street) has just announced that it will present an exhibition of original artwork from the feature film Coraline from January 24-February 15.

“The exhibition features drawings, storyboards, puppets, sets, costumes and more from this groundbreaking movie, the first ever stop-motion animated film to be shot in 3D…this exhibit includes almost 80 pieces from the extraordinary world of Coraline, created by a team of over 300 artists bringing to life the vision of the world’s foremost stop-motion animation director, Henry Selick.”

For more on Coraline, you can check out the official website. (The image above is from a cool collection of behind-the-scenes stills on that site.) The movie opens February 6th, so the CAM exhibit will make for a great sneak peek.

Here are few other interesting museum shows in SF this month (not about animation, just generally cool):

1000 Journals at SFMOMA

Harlem of the West at the [Read more…]

Hippity Hoppity Over To The Film Forum

December 29th, 2008

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This week The Film Forum is completing a run of the flighty Fleischer feature Hoppity Goes to Town (also known as Mr. Bug Goes to Town); screenings are Monday through Thursday (New Year’s Day) at 1 PM.

Such a fine occasion gave The Villager website an opportunity to post this great article about Sammy Timberg, a musical director for Fleischer Studios in the 1930s and early ‘40s, who quite famously penned “Don’t Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away” for Betty Boop.

For more on Timberg, go to the Timbergalley Website. The site is run by Sammy’s daughter and granddaughter. The pair are currently trying to get a Timberg Broadway musical off the ground. This idea really should take flight. Ahem.

Here’s the opening sequence of Hoppity, for your approximately-5-inches-across viewing pleasure. Just think how much better it would look on a real movie screen!

Anne D. Bernstein

Once Upon Twice Upon A Time

October 2nd, 2008

On the heels of yesterday’s post about Henry Selick and Coraline, I recently came across a two-part interview on Ward Jenkin’s blog (from last year) about the obscure animated feature Twice Upon a Time, directed by John Korty and Charles Swenson. (Click here for Part One and Part Two.) Selick worked on this way back in 1983 as a “sequence director”. Ward interviews Taylor Jessen, who wrote an article on the subject for Animation Blast #9. (An online version can be found here.)

Twice Upon a Time was created with an animation technique called “lumage”: stop-motion using translucent 2D objects photographed against a backlit background.

Some other interesting people who worked on this: Marshall Efron and Lorenzo Music did voices; director David Fincher (Fight Club) was responsible for “special photographic effects”. Oh yeah, and George Lucas was the producer!

Additional info is available at this site devoted to “the most unusual animated film of the 1980’s”.

Since there are no [Read more…]