October 28, 2008

Animatics from Gorillaz

Dirty Hairy - off the album Demon Days - watch the final video

Dare - off the album Demon Days - watch the final video

Via Lineboil

The Art of Paul Rogers

Give Up Yer Aul Sins - Birth of John Baptist

This series, including the original Oscar-nominated short, from Brown Bag Films is based upon the 1960s recordings of young children telling Bible stories in a classroom to their schoolteacher. When a film crew arrives at an inner city Dublin National School to record the children, the result is a warm, funny and spontaneous animated documentary, featuring young children telling the story of John the Baptist, The birth of Jesus, the Crucifixion, Saint Patrick and others. Give Up Yer Aul Sins combines simple humour with clever animation to create films with a timeless quality and appeal to a family audience.

Give Up Yer Aul Sins has screened in almost 50 film festivals, including The Galway Film Fleadh (where it won Best Animation), Cork Film Festival (Best Irish and Best International Animation), Cartoons on Bay (Special Award for Original Idea), NewYork Comedy Festival, Boston Irish Film Festival, Aspen Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

"Let's do lunch together" Photographer: Lake Li Sun

October 27, 2008

A Day In The Science Laboratory

Sheridan student Mario Richard has created this wonderful animatic in Flash, let's hope he will complete the animated film someday, because it could be incredible!

October 26, 2008


This is a trailer for a new French animated horror anthology that binds together 6 tales from world-reknowned comic and graphic artists. Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire each tell black-and-white tales of fear. Produced by Prima Linea and released by IFC.

October 25, 2008

A Time For Superheroes

Our world is hurtling into the abyss, propelled by wars, genocide, terrorism, environmental disaster, and the global financial meltdown . . .

. . . but never fear, the superhero is here!

Not since Captain America and Superman were socking it to the Nazis in the '40s has American culture been so inundated with tales of caped men and masked women with superhuman powers.

The comics explosion has even reached academe: The University of Pennsylvania has mounted a massive year-long celebration of comics, including exhibits of comic art at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

But most of all, superheroes are a boon for Hollywood: No other genre so consistently produces megahits, including the new Batman series, Spider-Man 1-3, and The Incredible Hulk.

Director Jon Favreau's adaptation of Iron Man, by comic legend Stan Lee, is no exception. The film, recently released on DVD, stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a smarter-than-God weapons manufacturer who does his hero thing in a super-duper, electronic-age metal aqualung.

The movie grossed $318 million theatrically, making it the 21st highest grossing American film of all time.

It's not so hard to account for our yearning for superheroes, says British comics guru Alan Moore, the iconoclastic author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell.

"There's a side of American culture that's very uncomfortable with confrontation unless it has . . . superior power" over its enemy, "say, help from a man who rocketed here from Krypton," says Moore, who is the subject of director DeZ Vylenz's magisterial documentary, The Mindscape of Alan Moore.

Iron Man screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby agree. "The fight used to be so clear in World War II. . . . There were good guys and bad guys," says Fergus. "Look around now, and we don't know who is what."

What divides Moore from Lee, who has helped adapt a number of his comics for film, including the Spider-Man series, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Hulk, is that Lee embraces this nostalgia while Moore rejects it as a distraction from real problems.

Moore, who spoke on the phone from his native Northampton, northwest of London, says the industry is too quick to market palaver as serious art.

"I think a big misconception of the 1980s was that comics were growing up. . . . Instead, it was the culture [which] was being infantilized," he said.

Moore has repudiated every film adapted from his work, including From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and V for Vendetta. He is wary of 300 director Zack Snyder's adaptation of his most-celebrated piece, Watchmen, due in March. (Vylenz said Moore has refused to accept payment for Watchmen.)

Lee, by contrast, says he loves to see his work on the silver screen. "There will always be high-concept [superhero] films. People love that sort of thing," said Lee, who turns 86 in December.

Iron Man is set in Afghanistan, where the U.S. military's mission is compromised by international terrorists. Even though the film touches on hot-button issues such as the military-industrial complex and the war on terror, the filmmakers avoid politicking. It's a hallmark of the blockbuster, which must not upset a single person in the world, lest it lose money.

"John [Favreau] told us he didn't want a movie that would make a statement," says Ostby. " 'Everyone knows war is bad,' " he said.

For Moore, this is what's wrong with the entertainment industry.

"My feeling is that my audience probably needs waking up or reconnecting to a more authentic appreciation of the world," said Moore.

"We have experience fed to us now by the media in pretty much the same manner a mother bird will feed regurgitated worms to the babies. The babies just have to open their beaks and do nothing," Moore said.

He maintains that like traditional myths, most comics reaffirm the status quo. If that's the case, then Moore's comics subvert the accepted world-view and challenge us to think differently.

Moore's method uses the conventions of the superhero story to deconstruct the genre. His heroes are revolutionaries who have no superhuman abilities - and sometimes no virtues.

V, the hero of V, is a "Romantic anarchist adventurer" who fights the Orwellian government ruling over a fictional England in the name of individual freedom. Published between 1982 and 1988, V was prescient: The government controls the public by installing surveillance cameras on every street in the nation. And indeed, a massive system of such cameras has been installed in British cities since 1997.

"I thought the idea . . . was a chilling vision of fascism. Now I'm actually living in that world," said Moore.

Watchmen is a mind-blowing, layered story set in an America on the brink of nuclear war. It follows six superheroes as they investigate the death of one of their own. Moore says the comic is an investigation of the use and misuse of power, a theme evident from its title, which Moore took from the Roman satirist Juvenal: "But who watches the watchmen?"

The comic asks that we watch the watchmen we've allowed to rule us, whether they be government, police, or the educational system.

Moore said he still marvels at the prevalence of superheroes in American comics.

"It strikes me that it might be largely an expression of a culture of impunity . . . of being untouchable," theorizes Moore, who said the superhero helps us to avoid facing the effects of Sept. 11.

"Instead of repairing a battered self-image," Americans have become fixated "on the idea of superhuman invincibility . . . and I think it might be this concept that is leading to so many problems around the world."

By Tirdad Derakhshani
Via Philly.com

Give Me A Boost


What Does a Film Producer Do?
By Matty Simmons

The producer of National Lampoon's 'Animal House' and the 'Vacation' movies. But what does a producer actually do? He attempts to explain...

The screenwriter, obviously, writes the screenplay.

The actors, of course, act in that screenplay.

And the director, without question, directs the whole thing.

But what does the producer do?

I will attempt to explain.

A film producer is the guy who, when a writer tells him about a good idea he's got for a screenplay, says, "That was done in 1938 by William Wyler. It costarred Fredric March and Loretta Young, with Claude Rains playing the black hat. But you know what? I think we could update it, if instead of making the leading lady a nun, we have her working in a casino in Nevada. We put George Clooney in the Fredric March role, and we make him an undercover agent for the CIA who has tracked a Russian agent to Las Vegas. Angelina Jolie would be great for the girl.

"They meet and fall in love, but he discovers that she's pregnant by the Russian agent. George has been licensed to kill this guy, who, incidentally, will be played by Jack Black, but Angelina begs George not to kill the father of her unborn child. In a tearstained scene at the Las Vegas airport, Angelina says goodbye to George and walks to the plane to join Jack Black for the trip back to Moscow. Our big ballad here. Maybe we get Elton John.

"George stops at the airport and pulls out a quarter-a quarter she gave him. He drops it in a slot machine. The place goes nuts-bells ringing and all that stuff. George has hit the $1 million jackpot! He collects his money in a single large suitcase. It's all in ones to make it more visual-this is a visual medium.

"He goes back to his hotel. He's still sick about losing Angelina. He takes the $1 million down to the hotel casino and puts the whole thing on No. 27, which was their number. We see the ball rolling around and around and around-endlessly, while the theme music, sung by Celine Dion, soars until every butt in every seat is up in the air. The ball drops into No. 29, then hiccups slightly and pops into 28, then, as Celine reaches a pitch so high that every dog within a mile of any movie house in America is howling with pain, the ball goes blip-and drops into 27."

By now, the writer, who is on the edge of his seat listening to the producer, is ecstatic. "And Angelina returns to him!" he screams.

"No," says the producer. "That's what would have happened in 1938. Instead we go for total realism. George meets two bimbos, played by Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, buys champagne for everybody in Las Vegas, and sends a telegram to Angelina, which she gets as she and Jack Black land in Moscow. It reads simply '#*%! you!' in Russian.

"As we go out on a big rock number by Bon Jovi, George is buying a training bra with diamond studs on it for Paris, and Lindsay gets the last big laugh of the movie by falling up a down escalator."

"I love it!" says the writer, leaping from his seat. He drives like a maniac back home and writes a first draft overnight, and the producer takes it to one of the studios.

There, a reader who occupies a small closet-like office in a building near the parking lot and drinks from a Star Wars mug reads it and condenses it to about a page and a half. Finally, because this is a prestigious producer, it wends its way through numerous assistants and production vice presidents, and, on the big day, the producer arrives to meet the head of the studio.

The head man, who hasn't read the screenplay or the condensed version but does know who has been suggested for the leading roles, because that's more important than the script, says, "George Clooney is in the dumper. Angelina's fine, and the kids like Jack Black. We want Brad Pitt for the guy and Ashton Kutcher for the girl's kid brother."

The producer doesn't remember that there is a kid brother, but he's on a roll, so why argue? He agrees to the casting.

"And," says the head of the studio, "we want Steven Spielberg to direct. We've already contacted him, and he says as long as you stay off the set, he'll do it."

The producer then negotiates his own deal, taking an exceedingly large piece of the pie, flies to Bimini, where his yacht has been moored for the winter, and for the next six months sails around the Greek islands with Britney Spears and her mother.

The picture is made and released, is a huge hit, and garners no Oscar nominations. The producer makes millions, leaves his yacht in Greece, flies back to America, and buys another one.

That's what a producer does.

At least, that's what I'm told.

Via rd.com

October 21, 2008

The New Star Trek

star-trek-prod-1.jpgAll across internet, new production stills from Star Trek have turned up, such as the above shot from UGO. It's Chekov, Kirk, Scott, Bones, Sulu, and Uhura! Not pictured: Spock, Worf.

star-trek-prod-2.jpgFrom JoBlo: Eric Bana, as the villainous tattooed Nero, plans an attack, possibly against Worf.


From AICN: Spock chokes out... is it... KIRK!? (photo by Worf)


From TrekMovie: An attack on a Federation (Worf's?) ship.


From MTV: The Enterprise bridge and crew--except for Worf, who is probably in sick bay after fighting with one of those giant Klingon sword things.


From IGN: Kirk exits a shuttle pod, climbing the walls of an ice planet not at all like Worf's home of Kronos.

And from IMDB: Worf:

star-trek-worf.jpg Via iwatchstuff

Ridley Scott Back to Making Best Sci-Fi Movies

ridley-scott.jpgRidley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien, two of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made (non-debatable fact), is finally returning to the science fiction genre? Yes, please:
Fox 2000 has acquired rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel "The Forever War," and Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with "Blade Runner" and "Alien."

"I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since," Scott told Daily Variety. "It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise."

Book revolves around a soldier who battles an enemy in deep space for only a few months, only to return home to a planet he doesn’t recognize some 20 years later, Scott said.

I'm so glad he listened to the people wanting more sci-fi instead of the people begging for "something else where two best friend ladies drive off a cliff, or G.I. Jane 2." Via iwatchstuff

He-Man Movie Does Not Have the Power

he-man-movie.jpgWell, it sounds like a He-Man movie probably isn't going to happen. Sorry, everyone who really wanted a He-Man movie. From Latino Review:
So what is the latest on one of my favorite scripts of the year – Justin Marks’ GRAYSKULL? Nothing. As it stands, the project is dead at Warner Brothers.The studio gave the execs at Silver Pictures a very small list of A-director names they would consider making the film with, amongst them Doug Liman and Bryan Singer who both passed. There were some up and coming directors that were gung ho on the script, but the studio wasn’t feeling them. Another reason and perhaps the biggest was that Navid McIIhargey, the exec who brought in He-Man to Silver Pictures, left the company last month to become a Senior VP at New Regency as reported last month in both trades.
Just as well. We were greedy to ever ask for another try after the Dolph Lundgren attempt on the '80s toy character was such a... victory? Via iwatchstuff

500 Frames Per Second - Some Great Footage

Take On Me: Literal Interpretation - Pure Awesomness

October 19, 2008

Bright Bolide

On September 30, a spectacular bolide or fireball meteor surprised a group of amateur astronomers enjoying dark night skies over the Oklahoma panhandle's Black Mesa State Park in the Midwestern US. Flashing past familiar constellations Taurus (top) and Orion, the extremely bright meteor was captured by a hillside camera overlooking the 2008 Okie-Tex Star Party. Astronomy enthusiast Howard Edin reports that he was looking in the opposite direction at the time, but saw the whole observing field light up and at first thought someone had turned on their car headlights. So far the sighting of a such a bright bolide meteor, produced as a space rock is vaporized hurtling through Earth's atmosphere, really is a matter of luck. But that could change. Earlier this week the discovery and follow-up tracking of tiny asteroid 2008 TC3 allowed astronomers to predict the time and location of its impact with the atmosphere. While no ground-based sightings of the fireball seem to have been reported, this first ever impact prediction was confirmed by at least some detections of an air burst and bright flash on October 7th over northern Sudan.

A True Image from False Kiva

Is there any place in the world you could see a real sight like this? Yes. Pictured above is single exposure image spectacular near, far, and in between. Diving into the Earth far in the distance is part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, taken with a long duration exposure. Much closer, the planet Jupiter is visible as the bright point just to band's left. Closer still are picturesque buttes and mesas of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA, lit by a crescent moon. In the foreground is a cave housing a stone circle of unknown origin named False Kiva. The cave was briefly lit by flashlight during the long exposure. Astrophotographer Wally Pacholka reports that getting to the cave to take this image was no easy trek. Also, mountain lions were a concern while waiting alone in the dark for just the right exposure.

October 14, 2008

What are the most profitable films?

If you haven't seen this factoid, take a gander at it now. SNL Kagan has produced a study which finds:

... that animated films have the best average profitability among all genres. Animated films contributed $230.6 million under a major studio deal, Kagan found ...

Remember how it used to be for animation? (You can if you're old enough.) There were Disney animated features, and then there was ... an arid desert broken by Yellow Submarine, Fritz the Cat and a handful of other cartoons. Big studios didn't want to get into the game because the big profits weren't there. Disney had a nameplate, nobody else could compete. That was the received wisdom.

Then came the 1990s and the HUGE profits generated by Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin (If not for the woeful Rescuers Down Under this would be a string of unbroken hits... which, ironically I found to be the best one from that period). The money cascading in to the Mouse House's bank vaults grew so large and deep that other studios had a massive conversion... There was Page Master. There was Quest for Camelot. There were Anastasia and several others, but in the early to mid 1990s they all crashed and burned. Fox Feature Animation went belly up, as did Warner Bros. Feature Animation. Turner Animation came and went.

But now another decade has slipped by, and the magic of CGI has leveled the playing field. Where nobody could compete against Walt's hand-drawn product, now many reap millions from the pixels found in computer imaging. (Ironically, Walt's direct heirs have been struggling).


John Cleese on Palin

Is Glen Keane "leaving" Rapunzel?

From Animation World Network:

Cartoon Brew and Ain't It Cool News are both reporting that Glen Keane is stepping down from directing Disney's upcoming animated feature Rapunzel.

Aint It Cool posted this memo from Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios:

For nearly two years, Glen Keane and Dean Wellins have been directing partners on Rapunzel. As Glen lessens his directorial responsibilities to attend to some non-life threatening health issues, their involvement on the project will shift. Glen will step back as a Director but stay attached to Rapunzel as an Executive Producer and Directing Animator. At the same time, Dean will move into development to pitch three new ideas for one of our future feature projects and focus on directing one of his CG shorts. We are happy to announce that Nathan Greno and Byron Howard have accepted to partner as directors on Rapunzel as we continue to hone the story in anticipation of our Holiday 2010 release. We want to welcome Nathan and Byron to the project and thank Glen and Dean for their great contributions to date on Rapunzel.



Keane has been involved in Disney productions like Pete's Dragon, The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin. He helped write Pocahontas and Tarzan.

According to the memo, Keane's latest health problems are moving him off the director's chair, but a source told Aint It Cool that Keane and Wellins' version of Rapunzel wasn't working. Bryan Howard stepped in on Bolt when Chris Sanders' early work led execs to believe that film was not working.

Calls made by AWN to a Disney spokesperson were not returned as of Friday morning.

Interesting that although all these reports treat the story as if Keane is "leaving" the project, Catmull's memo as quoted by AICN says he is "stepping back" but still in the loop as a producer and supervising animator.
Via TAG.

October 03, 2008

'Yogi Bear' Movie Always Inevitable, Still Painful To Hear

yogi-bear.jpgIn these times of economic turbulence, when it's a struggle just to put a meal on the table each night, what we really need is someone to tell us that, when absolutely necessary, it might be acceptable to turn to theft in order to feed ourselves, our families, or our small, bowtied man-servants. Someone like a creepy, computer-generated version of a popular cartoon bear, for instance.

Oh, good, Warner Bros. is making a CGI/live-action Yogi Bear:

The studio is developing a feature version of "Yogi Bear," the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon. "Surf's Up" co-helmer/co-writer Ash Brannon will direct the film.

Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who executive produced "That '70s Show" and are writing the feature "Tooth Fairy" for Fox, are penning the screenplay.

The project, culled from Warners' vast library, is planned as a live-action/animated hybrid along the lines of Fox's 2007 hit "Alvin & the Chipmunks." Much of the movie will be live action, but Yogi Bear and sidekick Boo Boo will be done in CG animation.

God. I can already picture the poster, a park ranger Steve Carell chasing after the bizarrely-sexualized bear and his miniature cohort, and it burns like CGI chlorine.

Via iwatchstuff

How About Another 'Blade Runner' Moving Picture?

blade-runner.jpgBlade Runner is widely regarded as one of the best science fiction films of all time--an untouchable masterpiece. Well, considered untouchable to everyone except one of the guys who wrote Eagle Eye, that is. While all of humanity says, "No, there should obviously never be a sequel to Blade Runner," screenwriter Travis Wright is all, "Maybe I should be writing a sequel to Blade Runner, and I am," and he reportedly told an audience just that. It's apparently being done in association with Blade Runner co-executive producer Bud Yorkin but without prior studio approval. From /Film:
“I recently attended a Q&A session with one of the writers of ‘Eagle Eye’ after a free screening organized by the magazine Creative Screenwriting. During the Q&A, the writer said that he and whomever it was that helped him co-write the ‘Eagle Eye’ screenplay were in the process of writing a sequel to Blade Runner, and had already contacted the producers of the original, etc., etc. Wright's co-writer John Glenn has already disavowed himself of the project, which is smart considering everyone will hate whoever does this. It feels like some stranger coming in and trying to re-marry your divorced parent, and then you find out that stranger is writing a screenplay for Blade Runner 2. "Sorry, Mom, but you're marrying an asshole."

Via iwatchstuff

The Art of John Casey