July 30, 2009


Mr. Fox

Fly Guy

'Rats of NIMH' Bringing Additional Talking Animals to Screens

If any Blockbusters are still not out of business, it's time for you guys to add a "Live-Action with Talking, CGI Rodents" section. THR is reporting the burgeoning, aggravating genre will be adding another title to its ranks, with The Illusionist writer/director Neil Burger adapting Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for Paramount.

As you may recall, animator Don Bluth first attempted to bring the Newberry Medal-winning children's book to screens in the early '80s with The Secret of NIMH, shoehorning in some swords-and-sorcery elements that left children scratching their heads at the addition while also saying, "Rad--Swords! And Sorcery!" It's still unclear exactly what direction Burger's adaptation will take, but the involvement of a Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D producer and early (probably unfair) comparisons to Alvin and the Chipmunks are already worrisome
Hopefully this version will stick closer to the book and its more serious, allegorical themes. Or at least get Robin Williams to the voice of the crow, and have a part where he gets hit in the balls and it makes his voice really high. Either would be enjoyable.

Don Bluth's 1982 Secret of NIMH trailer:

What a Live-Action 'G.I. Joe' Movie Should Look Like

With the addition of a couple ninjas, a lady in a leather catsuit, and some bad guys with metal heads, this seven-minute battle would capture the spirit of G.I. Joe far better than anything I've seen in the trailers for the upcoming film. Just the kind of laser and missile-filled war I was envisioning as I positioned the rival forces of Joe and Cobra along opposite ends of the coffee table.

The clip is from the hard-to-find classic Megaforce, also notable for starring Barry Bostwick and having one of the greatest theme songs ever recorded:

If you want to watch the whole thing (you do), someone with a big heart and great taste has put the entire movie on YouTube.

Knight Fever by Christopher Minos

A Day in the Life at Robot Chicken

The Comic-con panel:

[Via Lineboil]

The Book of Eli

There's a whole slew of post-apocalyptic films coming out in the next year, here's a new trailer for another one coming soon, all of them are trying to be as dirty, gritty, raw, barbaric, textured, stylish and Mad-Max-ish as possible, could be lots of fun. Watch it here.

Here's just some of the post-apocalyptic films that have come out in the past, there's at least two per year, some of them are fun and make out to be good classics most of the time they fall short. Storylines take place in the aftermath of a disaster - typically nuclear holocaust, war, plague - that justifies a civilization's turn towards dystopian like behaviors. Although not a requisite, most post-apocalyptic visions have a man-made cause.Despite these menacing and dehumanising elements portrayed by a society in some dismal stories - it is really an attempt to depict a heterotopia, a society that is neither Utopian, nor entirely bad, but different from our own.

Such debates frequently surround literary and cinematic works that do not show the classic characteristics of dystopian fiction, such as a government like entity that seeks total control of individuals' lives.

July 28, 2009


Another reminder to stay non-bedridden until at least after October 16th: a new behind-the-scenes featurette for one of this fall's most anticipated releases, Where the Wild Things Are. In it, author Maurice Sendak voices his enthusiastic approval for Spike Jonze's adaptation, and draws parallels between himself and the director--plus, there's new, awe-inspiring footage. My expectations are reaching all time highs, I just can't wait to see this.

Watch in HD at the Apple.

A Thousand Throwing Stars

The prayer we collectively made in 5th grade (to be allowed into the secret world of ninja assassins) has been answered:

Not high art--and certainly not a ninjamazing as For Hire, aka Lethal Ninja--but it did give me some ninja sensations I didn't know I could feel anymore.

'Back to the Futures' Finally Compared


In the years between Back to the Future and Back to the Future II, Michael J. Fox visibly aged and the actress playing his girlfriend was replaced by Elizabeth Shue. Thus, to show the closing scene from the first film as the opening of the second, it was necessary to completely reshoot it. Dig?

Anyway, as you can see above, someone has made a side-by-side comparison of the sequence so you can now needlessly critique how well Robert Zemeckis and crew recreated the scene. The audio is layered together as well, and for some reason hearing a duet of Docs saying, in unison, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need... roads," is utterly hypnotizing:

Luckily, the rest of the film holds up to intense scrutiny, and this is the only slight flaw.

Wood: Mcbess video for Dead Pirates

Le Ruban


Un Tour de Manège

The Art of Jens Claessens


The Art of Dylan Cole


July 25, 2009

Tron Legacy

Sean Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

Tron 2 concepts

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Discovered at Signalnoise.

July 24, 2009

Inka Bola

Don Bluth Animation Lesson #3

Don Bluth Animation Lesson #2

Don Bluth Animation Lesson #1

Clip from "L’homme à la Gordini"

A short film about a masked rebel driving a blue Gordini car in revolt of the totalitarian color ban. It was an official selection at Annecy this year, where it picked up the Jean-Luc Xiberras award for a first film, and below you can see a :30 second segment from this Prima Linea Productions short. [Via Lineboil]

Pixar Zoetrope - Insane!

The Animation Process at Powerhouse

Collideascope's Michael-Andreas Kuttner

Mike Valiquette's Canadian Animation Resources Website is increasingly become the hub of animation news, discussions, and industry updates for Canadian Animation Artists, here's Part 2 of Mark's Interview with M-A.

Also, the Canadian Animation Directory is up and running:



"From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever."
- the story of stuff with annie leonard

This is an awesome short film, check it out, you won't be disappointed.
Found on Pat's blog.

A Doodle by Kt Shy

July 20, 2009

In 1987, Man Discovered the Strangest Way to End a Film, and This Is It!

Don't Worry, Michael Jackson Will Be in Theaters Soon

michael-jackson-thumbs-up.jpgNot so fast, Michael Jackson's corpse! There's still meat to suck off them bones!

Variety reports Sony is close to negotiating a $50 million deal that would allow them access to the 80 hours of footage of the late pop star's final rehearsals currently held by AEG Entertainment. If the deal goes through, the studio plans to release the rehearsal as a feature film that would also include "at least three videos, including an alternative version of Jackson's Thriller." (This version, perhaps?) Kenny Ortega, director of High School Musical, shot the rehearsal tapes and will likely direct.

Boy, I didn't care at all about seeing a Michael Jackson concert a month ago, but now that I know every Moonwalk will like watching a spirit shuffle backwards into his own waiting grave, sign me up! [Via iwatchstuff]

Inspirational Nuggets of Information

Cory Doctorow offers up some great advice for writing in the age of distraction.

While his article is aimed at writers, his advice applies equally to animators and illustrators - and all freelancers for that matter. Here’s what he says:

  • Work every day
  • Don’t be too precious about it
  • Stop in the middle of an idea, not between ideas
  • Don’t research until you need to
  • Close all messaging software

  • Design Sponge is kicking off a new video web-series - Design by the Book. Kind of a Project Runway but with a bunch of Williamsburg designers. And instead of the Parsons School of Fashion, it’s set in (drum roll) the NY Public Library.
    The first episode is up and it’s got interviews with a bunch of interesting people. Notably:
    Mike Perry (5:00) - an illustrator/font-designer and author of Hand Job: A Catalog of Type.
    Julia Rothman (6:40) - a designer of beautiful patterns - [Via Drawn]

    In this awesome post, Jillian Tamaki answers the question every artist dreads, Where do you get your ideas? She also points to this Frank Stockton article about inspiration. Both are great reads for any artist.

    Andrew over at puppetvision has some interesting advise on a recent blog post regarding Linear Income vs. Passive Income. In a nutshell, Linear is the regular old, paid-by-the-hour thing (or in animation; paid by-the-scene or by-the-second), Passive Income is the concept of creating one product, a podcast, writing an article, creating a book, or illustrating designs to sell on Cafepress. Whether it's through the selling of large volumes of something in which you created the one time, and thus keep generating income because of that work, or generating higher volume of profits based upon that written material, or recorded item, than this (of course) can generate far more cash for the freelance artist from home, read it here, it might peek your interest, and make you think about how you can make a website, book, podcast, something that can generate revenue through online advertising, or by the selling of large volumes of your work.

    One last bit of cool info is Nate William's Methodology For Creating New Ideas.

    The Crazy Art of Lisa Hanawalt

    The Art of Matthieu Forichon

    The Human Printer: CMYK by hand !!!


    The Human Printer is a group that prints CMYK dot pattern photos by hand. Using markers they replicate the halftone effect of traditional CMYK printing.[Via Drawn]

    Weird Al & Divya Srinivasan’s SKIPPER DAN

    The Art of Kevin Waldron

    Franco Bramila's Wonderful Series "Invading the Vintage"

    Click the pic to see the other 26 illustrations

    The Art of David Follett

    July 17, 2009

    Star Wars Sears Catalogue

    This may be somewhat dated, like around 30 years old, but I couldn't resist posting this unnatural photo most of the key Star Wars cast that's been going around (via Digg). How is it somehow more normal to see them dressed in fur, robes, and helmets than in regular clothes? I feel like I'm looking at the employees of an insanely mismatched, carnivalesque accounting firm.

    Still though: Star Wars. Great movie, am I right?

    Farwell to a Legend


    Walter Crokite, the only person I'll ever trust to tell me anything, died in his Manhattan home Friday after succumbing to cerebral vascular disease. He was 92. From his longtime employer, CBS News:

    Cronkite was the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981, when stories ranged from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to racial and anti-war riots, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

    It was Cronkite who read the bulletins coming from Dallas when Kennedy was shot Nov. 22, 1963, interrupting a live CBS-TV broadcast of the soap opera "As the World Turns."

    Cronkite was the broadcaster to whom the title "anchorman" was first applied, and he came so identified in that role that eventually his own name became the term for the job in other languages. (Swedish anchors are known as Kronkiters; In Holland, they are Cronkiters.)

    And that's, unfortunately, the way it is.

    Fantastic Mr. Fox

    fantastic-mr-fox-oh-hello.jpgIn case you were worried the switch to stop-motion animation could lose some of Wes Anderson's signature stylization, this new photo should reassure you that we'll still be seeing the immaculate set design, symmetrical composition, and peculiar decor characteristic of the meticulous director. We're finally seeing what a Wes Anderson film would look like if we lived in a parallel universe populated by Star Foxes, and it thankfully isn't just this. Being a Wes Anderson fan myself, I can't wait to see this animated feature.

    'Futurama' Voices Getting Fucked Over?

    futurama.jpgLast month's news of new Futurama episodes coming to Comedy Central has been downgraded from a "Good news, Everyone!" to a "Why must everything beautiful be destroyed?"

    Forces of Geek is reporting that Futurama voice actors John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and Maurice LaMarche are claiming 20th Century Fox is trying to re-cast much of the vocal talent. The studio has even put out casting calls:
    Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-like alien, left his home planet of Decapod 10 to become a rich doctor but instead became the Planet Express staff doctor (doesnt pay so well). Zoidberg, who is usually shunned by the rest of the Planet Express crew, is always in search of his next meal. His skill as a surgeon, and basic knowledge of human anatomy, are often called into question. He secretly desires to become a stand-up comedian...SERIES REGULAR
    Let's express some outrage. Who wants to burn down the police stable?

    (via AV Club, and Variety has confirmed the story.)

    The House of Cats

    House of Cats from Courtland Lomax on Vimeo.

    Le Lien

    July 13, 2009

    Jason Eisener's "Treevenge"

    Someone just reminded me of the fact that I never posted this film.
    Beware... it's bloody and gorey for those who don't like that stuff.
    But I found it to be incredibly awesome!

    Halifax’s own Jason Eisener burst into the public eye a few years back with Hobo With a Shotgun - a fake trailer that won the Grindhouse contest sponsored by Robert Rodriguez and was subsequently added to North American prints of the double-bill feature. Hobo became an online sensation and fans began clamoring for whatever Eisener and crew would come up with next.

    And what they came up with was Treevenge. An arborist’s nightmare, the coniferous revenge film turned the tables on everyone’s favorite holiday season by re-casting the humble Christmas Tree as the angry victim of an annual genocide with the time arriving to take revenge on the wielders of the axe. Treevenge is a blood soaked, splattery affair that provoked enormous reactions on the festival circuit, racking up awards by the armful as it screened at Sundance, Fantastic Fest, Fantasia, and too many others to name. With the main title art designed by my bud, Jim White and starring popular Nova Scotia actor Jonathan Torrens as the lead character, the only problem was that there was no way for audiences to actually see this short film outside of those festival appearances, until now!

    The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother

    The Art of Emmanuel Malin

    The Art of Mitch Blunt

    Sir Paul in Halifax!

    July 12, 2009

    United Breaks Guitars

    Last year Dave Carroll witnessed United Airlines baggage handlers throwing and breaking his $3,500 guitar. After being told he would not be compensated for the damage, he vowed to write three songs, make music videos and publish them online to get revenge. This is the first. It became the first YouTube video ever to reach 2 million views in under one week.

    Read the full story at Dave Carroll Music.

    July 10, 2009

    An Interview with M-A!

    Click here,
    to read Mark Cappello's interview with Michael-Andreas of Collideascope over at Canadian Animation Resources.
    It's a nice read, a great way for people to get more info about
    the structure of the television animation business model in
    Canada, how it got there, and where it might be going.

    Could be cool...

    Just slap your troubles away.

    More from Graham Annable

    July 04, 2009

    The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics

    Art of Harvey Kurtzman

    I bought this book last week from Strange Adventures, and boy, am I ever glad I did! The selection of artwork, the design of the book, the writing is top-notch, and the print quality are all jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle ranks among one of my favorite cartoon/comic-related books ever. If you're a fan of the old Hey Look!, Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat, Help, Trump, and MAD comics, then you'll love this amazing book on the life and art of the awesomely gifted artist and editor known as Harvey Kurtzman.

    Behind The Scenes

    A Good Year for Animated Films

    We're only half way through the year and there's been two amazing films so far (Coraline, Up), and plenty more on the horizon before the year's end, I'm looking forward to Mr. Fox and Ponyo especially, here's a list of the 2009 line up:

    CORALINE (2/6/09) Focus Features. (stop-motion puppets) D: Henry Selick. A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. Box office gross (as of 03/01/09): $61,145,000

    MONSTERS VS. ALIENS (3/27/09) Dreamworks (Paramount). D: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon. When a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years.

    BATTLE FOR TERRA (5/1/09) Lionsgate. D: Aristomenis Tsirbas. A peaceful alien planet faces annihilation, as the homeless remainder of the human race sets its eyes on Terra. Mala, a rebellious Terrian teenager, will do everything she can to stop it.

    UP (5/29/09) Disney/Pixar. D: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson. By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. He soon learns he isn't alone on his journey.

    ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (7/1/09) 20th Century-Fox. D: Carlos Saldanha.

    PONYO (8/14/09) Walt Disney Pictures. D: Hayao Miyazaki. (hand drawn animation) A mermaid runs away from her home in the sea and befriends a five year old boy who lives on a cliff.

    9 (9/9/09) Focus Features. D: Shane Acker. A post-apocalyptic nightmare in which all of humanity is threatened.

    CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (9/18/09) Columbia. D: Phil Lord, Chris Miller. A scientist trying to solve world hunger encounters a problem of global proportions, as food begins to fall from the sky.

    SITA SINGS THE BLUES (9/ /09) Shadow Distribution/Gkids. 82 mins. D: Nina Paley. Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama; Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by e-mail. An animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana, set to the 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw.

    ASTRO BOY (10/23/09) Summit Entertainment. D: David Bowers. Based on Osamu Tezuka's famous character about a super-powered robot created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man's expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey in search of acceptance.

    THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (11/6/09) D: Wes Anderson. 20th Century-Fox. Angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, look to get rid of their opponent and his family.

    PLANET 51 (11/20/09) Tri-Star. D: Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad. The inhabitants of Planet 51 live in fear of alien invasion. Their paranoia is realized when an astronaut arrives from Earth. Befriended by a young resident, he has to avoid capture in order to recover his spaceship and try to return home.

    THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (12/25/09) Disney. (hand drawn amimation) D: Ron Clements, John Musker. A fairy tale centered on a young girl named Princess Tiana who lives in New Orleans' French Quarter during the Jazz Age.

    Trippy Spongebob MTV IDs

    These TV spots were conceptualized by Thinkmake and directed by Tomás García from Pepper Melon. Complete artist credits can be found here.

    Murray John animates on a Luke Jackson music video

    Badly Drawn Roy

    This documentary film is set in a working class suburb of Dublin. Roy, Ireland's only animated character was born into an ordinary 'live action' family. This film allows exclusive access into Roy's life where we learn of the prejudices he must overcome on a daily basis.

    New Cloudy Trailer

    Armand Serrano has posted some nice concept art from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on his blog.

    My buddy Jacques Daigle who was an animator on the movie, assures me that this is the first CG-animated-epic-disaster-cartoon film ever made!

    Fallen Princesses


    Jasmine at War

    Sleeping Beauty

    Not So Little Red Riding Hood


    Snow White