A couple weeks ago I visited Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA to learn about the five year process of creating Monsters University. The clever folks at Pixar organized the day into a series of classroom environments, each with a teacher who served as a department head on the film. One of the coolest classes explained how Pixar’s art directors created the “monsterfied” college world of MU.
I must warn you, the following report is very NERDY. You’re going to learn a lot of information on the little subtle details that go into the architecture and lightening of this incredibly well-thought out computer animated world. You shouldn’t however worry about spoilers, as the details are pretty much spoiler-free. Any information discussed in terms of plot could be gained through the trailers and marketing released thus far, so don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.
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After getting out of Iron Man 3 I was inundated with text messages from friends and colleagues asking not only how it was, but more than not how it compared against the first two films. This seems to be the question more and more nowadays. When I saw Monsters University at CinemaCon, people asked how it compared against the original and more than not, how it placed in my ranking of the Pixar filmography. I can’t even tell you which Pixar film is my favorite, never mind asking me to rank them. I understand people want context, thats probably why film grades, rotten tomato and IMDB scores are so massively popular.
I could tell you that Iron Man 3 is a much MUCH better movie than Iron Man 2, but what does that really say? While I don’t think it tops the original, many aspects of this film are better than the first film.
But what does that even really mean? That’s comment without context. For me its hard to compare because, as it turns out, Iron Man 3 is much much different than the first two films in the franchise. After the jump you can watch a spoiler free video blog I recorded with Steve from Collider after a recent screening, along with a few written thoughts.
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Michael Bay has never attempted a movie as complex as Pain and Gain. He’s made plenty of films that flaunt action, crime and sex, but Pain and Gain isn’t one of them, at all. Below its glossy surface, Pain and Gain is a dark, terrifying true story of one man’s twisted view of the American dream and how he strives to achieve it. That means the film’s main characters — played by Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie — are not good people. They have good traits, maybe even good hearts, but though they’re presented as muscle-bound super men, they’re not good people.
Making an entertaining and thought-provoking movie filled with despicable characters is not an easy task. It’s a tonal nightmare and Bay struggles with that balance from the very beginning of the film. Ultimately, he finds a groove and the film may win you over, but the journey to that point is as bumpy as a muscled arm. Read More »
Throw the hammer down and check out the first trailer for Alan Taylor‘s Phase Two Marvel sequel, Thor: The Dark World. Scheduled for release November 8, everyone’s favorite superhero god (Chris Hemsworth) is back in Asgard following the events of The Avengers. Now he’ll have to face some new villains (Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) while protecting his love (Natalie Portman) and also dealing with the usual superhuman deities (Idris Elba, Zachary Levi, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston). Yup, it’s a star-studded battle across the Nine Realms and now you can catch a glimpse, with a killer twist, below. Read More »
Walking out of Oblivion, you’ll probably have a few questions. Not plot questions, mind you. Director Joseph Kosinski makes what happens in the movie very clear. The questions are more about the director’s process. His mindset. Was Kosinski deliberatly echoing sci-fi films of the past? How much input did uncredited screenwriter Michael Arndt (Star Wars Episode VII) have? How did he pull off some of the film’s seamless visual effects? Did changing studios alter the movie? Is he offended by the Wall-E comparisons? Has he started thinking sequel? And which Disney property is next for the director, Tron 3 or The Black Hole?
Luckily, Kosinski was kind enough to give /Film a few minutes on the Universal Studios Backlot the week before the film’s opening to answer those questions, and a whole lot more. Check it out below. Read More »
The Matrix. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Independence Day. Star Wars. Wall-E. If you know and like those movies (and at least one more we won’t mention to avoid spoiling anything) you’re going to find Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion incredibly familiar. The filmmaker’s second film directly references and was indirectly influenced by a plethora of classic films, giving his “original” story a not-so-original feel. It’s almost as if Kosinski’s love of sci-fi was so big, he simply had to stuff it all into one big movie.
Yet even with those influences bursting from its seams, Oblivion is a delight. It is a gorgeous, exciting and satisfying film filled with beautiful visuals, eye-popping action and confident storytelling.
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Sometimes movie studios come to CinemaCon (formerly ShoWest) to screen early cuts of their films. Dreamworks Animation came to Vegas in 2008 with an early cut of Kung Fu Panda with temp score and sequences of storyboards or unfinished rendered animation. A few years back Disney arrived at the convention with an early cut of Toy Story 3, with unfinished animation and lighting. Both of those worked out well enough.
This year Disney was confident enough in the latest Pixar effort to bring it to the convention. On the surface, Monsters University doesn’t seem like much of a gamble. It’s a sequel (errr prequel) to a blockbuster film from years ago, which brings beloved furry and one eyed franchise characters back to the screen. But the movie is very different from the original.
See spoiler-free video and written reactions, after the jump.
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Here’s the big reveal of all the secrets Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. have hidden within the new Superman film, Man of Steel. Days ago we saw a grainy video broadcast featuring the villain General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his demand for humanity to hand over Kal-El / Superman (Henry Cavill). Now this new trailer shows not only what happens when Zod’s plan doesn’t go off in quite the way he hopes, but who Superman is and what makes him tick. Thankfully, all of that results in a lot more action. Read More »