oscars 2018 speeches

The 90th Academy Awards showed a Hollywood at an impasse.

With the industry in the midst of a sexual and political upheaval, Tinseltown’s most glitzy awards ceremony found itself grappling with its message. The result: an overlong, messy Academy Awards ceremony that swung between self-congratulatory nods to the Time’s Up movement and cheery apolitical, made-to-go-viral stunts.

But a few 2018 Oscars speeches salvaged the show. Fiery remarks and inspirational anecdotes helped galvanize the ceremony and make the four hour-plus TV event worth watching.

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Coco locations

Disney/Pixar’s Coco is bursting with authenticity. From the set designs to the family dynamics to the music, the whole film feels like a love letter to Mexico. It has a story that works for everyone, but goes out of its way to give a special nod to a culture that isn’t often represented on the big screen. That attention to detail paid off in a huge way: Coco became the highest grossing movie in Mexico’s history and has made more than $730 million worldwide.

So how did the film that survived a justified uproar when Disney tried to copyright the phrase “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) become one of the most culturally accurate and pure-hearted films in recent memory? Immersion, research, and respect.

In honor of Coco’s home video release, Disney flew me and a handful of other journalists to Oaxaca, Mexico, where we followed in the footsteps of the filmmakers’ research trips and visited many of the neighborhoods and locations that inspired the creation of the movie. Learn more about the making of Coco below. Read More »

Coco interview

I’d never conducted an interview at a UNESCO World Heritage site before a couple of weeks ago. But after speaking with Adrian Molina, the co-director of Pixar’s Coco, at the ancient ruins of Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico, I can cross that very specific thing off my bucket list.

In honor of the movie’s home video release (and before this weekend’s Academy Awards, where it’s nominated for Best Animated Feature), I spoke with Molina about the power of the film’s music, how physically visiting a place like Monte Alban actually translates into a movie’s screenplay, and much more.

I also spoke with animation manager Jesus Martinez about the inner workings of Pixar, how he came on board this project, and what an animation manager’s job consists of. Check out our Coco interviews below.
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coco alternate opening

Coco begins in an unusual fashion. Young, aspiring musician Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dramatically recounts the story of his family’s past as the people within the story spring to life via the colorful papel picado banners that decorate the streets of Mexico on Dia de los Muertos.

As stunning as the animated papel picado drawings are, it’s a bold choice to not show our hero immediately, and even bolder to dive into a generations-long family history. But it ends up working perfectly for the film, which above all, is a story about family. However, for the many years that Coco was in development at Pixar, the animated film had a very different opening.

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Pixar's Coco Photo

Devindra and Jeff join up with Remezcla’s Vanessa Erazo to review Pixar’s Coco. Also, they chat about Spike Lee’s Netflix TV series, She’s Gotta Have It, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Phantom Thread.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!

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Lee Unkrich Interview

Pixar’s latest film Coco hits theaters this week and I sat down with director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3), producer Darla K. Anderson and writer/co-director Adrian Molina to talk about how the story came about. Along the way, we touch on the abandoned film project that Lee was working on with screenwriter Michael Arndt, how The Book Of Life affected this production, the evolution of the idea from the initial spark to the finished film, how Adrian Molina got involved in the project, how Lee Unkrich went from editor to director and how he edits his own films, how Darla got a credit as “Digital Angel” on the original Toy Story, hiding easter eggs in an international setting, and working with Michael Giacchino.

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coco box office

There’s still a week left before Coco finally sashays into U.S. theaters, but the animated Pixar film is already breaking records in Mexico. And it’s no surprise: Coco is the first Pixar film featuring a Mexican protagonist, set in Mexico, on the widely-celebrated Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead.

Released in Mexican theaters on October 27, two days before the Day of the Dead celebrations began, Coco quickly shot to the top of the Mexican box office. Now, 19 days after its release, it is on the cusp of breaking the record for the highest-grossing movie in Mexico.

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coco clip

The Day of the Dead is nearly upon us, but before the festivities can start, we need to know more about Coco. The new Pixar film that follows a young Mexican boy named Miguel who accidentally finds himself stuck in the Land of the Dead, Coco is as much a love letter to the Mexico as it is to the holiday that the entire country celebrates in October.

Coco will be released a little after the actual Day of the Dead, which takes place from October 31 through November 2, but Pixar has dropped some charming clips and featurettes to get us in the festive mood.

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Coco Songs

Although it’s not a musical, Coco takes place in Mexico and pays homage to the country’s rich musical scene. And it’s a credit to the composers of Coco — and their cultural advisors — that the original songs in the Pixar film range from bolero ranchero, to son jarocho, to Huapango-inspired styles.

There’s a fair share of familiar mariachi songs and other styles scattered throughout the film, but the above genres describe the first three songs from Coco that were released in snippets this week. But most importantly, one of them has Gael Garcia Bernal singing. Yes, Mozart in the Jungle is finally flexing his singing chops.

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coco trailer

With the onset of fall, the season of Halloween and pumpkin spice is upon us. But more importantly, fall signals the coming of the joyous Mexican celebration, the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos.

The Day of the Dead is the centerpiece of Pixar’s upcoming film Coco, a love letter to the Mexican holiday and the country’s music. Following a young aspiring musician named Miguel who finds himself stuck in the Land of the Dead during the Day of the Dead, the new Coco trailer showcases a lush, vivid vision of both the afterlife and the family in the Land of the Living that Miguel is so eager to leave behind.

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