Frozen Short Removed from Coco

Many audience members who sat down to see Coco over the past couple weeks were not looking for warm hugs before seeing Pixar’s latest animation feature. But that’s exactly what they got when a 21-minute Frozen short film played before the movie.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure has stirred up plenty of people since hitting theaters with Coco. Parents, impatient children and critics alike were not happy with the extended running time of the Frozen short film, and even theaters in Mexico were starting to remove the short due to the excessive complaints about it. Well, Disney has been listening, and they will be removing the short from Coco starting next week. Read More »

music of coco

Coco isn’t a musical, but its music is as central to it as the elements of family, memory, life, and death. Music is what carries Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) along on his quest to find his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) in the Land of the Dead, music is what unites Miguel and his ragamuffin skeleton companion Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), and what ultimately tears apart and unites his family.

Music — and the fantastic original songs from the Pixar animated film — is the warm, beating heart of Coco. Because music plays such an essential role, the music team behind Coco made sure to embed the songs and score as deeply into Mexican culture as they could. This amounted to years of research and 5o (!) Mexican musicians participating in the vibrant, effervescent soundtrack.

I spoke to composer Michael Giacchino, who has had a busy year composing scores for a whopping three blockbusters (Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes); orchestrator Germaine Franco, who participated in the movie’s pivotal song “Remember Me”; and cultural consultant Camilo Lara, who brought to the film a connection to the plethora of Mexican music genres as well as a signature Dr. Seuss-style hat.

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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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Olaf's Frozen Adventure

If you saw Coco in theaters this past weekend and were expecting a pleasant Pixar short film like Piper, La Luna, or Presto, you were in for a rude awakening: instead of a short that lasted only a few minutes, audiences were forced to sit through Walt Disney Animation’s Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, a 21-minute long featurette about Olaf and his friends discovering the true meaning of the holidays.

Here’s a hot take for you: the short film, which was originally intended to air on ABC as a holiday television special, should have stayed on the small screen where it belonged and not inconvenienced everyone who wanted to see Pixar’s latest feature.
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coco foreshadowing

Coco is Pixar’s most visually sumptuous movie to date, bathed in vibrant and warm colors that recall the festive decorations of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and the otherworldly luminescence of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

But amid all the visual splendor are a few plot details that you may have missed upon first, or even second, viewing of this delightful film. No, they’re not just your run-of-the-mill Pixar easter eggs — these pertain to a major plot point that is revealed toward the end of the movie in an eleventh-hour twist. I heard plenty of gasps in my theater when this twist was revealed, so needless to say, spoilers for Coco follow.

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How the Family in ‘Coco’ Reminded Me of Mine

coco's family

“This place runs on memories,” Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) informs an awed Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) as they wander the land of the dead in Pixar’s newest film, Coco. Preserved through the memories of their family, people are kept alive, as jubilant in the afterlife as they were in life — sometimes even more so.

In Coco, death is just a new beginning. Less so a film about grief and loss, Coco is a story about celebrating life through the people that the dead once touched and affected. It’s aligns perfectly with the values of Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead.

“[In] Dia de los Muertos, the whole point is to never say goodbye to anyone and to always remember them,” director Lee Unkrich told me in an interview a few month’s prior to the release of Coco. “And it’s your responsibility to keep their memories alive.”

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch After You See ‘Coco’

Movies to Watch With Coco

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Coco.)

You probably noticed on store shelves this Autumn that Dia de los Muertos (or Dia de Muertos if you want to be exact) is having a cultural moment beyond Mexico, so it’s my sincere hope that Pixar’s Coco will help the uninitiated gain an appreciation of the holiday focused on dead family members and ancestors. The Day of the Dead is a vibrant celebration of remembrance and life.

The film, written by Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich and co-directed by Molina and Lee Unkrich, follows 12-year-old aspiring guitarist Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) on a quest through the afterlife.

/Film’s Josh Spiegel called it one of the most beautiful Pixar movies yet, so let’s see what other beautiful adventure films we can find to pair with it.

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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 trailer

When Pixar Animation Studios released its first film in 1995, it felt groundbreaking. Toy Story proved that computer animation could serve as the foundation for a feature film, but it also proved that animated films did not all need to follow the storytelling template of classical Disney animated films such as Beauty and the Beast and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

More than 20 years later, Pixar has become less of a disruptor and more of a standard-bearer. Some of their later original films, from WALL-E to Inside Out, are able to marry unique concepts and worlds, while others — like 2015’s The Good Dinosaur — struggle to move beyond technologically innovative designs. This week, Pixar is releasing Coco, its second film of 2017, and its first original film in a couple years. While Coco is not the studio’s most creatively daring film, the fact that it’s a charming and gorgeously realized story is, in its own way, enormously relieving.

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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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