Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2016 by Angie Han
Since Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment has established itself as a go-to source for sturdy family entertainment. Their films may not reach the artistic heights of Pixar or Disney, but you can generally count on them to be perfectly pleasant and inoffensive, able to entertain the kids without annoying the parents.
Sing is Illumination’s first musical, but otherwise it’s cut from the same cloth as the company’s other films. While not especially deep, the combination of a star-studded cast and an equally star-studded music catalogue make for a fun time. It’s light and sweet and pretty as cotton candy, and it dissolves from memory just as quickly. Read More »
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 by Angie Han
In just a few weeks, Disney’s Zootopia will whisk us off to a land that’s at once familiar and strange, that imagines our everyday universe as it might look if it had been designed, built, and populated entirely by animals. As of now, that’s the only trip there that Disney is offering — there are no plans yet for a Zootopia 2. But if you’re eager to immerse yourself in another animal kingdom, Illumination Entertainment’s got you covered with Sing.
Like Zootopia, Sing takes place in a world inhabited entirely by animals. Unlike Zootopia, Sing follows an American Idol-style competition organized by koala voiced by Matthew McConaughey. And the Oscar winner is just one of several high-profile cast members involved; the contestants include all manner of critters voiced by Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Seth MacFarlane, Tori Kelly, and the like. Watch the new Sing trailer after the jump. Read More »
If the Minions aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe you’ll be more interested in one of Illumination Entertainment’s other projects coming this year. The Secret Life of Pets is the next one from the animation studio arriving this summer, but just before Christmas this year, they also have the musically charged Sing.
Like many animated movies, this one takes place in a world where animals live like humans, and one koala has fallen on hard times, unable to keep his theaters up and running. So in a last ditch effort to keep the place alive, he decides to throw an epic singing competition, and some clips of the animals auditioning for the show have just debuted before the official teaser trailer arrives next week. Watch the Sing audition clips after the jump and prepare to tap your feet. Read More »
While we’re all thinking about 2014 and 2015, Universal is planning way ahead. The studio has just set two release dates for films from Illumination Entertainment. One is Despicable Me 3, which will (obviously) follow the first two hit animated films. That’s got a release date of June 30, 2017. Universal says: “The team who brought you DESPICABLE ME and the biggest animated hit of 2013, DESPICABLE ME 2, returns to continue the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions.”
And then there’s the new animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which will open before Thanksgiving even hits, on November 17, 2017. The studio offers the following: “A newly imagined version of the enduring holiday classic will be directed by Pete Candeland and adapted from Dr. Seuss’ book by Michael LeSieur. The film will be produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy and executive produced by Audrey Geisel.”
The best bit, however, is a third film, an untitled project set for 2016. It’s from Garth Jennings, who made Son of Rambow. No specific release date yet, but here’s the official line: “This original animated comedy event about courage, competition and carrying a tune will be written and directed by Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The film will be produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.”
There’s more strings to Garth Jennings‘ bow than to a life sized Harp lager logo. Along with producer Nick Goldsmith and (sometimes) editor Dom Leung, Jennings is one part of Hammer and Tongs, creators of world-beating music videos and commercials; he’s part of Squid Vicar, a Tongs offshoot musical… thing that has played a fair sized handful of gigs and released an album of telephone hold music; he’s the best presenter that The Adam and Joe Show on 6 Music doesn’t always have; he directed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow; and he’s particularly good at telling Mark Kermode to “Fuck off” on TV. Basically, he’s living the dream.
In interview to discuss his new video for Vampire Weekend’s Cousins (which you can see below the break, alongside a test/pitch version), Jennings also gave a minor update on the two big-screen projects he’s got in development – one animation, the other “a live action epic”.
Read More »
Filmmaker Playlist is a new feature on /Film where we ask writers, directors, and stars to tell us their favorite movies of the moment. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business became involved after discovering their love of films. And I always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.
First up in the series is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow writer/director Garth Jennings.
“You tend to have a top five that shifts around over the years and certain films go up and down. I definitely come back to a lot of Billy Wilder‘s films very often. I could watch those again and again and again. Certainly The Apartment is one of my favorite, favorite FAVORITE movies.”
“Harold and Maude I think is a terrific film.”
“Raiders of the Lost Ark I think is a perfect film. Because I loved Star Wars. Star Wars was the very first film I saw but Raiders of the Lost Ark, oh, whenever I see it, I can’t not watch it. It’s just perfect and it has such a terrific sense of wonder, and it just has everything I want in a film. And it’s got a great sense of humor, and you travel the world… there isn’t anything wrong with that film. Those selections are very different, I know. But they’re all just big hearted.”
Garth later talked a bit about films that terrified him:
“My first real horror film where I remember being absolutely terrified, it was a music video for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Do you remember that? I remember sitting up watching that and there is a shot – Gerald Scarfe’s drawings were really macabre and brutal. And he pushes all these children through a mincer. I remember being up for weeks after that. I always had terrible nightmares as a kid anyway. And I remember seeing a clip from the Elephant Man and I didn’t know what it was. He just had a bag over his head and a hole for his eye. And he turned around for the camera and that was it. That was another week of sleepless nights.”
“But then by the time I got to horror films, I had left it so late because I was clearly not so good at watching them that I got to a point where I couldn’t tolerate it. And I haven’t gone back because Horror has become more gruesome – more about torture and less about creeping up on someone or creating frightening tense moments. Although I heard The Orphanage is good, and it sounds like I would actually quite like it.”
Garth Jennings’ Son of Rambow expands to a theater (hopefully) near you on May 9th 2008.
Here is a round up of stories that just didn’t make the /Film front page, or what we like to call…. Page 2!
ComingSoon has the poster for Focus Features’ Hamlet 2.
The New York Times has a audio commentary slideshow with Aaron McBride, the visual effects art director for Iron Man, describing how the suit up machine was created for the film, featuring concept art like the photo seen above.
Big-time Southern California real estate developer is obsessed with Blade Runner. He recently unveiled plans to hang a 14-story LED billboard on the facades of two 33-story condos a la Blade Runner. [i09]
An animatronic mobile WALL-E has been spotted wandering the Disney parks. [pixarplanet]
The contract between CBS and Cedar Fair (current owners of Star Trek The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton) ends December 31st, and a spokesperson for Cedar Fair tells TrekMovie “there are currently no plans to renew” it. [trekmovie]
Wizard counts down the 200 Greatest Comic Books of All Time.
Academy Award Winning screenwriter Diablo Cody interviews John Cusak on MySpace’s Artist on Artist.
Sideshow Collectables has announced their Comic-Con 2008 Exclusives which includes the Iron Man Archive Set Mark II (pictured right).
Lessons from Pixar’s Brad Bird on fostering innovation in the workplace: “In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget — but never shows up in a budget — is morale. If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.” [kottke]
The first rule of Twitter Fight Club is we don’t talk about Twitter Fight Club!
The Hollywood Reporter says The Descent 2 is going forward with Celador Films and Pathe. Budgeted at $10 million and scheduled for an eight-week shoot with no start date has been announced.
Picturehouse delays Amusement until fourth quarter 2008. [bloody-disgusting]
Paramount Home Entertainment’s Cloverfield topped both the national DVD sales and rental charts its first week in stores. [CS]
The Weinstein Company and Senator Entertainment are producing a big screen adaptation of Capcom’s Clock Tower, directed by Martin Weisz, of Grimm Love and The Hills Have Eyes 2, with a script by Eric Poppen of Borderland. [FirstShowing]
ToplessRobot counts down the 10 Crappiest Iron Man Villains Who Won’t (and Shouldn’t) Make the Movies.
Disney has released the poster for High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
Is Iron Man the first comic-book movie better than its source material? [spout]
SpikeTV plays Press Junket Trivia with Son of Rambow writer/director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 now has a second movie trailer. I’m sure someone out there might care… maybe not. [cinemablend]
The Smallville producers, The CW, Warner Bros. Television, and Michael Rosenbaum announced Thursday that the actor will be leaving the show. [SHH]
James Gandolfini, Steve Coogan, David Rasche and former child actor Anna Chlumsky will star in the political satire “In the Loop” for BBC Films. [THR]
Iron Man has earned $96.7 million in 57 countries since it began opening Wednesday, putting its worldwide total at $201 million after just five days!Â [shh]
Sylvester Stallone Loved Son of Rambow. [wells]
Last week I got the chance to sit down and talk to Garth Jennings, the director of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the upcoming film Son of Rambow. I can;t express to you how wonderful Son of Rambow is. It’s everything that Be Kind Rewind could have been, mixed with Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. I have no doubt that if you see this movie you’ll instantly fall in love with it. Anyway, Jennings told me about his next project, which he is currently developing right now.
“We’re writing our own animated film that we’ll do ourselves. Not Draw it literally ourselves,” said Jennings. “We’re not sure yet how we’re going to render it, be it models, computers, cell or what. We’re just making sure we get the story dead right first, and we’re going to let that dictate how we move from there.”
I tried to press Garth for more details but the director didn’t want to reveal the story details at this early stage.
“Because its at that early stage… It’s not a secrecy thing for us. There is something about giving an idea too much oxygen before you’ve had the time before you actually set it in stone. ~The minute you get it right, you tell everyone because you’re trying to get it going. But before that there is something precious about it. And I’m not superstitious but I feel like if I talk about it too much, or even at all, something goes out the window.”
And if you’ve seen Son of Rambow, then you’ve seen little bits of animation spread throughout the film. Apparently they were planning to render a whole title sequence for Son of Rambow in that style, but it was never completed.
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One of the best films of last year which won’t hit theaters until this year is Garth Jennings‘ Son of Rambow. The film premiered at the 2007 Sundance film festival and was quickly snagged by Paramount Vantage. The buzz was so high on the movie that I was unable to get into a screening at the fest. Luckily I was able to see the film at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.
I wrote the following in my review:
“Jennings’ film almost feels like a Wes Anderson movie, but is, at times, much more playful. It’s about the wonder of a young boy’s imagination. Son of Rambow is one of those movies which makes me remember why I feel in love with movies. It’s the Cinema Paradiso for the next generation. It’s the type of movie that you’ll eventually run on repeat in your DVD player. It’s remarkably imaginative, and both heartbreaking and heartwarming.”
From Garth Jennings, the director of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, comes a magical movie about friendship and the discovery of filmmaking at a very young age. Will is the eldest son of a fatherless Plymouth Brethren family, and is forced to abide by a strict moral code which doesn’t allow him to listen to music or watch movies or television. Will somehow becomes involved with the school’s biggest misfit troublemaker and thief, Lee Carter. Set in the early 1980’s, and partly inspired on events from Garth’s childhood, Son Of Rambow is the title of a movie made by two little boys after watching First Blood (Rambo) on a bootleg VHS tape.
Watch the movie trailer for the film after the jump.
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Son of Rambow was probably the biggest hit of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, sparking a record bidding war, which ended with Paramount Vantage taking home the goods. The film was originally set to hit theaters on July 20th 2007, but was pushed back to an unknown 2008 date without reason. Many people speculated that the studio might have wanted to release the film closer to the release of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo. Who knows if that is true or not. I just caught this gem in Toronto and LOVED LOVED LOVED it.
Director Garth Jennings revealed that the film would hit theaters in April 2008 on Friday night at a screening of the film during the Toronto International Film Festival. No further details were given. So there you have it. The film’s official plot synopsis follows:
SON OF RAMBOW is the name of the home movie made by two little boys with a big video camera and even bigger ambitions. Set on a long English summer in the early 80’s, SON OF RAMBOW is a comedy about friendship, faith and the tough business of growing up. We see the story through the eyes of Will, the eldest son of a fatherless Plymouth Brethren family. The Brethren regard themselves as God’s ‘chosen ones’ and their strict moral code means that Will has never been allowed to mix with the other ‘worldlies,’ listen to music or watch TV, until he finds himself caught up in the extraordinary world of Lee Carter, the school terror and maker of bizarre home movies. Carter exposes Will to a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood and from that moment Will’s mind is blown wide open and he’s easily convinced to be the stuntman in Lee Carters’ diabolical home movie. Will’s imaginative little brain is not only given chance to flourish in the world of film making, but is also very handy when it comes to dreaming up elaborate schemes to keep his partnership with Lee Carter a secret from the Brethren community. Will and Carter’s complete disregard for consequences and innocent ambition means that the process of making their film is a glorious rollercoaster that eventually leads to true friendship. They start to make a name for themselves at school as movie makers but when popularity descends on them in the form of the Pied Piper-esque French exchange student, Didier Revol, their unique friendship and their precious film are pushed, quite literally, to breaking point.