Directed by Kelsey Mann, the Monsters University short Party Central (showing in theaters with Muppets Most Wanted), sees Mike and Sully back at Monsters University for a fun-filled weekend with their fraternity brothers. The Oozma Kappa gang is throwing their first party, but when no one shows up, Mike and Sully come up with a plan to make sure their party becomes the most epic party the school has ever seen.
During the Muppets Most Wanted press day, Kelsey Mann demonstrated the process for pitching this short, and then talked about how the idea for Party Central came about, how the people that worked on the short had also worked on the feature, what a smooth transition it was to go from being story supervisor to director, choosing your battles when you’re doing animation, how hands-on John Lasseter was with the short, and that he’d love to do more Monsters shorts. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
John Goodman turns in a moving performance in The Monuments Men as Walter Garfield, a role inspired by real-life Monuments Man Walker Hancock who was an acclaimed artist and St. Louis sculptor. Goodman’s character is part of a motley crew of art historians and museum curators who rush to the front lines of WWII in a race against time to save priceless works of art from Nazi thieves. Opening February 7th, the buddy action thriller directed by and starring George Clooney boasts an impressive cast that also includes Jean Dujardin, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balazar, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett.
I recently landed an exclusive interview with Goodman who spoke about what attracted him to the role, why he said yes to the project before reading the script and had the same reaction when the Coen Brothers offered him Inside Llewyn Davis, why honoring the generation that sacrificed so much to win the war was a big hook for him, how his acting process has changed over the years, his upcoming role in The Gambler and his reaction to William Monahan’s script, working with the Wachowskis on Speed Racer, hosting SNL and his favorite sketch, the possibility of a Monsters University sequel, and looking back on making The Big Lebowski. Check out the interview after the jump.
Because I’ve grown tired of never following through on my New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, this year I’m trying something more attainable: to keep a list of all the movies I watch in 2014. Many thanks to my colleague, Mr. Goldberg, for throwing out a Letterboxd recommendation in this collage of films he watched in 2013. I joined the site shortly after reading his rec and think it’s a great way not only to keep a viewing diary (and actually stick with a resolution for once) but also to create/share your own lists and communicate with fellow movie lovers. If you want to keep up with my 2014 watch diary, check out my Top 10 of 2013, and/or my most anticipated for 2014 then hit me up on Letterboxd by clicking here.
Shameless self-promotion aside, the first Top 5 of 2014 features a recap of Matt, Adam, and Dave’s Top 10 of 2013 lists, a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, video interviews for Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaac and more, the great first trailer for writer/director Gareth Evans‘ The Raid 2: Berandal, and a new installment of Cinemath that breaks down the 2013 box office. Continue reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
After unveiling the list of scores that will be competing for the Best Original Score Oscar last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has now unveiled the list of 75 songs that are in contention for Best Original Song. The fantastic “Let It Go” from Frozen is already an early favorite, and five songs are eligible from Baz Luhrmann’s music-heavy The Great Gatsby including “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Rey and “Over the Love” by Florence and the Machine. As for pleasant surprises, it would be most excellent to see the emotional rap “So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12 land a nomination. Upcoming films that have eligible original songs include “Doby” from Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and “The Moon Song” from Her.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of songs eligible for the Best Original Song Oscar. The 86th Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 16th, followed by the Oscar ceremony on March 2nd.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled the list of 114 original scores that are eligible for the Best Original Score Oscar. Though John Williams has worked almost exclusively with Steven Spielberg for the past few years, he’s eligible this year for scoring director Brian Percival’s Holocaust film The Book Thief. Prolific composer Hans Zimmer has three scores in the running with Rush, Man of Steel, and 12 Years a Slave, and other notable scores include Steven Price’s excellent Gravity, David Wingo’s work on Mud, Ramin Djawadi’s rocking Pacific Rim score, Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek Into Darkness, and the collaboration between Arcade Fire’s William Butler and musician Owen Pallett on Her. Frustratingly, though, Steven Price’s The World’s End score appears to have been deemed ineligible, presumably due to the abundance of pre-existing tracks.
Hit the jump to see the full list of eligible scores and for my thoughts on the early Oscar favorites. The 86th Academy Award nominations will be announced January 16th.
The Annie Awards, which awards animation and not ginger orphans, have announced their 2013 nominations. Leading the pack are Disney’s Frozen and Pixar’s Monsters University with each film picking up ten nominations. The other nominees for Best Animated Feature are A Letter to Momo, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, The Croods, and The Wind Rises. Since all qualitative evaluations of art inevitably invite fury at snubs, I will rail against The Croods being nominated over Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
Hit the jump for the full list of nominees. Winners will be announced on February 1, 2014.
19 animated feature films have been submitted for consideration for the 86th Annual Academy Awards, and it’s clear that this is a very thin year for the Best Animated Feature race. Monsters University and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 feel like the biggest standouts, and while MU is certainly a strong effort from Pixar, it’s tough to imagine those two rousing the same kind of passion that previous nominees like How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, or even ParaNorman instilled. DreamWorks Animation has two contenders in the bunch with The Croods and Turbo, while Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 2, Blue Sky’s Epic, and Disney’s Planes and Frozen are also eligible for nominations. Hayao Miyazaki’s latest feature The Wind Rises is also among the submitted films.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of submitted features and for my early thoughts on the Best Animated Feature Oscar race. The 86th Oscars will be held on March 2, 2014. To catch up on all of our Oscar Beat coverage thus far, click here.
With Monsters University being released on Blu-ray and DVD this week, we were recently invited to Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California to participate in a press day marking the occasion. In addition to video interviews with Monsters University director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae as well as The Blue Umbrella director Saschka Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, we were able to get an inside peek at how Pixar operates. This included a tour of the facility, short roundtable interviews with a slew of different Pixar folks that worked on Monsters University, and more.
During our Pixar visit we learned a few fascinating things about how the studio works, and after the jump you’ll find a complete rundown. If you missed our video interviews, click here for Scanlon and Rae and click here for Unseld and Greenberg. Monsters University is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Here’s a look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD is Pixar’s latest feature film Monsters University. As the studio’s first prequel, the pic’s initial announcement was met with a mix of excitement and skepticism, but this summer audiences were treated to a film that was not only hilarious and gorgeous to look at, but also gutsy in its themes and message to young viewers. While attending the press day for the film’s Blu-ray release at Pixar, I was able to sit down with director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae to talk all things Monsters University.
Scanlon and Rae discussed how involved they were in the extras and special features that are included on the Blu-ray, how they initially came to land their jobs as director and producer of Monsters University, the initial pitch meeting that explored possible Monsters Inc. sequels, making a significant last-minute change to the film by swapping the gender of a major character, and more. Additionally, since the people at Pixar are all massive fans of a large variety of movies, I asked if there was one “bad” movie that they each love despite its less-than-stellar reputation. Watch the video interview after the jump, and if you missed my interview with The Blue Umbrella director Saschka Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, click here.
Pixar can boast a number of firsts in their run of successful animated feature films, but until Dan Scanlon’s Monsters University came along, the studio had never developed a prequel. The decision to make a prequel comes with inherent risks, such as staying true to the spirit of the original film and delivering an honest story that isn’t a simple cash grab. Monsters University wildly succeeds on both counts, with a well-crafted story that dares to tell viewers that dreams are not necessarily in their grasp just because they want it badly enough. More importantly, Monsters University focuses on the all-important friendship between Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), which was not always a rosy relationship. Hit the jump for my review of Monsters University on Blu-ray, and to find out why owning the movie on home video will make you appreciate the feature even more.
Though Pixar has certainly earned a reputation for raising the bar in animation with regards to its feature film efforts, the studio also has a knack for producing excellent short films. With each new feature film release comes a new Pixar short, and this summer’s Monsters University was accompanied in theaters by director Saschka Unseld’s unique and photo-realistic short The Blue Umbrella—certainly one of the more artistically ambitious shorts to come out of Pixar in the studio’s history. Monsters University will be available on Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, October 29th, and the disc comes loaded with bonus features relating not only to MU but also The Blue Umbrella. While attending the press day for the Monsters University Blu-ray at Pixar Studios in San Francisco, I had the chance to sit down with Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, who also serves as Pixar’s Vice President of Finance & Strategy.
During our conversation, Unseld and Greenberg discussed the process of getting their short attached to Monsters University, the thought process behind using handheld camera movements in the animation, the technological experimentation phase of the production, and more. Watch the video interview after the jump.
In anticipation of Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University being released on Blu-ray October 29th, we have three new posters and a clip from the animated short, The Blue Umbrella, to share with you today. Seen in the bonus features of the Monsters University Blu-ray, The Blue Umbrella centers on a budding relationship between the title character and another unique umbrella. The photo-realistic short was directed by Saschka Unseld. You can read up on our review of the short here, plus check out a couple of interviews with Unseld.
Hit the jump to check out the previously unreleased posters and to watch the clip from The Blue Umbrella.
If you’re a fan of all things Disney and have yet to attend D23, make plans to change that for next year as this event is only going to get bigger and better. Today was my first-ever experience attending D23, the annual Disney event that’s just for fans. In my naivete, I assumed it would be like San Diego Comic-Con. Some things are similar: the lines, the sneak peeks, the star sightings. But where Comic-Con is a loose collection of mostly unrelated one-hour panels scattered across a few days, D23 is a top-notch production meant to entertain and reward fans from start to finish.
In today’s D23 presentation for “Art and Imagination: Animation at the Walt Disney Studios”, the production company’s three animation divisions were highlighted. This article deals with a recap of the anticipated work coming out of Disney/Pixar, which includes Bob Peterson and Peter Sohn’s The Good Dinosaur, Pete Docter’s Inside Out, Andrew Stanton’s Finding Dory, and two short films, including Monsters University’s “Party Central” and the Halloween special, Toy Story OF TERROR! Hit the jump for some up-to-the-minute info on each of these films as well as my take on the presentation itself.
With an estimated $46.1 million, Monsters University had no trouble holding on to first place in its sophomore frame. With Pixar’s track record, that was never really in doubt. Of more interest were the debuts of The Heat and White House Down. Would the summer box office make room for two strong openings, as it did for Monsters U and World War Z last weekend? Not this time.
|| Monsters University
|| The Heat
|| World War Z
|| White House Down
|| Man of Steel
|| This Is The End
|| Now You See Me
|| Fast & Furious 6
|| Star Trek Into Darkness
|| The Internship