24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Rebecca Keegan

Henry Selick on his 'medium dark' stop-motion movie for Disney

April 27, 2012 | 12:24 pm

Henryselick

Henry Selick, a giant in the pocket-sized world of stop-motion animation, is almost finished with production on his next film, an as-yet-untitled project for Walt Disney Co.

The director of "Coraline" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" has been supervising a crew of about 150 craftspersons and animators from his new studio, Cinderbiter, based in an old chocolate factory in San Francisco's Mission District. The film will be Selick's first since signing an exclusive deal with Disney in 2010.

"It’s an original story of mine," Selick said of the film, which has so far remained shrouded in secrecy.

The project will hew to the spooky-sweet tone of Selick's previous work, he said.

"It won’t come from totally left field," he said. "What I personally gravitate toward tends to be fantasy, medium dark -- not too dark -- fairy tales and sci fi. Stop-motion takes something on the page that’s really dark and adds a little sweetness to it, a living toys realm."

Selick, who attended the California Institute of the Arts with Disney/Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter and Pixar director Brad Bird in the 1970s, said he consulted with the animation studio's creative leaders several times while developing his script. Taking story notes from Pixar's candid "brain trust" was a new and sometimes arresting experience for Selick, who historically has been more of a lone tinkerer as a director.

"The first time, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if I can handle this, Why did John [Lasseter] agree to help me make my films?' " he said. "But then I found out it’s that way with everybody, even their best filmmakers. When you see what they produce, it’s like, 'OK, [I] don’t take any of it personally.' ''

The gist of the notes, Selick said, was, "Don’t get caught up in eye candy. They said, 'Let’s try to make your story as clear as possible and give it as much heart as it deserves.' "

Selick described the 2013 release date listed by IMDB.com for his film as "tentative."

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--Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Henry Selick with a puppet from "Coraline." Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times


Pixar announces Día de los Muertos film

April 25, 2012 |  3:11 pm

Day of the Dead

This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

An upcoming Pixar film will center on Día de los Muertos -- the Mexican holiday honoring the dead -- the animation studio announced at the CinemaCon convention of theater owners in Las Vegas this week. Director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, the team behind "Toy Story 3," will collaborate on the as-yet-untitled movie.

As is often the case with its long-gestating projects, Pixar revealed little else about the Día de los Muertos movie, which will presumably take many visual cues from the spooky holiday's focus on skulls, masks and Mexican marigolds.

MarkAndrewsandJohn LasseterPixar chief creative officer John Lasseter also shared a little more about the studio's upcoming slate,  including two projects first announced at Disney's D23 fan convention last August. Lasseter supplied the title and a May 30, 2014, release date for "The Good Dinosaur," Bob Peterson's film about what the world would be like if dinosaurs had never been extinct, and a June 19, 2015, release date for Pete Docter's next project, which Walt Disney Studios is currently calling "The untitled Pixar film that takes you inside the mind." 

The brain movie is still shrouded in mystery: At D23, producer Jonas Rivera said, “We can’t wait to come back and tell you more as soon as we get out of psychotherapy."

At CinemaCon, the studio also screened 30 minutes of its next feature, the Scotland-set "Brave," due out June 22. Scottish bagpipers supplied a little mood music for the occasion, and Lasseter donned a kilt.

[For the record, 4:40 p.m., April 25: A previous version of this post said the untitled Día de los Muertos film will be released in 2015. Disney has not announced a release date for the film.]

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-- Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/thatrebecca

Photos: A mask hangs over one of the altars during the 11th annual Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, celebration on Oct. 30, 2010, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Credit: Mariah Tauger. "Brave" director Mark Andrews and Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter. Credit: Disney.

 


Julie Andrews on princesses, Disney and a new 'Mary Poppins' film

April 19, 2012 |  7:00 am

Julie Andrews and Hector Elizondo in "The Princess Diaries 2"Have you purchased a gift for the tiara wearer in your life? Don't worry, there's still time. The Walt Disney Co. and Target are introducing National Princess Week April 22-28. Like Secretary's Day and Grandparents Day, National Princess Week is designed to move merchandise -- with it comes a 10th anniversary Blu-ray release of “The Princess Diaries” and “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway, as well as an array of pink-hued products.

But the week also provides a timely excuse to ponder the deeper questions of princessdom with the help of Andrews, 76. The star of "The Sound of Music" and "Mary Poppins" coauthored with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, “The Very Fairy Princess” children’s book series, and she'll appear at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday, April 22, with her latest title, “The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl!”

Andrews spoke with 24 Frames about the princess phase, Walt Disney's affection for fairies and plans for a movie about the making of "Mary Poppins."

PHOTOS: Julie Andrews' life in pictures

Some parents are bewildered when their daughters -- whom they may hope will grow up to be doctors or lawyers -- go through a princess phase. What would you say to them?

There has been a lot of discussion among child development people about the significance of imaginative play when it comes to a child's social and cognitive development. There may be a strong connection between a make-believe a child allows and their later success in life. They always come out of it. For me it’s part of loving books, getting lost in books, playing princesses, playing whatever you feel like. They usually play nurses and doctors and everything else. Princesses are usually for the little ones, I think.

Have princesses changed?

There’s a lot more to princesses these days. Their civic duties alone. Look at Kate [Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge], the new lovely princess we have in Britain right now. I think she's probably extremely hard-working and has an enormous amount of responsibility speaking for the royal family and doing her royal duties and going out to her charities. It’s a very busy and hard life.

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'The Artist' is the buzz at the TCM Classic Film Festival

April 16, 2012 |  2:52 pm

TCM Classic Movie Festival at Grauman's Chinese Theater

The TCM Classic Film Festival highlights decades-old movies, but one of the most buzzed-about titles at the event in Hollywood over the weekend was 2012 Oscar winner "The Artist."

A silent black-and-white homage to Hollywood's early days, "The Artist" was name-checked several times at festival Q&As, in concession lines and in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel where attendees mingled between films.

The ubiquity of "The Artist" at the festival, which was attended by more than 25,000 people Thursday to Sunday, suggests the symbiotic relationship the movie has had from the beginning with ardent classic film fans. Outlets like TCM, which plays silent films on Sunday nights and programmed several silents at its festival, have helped stoke the fan base, while a well-funded Oscar campaign for the French movie about a silent era star (Jean Dujardin) having trouble transitioning to talkies brought newcomers into the fold.

At a sold-out screening of Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924) on Sunday night at the Egyptian theater, Fairbanks' biographer Jeffrey Vance described meeting "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius at a party and learning that Fairbanks had inspired the character played by Jean Dujardin.

"Thanks to 'The Artist,' people are curious about Douglas Fairbanks now," Vance told the crowd, seeming almost stunned to be newly hip.

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Kim Novak says she's bipolar, regrets leaving Hollywood

April 13, 2012 |  6:31 pm

Kim novak jimmy stewart vertigo
Actress Kim Novak told an audience at the TCM Classic Film Festival Friday that she has bipolar disorder, and sometimes regrets her decision to leave Hollywood in the late 1960s at the height of her fame.

The star of such films as "Vertigo," "Pal Joey" and "Picnic," Novak was teary-eyed and emotional when she told Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne before an audience of about 300 people at the Avalon in Hollywood that she suffered from mental illness while making those films.

"I'm bipolar ... but there's medicine you can take for this now," Novak said. "I was not diagnosed until much later. I go through more of the depression than the mania part."

Novak, 79, is in Los Angeles to have her handprints and footprints enshrined in the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Saturday, a sign of the recognition she said she hungered for throughout her life.

In her conversation with Osborne, Novak was introspective, but not maudlin, laughing about a runny nose and fixing her makeup using a hand mirror she had tucked in her armchair.

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Kate Winslet's breasts censored from 'Titanic 3D' in China

April 12, 2012 | 12:31 pm

"Titanic"

"Titanic 3D" was an instant box-office hit when it opened in China this week, but audiences there didn't get to see one of the movie's most famous scenes -- Kate Winslet reclining nude as Leonardo DiCaprio paints her portrait.

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television censored the scene in the new, 3-D version of the film, just as it did in the movie's first theatrical run there in 1998. But because many Chinese fans initially saw pirated versions of "Titanic," many were familiar with the scene and chagrined by the omission.

"I've been waiting almost 15 years, and not for the 3-D icebergs," said one disappointed moviegoer in a widely circulated microblog post quoted by China Daily.

Pleasing Chinese audiences is increasingly important for movie studios, as the country has become one of the leading foreign markets for Hollywood films.

When "Titanic" was released in China 14 years ago, the movie played in only 180 theaters. This week, "Titanic 3D" was screened in 3,500 locations in the country.

On its opening day Tuesday in China, "Titanic 3D" sold $11.6 million worth of tickets, more than a quarter of the $44 million the original grossed in China during its entire theatrical run.

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--Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic." Credit: Paramount Pictures


TCM Classic Film Fest kicks off with 'Cabaret,' Liza Minnelli

April 12, 2012 |  8:15 am

Liza minnelli cabaret
After more than six decades in show business, Liza Minnelli has learned a few tricks. “I surround myself with talented people and I wear jeweled costumes because I sweat when I dance,” said Minnelli, now 66, who first appeared on film at age 3. “The jewels make me look wet all over.”

Minnelli will share reminiscences and maybe even a few secrets with fans in Hollywood on Thursday at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which is opening with a newly restored version of “Cabaret.” The singer-actress honed her stagecraft in the 1972 musical and developed much of her winking, vampish style under the direction of choreographer Bob Fosse. Minnelli and her costar, Joel Grey, who both won Oscars for their performances, will speak to the audience at the screening and mingle with festival-goers at an afterparty.

Forty years after its debut, Minnelli said, the film about the politically oblivious, sexually decadent atmosphere of a 1930s Berlin nightclub still has cultural resonance.

“People hear ‘Cabaret’ and they think, ‘Oh Christ, it’s a musical about happiness.’” she said. “It’s not about that at all. It’s about opinions and politics and survival.”

“Cabaret” is one of 78 vintage features playing over four days in Hollywood this weekend as part of the Turner Classic Movies network’s event, which also includes appearances by Kim Novak and Debbie Reynolds, programming devoted to film noir and Hollywood fashion and fan-friendly activities like screenings of stars’ home movies and appraisals of Hollywood memorabilia by Bonhams auction house.

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'Growing Up With Gosling' new addition to the Ryan oeuvre

April 5, 2012 |  1:54 pm

"Growing Up With Gosling"

Ryan Gosling completists have so much material to keep them busy. There are the award-nominated performances, the bare-armed tabloid photos, the feminist Internet memes, the breathless news reports of street corner heroics.

But for diehards who still cannot get enough Goslingalia, there is yet another option -- provided by his fictional best friend, Luke Barnett, star and co-writer of the short film "Growing Up With Gosling."

"Basically, Ryan's tried to put me in everything he's ever done," Barnett says in the short, which inserts the unknown actor into key clips from the Gosling canon including "The Notebook," "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and "Lars and the Real Girl." "We did plays together in grade school and it was never like, 'Ryan Gosling the star and also his friend Luke.' I played Romeo. Ryan played Mercutio, which is a great part, but c'mon -- the play is called 'Romeo and Juliet.'"

"Growing Up With Gosling" -- which plays off the conceit that Barnett was dropped from all of Gosling's films at the last minute in favor of casting female stars like Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone -- originally appeared on FunnyOrDie in February, and is now beginning to play film festivals, including the L.A. Comedy Fest, which opens April 20.

Barnett, 29, did not actually grow up with Gosling in Toronto but in Washington, D.C. His most recent work includes the independent film "Sedona" and the role of "everybody else" in the L.A. stage production of "Saved By the Bell." Barnett's co-star in the film, Carly Craig, appears in the new "Three Stooges" movie, and his director, Zak Stoltz, primarily works in visual effects.

Barnett said he selected Gosling as his muse because the actor is so widely admired.

"Girls love him. Guys want to be him," Barnett said. "He's a person we do really think is great."

Gosling, who has been shooting the crime drama "Only God Forgives" in Thailand with his "Drive" director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is not affiliated with "Growing Up With Gosling." "Ryan is not in on this, that we know of," Barnett said.

But Barnett's status as Gosling's make-believe best friend is getting him noticed by the ladies, he said.

"And hey, when they can’t get me, they might get Ryan Gosling," Barnett said.

 

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--Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Ryan Gosling, left, and Luke Barnett in "Growing Up With Gosling." Credit: Courtesy of Luke Barnett


'Titanic 4DX': Foreign audiences to smell, feel ship's sinking

April 4, 2012 |  1:51 pm

Titanic The salty scent of ocean air, the frigid winds of the North Atlantic, the jarring bump of a 46,000-ton ship hitting an iceberg — for international audiences who wish to add yet another dimension to the 3-D re-release of James Cameron's “Titanic,” there is “Titanic 4DX.”

A South Korean company called CJ 4DPlex Co. has created a theme park ride-like experience to accompany screenings of “Titanic 3D” in 26 theaters in South Korea, Mexico, China and Thailand starting Thursday.

4DX places theater audiences inside a film’s environment using motion, wind, fog, lighting and scent-based special effects. Launched in 2009, 4DX is also being applied to such recent movies as “The Hunger Games” and “John Carter” and the upcoming “The Avengers.” (It’s unclear what the sinking Titanic smells like, but we bet there will be liberal use of the “short bursts of sharp air” and “face water” features — not to mention the pitch and roll seats.)

Cameron and his studio partners spent 60 weeks and $18 million to make a 3-D version of “Titanic,” the 1997 blockbuster about a young couple, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet), who fall in love aboard the doomed luxury liner. Screenings of “Titanic 3D” in the U.S., where it opened Tuesday night, will not include 4DX’s extrasensory enhancements.

But CJ 4DPlex has opened an office in Hollywood and plans to expand to U.S. theaters, ultimately reaching more than 800 auditoriums worldwide by 2016, according to a news release issued by the company.

“We work with the world’s leading studios and filmmakers to bring movie magic alive for audiences,” CJ 4DPlex Chief Executive Ho Seung Lee said in the release. “Presenting ‘Titanic,’ one of the greatest films ever made, in 4DX is a great honor, and we are excited to usher audiences onboard to meet Jack and Rose.”

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 --Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in "Titanic." Credit: 20th Century Fox.


President Obama to introduce 'To Kill a Mockingbird' on TV

April 3, 2012 | 12:42 pm

President Obama will introduce a new restoration of the 1962 courtroom drama "To Kill a Mockingbird" on April 7 on the USA Network
President Obama will introduce a new restoration of the 1962 courtroom drama "To Kill a Mockingbird" on April 7 on the USA Network.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird" tells the story of white Southern lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), who defends a black man accused of rape, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters).

The airing on USA marks the first national broadcast of the movie since it was digitally remastered and restored by Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute in conjunction with Universal's centennial this year.

"I'm deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by introducing it to a national audience," Lee said in a statement. "I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on -- in a world that needs him now more than ever."

USA is broadcasting "To Kill a Mockingbird" as part of its "Characters Unite" public-service campaign, a bid to combat discrimination through on-air programming, digital content and events.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" won Peck an Academy Award for best actor. The film also won Oscars for adapted screenplay and art direction.

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Sundance 2012: Spike Lee's co-writer enters the race conversation

TCM Classic Film Festival: Warren Beatty on sex, politics and being "a delicate flower"

-- Rebecca Keegan
twitter.com/@thatrebecca

Photo: Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Credit: Universal Pictures


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