Here’s an unaired pilot from a few years back for an update to Hanna Barbera’s 1968 series, Wacky Races. It features the sons and daughters of the original cast and heck, its pretty good. How do I know its good? Cartoon Network didn’t pick it up.
Experimental – and cool. Chunkothy was directed and animated by Celyn Brazier at London-based Nexus. The track is from the new Wagon Christ album “Toomorrow”. Brazier created this amazing 2D music video in Photoshop, inspired by Norman McLaren with “multiple frames exposed and overlaid creating spontaneous and mesmerising patterns”. Indeed… consider me mesmerized.
It’s cartoon time on Stu Shostack’s Internet radio show, Stu’s Show. This week, Stu welcomes animators Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw! – with Hanna-Barbera writer/historian Earl Kress as co-host – to discuss the golden age of Hanna Barbera’s TV cartoons.
If you’re a fan of Ruff, Reddy, Huck, Yogi, Fred, Barney, T.C., Wally Gator, and Magilla Gorilla, this is your chance to hear how they were all conceived, drawn, and animated by television’s top cartoon company! Jerry Eisenberg actually began with H-B while they were still at MGM and then became one of the regular layout artists for “The Flintstones”, plus many other 1960s classics. Scott joined H-B in the mid 70s, and worked on many series, but he’s also a genuine Flintstones buff – up until recently, he drew and animated practically all of the Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles commercials. Cap it all off with notes from H-B authority Earl Kress and you’ll be getting a dynamite couple of hours that are not going to be nearly enough…at least it’s a start.
And you can join in, too. If you’d like to ask these experts anything about the good ol’ days of Saturday morning cartoons, send an e-mail to comments-at-shokusradio.com – or call the station during the live broadcast today at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific. This show repeats each day at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific, 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific and 7am Eastern/10am Pacific.
And next week, yours truly Jerry Beck will appear with two full hours of DVD news and cartoon history. Tune into the discussion here!
This music video, featuring paper cut-out animation by Paris-born, New York-based artist Noella Borie, follows a woman on journey “through a mirror, in search of an elusive heart, illustrating the song’s message of leaving a relationship that has gone sour”. Borie’s blog is NSFW. The song is a new single by Broadway actress Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages).
Here’s an interesting little viral trailer for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, animated by Ben Hibon (The Tale of Three Brothers animation sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1).
THE TRENCHES, Synopsis: In Sucker Punch, the girls face off against an army of mechanized WWI soldiers. Through the use of clockwork and steam technology, human soldiers who die in battle are reanimated and sent back to the front lines. Although seemingly indistinguishable and soulless, the zombie army is not just made of gears and steam, but also of human flesh, bone, and memory. In “The Trenches” there is a tragic tale behind each lifeless mask.
Our long national nightmare is over. Whatever your opinion of Mars Needs Moms it has accomplished a major goal of all right-thinking peoples – it’s killed the present chances for a mo-cap remake of an animation classic: Yellow Submarine.
The Walt Disney Co. has deep-sixed Mars Needs Moms producer Robert Zemeckis’ planned next project for the studio, the high-profile remake of the classic Beatles film Yellow Submarine, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Submarine was already facing a few rocky reefs before this weekend. There were budget issues, and a key presentation Zemeckis was to have made before the Beatles heirs kept being pushed back. A December date for the confab was scrapped and never rescheduled. But sources say the disastrous $6.9 million opening for the $150 million-budgeted Mars, produced by Zemeckis, guaranteed that Submarine would never set sail at Disney. The producer-director is now free to shop the project to another studio.
The box office bomb Hall of Fame – “Ishtar,” “The Alamo,” “Cutthroat Island,” “Gigli,” “Speed Racer” – has a new member. “Mars Needs Moms” cost $150 million to make (excluding marketing) and managed to bring in only $6.8 million in North American ticket sales over the weekend. What happened? Unappealing alien characters, a tepid marketing campaign, family film gridlock at theaters and the movie’s antifeminist undertones contributed. But Hollywood will read this Walt Disney Studios flop as a rejection of Robert Zemeckis’s style of “performance-capture” animated filmmaking.
Mr. Zemeckis, please return to live action photography of human actors. You were great at that. Forget The Beatles, forget Roger Rabbit. Go back-to-the-future and pick up a camera.
Meanwhile animators can go back to their craft, creating “the illusion of life” frame by frame, safe in the knowledge that actors wearing ping-pong balls won’t be invading their turf – and audiences can go back to watching real actors in digital environments, with faces that won’t offend their eyes. And it’ll be safe for everyone to go back to the movies.
David Levy has launched a new monthly interview feature on the ASIFA-East website (Levy’s the president of the New York-based chapter). The first three are now posted: a conversation with Jake Armstrong (The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9), a new interview with veteran Howard Beckerman, and a discussion with independent animator Biljana Labovic. Levy’s one of my favorite writers and these interviews with the leading lights in the New York animation community are must-reading. Bookmark this.
Like a breath of fresh air, check out these three newly released images from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ The Ballad of Nessie (click thumbnails below to see enlarged images). This animated short will be released alongside the upcoming Winnie The Pooh theatrical feature on July 15th, 2011. Looking a lot like an unreleased segment from a mid-forties compilation film (think Make Mine Music), the short was directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters (How To Hook Up Your Home Theatre and Prep and Landing). Animators include Andreas Deja, Mark Henn, Randy Haycock, Dale Baer and Rubin Aquino.
This has appeared on several sites in the last few days, and I couldn’t resist posting it on the Brew. It’s Tomm Moore’s follow up to The Secret of Kells, currently in storyboard at Cartoon Saloon. Animator Alessandra Sorrentino posted this teaser on You Tube:
Disney’s Mars Needs Moms opened today. It got no love from The New York Times where reviewer Mike Hale began his critique this way:
“It seems that it’s time to admit that dressing actors in LED-studded catsuits, asking them to give performances on sterile white sets and handing the results to a team of computer animators is not a way to make a good movie. It didn’t work for “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf” or “A Christmas Carol,” and it doesn’t work for “Mars Needs Moms,” the latest product of Robert Zemeckis’s obsession with motion-capture animation.”
“Live versus lifelike continues to be problematic for this particular technique. Despite refinements in the years since filmmaker Robert Zemeckis – a producer on “Mars” – pushed it into the long-form, storytelling arena in 2004 with “The Polar Express,” its characters still carry the Stepford look.”
I had a chance to catch M-N-M at a critics screening (there was no way I was going to pay to see it) and – Surprise! – I didn’t hate it. I’d certainly rank it next to Monster House as one of the better of the ImageMovers Digital bunch. But let me be clear, I despise these Zemeckis films for one simple reason – I cannot get past the zombie-like faces of the human characters. When I allow myself to do so, I can see the craft involved and actually think the stories and storytelling is very good. Simon Wells directed this film for Zemeckis, and it’s certainly an action-packed, visually delightful children’s adventure. But it’s so hard for me to watch the lead little boy (Milo, acted by Seth Green) and his mom (Joan Cusack). Since the rest of the characters are “martian”, I had no problem with anything else on screen – even humanoid Gribble (Dan Fogler) who was rendered almost photo-real and was less zombie-ish than the others. This might have been an incredible film, a children’s classic, if they inserted human actors into the picture. If you have no problem with the mo-cap visual phoniness of the lead characters you may enjoy it.
But will you or any other Cartoon Brew readers see it? If so, I really want to know what you think. The comments below are open ONLY to readers reviews by those who have actually seen the film. This will be strictly enforced! I’ll be very interested in hearing your opinions.
Check out this moody new music video for the Australian band The Audreys, produced by Luke Jurevicius and directed by Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment .
Produced by Luke Jurevicius
Directed by Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment
Production Designers: Luke Jurevicius, Shane Devries, Jason Pamment, Ari Gibson
Story by Luke Jurevicius, Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment
2D Animation: Ari Gibson
Background Art: Jason Pamment
Compositing: Ryan Kirby & Jason Pamment
Coloring: Jarrod Prince & Joshua Bowman
Executive Producers: Stu McCullough, Taasha Coates, Tristan Goodall
French film collector, archivist and Annecy Animation Festival creative director Serge Bromberg will present Retour de Flamme: Rare and Restored Films in 3-D on May 1st at San Francisco’s famed Castro Theatre.
Bromberg will be honored with the 2011 Mel Novikoff Award for his invaluable work as “a collector, preservationist, exhibitor, programmer and enthusiast of cinematic treasures”. On Sunday May 1st at 5pm, he will accept the award and then dazzle the audience of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21 – May 5) with his collection dedicated to stereoscopic 3D shorts. The program includes rareties by the LumiÃ¨re Brothers, Georges MéliÃ¨s, Norman McLaren, Charley Bowers, Chuck Jones and the Disney Studios, films from the Soviet Union and contemporary shorts by Matthew O’Callaghan and Pixar’s John Lasseter.
Films will include Coyote Falls (Matthew O’Callaghan, USA 2010, 3 min); Falling in Love Again (Munro Ferguson, Canada 2003, 4 min); The Infernal Boiling Pot (George MéliÃ¨s, France 1903, 2 min); Knick Knack (John Lasseter, USA 1989, 4 min); Lumber-Jack Rabbit (Chuck Jones, USA 1954, 7 min); Melody (Ward Kimball, USA 1953, 10 min); Motor Rhythm (John Norling, USA 1940, 15 min); Musical Memories (Dave Fleischer, USA 1935, 7 min); Working for Peanuts (Jack Hannah, USA 1953); and many many others.
Tickets are $15 for San Francisco Film Society members and $20 for the general public. For tickets and information visit sffs.org/tickets. The box office is now open for members and on March 30th for the general public. For more information visit sffs.org. I highly recommend you attend this incredible screening.