Gnomeo and Juliet opens today in theatres across the United States. It’s a Touchstone (aka Disney) release of an Elton John/Starz production, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2).
Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, calls it “Playful, inventive and endearing”. Stephen Holden in the NY Times was less enthused. He calls it “a discombobulated grab bag of jokes, peopled with characters who have little emotional resonance”.
I’ve seen it, and I say its a very enjoyable little B-film. Had a smile on my face throughout. Cute picture, and better than I thought it would be. But it didn’t need the “Dreamworks dance sequence” at the end – and I don’t think it’ll be up for the Oscar next year.
What did you think? Comments are open below to anyone who has seen it and wants to post their opinion.
Here’s the trailer for an intriguing short film called Nanuq which merges live action with stop motion animation. It’s a re-imagining of an Eskimo myth about a young girl hospitalized in Alaska for surgery who meets an elderly Eskimo man there for the same reason. In the real world (live action), he becomes her guide, while in her dreams and nightmares (stop motion), he is her protector in a stark Arctic landscape.
LA-based Jill Jones directed and Brent Yontz produced, with Marina Cavalli (Robot Chicken) directing the animation.
Today at the Berlin Film Festival, is the premiere screening of Esben Toft Jacobsen’s feature film The Great Bear. Produced by Denmark-based animation studio Copenhagen Bombay, it’s part of a new wave of animated features coming out of Scandinavia. Here’s a clip:
Two highly anticipated animated features. Both with one-word titles, starting with the letter “R”. And now, both with a strangely similar marketing campaign. At least this is what I thought when I spotted these posters displayed side-by-side at the Pacific Theatre in Glendale last night.
I’m not saying these are exact duplicates of each other, but is this the only way to sell an animated feature? Lead characters staring at the camera, zonked-out in the foreground, with the supporting cast behind them. I have high hopes for these two films. I know the stakes are high, and I know both are aiming for the same core audience – but please, Mr. Theater Manager, don’t post these posters next to each other. It looks a little silly.
As much as we try to stay apolitical on the Brew – and as much as I’ve tried to avoid linking to Jimmy Kimmel – I couldn’t resist sharing this clip from last night’s show that mashes the Bill O’Reilly interview with President Obama and a clip from The Smurfs:
Last night on the PBS series Pioneers of Television, during an episode devoted to Local Kids’ TV shows, Stan Freberg recounted his earliest experiences in Hollywood. He tells of his first visit to Warner Bros. Cartoons and his trip (with Daws Butler) to Bob Clampett’s garage to start work on Beany & Cecil.
On the show last night (sequence posted below), these events are recreated by actors portraying Stan, Daws and Bob Clampett. The guy playing Stan looks a little like a heavyset version of Freberg, but the balding, white haired, potbellied guy playing Clampett is a hoot and the Butler stand-in is equally miscast. Kelsey Grammer narrates.
I’m doing an extra-added cartoon film program at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater this month. On Sunday February 13th – one day before Valentines Day – we are commemorating the holiday with an assortment of classic animated shorts on the theme of love. From the sex-starved Pepe LePew to Fleischer’s luscious Betty Boop, our program features rare 35mm and 16mm Technicolor film prints, projected the way they are supposed to be seen – on the big screen. Suitable for cartoon-lovers of all ages, for more information or advance tickets, please click the CineFamily website.
Our friend Richard O’Connor at Asterisk Animation produced this sublime piece of dance animation for Cab Calloway: Sketches, which had its US premiere Monday on WLIW (PBS-21 in the New York area). The program has several encore performances this weekend. Richard writes:
The dancer is performing from the Alvin Ailey group’s “Uptown”, a piece which is a move-for-move interpretation of the Minnie the Moocher dance from the Fleischer film. We then animated Cab, in the style of illustrator Steve Brodner – he’s drawing Cab’s caricature throughout the film – doing the moves with him. We basically took poses from the film as layouts and animated from there. The film was produced for ARTE (France) in conjunction with the 25 anniversary of The Blue Brothers in October. Christina Capozzi Riley animated.
The music is heavy metal. The images are graphic. But I have to admit it’s one awesome piece. This video was created by two people, Ben Daure & Tom Box (aka Grape Productions), using After Effects and Photoshop, taking a little over 8 months to complete.
Calling all Disney completists! The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, one of the first and finest film archives in the USA, has begun posting several of their rare shorts online. Among the first, Walt Disney’s live-action dental hygiene film, Clara Cleans Her Teeth (1926). This is the best and most complete version of the film I’ve seen. There is a wee bit of animation at the 8:43 mark, but this is otherwise a obscure piece of live action Disneyana. Clara is played by Walt’s niece Marjorie Sewell. You can watch it if you CLICK HERE–and don’t forget to brush!
Brad Bird was honored with a Winsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement at ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards on Saturday night. Brad, unable to attend the ceremonies as he was on location in Vancouver filming the live-action Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, sent a video-taped message to the animation community.
The embed below includes the video tribute to Bird’s career, as screened at the Annies – created by award-winning editor Les Perkins – followed by Brad’s pre-recorded acceptance speech.
Prepare to geek-out. Mike Van Eaton is co-producing a major animation art auction in Los Angeles on Saturday May 14th. The auction is a joint venture between Van Eaton Galleries and Profiles In History and will contain rare animation related items, including production art, Disneyana, Movie Posters, Hostorical Documents, etc. Mike says:
“I honestly dont think there has been a major LIVE animation art auction in at least 15 years. It will be held here in Los Angeles, with live bidding as well as bidding on the internet, etc. Let your readers know that we are still accepting consignments, at least till the end of the week, and then we will start to build the catalog.”
So, if you have anything incredible you want to auction off, send a note and a jpeg to VEGALLERY-at-aol.com. In the meantime, Mike is sending me sneak-peeks of art and other things already accepted for the auction – and has allowed me to share them on the Brew. First up, a few of the incredible vintage posters from Disney (above) and Ub Iwerks, Mutt & Jeff, Scrappy and Dinky Doodle. View the gallery after the jump. Continue reading →