Megamind surprised me. I liked it. Not only a good spoof of the whole Superman-Lex Luthor/Brainac mythos, but a good story with a somewhat believable arc of a bad-guy turning into a hero. And it was frequently funny. Definitely a step up from Monsters vs. Aliens – though not in the same league as Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon – a witty, worthwhile 3-D experience that I personally recommend.
It opens nationwide today and now it’s your turn. Let us know what you think. Yay or Nay? Only comments from those who have seen the film will be approved.
The Hollywood Reporter has posted some of Seth Engstrom’s (Avatar, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland)spectacular concept art from Summertime Entertainment’s forthcoming animated musical, Dorothy of Oz. The film’s all-star cast had already been announced – it includes Lea Michele (Glee) as Dorothy, Dan Aykroyd (Yogi Bear as The Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (The Tin Man), and Jim Belushi (The Lion). They’re saying the film will be released April 2012, but no distributor is attached. Is it in production? If so, where? What studio? We know it was developed at Ken Duncan’s Duncan Studios in Pasadena and that Dan St. Pierre (Everybody’s Hero) is aboard to direct. If any of our readers have the scoop, we’d love to hear more about it.
Stop motion animator Phil Tippett (Ewoks, Robocop) was one of the first to embrace CG creature effects and is now head of one of the most successful special effects shops in Hollywood (Jurassic Park, Enchanted, The Twilight Saga, etc.). Apparently Tippet has decided to return to his roots, posting this teaser trailer for a decidely old-school stop-mo film, Mad God, he now has in production. Not sure if this is to be a short or a feature, but it would sure be a refreshing change.
Sony Pictures Classics has just released the U.S. one-sheet poster for Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist and we are pleased to be the first to post it online (click for larger image):
In my opinion, The Illusionist is one of the best animated features of the year – a true accomplishment in storytelling through traditional hand drawn character animation (sans dialogue). We’ll be discussing the film further as we get closer to its December 25th U.S. release date. In the meantime I concur with Mark Mayerson’s thoughtful review and point toward the U.S. Illustionist website for exclusive images.
It’s always sad to say goodbye to our animation heroes and inspirations, so any opportunity to wish them well in their later years is worth the effort.
Veteran animator Don Lusk turned 97 on October 28th and we wish wish him a Happy Birthday and continued good health. Lusk worked for Disney for many years, starting as an inbetweener in 1933, and became an animator in 1938 on Ferdinand The Bull. He is best known for his work on the Fish Dance in “The Nutcracker Suite” in Fantasia (above), and Cleo the goldfish in Pinocchio, the title character in Alice in Wonderland, Wendy in Peter Pan, and on Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians.
After his stint at Disney’s Lusk worked on UPA’s Gay Purr-ee (1962), A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), freelanced for Bill Melendez and Walter Lantz studios, then spent 23 years at Hanna-Barbera, directing everything from Scooby Doo to Yo Yogi!, working well into the 1990s. Congratulations, Don, and best wishes from all of us at Cartoon Brew!
Medium Large (10/31) by Francesco Marciuliano; Tundra (10/29) by Chad Carpenter; Ink Pen (10/24) by Phil Dunlap; The New Yorker magazine cartoon (9/27) by Joe Dator; and Moderately Confused (10/26) by Jeff Stahler.
Nick Criscuolo sent us his animated music video and is looking for feedback. As I am en route from Columbus to LA today, I thought I’d post it and ask our readers for their opinion.
Dear Mr. Beck,
I am writing to see if someone of your experience finds what I do at all interesting. I have no formal training in animation, but I enjoy it very much. I majored in painting at school, and hope I carry something of value over to this media. That being said I realize my timing and drawing probably seem pretty raw to someone like you. Anyway, if you have the time and inclination; I would most appreciate any feedback you could offer.
This is my animated music video for I Can’t Breathe by Sharon Van Etten. I did get permission to make a video for this song, though the content was not specifically approved by Sharon and probably shares no topical similarity with the song. It’s just what it meant to me, I guess.
The video depicts and fictionalizes the story of Laika the Russian space dog, the first animal sent to space. It’s a sad story, but don’t assume you know how the video ends just because you are already familiar with the story of Sputnik 2 and Laika.
For me, for a first film, I thought it was very interesting. Quite haunting. What do our readers think?
The family of Max Fleischer has set up an attractive new website devoted to the characters and legacy of Fleischer Studios — or at least the parts of it they still own the rights to. Max’s granddaughter, Ginny Mahoney, and Max’s lawyer Stanley Handeman are behind this site, which is clearly geared toward attracting potential licensees. Is there anything for the fans? Yes – a three page photo gallery of personal photos, clippings and studio memorabilia. More please!
On Thursday October 28th I’ll be doing a book signing (at 6pm) and screening (at 7pm) to celebrate The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons at the Wexner Center For the Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus. Join me, I’ll be screening several 35mm prints of classic cartoons on the big screen. Check the WexArts website for more information.
Two prominent events this weekend in NYC… Tom Stathes’ Cartoon Carnival Halloweenie on Saturday, and the MoMA screening of rare Disney Laugh o Grams and Ub Iwereks cartoons on Sunday. Tom’s screening is a marathon of rare 16mm prints from his personal collection. It starts Saturday, October 30th at 2:00pm in Vaudeville Park (26 Bushwick at Devoe – L train to Graham St / G to Lorimer) in beautiful Brooklyn, New York. And don’t dare miss Serge Bromberg at MoMA on Sunday October 31st, hosting rare prints and providing piano accompaniment. Go! More info here.
Bill Plympton is in L.A. to open is new feature, Idiots and Angels. Bill has a special screening/autograph signing event planned for next Monday, November 1st at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre. I’ll be there moderating a Q & A, and Bill will present a program of his classic shorts, new films, works-in-progress and a selection of vintage cartoons that inspired him! Bill’s session with us includes: Shuteye Hotel, a film noir murder mystery; Santa: The Fascist Years, which uncovers Santa’s un-jolly past (featuring Mathew Modine); clips from his forthcoming animated feature Cheatin’ and much much more. Click here to reserve your ticket.
Created in a four day animation workshop at Germany’s Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design, Susanne Wohlfahrt and Marcus Blättermann’s funny take on the eternal struggle of cats and mice — finally put to rest Street Fighter style.
Alex Anderson, partner of Jay Ward and instrumental in the creation of Crusader Rabbit and the characters of Frostbite Falls, has passed away.
Anderson, a native of Berkeley, California, came from a family of creative artists and in 1938 started working in animation with his uncle Paul Terry in New York at Terrytoons. During World War II, Anderson was a U.S. Navy spy, his wife said in Kansas City Star, and in 1946, he returned to Terrytoons to work full time. Two years later, he pitched the idea to create cartoon characters for television to his uncle.
Rebuffed by Terry, Anderson returned to Berkeley where he and childhood friend Jay Ward teamed up to pioneer animated series production for television, creating Crusader Rabbit for NBC in 1949.
Anderson was also part of the creation of Dudley-Do-Right and The Frostbite Falls Review, which included the characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle. In 1996, Anderson reached an out-of-court settlement with Jay Ward Productions over rights to Bullwinkle, Rocky and Dudley-Do-Right. Anderson spent most of his career in advertising, creating slogans for Berkeley Farms, Skippy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s. He died Friday at a home in Carmel, Calif. He was 90.
UPDATE: The New York Times printed this Alex Anderson obit in their October 26 print edition.
Animator Bert Klein and his wife, producer Jen Cardon Klein are hosting a free screening of their live action documentary, Candyman, about Bert’s father, the creator of Jelly Belly jelly beans. The showing is November 7th on the campus of USC, in the new George Lucas building at 3pm. This is to promote the premiere of the film on the Documentary Channel this Thanksgiving weekend. There will be a Q&A with free candy, and the Candyman himself will be there in person to answer all questions. If you live in SoCal, go! Make reservations here! For more information, click here.