New Tintin shots NOT very encouraging…

It’s lookin’ worse….

…to me, at least. I never liked the idea of a mo-cap Tintin movie (and of course I’m referring to the forthcoming Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn). But I bided my time, placed my trust in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and am taking a wait-and-see attitude. However, these new photos posted online today (on Comics Alliance) do not bode well.

Conclusion: It’s a live action film, with mocap-added make-up effects. What is the point of this? Is Popeye next?

1965 Bugs Bunny commercial by Tex Avery & Rod Scribner

Ever wonder what a 1965 Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Tex Avery and animated by Rod Scribner might be like?

By 1965, Warner’s had let the original animation studio go and was sub contracting low budget Looney Tunes work to DePatie-Freleng. Bugs Bunny’s papa, Avery, and his looniest animator, Scribner, had moved on to the greener pastures of TV commercials. As fate would have it, Avery’s studio wound up with the job of creating a series of Bugs Bunny Kool-Aid spots and Scribner animated many of them. I found this black & white one on one of my old reels (a washed-out color version is also on You Tube) and think its worth a look. Yes, that’s Paul Frees as the Judge and Hal Smith as Elmer.

“The Beauty of Pixar” by Leandro Copperfield

This well-edited Pixar tribute by Leandro Copperfield weaves together clips from all of the studio’s movies. “Pixar’s films have always been very important in my life,” he said. “I was 6 years old when I watched Toy Story the first time, and his films made my childhood more happy. So this video is a personal tribute for, in my opinion, the best animation studio of all time.”

(via Kottke)

Pixar U.S Postage Stamps


The US Postal Service unveiled today its commemorative postage stamps for 2011. This year’s animation tribute goes to Pixar. The stamps go on sale August 19th and, as pictured above, feature characters from Toy Story, WALL*E, Ratatouille, Cars and Up.

Current First Class postage is 44 cents. Beginning in 2011, all U.S. First Class stamps will be “Forever” stamps – thus these stamps will always be good for first class postage no matter what price the first-class rates may eventually rise to.

(Thanks, Ed Austin and Joel O’Brien)

National Film Registry adds “Pink Panther”, “Tarantella”

Each year the National Film Preservation Board of The Library of Congress names 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant films to the National Film Registry, a collection of movies selected to be preserved for all time. In previous years, Chuck Jones’ What’s Opera Doc?, Bob Clampett’s Porky In Wackyland, Fleischer’s Snow White (1933), Pixar’s Toy Story and many Disney titles, including Steamboat Willie and Three Little Pigs, have made the grade.

This year there were only two films selected with a connection to animation. The first was Blake Edward’s 1964 feature film, The Pink Panther – the film which introduced Friz Freleng/Hawley Pratt’s iconic cartoon character (see the original trailer above). When it was first released, the animated titles garnered better reviews than the movie itself! It led to a long running series of theatrical shorts and numerous TV series for producers DePatie-Freleng.

The other film honored was Mary Ellen Bute’s experimental short Tarantella (1940). Bute was a pioneering avant-garde animator of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, who frequently combined classical music with abstract images. She collaborated with electronic musician Leon Theremin and was one of the first to create films, before computers, using electronically generated images. The short bio-film below offers many clips from her films, and quotes from John Canemaker and Cecile Starr:

The complete list of 2010 National Film Registry honorees is posted HERE.

Looney Tunes Stoners – III

Yesterday, as a Christmas gift to its listeners, New York area radio station WFMU posted on its Beware of the Blog a series of rare 1982 Mel Blanc anti-drug public service announcements. In them, Blanc speaks as himself and five of his most famous Warner Bros. cartoon characters. The PSAs were found by collector Drew Dobbs (aka “Mindwrecker”) who says, “Thrill to Porky at a smoky, scary drug party and being offered animal tranquilizers, Yosemite searching for tough guys not softened up by hard drugs to duel with, and so much more.” They’re a hoot! Listen for yourself:

Bugs Bunny
Daffy Duck
Foghorn Leghorn
Porky Pig
Yosemite Sam
Mel Blanc himself

(Thanks, Devlin)

Season’s Greetings Redux

Jerry already shared a few of the holiday greetings he received so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites too.

Hands down my favorite greeting of the year: Joe Pelling designed and directed this one for London-based production studio Sherbert. All the models were cut from wood and hand painted (see the making of photos). The spirit of George Pal lives on!

CREDITS
A film by Nicos Livesey, Azusa Nakagawa, Joseph Pelling, and Becky Sloan
Photographed by Thomas Bolwell
Sound by Andrew Kinnear and Joseph Pelling


Colorado-based filmmaker Corrie Francis Parks depicts snow with an ironic use of sand animation.


Queens, NY-based David Sheahan, whose short film Together! earlier appeared on Cartoon Brew TV, created this cheery holiday ditty.


Rio de Janeiro-based artists Cristina Eiko and Paulo Crumbim, who publish a webcomic in both Portuguese and English at QuadrinhosA2.com, created this greeting.

TODAY in Glendale: “The Greatest Cartoons Ever” on the BIG screen!

Yeah, you’ve seen ‘em before – but not like this! If you are in SoCal with nuthin’ to do the day after Christmas, The Alex Film Society is running these classic cartoons – 35mm studio vault prints – in what they hope will be the first in an annual tradition: The Cartoon Hall Of Fame.

This afternoon at 2pm and repeated at 7pm, the program includes Warner Bros. The Rabbit of Seville (Bugs & Elmer), One Froggy Evening (Michigan J. Frog), and Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half Century (Daffy & Porky), Disney’s The Band Concert (Mickey Mouse), and the Silly Symphony, Three Little Pigs, and Max Fleischer’s Snow White (Betty Boop), Mechanical Monsters (Superman) and a brand new restored print of Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor – all projected as they were meant to be seen, on the big screen. On-line tickets are available now for two shows, at 2pm and 7pm, and will also be available at the door – at the historic Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Blvd. in Glendale. See you there.

“The Illusionist” talkback

Illusionist

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist opens today on 3 screens in the United States. They are:

Laemmle Royal (11523 Santa Monica Blvd., LA, CA 90025)
Showtimes (Sat/Sun): 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40

Landmark Sunshine Cinema (143 E. Houston St., NY, NY 10002)
Showtimes (Sat/Sun): 11:00am, 1:00, 3:00, 5:10, 7:10, 9:10, 11:15 (last screening only on Sat)

City Cinemas Paris Theatre (4 W. 58th St., NY, NY 10019)
Showtimes: 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00

If you see (or have seen) the film, let us know what you think. This post will serve as our official “talkback” thread for the film.

A Yuletide Offering

The Grinch and sexy Cindy Lou Who…just for you!

Cindy Lou and the Grinch
(Artwork by Erin Ptah. Artist’s statement: “I’m a sucker for pairings involving brilliant little girls and the monsters they aren’t scared of. Integra/Alucard, Mandy/Grim, and, here, Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch. Drawing the Grinch as a quasi-bishounen was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. Cindy Lou grew up hot.”)

Japan Academy Awards: Anime Nominees

The nominations for the 34th Annual Japanese Academy Prize (Japan’s Oscar) were announced last week. The awards will be presented on February 18, 2011. In the animation category were the following five feature films:

Colorful
Director: Keiichi Hara
Production Studio: Sunrise
Film Website


Karigurashi no Arrietty
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
English Title: The Borrower Arrietty
Production Studio: Studio Ghibli
Film Website


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“Yogi Bear” end titles by yU+Co

Believe it or not there was ONE good thing about the recent Yogi Bear movie: the animated end titles by yU+Co, designed by Synderela Peng (Watchmen, Hulk, Bee Movie, etc.). Motionographer has posted the end titles, so you will NEVER have to see the whole film that precedes it.

CREDITS
Design/Animation: yU+Co., Hollywood, CA
Creative Director: Garson Yu
Art Director/Design lead: Synderela Peng
VFX Director/Supervisor: Richard Taylor
Producer: Sarah Coatts
Effects Coordinator: Sean Hoessli
Design Team: Edwin Baker, John Kim, Daryn Wakasa, Etsuko Uji
3D Stereoscopic Compositors: Stevan del George, Mark Velacruz
After Effects: Jill Dadducci, Andres Barajas, Gary Garza, Wayland Vida, Alex Yoon
Animators: Josh Dotson, Eddie Moreno, Noel Belknap, John Dusenberry, Dae In Chung, Ben Lopez, Pota Tseng
Editorial: Jason Sikora, Latoria Ortiz

PREVIEW: 2011 U.S. Animated Features

2011 promises to deliver a brand new slate of American animated features. But how new is it? Our list of sixteen features below reveals an awful lot of familiar faces with continuing adventures for Kung Fu Panda, Shrek’s Puss In Boots, Cars‘ Lightning McQueen, and the casts of Alvin and the Chipmunks and Happy Feet. The Smurfs franchise is dusted off, Winnie the Pooh reappears, and Tintin gets a make-over in mo-cap.

Such reliance on sequels, revivals, spin-offs and specific techniques (all but one film is computer animated) show a greater dependence by producers on traditional major-studio business models. Even Pixar, which once was recognized for its originality, will rely on a sequel (Cars 2) for the second straight year. Expect studios to play it cautious and unoriginal as long as their formulas perform reliably. Animated features may not exactly qualify as an innovative art form in the United States, but they are reliable cash cows for movie studios. This year, six of the top fifteen films at the US box office were animated, which is remarkable considering the tiny percentage of animated features compared to the overall film market.

In 2011, the emigration of live-action directors to animation continues en masse with first timers Gore Verbinski and Steven Spielberg. George Miller and Robert Zemeckis also continue to produce animation. Other notable events to watch: ILM debuts its first CG feature; Illumination (the production company behind Despicable Me) tries for a second box office hit; Aardman restarts its feature ambitions with a new creative/distribution partner.

This is by no means a complete list of animated features slated for release in 2011. Our list focuses on films made by American studios. There will be, of course, dozens of foreign and independent productions, many of which we predict will be more daring in content, style and technique. No one knows how all of this will play out, but two things are for certain: Robert Zemeckis’s films will continue to horrify viewers, and throughout the year Cartoon Brew readers will make their opinions known loud and clear.

LIST OF 2011 FEATURES BY RELEASE DATE

Gnomeo and Juliet
Release Date: February 11, 2011
Director: Kelly Asbury
Production Company: Starz Animation
Label: Touchstone Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney
Technique: CGI
Film Website


Rango
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Director: Gore Verbinski
Label: Nickelodeon Movies
Production Company: Industrial Light & Magic
Distributor: Paramount
Technique: CGI
Film Website


Continue reading

A Bollywood “Roger Rabbit”?

Toonpur ak Superhero

… or is it Cool World or Monkey Bone?

Whichever, Toonpur ka Superrhero opens today in India, the UK, Canada… and the United States! The two hour, twenty minute 3-D live-action/CG combo, directed by Kireet Khurana, is playing over the holidays in Manhattan (BIG Cinemas on 59th Street) and in the LA area (NAZ 8 Artesia in Lakewood), as well as San Francisco, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey. It’s getting a wider American release than The Illusionist! For US theater listings click here (links to PDF file).

Hand-Drawn Feature “Une Vie de Chat” Opens in France

Une Vie de Chat, a new hand-drawn animated feature directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, opened in France and Belgium last weekend. The film was produced at Jacques-Rémy Girerd’s Folimage studio, which has also been responsible for the features Mia and the Migoo and Raining Cats and Frogs.

Une Vie de Chat‘s opening weekend earned $552,663 in France, landing the film in 12th place. However, it had a limited release in only 171 theaters. By contrast, Megamind, which also opened in France last weekend, appeared in 695 theaters. Co-production partners on the film include Digit Anima (Belgium), Rhone-Alpes Cinema (France), and Lunanime (Belgium).

The idea sounds promising: “A cat leads a secret double life: he spends his days with Zoe, the daughter of a commissioner, but at night he accompanied a thief on the rooftops of Paris. While the mother of Zoe investigate burglaries at night, another mobster kidnaps the girl.” More details about the film’s story can be found on AnimationInsider.net.

(Thanks, Michel Van)

Jerry Rees website

The motley crew pictured above are (left to right) Henry Selick, Bill Kroyer, Jerry Rees, Brad Bird and John Musker circa 1978. The photo comes from Rees’ new personal website which touts his interesting career, but works for us as a fascinating scrapbook of his many film projects. Rees has also posted his early live-action shorts, co-directed with Tim Burton, including Luau (part 1, embed below, featuring animation artists Joe Ranft, John Musker, Brian McEntee, Sue Kroyer, Ed Gombert and Harry Sabin – among others), and Doctor of Doom (which stars Burton himself — his voice dubbed by Brad Bird!)

He has pages devoted to his feature The Brave Little Toaster, his work on the original Tron, the beloved Disney World film Return to Neverland and Warner Bros. Space Jam. There are all kinds of surprises here; well worth exploring if you are a student of the current generation’s early roots.

“Titeuf: The Film” trailer

Titeuf: The Film will open in French theaters on April 6, 2011. Based on France’s bestselling comic character, the film is directed by Titeuf‘s creator Zep (the pseudonym of Swiss cartoonist Philippe Chappuis). The $15 million euro film is a French-Swiss co-production by Pathé, Moonscoop, France 3 Cinéma and Point Productions. An earlier animated TV series based on the character also appeared in the UK retitled as Tootuff. For the record, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of or seen this character. In other words, it’s unlikely this film will be appearing in the States anytime soon.

(Thanks, Animatie.blog.nl)

THIS WEEK: “The Iron Giant” At the Film Forum in NYC

Few viewers actually saw Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant when it had its theatrical run in 1999 so theatrical revivals are always welcome. The film has a special one-week engagement beginning today at the Film Forum in Manhattan. Screening times and more details here. It’s a shame that the revival has to be at the Film Forum, which has the rudest patrons and employees of any movie theater I’ve ever been to.

(Thanks, Joel Schlosberg)

“Odin’s Afterbirth” by Joseph Bennett

Joseph Bennett is an animation artist for J. Walter Thompson by day, working on various commercials for MicroSoft and Zyrtec, and by night he does his own thing. Here’s one of ‘em: Odin’s Afterbirth, part of a trilogy he’s working on. I like his stuff, reminds me of animated mini-comics. Warning: this 3 minute chapter is a bit violent.