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Tag: Animation (21-30 of 221)

Fantastic Fest preview: Director E.L. Katz talks about his demented black-comedy 'Cheap Thrills'

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How crazy would you be prepared to get for $50? What about $500? What about a quarter of a million dollars? Such questions form the dramatic spine of the booze- and drugs-fueled black comedy Cheap Thrills, which is screening at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Anchorman star David Koechner and Sara Paxton play a rich couple who challenge a pair of much poorer new acquaintances — portrayed by Pat Healy and Can’t Hardly Wait actor Ethan Embry — to complete a series of ever more out-there challenges for increasing amounts of cheddar.

Cheap Thrills is the directorial debut of screenwriter Evan “E.L.” Katz, who penned the slasher movie Home Sick, the first film from You’re Next director Adam Wingard, and also co-wrote Wingard’s follow-up, the freakish, psychotropic Pop Skull. Cheap Thrills itself was written by David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga, but Katz says he found it easy to empathize with the cash-poor plight of Healy and Embry’s characters. “I’ve done a lot of dumb s— for money,” he admits.

Below, Katz talks more about Cheap Thrills, how Fantastic Fest helped make him the man he is today, and why he might soon become a big cheese in Brazil.
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'Peanuts' movie: Good grief, do we need a 3-D, CG-animated Charlie Brown?

Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Peppermint Patty will return to the silver screen in November 2015, timing that coincides with the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, perhaps the most beloved cartoon in television history. But how will the new feature film — with 3-D, CG animation — compare to the hand-drawn charms of that 1965 small-screen classic? Or to the Charles Schulz comic strip that possessed an especially elusive brand of whimsy?

When Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip premiered in October 1950, it couldn’t have been more different from the comic strips stacked around it — among them Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon, and Roy Crane’s Captain Easy – and maybe that’s why the initial public response could be summed up as a national shrug. That changed, of course, and the strip became the untouchable but beloved titan of its medium appearing in 2,600 newspapers in 21 languages reaching a collective readership north of 350 million.

The brand remains a powerhouse (Schulz ranked with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe as far as posthumous moneymakers in pop culture), which set the stage for the film being made by Fox Animation’s Blue Sky Studios, the Connecticut  team behind the Ice Age hit films and Horton Hears a Who. To get some long-view perspective on the project and the property, we reached out to Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, and asked if CG will work for Peanuts.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s hard to get your arms around the singular and sustained success of Peanuts because it’s hard to find a comparison to it. Like Carson or Cronkite, Schulz had his own spot in the pipeline and that doesn’t happen now, really.

Andrew Farago: It’s hard to imagine any comic strip taking hold today the way that Peanuts has for several generations. Any 8- or 80-year-old knows what a security blanket is, or who Peppermint Patty’s best friend is, or “Good Grief!” and “Curse you, Red Baron!” Charles Schulz was beloved by millions — and that’s a conservative number — worldwide, and everyone knows Charlie Brown and Snoopy. If Schulz had been more comfortable in the public eye, he could have been another Walt Disney in terms of universal celebrity. But he was always about the work, and letting his characters speak for him, and I get the impression that’s exactly how he wanted it.
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Kit Harington of 'Game of Thrones' joins 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

A crow is joining the world of dragons.

Kit Harington, who plays the Night’s Watch-man Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, will voice a new character in How To Train Your Dragon 2, DreamWorks Animation announced at Comic-Con today.

Also joining the sequel’s cast is Cate Blanchett, who played elven guardian Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and Djimon Hounsou, best known as the enslaved warrior Juba in Gladiator.

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3-D hits an all-time low with 'Despicable Me 2'

Blockbuster sequel Despicable Me 2 earned $143 million over the extended Fourth of July weekend — and although its debut marked a high point at the summer box office, it also marked a low point for 3-D ticket sales.

According to Universal, only 27 percent of Despicable Me 2‘s opening-weekend gross came from 3-D tickets, the lowest 3-D share in modern box office history. Notably, the record low comes just two weeks after Monsters University notched a 31 percent 3-D share on its opening weekend, which at the time was the worst 3-D performance ever. Poor 3-D ticket sales aren’t just plaguing recent animated films, either. Brad Pitt’s live-action zombie thriller World War Z only earned 34 percent of its debut total from 3-D tickets, and The Great Gatsby fared even worse. Despite the fact that Baz Luhrmann’s use of 3-D was a primary selling point for Gatsby, 3-D ticket sales only accounted for 33 percent of its opening weekend.

These percentages mark a decisive downturn in 3-D’s popularity with American moviegoers, who have generally embraced the enhanced format over the last five years.

In 2009 and 2010, during the heyday of 3-D, films like Avatar (71 percent share), Alice in Wonderland (70 percent), and Tron Legacy (82 percent) added tens of millions of dollars to their opening-weekend grosses with 3-D ticket sales. Hollywood quickly doubled down on the format — sending the number of 3-D wide releases skyrocketing from 15 in 2009 to 36 in 2012. By 2012, though, it already appeared that 3-D was losing some of its luster, as the industry observed lower shares for films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon (60 percent), Thor (60 percent), and The Avengers (52 percent). These days, even highly anticipated box office titans like Iron Man 3 (45 percent), Star Trek Into Darkness (45 percent), and World War Z have trouble cracking the 50 percent threshold.

Family films have been hit particularly hard lately. Of course, it should be noted that they’ve never been quite as popular as live-action films in 3-D — presumably because it costs so much to purchase 3-D tickets for an entire family — but animated titles like Shrek Forever After (60 percent), Toy Story 3 (60 percent), and The Lorax (52 percent) did prove that moms and dads were willing to shell out big bucks on the format. Not so much over the past year, though. Recent films like Brave (34 percent), The Croods (38 percent) and, obviously, Despicable Me 2 haven’t connected with 3-D ticket-buyers despite the fact that they succeeded at the box office.

Many think the 3-D gimmick has lost — or is losing — its novelty due to over-saturation and shoddy execution, and Avatar director James Cameron agrees. “I do not think Hollywood is using the 3-D properly,” Cameron remarked at the TagDF conference in Mexico City last week. “Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 and all those movies should not necessarily be in 3-D,” he continued. “If you spend $150 million on visual effects, the film is already going to be spectacular, perfect.”

What do you think? Is the 3-D fad officially ending?

'The Boxtrolls' trailer: 'Families come in all shapes and sizes...even rectangles'

The trailer for The Boxtrolls, based on Alan Snow’s bestselling children’s novel Here Be Monsters!, hit the Internet Tuesday, giving moviegoers a quick preview of what to expect from Focus Features’s third animated feature. (They previously released Coraline and ParaNorman.) In sum: it’s simply adorable — and very well-timed.

The movie — which features the voices of Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley and Jared Harris, among others — is about a group of underground trolls who, with help from an orphan they raised named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Write), must go up against an evil townsperson (Kingsley) who wants to eliminate them.

The film’s trailer, which touts family diversity and even briefly features two pairs of same-sex parents, is in tune with political zeitgeist, coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  READ FULL STORY

'Monsters University': Pixar reveals Easter eggs and in-jokes

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When watching a Pixar film, it’s good to keep an eye open for hidden jokes.

Or two eyes, if you have them.

After Monsters University‘s debut last weekend, Pixar is now offering up a guide for fans who may have missed some of the hidden background gags.

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John Goodman on his 'Monsters' hit, working with George Clooney again, and a return to 'SNL'

For a ubiquitous character actor who’s been working pretty much non-stop for 30 years in movies and television — including a heralded nine-season run on Roseanne — John Goodman is in the midst of one of the most successful stretches of his career. His most obvious score is Monsters University, the Pixar prequel to the 2001 smash that opened this weekend with $82 million, making it the fourth biggest animated-film debut in history. Goodman’s blue-furred Sully reunited with Billy Crystal’s one-eyed, walking green-pea Mike for the story of how the odd couple first met in college — when Sully was a lazy BMOC and Mike was an overachieving go-getter intent on becoming the scariest of Scarers.

But then there’s also Goodman’s recent on-camera work, which has included supporting roles in the last two Academy Award Best Pictures winners — The Artist and Argo — as well as a scene-stealing appearance opposite Denzel Washington in last year’s Flight. Throw in upcoming roles in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and George Clooney’s World War II drama, Monuments Men, and Goodman just might be on course for an elusive but long-overdue Oscar nomination. (See also: Barton Fink.) “Right now, I’m at the high point of the roller coaster, but it’s always going to dip,” says Goodman. “So I’m just out there trying to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Click below for more from Goodman. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Monsters University' eyes a monstrous debut; 'World War Z' hopes to go viral

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Superman came, saw, and conquered the box office last weekend — soaring to the best June opening of all time. But this time around, Man of Steel has some super-size competition. Monsters University and World War Z are hitting theaters, and both are on track to have very healthy debuts. The box office has never seen three movies earn more than $50 million in one weekend before — but there’s a chance that could happen for the fist time this year.

Here’s how I think the weekend might play out:
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Casting Net: Carey Mulligan is front-runner to play Hillary Rodham Clinton; Plus James Franco, Javier Bardem, Emmy Rossum, and more

A handful of American actresses have been rumored to be in consideration for the role of Hillary Rodham Clinton in upcoming biopic RodhamScarlett Johansson, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Amanda Seyfried, and Emma Stone, most prominently. But now a front-runner has emerged: British actress Carey Mulligan, who most recently starred as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Mulligan hasn’t officially announced her candidacy for the role of the former first lady, New York senator, and secretary of state, but THR reports that the 28-year-old actress will soon meet with director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) about the project. Rodham will focus on the early years of Clinton’s career, including meeting future president Bill Clinton and her position as a lawyer on the committee involved in Richard Nixon’s impeachment. [THR]

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Box office preview: How fast will 'Fast & Furious 6' make $100 million?

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This weekend is the summer’s biggest box office head-to-head, with both The Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6 opening. Well, technically Hangover is opening on Thursday. (And we can’t forget about Epic!) Both films come out of multi-multi-million dollar franchises; both cost multi-multi millions to make. And both have a really good chance of making more than $200 million at the box office. But now that the actual weekend has arrived, it’s safe to say that one will emerge the clear winner…and it’s going to be Fast 6.

Here’s how the box office may play this weekend:

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