Strangely dropping a press release on a historic day where the nation's attention is elsewhere, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their annual list of new member invitees this morning. For those who criticize the makeup of the Academy there was some good news and the stark realization the organization still has a long way to go.
Remember all those people who were clamoring for the Academy to go back to the good ol’ days? When there were just five Best Picture nominees? Yeah, that’s not happening.*
Sequels are never easy, especially in animation. Even with all the success Pixar has enjoyed with the “Toy Story” franchise there are few who felt the follow ups to “Cars” and “Monsters, Inc” lived up to even the conceptual charm of the originals. DreamWorks Animation pulled off rare successes with “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” but let’s avoid diving into the unnecessary chapters of the “Madagascar” universe, shall we? And as for 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky’s “Ice Age” series, those three sequels are almost the textbooks for fashioning strict consumer product just to sell tickets. The pitfalls of making a spin-off without creative justification is what Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment hoped to avoid with their new “Despicable Me” prequel, “Minions,” and they mostly succeeded.
Apologies if this sounds forward, but the race for Best Animated Picture is over. Pixar’s “Inside Out,” the company’s first original production since 2012’s “Brave,” arrives in theaters today with some of the most glowing reviews in the company’s history. For anyone else in the animated Oscar race that’s very bad news.
In this business you can easily watch up to 200 films in a single year. It's therefore no surprise that it's already hard for this pundit to remember all the films I caught at the Cannes Film Festival, which was less than one month ago. Of course, that doesn't mean some films don't stick with you. One film that made a lasting impression with me over the past 18 months was Maya Forbes' "Infinitely Polar Bear." The autobiographical drama debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is finally making its way to theaters this week.
For a city that is the home of a 16-time NBA champion, is one of just two markets to house a second NBA team and features a state university that has won 11 NCAA basketball championships, Los Angeles doesn't always get the respect it deserves as a hoops Mecca. You could throw out a starting five of current All-Stars including Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George, Tyson Chandler and Kwai Leonard and the media and fans would still find themselves hyping New York or Chicago before sunny Southern California. The new documentary "The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce" isn't intended to rectify that misconception, but it provides a lot of historical fodder to support the argument that basketball's real hot spot is Los Angeles.
Unless you've been living under a rock, it's hard not to recognize what an amazing year Universal Pictures is having. "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Furious 7," "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Jurassic World" have all performed beyond expectations with the latter knocking off "Marvel's The Avengers" for the biggest opening of all-time. What's even more remarkable is that the studio still has at least three more hits on the way this summer including Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck," Seth McFarlane's "Ted 2" and "Minions."
Are you over your "Age of Ultron" hangover? Well, get excited True Believers because filming is already well underway on Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War." The sequel has becoming highly anticipated not just because its following up one of one of the studio's most critically acclaimed productions, "Captain America: Winter Soldier," but because it may end up being an unintentional mini-"Avengers" movie.
Thomas Mann is an actor on the cusp. Think of Miles Teller right before the release of “The Spectacular Now” or Michael B. Jordan before “Fruitvale Station.” Once “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” hits theaters over the course of the next month, the 23-year-old actor is going to find himself busier than ever.
CANNES — In 2015, it's much easier to tell which company produced an animated movie as opposed to who directed it. That’s a tad disheartening considering how much energy the studios behind these films exert trying to nudge their directors into the spotlight.