<p>Mickey Mouse is literally busting out of the screen in the new short film 'Get A Horse'</p>

Mickey Mouse is literally busting out of the screen in the new short film 'Get A Horse'

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

As he celebrates his 85th birthday, does Mickey Mouse still matter?

As he heads back to theaters next week, it's a question worth asking

As I mentioned in my review of Disney's newest animated feature film, "Frozen," there is also a short that's going to be playing in front of the movie, and as much as I would recommend the feature, I would also urge anyone who's an animation fan in a broad general sense to check it out for the short, "Get A Horse."

Directed by Lauren MacMullan, the short connects the present to the past in a fascinating way, and it is absolutely essential to see it in 3D if you want to see what the filmmakers had in mind. As I watched the short, I found myself laughing a fair amount, which wasn't wildly surprising at the time. It was only afterwards that it struck me: that might be the first time in my entire life that I have laughed out loud because of something that Mickey Mouse did.

Animation is one of my favorite things about the existence of movies. I cannot overstress how much I love the entire idea of animation, and from childhood on, I have watched anything and everything I could. I spent many of my childhood years in Florida, close enough to Walt Disney World that we went as often as eight or nine times a year. It's easy to see how large a shadow Disney animation has cast over the entire art form, and there is no denying that Mickey Mouse is an icon, instantly recognizable around the world.

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<p>Oddly, this is not a shot from Danny McBride's screen test to play the title role in 'Noah'</p>

Oddly, this is not a shot from Danny McBride's screen test to play the title role in 'Noah'

Credit: HBO/Fred Norris

Review: Kenny Powers sticks the landing and says goodbye in final 'Eastbound & Down'

The final season puts the perfect bow on one of our favorite TV characters

Why was I nervous?

The moment I went from thinking "Eastbound & Down" was fun to thinking it was sort of fiendishly brilliant was at the end of the first season, when the emotional climax of the entire run of episodes consisted of Kenny Powers putting someone's eye out with a baseball. It was played as a huge triumphant moment, complete with the best musical quote of the year, and it was so deeply unhinged that I couldn't believe anyone had convinced a network to air it.

This year, I've been writing about "Eastbound & Down" each week as it's been counting down to last night's final episode, and I found myself getting more and more anxious about the eventual fate of Kenny Powers. I should have relaxed, though, because this has been as confident a final season of television as "Breaking Bad" was, although far fewer people seem to have been caught up in the excitement of watching Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green (along with the other great writers and performers involved this year) pitch a perfect game. After the way the third season resolved, it felt like anything was possible this year, and there was no way to predict what the guys would do to tie things up.

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<p>While Olaf the Snowman is front and center in all the marketing, Disney may be doing themselves a disservice with their campaign.</p>

While Olaf the Snowman is front and center in all the marketing, Disney may be doing themselves a disservice with their campaign.

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Review: 'Frozen' is a classic Disney musical told on a grand and beautiful scale

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So why isn't the studio selling the film they made?

Let's be frank: "Little Shop Of Horrors" is the best thing to ever happen to the Disney company, and they had absolutely nothing to do with it on stage or on film.

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's stage production was a grimy, crazy, bloody little rock musical that featured the end of the world, a sadistic abusive dentist, murder, and a man-eating plant, and it was a huge off-Broadway hit. During the five years it ran, Disney went through the roughest years for their animation division ever. "The Fox and the Hound" opened the decade with a swing and a miss, and in 1985, "The Black Cauldron" came very close to closing the doors for good.

No matter what small charms they possessed, both "The Great Mouse Detective" and "Oliver & Company" represent a company that is floundering, unsure what to do or how to do it. There were some amazingly talented people working on those films, both holdovers from the actual era of Walt Disney himself and young artists who would later reshape the industry, but they weren't making movies that really showcased all that talent. They were making films that felt like they were on auto-pilot, playing to a model that no longer worked.

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<p>Christian Bale approves of Bat-kid, because WHO&nbsp;WOULDN'T&nbsp;APPROVE&nbsp;OF BAT-KID?!</p>

Christian Bale approves of Bat-kid, because WHO WOULDN'T APPROVE OF BAT-KID?!

Credit: HitFix

Christian Bale talks Bat-kid and the ongoing legacy of Batman

Even the Dark Knight was moved by the goings-on in San Francisco

It was hard to avoid mention of the Bat-kid online this weekend, and for good reason. It was an enormously sweet story with some amazing images available, a pretty great combination.

Earlier today, I sat down with Christian Bale to talk about his work in the new film "Out Of The Furnace," and it was pretty obvious from the moment I walked into the room that he was in a great mood. I know Bale has a reputation for being very intense, but I've always found him to be a thoughtful, articulate interview. You just have to walk in ready to have a real conversation. Today, though, there was that extra something, no doubt motivated in part by the pride he takes in his work in the film.

I had to ask him about Bat-kid, but not just about the boy. I mean, I think it's safe to say that no one's going to be coming out as strongly anti-Bat-kid in the press any time soon. My question was more about how it feels to be part of a legacy that can inspire people the way they were inspired by this story.

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<p>While I doubt we'll ever see a Bat-suit on film as radical as the one Alex Ross designed for 'Kingdom Come,' some story elements from the series may end up in the new film</p>

While I doubt we'll ever see a Bat-suit on film as radical as the one Alex Ross designed for 'Kingdom Come,' some story elements from the series may end up in the new film

Credit: DC Comics

Did a movie producer reveal surprising 'Batman vs. Superman' details today?

At this point, we've got a pretty clear picture of what this film's going to be

Each and every week, each and every day, I have to make constant decisions about what I can cover, and it mostly just comes down to time. I wish I could write about every single thing that interests me. I wish I could review every single thing I see. But I have to pick and choose, and so I try to create a balance of smaller things, bigger movies, blockbusters, indies… I want to cover as wide an array of things as possible because that's the only way this blog can ever truly reflect my own tastes and interests.

There's a lot of genre stuff I cover because those were my formative sates, and I love seeing how far we've come in terms of mainstream acceptance of these things and in terms of how we can tell these stories on film. There are certain characters and series that I'll always be interested in, and certainly I'm curious about how they're going to handle things in "Man Of Steel 2" or "Superman Vs. Batman" or whatever the heck they end up calling the sequel to Zack Snyder's superhero blockbuster from this summer.

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<p>'Thunderball'-era James Bond may not look impressed, but today's news about the rights that MGM&nbsp;and Danjaq have finally acquired is a huge deal for fans of the long-running film franchise.</p>

'Thunderball'-era James Bond may not look impressed, but today's news about the rights that MGM and Danjaq have finally acquired is a huge deal for fans of the long-running film franchise.

Credit: MGM/UA

MGM and Danjaq reportedly close deal to secure all SPECTRE and Blofeld rights for James Bond

Could this be the biggest news in the franchise's history?

A nine-day court case that has lingered for almost exactly 50 years has finally come to a permanent, irrevocable end, and that is very good news indeed for fans of James Bond.

"Thunderball" is probably the most important Bond film ever made, although I doubt it's anyone's favorite. I would love to know what Ian Fleming was thinking when he tried to cheat Kevin McClory in the first place after they spent a few years working with him to try and turn the still relatively new James Bond character into a potential movie franchise. They started in 1958, and they worked up several treatments and screenplays together. They finally settled on "Thunderball," which was called "Longitude 78 West" at that point, and they started work on the film. That's when Fleming figured out that he was low man on the totem pole, financially speaking, and he started trying to kill the deal. He and Ivar Bryce, one of the other producers on the film, made some very shady moves to cut McClory out of the movie, and it killed the movie before they got out of pre-production. At that point, Fleming could have probably gone back to writing original Bond books and been fine, but for some reason, he turned the script they were going to shoot into the novel that was published as "Thunderball," and he published it in 1961 with absolutely no mention of either McClory or Jack Whittingham, the other writer who had been part of the development process.

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<p>Russell Crowe seems to be a wee bit wet in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'</p>

Russell Crowe seems to be a wee bit wet in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Will Aronofsky's 'Noah' be the latest dream project to turn out as a nightmare?

Today's first trailer raises some big red flags

You will find few more passionate advocates for Darren Aronofsky's work online than me. One of the first times I was quoted in a campaign for a film was for "The Fountain," and I couldn't have been more excited about it. I knew that movie was a hard-sell, but I also felt like it was something special, and anything I could do to help was my genuine pleasure.

Both "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan" topped my list of the year's best films when they came out, and they felt like a huge step for Aronofsky, movies that tapped some nerve with people, more accessible than his earlier work but without any compromise. I have been eagerly anticipating whatever's next, and when "Noah" was announced, I was naturally curious to see what he might be putting together.

So please keep that in mind when I say that today's "Noah" trailer left me cold, and more than that, it worried me. It looked no different than most of the noisy blockbuster fare of the last decade, and there is a seriousness to the trailer that could easily turn into camp if tipped the wrong way. Then again, it's just a trailer and it's ridiculous to judge something based on two minutes of footage… right?

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<p>Oh, look, there's JJ&nbsp;Abrams, and there's Kathleen Kennedy, and OH&nbsp;MY&nbsp;GOD&nbsp;IT'S&nbsp;R2-D2!</p>

Oh, look, there's JJ Abrams, and there's Kathleen Kennedy, and OH MY GOD IT'S R2-D2!

Credit: Bad Robot

Our first look at an old friend getting ready for 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

JJ Abrams gets our favorite droid ready for his close-up

Oh, look, it's R2-D2.

People talk about how strange it's going to be to see a "Star Wars" movie that has the Disney logo in front of it instead of the Fox logo, and I agree, that will be an adjustment. At some point, there will be more movies that look like that than don't, though, and the first six will be seen as the oddballs. That's just the nature of this sort of IP sale.

It will be far stranger for me when they make the first "Star Wars" film that doesn't have R2-D2 in it.

George Lucas backed off a bit from his initial idea about having R2-D2 and C-3PO be the only characters who would appear across the entire "Star Wars" saga, a sort of metallic Greek chorus that would observe everything that happened. I think one of the biggest mistakes of "The Phantom Menace" was tying C-3PO's origin to Anakin Skywalker. It's pointless, and it complicates things, makes the entire universe feel small. I think it's important that you show that at some point, R2-D2 had been to Tatooine and that he had some knowledge of Obi-Wan, but that was possible simply by having them land there at some point.

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<p>Key and Peele, seen here as they normally appear when not working, will collaborate with Judd Apatow to actually kill me from laughing in a movie theater.</p>

Key and Peele, seen here as they normally appear when not working, will collaborate with Judd Apatow to actually kill me from laughing in a movie theater.

Credit: Comedy Central

Judd Apatow teams with Key & Peele for 'Untitled Movie I Cannot Wait To See'

Did I mention I can't wait to see this?

Good call, Universal.

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are two of the funniest people on television right now, and their sketch show "Key & Peele" is brutally funny, week after week, bit after bit. Peele seems to be the guy who disappears into his characters, while Key is just plain hilarious, as outrageous and oversized a comic presence as Daffy Duck. As long as these guys are given room to follow their own voice as a team, they represent pretty much unfettered potential.

It was just a matter of time before someone got them to make a movie as a team. So far, I think Keegan-Michael Key has had better opportunities in movies. Whatever you think of the film as a whole, it's pretty hard to deny that he is in amazing form in "Hell Baby," where he plays a character named F'resnell who is basically Bugs Bunny. He's that character who can step in from the edge of the frame, make any joke, do anything, and then skate away with no consequence. It's the sort of role that a comic must love just as an exercise in pure unbridled energy. I liked him a lot when he guested on "The League," too, as a character named Carmenjello. The moment Key starts speaking, in pretty much anything I've seen him in, I'm laughing. He has that sort of energy as a comic performer. He is innately funny, and seems to have an endless appetite for pushing things to strange and hilarious places.

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<p>If he did plan Monday night's event, I'll bet it made Andy Kaufman smile to imagine the chaos he caused.</p>

If he did plan Monday night's event, I'll bet it made Andy Kaufman smile to imagine the chaos he caused.

Credit: ABC/Paramount Home Video

An unexpected appearance by Andy Kaufman's 'daughter' at an event raises new questions

Words like 'alive' and 'dead' get strange when you're talking about Andy

Andy Kaufman is alive.

Ultimately, it is irrelevant if he actually still occupies a body and is actively participating in things, because it is obvious just from reading reactions to Monday night's amazing events at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards that he is still creating conversation and speculation, which seems to have been his lasting legacy.

I've read anything i could find today about the incident, and I'm still not sure what to think. I do know that I wish I'd been in the room, and I am hoping someone got this on tape so that we can actually see it at some point. For now, here's what we know. Every year, there is a talent competition to help foster new comedy voices, and it comes down to a performance/awards show where they pick the winner. This was the ninth annual event, and as part of the ceremony each year, they have a special guest come to speak.

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