Tagged: Cars

John Ostrander: Late To The Party

OStrander Art 130714I’m not often the firstest with the mostest. Ask Mike Gold. I was resistant to getting a computer despite his urging until, of course, I got a computer. Then I was gung-ho (and remain so). Friends back in the day told me that I had to read Lord of the Rings. My reaction was – no, I don’t. Until, of course, I did read The Lord of the Rings and became a huge fan.

There’s a couple of movies that were like that for me. For whatever reason, I resisted looking at them while they were in the movies theaters. Later, I caught them (or part of them) on TV and then discovered I really liked them. I now own DVDs of these films (yes, I’m resistant also to Blu-Ray so far; we all know how that will end but I remain stubborn at the moment).

The first of these is Disney/Pixar’s Cars. You’d think I’d be first in line because I was (and largely still am) a big Pixar fan. Part of me still prefers 2D animation but Pixar absolutely won me over with its stories and characters and the wit of their scripts. But Cars just struck me as pandering to NASCAR (another cultural phenomenon to which I remain resistant) and I passed . . .until I saw it on TV.

D’oh! (Did I mention I was also resistant to The Simpsons for a long time?)

Cars is every bit as good as any other Pixar film and has a great cast. It has Paul Newman in his last performance, for crying out loud! Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, and George Freakin’ Carlin all contribute. It even has Tom and Ray Magliozzi from NPR’s Car Talk (highly appropriate but such a nice touch). The animation is first rate with some absolutely stunning backgrounds and a story that involves and tugs at the heart. Love the film and would have loved seeing it on the big screen )if I hadn’t been so danged snobbish and stubborn. That’ll teach me.

No, it won’t.

There’s also The Adjustment Bureau, adapted from the short story “Adjustment Team” by Phillip K. Dick, who has had a stellar record providing grist for Hollywood’s mill – Bladerunner, Minority Report, and Total Recall (twice) among others. It stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and features Terrence Stamp (a favorite of mine). It’s odd that I missed it – I really like Matt Damon and would usually watch anything with him in it but this got mediocre to tepid reviews for the most part.

I can see why. There’s a cosmic plan involved and guys in dark suits and fedoras who may or may not be working for someone who may or may not be God. Possessing a fedora allows you to travel through certain doors and wind up in a different part of the city. Damon and Bloom play very star-crossed lovers whom the cosmic forces are trying to keep at bay. It all gets a little arcane and hard to swallon.

But…

Damon and Blunt are terrific together. They have such a natural chemistry that, for me, it sells the film. I want these two people to be together no matter what cosmic forces decree they should not. So I bought the DVD.

Which leads me to another Matt Damon film, We Bought A Zoo, directed and co-written by Cameron Crowe. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and a lovely supporting cast. It’s the story of a widower with two kids who ups and buys a struggling zoo and tries to renovate and re-open it. It sounded a little Hallmark Channel to me, especially the title.

My bad. I’ve gone through the grieving process for a spouse (albeit without children) and the film feels true to me, as does Damon’s performance. Again, great chemistry with his co-star, Scarlett Johansson. I’m leery of films that focus on kids and animals –they can come off cloying and/or annoying – but the children and the beasties come off very well. Again, I think the reviews were tepid and the title probably kept some viewers away (it kept me away). That’s unfortunate; I think many folks – like me – have discovered it since its initial release and enjoyed it.

There are other films that I ignored in their first release – Amelie comes to mind – that I discovered later. Thanks the powers hat be for DVD.

Or Blu-Ray. Which I’ll get around to owning.

Someday.

MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

 

Happy Mother’s Day From Monsters University!

MU_Bleachers_Online_1s_w2.0-1Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (voice of John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer.  The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.

Screaming with laughter and oozing with heart, Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon (Cars, Mater and the Ghostlight, Tracy), produced by Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.) and features music from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and award-winning composer Randy Newman  (Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 3). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in 3D in select theaters.

Mike Wazowski’s (voice of Billy Crystal) lifelong dreams of becoming a Scarer are derailed during his first semester at Monsters University when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (voice of John Goodman), and their out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program.l 2013.

New Image from Disney’s Planes

PLA_Flying_1s_001_w5.0composedHere’s a new image from Disney’s forthcoming Planes feature. Details, for those not yet in the know, below:

Genre:                                      Animation/Adventure

Rating:                                      TBD

Release Date:                           August 9, 2013

Voice Cast:                               Dane Cook

Director:                                   Klay Hall

Producer:                                  Traci Balthazor-Flynn

From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. “Disney’s Planes” takes off in theaters on Aug. 9, 2013.

From above the world of “Cars,” “Disney’s Planes” is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane whose high-flying dream gives a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.

OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE:

From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. “Disney’s Planes” takes off in theaters on Aug. 9, 2013. For more information, check out Disney.com/Planes, like us on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyPlanes and follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/DisneyPictures.

First Look at Monsters University

First Look at Monsters University

We’re exactly a year away from its release, but Disney is wisely beginning to tease next June’s Monsters University with the opening of Brave on Friday. The sequel to the successful Monsters Inc. will once more feature vocal work from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, joined by Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, and Peter Sohn. The Pixar production is being directed by Dan Scanlon.

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Screaming with laughter and fun, Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon (Cars, Mater and the Ghostlight, Tracy) and produced by Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Notes:

  • Monsters, Inc., originally released on November 2, 2001, was nominated for four Oscars®: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song—“If I Didn’t Have You,” for which it won.
  • Monsters University will hit U.S. theaters nearly 12 years after the Monsters, Inc. theatrical debut.

 

JOHN OSTRANDER: IMO

Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one. Every asshole has lots of opinions. What comes out of assholes frequently is a load of shit. Check the GOP Presidential debates for verification.

I say this, of course, in the middle of an opinion column sitting in the middle of lots of other opinion columns here at ComicMix. ComicMix, of course, sits in the middle of the Internet which, of course, is comprised mostly of opinion. So – which opinion matters? Outside of mine, of course. How can you tell?

I encountered a fan (well, not really a fan of mine) who wanted to tell me why I sucked. My basic response was: I should care because –? This offended the would-be critic; s/he had bought a book of mine and had a right to his/her opinion. I didn’t dispute that; the real question was – why should it matter to me? The fan got huffy; he/she/it thought I should want to hear that opinion.

Some fans – yes, I do. Others – not so much. One of my primary rules:  not everyone’s opinion matters. Not everyone’s opinion should matter. If everyone’s opinion matters, then no one’s opinion matters. How do you tell the difference?

Experience is a good place to start. Has the person giving you the opinion any experience in the field on which they are opining?

Does the opinion expressed have any facts to back it up? Real, verifiable facts, not ones made up to fit the circumstance (again, GOP presidential candidates; hell, all political candidates). Does it have some thought behind it? If they just want to express how they feel – okay, it’s how they feel but there’s no reason I should listen to it because there is no reason in it.

What is your experience with the person giving his/her opinion? Is it your history that you can trust, to a greater or lesser degree, what they’re saying? If I go to a movie and I read a review that mirrors my experience, then I know I can trust that critic’s opinion. It’s not that their perfect or that I am but I know our tastes are similar enough to make it less likely that I’ll waste my money.

Friends, relatives, colleagues – I know who they are and how trustworthy their opinion is on a given subject. We don’t have to agree, but I can listen with confidence. What they feel about it may be important to me but it’s because I know them. A stranger – well, not so much.

Also, just because someone knows something on one subject doesn’t mean they know anything on another. Come to me for an opinion on writing, story, or comics and I may have some thing useful to say. Ask me about NASCAR – well, I saw the Pixar flic Cars. Take anything I have to say on the topic with a lot of salt.

Editors – if I want to stay employed, I’d better listen to their opinions. I may disagree and I may express my disagreement but, in the end, the editor represents those who own the property or the rights so, unless that owner is me, I need to heed their opinions – even when I disagree.

One editor I had said I couldn’t use thought balloons because, after all, movies didn’t have thought balloons. I disagreed – I pointed out that they were different mediums telling stories in similar but different ways. To start with, movies moved. I couldn’t convince the editor; I worked without thought balloons.

Listening to opinions with which I disagree is important in general. I may not change my mind (or change the speaker’s mind) but I often walk away with a better insight into the opposing view and it can hone my own thoughts and opinions; I know better why I have the opinion that I do. These days, fewer and fewer people seem to do that. We look for only those who reflect our opinion, who agree with our dogma. Dogma is easy; no thought required.

We also should consider why we are being gifted with this person’s opinion. It’s the basic question a writer asks of his/her characters – what do they want? What’s the reason behind what they are doing? Does the person giving you their opinion care about you, do they want something from you, both, neither, more?

My mother was always of the opinion that I should get a teaching degree so I would have “something to fall back on” if my theater or (later) writing career didn’t pan out. I loved my Mom and I knew she was trying to look out for me but underlying that suggestion was her opinion that I wouldn’t make it in the field I chose. I knew that if I had something to fall back on, I’d fall back. Sometimes you have to perform without a net.

We are constantly bombarded with opinions these days and it becomes easier to take someone else’s opinion for our own. The issues are so complex and there are so many compelling issues vying for our attention that it’s easier to latch on to some pre-made opinion than to form our own. The times, however, demand we do the thinking necessary or, at the very least, know whose opinions we listen to and why.

IMO.

Monday: Mindy Newell Offers Her Opinion

The Secret World of Arrietty Opens Tomorrow

The Anime adaptation of Mary  Norton’s classic novel The Borrowers, known as The Secret World of Arrietty, opens tomorrow across the nation. Walt Disney continues its associate with Studio Ghibli with this release, featuring a stellar array of American vocal talent as seen in this picture with Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler, and the legendary Carol Burnett.

The G-rated film features the vocal talents of Mendler, Poehler, Burnett, Will Arnett, David Henrie, and Moises Arias. The movie was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi from a screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa. Producers of the English translation, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, hired Karey Kirkpatrick to handle the screenplay.

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger.

Notes:

  • Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most influential and admired filmmakers working in animation today and is a major figure in the Japanese cinematic landscape. His films have inspired moviegoers and colleagues around the world, from Pixar’s John Lasseter to fantasist Guillermo del Toro to Chinese director Tsui Hark, and consistently top the box office in his native Japan.
  • Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a top animator at Studio Ghibli, was responsible for the animation in a signature scene in “Ponyo,” in which Ponyo runs atop ocean waves.
  • English language voice talent director Gary Rydstrom is a seven-time Academy AwardÒwinning sound designer/mixer (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”). He joined Pixar Animation Studios as an animation film director in 2003.  His directorial debut for the studio was the Academy Award®-nominated short film “Lifted,” and he directed the short film “Hawaiian Vacation,” which was released with “Cars 2” in June 2011.
  • Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are highly successful producing partners whose films, separately and together, include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, E.T., Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the Indiana Jones films and the Jurassic Park films. In total, Kennedy and Marshall have earned 11 Oscar® nominations.
  • English language screenplay writer Karey Kirkpatrick’s credits include Spiderwick Chronicles and Over the Hedge, which he also directed (with Tim Johnson).

First look at The Secret World of Arrietty

Walt Disney has released the first images for their forthcoming Japanese import The Secret World of Arrietty.

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.  From the legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Ponyo) comes The Secret World of Arrietty, an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series The Borrowers.

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. The English language version of The Secret World of Arrietty was executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and directed by Gary Rydstrom. The film hits theaters Feb. 17, 2012. (more…)

Two New Cars 2 Clips

Two New Cars 2 Clips

While everyone is charging their power ring for this weekend’s premiere of Green Lantern, Pixar is revving up the anticipation engine for the following weekend’s release of Cars 2. They’ve just sent us two video clips to whet your appetites.

The movie from directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis features the vocal talents of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Thomas Kretschmann, Guido Quaroni, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, John Ratzenberger, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Wallis, Katherine Helmond, John Turturro, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard, Bruce Campbell, Michel Michelis, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Lewis Hamilton, and David Hobbs.

Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car.  But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.  Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer).  Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world.  The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

Pixar Reveals La Luna Details

Pixar has announced details about the short, “La Luna” that will run prior to Cars 2 later this month. The story’s synopsis, according to a studio release:

La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait.  A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?

The story comes from director Enrico Casarosa, who is also Pixar’s Head of Story. (more…)

Spy Cars Like Us

Spy Cars Like Us

Cars 2, revving up for release later this month, has sent us this cool new featurette:

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Here are the rest of the film’s details:

U.S. Release Date: June 24, 2011

Voice Talent: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Thomas Kretschmann, Guido Quaroni, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, John Ratzenberger, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Wallis, Katherine Helmond, John Turturro, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard, Bruce Campbell, Michel Michelis, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Lewis Hamilton, David Hobbs

Director: John Lasseter

Co-Director: Brad Lewis

Producer: Denise Ream

Story By: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Dan Fogelman

Screenplay By: Ben Queen

Composer: Michael Giacchino

Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer). Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

 

 

 

John Lasseter returns to the driver’s seat to direct this follow-up to his 2006 Golden Globe®-winning “Cars.” “Cars 2” is co-directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film “Ratatouille,” and produced by visual effects industry veteran Denise Ream (associate producer, “Up”; visual effects executive producer, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”). The film hits the track on June 24, 2011, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D in select theaters.

 

 

 

Notes:

 

· John Lasseter made his feature film directing debut with “Toy Story” in 1995. He has since directed such Disney•Pixar classics as “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Cars” and served as executive producer of all other Pixar films to date. He is currently the chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering.

 

· “Cars 2” is the 12th feature-length animated film from Pixar Animation Studios (its first 11 have earned $6.5 billion at the global box office). Pixar, which has earned 29 Academy Awards® and seven Golden Globes®, celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2011.

 

· “Cars” originally released on June 9, 2006, and grossed nearly $462 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Oscars® and one Golden Globe®, winning the first ever Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

 

When star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix, Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.