Friday, January 11, 2008

News 2...

Giant robots. Rock and roll. Stolen panties. Do you need another reason?

Well, how’s this one for all you anime fans: ROBO ROCK is the first live action feature film to involve big time animation house Gonzo Digimation, who provide all the vintage giant robot effects. Very, very fun. The trailer’s been out for a while but a pair of big robot oriented promos have just appeared as well.

You’ll find the trailer and both clips here

John Bergin’s FROM INSIDE Nearing Completion …

John Bergin’s FROM INSIDE is one I’ve been tracking for a good long time now – Bergin is a friend of a friend and I was tipped off early – and it’s finally on the verge of completion. Here’s the skinny … Bergin’s a multi talented sort of guy – one of his bands was on THE CROW soundtrack, he does a good amount of album art, has published graphic novels, etc etc etc – and has taken on the task of creating – by himself – an animated version of his own post-apocalyptic graphic novel FROM INSIDE. A short, nine minute version edited down from the full film got limited play on the festival circuit last year and now the full feature has finally completed rendering and is just about good to go. And it looks bloody fantastic. Pun intended.

You’ll find the trailer here

Hit Ent. Signs Ozzie Toy Co. for Thomas

Leading independent kids producer HIT Ent. has announced the appointment of Funtastic Limited as the THOMAS & FRIENDS Trackmaster Distribution Partner for Australia. Funtastic will oversee the transition from the THOMAS & FRIENDS Motor Road and Rail track system to the new Trackmaster play system, which is due for launch in 2009. Funtastic will also continue to distribute the Tomy THOMAS & FRIENDS Pre-School Range.

Funtastic has been instrumental in making THOMAS AND FRIENDS the second largest Infant & Preschool property in Australia and the fourth-largest property in the entire Australian toy market (based on GFK Australia figures week ending Dec. 30, 2007). THOMAS & FRIENDS' phenomenal year in Australia culminated with more than 100,000 people seeing the recent THOMAS & FRIENDS Live Stage Show.

A HIT licensee for over 10 years, Funtastic has been an important partner in the pre-school toys, homewares, apparel, accessories and footwear categories.

HIT has also recently announced changes to the THOMAS AND FRIENDS production and programming schedule, including the signing of Pierce Brosnan as the new narrator. Also, for the first time, THOMAS & FRIENDS will be shot in high-definition format.

Al Jazeera Gets Prehistoric

Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera has adapted Barcelona-based Cromosoma's kids series about a young dinosaur for its children's channel, C21 MEDIA reports.

Al Jazeera bought 12 episodes of TOM, marking the latest addition to Cromosoma's output deal with Al Jazzera Children's Channel (JCC). Previous acquisitions include THE TRIPLETS, JUANITO JONES, MINIMAN and THE BABY TRIPLETS.

The companies worked together to modify the series in accordance with Arab cultural and social standards, although some episodes were excluded in the interest of creative integrity.

Al Jazeera intends the Cromosoma series to bring learning, understanding and respect for cultural diversity to its audience. The earlier series THE TRIPLETS introduced Western figures such as Agatha Christie and Van Gogh, and explored stories from Western culture. TOM's peripatetic dinosaur will introduce Arab children to well-known Western geographical locations.

The series is a co-production with EBU, BBC, France 2, France 3, Rai, TVE, RTBF, TSR, TSI, VRT and ZDF, on which channels the second series will premiere in the coming months.

From aintitcoolnews...

Harry knows what CLOVERFIELD is!!!

Utterly Brilliant.


For the past year or so, that’s been the question that everyone has been asking. Well… they also wanted to know: What was that trailer? What’s the name of this movie? Who are those actors? What is a SLUSHO? What does any of this mean?

Having seen the film, I can tell you – I have completely forgotten the marketing. I no longer care why the film is titled CLOVERFIELD, I don’t think it has a secret meaning – other than the fact that the movie that the marketing would lead you to, if it will… will knock your cinema-going mind into the floor of the theater.

CLOVERFIELD is a bold genre-reinvention unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

The basic premise that we know is there. The film is found footage, not an assembled film. The footage is recovered in Central Park. From trailers and ads you know that it probably starts at a party, something happens, and we think there is a giant monster. You’re pretty sure there’s a giant monster attacking New York City… specifically Manhattan.

Well, I’ve just come home from watching CLOVERFIELD. The security on me and my wife for seeing this movie was un-frickin-believable. I suppose some would have the temptation to snap a pic of the monster and send it out online to end, forever, the “mystery” – but folks… there’s no mystery.

The movie is frigging brilliant. It’s what we were told it was going to be. An intimate perspective on an impossibly grand scale human disaster beyond most human levels of comprehension.

What is the monster? How do you describe something that doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before? It’s not a frigging upright walking whale. It doesn’t look like any iteration of GODZILLA that we’ve ever seen. It is enormous. And even though I’ve seen it… I am hard-pressed to come up with a comparative creation. You know that big frigging thing in THE MIST? It isn’t that. Is the creature a biped? I’m not sure, I think it might’ve been a four-legged beastie… it has a tail, it has teeth and freaky eyes like that horse that died in ANIMAL HOUSE. It’s kinda of a grayish-yellowish-off-white looking thing. But more important than the creature is what this f'er does. He basically goes bug-nuts.

The creature isn’t the groundbreaking thing about the film. It is, but it isn’t.

You see, what has me so excited about this film is that this is the giant monster movie that isn’t at all like any giant monster movie we’ve seen before… but is exactly that movie.

I guarantee you that as this movie takes place… all the shit that you’ve seen in Giant monster movies is happening. Somewhere a general is screaming about nuking New York…. Somewhere is a politician screaming that you can’t nuke New York. Another General wants to know why our weapons are not affecting this thing. A PRESIDENT wants to know where it came from – and several thousand journalist are trying to figure all that out too.

But this film isn’t about the scientist, the generals, the Presidents, the mayors or any of the big people. This time, the film is from the perspective of those people that live in those buildings that the monster is breaking through. This is about the people running in the street that scream, “GODZILLA!!!” and run. This is about trying to survive that insanity. Not just that, but to try and save one life.

Like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but instead of Nazis it’s a giant monster.

This is a handheld camera movie – knowing this and knowing not to sit too close is probably a good thing… but having said that… you can’t sit far enough from the screen to feel safe. As many of you people know, I am in a wheelchair – and while watching movies, I have my brakes on. There was one moment, so unexpected and so intense that I went 3 ft back.

What about the characters?

You learn everything you need about them in the first 20 minutes. Rob is going to Japan to a new job. He has a brother Jason and a best friend Hud who gets strapped with filming testimonials at his surprise party – but Hud has the hots for Marlena and got talked into it by Jason – who was told to do it by Lily, who loves him. Oh – and they’re taping over a tape that Rob shot of the morning after he and Beth finally did it – after being friends forever. But now he has to go to Japan for his career and Beth shows up with some dick at his party because he didn’t know how to talk with her after they had sex.

It’s a fairly real situation that could happen to anyone. These are just regular good people in the rat race – and trying to have a good time. When the shit goes down.

I wasn’t expecting to like any of the characters. That changes… a lot.

My favorite character? Probably Hud… our cameraman. He’s not a professional photographer, though this “tape” tells an incredibly focused and direct story of epic sweep and filled with intimate reveals. But HUD is “the best friend”. But if I could compare him to any character actor, I’d say he’s like a reigned in Bill Paxton. He’s not going around screaming obscenities… but the s#@* that comes out of his mouth cracks me up.

The story of this film is actually beautiful though. When the world goes to fuck, you instantly think about the person you love that you don’t know is OK or not. That’s this story. Beth left Rob’s party before the s#@* went down. They had a fight. When it all goes to hell – Rob and his friends are just trying to get off the island, when a call comes… Beth is somewhere… she can’t move, she’s bleeding and she needs help. And oddly… 911 is busy.

This group of friends sets off through the biggest sort of hell you can imagine to save Beth. Characters die. Shit goes horribly horribly wrong – and it rules!

There’s no score, there’s no rules, there feels like there’s no script and no movie. It feels found, but it is so huge that you can’t ever really believe that… but handheld film just has never had a story of something this fantastical or huge happen. The movie is a landmark genre film. A true milestone in film.

It is all at once art, commercial and grotesquely gleefully gargantuan.

This frankly launches two giant film careers at once. As of this second, I will see and eagerly anticipate every film that J.J. Abrams produces. This sort of stepping back from a genre convention and reinvention is EXACTLY what needs to be done. It isn’t simply going, “Oh, I can make a better Godzilla movie,” but the audacity of saying I’m going to tell that story from one of the most loathed film approaches – the found footage – and simply make the most frigging amazing found tape ever. It won’t just be what it is, but the characters and the story and the emotion and the scope and the journey that the tape takes us on. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Then there’s Matt Reeves, I don’t know this guy. But I’ll tell you what. You’re gonna mark his name after this. He just came out with a film about as SUNDANCE as you could imagine. This is like an INDIE film – that you’d dream Spielberg would make. Remember the beard’s WAR OF THE WORLDS? Now just imagine that, but with the disarming nature of handheld photography. Where if the camera got dropped and suddenly you’re looking the other way… you don’t see the seams. There’s no backlot, this isn’t two blocks at a time… it’s frigging Manhattan being torn to s#@* and they’re just smack dab in midtown and midtown has giant lice monsters and some monstrously huge creature… and then there’s the frigging military… and they are on target, and buildings get hit, s#@* is going everywhere – and the man directing this apocalypse is Matt Reeves and the planning to just deliver what this spectacle is – is daunting. But sir, BRAVO!

Folks – CLOVERFIELD is worth the obsession, worth the months I’ve had to put up with fans wondering what the hell it was – worth having to deal with reporters asking me what it was – and I didn’t know either. This is a towering movie. A complete reinvention of the disaster movie, the giant monster movie and even the love story. I absolutely love this film and the only thought I had when it was over was how I wanted to watch it 5 more times today.

I want to see the details, I want to watch this film once I’m so familiar with it that I can appreciate the complexity of the frames and the shots. To try to pull the film apart – but I don’t think you’ll be able to. It is just that frigging good! And the flaming hobos... holy f@*k man... flaming hobos, but not with shotguns!

Good Bad Robot, Good Bad Robot!!!

Interviews of Note

A couple of must-read interviews have gone online, has posted an exclusive interview with Pixar storyboard artist Enrico Casarosa. Casarosa speaks about Studio Ghibi, his work at Pixar, his personal projects and more and also shares a look at a work of Ghibli inspired art.
 Casarosa demonstrates a deep knowledge of Miyazaki's work, immediately mentioning an admiration for Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Future Boy Conan and Lupin III.
The site also interviews Hayao Miyazaki's interview, in which he talks about his upcoming Ponyo on a Cliff here

Publisher's Weekly spoke to Kio Shimoku, creator of fan-favorite geek comedy Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture. It has also been revealed that Del Rey, the North American distributor of the Genshikden manga, will be releasing Keito Koume's spin-off Kujibiki Unbalance. The manga follows the anime/manga popular among Genshiken's characters.

Via Blog@Newsarama At Bookslut , Jeff Vandermeer talks with librarian Robin Brenner, author of Understanding Manga and Anime.

ICv2 spoke to Dark Horse publisher/CEO Mike Richardson here, here and here

Production I.G posted a Q&A with Le Chevalier D'Eon character director Naoyoshi Shiotani here

Animated Terminator Anthology in Development

Anime News Network points out that in an interview with James Middleton, the consulting producer for the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series revealed that an anthology Terminator shorts, leading European and Japanese "auteurs" is being developed for 2009. He compared the collection, entitled Termination, to The Animatrix spin-off of the Matrix franchise, but with a "much more international flair." Termination will focus on Judgement Day, the pivotal day in Terminator franchise's multiple storylines when the Skynet defense system would launch nuclear weapons that destroy much of humanity.

Kaiju Big Battel Escapes to New York on Feb. 9th

Man-in-suit monster wrestling performance artists Kaiju Big Battel will be holding a live event, entitled "New York Blackout", at Manhattan's Webster Hall on Saturday, February 9th (7PM doors. 8PM show). Wrestling will showcase Kaiju favorites, Steam Powered Tentacle Boulder, Call-Me-Kevin. Uchu Chu the Space Bug, and Dr. Cube plus 45 blocks of crushable cityscape primed for destruction. Tickets are on sale for $20 through Ticketmaster.

Worth Checking Out


Patrick Macias has listed his forcast's for 2008 in his Japan Times "Otakool" column. Topping "Big in 2008: Gothic Lolitas and Godzilla:" U.S. anime pronounced dead. Also, a teaser for the next Otaku USA

Cory Doctorow on manga in Romania

Publishers Weekly looks at Seven Seas' publishing collaberating with Tor, as well as their plans for the Afro Samurai manga, Mamizu Arisawa and Mari Matsuzawa's Inukami! and Hiroshi Ishizaki's Here Comes the Black Witch.

AnimeNation notes the official homepage for the Noramimi anime television series now hosts a streaming trailer for the series' first episode.

Anime News Network looks at the winners of the Japanese Otaku Awards' 2007 winners.

It's not specifically anime related, but there's been enough cross-over that it's worth noting that the design for a new Street Fighter IV character,Crimson Viper, has been unveiled.

Comics212 has photos of a visit to The Osamu Tezuka Museum more here

Still from the Dragon Ball movie filming.

An Illustrated Guide of Shonen Jump Series part one, part two part three part four

Simon Jones' Icarus Comics state of the union

Twitch learns more about Machine Girl

What Same Hat!Same Hat!'s Ryan is reading

"Thundercats": A Critical Retrospective

Police profile otaku

Via Japan Probe and What Japan Thinks
The animated kappa of Kizakura Sake's commercials

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