Monday, December 1, 2008

News - 12/01/08...

All Consuming Love (Man In a Cat)

Trailer for the upcoming film made by Louis Hudson of Dice Productions, All Consuming Love (Man In a Cat).

New Delgo poster

IMPAWARDS shares a new poster for the upcoming animated feature Delgo. Directed by Marc F. Adler & Jason Maurer, Delgo features the voices of Val Kilmer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Chris Kattan, Louis Gossett Jr. and Eric Idle. The film is slated for a December 12, 2008 release.

Voice actor Michael Rudder shot in Mumbai attacks

Montreal voice actor Michael Rudder is now stable and recovering in hospital after he "took three bullets" during the Mumbai attacks, said an organizer of the spiritual retreat in which he had enrolled.

Rudder, 58, was in the restaurant of the Oberoi Hotel when militants stormed in, Bobbie Garvey, vice-president of the Virginia-based Synchronicity Foundation, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday afternoon.

"He's had surgery and he's doing well," Garvey said Thursday. "He's stable -- not enough to fly home yet -- but he's stable." Rudder's agency in Montreal said that although he was shot in the arm, leg and torso, he was awake and able to speak in hospital.

After being hit, Rudder "was taken to the hospital. He did have surgery [that was] very successful. He was in intensive care for a little while, but he is very stable and he is healing at the moment," she said. He is "believed to be out of danger," according to the Synchronicity Web site.

Rudder was one Italicof two Canadians from the Synchronicity delegation who were wounded.

Rudder has performed in the animated PBS series Postcards From Buster. He has also been a voice actor in the TV series Young Robin Hood, Princess Sissi, X-Chromosome and Inuk, as well as the 1986 animated film Cat City.

He has had roles in commercials and video games, including top-sellers Assassin's Creed and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3. He portrayed The Dark Prince in the game Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. In 1989, he was nominated for a Genie Award -- the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar -- for best supporting actor for his role in the film Buying Time.

About two dozen people, including Rudder, were in in the Synchronicity meditation group, Garvey said.

"In response to the many inquiries about our program currently being held in India, 25 participants (comprising 16 Americans, four Canadians and five Australians) were participating in a spiritual program being held at the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai," the Synchronicity Foundation said in a statement. "We have confirmed that two of our American and two Canadian participants received gunshot wounds."

Rudder has appeared alongside Hollywood stars Johnny Depp (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and Eddie Murphy (Adventures of Pluto Nash).

News of Rudder's shooting spread quickly among Canadian actors, Montreal actress Bonnie Mak, a close friend of Rudder, told the Canadian Press.

"I had trouble breathing, I started crying, I couldn't believe it," Mak said of her reaction upon learning of the shooting.

"This is supposed to be such a wonderful trip for him and it's just so horrible that such violence would come from such a peaceful inner journey for him. I just want to know he's OK, I just want to talk to him, I just want to see him. I just want to make some jokes with him like we usually do."

According to Mak, Rudder does not have children or a spouse. She described him as a warm, charismatic person who always thinks of others.

Rudder was so excited to leave for the retreat that he couldn't stop talking about it before he left, she said. He was to return to Canada this coming Monday.

On the Website for a cancer charity, called Operation Triumph, Rudder described his interests, which include meditation.

"I have been a professional actor since my mid-teens, and have sung, danced and acted in many countries, and in every form of media," he wrote. "As a long time meditator, I have become a teacher of the technique known as 'Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation,' and am thrilled... to share my understanding of this timeless art."

Rudder's Facebook page is full of messages of support, Mak said.

Mak said that she can't wait to see him again: "I know we're going to throw him a big party when he's all fine and standing and walking."

Montreal voice actor Michael Rudder is recovering from three gunshot wounds sustained during the Mumbai attacks. (Jonathan Clark/Agence Reisler Talent)

Mogul can't wear anime suit in space, seeks $21M

A United States District Court judge heard arguments last week in connection with a lawsuit by Japanese millionaire Daisuke Enomoto, miffed at the loss of his plans to wear an anime suit in space.

Enomoto planned to dress up as Char Aznable, a character from Nippon Sunrise's 1981 anime TV series Mobile Suit Gundam I. He wanted to be the first tourist to do a spacewalk.

The Internet pioneer is angrier, perhaps, at paying Vienna, Virginia-based Space Adventures Ltd. $21 million and not getting a refund. Enomoto, a former executive of Internet services provider Livedoor, is suing to get his money back.

He and Space Adventures agreed in November 2004 on a 10-day orbit. In August 2006, he was told that he was disqualified from the flight for medical reasons,

Enomoto gave the private company a $2 million down payment, then told the company that he might not go on the flight if he couldn't do a spacewalk, according to the suit, which was filed in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Russian Federal Space Agency said Enomoto's spacewalk -- called "extra-vehicular activities" -- would be A-OK, but he'd have to dish out another $10 million to be the first space tourist to walk outside the station, Space Adventures told Enomoto. But the businessman alleges that Space Adventures took his payments without getting permission from international space station members for the spacewalk.

The company countered that the money was non-refundable because of his kidney stones, which were found to be enlarged a month before his scheduled flight and more numerous than in earlier tests.

Judge James Cacheris will rule later on Space Adventures' motion to dismiss the businessman's lawsuit.

Enomoto trained for most of eight months at the Star City training facility near Moscow before planning to head to the international space station in September 2006 aboard a Soyuz-FG rocket and Soyus-TMA spacecraft.

After being medically disqualified, he was replaced by Anousheh Ansari, who became the world's first female space tourist. Earlier in the year, Space Adventures had announced a joint venture with an investment firm founded by Ansari's family.

According to Enomoto, he was continually pressured to invest in Space Adventures while a client, and when the Ansaris agreed to investments that he refused, he was dumped in favor of Ansari.

Space Adventures lawyer John Villa told the court that Enomoto knew all the time that he could be disqualified by the kidney stones, but rejected doctors' advice to treat them "aggressively." He added that if Space Adventures refunded fees after medical disqualifications, any space tourist wannabe with second thoughts could engineer a medical disqualification, then get their money back.

The company has "no comment" on the case, Space Adventures spokeswoman Stacey Tearne told the Washington Business Journal on Monday. Enomoto's lawyers would not make their client available for an interview.

Wright Meat

A Thanksgiving rebuttal from the pen of animator James Sugrue:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Bolt's Legs

The Disney flick appears to be gaining some traction as it trotted into its second weekend:

Disney's Bolt finished No. 4 with $4.3M Thursday and a big comeback of $5.1M Wednesday in 3,651 plays after a difficult debut last weekend when Twilight skewed younger than expected. But the superpooch could also end up #3 because of big kiddie matnees with a projected $24M for the 3-day weekend and $33M for the 5-day holiday since Thanksgiving audiences love family pics so much.

The Guardian in the United Kingdom thinks the feature's prospects are bright, even with its ... ah ... less than serendipitous launch:

Bolt was unlucky to go against Twilight last weekend but it's a classy piece of film-making and should grow through enthusiastic word of mouth. This is the kind of weekend it will use to really dig its claws into the box office and it should hold well on about the same amount as Australia.

And there's other hopeful signs. The Italians appear to be taking the white shepherd to their hearts.

In Italy, Disney's "Bolt" is bowing big on 540 screens, 31 of which are 3-D equipped, in a crowded frame which also sees "Max Payne" making its Italo outing. But neither "Bolt" nor "Payne" are expected to oust "Twilight," in its sophomore sesh, from the top Italo spot.

Disney's dog hero pic has drawn rave reviews with Corriere della Sera praising
"Bolt" for its "originality" and "tight editing," while comparing its mix of fantasy and reality worlds with that of "Pinocchio." ....

The bottom line? The picture has gotten good word of mouth, and looks to do middling well domestically, and fine overseas.

The Mouse House's story crew worked and reworked the picture's gags and continuity right up through the early part of this year, and production turned and burned to hit the release date. During crunch time, I heard everything from "No way we make the deadline..." to "Hey, we're in under the wire, but there's some funky shots I wish we could work on more ...".

Outside the studio, I've heard complaints that Bolt's design was too uninspired and "generic," the trailers weren't good enough, etc. But there are always a zillion eager analysts willing to step forward when a picture underperforms. They always have a ready-made explanation about why events didn't go as swimmingly as expected and hoped, and who's to know? Maybe they're right. It's impossible to prove one way or the other.

But since I'm a believer in Occam's razor, I'll go with the simplest, most obvious reason for the dollar totals of the flick's opening weekend: Twilight's demographics collided with Bolt's audience and the vampires won.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

"Batman: The Brave And The Bold" Video Clips, No New Episode Last Week

The World's Finest has two video clips from the popular new animated series starring Batman.

To view two clips from Batman: The Brave and The Bold, click HERE.

The first video clip features the title credits to the series and the other features Batman and Green Arrow facing off against the Clock King.

Please note that Batman: The Brave and The Bold was pre-empted Friday, but will return this Friday, December 5th, 2008, at 8pm (ET) with the new Aquaman-guest-starring episode "Evil Under the Sea!". Cartoon Network has also scheduled the holiday-themed episode "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" for the following Friday, December 12th, 2008, at 8pm (ET). That episode will feature Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, the villainous Sportsmaster, and Fun Haus.

Black Thin King

This viral piece was directed and created by CISMA (Denis Kamioka) and the Birdo Studio in Brazil. What it is advertising I’m not sure (rolling papers, I think) — but I love it.

(Thanks, Jason Deeble)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

"Azur and Asmar" opens San Joaquin kids' film fest

Michel Ocelot's critically acclaimed animated feature "Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest" leads 21 films from seven countries to open the first San Joaquin Children's Film Festival, the California Central Valley's first film festival for children.

The San Joaquin Film Society announced Friday the official selection of its festival for kids of all ages, set to run January 16 to 18, at the Stockton Empire Theatre in Stockton, California.

The festival will feature special presentations of the English-language version of Azur et Asmar. The flagship film will screen at the opening night gala, and will lead a collection of 21 feature and short films from around the world.

Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest received a standing ovation at its world premiere at the 2006 Festival de Cannes and grossed $16 million at the French box office. It's a story of two boys raised as brothers. Blonde, blue-eyed, white-skinned Azur and black-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned Asmar are lovingly cared for by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free. Time passes, and one day, Azur's father, the master of the house, provokes a brutal separation. Azur is sent away to study, while Asmar and his mother are driven out, homeless and penniless.

Years later, as a young adult, Azur remains haunted by memories of the sunny land of his nanny, and sets sail south across the high seas to find the country of his dreams. Arriving as an immigrant in a strange land, Azur is rejected by everyone he meets on account of his "unlucky" blue eyes, until finally he resolves never to open those eyes again. The once-beautiful child clad in gold is reduced to a blind beggar. Yet, blind though he is, little by little and step by step, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious country.

Meanwhile, back in her homeland, Azur's nanny has become a wealthy merchant and Asmar has grown into a dashing horseman. Reunited but now as adversaries, the two brothers set off on a dangerous quest to find and free the Fairy of the Djinn.

The 21 films of the children's fest have screened at over 300 festivals around the world, collectively. In addition, a young filmmakers' workshop and conversations with guest artists are slated for the festival's first edition.

For detailed synopses, movie trailers, and more information, visit SJCFF09's official festival site at

HD animation showcase comes to L.A. on December 7

HDFEST will present a series of some of the best new HD animation from around the world Sunday, December 7 during its 2008 Los Angeles Festival Event.

The high-definition animation sequence will be taking place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Dolby Laboratories' Larry Umlang Presentation Theatre II, located at 3601 West Alameda Avenue in Burbank, California.

The presentation includes 16 unique pieces created by independent filmmakers and animators. These pieces originate from countries including Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany and Paraguay.

At 9:30 p.m., HDFEST will present this year's HDFEST Deffie Award Ceremony and announce the winners of the HDFEST Deffie Award for Best Animation. The Deffies, presented annually since 2004, recognize achievement and innovation in high-definition independent filmmaking and now also include recognitions in high-definition animation.

HDFEST's events have been taking place since 2000, but this year's 2008 event will present the largest and most extensive showcase of high-definition to date. HDFEST's HD animation series includes a wide variety of styles and genres, including stop-motion, experimental animation and CGI. This sequence of HD animation will showcase the accomplishments now possible for filmmakers and animators working with fairly low budgets.

Among the numerous high-definition animations in this groundbreaking showcase include Two Minutes Away from Launch from Singapore, directed by Jaryl Lim; Hose, written and directed by Kevin Watkins, a unique film which is believed to be the first stop-motion project on this scale, shot entirely outdoors using natural light; The Miraculous Pear Tree, from the Netherlands, directed by Jeroen Zijlstra, a stop-motion animation telling the Tibetan fairytale of a Tibetan monk who encounters a less than dignified salesman; the groundbreaking Morula, directed by Kristian Labusga of Germany, an animation with a focus on music visualization using motion capture data for the character and camera movement; and two works from Joaquin Baldwin, an animator originally from Paraguay, Papiroflexia and Sebastian's Voodoo.

The complete list of HD animation is at

HDFEST Los Angeles will include screenings of high-definition movies, discussions on HD moviemaking and digital cinema, festival parties and the HDFEST 2008 Deffie Award Ceremony.

This year's HDFEST Los Angeles will include a wide variety of short films and presentations of seven revolutionary feature-length HD films, including the comedy Route 30, written and directed by past HDFEST Deffie Award winner John Putch; Food Fight, a documentary by Chris Taylor about the counter-revolution against big agribusiness; and Serpent and the Sun: Tales of an Aztec Shaman, written and directed by Shaahin Cheyene, about Aztec medicine man and his apprentice.

Tickets to the HDFEST HD Animation Showcase are $10 and can be purchased online at For more information about the showcase, e-mail

A complete calendar of events for the festival, which runs from Friday, December 5 through Sunday, December 7, can be found at

Batman killed by his OWN dad

End of an era ... Batman dies in new comic

According to The Sun's Film Biz column, the world’s most famous comic book hero has breathed his last Bat breath.

Bruce Wayne – who by night is Batman – gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead.

In a highly controversial new storyline Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt – the leader of the shady Black Glove organisation.

Simon claims he is really Dr Thomas Wayne, saying he faked his own passing when Bruce was a child.

The superhero dies when he tries to stop his foe escaping by helicopter in the new comic Batman R.I.P.

Bad father ... Batman's dad

Writer Grant Morrison said: “This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story!

"I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.

"This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman."

Batman will live on though, with another character filling his Batsuit.

Two likely contenders are Dick Grayson - the original Robin - or current Boy Wonder, Tim Drake.

Screenwriter reveals ideas for Singer's planned third X-Men film

STORY ideas for Bryan Singer's third X-Men movie - which he abandoned to make Superman Returns - have surfaced in a book which goes behind the scenes of Fox's hit film franchise.

Brett Ratner (pictured above on set with Patrick Stewart) was eventually hired to take on the X-Men project, with a script by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, and the resulting film, X-Men: The Last Stand, came out in May 2006.

Author Thomas McClean's book Mutant Cinema: The X-Men Trilogy From Comics to Screen answers some of the questions raised by fans, who have been desperate to find out what Singer and his own writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty had been planning for their unmade version of the third film.

Dougherty had already revealed some time ago that they had wanted to cast Sigourney Weaver as Emma Frost, a comic book psychic who would be reimagined as an empath able to control people's emotions. Some reports have suggested that Frost would have been an old flame of Xavier and would have emotionally manipulated a resurrected, unstable Jean Grey into the evil Dark Phoenix.

McLean's book adds new information:

Dougherty says the resolution of the Phoenix plot would definitely have been a major part of their version: "The main element for me was Jean coming back and learning how much power she could wield - that she just became overcome by it."

Dougherty says that many of the ideas he was considering, such as Magneto trying to use Phoenix as a weapon, ended up in the filmed version. He also says that the idea of Jean using Cyclops' power to kill herself was one they liked, though they would have made it clear that only Phoenix's body was dying. Her spirit would live on, evolving Jean past mutant and into a godlike cosmic state.

Dougherty likens it to the closing lines of Arthur C Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the Star-Child that was astronaut David Bowman hovers over the Earth: "Then he waited, marshalling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something."

The author says in the chapter notes at the end of the book that this material came from a telephone interview with Dougherty in September 2006.

It's interesting stuff but X3 (and its interpretation of the Phoenix story) is not going to be unmade or remade, and there's no way of knowing how a Singer X3 would have finally turned out when released - although it would have been more consistent in tone with the first two X-Men films.

However, there is always a 'grass is greener' attitude among some fans. The third movie had enormous expectations on it - fans finally wanted Beast, Angel, Sentinels and the Danger Room (which had all been scripted, and then cut, from the previous two films) and there's no way all that could be added and handled in a way that would satisfy everyone

The book also dismisses fanboy rumours of bitter rivalry between the X-Men and Superman production teams:

While most observers assumed a rivalry between Superman Returns and The Last Stand, resulting from Singer's sudden departure, Singer and Ratner were by all accounts friendly. So too were other creative personnel, and there was a fair amount of crossover, with some people working on both franchises. Screenwriter Michael Dougherty said that there were visits back and forth between sets. The one area in which there is some truth is the relationship between Singer and Fox chief Tom Rothman - a difference both men have since settled.

Fan speculation fed the perception of animosity, fuelled by Fox's determination to stick with its original release date of May 26, 2006, even after Singer and then Matthew Vaughn left the project.

Ratner's playboy persona played a role as well. Most comic book fans identified with the intense, down-to-earth Singer who they had come to trust with the X-Men franchise. Ratner, on the other hand, is known for living a lavish lifestyle that includes driving expensive sports cars and dating supermodels and actresses. His most successful films, Rush Hour and its sequel, were jocular and jokey. Fans worried that Ratner would not approach the X-Men franchise as seriously or as subtly as Singer had. But liking Singer more than Ratner has little to do with the success of the films and X-Men: The Last Stand's popularity speaks for itself.

Mutant Cinema was published in September by Sequart.

First Picture Of Gambit Now Online

Ever since the first X-Men movie, fans have been screaming for an appearance by Gambit. I really have no idea why, because he's just a dude that has an accent, wears a stupid trenchcoat and kinetically charges s*** and throw it at people. But what do I know, I haven't read the X books in years. Maybe he's awesome now or something.

Anyways, since the Wolverine movie will have a slew of guest appearances, everyone's been wondering how this new X movie will depict their favorite heroes. I guess one of those questions has been answered.

Empire has the first pic of Gambit to hit the 'net. Click HERE to be taken to their main news page.

Looks like he's mucking his hand, not going all-in but whatever. I don't know guys. I mean, I'm sure he's fine for the role, but why couldn't they hire an actor that didn't look like he was seventeen? I always imagined Gambit as an older crustier Hard Target Van Damme looking dude. Hey, why didn't they use Van Damme anyway?

Ok. Nevermind.

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