Thursday, October 15, 2009

News - 10/15/09...

NYC Screening of Leonardo

If you’re in NY on Sunday, October 18th and want to see Jim Capobianco’s traditionally animated short, Leonardo, then stop by the TriBeCa cinemas on Varick Street in Manhattan. More details can be seen here, and the full schedule is available at

From what I hear from friends in LA it’s a beautiful film not to be missed. Also, sometime in the very near future, we will be featuring an interview with Jim about the film, so keep an eye out!

Brainfreeze Cools Domo’s Journey

Part 2 of Domo’s Brainfreeze series, titled Domo’s Journey, sees the open-mouthed Slurpee-lover embark on a mind-trip. This time out, the production is a mix of 2D animation and stop-motion. More info at and

Family Guy vs. Super Friends

Family Goy, this season’s second episode of Family Guy, opened with a shot-for-shot remake of The All-New Super Friends Hour title sequence. Someone did their homework…

Blades and Sketchy Guard Storm BBC

This new animated short for BBC Comedy Extra examines the frailty of allegiences. Sketchy Guard was written and animated by Ant Blades along with Birdbox Studio.

Dacko Ignites Lightheaded

Here’s an intriguing trailer for a new, 5-minute short film, titled Lightheaded. The CG the first short film release by Dacko, who currently animates at Disney’s ImageMovers Digital (Disney’s A Christmas Carol). The film begins as a comet crashed into Candle Planet, producing wax creatures who begin a tribal dance.

Pig Out On Animated Ham

Argentinian artist Nico Di Mattia is best known for his brilliant caricatures, and also for his online “speedpaintings.” For instance, the video fo his Spider-Man painting has been seen over 11 million times on YouTube. But he’s also a talented animator, as you can see in this recently-released short Ham (Jamon).

Cartoon Brew TV: Together!

Prepare yourself! That’s all I can say about David Sheahan’s Together! (2009). The first time I saw this film was like a punch in the face. It’s bizarre, unsettling, endlessly inventive, and wicked fun. In a nutshell, it’s a completely original take on traditional cartoon animation. The character animation of Candice is inspired, and the use of space and camera is dazzling. The multi-talented Sheahan also composed the music, and voiced the Spider and Candice (the words “I’m wearing a dress” have never sounded so disturbing). Sheahan made this as a graduation film at Pratt Institute, but his fully-realized vision of Together! pushes far beyond student film territory and into a realm of its own. Discover how a moth and roach come Together! exclusively on Cartoon Brew TV.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Dindal Jumps to Live Action

Mark Dindal, director Cats Don't Dance, The Emperor's New Groove, and Chicken Little is saddling up to direct a live-action flick:

Walden Media is ... tapping Mark Dindal to helm live-action family comedy "Housebroken." ...

"Housebroken" will center around a newly married couple's talking pets, who must adjust to living together under one roof. Walden is looking for a scribe to work with Dindal ("Chicken Little") on the script, originally penned by Adam Sztykiel ...

Mark was a long-time Disney Feature Animation guy, departing the studio to direct Cats Don't Dance for the short-lived Turner Feature Animation. He then returned to Disney for the hand-drawn Emperor and the CGI cartoon feature Chicken Little.

CL is the Mouse House's highest domestic grosser in the c.g. feature department, and Emperor one of the few traditional Disney features that had a second weekend gross higher than the first. For my money, it was the last hand-drawn feature that really clicked, even though Michael Eisner is reputed not to have liked it.

Mark D. is the latest of a long line of animation artist/driectors who have made the leap to live-action. We wish him the best of luck with the project.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

The Amazing, Expanding DD

Wait a minute. Wasn't Digital Domain having a problem making money? Apparently that was then and this is now.

On the heels of the recent announcement of its plans to open a visual effects studio in Vancouver, BC, Digital Domain (DD) is enlarging its footprint further. The Venice-headquartered, Oscar-winning visual effects house is working with parent company Wyndcrest Holdings to build a digital production studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The new studio will
create original content for animated feature films and video games. Plans are in the early stages, and Digital Domain expects to begin operations in Florida next year. ...

You see? The power of animation is so great, so all encompassing, that even studios that never turn a profit expand to other countries and states, in search of that elusive positive cash flow.

And where better to do it than Florida, the Mumbai of the United States?

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano dead at 76

Legendary wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano, the voice of Mario in DiC Entertainment's Super Mario Brothers, died Wednesday morning of natural causes. He was 76.

Albano -- whose real name was Louis Vincent Albano -- died in suburban Westchester County, New York, said Dawn Marie, founder of Wrestlers Rescue, an organization which helps raise money for the health care of retired wrestlers. He was at home under hospice care.

He was heard in 104 Super Mario Brothers episodes as part of The Super Mario Super Brothers Show, which ran in syndication from 1989 to 1991.

Reportedly, Albano was, at first, not interested in voicing Mario or portraying him in the live-action host segments opposite Danny Wells, who played Luigi. However, his wife Geri talking him into taking the role. He shaved off his trademark goatee after agreeing to play Mario, and he grew a real handlebar mustache instead of donning a fake one.

In the DiC cartoon series Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling, which ran for 39 episodes on CBS in 1985-86, the character of Albano was voiced by George DiCenzo.

World Wrestling Entertainment called him one of the company's "most popular and charismatic legends."

Albano rocketed to fame after appearing in Cyndi Lauper's 1983 "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" music video. He played a mean dad in a white tank top whom the singer shoves against a wall.

Besides his goatee, he was famous for his Hawaiian shirts... and for rubber bands that hung from his cheek.

The success of Albano's partnership with Lauper spurred the WWE -- then called the World Wrestling Federation -- to link with the music industry, thus bringing in the "Rock n' Wrestling" era of the mid-1980s.

Later, Albano had a role in the music video for Lauper's 1984 song "Time After Time." He also appeared in the 1986 movie Body Slam and episodes of the Miami Vice TV series.

Albano was born on July 29, 1933, but his birthplace is disputed. Some reports say that he was born in Rome, moving to the United States with the rest of his family and settling in Mount Vernon, New York. He also was said to have been born in Carmel, New York.

His wrestling career began in 1953 in Canada. Later, he formed "The Sicilians" tag team with Tony Altimore. According to Brian Solomon's book WWE Legends, the duo would wear fedoras and talking about the Mafia in interviews.

A member of the WWE Hall of Fame, he managed and coached many strange (and popular) tag team champions, including the Masked Executioners, the Mongols, the Yukon Lumberjacks, the Moondogs and the Wild Samoans.

The 5'10" manager retired from the WWE in 1996.

Recently, he released his autobiography "Often Imitated, Never Duplicated" with a foreword by Lauper.

Survivors include his wife, as well as four children and 14 grandchildren

Volume 3 of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" Coming to DVD reports that Warner Home Video will release Volume 3 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold on DVD.

The DVD will contain 5 episodes, including the two part episode "Deep Cover for Batman!" and "Game Over for Owlman!"

The DVD will hit stores on February 2, 2010.

It's Another New Princess And The Frog Poster!

These poster articles are hard to write. I have to try and fill in space before showing you the actual poster below. And since I've already done a million Princess and the Frog postings (I have one BIG article that will be up sometime next week on Princess and the Frog and Disneyland) that I'm running out of things to say.

So here are some frog jokes to waste space and get you in the mood for Disney's latest.

Do female frogs croak?
Sure, if you hold their heads under water long enough.

What's green and dangerous?
A frog with a hand grenade.

Those jokes suck. Let's try some Kermit action.

Ok, enough silliness. Here's the poster.

(Thanks Latino Review)

Flinch Remasters Stainboy For MoMA Burton Exhibit

A couple of “celebrity” directors have turned to Flash animation over the years, and perhaps the two most notable were David Lynch and Tim Burton. In 2002, Lynch, who received instruction from Tony Candelaria at one point, produced Dumbland – an 8-episode Flash-animated series. Two years prior to that, Burton teamed up with and Flinch Studio to create Stainboy, a character who first appeared in one of Burton’s books. Tony Grillo at Flinch recently unearthed the original source files from that production and began remastering. The new HD videos will be screened at an upcoming MoMA exhibit on Burton that opens on November 22nd. Grillo has detailed both this recent process and the original production over on his blog, and below is one of the newly restored episodes:

Harut’s Flash Animation Job Search

Over the last 10 months or so, I’ve received an unusually high number of pleas for employment assistance. I often hear of job openings, but latelys there aren’t many. So it’s only appropriate that Hayk Manukyan’s latest short You Give Job offers a glimpse into Harut’s search for a new animation gig.

Carey Goes For 100K LG Prize

Curtis Carey (Never Ending Rough Animation Project) has entered his 2-minute animated short in the LG Life’s Good FilmFest, and is eligible for the $100,000 grand prize. The film, titled Today Versus Tomorrow, was a collaboration with composer Jordan Roherty. The deadline for submissions is October 16th.

'Extremely Violent' Manga Series 'Gantz' To Receive Two Live-Action Adaptations

From the developing "Ninja Scroll" to the almost released "Astro Boy," manga properties are beginning to have as much movement on the big screen as American comic books—and in Japan, a decidedly hardcore manga titled "Gantz" is set to make that same leap.

Anime News Network reports that Hiroya Oku's "Gantz" will be adapted for not one, but two live-action movies starring "Letters From Iwo Jima" actor Kazunari Ninomiya and "Death Note" star Ken'ichi Matsumaya. Japanese filmmaker Shinsuke Sato is directing the project with Yusuke Watanabe writing the screenplays.

According to ANN, "Gantz" focuses on "a young Tokyo college student who is reanimated after a deadly subway accident. Kei Kurono (Ninomiya) and his friend Masaru Kato (Matsuyama) go on violent, seemingly endless missions at the behest of an unseen host."

"I'm happy with just appearing in a work that I love so much," Ninomiya said of working on the project. "I'll try my very best to make everyone love it too!"

"This work has so many original and bold points," added Matsumaya. "I'm going to try to tackle the challenge of this new kind of movie."

Anime News Network acknowledged the "extremely violent nature" of "Gantz," but despite the hardcore content of the franchise, it sounds like the project is pretty high profile in Japan. Not only are the movie's leading actors well-known in Japan, but the film is reportedly budgeted at a significant $45 million, or four billion yen.

EXCLUSIVE: Jon Favreau Won't Direct 'Avengers,' Explains 'Iron Man 2' Tie-In Process

When MTV News caught up with "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau at the "Couples Retreat" junket a few weeks ago in Bora Bora, we were determined to get the filmmaker's take on how his much-anticipated sequel would connect with "The Avengers"—even if it took a bumpy ride in a golf cart to make the conversation happen.

Along with confirming that "Incredible Hulk" star Edward Norton won't be appearing in "Iron Man 2" and that Favreau won't be directing "The Avengers," the filmmaker shared some thoughts on his approach to making the Marvel movies all tie together.

"We want to reinforce a lot of the stuff we started to tip off," Favreau told MTV News. "'The Avengers' is a much larger concern for Marvel and Kevin Feige, who runs Marvel. They're going to be doing 'Thor' and 'Captain America,' and the way we might start to tease those things in this movie, some of it is stuff that we've discussed [and] some of the stuff you do last-minute as you figure out how that stuff is coming together."

"It's an evolving, amorphous thing," he explained. "If we decide and commit too early, the secret always gets out."

Case in point: the post-credits cameo by Sam Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury at the end of "Iron Man." Favreau and the studio went so far to keep the scene a secret that it was even left out of early screenings of the film for press. However, the secret still managed ot get out well before the film premiered.

"As soon as we shot the Nick Fury thing—we had a closed set and nobody was supposed to know about it—a week later somehow it was all over the internet," said Favreau. "It's a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game."

As far as his more direct involvement in "The Avengers" goes, Favreau flat-out denied rumors that he'd direct the superhero team-up extravaganza.

"They'll have to [find a different director], because I'm not going to be available," he explained. "It's something I'm being the executive producer on, so I'll definitely have input and a say."

"It's going to be hard, because I was so involved in creating the world of Iron Man and Iron Man is very much a tech-based hero, and then with 'Avengers' you're going to be introducing some supernatural aspects because of Thor," he continued. "How you mix the two of those works very well in the comic books, but it's going to take a lot of thoughtfulness to make that all work and not blow the reality that we've created."

Favreau also confessed that his focus on a single member of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" might not be the best fit for the team-up film.

"That's why it's good that you have the guys from Marvel like Kevin Feige, who knows the books well and has been involved with the making of all the movies, and he'll be very involved with 'Thor' and 'Cap,'" said Favreau. "You need somebody who has the perspective of all the different franchises to bring them together. I have the myopic vision of just knowing and loving Iron Man."

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Raimi Talks 'Spider-Man 5' And 'Spider-Man 6'—But Will He Direct?

Sam Raimi already gave us his thoughts on "Spider-Man 4" villains and when he expects to start shooting the next "Spider-Man" movie in the blockbuster franchise, but once we had him talking about the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, we had to ask: Will he be back for "Spider-Man 5" and "Spider-Man 6"?

"Every time I make one of the 'Spider-Man' movies, I have to ask myself, is the character still intriguing to me?" Raimi told MTV News. "Do I love the character? Am I dying to tell the next story of Peter Parker and Spider-Man?"

"And so far the answer has been yes," he said.

But that's not all he had to say about future installments of the blockbuster franchise, which recently tagged original "Spider-Man 4" writer James Vanderbilt to script the next two films.

"If ever I feel sated, like I've got no more to say or I'm not really super-excited about it," Raimi continued, "because I know I'll also love it, but I've got to be super-excited about it. If I can't reach that level of commitment and excitement, I think then there'd be somebody else better to do justice to the story."

"You have to ask me in two-and-half years," he laughed.

So, while that doesn't mean he'll be back for the fourth chapter in Spider-Man's big-screen adventures, it certainly bodes well for the immediate future. Apparently, Raimi still has a tale to tell.

In 'The Dark Knight Kills Christmas,' Batman Wants Justice... And A Side Of Spaghetti

"The Dark Knight" is one of the most beloved comic book movies of all time, thanks in large part to the Oscar-winning performance of Heath Ledger as Joker—a performance that's inspired plenty of parodies lately.

Recently, we highlighted The Joker Blogs, a series of videos that feature one of the greatest impressions of Ledger's Joker to hit the online circuit. But what's the point of such an accurate Clown Prince of Crime without an equally capable Caped Crusader?

Of all the impressions of Christian Bale's gravely-voiced Batman I've seen, only one strikes me as worthy of standing cowl-to-purple jumper with The Joker Blogs. If you're a fan of that video series, then you're gonna love Max, the star of "The Dark Knight Kills Christmas."

While The Joker Blogs nailed down Ledger's physicality, this kid has completely (and hilariously) mastered Bale's Batman voice. Max, the young menace at the center of "The Dark Knight Kills Christmas," gleefully wreaks havoc around his suburban home with the Dark Knight's cowl and signature growl—and while he might strike fear into the heart of his mother and his cosplaying nemesis, he inspires nothing but gut-bursting laughter from me.

The video was originally posted on December 11, 2008, which means we're almost a year away from the one year anniversary of "The Dark Knight Kills Christmas." Max, if you're reading this, is it too much to ask for a sequel come December? That's all I really want for Christmas this year.

That, and justice—with a side of spaghetti.

'Sad, drunk bear' inspired Where the Wild Things Are film

Where the Wild Things Are should have no problem going from book to movie: The children's book by Maurice Sendak is already illustrated, so it's kind of been storyboarded for 46 years already. Whatever screenwriters Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers added to the story, it still had to look like it came from the book.

"We wrote it from the point of view of trying to make a movie that feels like what it's like to be 9 years old," Jonze told reporters earlier this month in Beverly Hills, Calif. "We didn't really over think it. We sort of wrote our first couple drafts very intuitively, tried to sort of write it from the sort of stream-of-consciousness place that kids make stuff from. That's how we did it."

Like the book, the film tells the story of Max (Max Records), who discovers a land of creatures after fighting with his mother. With an hour and a half to spend in that world, the movie shows a lot more of the land of the Wild Things than Sendak originally drew.

Part of Jonze's mandate for the film was to take Max's journey seriously. This wasn't some imaginary world of creatures: He really visits the land of the Wild Things. Using a handheld camera, Jonze turns Sendak's world into a gritty reality.

"One thing that was really important to [Jonze] was that the film be told from Max's point of view, that it feel like the camera stay with Max and view the world subjectively the way he saw the world," cinematographer Lance Acord said. "So the decision was made there that we would, whenever possible, be seeing the world as Max was. So the camera angles were usually low. We were usually with him. That had a lot to with it."

The Wild Things are melancholy creatures. Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini) gets so frustrated he has to destroy things. KW runs away when relationships get anything less than friendly. Judith is so insecure she's afraid Max is giving other wild things preferential treatment. Jonze became frustrated with Hollywood creature shops and their showy designs, so he hired artist Sonny Gerasimowicz to give the Wild Things weight and reality.

"Sonny e-mailed me his drawings, and they were just these sketches of like these big, sad bears," Jonze said. "One of them was a big, sad, drunk bear leaned against a tree. He had, like, a bottle of booze, but they had such feeling. They were so simple. They were these pencil sketches, and instantly I was like, 'OK, his aesthetic is perfect.' There's something funny and something deep and touching and not precious."

That unusual aesthetic might not have been what Warner Brothers wanted when they commissioned a film based on a classic children's book. Rolling Stone reported on a so-called controversy between Jonze and the studio. Jonze said the controversy was exaggerated.

To put things in perspective, Jonze said that in the five-year process of making the movie, his battle with the studio was only five months. Ultimately, they are releasing his version of the film.

"They let us finish and make [it], and now they are embracing it," Jonze said. "They're selling it. I just got back to L.A., and it's on every billboard in the city, and it's really exciting, and the billboards aren't mis-selling it. They're not trying to sell it as something else. They're not trying to squeak it all up. The materials feel true to the movie. That was something I was really scared of, that the marketing materials and everything they did would be some homogenized version of what we did."

Some reports of controversy were simply incorrect, the filmmakers said. Slashfilm reported that test screening attendees heard children crying and asking to leave the theater. Acord says he was at those screenings, and no one left in tears. They just got mixed focus group polls.

"Some of the responses that the kids have, some of them said, 'Oh, we didn't really understand these parts of the story. We thought it was sad,'" cinematographer Acord recalled. "But there wasn't any drama like that. That's such a good story, I can see why that would be reprinted and written, because it's so much more interesting than actually what happened. I would read that stuff and go, 'Wow, this is going to make the film sound more interesting than it is. I hope it doesn't raise people's expectations.'"

Where the Wild Things Are opens Friday.

HOT! Battlestar's Six and Boomer in Maxim

Hottie Cylons Tricia Helfer and Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica are featured in the November issue of Maxim, where they're talking about upcoming Battlestar movie The Plan.

Because we know you buy Maxim for their insightful coverage of current events, here's what they talked to Helfer about:

"There will certainly be a lot more explicit action on the DVD. And I refuse to have a body double, so you will see a little bit of skin from me as the Six character. There's also a new character you'll see in some very intense sex scenes."

And because we know you really don't care all that much about the words in Maxim, we suggest you click over to their site to see more photos from the Battlestar shoot. The issue hits stands on Oct. 20, while the DVD is going to be released on Oct. 27.

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