Oscars 2013: The Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2013 6:00 am
Oscars 2013: The Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

We judge this year's crop of the animated shorts that are up for Oscar.

If They Can Remake <i>NIMH</i>, Why Not These Classic Cartoons?

Fans of the classic children's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH were treated to animated version in 1982, retitled The Secret of NIMH. Except in the movie, there were some significant changes, like the addition of magic and mysticism, and a lot more deaths. Well, that may be rectified, since a new film adaptation of the book is in the works, one that will likely be a combination of live-action and computer-generated animation. If that had been an option back in 1982, they probably would have just done that the first time, as they would have with every other talking-animal movie made in that decade. We made a list of the animated classics that need an updated go-around, either because they didn't do the book justice or because a new version would make them that much cooler.

Metallica: Through the Never: Some Kind of Concert Movie

by Ethan Alter September 27, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Metallica: Through the Never</i>: Some Kind of Concert Movie

I'll say this for Metallica's film career -- the band has never made the obvious choice when it comes to the kinds of movies they choose to participate in. The 2004 making-of-an-album documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster could have been an extended behind-the-scenes featurette, but instead emerged from the editing room as an exceptionally intimate and invigorating exploration of the creative process, with the group's quartet of metal gods (who individually are vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo on bass) opening their lives (and hearts) to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's cameras. And now, in the midst of a wave of glossy, content-free teenybopper concert movies like One Direction: This is Us and Katy Perry: Part of Me, they've gone and made Metallica: Through the Never, a deliberately strange and hyperbolically stylish IMAX-sized production that intersperses the requisite concert footage not with puff-piece backstage interviews and acts of clearly staged tomfoolery, but instead an expressionistic narrative that doesn't even feature any members of the band. I'd accuse Through the Never of not making a whole lot of sense, but I think that's precisely the point. It's a happening, man, one that's supposed to freak you out.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

by Ethan Alter April 30, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"So Jennifer... how much does an Oscar weigh, anyway?"

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 4, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"C'mon guys! Please guest star on How I Met Your Mother this season? I'm so sick of that show."

Aardman’s Peter Lord Sets Sail With A Band of Misfit <i>Pirates</i>

As one of the founding members of the British animation studio Aardman Animations, Peter Lord has watched the company grow from a tiny two-man operation to a full-fledged cartoon factory that produces commercials, TV shows and movies using both computer animation and its signature stop-motion house style popularized in such shorts as Creature Comforts and The Wrong Trousers. Over a decade ago, Lord himself shepherded Aardman into feature filmmaking by co-directing the hit Great Escape homage Chicken Run, and now he's back behind the camera for their latest big-screen effort The Pirates: Band of Misfits, which stars Hugh Grant as a 19th-century Pirate Captain who doesn't let the fact that he isn't the sharpest cutlass in the drawer stop him from leading his crew across the seven seas. Lord spoke with TWoP about how Grant found his voice for the part and whether it's best for cartoon animals to be seen rather than heard.

<I>Project X</I>: If <I>American Pie</I> and <I>Superbad</I> Weren’t Raunchy Enough For You…

Did you watch American Pie thinking that the movie was lacking in enough topless women, drug paraphernalia and raunchy sex scenes? Do you feel that Superbad suffered from too much clever dialogue and not enough debauchery? Are you really just in the mood for a party movie that has loud music and features more Jackass-style moments than a thoughtful plot? Then Project X may be for you.

Oscar Shorts 2012: Get Your Shorts On

by Ethan Alter February 10, 2012 6:00 am
Oscar Shorts 2012: Get Your Shorts On

It used to be next to impossible to see the various films nominated every year in the Oscar's three short film categories (animated, live action and documentary) a.k.a. that point in the telecast when you go to the bathroom/grab another beer/channel surf to check out what else is on. In recent years though, the distribution companies Magnolia and ShortsHD have banded together to ensure that these movies get a wider release, both in theaters and through new avenues like video on demand. Screenings of the 2012 nominees start in select cities Friday and will continue to open around the country (and overseas) over the next month. And beginning February 21st -- five days before Oscar night -- the films will also be available for purchase on iTunes. (Visit the official website to find more information on when and where the shorts may be playing near you.) Here's our take on all of the nominated short films, as well as the ones we think should and will win.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

by Ethan Alter February 7, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Forget White Castle -- Harold and Kumar have entered the Claymation dimension.

Baby Mama Wins Comedy-Heavy Weekend

by DeAnn Welker April 28, 2008 11:12 am
<i>Baby Mama</i> Wins Comedy-Heavy Weekend

It looks like most of the country trusted Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's comedy skills, and gave the terrible trailer for Baby Mama a pass, as the film raked in $18.3 million on 2,543 screens to open at No. 1 at the weekend box office. Not too far behind was Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, which took in $14.6 million on 2,510 screens.

It's a big win for Tina Fey, who proved she not only can create, write, produce, and star in the funniest comedy on TV, but that she can also open a movie at the box office -- even despite lackluster reviews. Turns out it paid to be a chick flick this weekend, as two-thirds of the moviegoers who turned out to watch Fey hire childish surrogate Poehler were women, while two-thirds of those paying to see Harold and Kumar take another trip were men.

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