July 24, 2014 | 2:59 p.m.
In the first major studio presentation at this year’s Comic-Con International, DreamWorks Animation was eager to show off its upcoming alien buddy-comedy “Home” and its big-screen spinoff “Penguins of Madagascar.” But for the fans who packed Hall H for Thursday’s panel, some of whom had lined up overnight, the main attraction wasn’t cuddly extraterrestrials or adorable penguins: it was actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The star of the BBC hit “Sherlock” and last year’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Cumberbatch had never actually attended the convention before this year and, to no one’s surprise, he was met with a rock star’s greeting of screams, squeals and popping flashes. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 To ensure the focus remained squarely on “Penguins of Madagascar,” in which the actor voices a secretive and heroic wolf named Classified, panel moderator Craig Ferguson half-jokingly admonished the crowd, “I’m warning you, if anyone asks a […]
Jan. 11, 2013 | 9:40 a.m.
From Betty Boop to the Little Mermaid, young female characters in animation nearly always share the same silhouette — an exaggerated hourglass shape. But Eep, the prehistoric teenager voiced by Emma Stone in the Dreamworks Animation movie “The Croods,” sports a decidedly different physique. More Olympian than pinup, Eep has the shoulders of a swimmer, the legs of a gymnast and the strength and speed to survive the apocalypse — or at least some major continent shifting. The Crood family — including Eep’s dad, Grug (Nicolas Cage), mom, Ugga (Catherine Keener), and brother, Thunk (Clark Duke) — live in a fictional time period called the “Croodaceous Era,” when the Earth is populated by exotic, dangerous creatures and the most useful animal instinct is fear. It’s when Eep meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a lanky loner from a more highly evolved, Homo […]
Oct. 06, 2011 | 5:28 a.m.
Hollywood has called on Hugh Jackman to portray a feral mutant superhero, a vampire hunter, a singing penguin and a dapper cartoon rodent, so you would think his latest project, “Real Steel,” which opens Friday, would be a cinch — how hard could it be to channel a former boxer on the ropes in his personal life? But according to director Shawn Levy, the hard-luck protagonist Charlie Kenton took the actor into a unexpectedly challenging corner: It demanded he be casually cruel to his on-screen son, Max, played by the cherub-faced 12-year-old Dakota Goyo. “After certain takes, Hugh would come up to me, concerned, asking ‘Are you sure I’m not being too harsh to this boy?’” Levy said. “I would assure him that … his fundamental kindness came through and, second, if we don’t set this character up as an […]
May 28, 2011 | 6:31 a.m.
The impressive voice cast of “Kung Fu Panda 2” — one which includes Jack Black as Po, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper and David Cross as Crane — is equalled by the film’s visual accomplishments, according to Times’ film critic Betsy Sharkey: There is much less of the comic book sketching-voice-over combo that was used liberally in the first “Panda” to fill in the blanks. And that is a good thing. For “Panda 2” is not just wall-to-wall animation, it is artistry of the highest order. I don’t know whether it’s the technology that’s changed, or that the artists, most of whom worked on the first, have grown, but there is a striking new level of emotion in the characters themselves, particularly their eyes, that […]