May 08, 2013 | 2:24 p.m.

Ray Harryhausen: Pixar’s Pete Docter on the monster king

In the 2001 Pixar movie “Monsters, Inc.,” Mike, the one-eyed green orb voiced by Billy Crystal, takes his scaly, snake-haired girlfriend Celia out for sushi at a local haunt called Harryhausen’s. The name of the restaurant was a nod to a man who influenced “Monsters, Inc.” director Pete Docter — special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died Tuesday in London at age 92. Before the kind of computer animation pioneered at Pixar became Hollywood’s standard tool for crafting its fantasies, Harryhausen used the methodical, frame-by-frame technique of stop-motion animation to place dinosaurs in New York City in 1953’s “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” to pit Jason against an army of skeleton warriors in “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963), and to release the kraken in the 1981 version of “Clash of the Titans.” It was an approach that captured the imaginations […]
Feb. 13, 2013 | 10:15 a.m.

Albert Brooks takes bait, signs on for ‘Finding Nemo 2’

Albert Brooks took the bait. After lengthy discussions — and, a nice paycheck? — Brooks has reportedly agreed to join the cast of Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo 2.” It would have been difficult (but not impossible) to imagine a sequel that did not include Brooks. Despite the title of the Oscar-winning movie, it’s Brooks’ character, Marlin — the overprotective orange-and-white striped clownfish who must overcome his own fears to save his son — who provides the animated film’s most recognizable character. Are you glad to hear there will be a “Finding Nemo 2”? Or do you wish Hollywood would just leave a good thing alone? Valentine’s Day gift ideas: ‘Star Wars’ and more The deal was first reported by Deadline.com. A representative at Disney said Pixar would not discuss its production. A representative for Brooks did not return a phone call […]
Jan. 09, 2013 | 1:25 p.m.

‘The Blue Umbrella’: First look at Pixar’s rainy day love story

A rainy twilight sets the stage for two umbrellas to fall in love in a clip from “The Blue Umbrella” — a short film set to debut before Pixar’s “Monsters University” this June. Pixar has become nothing short of a hit machine, churning out many of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed animated features over the last 15 years. But equally beloved are the Pixar Shorts — the animated short films that have accompanied each Pixar theatrical release since old Geri played a game of chess against himself in “Geri’s Game,” which debuted before “A Bug’s Life” in 1998. The shorts have become known for originality and charm, and have garnered three Oscar wins plus seven nominations collectively, including a nod for “La Luna,” which screened before last year’s “Brave.” “The Blue Umbrella” looks to follow suit, if the adorable […]
July 11, 2012 | 7:17 a.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Star Trek,’ Spider-Man in free Hero Complex mag

Who are the 50 greatest science fiction characters in television history? We answer that question with the latest edition of Hero Complex: The Magazine, which will be distributed for free at the doorstep of Comic-Con International this week in San Diego. We’ve printed up 100,000 copies of the glossy magazine for fans headed to the world-famous pop culture expo —  but if you’re not headed to the San Diego Convention Center you can also pick up a copy at six comic book stores: Meltdown Comics  in Los Angeles; the Earth 2 Comics in Sherman Oaks and Northridge; and any of the three Midtown Comics in New York City. The choice we made for our cover portrait is completely logical: Mr. Spock of the USS Enterprise as portrayed by Leonard Nimoy on “Star Trek” in the 1960s. How many other Starfleet […]
June 22, 2012 | 1:08 p.m.

Pixar’s ‘Brave’ shoots arrows in the princess ideal

A princess never lays her weapons on the table. A princess never raises her voice. A princess strives for perfection. A princess, in other words, is a royal bore. At least that’s how it seems to Merida, the red-haired, bow-and-arrow-wielding teenager at the center of the new Pixar movie “Brave” upon hearing her mother’s precepts for ladylike behavior. Merida would prefer to live a more adventuresome life than the tightly scripted one into which she’s been born as the daughter of an ancient Scottish king, an inconvenient yearning that sparks a nasty quarrel with her mother and a crisis in the kingdom. The animation studio’s first female protagonist after 12 features centered on male heroes, Merida is one of a growing band of pop culture princesses whose defiance, athleticism and pluck would shock their pie-baking, floor-scrubbing, dulcet-voiced Disney ancestresses. PHOTOS: […]
May 24, 2012 | 6:46 p.m.

‘Wall-E’: Andrew Stanton shares some Pixar family photos

"M-O @ Sears." (Andrew Stanton)
We’re still recovering from the 2012 Hero Complex Film Festival (maybe you are too) and we’ll be posting videos soon from the long weekend of movies, memorable moments and  madness, but first there’s a bit of unfinished business: Andrew Stanton promised to send over some fun behind-the-scenes Pixar photos from the “Wall-E” days and we promised to post them and … here they are. The two-time Oscar winner was the guest after our Sunday matinee screening of the most cosmic of Pixar films and he mentioned that the editorial department at Pixar had a bit of fun by taking a reference model of M-O over to the Sears Portrait Studio where warm family memories are preserved forever, um … tasteful flair? — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Brad Bird: Hollywood won’t copy Pixar ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton digs into Mars ‘Rango’: Verbinski’s new approach The […]
May 17, 2012 | 2:49 p.m.

‘Prometheus’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ mash-up: When Ridley met Woody

I have a soft spot for trailer mash-ups — the “Toy Story” and “Star Trek” one was genius, and there was that great hybrid of “Up” and “Inception” — and Jay West just sent me a link to this new one. There’s an awful lot of clever energy and nimble imagination at work in these. What’s the best one you’ve seen? If you come up with a Top 5 ranking (with links, please) we’ll give the coolest collection a guest post and byline here on Hero Complex. — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED ‘Prometheus’: Ridley Scott returns to ‘Alien’ canvas Ridley Scott: ‘Magic comes  over the horizon’ ‘Prometheus’: The riddles of Ridley Scott Michael Fassbender on ‘Prometheus’ Ridley Scott seeks the ‘original DNA’ of ‘Alien’ Moebius: The last interview Ridley Scott: I came to science fiction by backdoor Rutger Hauer: Chris […]
May 11, 2012 | 11:01 a.m.

Hero Complex Film Festival: A weekend guide with wax-pack fun

It’s almost here — we’re just one week from the start of the 2012 Hero Complex Film Festival and with the franchise in its third year we’ve moved to a sweet new home (Regal Cinemas at LA Live, where in September we brought you a 30th anniversary screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with Steven Spielberg and surprise guest Harrison Ford) and expanded the program (four days now with more than a dozen guests, including three that haven’t been announced). To get a bead on the festival, peruse the photo gallery above — be sure to click the “CAPTIONS ON” option if you don’t see text across the bottom of each image — and you’ll get a snapshot description of all of eight of our separately ticketed screenings. The box here on the right leads to the ticketing page. And how about those fun images in the gallery? […]
April 25, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.

Pixar Sunday: ‘Wall-E,’ Andrew Stanton, ‘Brave’ preview on May 20

2012 HERO COMPLEX FILM FESTIVAL Writer-director Andrew Stanton won his second Oscar with the evocative sci-fi tale “Wall-E” and on May 20 at the Hero Complex Film Festival the filmmaker will return to familiar space to reconnect with the Pixar hit. Five years have passed since the cosmic comedy won over  moviegoers and critics alike and cemented the Hollywood stature of Stanton, who had previously taken home an Academy Award for “Finding Nemo,” regarded by many Pixar fans to be among the best — if not the best — of the company’s historic run of feature films. Stanton went on to direct “John Carter,” the huge fantasy film that got caught up in Disney cross-currents and became the most bruising Hollywood headline so far this year. Stanton will talk about his next step — could it be a return to Pixar? Fans who buy […]
April 03, 2012 | 6:59 p.m.

Pixar auction: An animated effort for Japan’s tsunami recovery

Some of the top artists at Pixar Animation Studios have donated artwork and memorabilia to an EBay auction that will benefit victims of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Organized to mark the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the auction is part of an international fundraising effort by Artists Help Japan. Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, the Tokyo-born art director of “Toy Story 3,” founded Artists Help Japan in 2011 in response to the destruction in northern Honshu. Artists and musicians have donated their talents to help raise over $240,000 to date. The online auction is one of a series of events taking place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, New York and London. “Artists whom I know in various cities contacted me, asking to contribute,” Tsutsumi says. “What moved me even more than the money they raised was the idea that there […]
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