Feb. 03, 2012 | 1:14 p.m.

‘Secret World of Arrietty’ director on the beauty of Studio Ghibli

Gary Rydstrom is a wizard with sound. In the last three decades, he’s worked with James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Pixar, racking up seven Oscars and nine more nominations for his contributions to such films as “Titanic,” “Minority Report,” “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and “Finding Nemo,” among others. Although the new film “The Secret World of Arrietty,” the latest production from Japan’s revered animation house Studio Ghibli, finds Rydstrom in the director’s chair for the second time, he’s sticking close to his field of expertise — he directed the actors as they recorded the audio portion of the English-language release of the film, which Disney is opening in the U.S. on Feb. 17. Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote the Japanese screenplay for the film, which is based on “The Borrowers,” Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s book about […]
Dec. 27, 2011 | 3:19 p.m.

Hobbits, aliens, Batman and more: Which is the most anticipated movie of 2012?

All the gifts are finally unwrapped and the cinematic class of 2011 has finally been presented. There’s not much left to do now but watch as the clock counts down until 2012. It should be a quiet time to backtrack and catch up on all those movies that went unviewed opening weekend, but are now present on nearly every critics’ top 10 list. But the studios have kick-started the anticipation for the new year with a herd of new trailers for some of 2012’s biggest potential blockbusters — three in the last week alone. Holiday moviegoers (or anyone with a decent Internet connection) got their first peeks at “The Hobbit,” “Prometheus” and an extended look at “The Dark Knight Rises.” These trailers joined the already-released group, which includes “The Avengers” and “John Carter” and “The Hunger Games,” among others. So […]
Nov. 16, 2011 | 12:19 p.m.

‘Brave’ trailer: Pixar’s first female hero takes aim in 2012

Disney-Pixar has released the first full trailer to “Brave,” the company’s 13th feature film. And this one boasts a lot of firsts for Pixar’s canon: first fairy tale, first female protagonist, first period piece and first extensive use of Scottish accents. Also, in keeping with Pixar’s continued push toward ever more realistic computer-animated textures in its films, this one appears to have a definite loamier, earthier feel, with lots of moss and mist and magic. Kelly Macdonald of “Boardwalk Empire” fame provides the voice of Merida, the fiery, redheaded archer who defies the traditions of her Scottish Highlands-based clan and attempts to chart her own path in life, but winds up wreaking havoc when she unleashes an ancient curse. Julie Walters, Emma Thompson and most of the Scottish actors in Hollywood — Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane and Craig […]
Aug. 20, 2011 | 2:50 p.m.

D23 news: Pixar is making a dinosaur movie

The Walt Disney Co. announced two new original Pixar feature films at D23 on Saturday, an untitled movie about dinosaurs directed by “Finding Nemo” screenwriter Bob Peterson due in 2013 and an untitled movie about the inner workings of the brain directed by “Up” and “Monsters Inc.” director Pete Docter due in 2014. Disney and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter introduced the two new projects at the media company’s three-day fan event in Anaheim, in a demonstration that the animation studio best known lately for the sequels “Toy Story 3” and “Cars 2” is still committed to original stories. Peterson showed a single piece of concept art of a dinosaur walking in tall grass with what appeared to be a small child riding on it. The movie, he said, was about what would happen if “the asteroid missed the […]
Aug. 17, 2011 | 10:47 a.m.

Disney’s 2012: ‘Brave,’ ‘Avengers,’ ‘John Carter’

“The Avengers,”  “Brave” and “John Carter”  are coming to Anaheim this weekend. The three-day D23 Expo 2011 opens Friday with previews and promotions representing every corner of the Mouse’s universe but the brightest of all spotlights will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday when Walt Disney Studios begins a preview of upcoming film projects that will include movies from Disney proper as well as Pixar and, for the first time at the Expo, Marvel Studios. At the first Expo, back in September 2009, the same preview program in the Anaheim Convention Center’s arena included appearances by Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage, and you can expect a similar parade of famous faces this year as Disney looks to further establish the D23 event as its own in-house version of Comic-Con International’s Hall H — the place where Hollywood studios reach out to fans, bloggers and the media […]
Aug. 13, 2011 | 1:33 p.m.

‘Monsters Inc.’ prequel: Billy Crystal gets schooled by Pixar

Billy Crystal is getting schooled by Pixar — and he couldn’t be happier about returning to the “Monsters Inc.” universe and working again with fellow beastie John Goodman. “We’re having a blast together,” Crystal said Friday after a marathon recording session for “Monsters University,” which is planned for summer of 2013. “It’s really a great script, it’s really funny.” Crystal was on stage Friday night at a 20th anniversary screening of “City Slickers,” where he was joined on stage by surprise guest Daniel Stern for a sparkling night of humor and emotion — both spoke warmly of Jack Palance and Bruno Kirby, their “Slickers” costars who both died in 2006. I was the moderator on stage and I also asked Crystal about his return to the role of Michael “Mike” Wazowski, the lime-colored, one-eyed scene-stealer from “Monsters Inc.” “That’s why I’m a little hoarse. I spent five-and-a-half hours today for […]
Aug. 10, 2011 | 1:46 p.m.

Brad Bird: Hollywood isn’t brave enough to copy Pixar process

A dazzling new Blu-ray edition of “The Incredibles” was released  in April, and we screened the film at the final day of the Hero Complex Film Festival. In both settings, the 2004 movie continues to live up to its name. Hero Complex’s Geoff Boucher recently talked to Brad Bird, the writer and director of the superhero classic (as well as the director of December’s upcoming “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” with Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg) and got him to reflect on the Parr family, the secret sauce of Pixar and his soft spot for Sean Connery as 007. GB: Pixar has become the gold standard among popcorn films as far as storytelling, and I’m wondering if the process of animation — and having the story locked in before the animators get to work — is one of the reasons. What […]
June 16, 2011 | 10:06 a.m.

‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton on Martian history, Comic-Con and … Monty Python?

EXCLUSIVE Long before “Star Wars,” “Dune,” or “Avatar,” there was “John Carter of  Mars” and his epic adventures on the Red Planet, which the natives call Barsoom. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy-adventure character that deeply influenced generations of authors, filmmakers and artists, among them George Lucas and James Cameron, who found plenty to like in the stories of outsider heroes and alien princesses. Now filmmaker Andrew Stanton (the writer-director of “Wall-E” and “Finding Nemo”) is on a quest to bring the vintage hero to a 21st century audience with the Disney live-action epic that arrives in theaters in March with stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Mark Strong and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon as part of the writing team. Our Geoff Boucher caught up with Stanton to talk about the history, the hopes and the […]
June 09, 2011 | 7:44 a.m.

Hero Complex Film Festival, the day-by-day guide

The 2011 Hero Complex Film Festival is underway. Here’s a rundown of the day-by-day schedule. There will also be trivia, prizes and some very interesting surprises throughout the four-day program. THURSDAY DICK TRACY: Fourteen-time Oscar nominee Warren Beatty – the very definition of the Hollywood hyphenate as world-famous leading man, an acclaimed director and an elite producer — will be the opening-night guest for the 2011 Hero Complex Film Festival to celebrate his 1990 hit “Dick Tracy“ and talk about the film future of a square-jawed character who is celebrating his 80th anniversary as an iconic crime fighter in American pop culture. Beatty directed  “Dick Tracy,” which was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three. He also starred as the title character, leading a stellar cast that included Al Pacino, Madonna, Dustin Hoffman,  Glenne Headly, Charlie Korsmo, Mandy Patinkin, Dick Van Dyke, William Forsythe, Kathy Bates, Charles Durning, James […]
May 30, 2011 | 11:28 a.m.

Jon Favreau, Richard Donner and Warren Beatty headline Hero Complex Film Festival

There’s a special Memorial Day discount of 15% on all single-day tickets for the Hero Complex Film Festival. Go to the event ticket page  and enter in the code “MEMORIAL” to get the special limited price. The festival is June 9-12 at the Chinese 6 theaters in Hollywood. June 9: On opening night it’s a screening of “Dick Tracy” and an on-stage conversation with 14-time Oscar nominee Warren Beatty, who will talk about his plans to revive the character in a new feature film with a young star in the role he himself made famous. There will also be some Dick Tracy trivia and prizes. June 10: Just like last year, Friday is Starfleet night with a screening of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” followed by 2009’s “Star Trek.” On stage it’s Nicholas Meyer, director of the fan-beloved “Khan” (as well as writer […]
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