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"You'll meet artists, scientists, animators, coders, sculptors, all kinds of different people." This is totally wonderful. Khan Academy has partnered with Pixar to launch a new instructional series titled "Pixar in a Box". The idea is to launch an intensive course to teach people how to make computer animated movies like Pixar, teaching the entire process. To announce the series, Pixar made a video that explains step-by-step how they make a movie. It's one of the most exciting and impressive inside looks at the studio that I've ever seen, breaking down every last part of the process. This seriously makes me wish I worked for Pixar, what a dream. But that's the point! They want you to realize that dream can come true, you need to start learning. For now, watch this and discover what it takes to create a feature animated film. There's so much involved.
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was Chinese and made an animated crime drama. That's kind of what Have a Nice Day feels like, in a way. Have a Nice Day (originally titled Hao ji le in Chinese) is a film from director Jian Liu that just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in the main competition line-up. The animation style is closer to "Archer" or A Scanner Darkly, and the film is sort of a Coen Brothers-esque story about a bunch of people in a small Chinese town who get mixed up chasing a bag of money. There are a few minor political themes, but it's fairly light entertainment, with some fun moments and colorful characters. Oddly enough, this film is better than half of what I saw in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, even if isn't that smart.
"Are you ready to risk your life for Ninjago?" Warner Bros has debuted the first full trailer for The LEGO Ninjago Movie, showing in front of The LEGO Batman Movie in theaters this weekend. This latest LEGO Movie from Warner Animation Group tells the story of six young ninjas who must defend their island home called Ninjago. Jackie Chan voices Sensei Wu, their master and teacher. The rest of the voice cast includes Olivia Munn, Dave Franco, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen, and Justin Theroux as the evil Garmadon. This actually looks quite fun, and if it's as good as the other two LEGO Movies, even better. The other exciting news - this will be out in theaters later this year.
Before The LEGO Batman Movie, Chris McKay (of Moral Orel, Robot Chicken) was best known as the animation co-director and editor of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s 2014 film, The LEGO Movie. His work on the critically acclaimed film earned him the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film, Animation, as well as an Annie Award nomination for Best Edited Animation Feature Film. Now, McKay will forever be known as the guy who saved Gotham City’s Caped Crusader from a dark and gritty existence with The LEGO Batman Movie, perhaps the best film based on a DC Comics property since 2008’s The Dark Knight, and maybe the best pure Batman movie since Nolan's Batman Begins (2005).
Need a bit of inspiration today? Need something to take your mind off of the bad things in the world? Watch this. You'll have a big smile by the end. Jorge Luengo Ruiz has put together a fantastic video compilation of "The Most Beautiful Shots in The History of Disney". He features some of the best cinematography and most beautiful moments from Disney movies, ranging from Pinocchio and Fantasia all the way up to Big Hero 6 and Moana from last year. I appreciate that this only uses footage from actual Disney movies, and not Pixar movies (because that would be a video of its own), because they have so many stellar movies.
"You're a weirdo." The Weinstein Company has debuted a new trailer for the animated movie titled Leap!, originally titled Ballerina. The film has already opened in theaters in most of Europe, and is scheduled to open in the US in March. It's actually originally from France, but has been redubbed with English voices, including Elle Fanning as the voice of Félicie Milliner, as well as Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler and Carly Rae Jepsen. The story is about an orphan girl who dreams of being a ballerina. She ends up in Paris where she tries her best to make her dreams come true. We posted the UK trailer for this movie previously, which I said reminds me of Frozen with all the twirling, but this new trailer seems to be better. Take a look.
Is this Pixar's first musical? Yes, but not quite. EW.com has debuted a first look photo from Pixar's Coco, their next big original movie coming out in 2017 (the other one Pixar is releasing is Cars 3). Coco is a film set around the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead (or Dia de Muertos), and is about a young boy. In the photo, we can see him holding a guitar playing a song while some colorful confetti kicks up around him. Anthony Gonzalez voices Miguel, and the all-Latino voice cast includes Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Renee Victor. Coco isn't exactly "a break-out-into-song musical," but rather, one "set against the backdrop of musical performance." Reminds me of the fantastic Kubo and the Two Strings. See below.
"It's almost too thrilling for words…" Seriously, don't watch this trailer. It's so bad. Just skip it. Move on and forget about this movie right now. Sony Pictures Animation has unveiled the first teaser trailer for The Emoji Movie and it's awful, just terrible. This movie is completely unnecessary, it doesn't need to be made. From the looks of it, they ripped off the concepts of The LEGO Movie (the main character who doesn't fit in), Inside Out (the emotions) and Wreck-It Ralph (inside the digital world) and dumbed them down to tell a stupid story about emojis. The voice cast includes T.J. Miller, James Corden and Ilana Glazer. One of the alternate titles for this is "Emojimovie: Express Yourself", which is even worse. This is going to be bad.
"If you could feel what I'm feeling, it's the answer to the question of my life." Lionsgate has unveiled a new US trailer for the animated movie Rock Dog, originally produced in China. This musical is about a dog who realizes it's his destiny to become a rock star. Luke Wilson voices Bodi, a Tibetan Mastiff who discovers it's his dream to become a musician when a radio falls out of the sky. The voice cast includes Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon and Sam Elliott as "Fleetwood Yak". This looks fun, and it has some wacky moments, but from what I've heard it's not that great. It looks a bit cheesy and the songs don't seem catchy, but you never know. Give it a spin.
"Mom, Dad! The baby can talk!" DreamWorks Animation has released a second full-length trailer for their next animated comedy, titled The Boss Baby, made by the same director as the Madagascar series and Mastermind. The first trailer introduced us to the "Boss Baby", an adorable baby voiced by Alec Baldwin who carries a briefcase and harbors a malicious desire to put an end to ever-so-cute Puppy Co. Other voices in this are Miles Bahski, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, and Steve Buscemi. This looks fun, and they're obviously selling the sibling rivalry and cuteness above all else, I just hope there's something more to this. Maybe the story of them becoming friends is the core emotion. Check it out below.
It's always a good time to watch a Studio Ghibli movie. GKids is planning a very limited US release of a 1993 film that never actually was released in the US back then. It's titled Ocean Waves, and is about a love triangle between two good friends who both fall hard for a new girl who transfers to their high school from Tokyo. It was actually made as a TV anime but still plays a 72-minute feature, which is being released on Blu-ray following the theatrical screenings. Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, Ocean Waves is set in the city of Kōchi, on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It doesn't exactly have the same feel as a Miyazaki movie, but it does look just as gorgeous as anything else Ghibli has made, built upon the honest emotions of growing up.
"Dance fight!" Universal has released the first full theatrical trailer for Illumination Entertainment's next sequel to Despicable Me, titled just Despicable Me 3 for now. The story brings back Gru (and his minions) for another misadventure, this time involving his long lost twin brother Dru (who is also voiced by Steve Carell) not seen in this trailer. The full voice cast includes Kristen Wiig back at his side as Lucy Wilde, along with Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Michael Beattie, Dana Gaier and "South Park's" Trey Parker as the new stuck-in-the-80s villain Balthazar Bratt. Nabbing Parker for a voice is the only thing that interests me about this. They show quite a bit of footage in the trailer, and it looks as amusing as expected.