MENU

December, 2019
Archive

Pixar Appears Twice In Oscars Shortlists

Awards, Oscars, Shorts, SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • December 17, 2019

The 2020 Oscars shortlists have been revealed for 9 categories: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects. Pixar appears in the shortlists twice, and we couldn’t be more happy and hopeful for the teams involved.

Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 has been shortlisted for Best Music (Original Song). Newman’s music always evokes such a strong sense of nostalgia in me, partly because it brings me back to watching Pixar movies on VHS tapes, but also because the lyrics are always so thoughtful.

The wonderful Sparkshort Kitbull, directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, has also been shortlisted for Best Animated Short Film. It’s great to see one of the Sparkshorts gaining attention in the awards season, especially with them missing out at the Annie Awards nominations. Out of all the Sparkshorts that Pixar released on YouTube, Kitbull currently has the most views, and holds the record for the most tears I have shed while watching an animated cat.

Good luck to all those that have been shortlisted! As ever, we’re intrigued to see how the awards season plays out.

So far this season, Toy Story 4 has been nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes, and at the Annie Awards it gained 6 nominations: Best Feature, Best FX (Alexis Angelidis, Amit Ganapati Baadkar, Greg Gladstone, Kylie Wijsmuller and Matthew Kiyoshi Wong), Best Music (Randy Newman), Best Voice Acting (Tony Hale as Forky), Best Writing (Stephany Folsom and Andrew Stanton), and Best Editorial (Axel Geddes, Torbin Xan Bullock and Greg Snyder).

Read article

The second official Onward trailer is here!

Onward, Trailer

Posted by Simoa • December 17, 2019

Holy Tooth of Zadar! What a marvelous two minutes and 25 seconds it is!

There’s even a new poster too.

I can’t say anything just yet about the Onward screening I attended back in October, but would you believe that this new trailer inspired the same emotions in me? Mostly awe tinged with sadness. My eyes started welling up, and I’ve watched the trailer three times already. Imagine how much of a mess I’ll be when the actual movie is released!

This new footage reveals quite a bit more, but much of the plot mystery remains intact. Some of the new footage includes the Manticore sending Ian and Barley on their quest. It turns out the mighty and fearsome creature has evolved into a frazzled restaurant manager. And while manticores are usually depicted with the face of a man, Corey the Manticore Manager, is a woman!

Corey however, forgot to warn Ian and Barley about the curse, so now the Lightfoot brothers are in mortal peril! Their mother Laurel sets out after them, and we even get to see her wield a sword! Not since Brave in 2012 have we had a Pixar mom play a vital role and carry a sword!

I found my favorite character. Did I mention she has a sword?

We also see one of the newly unveiled characters from yesterday, Colt Bronco, attempting to escort Ian and Barley home in a police cruiser. There’s a lot of action sequences, but none of it overwhelms.

But it’s not all high speed car chases, sword wielding moms, fire breathing dragons, and tough biker pixies; there’s tender scenes too, and even a baby picture of Ian and Barley.

It’s clear from this trailer and the screening from a few weeks ago that Onward will have quieter moments. Considering the themes of death and grieving, that’s only to be expected. I’m anticipating how the filmmakers strike a balance between this wild fantasy world and the more familiar, human aspects. All while being uproariously funny and sad.

The trailer also treats us to stunning scenery, colors, backgrounds, and landscapes. I’m swooning just thinking of that color script.


Onward will be in theaters in almost three! months – March 6, 2020.

Read article

New Onward Character Posters, New Cast Revealed, New Trailer!

Onward

Posted by Joanna • December 16, 2019

A new Onward trailer is arriving tomorrow, and to tide us over, Pixar have provided us with some character posters and new cast reveals.

Check out the new posters below:

Most of these characters are familiar to us at this point, but the police officers seem new: Gore, Specter, and a centaur cop whose name is unknown, but that thumbs up tells us he’s a friendly guy. These characters will be voiced by Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, and Mel Rodriguez respectively.

Update: the unnamed centaur cop is Colt Bronco. (Somebody at Pixar is a football fan).

We’re still holding out hope for a character poster featuring just Dad’s legs, but we’ll have to wait and see.

March 6th! Suddenly it doesn’t seem so far away.

Read article

Float: a magical story of acceptance

Bobby Rubio, Disney+, Float, SparkShorts

Posted by Simoa • December 15, 2019

Please don’t ask if I have a favorite SparkShort. I just can’t choose. (Maybe it’s “Kitbull.” But again, don’t ask)! But if you asked me which one is the most special to me, I’d have to choose “Float.” That’s the one I was lucky enough to watch in Pixar’s beautiful theater, where the ceiling glitters with gold stars. In fact, I was so excited about the prospect of seeing any one of the SparkShorts on a big screen that I gasped aloud when it was announced. And I was sitting in the front row, so Chris Wiggum, our host that night, heard and immediately singled me out. One of my finer moments, to be sure! 

The SparkShorts series came at a pivotal moment in Pixar’s history. At a time when Hollywood at large has reckoned with abuses of power, Pixar has had to do the same. This short film program aims to level the playing field by giving opportunities to diverse voices behind the camera. “Float” was the first to premiere on Disney+ a few weeks ago, and it was also the first thing I watched when I downloaded the app. Nothing could replace the experience of seeing it in Pixar’s theater, but I just had to watch it over and over, and be enveloped by all the emotions it stirred in me. 

“Float” is story artist Bobby Rubio’s first directorial effort. He’s Filipino, as are the characters in the short. In fact, it’s a deeply personal project inspired by Rubio’s relationship with his son. “Float” opens on a warm and golden afternoon. A father and his son enjoy the beautiful day, with the little boy taking a few wobbly steps. As the father blows on a dandelion, the delighted boy breaks into a smile and floats in the air. It’s a moment of innocent magic, and by that point, I was already in love. I just expected to be smiling contentedly for the rest of it, soaking up the warmth.

But then two parents pass by with their daughter, and their reaction to the boy in the air is one of confusion and alarm. That was the moment that my warm and fuzzy bubble burst. Uh, what’s the matter with these people? I thought. This boy can fly! The father did not share my feelings. He grabs his son from the air and holds onto him, retreats into their house, away from the neighbors’ stares. 

The interior of the house is gray and drab, the golden haze gone. The years have passed and the little boy is a bit older now, drawing on the ceiling since he can float up there. His father is grim faced with lanky long hair and a beard. It’s clear that he hasn’t shaved or gotten a haircut in quite a while. He’s also frustrated by his son’s unique ability. He grabs him out of the air and places a backpack loaded with rocks onto him so he’ll remain on the ground. That’s his way of achieving some sort of “normalcy.” 

But his son doesn’t stay earthbound for very long. Despite his father’s best efforts, he still continues to soar. 

I had suspected that “Float” was a metaphor for autism. Bobby Rubio confirmed it for us during a panel with the SparkShorts filmmakers, and hearing him describe his experiences raising his son, struggling to accept his differences, made me choke up just as much as I did watching the short. “Float” may be about a father learning to accept his son, but I found another meaning in it. Autism is so misunderstood, and “Float” doesn’t shy away from that reality. But it also presents it as something magical like flying. Isn’t that amazing? This thing that makes you different, that other people find weird, is actually wonderful. It could be autism or anything else, and that’s also what makes “Float” so significant.

There’s just one line of dialogue spoken, and it’s devastating; I’d rank it up there with some of the most heart wrenching moments in Pixar’s full length films. That’s one of the things I love about these SparkShorts: they tell a lot of story in such a brief amount of time, and none of the poignancy is lost. 

Be sure to watch the The Making of Float, also on Disney+. There’s some beautiful concept art and more background on the short.

 

Click the banner below for all of our SparkShorts reviews.

Read article

The bleak immigration story in Wind

Short Film, SparkShorts

Posted by Simoa • December 14, 2019

Pixar’s latest SparkShort is now streaming on Disney+. “Wind” is a tale unlike any other at the studio. Of course we watch Pixar films expecting to cry, but rarely do they leave us so winded (pun not intended) without the promise of a happy ending. Toy Story 4 was the first to end on a bittersweet note, but the ending to “Wind” is actually heartbreaking.

The short begins with warm lighting that envelopes the characters, a young boy and his grandmother, in soft, gold light. It’s comforting. But that warmth just vanishes when they step outside. The two of them live in a vast ruin of darkness with massive boulders and debris floating through the air. It’s mostly gray out there; cold and harsh.

I was wondering throughout how this cavernous landfill came to exist, and why these two people should be living on such inhospitable terrain. Those questions weren’t answered but that doesn’t matter: this is a place no one should call home. And so, the boy and his grandmother collect the floating trash as they build a rocket to escape.

Brilliant touches abound in “Wind.” The visual storytelling communicates a wealth of emotions and the tenderness between grandma and grandson without dialogue. I’m sure it qualifies as a silent film, as do the majority of Pixar’s shorts. The visuals are also stunning even in this colorless and bleak environment. The story is one that will resonate with so many real world families making their journeys to a better life. “Wind” is a fantasy that nevertheless reflects the harsh realities of immigration. It’s the kind of story that could be told in a full length feature, but the runtime is one of its strengths. It’s no small feat to tell a meaningful story in ten minutes or less, especially one with protagonists enduring hardship.

“Wind” was directed by Edwin Chang, a simulation technical director. His family’s experiences inspired the short, which echoes other directors and their projects at the studio. The personal always lends these films even more potency. You can read a brief interview with Chang and producer Jesus Martinez at SFGate

Read article

Pixar debuts a new Onward still

Onward

Posted by Simoa • December 11, 2019

At Brazil’s Comic Con Experience (CCXP) over the past weekend, attendees were treated to clips of Onward. Deadline reports that one bit of new footage was screened, where Ian and Barley meet biker pixies, who have only appeared briefly in the film’s trailer. Check out the latest image of the elf brothers below.

Dan Scanlon also spoke some more about the film’s inspiration, which he drew from his own experience. Ian and Barley growing up without their father mirrors Scanlon and his older brother as well. They were both still babies when their father passed away, so neither remember him. But they were able to hear their father’s voice on a recording, which was also played at CCXP. Scanlon described it as magical. So it’s no wonder that there’s a scene in the film of Ian listening to his father’s voice on a cassette tape. It’s so lovely that Scanlon could hold onto that memory and build an entire film around it.

Onward cometh to theaters on March 6, 2020.

 

Read article

Toy Story 4 gets a Golden Globe nomination + more!

Annie Awards, Golden Globes, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • December 10, 2019

If you missed the announcement of the Golden Globe nominees, fear not! We did too, but we are here finally, to talk a little about the Globes and the other nominations Pixar has received. Toy Story 4 was of course, one of three animated sequels released in 2019; it has strong competition in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Frozen 2. While the other nominees are grand in scale, Toy Story 4 was the much more intimate and simple movie, but still an event as the other two. And seeing how it dominated the box office, it was a huge deal for a little movie.

The Annie Awards also announced their 2019 nominees. Toy Story 4 is up for:

  • Best Feature
  • Best FX for Feature
  • Best Music – Feature for Randy Newman
  • Best Voice Acting for Tony Hale (go, Forky!)
  • Best Writing
  • Best Editorial

While I am a bit surprised and disappointed that the film didn’t earn any nominations for storyboard, character design/animation, or direction, it is still being recognized in multiple categories. I thought Pixar’s SparkShorts might also be contenders, but maybe they don’t qualify. If any of our readers have more information on that, do let us know.

Congratulations to Josh Cooley and the crew! You can read all about my visit to Pixar where I learned how Toy Story 4 was created here.

Read article

Celebrate the Spirit of Pixar with Gorgeous Mondo Posters

Brave, Coco, Incredibles 2, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story

Posted by Simoa • December 6, 2019

Pixar films dazzle the senses, but they burrow so much deeper into our skins apart from sight and sound. The artwork and stories in these films leave such lasting impressions and live on through other artists. Mondo, the Texas based company famous for its bold art designs inspired by indelible films, is presenting their latest gallery, The Spirit of Adventure: A Pixar Poster Show this Friday. Check out some of the posters that will be on display:

This Coco poster by Cesar Moreno is rich with so much color and detail. Although it depicts Miguel’s shrine to his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, his other family members also appear in the doilies. It also makes incredible use of light and deep purple hues to evoke warmth. The Pepita in the foreground reminds me of my own plush sitting on the bookshelf in my room.

And look at this stunning print by Phantom City Creative of A Bug’s Life! This is one of Pixar’s best, though it’s sometimes ignored. I’m really glad that it was included, and making all the characters green, save for Flik, is a brilliant touch. Its vibrancy draws your eyes to the poster.

This Brave poster by Greg Ruth is another favorite. I love the contrast between Merida’s look of confidence and Queen Elinor’s wariness in her massive bear form. And the detailing on that gorgeous fur! It looks as if you could actually feel it if you were to reach out and touch it.

A few more dazzlingly colored pieces are below.

Sara Deck

Phantom City Creative

Francesco Francavilla

“Pixar has a beautiful way of telling timeless stories that resonate with all audiences no matter their age. Their films are bursting with beloved characters, creativity, and imagination that is largely unmatched. In the end, nobody tells a story quite like Pixar. We are incredibly proud and excited to have partnered with our friends at Cyclops Print Works and several of our favorite artists to celebrate various iconic titles from Pixar’s unbelievable catalog of films.”

-Eric Garza, Mondo Creative Director

The Spirit of Adventure kicks off on December 6th in Mondo’s Austin, Texas headquarters. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out! The gallery will display fifteen posters in all. An additional Family Day of events takes place on December 7th.

You can also follow Mondo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About Mondo:

Mondo is an expanding enterprise with a passionate love of film, art, music and pop culture, best known for creating limited-edition posters, vinyl soundtracks, premium collectibles and games. Based in Austin, Texas, the team collaborates with an international network of talented artists and creators to produce the highest quality products inspired by licensed properties and original IPs. Over the last decade, Mondo has partnered with leading entertainment brands including DC Comics, HBO, Marvel, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers, along with dozens of independent studios and filmmakers from around the world. Find out more at mondotees.com.

Read article