Woody’s News Round-up! (3/23/15)

Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, RenderMan, Round-Ups

Posted by Simoa • March 23, 2015

Quite a fair bit of Pixar news today!

rendermanFirst, Pixar just launched a new Renderman site. Pixar’s Renderman technology has shaped the visual effects in the studio’s animated films as well as those made outside of Pixar. The sleek new site is brimming with tons of great information and resources, as well as a free download of a noncommercial Renderman.




peteOver in Toronto, Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera appeared on Breakfast Television to talk about Inside Out and sing their praises of the voice cast. Pete mentions Amy Poehler, who voices Joy, was such an integral part in “creating the character and the whole story”, who they actually wrote with! And a nice little surprise: Pete provides the voice for Anger in Riley’s father’s head! Inside Out, which Jonas Rivera calls “a love letter to our kids”, is now three months away! (Image on the right courtesy of Pete Docter’s instagram).




And now some good news for fellow Bostonians: a new Pixar exhibit will open at the Museum of Science in June! Capture“The Science of Pixar” promises to be an enriching experience for fans and visitors to learn more about the filmmaking and animation process. From the website:

The Science of Pixar gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the process used to create Pixar’s groundbreaking and award-winning films. The exhibit highlights the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts used every day at Pixar. Hands-on activities and interactive exhibitsinvite visitors to experience different roles, such as lighting designer, animator, or modeler. Videos of real Pixar employees give first-hand accounts of the technological innovations that have revolutionized the field of computer animation.
Tickets for this amazing exhibit go on sale in April, while the opening day is slated for June 28, 2015. Many thanks to Stitch Kingdom for the heads up here.
Be sure to check back in for more news!




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Woody’s News Round Up! 12/28/14

Finding Nemo, Inside Out, Luxo, Jr., Round-Ups

Posted by Simoa • December 28, 2014

We hope everyone had a festive, restful holiday! With 2014 coming to a close, we have a list of Pixar news you may have missed over the past couple of weeks.

Luxo Jr. added to the National Film Registry: The 1986 short, directed by John Lasseter and Bill Reeves, was one of 25 films selected for the 2014 registry. As part of the Library of Congress, the film registry is dedicated to highlighting films for their “cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.” The iconic short, featuring two lamps come to life, was nominated for an Academy Award and was the first 3D animated film to do so. The smaller of the two even became Pixar’s mascot as the instantly recognizable bouncing lamp in the studio’s logo. “Luxo Jr.” joins two other Pixar films in the registry, the 1988 short “Tin Toy” and the 1995 feature Toy Story.

Navajo translation of Finding Nemo underway
: Disney-Pixar are partnering with the Navajo Nation Museum to release a Navajo version of 2003’s wildly popular Finding Nemo. The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American population in the U.S., with more than 300,000 members, yet the language is virtually unspoken among children. Tribal leaders are optimistic that a Navajo Finding Nemo will encourage children to become enthusiastic speakers. To learn more about their efforts and just how crucial the language is to this Native American community, continue reading here.

New Inside Out still and concept art: Inside Out is now roughly 6 months away! With two teaser trailers, as well as character introductory videos for the five emotions, and their own individual character posters, there will be plenty more to look forward to in the upcoming months as the film’s release date edges closer. The newest still from Entertainment Weekly features Joy (Amy Poehler) in what appears to be the memory storage room of the mind. The bottom image of Joy is concept art by Ralph Eggleston and Albert Lozano with the glowing memory orbs. Thanks to the Inside Out tumblr page as well as Sammax883 on twitter for the EW image. We’d also like to thank Pixar Post for sharing this new bit of concept art.

Be sure to check back here for more Pixar news in the new year and have a happy 2015!

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (4/5/14)

Behind The Scenes, Disney Parks, Ratatouille, Round-Ups, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Brkyo614 • April 5, 2014

Not much could possibly top last month’s exciting sequel news, but enjoy a summary of the latest Pixar stories, including a small Incredibles 2 update, below:

Samuel L. Jackson Talks Incredibles 2:
Samuel L. Jackson’s Frozone quickly became a fan-favorite upon the release of The Incredibles, so it’s no surprise to hear that Brad Bird is looking to bring him back in the recently-announced sequel. Speaking with Digital Spy (via Pixar Times), Samuel L. Jackson hinted that we haven’t seen the last of his ice-powered hero:

“Every time I run into Brad [Bird, director] he always tells me Frozone is part of what’s going on, so I have to believe that […] I guess they could be the Incredibles without Frozone, but I think Frozone would be a wonderful addition to what’s already there.”

Ratatouille 3D Blu-ray Coming Soon?: When Pixar’s Josh Hollander shared news on Incredibles 3D and Ratatouille 3D last month, many assumed that the studio was prepping these conversions for theatrical re-releases. However, a report from Disney Next claims that Ratatouille 3D will be released on Blu-ray in Europe this July, accompanying Disneyland Paris’ new Ratatouille attraction. No official announcement has been made.

Ratatouille Ride Update: Meanwhile, construction on the aforementioned Ratatouille ride continues to move along. Disney and More has some great photos of the work-in-progress area, which may open up for annual passholders as soon as late June. Check out the image gallery here.

Pixar Demos Its Latest Animation Software: Since its earliest years, Pixar has mostly relied on in-house software to animate their films. The studio recently rewrote their animation system from the ground up, replacing their original Marionette software with the far more optimized Presto. At this year’s GPU Technology Conference, Pixar’s Dirk Van Gelder and Danny Nahmias shared a detailed look at this new system, which aims to give animators a clearer idea of how their work will appear in fully-rendered frames. Take a look at the fascinating demo below, and for more, watch the full presentation on Ustream.

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (3/4/14)

Andrew Stanton, Disney Parks, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, Ratatouille, Round-Ups

Posted by Brkyo614 • March 4, 2014

While news on the feature film front has been quiet, there are a few Pixar-related stories from the past few weeks that are worth mentioning. Enjoy:

Andrew Stanton Featured in Google Oscar Ad: Pixar may not have been present at this year’s Oscar ceremony, but some of the studio’s magic still managed to creep into last Sunday’s broadcast. Google premiered a great 60-second spot with sound bites from Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton’s 2012 TED Talk, set to Thomas Newman’s Nemo score. (Thanks to Pixar Post for the embed.)

New Pixar Posters from Mondo to be Showcased This Week: Disney has worked with Mondo to release some impressive Pixar posters in the past, and that collaboration is set to continue. Mondo is exhibiting a collection of Disney/Pixar-inspired posters at the South By Southwest film festival from March 7 through March 11. Tom Whalen shared a peek at his Incredibles poster for the gallery; to see Kevin Tong’s Up and WALL-E prints, head over to Oh My Disney.

Ratatouille Ride Updates: A Ratatouille attraction for Disneyland Paris has been in the works for a while, and the first concrete details have begun to emerge. Disney’s Tom Fitzgerald presented a first look at the attraction, titled Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, earlier this month. Watch his talk below, and check out Inside the Magic for a few more details.

Inside Out Updates: Pixar’s next film is still more than a year off, but production on it is already well underway. Pixar recently shared a photo of Mindy Kaling recording dialogue for the film on Instagram, and Pixarians have begun to voice their enthusiasm about the project on Twitter. Hopefully we’ll get a teaser trailer within the next few months!

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (11/15/13)

Awards, Behind The Scenes, Blu-Ray, Ed Catmull, Monsters University, Round-Ups, The Blue Umbrella

Posted by Brkyo614 • November 15, 2013

Now that Toy Story of Terror and the Monsters University DVD are out, it could be a while before we hear any major news on the Pixar front. Still, here are a few updates that have popped up over the last week:

Complete Pixar Blu-ray Collection: If you’ve yet to upgrade your Pixar DVD collection to Blu-ray, now is the perfect chance with this 22-disc collection that includes every Pixar feature and short to date (with the exception of Toy Story of Terror, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex). The one caveat: it’s only available in the UK on region B discs. If you’re still on board, order the collection now on Amazon.

Disney Releases Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella Screenplays: Each year, Disney showcases their films for award consideration on the Walt Disney Studios Awards website. Though not yet fully fleshed out, the site has been updated for 2013 with pages for Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella. Most notably, it also features screenplays for both films; check them out here and here. (The Blue Umbrella is a particularly interesting read.)

The Making of The Blue Umbrella: If that screenplay piqued your interest, Indiewire has a feature exploring the earliest steps in the creation of The Blue Umbrella, including some fascinating live-action test footage. Be sure to take a look! (via Pixar Post)

Ed Catmull Details His Experience with Pixar in Upcoming Book: There have been a handful of books detailing Pixar’s rich history over the years – The Pixar Touch and To Infinity and Beyond! come to mind – but we’ve yet to see a substantial firsthand account of the studio’s rise. Now, Pixar founder Ed Catmull is set to collaborate with Amy Wallace on a new book on his time at Pixar: Creativity, Inc. Releasing next April, the book will “provide an inside account of Pixar’s rise from a small, money-losing hardware company to a movie studio with 1,200 employees and a streak of fourteen No. 1 movies in a row that has garnered 30 Academy Awards and earned more than $7 billion worldwide.” Pre-orders are already available on Amazon.

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D23 Expo Round-Up: ‘Toy Story of Terror’, New Cars Toons on the Way

Cars, Cars Toons, Round-Ups, Short Film, Toy Story, Toy Story of Terror!, Toy Story Toons

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 11, 2013

Pixar had a strong feature film showing at this year’s D23 Expo, but that doesn’t mean they neglected their short-form lineup. In addition to revealing the Monsters University short Party Central, the studio shared new details on the upcoming Toy Story of Terror and teased a new pair of Cars shorts.

On Friday, Pixar concluded their segment of Disney’s animation panel by showcasing the first ten minutes of Toy Story of Terror (read a full synopsis over at /Film). Director Angus MacLane and Pixar general manager Jim Morris then shared more at a short-centric panel the following day, describing Terror as the studio’s "first horror film" while still remaining "accessible to everyone." Over the weekend, Variety also dropped an October 16 premiere date for the half-hour special.

At the same panel, frequent Cars Toons director Rob Gibbs also took the chance to reveal two new entries in the series: Radiator Springs 500 1/2 and To Protect and Serve. Both will arrive next year on Disney Channel.

With Party Central attached to The Good Dinosaur in 2014, it looks like it’ll be a while before we see another wholly original Pixar short. Still, Pixar’s franchise shorts continue to act as fun windows into worlds we already know and love.

Which upcoming Pixar short are you most anticipating?

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D23 Expo Round-Up: ‘Finding Dory’ Cast Updates; Story Changes Following ‘Blackfish’?

Andrew Stanton, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Round-Ups

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 9, 2013

While the bulk of Pixar’s D23 presentation focused on The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out, the studio also took the chance to reveal a few more bits of information about Finding Dory, coming in late 2015.

Accompanying Albert Brooks as Marlin and Ellen DeGeneres as Dory are Eguene Levy and Diane Keaton as Charlie and Jenny, Dory’s parents. Ty Burrell also joins the cast as a beluga whale named Bailey. Director Andrew Stanton also teased a bit of the plot: Dory’s "homing instinct" sets in, leading her to go on a search for her family while Nemo and Marlin pursue her.

Interestingly, Stanton may also be altering elements of the film following the controversial water park documentary Blackfish. According to The LA Times, the Pixar filmmakers met with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite after seeing the film to discuss a story element in Finding Dory. Head over to LA Times to see the point in question — but be warned of spoilers.

It’s great to see Pixar being aware and receptive to change, though it’s unclear if any of these adjustments will make it to the final product; after all, Pixar films go through countless changes while in development, and Dory is still over two years away.

Monsters University reminded me that a sequel doesn’t need to be necessary to be good, so I definitely have some newfound confidence in Finding Dory. The movie releases on November 25, 2015.

(Thanks to The Pixar Times and for their coverage of the event)

Let us know your opinion on Finding Dory!

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D23 Expo Round-Up: ‘Inside Out’ Insight and Casting Announcements

Inside Out, Round-Ups

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 9, 2013

Following a Good Dinosaur info blowout, Pixar continued on at today’s Animation at Walt Disney Studios D23 panel to reveal more on Inside Out, the first of two Pixar films planned for 2015. In addition to voice cast reveals, director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera delved further into the film’s story.

As previously announced, Inside Out follows a young girl and the emotions churning inside her mind. Now we know that this girl’s name is Riley, and she’s forced out of her comfort zone when her family moves away from their familiar Minnesota hometown and into San Francisco.

As she faces this new environment, the film explores her emotions and how they react. Amy Poehler voices Joy, the leader of the group; Lewis Black is Anger, Bill Hader is Fear, Mindy Kaling is Disgust, and Phyllis Smith is Sadness. They all work in tandem at a headquarters of sorts, watching Riley’s POV on a screen, adjusting her emotions, and storing her memories. Other areas of the mind, including Dream Production, Long-Term Memory, and Imaginationland, are connected to the headquarters by a literal Train of Thought.

Things go awry when Joy and Sadness are forced out of the headquarters, leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust to operate Riley. An extended sequence showed the trio struggling with this task as Riley interacts with her parents. Turns out we don’t just see inside Riley’s mind; her mother and father also have unique groups of emotions. The three teams play off of each other in a fast-paced dinner table scene that got a ton of laughs at the D23 panel.

It’s tough to visualize all of this, but Inside Out seems like the most creative idea from Pixar in a long while. I’m definitely excited to hear more as its June 2015 release approaches.

(Thanks to The Pixar Times and for their coverage of the event)

What do you think of Inside Out thus far?

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D23 Expo Round-Up: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Story Details & Casting News + New ‘MU’ Short

Disney, Monsters University, Party Central, Round-Ups, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 9, 2013

Pixar kicked off D23 with a bang this morning, giving in-depths glimpses at three of the studio’s upcoming films: The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, and Finding Dory

The biggest chunk of the panel was spent on The Good Dinosaur, the next film on Pixar’s schedule. Producer Denise Ream took the stage to discuss more about the movie’s story, which focuses on an Apatosaurus named Arlo (Lucas Neff). His parents are John Lithgow and Frances McDormand, and his siblings Forrest, Cliff, and Ivy are played by Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, and Judy Greer, respectively.

The studio also screened a handful of clips to set the stage for the story. The first reiterated what we already know: 65 million years ago, an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth. However, it narrowly misses the planet as the dinosaurs watch from the surface. Their lives go on, and the course of history is forever changed.

Years later, the dinosaurs have developed an agrarian society. A wordless clip showed various dinosaurs tending to the fields, using their physical traits to their advantage on the farm. The dinosaurs struggle to deal with pests that destroy their crops, but Arlo takes a liking to them.

In a third piece of footage, it’s revealed that these pests are in fact armored humans, incapable of speech. Arlo runs into a fearless young boy named Spot, but the two don’t get off on the right foot together. Eventually, circumstances force Arlo and Spot to go on some sort of quest.

It sounds like a very unique concept for the studio, and there’s a ton of potential for an interesting and heartfelt story. We should hear (and hopefully see) more about the film tomorrow after D23’s The Art of The Good Dinosaur panel.

Additionally, Pixar confirmed that a new short in the Monsters University universe titled Party Central will play before The Good Dinosaur! The short was screened at the panel, and early reactions are extremely positive. Look forward to more on that soon.

The Good Dinosaur and Party Central are set to arrive on May 30 next year. Check back shortly for summaries of Inside Out and Finding Dory news from the panel.

(Thanks to The Pixar Times and for their coverage of the event)

Your thoughts?

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‘Monsters University’ Review Round-Up! [UPDATE 6/13]

Monsters University, Round-Ups

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 9, 2013

After the abysmal reception of Cars 2 and overall lukewarm reaction to Brave, many are hinging their faith in Pixar on Monsters University‘s success. Thankfully, just as April’s CinemaCon test screening reactions indicated, early reviews of Pixar’s latest are gushing over its humor and emotional resonance.

We’ll update this post with links to reviews as they arrive over the coming weeks. Check back closer to MU‘s June 21 release for our verdict.

"As far as Pixar films go, it’s the funniest and most engaging since The Incredibles, and the most emotionally affecting since Finding Nemo or possibly even Monsters, Inc."
– Brendon Connelly, Bleeding Cool

"Only a curmudgeon would not be melted by the exuberance and execution of Monsters University — a film that is truly laugh-out loud funny, and is armed with an equally touching coda of a moral lesson that avoids the precipice of melodrama."
– Greg Wetherall, Huffington Post Entertainment

"Monsters University is fun, warm, subtly inspirational and proof that prequels can be done right."

– Blake Howard, Graffiti with Punctuation

"Continuing the detachment from childhood theme seen in Toy Story 3, the creators once again ally themselves to an audience who grew up with talking toys, bugs and monsters who live on the other side of a cupboard door. Nothing short of brilliant, Pixar maintain their genius throughout, upholding their mantle and providing a film for all ages."
– David Steedman, The Hollywood News (some spoilers)

UPDATE (June 10): Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet; a string of less-than-enthusiastic reviews have made their way online. If this trend continues, it should be interesting to keep an eye on the film’s Tomatometer over the next few days.

"A humdrum straight line of a film, Monsters University never surprises, goes off in unexpected directions or throws you for a loop in the manner of the best Pixar stories."
– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

"Not even attempting to scale the heights of Pixar past, Monsters University finds Disney’s toon studio operating at a pleasantly middling level of artistic achievement."

– Justin Chang, Variety

"Falling as it does squarely between the studio’s classics and its decidedly lesser work, Monsters University is a solidly average Pixar effort, one that brings some laughs to the kegger, but you’ll be hard-pressed to remember it at the reunion in 10 years."

– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

UPDATE (June 11): Another batch of encouraging reviews:

"Every single character and moment is played to near perfect effect, leaving the audience dumbfounded at how the movie constantly keeps raising the bar. Just when you think it can’t get better, it does, and you’ll leave the theater fulfilled, but also wildly surprised at where Pixar goes this time around."

– Germain Lussier, /Film

"Discussing it with a fellow reviewer after the screening, they made the point that there’s simply nothing you’d change about it. There’s not a moment that sags, or slows, or fails to hit the target. Not a character you don’t love or laugh at, not a scene that isn’t immaculately timed and directed. And the performances of Billy Crystal and John Goodman are up there with the best of cinema history’s double acts."
– Tim Chipping, Holy Moly

"Monsters University is the perfect prequel/sequel – it takes all that is so great about the original and builds upon it – its an exceptional film that blossoms throughout and in the process warms the heart and fills the spectator with joy. Beautifully constructed, fantastically written and laden with laughs – what more could you ask for?"
– Chris Haydon, Filmoria

UPDATE (June 13): Enjoy these new reviews, most of them generally positive.

"Pixar has always excelled in the art of pumping emotion into abstract and animal shapes. The Monsters movies are not the most subtle of their creations but there’s a lot to like."
– Sandra Hall, The Sydney Morning Herald

"All in all, Monsters University knocked it out of the park for me, and returns Pixar to a level of style and grace that has been absent for the last few years."
– Bob Simms, Binge Media

"Now this is such a joy. A prequel with as much heart and soul as the original. A group of characters that are not only both lovable and flawed, but consistently entertaining. A wonderfully rich and colourful animated world where you can get lost in. Yes, I am very pleased to say that Monsters University is a terrific film. It’s perhaps not got the initial flavour of genius that the 200(1) outing had, but there is plenty here to relish."
– Barnaby Walter, The Edge

"Pixar’s first foray into prequel territory, Monsters University continues the animation film studios tradition of hearty laughs and character rich stories, yet cannot contend with the mighty weight of high expectations brought on by its superior original."

– Matt Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

"Much like its sequel, Monsters University will probably be very few people’s favorite entry in the Pixar library, but average Pixar is still top of the class in family entertainment school!"
– Brian Rudloff, Screen Invasion

Your thoughts?

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