Friday, August 31, 2012

Release Dates and Titles for The Hobbit Trilogy confirmed!

You can look forward to completing your journey with "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" on July 18, 2014. According to Latino Review, the third film of The Hobbit Trilogy will be releasing on the very same juicy mid-July date that The Dark Knight occupied in 2008 (a window that, between Nolan and Potter, Warner has had "dibs" on ever since). So WB has at least one sure-fire mega-hit that summer. Which, judging from the release schedule for that year posted on Box Office Mojo, they kinda need. A lot.

By the way, am I the only one who finds it odd that The Hobbit Trilogy will release on Fridays rather than the yearly Wednesday dates used by the LOTR trilogy? If they held off until December 19th, they could release The Hobbit Part I eleven years to the day after Fellowship. I dunno, just seems a bit odd to pass up publicity like that.

More after the jump...

The Disney Renaissance Part 2: The Rescuers Down Under

In the story of the Disney Renaissance (the legendary animation comeback of the late 80's and 90's), there's one film that's always lost in the shuffle, glossed over in favor of its more successful - or more controversial - movies of that period. In fact, when starting this retrospective, I had to correct myself on what year it was released (1990 incidentally).

The Rescuers Down Under was a rare beast, a direct theatrical sequel to one of the company's animated films (the first time Disney would do this, and the only time until they released Pixar's Toy Story 2 in 1999). A much cheaper version of this kind of animated sequel would become standard fare for bad Home Video releases during the latter half of the decade, and well into the 00's. This saturation of junk product is a huge part of what diluted the Disney brand to a dangerous degree before Pixar more or less took over, and nearly killed the company's animation department all over again.

Which is a shame, because The Rescuers Down Under really deserves a better legacy than that. Incidentally, don't be surprised if this installment runs a bit longer than Part 1, because while the film itself may have been modest, its history and what it accomplished in the medium are anything but.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In Memoriam: Tony Scott's The Last Boy Scout

Continuing the theme from last Tuesday's post on Crimson Tide, I'll be covering another Tony Scott film in memory of his recent passing. This time we'll be examining something a bit more uncomfortable, a bit more confused, more violent and foul, but possessing a certain genius in calamity and cynical comedy. It showcased a character type that Bruce Willis would revisit many times AND features a rare great performance from one of the Wayans brothers.

Let's explore the trashy magnificence of The Last Boy Scout.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Disney Renaissance Part 1: The Little Mermaid

So at the end of the 80's, a funny thing happened: Walt Disney Studios' animation branch, which had been all but destroyed in the wake of box office duds like The Black Cauldron, came back with a couple successful movies leading to a film that became a modern classic, revitalized the company, and - for better and worse - helped change the face of animation forever.

The Little Mermaid.

This is something I've thought about and danced around doing for quite some time now, even though this particular subject has certainly had its share of coverage from far more qualified people (if you haven't, check out the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty if any of this sounds remotely interesting). As a child of the 80's I grew up during this time of transformation/rebirth. The rise from the ashes of Disney animation played itself out right as I was smack dab in the middle of their target demographic, and not coincidentally, I quite like a lot of the films this era of Disney produced. So I want to write about it. Also, I'm thinking that alternating this with Tony Scott entries will make the whole blog a bit less depressing.

With that in mind, I'll spend ten posts discussing the ten films that are recognized as making up the Disney Renaissance, from The Little Mermaid to Tarzan. Needless to say, these might run a bit on the long side.

So without further ado, let's dive under the sea.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Memoriam: Tony Scott's Crimson Tide

As many of you are aware, Anthony "Tony" Scott (younger brother of the renowned Ridley Scott), a British-born Hollywood director, died from an apparent suicide on August 19th. While I can't claim any personal tragic stake in the death of a total stranger, losing an artist is always a terrible thing. Especially when such an artist has enriched your life to any measurable degree.

There's also the little fact that Tony Scott helped change the face of action film-making in the industry in no small way with films like Top Gun, and continued to heavily experiment with his own directorial style well into his 60's, a time when most directors start taking fewer risks. It would be easy to dismiss his accomplishments, especially in the face of his older brother's resume, but this would be a mistake.

So in memory of him and his accomplishments, I'm going to revisit some of his hallmarks, starting with the runner-up for his single best movie - 1995's Crimson Tide.