We had the opportunity to be the first to see Pixar’s short- 3D film ‘Partysaurus Rex’ which will premiere in theaters along with ‘Finding Nemo 3D’ on September 14th. What’s even better is that we got to see it at Pixar Studios in San Francisco, California where gigantic Lego statues of ‘Toy Story’ characters stood along with other statues from ‘Monsters Inc.’ and other cool things like the drape from ‘Brave’ among others and of course their trademark desk lamp and circus ball. We were taken to their own in house movie theater, where we had a short presentation by the director of the film Mark Walsh and producer Kim Adams. The constellations shone brightly in the movie theater’s ceiling before the red velvet curtain opened to reveal the screen.
‘Partysaurus Rex’ brings to life one of the most memorable characters from ‘Toy Story’, Rex (Wallace Shawn). We get to spend some time with another one of Pixar’s most famous movies and its characters: Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato head, etc, but most of all Rex; who shows us another side of him where we get to meet a bunch of new, fun and wild bath time toys. Rex has always been portrayed as a nervous dinosaur, which is very cautious, but here Bonnie, his owner, takes him to her bath time where he gets to re-invent himself.
Pixar has done quite a lot of short-films; the latest one premiered with ‘Brave’ and was called ‘La Luna’ which was also made in 3D. I must highlight these are two very different short-films. ‘La Luna’ has a melancholic and soft tone to it, its characters mainly mumble and point. Pixar has a knack for being in tune with everything, and as ‘La Luna’ worked with ‘Brave’ and its theme so does ‘Partysaurus Rex’ with Nemo. This latest short-film is a rave party, that’s quite the opposite of ‘La Luna’ as it is loud, extravagant and extremely colorful.
This isn’t the first Pixar short-film on ‘Toy Story’ either, Pixar has a series of shorts called Toy Story Toons and this is actually the third episode in the series; the other shorts are: ‘Small Fry’ which was released in 2011 with ‘The Muppets’ when it was in theaters and made Buzz its main character. Another short was ‘Hawaiian Vacation’ which featured Ken and Barbie and was released in 2011 when ‘Cars 2’ hit theaters.
‘Partysaurus Rex’ left me wishing it were a full-length movie, because it was so much fun! It has upbeat music and wonderful animation accompanied by florescent colors. All of these elements are brought to an even higher level because of the 3D effects, which really takes full use of them. This short is a great way to get the audience in a water environment, ready and excited to watch ‘Finding Nemo 3D’.
With a stunning backdrop of the Manhattan Skyline, 67 year old pianist Monty Alexander took center stage Saturday night hoping to wind back the clock and turn Jazz at Lincoln Center into Jilly’s Saloon, a famed Rat Pack hangout of the 1960s.
Accompanied by a group of masterful musicians and vocalists, Alexander paid tribute to his heroes Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole in a cabaret-like show with American standards such as “Come Fly With Me”, “My Kind of Town” and “L-O-V-E.”
For the role of Old Blue Eyes, Alexander enlisted 22 year-old baritone James DeFrances while tapping charismatic jazz artist Allan Harris to play the “King.” Both traded classics and made for a “swinging session,” but the real delight here was the show’s supporting cast.
Blues guitarist Russell Malone’s haunting solo rendition of “Where or When” might have easily stolen the show. It was the one interpretation of the night that seemed entirely heartfelt and evocative of the nostalgia Alexander was looking to capture with this concert series. Also impressive was percussionist Bobby Thomas Jr., who seemed to hypnotize the audience every time he was given the spotlight.
Alexander’s appreciation for the music of Sinatra and Cole is sincere, and for jazz lovers the tunes are timeless and a joy to experience live – especially by such a talented bunch. But somewhere a note is missed when trying to strike the right tone.
While DeFrances holds his own as a singer, he underwhelms as a performer – never quite looking comfortable with the rest of the group. That, is not how we all remember the Chairman of the Board. Thankfully, Harris picks up the slack with his exuberance and Alexander’s anecdotes serve as a reminder that he himself is a direct link to the Rat Pack era.
We just got our hands on the exclusive ‘Dream House’ Spanish language trailer from Universal Studios. You won’t find this video anywhere else except here. The film stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts in a half-ghost, half-mystery thriller about a family who unknowingly move into a home where several grisly murders were committed…only to find themselves the killer’s next target. Successful publisher Will Atenton (Craig) quit a job in New York City to relocate his wife, Libby (Weisz), and two girls to a quaint New England town. But as they settle into their new life, they discover their perfect home was the murder scene of a mother and her children. And the entire city believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived. When Will investigates the tragedy, his only lead comes from Ann Paterson (Watts), a neighbor who was close to the family that died. As Will and Ann piece together the disturbing puzzle, they discover that the story of the last man to leave Will’s dream house will be just as horrifying to the one who came next.
The buzz around the ‘Dream House’ is rooted in the original trailer that supposedly reveals the twist of the film half way through. But according to an executive producer, the twist shown in the original trailer (which is not shown in the Spanish trailer) is not the main twist of the movie. So is there another one? We’ll all have to wit for the reviews to come in and see.
Dream House will be released September 30th, 2011.
It is 1971. The place is New York City and before the demolition of his landmark theater, Dimitri Weismann (David Sabin) summons his former actors and dancers to reunite and relive for one last time the glory days of his ‘Weismann Follies.’ While there, two couples (Bernadette Peters, Danny Burstein, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines) relive the old memories of when they first met and reexamine their present lives, in particular, their marriages. It will definitely be a night they’ll never forget.
This is the interesting premise of ‘Follies,’ the James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim musical revival that leaves the stage of The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C and moves over to the brights lights of Broadway at the Marquis Theater. Before I even sat down to see it, word was out that ‘Follies’ was the show to beat headed into the Tony’s in 2012. Well, how could you argue with that after Ben Brantley from The New York Times wrote that “Follies is one of the greatest musicals ever written”. Literally that might true, but the performance I saw was far from it. It was a night of highs and lows punctuated by a shockingly and rare disappointing performance from Bernadette Peters. The iconic actress seemed narcotized and sang off-key most of the night, especially during her “show-stopping solo” – Losing My Mind. Even the best have a bad day here and there. Nevertheless, her co-stars kept the ship steady and the direction from Eric Schaeffer was solid.
The book by James Goldman can only be described as a somber and stark take on marriage, nostalgia and growing old. The themes it takes on are unfortunately all bleak: divorce, recalling your prime and confronting your present mortality, infidelity and unwanted change. But that doesn’t mean musicals of this nature are destined for gloom and doom. No sir, shows like ‘Next To Normal’ (a depressing and demoralizing show if I ever saw one) have demonstrated that as long as the music is infectious and the performances are moving and sincere, you can be as hopeless as you want. ‘Follies’ regrettably, doesn’t compare to the latter show due to its slow, lulling pace, it’s forgettable music and unappealing characters. And perhaps if Ms. Peters delivered more of a ‘sober’ and spirited performance, my experience might have been better. Perhaps Mr. Schaeffer can offer other ways for the character of Sally to live within her. There was no question in the theater that the night belonged to Jan Maxwell who received the most thunderous applauses of the night along with Elaine Paige who gave a delightful and charismatic supporting performance. They unequivocally eclipsed Ms. Peters right off the stage. There was nothing absolutely memorable of her interpretation except her name.
I would catalog the first act of the program as a blend of heartbreak, cynicism and humanity. Some of the numbers and characters weren’t necessary and I would say some of it bogged down the production. The second act is the one worth seeing due to the colorful and visual dreamscape sequences, lively choreography and some emotional performances. Overall, what really stood out to me was the remarkable lighting design of Natasha Katz which introduced the younger versions of the elderly showgirls in a beautiful and inventive way. It was a treat to see to see how the stars stayed in color light while their ghosts were lit in blues and greens.
There are some crowd pleasing numbers to look forward to such as the nostalgic opening number, ‘Beautiful Girls,’ the vivacious ‘Who’s That Woman,’ Elaine Paige’s inspiring solo ‘I’m Still Here’ and Jan Maxwell’s vengeful ‘Could I Leave You’ and her sassy and sensual ‘The Story of Lucy and Jesse’.
Inside the Marquis Theater, Derek McLane’s gray and dilapidated drapes blanket the whole auditorium while the stage design offers an authentic feel of a historic place ready to say its goodbyes.
On a curious note, if you see Mr. Raines forgetting his line towards the end of his solo act, ‘Live, Love, Laugh,’ it is intentional and part of the act. Don’t go thinking you saw a ‘live’ error.
Schaeffer’s ‘Follies’ is in concept engrossing, but alas, it possesses challenges that don’t translate to a great night out nor the best of the Sondheim collection.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 19, 2011) – Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment jointly announced today that James Cameron’s “TITANIC” will be re-released worldwide on April 6, 2012.
The release, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail (April 10th), will present the film in 3D for the first time ever.
Written, directed and produced by Cameron, “TITANIC” is the second highest grossing movie of all time. It is one of only three films to have received a record 11 Academy AwardsÒ including Best Picture and Best Director; and launched the careers of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Called “A spectacular demonstration of what modern technology can contribute to dramatic storytelling” by Variety upon its release in 1997, the long in the works 3D conversion is being overseen by Cameron and his Lightstorm producing partner Jon Landau who produced the hit movie.
Said Cameron, “There’s a whole generation that’s never seen ‘TITANIC’ as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen. And this will be ‘TITANIC’ as you’ve never seen it before, digitally re-mastered at 4K and painstakingly converted to 3D. With the emotional power intact and the images more powerful than ever, this will be an epic experience for fans and newcomers alike.”
“This new presentation of Paramount’s top-grossing film is particularly special because 2012 is the 100th anniversary of our studio. Paramount has had the pleasure of introducing audiences to some of the all-time classics of cinema during that century of moviemaking and we cannot think of a better way to mark the occasion than with this re-release of ‘TITANIC’,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
Commented Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen and CEOs, Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman: “Our 30-plus year relationship with Jim Cameron and Lightstorm has been enormously rewarding, from ‘Aliens’ to ‘Avatar’, and the global phenomenon of ‘TITANIC’ remains one of the greatest sources of pride in our history. We are pleased to allow a new generation of audiences to experience the film in its brilliant digital restoration in 3D.”
Shooting in London and in New Mexico, the story centers on British art curator Harry Deane (Firth) who devises a finely-crafted scheme to con England’s richest man and avid art collector, Lionel Shabandar, (Rickman) into purchasing a fake Monet painting. In order to bait his buyer, he recruits a Texas rodeo queen (Diaz) to cross the pond and pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII.
FilmNation Entertainment is handling distribution outside of the United States, with CBS Films distributing in the United States. Alliance Films will be distributing the film in Canada, Momentum Pictures in the UK and Aurum Productions in Spain.