Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pete Docter Sketches

I sent Pete Docter (the director of Monsters, Inc. and Up) a letter. I told Mr. Docter about how much I admire him, my aspirations for a possible career at Pixar, and I asked if I could get something small signed by him. (I have done this with several other great people as well--John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Ralph Eggleston, and more--you can see the scans here).

Well, this time I got more than I expected. Here is what I received from Pete Docter, one of the most influential and important people at Pixar, the best animation studio on the planet. Here is what Mr. Docter sent me (click for a high res version):


'WALL-E' Oscar Campaign Begins

In my opinion, WALL-E, while not being Pixar's best work, was definitely one of the best movies of the year. It had romance, comedy, action, and a robot that you couldn't help but fall in love with (read my full review here).

Due to the fact that critics and moviegoers alike all loved WALL-E, Disney has started its campaign to make Pixar's most recent feature eligible for all categories of the Oscars, including Best Picture. The campaign's first step was an add of the cover of today's Daily 'Variet•E':

I am glad that WALL-E is attempting to break the Academy out of their animated film bias tendencies. There is no reason in the world as to why an animated movie can't be better than a live action one.

So, For Your Consideration: WALL-E, in all categories, including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature.


Source: The Pixar Blog


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Iron Man News Galore!

What is your favorite movie of the year? What about your favorite superhero movie of the year? How about your favorite movie featuring Robert Downey, Jr. of the year? I can guarantee that you answered at least one, if not all, of these questions with the answer of Iron Man.

Iron Man was a truly great movie. It had a strong plot, great character development, superb acting, and stupendous effects to top it all off. The movie, not surprisingly, grossed $578 million worldwide while in theaters (and that figure doesn't even include DVD/Blu-ray sales). No moviegoer can resist the charm of Downey, the action of a flying superhero, or the brilliance of the awesome Mach 2 suit.

For this reason, among others, Robert Downey, Jr. has extended his deal with Marvel; this deal will result in an Iron Man 2 (set to bow on May 7, 2010), an Iron Man 3, and The Avengers, all of which will feature Mr. Downey as your favorite playboy Tony Stark, and his red-suited alterego.

This is great news! This deal will help out everybody; we get to see more of the amazing Iron Man franchise, Robert Downey, Jr. gets well-deserved boffo bucks, and the studios get to reap the benefits of yet another superhero franchise. Hooray! Everybody wins!

The Avengers will feature Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor, all of which will have their own feature film(s), some of which already do. This already amazing movie, The Avengers, is set to be released on July 15, 2011--I can't wait!

The Iron Man franchise, as well as The Avengers, however, will feature Don Cheadle, instead of Terrence Howard, as Col. James Rhodes.

In addition to Downey's return, Joe Favreau, the director of the first Iron Man, will return to direct Iron Man 2, as well as be the executive producer for The Avengers.

In addition to these exciting superhero roles, Downey is set to play Sherlock Holmes in a 2009 feature film, and is rumored to play Hugh Hefner in a bio pic. Very interesting....

Source: Variety


Friday, October 24, 2008

John Lasseter Named Innovator of the Year

Briefly: The Hollywood Reporter has named their Innovator of the Year, and guess who it is! John Lasseter! He definitely deserves this title, having turned around Walt Disney Pictures and the Disney Parks which were slowly declining in quality. As put by The Hollywood Reporter: "Lasseter has become not only the most prominent successor to the Nine Old Men, but arguably the most important figure in animation since [Walt] Disney himself."

The article also notes his key role in the development of the upcoming Disney movie, BOLT!, and in the recently released Pixar movie, WALL-E.

Good job, Mr. Lasseter! You certainly are the Innovator of the Year!


'BOLT!' Soundtrack Details Announced

Briefly: 'BOLT!', Disney's new CG movie to be released next month, is highly anticipated. It features the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. Here's the track list of its soundtrack (But beware! Spoilers are present!):

1. I Thought I Lost You - Miley Cyrus and John Travolta
2. Barking At The Moon - Jenny Lewis
3. Meet Bolt
4. Bolt Transforms
5. Scooter Chase
6. New York
7. Meet Mittens
8. The RV Park
9. A Fast Train
10. Where Were You On St. Rhino’s Day?
11. Sing-Along Rhino
12. Saving Mittens
13. House On Wheels
14. Las Vegas
15. A Friend In Need
16. Rescuing Penny
17. A Real Live Superbark

The album will be released on November 18th, but is available for pre-order now. To learn more about 'BOLT', click here!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The G1 Review for the iPhone Owner

We received our G1 today, and its awesome. Here are the unboxing shots. It is officially released this Wednesday, but most people who pre-ordered on the first day they became available are receiving their phones today. Keep in mind that over the course of the review, I'll constantly be making comparisons to the iPhone, seeing as I have one, and the two phones are now competitors. Now on to the review!

Hardware: At a glance, the G1 is big. It is significantly larger than the sleek iPhone 3G. The G1 weighs almost 1 ounce more, and is much thicker. This is a trade-off, however, for the physical keyboard that is a must have for many users. The G1 features a brilliant screen that is slightly smaller than that of the iPhone, but is still bright and very user-friendly. The keyboard feels sturdy, as the rest of the phone. Another thing worth mentioning is that the camera on the G1 is 3-megapixels, compared to the iPhone's 2-megapixels. Another major difference between the G1 and the iPhone is that the G1 has a removable battery, when the iPhone doesn't; this is a major inconvenience for iPhone users, and it doesn't really make sense to me that Apple would do this... Our reviewing unit is Black, but it also comes in White and Brown. Overall, we give hardware a 8/10, due to some nuisances while typing on the keyboard, and the bulkiness of the phone. Oh, yeah, and no headphone jack!

Software: This is the main difference between the iPhone 3G and the G1. The G1 is Open-Source, iPhone is proprietary. This is a fancy way of saying that Apple has locked up all of their units so they can regulate what is put on them, where Android doesn't regulate anything, and doesn't care. This is an awesome thing because it makes the phone extremely customizable and allows any apps to be installed. And, although it isn't fully integrated into the apps yet, the G1 features an accelerometer similar to that of the iPhone. The G1 does beat iPhone in 2 more major ways: all applications can run in the background, and MMS is included. The G1's tight integration with Google applications is another nice feature. Another place that the iPhone beats the G1 at is the iPhone's UI and multi-touch capability. No-one can compare with Apple's clean design and intuitive controls. They are flawless and are beautiful. The Android's UI is nice, but its nowhere near Apple quality. Also, one of the main features of the iPhone is its multi-touch functionality, which allows for the "pinch zoom", etc. Multi-touch is incredible to use, but is nowhere to be seen on the G1. We give the software a 9/10 because of its openness and cleanliness (but Apple's UI still kicks butt).

Final Thoughts: The G1 is a great phone. It comes packed with great apps (Go, Compass Mode!), and more apps can be added through the ever-growing Android Marketplace. Although it is chubbier than the iPhone, it makes up for this with physical keys and a removable battery. The Software is also revolutionary in the sense that it is completely open source, which is great for functionality and customization. But the software, as of right now, lacks the basics of an accelerometer, multi-touch functionalities, and an Apple-level User-Interface. Overall, we give the G1 a 7/10, and the iPhone 3G an 8/10.

The G1 does beat the iPhone in many ways, but the iPhone beats the G1 in more ways: multi-touch capabilities, sleek design, smooth UI, and the overall awesome feel of using Apple's cellular platform. So, I think I'll stick with my iPhone 3G for now, but definitely swap it out for a G3 or G4 after the basics are added, the UI is worked on, and the kinks are worked out.

Here is a comparison chart between the iPhone 3G and the T-Mobile G1 made by Fortune:

(Now that you've read the review, check out the unboxing!)


T-Mobile G1 Unboxing

Here's our G1 that arrived via UPS today! Here are the unboxing photos, and a review should be up very soon.

Keep checking back for a comprehensive review of the G1!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Disney's California Adventure is Finally Getting a Facelift

Have you ever been to Disneyland in California? Well I hope you have. And, if you have, you know that you spend most of your time in Walt Disney's original theme park, Disneyland, and not so much time in the cousin park: Disney's California Adventure.

Did you ever wonder why you don't spend so much time in that park? For me, the main reason is almost all of the rides are off-the-shelf, generic rides, and the park doesn't transport you to any different places, time periods, or magic lands; you go from Southern California in the modern day, to Southern California in the modern day.

Good news! This is all about to change... Disney's California Adventure is getting a $1 billion makeover which will be taking place through 2012. This change will encompass a total renovation of Disney's California Adventure, the park will be transformed into California during the roaring 20s when Disney first came to California to start his animation company. The park and attractions will follow his journey through California and his journey up the ladder of success.

One of these new pieces of the park will be a recreation of the Carthay Circle Theatre in California from 1937 where Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They are hoping this building will be an icon similar to Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland.

There will also be additions of red trolley cars at the entrance, renovated boardwalk games to make them more nostalgic and Disney character-related, a Little Mermaid ride, a World of Color fountain and lights show, a 12-acre Cars Land, among other attractions and decor added.

"We're putting a lot of focus on that feeling, that emotional connection," Weis said. "And a big part of what we're bringing in is more Walt."

Update: Here are a serires of Photos and Maps from the article that give some more information on the exciting renovation!

Source: LA Times


Great Android Wallpaper (Updated)

There's a really great wallpaper, created by my brother, for the upcoming mobile operating system Android, which is set to debut within the next week with the arrival of the highly anticipated T-Mobile G1 phone. This shouldn't satisfy your Android thirst just yet, but it may hold you off until your phone arrives.

Update: Here's a sized down version for those who want to make this their G1 wallpaper:


Monday, October 13, 2008

New 'Up' Poster

Briefly: Today a new poster for Up was released. As its release nears, we should see a lot more leaks, character descriptions, and screen shots. Until then, this, and the WALL-E DVD release should quench your Pixar thirst. Enjoy! (Click for a high res version).


Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Trailer Mash-Up: 'Toy Story' Meets 'The Dark Knight'

Here is an amazingly well done "clip show" of the Toy Story movies...put to the trailer of The Dark Knight. The video says it all... Enjoy!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Box Office Results Are Surprising

There are many movies out in theaters right now; Eagle Eye, An American Carol, Flash of Genius, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Igor, Fireproof, My Best Friend's Girl, Righteous Kill, Ghost Town... The list goes on and on. There are popular movies, funny movies, sad movies, successful movies, truly great movies, and, well, terrible movies. Now, out of all these movies out in theaters, guess what is at the top of this weekend's box office list?

That's right, Beverly Hills Chihuahua! The movie that everybody thought was a joke. A movie that uses cute animals, pathetic jokes, and its star power to get people into theaters. And, apparently its working. Now, I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but judging by its 44% (which is honestly more than I was expecting) on Rotten Tomatoes, it can't be too fantastic. Beverly Hills Chihuahua was #1 at $29,000,000, and Eagle Eye came in second at about half what Beverly Hills Chihuahua made.



New 'Bolt' Poster

Briefly: As its release is quickly approaching, Bolt will be releasing new plot points, more indepth trailers, and new posters. Speaking of new posters, here is one that was just released!

To learn more about this upcoming Disney release, and to see the trailer, look here.