Back in the early days of Star Wars—and by that, I mean 1999—motion posters were not an option. Think of it: combining the technological machination of a poster with the high-concept senstation of Kinematic motion* would have been unheard of. But now, in the distant future (the even more distant future to the people who live in the Star Wars plane of reality, which took place exactly one long time ago) we have progressed to a society in which any form of animated advertisement is possible.
Below is the new motion poster for the re-release Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D, which will grace theaters next month. Sure, The Phantom Menace might not exactly be considered the greatest of the Star Wars series...but it's the origin story that kicked off a prequel trilogy that got much better as it went along. The first episode's title villain wields his double-saber below, proving that his film is both menacing and phant...astic.
The film stars Jake Lloyd, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Frank Oz, and will reach theaters on Feb. 10. You can also check out the re-release's good old-fashioned immobile poster.
*I'm not sure if that's actually a thing. I'm clearly not smart enough to make jokes about motion posters.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Dwarf actor Kenny Baker has blasted his rude Star Wars co-star Anthony Daniels, insisting their close characters R2-D2 and C-3PO are virtual strangers behind scenes.
R2-D2 star Baker has refused to mix socially with Daniels ever since the C-3PO actor viciously chastised him for saying "hello" one morning on set.
And Baker--who first teamed up with Daniels in the original 1977 George Lucas movie Star Wars--insists he's never regretted not forming a friendship with the British star, because he's both boring and infuriating.
He says, "Anthony doesn't mix at all--he keeps himself to himself. He never wants to have a drink with any of us. Once when I said hello to him he just turned his back on me and said, 'Can't you see I'm having a conversation?' I was blazing with rage.
"It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me. I was furious. It was unbelievable."
And according to Baker, his communication with Daniels was further hindered by the hours in wardrobe they spent preparing for the robotic roles.
He adds, "By the time Anthony is in his costume I don't see him. I turn up five minutes before filming starts and they pop me into the R2-D2 shell. There's no talking once you're inside.
"He's had 30 minutes getting out at the end and by that time I'm away. We never meet socially--we don't live anywhere near each other."
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The much touted New York premiere of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones will close the Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan on May 12. According to Variety, Star Wars writer and director George Lucas has teamed up with the Tribeca Film Festival and the Children's Aid Society to co-host the New York premiere of the film, which open in theaters May 16. There will be a morning screening for children and families affected by Sept. 11, another for youngsters from the Children's Aid Society and a third in the afternoon to benefit the Children's Aid Society. Tickets for the afternoon screening are $500 each. Lucas told Variety, "As a father and filmmaker, it's my pleasure to offer the film in support of the children of New York City." Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones will also premiere May 12 in 10 other cities in the United States and Canada.
Five days after giving birth by caesarian in London's private Portland hospital, new mom Elizabeth Hurley has reportedly started playing house with friend Elton John. Hurley, 36, is said to be staying at the singer's 37-acre house in Old Windsor while she recovers. Sky News also reports that Hurley has asked John to be the baby Damian's godfather, but the story adds that neither side would confirm the reports.
Hunk George Clooney has reportedly dumped his Canadian girlfriend, actress Maria Bertrand, for former porn star Krista Allen. According to Sky News, Clooney threw a birthday party for Allen at a Los Angeles restaurant last week. Allen played Jenna on the Baywatch TV series and in the 1994 Emmanuelle adult entertainment series, she showed a group of aliens the art of making love. If you liked this series, we also recommend Beach Babes from Beyond.
Actor/rapper Will Smith and his brother, Michael Peck, are working on a proposal to build a 500-room minority-owned hotel in Broward County, Fla., The Associated Press reports. The project has been stalled since the county cut its ties with the hotel's developer, but Smith and Peck's firm, Treyball Developments, could to take over the project without any money from the county. Treyball Developments was also involved with a hotel project in Smith's hometown of Philadelphia.
Actress Nona Gaye, who starred alongside Will Smith in Ali, will portray the character Zee in the Matrix sequel The Matrix Reloaded, Variety reports. Late singer/actress Aaliyah, who was killed in a plane crash last August, had originally been cast in the role. Zee's character will be introduced in the second film and will segue into the third installment, The Matrix Revolutions. Gaye, the daughter of Marvin Gaye, will begin shooting in Sydney, Australia, next week, joining stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne.
Mark Wahlberg will be starring in a remake of the 1969 caper The Italian Job by director F. Gary Gray. While the original picture centered on a gold heist set entirely in Europe, the modern version will begin in Italy with the robbery taking place in Los Angeles. According to Variety, Wahlberg will play career criminal Charlie Croker, who masterminds the robbery by creating L.A.'s largest traffic jam. Shooting begins Aug. 3 at Paramount Pictures.
NBC has pulled out the big guns in the brutal battle for Nielsen's May ratings sweeps and the 2001-02 season crown. The network confirmed that it will air its two-hour reunion special The Cosby Show: A Look Back from 9 to 11 p.m. on May 19, Variety reports. The show will be up against Fox's two-hour The X-Files series finale, ABC's The Practice two-hour season ender and CBS' three-hour wrap of Survivor: Marquesas. Nielsen's sweeps numbers help local affiliates set ad rates for the next few months, compelling networks to schedule their biggest programs during the November, February and May sweeps.
Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., who own the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell restaurant chains, is the latest to follow the lead of Burger King and Office Depot and pull ads from FX's cop show The Shield. The show's lead character is a corrupt Los Angeles detective who plays as dirty as the crooks, drug dealers and murderers he busts. The show has been criticized for its vulgarity.
A controversial exhibit featuring nude paintings of Madonna was unveiled Wednesday at the Maclaurin Art Gallery, a small gallery in Scotland. Artist Peter Howson's new collection features 10 portraits of Madonna, some of them of the pop icon in the nude. Although Madonna is a fan of Howson's and previously posed for the artist clothed, these works are drawn from the artists' imagination. Howson told the BBC he was disappointed that Madonna had not given him her reaction to the paintings.
Grammy-winning rapper Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, has settled a lawsuit brought against him by John Guerra, the man he allegedly assaulted for kissing his former wife Kimberly Mathers. The incident took place outside the Hot Rock Sports Bar and Music Café in Warren, Mich., in June 2000. Although neither party has admitted to any liability or wrongdoing in the settlement, both agreed that Eminem would pay Guerra $100,000 minus attorney's fees rather than take the case to trial.
Celine Dion announced she is moving to Belgium for three months to rehearse for her to the stage next year, the AP reports. In an interview on a Belgian television show, Dion said that she had found a house in La Louviere, a gritty steel town located 30 miles south of Brussels. The 33-year-old Canadian singer is set to begin appearing at Caesar' Palace's new 4,000-seat coliseum theater in Las Vegas in March 2003, and her show is scheduled to run at least three years.
VH1's annual Divas concert is moving from New York to Las Vegas, the AP reports. The concert will air live from the MGM Grand on May 23, with proceeds going to VH1's Save the Music Foundation. This year's headliners include Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion and Cher, who have performed in past Divas concerts. More performers will be announced later.
Producer and writer Louis "Deke" Heyward died April 3 of complications from pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 81, Variety reports. Heyward wrote more than 50 motion pictures, 3,000 radio shows and a slew of television programs and novels. In 1977, Heyward won an Emmy for the television movie The Gathering and launched the television game shows Twenty-One and Tic Tac Dough. After a career that spanned more than half a century, Heyward spent his later years teaching writing and working with underprivileged children at Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu, Calif. He is survived by his wife Sandra, two children and five grandchildren.
Clearly lacking anything resembling a job or significant relationship, Star Wars fanatics began their vigil outside of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, six weeks prior to the movie's premiere. Variety reports that approximately half a dozen fans are already in line, guaranteeing them tickets to the initial public screening of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. These unwashed Star Wars faithful say they plan to pass the time talking about the sci-fi movie series with passers-by and talking to the media--from a distance, one hopes.
Well, shut my mouth and call me Sally: Apparently the tabloids are wrong! According to the Associated Press, Spider-Man co-stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are NOT an item. Vanity Fair, though, quotes the charismatic pair as being professionally in love with each other. Dunst praises Maguire's ability to cry on cue, and Maguire says that there's "no vanity" in Dunst's acting.
Looks like Russell Crowe may end up in court--but not for something the easily irritated Aussie was charged for. Rather, the Oscar-winning actor may be called to testify against three men accused of blackmailing him with a videotape that allegedly involves the thespian in a street fight, the BBC reports.
New mom Liz Hurley got more good news yesterday. Mere hours after giving birth, a man who has been accused of stalking the international beauty was remanded into custody, the BBC reports.
In the Biz
As if times for the beleaguered John Travolta couldn't get worse. Variety reports that a rumor is floating around that the Battlefield Earth and Domestic Disturbance star (duds, both) will split with his manger of 17 years, Jonathan Krane.
Miramax Films has grabbed the rights to the waning Pokemon film series away from Warner Bros. Although the first installment grossed more than $85 million, the third episode (and latest) brought in just $17 million. Still, according to a source quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Miramax shelled out a cool $1 million for the rights to the next two sequels in the continuing saga of the pocket monsters.
E.T. was a sonic boom the first time it was released, but mere signal noise this time around. Re-released 20 years after its debut--and after it grossed more than £500 million worldwide--Steven Spielberg's opus grossed a miniscule £4.6 million over Easter weekend (26 countries), Britain's Screen Daily reports.
John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) has signed on to play the villain in the latest Rowan Atkinson comedy, Johnny English, a parody of spy films. Pop singer Natalie Imbruglia will join the boys in the film as a seductive temptress.
CBS is going back to the past one more time. Following last November's successful Carol Burnett Show special, next month the eye network will air a one-hour reunion with the cast from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Other networks are following CBS' lead: ABC is planning a Laverne & Shirley retrospective, Fox is looking into a Three's Company tribute and NBC is devoting the entire month of May to reunions and highlight shows as part of its 75th anniversary celebration.
Whew! R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck was acquitted of all charges stemming from an alleged fit of rage while drunk on an airplane last April. Buck's successful defense was comprised almost wholly by the claims "It wasn't me" and "Free tickets for any juror who finds me innocent."
How cute: Kelly Osbourne is following in daddy's shoes, sort of. The daughter of shock-rocker Ozzy Osbourne is covering Madonna's hit song "Papa Don't Preach" with the help of Incubus band members Mike Einziger and Jose Pasillas II, the AP reports. Kelly told MTV News she's worried about the single's success "because I don't think I'm a very good singer." Ah, like father, like daughter.
The spy business is dangerous, very dangerous. The AP reports that a stuntman on the set of Vin Diesel's latest movie, XXX, died while doing a parasailing stunt when he hit a bridge in Prague. XXX isn't the salacious movie described by its title; it's an urban spy thriller revolving around extreme-sports athletes.
The never-before-seen launch trailer for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones will make its worldwide premiere Sunday, March 10 on FOX. Shown in its entirety, this two-and-a-half minute trailer will air between original episodes of Malcolm in the Middle and The X-Files.
In the past, fans have gone to extreme measures to be the first to see a Star Wars trailer. On Sunday, March 10, fans all across America can be first while sitting in the comfort of their living rooms and watching Fox.
After this world premiere broadcast, moviegoers can experience the trailer on the big screen exclusively in theaters with Ice Age, beginning Friday, March 15.
Attack of the Clones is set ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace. The galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, who are thrown together for the first time since the conflict between the Trade Federation and Padmé's home planet, Naboo.
Anakin has grown into the accomplished Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan, who himself has transitioned from student to teacher, while Padmé is a distinguished Senator. Anakin and Obi-Wan are assigned to protect Padmé, whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists. As powerful forces prepare to collide in epic battle, Anakin and Padmé find themselves torn between duty and honor and a love that is forbidden. These heroes face choices that will impact not only their own fates, but the destiny of the Republic.
The film was written and directed by George Lucas, co-written by Jonathan Hales, produced by Rick McCallum and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L Jackson. Additional cast members include Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee and Temuera Morrison.
While the dark side will almost certainly grow stronger in Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack of the Clones, the film itself will still be a vehicle for good. Eleven sneak previews (in 11 different cities nationwide) for Episode II have been announced, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local children's charities. The previews will be held May 12, four days before the official release of Episode II. A Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox release quoted a pleased Chewbacca as saying "MMMRRAAAAHHHM." We couldn't agree more.
Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient) is set to star in the romantic comedy The Chambermaid opposite super-sexy Jennifer Lopez. (To quote famous philosopher Homer Simpson, "Mmm, Jennifer Lopez.") Ms. Lopez will play the titular chambermaid who becomes romantically involved with Fiennes' politician character. (As if Jennifer would clean her own bathroom, much less someone else's.)
New Jersey's Bergen County Prosecutor William Schmidt, head of the victims' family advisory board for his county, has requested that CBS not show graphic footage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in its planned March 10 documentary on the subject. Writing on behalf of the United Way, American Red Cross and other groups, Schmidt said it would disrupt the healing process. In related news, scientists have observed that the ostrich's penchant for sticking its head in sand in times of danger really doesn't help.
During her routine at an Ovarian Cancer Research benefit, soon-to-be ex-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell proudly proclaimed, "I'm a dyke!" the USA Today reports. Wanting to shed her "nice" label, O'Donnell later ripped on Anne Heche at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC. Lampooning Heche's interview with Barbara Walters, in which Heche admitted she was "possessed," O'Donnell attacked with "She couldn't just say, 'I was a lesbian for two years, it didn't work out for me'?" We bow to the master.
Not-so-nice Jewish boy Al Goldstein, publisher of lurid Screw magazine, was convicted of six counts (and acquitted of six more counts) of aggravated harassment for graphically tongue-lashing with expletives an employee who had just quit. Our New York City correspondent, covering the trial in Brooklyn, filed this report: "I can't f***ing believe they f***ing convicted his a** for some s****y curses. This is f***ing NYC, after all!"
Five former Screen Actors Guild presidents have publicly excoriated current SAG CEO Bob Pisano for jettisoning Lance Simmens, the now former government relations director. Ed Asner, William Daniels, Charlton Heston, Howard Keel and Dennis Weaver sent an open letter to all SAG members complaining that "Mr. Pisano and [SAG president] Melissa Gilbert have put their own agenda forward." Pisano and Gilbert were unavailable for comment, other than to say they really enjoyed Dennis Weaver's recent turn as a guest voice on The Simpsons.
Despite a U.S. Senate threat to impose government legislation, the computer industry is asking the government to allow private negotiations to continue on how best to safeguard movies with the advent of digital TV. Senator Fritz Hollings, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and other legislators are frustrated with the stalled transition to digital TV. (Methinks they shouldn't have bought those high-priced, new-fangled HDTV sets from Circuit City just yet. No wonder they're frustrated.)