Archive | November, 2010

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Warning: Most Disney Animation Art On eBay Is Forgeries

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Rich Drees

A little caveat emptor for those searching online for a unique gift for the Disney fan in their lives. Most of the Disney animation art available through auction site eBay is probably a fake. And not very good ones at that. has a small catalog of some of the more recent forgeries that have turned up online, pointing out the differences between the real and the fake.The blog’s anonymous writer tells Cartoon Brew that he worked as an inbetween clean-up artist for Disney’s The Princess And The Frog and “carefully analyzed the clean-up drawings with the finished film frames, and discovered numerous discrepancies consistent with forgeries.” He added –

I made a blog cataloging all the drawings that have been sold and I point out the differences between the fake and original. I have about twenty drawings up so far and in total they’ve sold on eBay for almost $3000 (I have about five or six left on my computer to put up) . And all but one or two of the drawings are from the same seller Hkleiman.

When I contacted the seller I was concerned and told him that one of the drawings he’s selling might be fake. He assured me that they’re real and he gets them from a trusted Disney animator. But with my blog I think I’ve shown enough differences to disprove that. My goal with this blog is to help people spot the differences between a real drawing and a fake and to hopefully get these people their money back. But before I contact the buyers I wanted to get some feedback from professionals.

I have to repeat what the folks at Cartoon Brew caution about buying original animation art – Make sure you are buying from a gallery or dealer who has an established reputation. And avoid this hkleiman on eBay.

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Video: Dan Fogler’s BROTHER SAM Screen Test

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Rich Drees

For some time HBO Films have been developing a bio-pic of the life of cutting edge comic Sam Kinison based on his brother Bill’s book Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison. For much of that time they were looking at turning it into a project to air on the cable channel and had American Splendor‘s writing/directing team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini working on a script and heavy-set comic actor Dan Fogler was set to play the comic.

But for whatever reason, this particular incarnation of the project fell through, and now HBO Films is looking at turning the book into a theatrical film. To that end they have recently brought in Rich Wilkes to work on a new screenplay draft.

But for a look at what might have been, here’s Fogler’s screen test for the project from a few years ago. Interestingly, for this screen test Fogler doesn’t attempt to mimic Kinison’s distinct twang. Instead, he goes for capturing Kinnison’s on-stage energy, which he does remarkably well. It’s unknown if Fogler is still attached to Brother Sam, but the producers would be foolish if they think they can find someone else who would be able to encompass the persona of Kinison the way that Fogler manages to here.

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Friday Flashback: Bruce Lee Meets Popeye

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Rich Drees

Exploitation has been hand-in-hand with the movies ever since Thomas Edison first ripped off the Lumiere Brothers back at the end of the 19th century. And in over a century’s time, exploitation films have carved out their own genre with numerous sub-categories such as the rock and roll exploitation of the mid-1950s, the sexploitation films of Russ Myers and the like in the 1960s or the blaxploitation films of the early 70s.

But there was one exploitation genre that briefly flared and then flickered out that could seem crass even by exploitation standards- Bruceploitation, or the exploitation of Bruce Lee to sell a film.

Bruce Lee was an international phenomenon and at the height of his career at the time of his death in 1973. Scrambling around to fill the box office void Lee’s passing was going to create, Hong Kong movie makers found themselves shoving any one of their contract players with a modicum of martial arts skills in front of a camera and slapping onto them a name that sounded close to Bruce Lee’s.

Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men or Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu (1977) (also known as The Dragon Lives Again) is perhaps one of the more outrageous entry in an already outrageous genre. It stars Siu-Lung Leong, given the screen name of Bruce Leong here even though there is virtually no resemblance at all, as Bruce Lee, who following his death has arrived in hell and opened a gym. After all, what else would one do upon arriving in the afterlife? All seems to be going OK until he discovers that some evil folks, including the Godfather, James Bond Dracula and Clint Eastwood, are planning on taking over Hell. So Bruce teams up with Kung Fu‘s Kain, The One-Armed Swordsman and, of course, Popeye. Crazy, right? Here we get to see Popeye doing all the things we know him for, like eating spinach and fighting mummies.

Unfortunately, this film doesn’t seem to be available on DVD right now, but hopefully it’ll show up soon.

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Are These ALIEN PREQUEL Space Jockey Designs? Updated: No!

Posted on 25 November 2010 by Rich Drees

We know that pre-production design work is currently being done for Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel over at England’s Pinewood Studios. We know that Scott has hinted that the film’s plot will possible involve more of the race of the dead alien that crew members of the Nostromo discovered in the original 1979 Alien and nicknamed the “Space Jockey.”

Some possible design work for those aliens have surfaced courtesy of the site Scriptflags. They don’t claim to authoritatively state that these drawings are indeed authentic, though if a take down notice arrives in my email box over the next 48 hours, we’ll probably have our answer.

In the meantime, here’s something to mull over while digesting your Thanksgiving feast today. (Click on image to enlarge.)

And for comparison, here’s the original from 1979.

Via Bleeding Cool.

Updated: Turns out these are not official pre-production sketches, but the work of artist Doug Williams for his blog Please Look At Me Neil Blomkamp. Still, interesting work, no?

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Ingrid Pitt, 73

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Rich Drees

Ingrid Pitt, the buxom star of many horror films from British cinema’s golden era of the genre, has died yesterday, November 23, 2010, in London, England. She was 73.

Although she started her career in the mid-1960s with roles in a handful of Spanish films and small, uncredited parts in Doctor Zhivago and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, it was a supporting role in the 1968 classic war film Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood was her first stepping stone towards stardom.

Pitt’s best known work was in done in the boom of British horror films during the late 1960s and early `70s. For the king of British horror, Hammer Films, Pitt starred in 1970’s The Vampire Lovers, based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Camilla, and 1971’s Countess Dracula, which was based on legends surrounding the Countess Elizabeth Bathroy. In 1971 she also appeared in Amicus Studio’s anthology film The House That Dripped Blood. She also had a small role in 1973’s The Wicker Man, which many have called the “Citizen Kane of horror.”

She also appeared in such films as Who Dares Wins, Octopussy, Wild Geese II and Green Fingers. Pitt also made guest appearances on several television series including Ironsides and Doctor Who.

Born in Poland to a mother of Jewish descent, Pitt and her family were interred in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942, when she was five years old. She survived the ordeal and later joined the acting troupe Berliner Ensemble, where she worked under actress Helene Weigel, the widow of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. She eventually fled the political oppression of East Germany and lived for a time in America before heading to Spain and the start of her acting career.

Pitt told in an interviewer in 2006 that it was perhaps her experiences that helped mold her into the horror film icon she became. “I was in a concentration camp as a child and I don’t want to see horror,” Pitt stated. “I think it’s very amazing that I do horror films when I had this awful childhood. But maybe that’s why I’m good at it.”

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First Official SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 Picture

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Rich Drees

So here we have the first official image from director Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes 2.

We see stars Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are back as Hthe great consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend Dr. John Watson. We also get our first official look at Noomi Rapace as a gypsy in her first American film role. And all three appear to be running through the woods with a plume of black smoke behind them. Is it a fire? An explosion? The Smoke Monster from Lost getting work?

OK, so the picture doesn’t tell us a whole lot about what the film’s plot will actually be. We do know that Stephen Fry has been cast as Sherlock’s elder brother, Mycroft Holmes, and Jared Harris is onboard playing Holmes’s arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. Less certain is whether Rachel McAdams will be back as the first film’s love interest Irene Adler.

Sherlock Holmes 2 shows up in theaters on December 16, 2011.

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Verbinski Officially Directing LONE RANGER

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Rich Drees

Gore Verbinski has signed on the dotted line and is now officially the director for Disney’s The Lone Ranger. We knew this was a possibility back in September when it was reported that he was in talks to to head up the project.

This will mark the director’s fifth collaboration with Johnny Depp, who is attached to the the film in the role of the Lone Ranger’s sidekick Tonto. In addition to working together on the first three Pirates Of The Caribbean films, Depp has supplied the voice of the title character for Verbinski’s debut outing as an animation director, Rango, due out next March.

As the film has been curning in development at Disney for a while now, there is no one attached to the lead role of a Texas lawman who is gunned down, left for dead and then assumes a masked identity to hunt his would be killers. Presumably with Verbinski officially on board now, the project will heat up a bit and we may start hearing more casting news in the future.

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New Releases: November 24

Posted on 23 November 2010 by William Gatevackes

1. Tangled (Disney, 3,603 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG): Ah, Thanksgiving! The time of year where we reunite with our families, immediately get sick of them and then go out and see a movie. Four are opening today, and they cover just about every member of the family.

There is a lot about this one that makes me skittish. First, it’s a non-Pixar CGI Disney film, which is always a dicey proposition. And while it is what Disney usually does best, a fairy tale adaptation (in this case, it’s Rapunzel), they are giving it a quirky, wacky comedic twist on it. And while the original story was aimed more at girls, the film seems aimed more at boys. There might be a little bait and switch going on there.

That being said, it still looks good enough for the young (and young at heart) to go see. I laughed out loud once or twice during some of the ads, so, that’s a plus.

2. Burlesque (Sony/ Screen Gems, 3,037 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Hey, moms! If you can trust your kids to go into Tangled by themselves, and you go to a showing of this film going up at the same time, you’ll leave the theater the same time they do.

But, would you really want to see it? On one hand, it looks like Oscar bait. Well, it looks like Chicago, but that film did win an Oscar. And it has an intriguing cast–Christina Aguilera making her film debut, Cher making her return to film, solid supporting actors like Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell and Dianna Argon.

But the plot is so old that it can remember a time before we had Social Security, televisions in every home and a second World War. A small town girl comes to the big city in hopes of becoming a star. She gets a job at a theater that is down on its luck and barely hanging on. Through pluck and determination, the farm girl gets to perform at the theater and, gosh darn it, isn’t she a hit! But does she have what it takes to save the theater! Ooh, I hope so!

3. Love And Other Drugs (FOX, 2,455 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated R): Here’s another one where I laughed out loud at the ads and yet have reservations about the actual film.

Whenever a film, especially a romance, is listed as a comedy and a drama, it usually never is really good at either or both at the same time. And this films is listed as a comedy and a drama.

Brokeback Mountain co-stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal reunite in this film. Hathaway plays a free spirit that will never be tamed. Gyllenhaal plays charming rogue who is more than a match for her. They’re in love, but will it last?

Sounds good if it was just a romantic comedy. But since drug abuse plays a role in the film, and Gyllenhaal plays a pharmaceutical rep, I can imagine where the drama comes in. And that’s a bit off putting.

4. Faster (CBS Films, 2,454 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated R): And then there’s this one. No fairy tale romances, no singing, no dramedy, just somebody killing a ;lot of people as fast as he can, the way the best revenge flicks work out.

Dwayne Johnson leaves the world of the kiddie flicks behind to return to the action genre he started out in. He plays an escaped ex-con who is tracking down the people responsible for killing his brother. He, in turn, is tracked down by a pair of cops and a pair of assassins.

See? That’s pretty much all you need for an action/revenge film. This one might not get great reviews from critics, heck, it might not be good at all, but it’s bound to be entertaining.  

Okay, quickly.

Tangled might have a chance in the already crowded Best Animated film category.

Burlesque does seem like Oscar bait, but is it really? Cher already has an award but could get a nod no matter how hackneyed the plot is.

Love and Other Drugs might seem like a long shot for any kind of nomination, but it is directed by Edward Zwick. Zwick has an Oscar as a producer for Shakespeare in Love), but as a director, he is good at getting his actors nods/awards (Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Wantenabe, Denzel Washington). Hathaway and Gyllenhaal both have nominations in the past. So them getting acting nods is not entirely unheard of.

It’s pretty safe to say the chances of Faster getting any Oscar nominations are pretty slim. Well, outside of the technical awards, that is.  

A film in limited release that could get some attention from the Academy is The King’s Speech (Opening Friday, 4 Theaters, The Weinstein Company, 118 Minutes, Rated R). It’s based on a true story (of the man who helped England’s King George the IV ascend to the throne), it’s the story of a man overcoming an affliction (granted, it’s stuttering, but still), it’s leads have had nods in the past and one victory to their credit (Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush), and it’s British.

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Joss Whedon Comments On BUFFY Reboot

Posted on 23 November 2010 by Rich Drees

Perhaps understandably, a certain sector of geekdom is not happy with yesterday’s news that Warner Brothers is currently moving forward with a cinematic reboot of the popular Buffy, The Vampire Slayer franchise without the involvement of its creator Joss Whedon. Late yesterday Whedon took a few minutes out of prepping to shoot The Avengers to offer his own thoughts  on the matter in his own, inimitable style –

This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, “Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson?  This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER.”  Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, “I’ll make a mint!  This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!” Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death.  But, you know, AFTER.  I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie.  Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain!  Sincerely, Joss Whedon

Via E! Online.

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Favreau Provides Commentary Track For COWBOYS & ALIENS Trailer

Posted on 23 November 2010 by Rich Drees

Commentary tracks on films on DVDs are pretty standard at this point in time. But this has to be a first – Jon Favreau providing a commentary track for the trailer for his upcoming science-fiction western mashup Cowboys & Aliens.

Of course, this is just a clever way for MTV to do an interview with Favreau, but it is clever nonetheless. And it gives a little background on the film for the uninitiated.

Cowboys & Aliens stampedes into theaters next summer.

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