Tex Avery (I) - News Poster


The Forgotten: Walter Lantz & William Nolan's "Wonderland" (1931)

  • MUBI
Walt Disney lost control of his most popular character, Oswald the Rabbit, probably the low point of his life. He bounced back by starting his own company and introducing Mickey Mouse, a thinly-veiled Oswald rip-off, down to the same short pants, with added alliteration, and the rest is history.Oswald, of course, faded into obscurity without Disney's hand to guide him, but here's a later talking Oswald cartoon (Mickey introduced sound to the cartoons with Steamboat Willie in 1928, an oddly abrasive toon in which the iconic rodent spends most of his time torturing animals to produce musical sounds. Mickey, at this stage in his development, seems likely to grow up to be a serial killer.)The wonderful thing about thirties cartoons is how disturbing they are. We first encounter Mickey Oswald here getting his ass sewn up by granny and a cat and a mouse, their traditional enmity forgotten
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"Woody Woodpecker" The Movie

  • SneakPeek
Sneak Peek more new footage from Universal's CGI animated "Woody Woodpecker", directed by Alex Zamm, available on DVD February 6, 2018:

"...'Woody Woodpecker' loves his home in the forest in the mountains. His tree is just the right size and perfect for his needs. Then a lawyer from the city arrives with his girlfriend and son and tries to tear it down to build a 'dream' home for humans. 

"Woody being Woody decides to use his unique method of handling irritations to stop the development plans: He terrorizes the humans entirely. He goes after the construction crew, attempts to electrocute and peck the father and causes mayhem everywhere. 

"After Woody finds himself relating to the son, can he and the humans come to a compromise that works for everyone?...":

Woody Woodpecker was created in 1940 by storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who previously laid groundwork for "Bugs Bunny" and "Daffy
See full article at SneakPeek »

Bugs Bunny Character Designer Bob Givens Passed Away at the Age of 99

Bob Givens, the animator who officially designed the cartoon character Bugs Bunny, has passed away. The artist was 99-years-old, and he lived a very long and successful life who has left behind quite an incredible legacy. After all, he did help create one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time.

After givens worked on Disney's 1937 animated filmed Snow White and the Seven Dwarves he went to work alongside Chuck Jones and Tex Avery at Warner Bros. and that's where Bugs Bunny was born. 

Givens also worked on classic TV cartoon series like Popeye the Sailor in 1960s and Alvin and the Chipmunks and He-Man during the 80s. Writing on Facebook, Professor of Animation at the University of Southern California Tom Sito talked about his time with Givens, saying: 

I just heard from Mariana about the passing of her dad, animator Bob Givens, at the age of 99. Bob began at Walt Disney,
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Battle Cry

Move over James JonesLeon Uris clobbers the big screen with a sprawling adaptation of his WW2 combat novel, loaded down with roles for promising young actors. This is the one where twice as much time is spent on love affairs than fighting. War may be hell, but if Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, Dorothy Malone and Allyn McLerie are going to be there for comfort, sign me up.

Battle Cry


Warner Archive Collection

1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 148 min. / Street Date , 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, James Whitmore, Raymond Massey, Tab Hunter, Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis, William Campbell, Fess Parker, Justus E. McQueen (L.Q. Jones), Perry Lopez, Jonas Applegarth, Tommy Cook, Felix Noriego, Susan Morrow, Carleton Young, Rhys Williams, Allyn Ann McLerie, Gregory Walcott, Frank Ferguson, Sarah Selby, Willis Bouchey, Victor Milian.

Cinematography: Sidney Hickox

Film Editor: William H. Zeigler

Original Music: Max Steiner
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Andrei Tarkovsky’s bizarre philosophical science fiction epic may be his most successful picture overall — every image and word makes its precise desired effect. Three daring men defy the law to penetrate ‘the Zone’ and learn the truth behind the notion that a place called The Room exists where all wishes are granted. Plenty of art films promise profound ideas, but this one delivers.



The Criterion Collection 888

1979 / Color / 1:37 flat full frame / 161 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date July 18, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Alisa Freindlikh, Natasha Abramova.

Cinematography: Alexander Knyazhinsky

Film Editor: Lyudmila Feyginova

Original Music: Eduard Artemyev

Written by Andrei Tarkovsky and Arkady Struagtsky, Boris Strugatsky from their novel Roadside Picnic.

Produced by Aleksandra Demidova

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

If the definition of film artist is ‘one who goes his own way,’ Andrei Tarkovsky qualifies mightily. Reportedly cursed with a halting career
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Golden Globes Give Oscars a Worthy Adversary

In 1943, the same year that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. was founded, movie screens were filled with a popular series of Warner Bros. cartoons that riffed on the “Tortoise and the Hare” Aesop fable, where the faster rabbit competes with the hopelessly outclassed tortoise and yet inexplicably loses the contest.

Midway through Tex Avery’s 1941 classic, “Tortoise Beats Hare,” the rabbit is exasperated and mystified by his inexplicable failure and one of the tortoise’s co-conspirators winks to the audience and announces, “We do this kinda stuff to him all through the picture!”

Think of the Academy’s Oscars as Bugs Bunny, the famous, well-heeled favorite to win and the HFPA’s Golden Globes as Cecil Turtle, the lesser-known, comical four-legged foil whose victory drives Bugs completely up the wall.

The Oscars have thousands of famous members and a board of governors packed with movie stars, studio chiefs and legendary filmmakers. The
See full article at Variety - Film News »

June Foray, Voice of ‘Bullwinkle Show’s’ Natasha and Rocky, Dies at 99

June Foray, Voice of ‘Bullwinkle Show’s’ Natasha and Rocky, Dies at 99
June Foray, the voice of “The Bullwinkle Show’s” Rocky the Flying Squirrel and his nemesis Natasha Fatale of Boris and Natasha fame, died Thursday. She was 99.

Her close friend Dave Nimitz, confirmed her death on Facebook, writing “With a heavy heart again I want to let you all know that we lost our little June today at 99 years old.”

Foray was the voice behind Looney Tunes’ Witch Hazel, Nell from “Dudley Do-Right,” Granny in the “Tweety and Sylvester” cartoons and Cindy Lou Who in Chuck Jones’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” among many others.

The first lady of voice acting and founder of the annual Annie Awards was instrumental in the creation of the Oscars’ animated feature category.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'The Thomas Crown Affair': THR's 1968 Review

'The Thomas Crown Affair': THR's 1968 Review
On June 26, 1968, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway's heist film The Thomas Crown Affair hit theaters, touting itself with a tagline of "A thrill-a-minute deal for a million dollars!" The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below.

Like Richard Lester and Tex Avery, Norman Jewison continues to prove himself among the most facile and appropriative of the two-dimensional directors, paring the elements of character, plot and motive to promote entertainments in which the vogues of unrestrained directorial technique are ultimately the star, protracted commercials in which the director is both progenitor and featured product.

With the Mirisch presentation of The...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Annecy Film Review: ‘Animal Crackers’

Annecy Film Review: ‘Animal Crackers’
When Ringling Bros. announced its plans to retire the Greatest Show on Earth after 146 years, animal-rights activists rejoiced, relieved that dancing bears and trained elephants would suffer no more. But “Animal Crackers” has a much better solution, albeit one that demands a dash of magic: In this delightfully inventive, frequently hilarious animated feature, a box of enchanted cookies allows big-top couple Buffalo Bob and Talia to shape-shift into a full menagerie of circus animals. All it takes is a bite of the right cookie, and presto, they become the critter in question!

In addition to boasting a downright clever idea, “Animal Crackers” is uniquely suited to the medium of animation, considering that live action (even heavily CG-embellished live action) simply wouldn’t support all those dramatic transformations — from two-ounce hamster to 600-pound brown bear, for example — and the wonderfully anthropomorphic behavior each of those species requires. The fact that this Spanish-produced,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Florida Project review – poverty and joy in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom

Sean Baker, director of the iPhone movie Tangerine, steps up to a whole new level with this life-affirming story of a six year old living in a Florida motel

Ken Loach and Tex Avery never had a chance to collaborate on a film together, but the manic, high-energy and ultimately heartbreaking social drama The Florida Project more than suffices.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Stan Lee's Role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Finally Revealed

Stan Lee's Role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Finally Revealed
If you haven't raced to the local theater for a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, you might want to save this story for later. As it contains Spoilers! Those who have seen the movie, and stayed all the way to the very last of five post-credit scenes, know that Stan Lee's Marvel character has finally been revealed. Yes, his cameos mean something, they're all connected, and he's played the same character in every movie, presumably even those outside of Marvel Studio's cinematic universe including X-Men and Deadpool.

As it stands, Stan Lee has appeared in more Marvel movies than anyone else, including Robert Downey Jr., who reprises Tony Stark for an 8th time in this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Samuel L. Jackson, who has turned in 7 appearances out of the 9 in his contract. Known for creating some of the greatest superheroes in history and forever the face of Marvel comics,
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Annecy unveils 2017 line-up

Annecy unveils 2017 line-up
Zombillenium announced as opener; China named as guest country, Guillermo del Toro to return.

French animator and illustrator Arthur de Pin’s child-friendly comedy-horror tale Zombillenium (pictured) - set against the backdrop of an amusement-terror park were the staff are a motley crew of vampires, zombies and werewolves - will open this year’s edition of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, running June 12-17 this year.

It is among nine special event screenings including Pixar’s Cars 3, which will be proceeded by a presentation of footage from Mexico-set, Day of the Dead-inspired drama Coco in the presence of director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K. Anderson and co-director Adrian Molina; Despicable Me 3 and The Big Bad Fox And Other Animals.

Zombillenium will also compete in the 10-title feature film competition.

Other contenders for Annecy’s Cristal for best feature film include Iranian director Ali Soozandeh’s Tehran Taboo, exploring sexuality
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Tom McGrath interview: Boss Baby, animation, George Lucas

Simon Brew Apr 5, 2017

We chat with Boss Baby director Tom McGrath about animation, changes at DreamWorks, Boss Baby 2, advice from Ron Howard and more...

Tom McGrath is one of Hollywood’s most underappreciated comedy directors. Megamind was a hoot, I found myself guffawing heavily through the Madagascar trilogy and now, with The Boss Baby, he’s brought yet more animated mischief to the screen.

We got the chance to have a chat with about the movie, about the big behind the scenes changes at DreamWorks Animation, and the invaluable advice of Ron Howard and George Lucas

I remember watching the Oscars one year, and Jim Carrey came on to present an award just as Liar Liar had opened to massive numbers. He walked up and said “how was your weekend, mine was good!”. So, Tom McGrath: how was your weekend?

It was great! It was good! [Laughs] You know, I don’t have children myself,
See full article at Den of Geek »

'The Boss Baby' Review: This Is Not the Trump-Trolling Toon You're Looking For

'The Boss Baby' Review: This Is Not the Trump-Trolling Toon You're Looking For
Let's address the elephant-sized diaper in the room, shall we? No, The Boss Baby is not about Donald Trump. Not that director Tom McGrath, or screenwriter Michael McCullers, or anyone at Fox or Dreamworks Animation would ever say that it was; it's safe to assume that this adaptation of Marla Frazee's 2010 children's book was in the works long before our current administration slithered its way into office. But given that this tiny tyrant is voiced by none other than Alec Baldwin, who's carved out a lucrative side career imitating an infantile commander-in-chief,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Invisible Ghost

Bela Lugosi fan alert! This Monogram horror opus is yet another narrative-challenged fumble of unmotivated, incomprehensible characters… but Bela’s great in it, in a central role. He’s a sympathetic, non- maniac this time, if you don’t count his tendency to go into trances and smother random houseguests. Savant’s review has the lowdown on the interesting cast; Tom Weaver’s commentary has the authoritative lowdown on whole show.

Invisible Ghost


Kl Studio Classics

1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 64 min. / Street Date March 21, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 24.95

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, Clarence Muse, John McGuire, Betty Compson, Ernie Adams, Terry Walker, George Pembroke .

Cinematography: Harvey Gould, Marcel Le Picard

Film Editor: Robert Golden

Original Music: hahahahah, good one.

Written by Helen Martin & Al Martin

Produced by Sam Katzman

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis

Horror movie fans come in two varieties, obsessive and dangerously obsessive. Back
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Broadway’s delightful — but wickedly accurate — satire of big business was brought to movie screens almost intact, with the story, the stars, the styles and dances kept as they were in the long-running show that won a Pulitzer Prize. This is the place to see Robert Morse and Michele Lee at their best — it’s one of the best, and least appreciated movie musicals of the 1960s.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


Twilight Time

1967 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 121 min. / Street Date March 14, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, Anthony Teague, Maureen Arthur, Sammy Smith, Robert Q. Lewis, Carol Worthington, Kathryn Reynolds, Ruth Kobart, George Fennemann, Tucker Smith, David Swift.

Cinematography: Burnett Guffey

Film Editor: Allan Jacobs, Ralph E. Winters

Original Music: Nelson Riddle

Art Direction: Robert Boyle

Visual Gags: Virgil Partch

From the play written by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows,
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"Woody Woodpecker" On The Big Screen

Sneak Peek footage from Universal's upcoming big screen CGI "Woody Woodpecker" movie, opening in 2017:

Woody Woodpecker was created in 1940 by storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who previously laid groundwork for "Bugs Bunny" and "Daffy Duck" at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the late 1930's.

The 'anthropomorphic' acorn woodpecker cartoon character soon appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz animation studio, including "Andy Panda", distributed by Universal Pictures.

Woody's character and design would evolve over the years, from an insane bird with an unusually garish design to a more refined look.

Woody was originally voiced by actor Mel Blanc, who was succeeded by Ben Hardaway and later by Grace Stafford, the wife of producer Walter Lantz.

Woody Woodpecker cartoons were first broadcast on TV in the 1957 cartoon series, "The Woody Woodpecker Show", which featured Lantz cartoons (including director Tex Avery's manic "Chilly Willy" shorts).

See full article at SneakPeek »

Dead Or Alive

Director Takashi Miike brings his take-no-prisoners style to this hard-nosed Yakuza film released in 1999. Miike plays by the genre rules (almost) most of the time, keeping purists happy, but his natural inclinations for the provocative gesture thankfully take over, making way for one of the great gonzo finales of all time… right up there with its main influence, Tex Avery’s 1947 cartoon, King-Size Canary.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »




Warner Archive Collection

1949 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 118 min. / Street Date January 10, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, James Whitmore, Douglas Fowley, Leon Ames, Guy Anderson, Denise Darcel, Richard Jaeckel, James Arness

Cinematography: Paul Vogel

Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Film Editor: John D. Dunning

Original Music: Lennie Hayton

Written by: Robert Pirosh

Produced by: Dore Schary

Directed by William A. Wellman

“The Guts, Gags and Glory of a Lot of Wonderful Guys!”

— say, what kind of movie is this, anyway?

Action movies about combat are now mostly about soldiers that fight like killing machines, or stories of battle with a strong political axe to grind. WW2 changed perceptions completely, when a mostly civilian army did the fighting. With the cessation of hostilities combat pictures tapered off quickly, and Hollywood gave the subject a break for several years.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Locarno Blog. "The Party"

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The Notebook is the North American home for Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian's blog. Chatrian has been writing thoughtful blog entries in Italian on Locarno's website since he took over as Director in late 2012, and now you can find the English translations here on the Notebook as they're published. The Locarno Film Festival will be taking place August 2 - 12.If I think back to my earliest memories of the cinema, one fact—along with the names of certain films—leaps to mind. Or rather, not a fact, but a sensation. A sensation that fades into a hazy memory. At the movies I laughed at the twists and turns of bodies that could transpose acrobatic moves into everyday life, and at other bodies, too, ones that really were made of rubber, or seemed to be. Bodies that could be bent out of shape and absorb incredible falls, shocks and
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