Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

Friday, March 16, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for March 16

"The Absent Minded Professor was Released on March 16, 1961.

Disney's ‘The Absent-Minded Professor' is Released

Though color films had been around for many years, Walt Disney’s, The Absent-Minded Professor was created in black and white and released on this day 1961. The film that starred Fred MacMurray and Nancy Olsen, was full of costly special effects. It featured Richard and Robert Sherman’s first song for a Disney feature (“Medfield Fight Song”) and used Wally Boag, a Disneyland stage performer, to serve as a stunt double for MacMurray.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Winnie the Pooh Comes Alive in 'Christopher Robin' Film - Video of the Day


The first trailer for Disney's new live action film, Christopher Robin, based on the Winnie-the-Pooh books and movies, is now ready to be seen.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Ewan McGregor Plays Christopher Robin in New Disney Flick

Winnie the Pooh's New Movie "Christopher Robin"
Oh bother! Winnie-the-Pooh is back to rescue Christopher Robin. (Disney)


Disney is busy at work teasing fans for its upcoming movies including the Star Wars movie Solo, The Incredibles 2, and Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. Yesterday, a new teaser trailer for Mary Poppins Returns was released and today the studio is giving the first information about a new live action movie based on the Winnie-the-Pooh franchise.

Tomorrow, Disney will unveil its first look at Christopher Robin, which will be featured here on Writer of Pop. Christopher Robin of course is the owner of the bear "stuffed with fluff" and other friends in the 100 Acre Wood. In the new movie, he has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside. The tagline on the poster states, "Sooner or later, your past catches up to you."

The movie is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh; Chris O’Dowd as Tigger; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; Sophie Okonedo as Kanga and Brad Garrett will be the voice of Eeyore. Can you think of a better person to voice the downtrodden donkey?

Another Spoonful of Sugar Coming Up - Video of the Day


During last night's Oscar's, Disney teased about a teaser trailer for Mary Poppins Returns. Here it is. (Don't get too excited though - she won't be coming until Christmas!)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

'Wreck-It Ralph' Will Break the Internet this November - Video of the Day


I'm not sure if the Wreck-It Ralph sequel will be as good as the first, but the last scene in the teaser trailer below made me laugh out loud.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 15

"Cinderella" opened in theaters on February 15, 1950.

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

It was on this day in 1950 that Walt Disney Studios saw its greatest hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when Cinderella appeared in theaters for the first time. Before it, the studio was over $4 million in debt. To help reduce costs, Cinderella was the first feature to use extensive live action reference. About 90% of the film was actually filmed with a live model before the animation process began. Ilene Woods won the speaking role of Cinderella (Karen Overby was the singing voice) beating out 309 other women without actually auditioning. Woods made some recordings of Disney songs for her friends who then sent them to Walt Disney who thought she had the right “fairy tale tone” to her voice. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Music and Original Song (“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”). Two straight to video sequels were produced many years later and in 2015, a live action version of the story was filmed that starred Lily James.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 7

"Pinocchio" was released on February 7, 1940.

Pinocchio Becomes a Real Boy

Walt Disney’s second full-length animated feature, Pinocchio, was released on this day in 1940, but it should have been the third. After Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937, Walt had planned to release Bambi as his next movie, but the studio was having difficulty with both the story and making the animals look realistic and so Bambi went on the back burner. Pinocchio has been called “groundbreaking” in that movie was able to create realistic movement to vehicles and the items found in Geppetto’s workshop. Other natural elements like rain, lightning, smoke, shadows and water also looked more realistic than in previous animated works. Although considered one of the best animated films ever created, Pinocchio did not do well of his first official outing in terms of box office sales. However, the film was the first animated movie to win two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “When You Wish Upon A Star.” It wasn’t until the movie’s reissue in 1945 that Disney made a profit on the film. In 1994, Pinocchio was added to the United States National Film Registry for being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." In the mid-2000s, DisneyToon Studios began to work on a sequel, something that John Lasseter cancelled after being named Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006. However, there is a live action film in the works.

Monday, February 5, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 5

Peter Pan was released in theaters on February 5, 1953

Peter Pan Flies Into Theaters

Based on the play by J.M. Barrie, Walt Disney’s version of Peter Pan was released for the first time on this day in 1953. It has the distinction of being the last film where all of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked together. It cost about $4 million to make Peter Pan and the picture took in $7 million. It was re-released in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982 and 1989. The film has generally received positive reviews, but it has been criticized for its negative portrayal of Native American Indians. The character are referred to as “savages” and “redskins” and the Indians sing the song, “What Made the Red Man Red?” These stereotypes are also featured in the original play. Disney decided to give the film a sequel in 2002 titled, Return to Never Land, and all of the original characters are represented, but there is only a brief scene showing the Indian village, no actual Indians.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for January 30

'The Lone Ranger' radio show debuted on January 30, 1933.

'The Lone Ranger' Debuts on Radio

On this day, January 30, 1933, The Lone Ranger made its’ debut on Detroit’s WXYZ radio station. It was a creation of the station-owner George Trendle and fellow writer, Fran Striker. With no knowledge about cowboys and Indians, the writers wanted to create an American version of Zorro. As one of the original good guys, The Lone Ranger never smoked, swore, or drank alcohol and he never shot to kill. Tonto was cursed with uttering phrases that never would have been spoken by any indian. The popular series went to the movies and TV, becoming ABC’s first hit show in the early 1950’s. Disney tried out a revival of the story with a new movie that came out in 2013, but it failed to capture an audience this time around.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Two Versions of Mickey Mouse's 'Orphan's Benefit' - Video of the Day


This is so interesting...Walt Disney created the cartoon short, Orphan's Benefit in 1934 and then completely redid the film in color in 1941 using the same soundtrack. Frame by frame, the second film is almost an exact reproduction but with updated animation stylings of the characters. In fact, it is said that the only dialogue change was the very last line where Donald's line is changed from "Ah, nuts!" to "Ah Phooey!," something that Mr. Duck was known for saying by 1941. Here are the two films side by side.

This Day in Pop Culture for January 29

Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty' was released on January 29, 1959.

Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Comes to Theaters for the First Time

Sleeping Beauty was Walt Disney’s 16th animated feature which was released on this day in 1959. Based the Brothers Grimm tale, it was the last fairy tale that the studio created before 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Much of the music of the film was taken from Tchaikovsky’s 1890 ballet of the same name. It was the first animated film to be photographed in the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process although it was released to theaters in both 35mm and 70mm prints. Production costs to make the film came to about $6 million, making it Disney’s most expensive money up to this point. (It cost twice as much as the studio’s three previous films, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp) Despite positive reviews from critics, the movie didn’t bring in enough money to make up for the losses of the rest of that year’s releases resulting in massive layoffs for Disney’s animation department. Disney later released a live-action version of the story, Maleficent, in 2014 that starred Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for January 25

101 Dalmatians was released on January 25, 1961

'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' is Released

Based on the book with the same name, Walt Disney Pictures released One Hundred and One Dalmatians for the first time on this day in 1961. The movie was the studio’s 17th animated film and just might have saved the studio. The animated film brought in a hefty revenue due to the fact that Disney used xerography during the inking stage of the filmmaking, which was less expensive than the traditional method. Disney’s last animated film, Sleepy Beauty was beautiful but very expensive to make and it didn’t draw in enough of an audience to make it cost effective. Dalmatians was the tenth top grossing film of that year. It is estimated that the movie included 6,469,952 spots from the Dalmatian pups. The film has been so popular, it was re-released in theaters four times, a direct to video movie was created, an animated television series was done, two live action movies have been made and a third focusing more on the villain Cruella De Vil is currently in development at the Disney studio.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for January 24

Disney Purchases Pixar

In 1993, Disney agreed to a three movie agreement with Pixar which introduced us to Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2. The three had won 19 Oscars and grossed more than $3 billion at the box office. The two companies agreed to another three movies in what seemed like a match made in heaven. However, apparently, Steve Jobs (CEO for Pixar) did not get along with Michael Eisner (CEO for Disney). In 2004, Jobs announced that Pixar would begin looking for another distributor and that their sixth film, Cars, would be the last with Disney. Eisner stepped down from leadership in 2005 and Robert A. Iger stepped in making amends with Pixar his #1 priority. On this day in 2006, the Walt Disney Company purchased Pixar.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for January 23

'Roots' Miniseries Airs for the First Time

On this day in 1977, ABC aired the first night of the 10-hour presentation of Roots, a miniseries based on Alex Haley's novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The popular miniseries ran for eight consecutive nights which received huge Nielsen ratings for the finale, which continues to hold the record for the third-highest-rated US television program (36.38 million) Roots received 37 Emmy Award nominations and won nine. It won also a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. Currently, The History channel is planning a remake of the miniseries. A remake of the classic miniseries began airing on May 30, 2016 on the History Channel. It too was a ratings and critical success.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A New 'Nutcracker' Comes Next Year - Video of the Day


All Clara wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. So begins the tale that comes to theaters in November 2018.

Monday, December 11, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for December 11

"The Princess and the Frog" opened in theaters on December 11, 2009.

The African American Disney Princess Appears

The Princess and the Frog was released in theaters on this day in 2009. The animated hit was Walt Disney Animation Studios 49th animated feature film is was loosely based on the novel, The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker which in turn was loosely based on The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm. Set in New Orleans in the 1920s, the story is about Tiana, a talented but overworked waitress with big dreams of owning her own restaurant. Just like the classic tale, she is asked by a frog to kiss him as he is really a handsome prince. However, when she does so, she becomes a frog as well. The movie was written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and featured the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody, Jim Cummings, Peter Bartlett, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, and John Goodman. The Princess and the Frog won the 67th Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Creator of Cruella deVil Begins Work with Disney

"Good Will Hunting" opened in theaters on December 2, 1997.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s First Screenplay Comes to Theaters

Good Will Hunting was released to movie theaters on this day in 1997. The film about Will Hunting, an unrecognized genius, who after he assaults a police officer, becomes a patient of a therapist, studies advanced mathematics and questions his relationship. The movie was directed by Gus Van Sant, starred Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård and the screenplay was written by Affleck and Damon. Created with a $10 million budget, the film grossed over $225 million. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two for Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for November 22

"Beauty and the Beast" opened on November 22, 1995.‘Beauty and the Beast’ Waltzes in Theaters

Walt Disney wanted to create an adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast story during the 1930s and again in the 1950s, but it didn’t happen. However, it was on this day in 1991 when the film was released as Walt Disney Pictures’ 30th animated feature. Considered the third film during the “Disney Renaissance Period” (which includes The Little Mermaid and Aladdin), the movie was based on the French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The story centered on a spoiled prince (voiced by Robby Benson) who was cursed to become an ugly beast who could only change back after he found true love. The “beauty” of the story was Belle (Paige O’Hara) who volunteered to be imprisoned by the Beast in exchange for her father’s freedom. Add a few animated household objects like a teapot, clock and candlestick (Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers and Jerry Orbach) a happy ending, and a few songs and you got yourself a classic. After the success of The Little Mermaid, plans for the un-musical story were changed. The film was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, the screenplay was written by Linda Woolverton, Alan Menken wrote the songs and Howard Ashman wrote the lyrics. During the film’s first release, it made over $425 million on a $25 million budget. The film won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture that year and was nominated for an Oscar for the same category as well. Though it didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Picture, it did win for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. In 1994, the movie was adapted into a Broadway stage musical and the live-action remake of the film was directed by Bill Condon was released in March of 2017.

Friday, November 3, 2017

'Thor: Ragnarok' is a Fun-Filled Adventure Not to be Missed

Review of "Thor: Ragnarok"
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Marvel Studios)


Considering all of Marvel Comics characters, Thor and The Hulk are my two least favorite movie franchises. The studio has yet to make an enjoyable Hulk standalone film (and probably won’t at this point) and the first two Thor movies were convoluted, overly serious and confusing. With that said, I love how Marvel has allowed Chris Hemsworth’s natural comic timing to take root in the past Avengers films and Mark Ruffalo is the best Bruce Banner. Even so, my movie screening partner told me as we were walking in that this was one of those movies that he would usually wait for it to come on DVD rather than see it on the big screen. However, we were wrong.

While overly long and just as chaotic as ever, Thor: Ragnarok is a blast. With most of the story based on other planets, Marvel put together a popcorn movie that looks and feels like it was ripped from the pages of comic book. It’s bright, colorful and very funny. The villains are either over-the-top funny or deliciously evil and while it wasn’t necessary to the story, a few surprise characters pop up in the story as well.
Review of "Thor: Ragnarok"
Cate Blanchett as Hela. (Marvel Studios)

After a scene where Thor (Hemsworth) is battling his demons … literally, demons … Thor comes back home to Asgard to find his father (Anthony Hopkins) missing, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) honored with statues and dramatic performances sharing of Loki's (false) heroic nature, his hammer (which he loves more than anything) missing and the revelation that he has an older sister he never knew existed. Hela, aka the goddess of death (Cate Blanchett), was the king’s first born child who apparently got too big for her britches and had to be contained. Now she has been freed and is ready to make up for lost time. She doesn't have much time to celebrate a family reunion since she believes that she is the rightful heir to the kingdom. But while the townsfolk aren’t too thrilled with her arrival, she is Hela-bent on making sweeping changes.

Before Thor and Loki can band together to remove their sister, they are thrown into another mysterious land known as Sakaar which appears to be built with other planet’s garbage and ruled by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). This has got to be one of Goldblum's best roles ever. His snarky brand of humor is perfect for the role as an overzealous tyrant of a leader who lives to please himself at the expense of others.

Thor soon finds that he is sent to a coliseum of sorts to fight to the death against a local hero … The Hulk! Thor is thrilled to see his old “work buddy” but Hulk doesn’t seem to recognize the god of thunder and so the battle begins. So, essentially, Thor has to find a way to stay alive in order to get back home and save his planet from his older sister with the help from Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is sort of Hulk’s trainer and servant to the Grandmaster. There is a lot going on here and in the grand tradition of the Marvel movies that come before it, things get really bad (lots of explosions and toppling of buildings) before they get better.

Review of "Thor: Ragnarok"
Jeff Goldblum in his best role yet. (Marvel Studios)
Though long, Ragnarok is a delight from the very first scene till the end. It is surprisingly funny that will make you feel as if you are back watching Saturday morning cartoons where heroes and villains alike had a sense of humor and a sarcastic wit. Directed by Taika Waititi, every actor looks like they are having the time of their lives making this movie.

Thor: Ragnarok is rated PG-13, but honestly, if your little Thor enjoyed and could handle the first two Thor movies, then they should be able to sit through this one just fine. Foul language is at a minimum, the violence is cartoon-like and there is very little blood, if any. The film even has a few redeeming messages about the friendship too. Finally, it should be said that it is refreshing to watch a superhero movies where the heroes never waver or sulk or just sit around being moody. They don’t hesitate to risk their lives for the sake of the others because that’s what heroes do.