The Film, Video
and Moving Image
Magazine of Northern
December 1, 2014
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Karl’s Cartoon Corner
by Karl Cohen
The kooky pickup truck, Mater, played by Daniel Lawrence Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy, alongside his buddy and star of the show, Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson. photo: courtesy Pixar
Cars 2 Opens at Number One in Box Office Only
"Cars 2" grossed over $61 million the opening weekend and the first three reviews I read were excellent. Unfortunately, the NY Times reported on Monday June 27 that “only about 34% of the reviews were positive,” but first the good news.
“Cooler cars and more action follow Lightning and Mater as they mix it up with spies and Formula 1 racers in yet another Pixar winner!" according to The Hollywood Reporter. "No special knowledge or memory of the original is required to get one's bearings, as this beautifully designed sequel stands easily on its own four tires.”
Variety says: “This lightning-paced caper-comedy shifts the franchise into high gear with international intrigue, spy-movie spoofery and more automotive puns than you can shake a stick shift at, handling even its broader stretches with sophistication, speed and effortless panache. High-performance B.O. is assured, but as with 'Cars,' ancillary/ merchandising is where this expertly souped-up entertainment will leave others in the dust… Sit back and enjoy the ride… the top notch 3D treatment makes for an immersive experience best savored on the big screen.”
Now the bad: Rotten Tomato.com studied 148 reviews and found 99 to be negative. Some critics found the plot confusing (one website called it incomprehensible), the characters poorly defined, the film overlong, tedious in parts and charmless. Although some critics credit the character Mater for giving life to the film, others found him hard to take. Indeed, on critic called it “an out-and-out stinker.”
'South Park''s Kyle, whose father wears a yarmulke and mother talks in Brooklynese, attempts to sit through Mel Gibson's blood thirsty as well as anti-Semitic 'Passion of the Christ.' photo: courtesy K. Cohen
Jews Figure Big in Animation at SF Jewish Film Festival
The “Jews in Toons” program will screen Monday, July 25, at 7 pm, at Castro, featuring classic Jewish-themed episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “South Park,” probably the only TV show to feature both a Jew and an anti-Semite, Kyle and Cartman respectively, among its leads. Watch Krusty the Clown come clean about his terse relationship with his Rabbi father (voiced by Jackie Mason). Laugh with “South Park’s” “only Jewish kid” Kyle as he embarks on a quest for a refund after seeing Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ.” Squirm in your seat as Peter from “Family Guy” implores son Chris to convert to Judaism “so he’ll grow up smart.”
Coming Soon, More Po!
While DreamWorks Animation is developing their third “Kung Fu Panda” feature, Rman Hui, who stated his professional career at PDI (DreamWorks digital division) in 1989, is directing “The Secrets of the Furious Five” a Kung Fu Panda short. Hui began at PDI working on commercials as a character designer. He worked as a Lead Character Designer/Supervising Animator on PDI/DreamWorks’ first full-length computer-animated feature film, “Antz.” His credits also include “Shrek 1, 2” and “Shrek the Third” (co-director).
A scene from 'Dragon Boy' by Bernardo Warman and Shaofu Zhang. photo: courtesy K. Cohen
Academy of Art Student Garners Gold at the Student Academy Awards
The award wining film is “Dragon Boy” by Bernardo Hyer and Shaofu Zhang. It tied for the gold medal in animation with a film from Pratt Institute. We showed “Dragon Boy” at our meeting of ASIFA (the international animation association) in June at out open screening.
Corriea Wins the Best Emerging Award at Mendocino Festival
“Fu-De (The Brush)” was his graduate thesis film at SF State. Charlie told me “I need to make another good film so that I may be invited back! I want to live in Mendocino one day, and I can't wait to get back there! The Festival’s staff were incredibly kind hearted and supportive of my efforts. The surprise for me came when I saw some of the films they where screening and I could not believe that they wished to count my little film among them. That was a true honor.” “Fu-De” also won the best animated short award at the Excelsior Short Film Festival.
An Ecology Message by San Jose State Student Now On YouTube
The writer and director of the piece, "Green Ninja," was Marty Cooper and it was animated at San Jose State with help from instructor David Chai. See it
Science Nation Video Now Taught at San Jose State
The course, “Physics for Animation 101,” is taught by
. A video that explains why understanding physics is important for 3D animators was posted on
on June 10. Garcia is presently on leave so he can work at Livermore and as a consultant at DreamWorks Animation.
Posted on Jun 28, 2011 - 01:28 PM