September 27, 2005

Joss Whedon DVD Sale: Buffy, Angel & Firefly

(Filed under: Buzz)

Joss Whedon's FireflyI know it feels like Joss Whedon day around here, but there's more. In honor of Joss Whedon's directorial debut this week (um, Serenity), Amazon.com is selling all Whedon DVDs at near half-price! Check out the goods:

The book Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly is also 34% off at $11.84. Might as well fill your Christmas stocking now.

Update: Well, guess that Joss Whedon sale was one day only. The prices are back up today.

Posted by kevin at 4:32 PM | TrackBack

Time Interviews Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman

(Filed under: Buzz)

Time magazine interviews Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon and comic book creator Neil Gaiman. Both have movies coming out this Friday, Whedon's Serenity and Gaiman's Mirrormask.

Gaiman talks about his blog, his Sandman comic book, and his fantasy novel Anansi Boys. Whedon talks about Wonder Woman. They both talk about the rise of the nerds.

And they also talk about the need to end something when it's over. For Whedon that seems to be Buffy and for Gaiman it was Sandman, a comic that ended while it was out-selling everything else. (And Whedon says Serenity is different because he never had a chance to tell the story in Firefly.)

Gaiman chimes in comparing writers to otters:

I saw a lovely analogy recently. Somebody said that writers are like otters. And otters are really hard to train. Dolphins are easy to train. They do a trick, you give them a fish, they do the trick again, you give them a fish. They will keep doing that trick until the end of time. Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different.

Posted by kevin at 2:13 PM | TrackBack

Stop-Motion Animation in Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit

(Filed under: Animation)

How they made Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit's Curse of the Were-RabbitTim Burton's Corpse Bride and the Wallace & Gromit adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit have brought stop-motion animation back to the big screen. With the rise of computer animation stop-motion has taken a back seat, but it's not a lost art form.

Stop-motion involves moving photographing still objects and moving them one frame at a time. A six second sequence can take a week to film. But the hands-on art form has its own charm and creates a unique visceral quality to the finished product that you don't get with hand-drawn or computer animation.

"Corpse Bride" was created using slender puppets made of rubber, with metal skeletons so intricate the filmmakers hired jewelers to help craft the tiny gears and joints. Miniature cranks in the puppets' ears control their facial movements, enabling animators to create remarkably lifelike smiles, frowns and other expressions.

The "Wallace & Gromit" characters were sculpted of clay, with metal skeletons beneath. Animators had a variety of mouths they would swap on to the characters to mimic speech, each simulating the shape of the lips for different phonetic sounds.

Posted by kevin at 10:21 AM | TrackBack

Firefly/Serenity: The Little Show That Could

(Filed under: Buzz)

Joss Whedon's SerenityRarely does a canceled TV show go anywhere. Though that's changing. Star Trek is probably the prime example, with the canceled TV show that spawned an entire universe of spin off shows and movies. Lately Family Guy had success on DVD and returned to primetime and also got to do their own movie.

This Friday the canceled sci-fi/western TV show Firefly makes its big screen debut as Serenity. Created by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, the series came back from extinction.

"It's extraordinary and it still surprises me to sit here today and talk about the movie," says Sean Maher, who plays Simon. "Now that it's done and people are loving it, and it's getting this wonderful response, it continually surprises me. It's like we're this little show that could."

Serenity is not just the TV show on a bigger scale. It's also not necessary to be familiar with the TV series in order to get the movie.

"I worked for a long time to come up with something epic enough to be a Universal movie and not just a glorified episode of Firefly," says Whedon. "I wanted to make a movie that made me feel or made people feel the way I felt the first time I saw the first Star Wars."

That's a lot of hype to live up to, but we'll see what happens when the movie opens on Friday.

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September 22, 2005

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story

(Filed under: Animation)

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold StoryWhile Family Guy has already returned to Fox after being canceled, the show is also entering the direct to DVD market with a completely uncensored movie, Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. IGN interviews Alex Borstein, who voices Stewie's object of hatred, Lois Griffin, about the movie and how it came to be. It seems Fox actually wanted to do the movie first and then consented to bring the series back to prime time.

Borstein explains why Stewie is the center of attention:

Well, I think it was always kind of a given that it was going to be Stewie or Brian. Stewie's kind of our star, I think, so we couldn't not do it without him. I think it makes for the best kind of story – and because it's Stewie, anything's possible. With Lois and some of the other characters, you kind of have to stay true to some modicum of reality. But with Stewie, sky's the limit. He's a baby who can talk, who can walk, who can fly, he can drive – he can do anything. So I think it's the best kind of movie star you could want… He can do his own stunts.

Borstein also comments on how raunchy the Family Guy movie will be without FCC restrictions:

It's pretty filthy! I have to admit, it's filthy. I'm going to probably have to warn my mother before she sees it. I don't know… I feel as long as it's done in the spirit of comedy and entertainment, I'm all for it. I have no point in my system or morals where I say, "This is too far."

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story comes to DVD on September 27.

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September 16, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite vs. Bill Gates

(Filed under: Inspired)

Napoleon Dynamite & Bill GatesOn Tuesday software giant Microsoft screened a spoof video of Napoleon Dynamite featuring Bill Gates and actor Jon Heder as Napoleon. The video shows Napoleon and Bill Gates working together (clad in similar brown suits), having a slapping match over tater tots and dancing. Yes, Bill Gates dancing.

Apparently Microsoft often shows self-deprecating video spoofs like this one, and as in the past, the videos are rarely released for whatever reason. Though with the popularity of Napoleon Dynamite I wouldn't be surprised if this one makes it out somehow.

Update: And sure enough, versions of the video are out there. Not the greatest quality, but it's something: Longhorn Blogs has it up on iFilm and Paul Thurrott has a few clips (links via Scobleizer).

For more on Napoleon Dynamite check out:

Posted by kevin at 8:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Tim Burton on Corpse Bride and His Fascination with Death

(Filed under: Buzz)

Tim Burton's Corpse BrideComingSoon.net has an interview with Tim Burton that covers the director's latest work, the animated movie Corpse Bride which comes out next week. As for his apparent fascination with death, Burton says:

I think dealing with the undead comes from growing up in Burbank, I think. It's sort of a suburban "Night of the Living Dead" during the day. I always liked monster movies, and I'm always fascinated by, again growing up in a culture where death is looked upon as sort of a dark subject and then living so close to Mexico where you see the Day of the Dead skeletons and it's all humor, music and dancing and sort of a celebration of life, in a way, and that always felt more like a positive approach to things. So I think I always responded to that, more than just this sort of dark, unspoken cloud in the environment I grew up in.

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