OMG! Brad Bird giving up animation under extreme duress!!! I repeat, “OMG!!!!”

The first 4.5 minutes of this awards video of Brad Bird’s extremely well deserved Windsor McKay Award from the Annies is pretty much your standard career retrospective about the former “Simpsons” creative turned writer/director of the instant classics, “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” and “Ratatouille.” In the second half, Bird himself appears. He’s presumably somewhere near the set of his live-action debut, the next “Mission: Impossible” installment, which will star Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg, among others.

The weird part is that he says he’s giving up animation forever, but then it gets weirder and more worrisome.

H/t Mike Fleming.

  

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No one wants to be a turkey on Thanksgiving

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson allow themselves a smooch in Even as the president pardons a pair of prime gobblers who will  instead be going into show business at Disneyland, there’s a good chance that at least one major release this weekend may meet a less charitable fate as a fierce battle rages for the #2 spot. Yes, the #1 spot seems to be reserved, trade mag prognosticators jolly Carl DiOrio and Pamela McClintock agree, for “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

Between repeat hardcore “Twilight” fangirls, their friends, and curious onlookers it really seems like a lock for the continuing vampire/human/werewolf romantic menage, considering the film’s spectacular $142.8 million domestic performance last weekend. Which is not to say there won’t be some success to go around this tme. Considering the longest official holiday weekend on the calender — and a “black Friday”-depressing economy that may put many folks in the mood to delay their shopping as long as possible — it seems more than very likely that there will be some nice money to be made at the nation’s multiplexes tonight through Sunday. (Hardcore talliers will be concentrating on the three day period starting Friday.)

The obvious favorite for the #2 spot, if only because it’s going to be booked into 922 more theaters than the next biggest wide release, is Disney’s PG-rated all-star comedy “Old Dogs.” With John Travolta and Robin Williams headlining with a premise that sounds like “Two Men and Two Six Year-Olds” and not much else in the way of broadly appealing, family-friendly comedies out there, this sure seems like a  sure thing in theory.

The slapstick-laden comedy, however, scored an abysmal 6% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but what of it? Director Walt Becker’s previous all-star comedy outing, “Wild Hogs” — the two films actually rhyme — was roundly reviled by most critics and then grossed over $168.2 million domestically.

John Travolta and Robin Williams are

Still, wouldn’t we all rather to win pretty? Our own David Medsker makes a salient point:

…You would think that Disney might step up their game a little bit after seeing just how successful their partners at Pixar have been by not taking the easy way, by using their early success to branch out and make some highly entertaining but also downright challenging movies (“WALL·E,” “Up,” “Ratatouille”). Disney got a taste of that themselves with “Enchanted,” and even “Bolt” to a lesser extent. Most of the time, though, it’s balls to the groin, and gorillas cuddling humans singing Air Supply….

As the quote attributed to H.L. Mencken goes: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” On the other hand, some have given it a darn good try. We’ll see.

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The Next Iron Chef: making more with less

The theme was a bit different on “The Next Iron Chef” yesterday than it was last week. Last week, you’ll remember, the chefs had to create meals with some, you know, delicacies. Yesterday’s episode featured the idea of making more with less–simplicity. And that’s a theme that a really great chef can do a lot with.

For the initial challenge, each chef had to make something with a cooking vessel that they might not necessarily use normally–tagines, steamer pots, Mongolian hot pot, etc. With what they chose (they had a mad scramble to the table), the chefs could make anything they wanted–the traditional dish for that vessel, or something else unique.

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Patton Oswalt talks “Big Fan,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Dollhouse,” and more

In the past several years Patton Oswalt has plotted an admirable career arc, going from being “that guy on ‘The King of Queens'” to the voice of Remy in “Ratatouille” to a progressively more well-known stand-up comedian. His hot streak continues this month with the theatrical release of the positively reviewed “Big Fan” and his latest comedy CD, My Weakness Is Strong — all of which means now is a pretty great time for Bullz-Eye’s Will Harris to have a chat with Mr. Oswalt.

“Big Fan” was naturally a main point of discussion, and Oswalt opened up about taking on a dramatic role after spending so long building his comedy chops, saying:

A lot of my instincts as an actor, I had to kind of sit on (during ‘Big Fan’). Like, my instinct was, ‘I need to end this scene with a funny look or a button of some sort,’ and I couldn’t do that. So that was certainly odd for me to not have that resource in this role, but…it was kind of cool to be in that situation for once in my career, where I’m just totally outside of my comfort zone. I mean, unbelievably outside of my comfort zone. It was kind of thrilling.

But don’t worry — Oswalt isn’t abandoning his funny side. In fact, as he discusses in the interview, his standup is evolving as he gets older, something illustrated on My Weakness Is Strong:

I think most comedians go through that, where you have to change or evolve. You don’t want to just keep doing variations on the same themes. And, besides, it would look kinda creepy for a guy my age to be doing stuff that, like, a 20-year-old would do. ‘Yeah, this is bullshit!’ It’s, like, ‘Really? You don’t have bigger concerns at this point in your life?’

To read more of the interview — including some of the performances Patton feels never got the attention they deserved, favorite unheralded films, and what it was like to work on Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” — click on the image above or follow this link!

  

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