One detail I left out of my interview with Andrew Stanton, director of Pixar Studio's new classics WALL-E and Finding Nemo, was a tidbit about his early days. Before joining Pixar (where he was the second animator and ninth employee), one of Stanton's first Hollywood jobs was on Ralph Bakshi's short-lived animated sitcom "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures." "Mighty Mouse" offered a clever parody of cartoons, superheroes and pop culture and was a delightful anomaly amid the Saturday morning kiddie fare of the late 1980s. Culturally satirical cartoons are ubiquitous today thanks to "The Simpsons," Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, etc. that it's easy to forget how strange and groundbreaking "Mighty Mouse" was for its time. This sample, "Don't Touch That Dial," directly takes on other cartoons:
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On Sat., June 28, The Silver Scream Spook Show at The Plaza Theatre presents 1958's classic technicolor space opera, Forbidden Planet. It looks pretty kitschy these days, especially because The Naked Gun's Leslie Nielsen (referred to as "talented Leslie Nielsen" in the trailer) plays the heroic starship captain, a clear role model for William Shatner's James T. Kirk. Forbidden Planet gets extra points, though, for a thoughtful premise and for being an extremely loose remake of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Robby the Robot substituting for the play's fairy-servant Ariel. Showtimes are at 1 and 10 p.m. Here's the vintage trailer: "Sir, we're being radar-scanned."
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We all love Film Love, the ongoing cinematic series from Andy Ditzler's Frequent Small Meals that looks into the nooks and crannies of more independently minded movie-making in a way that's both entertaining and informative.
First up is Buster Keaton's 1920 short film "One Week," in which his lead character tries to build a house (using a makeshift kit) for his new bride. Here's a great clip from the short (and don't be fooled by the racy bath shots; it was pre-Hays Code, after all).
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Next up is the ingenious 30-minute short by artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, "The Way Things Go," which was a lab experiment of chain-reaction delights as objects constantly have a surprising impact on one another. "The entire structure slowly destroys itself before our eyes, and never once do we see a human onscreen," Ditzler writes. "With its hilarious (and oddly suspenseful) encounters between objects, "The Way Things Go" has amazed and delighted audiences for twenty years, and has been compared to everyone from Rube Goldberg to Alfred Hitchcock.
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When EMMYLOU HARRIS was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, the only question was: What took so long? Harris may be the finest song interpreter of our generation, the closest thing to a heavenly voice on Earth. Now 61 and still in full form, she's back on the road to promote her introspective new album, All I Intended to Be, and stops in at Chastain Park Fri., JUNE 27. In the past decade, Harris has enjoyed a creative resurgence that ranks with her best work. She may not be played on country radio anymore, but that's their loss. She's a national treasure. $25-$75. 7 p.m. 4469 Stella Drive. 404-733-5000. www.classicchastain.com.
(Photo courtesy Nonesuch Records)
1) Emmylou Harris performs at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
2) Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945 continues at DeKalb History Center.
3) Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA Station gives Atlanta Beltline Tours.
4) Comedian Bob Saget performs at the Tabernacle.
5) Art Nouveau magazine presents All Together Now at Tilt Coffee Shop.
(Photo by Flabio Lovino)
Remember waaay back in our June 4 issue, where we ran my review of the not-terribly-charming Hats Off, filmmaker Jyll Johnstone's loving profile of 93-year-old bit-part actress Mimi Weddell? (Of course you do!) Well, as is often the case with independent movies, the release date kept getting pushed back (the first time, after we'd gone to press and printed the review) and back and back until, according to the publicist, it's actually not going to show in Atlanta. Ever.
With all due respect to Mimi, you didn't miss much, as I wrote in the review
Despite her years, and her quaint biography, in Hats Off Weddell becomes little more than a character someone who happened to be at the right place at the right time. As the movie grinds along, we start to suspect there's not much else there. While Young@Heart made several performers of a certain age ripe with feeling and depth, Hats Off leaves the viewer wanting to know more.
Young@Heart. Now that's a movie to watch. Check out Curt Holman's review. And it's still playing in Atlanta (at the Tara).
I want to clarify a little something I wrote in my review of the new Angelina Jolie shoot-em-up, Wanted, which is based on a graphic novel series by Mark Millar, J.G. Jones and Paul Mounts. I remarked that the film's hyper-stylish portrayal of magical hitmen "proves that graphic novels don't have to be about superheroes to provide material for silly movies."
I read the Wanted graphic novel over the weekend, after I'd seen and reviewed the film, and must acknowledge that my last line, though technically correct, deserves elaboration. While the Wanted film depicts a thousand year-old group of assassins called The Fraternity, the graphic novel is about comic book-style supervillains, not hitmen (or superheroes).
In this week's "View from the Couch" DVD column, Charlotte's Creative Loafing film critic Matt Brunson spans the spectrum of new releases. He takes on new films Definitely, Maybe as well as The Spiderwick Chronicles, Be Kind Rewind and 10,000 B.C., but also has takes on releases of older films such as The Furies and Xanadu.
For me, the most intriguing of the releases is the Criterion Collection's release of 1950's The Furies, a darker take on the Western genre and featuring the legendary Walter Huston in his last role and Anthony Mann directing his first Western. It also features one of my all-time favorites, Barbara Stanwyck. Check out this awesome scene. No wonder Matt finds the relationship between the film and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.
(Image courtesy The Criterion Collection)
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Georgia Shakespeare courts controversy by staging THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, historically one of Shakespeare's most puzzling plays. Beneath the trappings of light romantic comedy, Merchant features the antagonistic role of bloodthirsty moneylender Shylock (Chris Kayser), one of Shakespeare's most vivid characters, yet the embodiment of some of the Elizabethan era's anti-Semitic stereotypes. Frequently Shakespeare's "problem plays" provide the most interesting productions, and The Merchant of Venice also features the talents of Park Krausen, Tess Malis Kincaid, Joe Knezevich, Allen O'Reilly and others, beginning Thurs., JUNE 26. Through Aug. 2. $15-$40. In repertory Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 and 8 p.m. Georgia Shakespeare, Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road. 404-264-0020. www.gashakespeare.org.
(Photo by Ken Reid)
1) Aslyn performs at Smiths Olde Bar.
2) The Beam hosts its 2007 Emerging Artist Concert with choreography by Molly Schneider Perez.
3) Merle Haggard performs at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
4) Ben Jones signs and discusses Redneck Boy in the Promised Land at Manuels Tavern.
5) A Common Space by Charlotte Foust and Melissa Stern continues at Barbara Archer Gallery.
(Photo courtesy Aslyn)
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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