When visual effects supervisor Michael Fong and effects supervisor Bill Watral boarded Soul , they were each a bit intimidated, immediately recognizing the film as one of frighteningly novel ambitions. Meditating on the origins of the human personality, Pixar ’s latest would require them to bring to life characters and worlds unlike any they’d created before. Directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, Soul centers on Joe (Jamie Foxx), a frustrated middle-school band teacher who seeks to return to Earth, to realize his dreams of performing as a jazz musician, after a sudden accident separates him from his body. Thrust into a celestial realm known as The Great Before, the character finds that he’ll only be able to get back to New York City if he agrees to mentor a stubborn, fledgling soul named 22 (Tina Fey). Related Story 'Soul' Directors Pete Docter And Kemp Powers On Bringing Authentic Life To Pixar's First Black Lead Character & The Importance Of … [Read more...] about ‘Soul’ VFX Supervisors Michael Fong & Bill Watral Embrace Inner “Adrenaline Junkie,” Pushing Boundaries With Pixar’s Latest Feature
Meditation eyes open
Akron/Family are a four-man band based in Brooklyn, of assorted rural origins (in Pennsylvania, California and upstate New York) and now roaming all over a wide, open space where antique folk balladry, primal drone and explosive improvisation meet and melt in a woodland psychedelia that answers an age-old musical question: What if Pink Floyd gave birth to Ummagumma in the Band’s basement at Big Pink? There is nothing retiring about the first nine minutes of Meek Warrior — “Blessing Force” is practically an album in itself, a mounting-hysteria suite of Hawkwind-like overdrive, healing-ritual chant and free-jazz blowing. The middle of the record (Akron/Family’s third, counting their 2003 split disc with Michael Gira’s Angels of Light ) is softer communion — pagan sing-along and log-cabin jamming — that turns wild and electric again in the ecstatic, tumbling rock of “The Rider (Dolphin Song).” Joining singer-instrumentalists Ryan Vanderhoof, Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton and Dana Janssen … [Read more...] about Fricke’s Picks: What If Pink Floyd Gave Birth to Ummagumma in the Band’s Basement?
The doings of the international art world often seem arcane and over the top, but never moreso than as depicted in The Man Who Sold His Skin . This is a madly dramatic and engrossing melodrama about a political refugee whose unique predicament bundles with it issues pertaining to personal and political identity, the Middle East quagmire, romantic rejection and the outer limits of art world presumption and extravagance. Tunisia’s shortlisted submission in the International Feature Oscar race is a very tasty couscous of fine ingredients and flat-out entertaining enough to warrant significant international exposure. Kaouther Ben Hania ’s follow-up to her 2017 Cannes Un Certain Regard selection Beauty And The Dogs is notable for its gutsy narrative moves, rich visuals and sheer drive, which marks her, along with her notably resourceful and elegant Lebanese cinematographer Christopher Aoun, as talents who should emerge even more decisively before long. Related … [Read more...] about Int’l Critics Line: Todd McCarthy On Tunisia’s Oscar-Shortlisted ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’
“ What ?” Oprah Winfrey can be many things in her capacity as an interviewer: Serene. Nurturing. Familiar. Probing. Occasionally naive in the way that only someone as rich and famous as her can be. What she almost never is, though? Flummoxed. Yet with that one quick syllable, and the expression that launched a thousand memes to go along with it, no other word better describes her response. This was the moment of Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special where it became clear that Oprah’s interview with the royal couple would wildly exceed the already formidable hype leading up to it. Meghan, the biracial actor-turned-duchess, had just revealed that in the run-up to the birth of her son Archie, someone highly placed in the royal family had expressed concern about how dark the baby’s skin would be. And Oprah’s face spoke for so many of us: Related Stories 'Were You Silent or Silenced?' The 5 Biggest Reveals from Harry and Meghan's Oprah Interview … [Read more...] about Oprah’s Interview with Harry and Meghan Dragged the Monarchy, Made for Great TV
The 15 shortlisted films vying to become one of the five Best International Feature nominees at the 2021 Academy Awards are a surprising and creatively engaging bunch. Their stories often are drenched in history — much of it tragic and disturbing — and turbulent social and political currents course through any number of them. Just four of the 15 were directed by familiar names so, for the most part, the filmmakers behind these works are in the early stages of their careers, which can only create optimism and excitement about what these up-and-comers will do in the future. Oscar nominations will be revealed on March 15. I’ve now seen all of the contenders and must say that it was, for the most part, stimulating to encounter so many fresh voices from some often little-heard-from realms of the cinematic world. Fewer than half of the semi-finalists come from countries typically thought of as regularly representing the cinematic front-rank — France, Iran, Denmark, Mexico, … [Read more...] about Oscars: Todd McCarthy’s Top Picks For Best International Feature Nominations