The Playlist

D23 Reviews: 'Monsters' Short 'Party Central' & Rediscovered Mickey Mouse Cartoon 'Get A Horse!'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 9, 2013 10:48 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Party Central, Monsters University
As part of the lavish, seemingly endless presentation today on Walt Disney Animation at D23, we were treated to two brand new short film screenings: the North American premiere of the rediscovered, almost lost Mickey Mouse classic "Get A Horse!" (which had its lavish world premiere recently at Annecy) and what ended up being the world premiere of a "Monsters University" spin-off short called "Party Central." They were both very special short films that reiterated that Pixar and Walt Disney Feature Animation are two very different studios with two very different approaches that still fall comfortably under the larger umbrella of Disney animation.

Pixar Unveil Voice Casts For 'The Good Dinosaur,' 'Inside Out' & 'Finding Dory'; Full D23 Details Announced

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 9, 2013 3:40 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Pixar Disney, D23 2013
The last few years have been a dark time for Pixar. Their once untouchable reputation—"Toy Story 3" was both a Best Picture nominee and a billion-dollar grosser—has taken increasing knocks over the last few years, with an original film that (unfairly, we'd suggest) got middling reviews, and a pair of sequels that few asked for, and that not many more thought were deserving on the studio's creative legacy.

Pete Docter Talks About His "Challenging" New Pixar Film 'Inside Out'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 23, 2013 11:24 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Pete Docter, Inside Out
Yesterday, while at the computer graphics convention Siggraph, where early Pixar short films dazzled attendees ("Andre and Wally B" premiered at the convention way back in 1987), the Hollywood Reporter stopped and asked Pixar titan Pete Docter about his next feature for the studio—2015's "Inside Out." He offered minor—but still tantalizing—details about a film that has been described to us as "wildly ambitious," even by Pixar standards. Docter told THR that it was "one of the most challenging stories I've ever had to put together."

Watch: New ‘Planes’ Clips Features John Cleese & Mexican Stereotypes

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 19, 2013 3:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment
August’s animated feature “Planes” is kind of an odd duck. The world of “Planes” was introduced in a "Cars"-based Pixar short film called “Air Mater,” which literally ends with lovable tow truck Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) looking into the camera and saying something like “Boy, someone should make a movie based on this.” (The short and feature also share at least one character.) The movie has a number of Pixar hallmarks (including a cameo from John Ratzenberger and an executive producer credit for Pixar bigwig John Lasseter), and is being advertised as “From the World Above ‘Cars,’” but the Pixar name is nowhere to be found on the finished film, and DisneyToon Studios handled the animation duties, which are stylistically incredibly similar to the work Pixar did on “Cars.” As you can see, it’s all very confusing. But hey! There’s a new clip! And it at least establishes that “Planes” is going to be very, very pretty. And maybe a little offensive.

Watch: Want To Work At Pixar? 'Monsters University' Director & Producer Dan Scanlon & Kori Rae Share Some Tips

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 10, 2013 3:42 PM
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  • 1 Comment
There are Hollywood dream jobs and then there is working at Pixar. Granted, we've spent some time recently picking on them a bit with these features -- The 5 Worst Things About Pixar and From Worst To Best: Ranking The Pixar Movies -- but we'd wager there are probably few places in Hollywood where you're given the freedom to create with less restraint than this animated studio. It's still viewed as an imagination wonderland and a place where many budding craftspeople want to work, and now there are a few tips to keep in mind if working there is a life goal.

Will It Bring The Glory Days Back? Pixar Promises Less Sequels & One Original Movie Per Year Going Forward

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 28, 2013 1:48 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Pixar Feature
Has Pixar hit a slump? Well, maybe not financially, as "Monsters University" was the second biggest opening in the studio's history, hauling in $82 million last weekend. But at least in the perception of people, well, like us -- Pixar has wavered from the path that made them who they are. The past four years have essentially seen the company, who once prided themselves on delivering original movies unlike what everyone else was doing, deliver two sequels ("Toy Story 3," "Cars 2"), one prequel ("Monsters University") and one original ("Brave"). More crucially, "Toy Story 3" aside, the films haven't been met with the same widespread critical acclaim as their earlier efforts (though box office has pretty much stayed consistent) and folks have been wondering if they're lost the secret sauce that made them one of the best in the game? Well, they aren't doing down without a fight.
More: Pixar

Stream This: James Gandolfini In 'Romance & Cigarettes,' Pixar Shorts & More On VOD This Week

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • June 21, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's homage week here at The Playlist, and, goodness knows, there's plenty to pay tribute to. "World War Z" opens in theaters today, and you may be in the mood to spend a little extra time with Brad Pitt. We'd like to suggest settling in with one of his oldies-but-goodies. Similarly, with Pixar's "Monsters University" hitting the big screens everywhere, we're offering up several compilations from that studio as a pregame (or to help cure your animation hangover... hair of the dog and all that). The Criterion Collection is expanding its selection on DVD; we're expanding our section dedicated to the elite distribution label so as to reflect the new releases. And, finally, there's a lesser-known star turn from James Gandolfini to mark the actor's untimely passing and to celebrate his varied and distinguished career. And now, without further ado, here are our streaming selections for the week.

From Worst To Best: Ranking The Pixar Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 19, 2013 2:50 PM
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  • 53 Comments
Pixar Feature
This weekend Pixar's latest digital marvel, "Monsters University," roars into theaters (you can read our review here). Few studios can claim the kind of quality that Pixar often does – for a while there it was the most critically and commercially adored studio in the history of cinema (though they are not without their faults). And for good reason. It seemed like year after year they would commit a new classic, an endlessly re-watchable delight full of characters that will be beloved by children the world over for decades to come. In fact, the amount of excellence made ranking the films a blurry and burdensome proposition. But in hindsight (and after a couple of shoddy 3D conversions), it becomes clearer which movies are truly more special than others. This is what we've attempted to do, with our worst-to-best Pixar retrospective.

The 5 Worst Things About Pixar

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 18, 2013 2:41 PM
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  • 58 Comments
Pixar feature
It’s hard to think of a studio more singularly adored than Pixar Animation Studios, the creators of “WALL-E,” “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.” Of course, they weren’t always everybody’s favorite. The studio started out as an experimental, computer-based component to George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic effects house, one that Lucas had so little faith in that he promptly sold the team to Apple founder Steve Jobs, who looked at Pixar as a well to sell sophisticated graphics processors (the initial short films that created so much buzz and attention were supposed to serve as mere tech demonstrations).

Review: Disney/Pixar's 'Monsters University'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 17, 2013 10:56 AM
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  • 4 Comments
When Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters Inc” was released way back in the fall of 2001, it was easily the studio’s warmest and endearingly heart-tugging feature. But “Monsters Inc,” in its vision of a monstrous universe that derives its power from children’s screams, was also the studio’s most self-contained feature; it was so emotionally fulfilling that it didn’t beg for further installments. Which is what makes “Monsters University,” the new “Monsters Inc” prequel, so baffling. Did anyone really stop to think, gee I wonder what Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) were like in monster college? The answer, of course, is no. The great, totally welcome shock, however, is how vibrant, hilarious and emotionally resonant “Monsters University” is. It might be wholly unnecessary, but you can’t help but love it anyway.

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