Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“Toy Story 3: Pixar wizards lend a hand to movie-based game - Asbury Park Press” plus 3 more

“Toy Story 3: Pixar wizards lend a hand to movie-based game - Asbury Park Press” plus 3 more


Toy Story 3: Pixar wizards lend a hand to movie-based game - Asbury Park Press

Posted: 16 Jun 2010 01:00 AM PDT

"Movie-based games seem like they're destined to fail," says Jason Katz, story supervisor for Pixar's latest animated film, "Toy Story 3." "It's like putting a giraffe in human clothes."

But Pixar's collaboration with Avalanche Software on the "Toy Story 3" video game, released this week by Disney Interactive, demonstrates a fresh approach to the typically dreadful movie tie-in. Like most offerings in the genre, the game includes an interactive retelling of the film's plot. But Avalanche has also taken Buzz, Woody and the rest of the cast and put them in an open-world playground, called the Toy Box, that feels even truer to the spirit of the franchise.

The Toy Box, in which supporting characters like Hamm the Piggy Bank, Rex the Dinosaur and Slinky Dog help build a thriving Wild West town, "embraces how a kid plays," Katz says.

"Avalanche didn't try to remake the movie," he says. "Instead, they riffed off the
movie."

The game studio was on board early in the production of "Toy Story 3." "They saw the first pitch in 2007, when we were still fleshing it out," Katz says. "They could always plug in and see where we were at, and while we were actively improving the story we could give them hot-off-the-presses adjustments. It was very fluid."

Even with all the give-and-take, Katz was confident from the start that Avalanche's
designers had the right idea. "We saw the enthusiasm they brought to the project," he says. "They were making a game like we make movies."

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Jennifer Aniston Not Going Topless in Movie! - Showbizspy.com

Posted: 15 Jun 2010 06:38 AM PDT

Jennifer AnistonJENNIFER Aniston won't be going topless after all!

Reports had claimed the actress would be getting her boobs out for her role in new movie Horrible Bosses — which is due out next year and also stars Irish hunk Colin Farrell.

"It was worked out before she signed her contract, so she's committed," a source said.

But a rep for Aniston has spoken out to set the record straight.

"The part is provocative and sexual, but also hysterically funny," said the spokesperson. "There are no plans for her to go fully nude or topless, but the role does require an aggressive sexuality that many folks have not seen from Jennifer on screen before."

Jen, 41, has previously only appeared partially nude in a blurred scene in 2007 film The Break-Up.

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Movie News & Gossip - YAHOO!

Posted: 13 Jun 2010 04:56 PM PDT

This weekend, gaggles of gals from across the globe will be tossing on their finest Friday night frocks, strapping up their strappiest pair of too-high sandals and grabbing jewel-embellished cluchtes as they head out en masse for "Sex and The City 2's" opening weekend, the Fab Four's second big screen trip. While Sarah Jessica Parker has said the sequel is a "romp," she's kept a delicious secret - the film features one of the grandest entrances by a leading man in the last decade - "SATC" franchise newcomer and AccessHollywood.com's newest Rising Star -- sexy silver fox, Max Ryan, who hits the screen in what can only be described as an explosion.

"It was good though, must admit," Max chuckled of his entrance, after Access recounted for him the spontaneous gasps for breath the scene elicited from a room full of theatergoers at a notoriously quiet "industry" screening.

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A state may pay for a movie, if it likes its message - Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Posted: 16 Jun 2010 12:53 AM PDT

"This film is unlikely to promote tourism in Michigan or to present or reflect Michigan in a positive light," wrote Janet Lockwood, Michigan's film commissioner. Ms. Lockwood particularly objected to "this extreme horror film's subject matter, namely realistic cannibalism; the gruesome and graphically violent depictions described in the screenplay; and the explicit nature of the script."

The easy money is not quite so easy any more.

Among the states that began underwriting film and television production with heavy subsidies over the past half-decade — 44 states had some sort of incentives by last year, 28 of them involving tax credits — at least a handful are giving new scrutiny to a question that was politely overlooked in the early excitement: What kind of films are taxpayers paying for?

Less than two years ago, Mr. van den Houten became one of the first to take advantage of Michigan's generous subsidy, which pays for up to 42 percent of a movie's cost, when he made "Offspring," a cannibalism-themed horror picture that was later distributed by the Ghost House Underground direct-to-video line and has been showing on NBC Universal's Chiller TV network.

"The Woman," a sequel to "Offspring," is a little less horrific, Mr. van den Houten said in an interview. "We had babies in the first movie," he offered.

Still, "The Woman" proved too much for Ms. Lockwood. In rejecting the film for public money, she described its financing arrangements as "questionable" — a claim disputed by Mr. van den Houten, who said his Modernciné company has been careful to pay its bills and has other backing for a budget of less than $1 million. But she also invoked a provision of Michigan's law that says movies underwritten by the state should help promote it as a tourist destination.

Whether such payments ultimately benefit a state and its economy has been the subject of ferocious debate. Some monitors of the programs contend that the supposed benefits from job creation and tourism do not make up for the monies spent. The Michigan State Senate Fiscal Agency estimates the subsidies will amount to about $132 million in the next year.

Content requirements touch a hot button in Hollywood, where filmmakers are on alert for anything that reeks of censorship.

"They're never going to do that to a major studio film, because it would create too much of a firestorm," said Michael Shamberg, a producer whose recent credits include "Extraordinary Measures."

In Texas, the verdict is still out on "Machete," a thriller from the filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, set for release by 20th Century Fox in September.

In May, Mr. Rodriguez used a mock trailer to promote the movie as a revenge story targeted at Arizona in the wake of its new anti-illegal immigrant law. Conservative bloggers and others then called on the Texas film commission to deny it support under a rule that says the state does not have to pay for projects that include "inappropriate content or content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion."

Bob Hudgins, the film commission's director, said he had never yet denied financing to a film under the provision — though he warned the makers of a picture about the Waco raid that they need not apply because of what Mr. Hudgins saw as inaccuracies about the event and people connected with it.

Mr. Hudgins said would reserve judgment about "Machete" until he sees it. Texas, like many states, doesn't pay its share until after a film is finished.

"This is tough for filmmakers to understand, but this is not about their right to make the movie," Mr. Hudgins explained. "It's about the public investing in it."

In an e-mail message, Mr. Rodriguez, who is still finishing "Machete," said the objections have come from people who do not know what is in the movie.

"The film is not about Texas specifically and it most certainly does not paint Texas in a negative light," he wrote.

In Florida, a recent legislative proposal to bar a special tax credit for family entertainment from films or shows that exhibit "nontraditional family values" was dropped after it was widely criticized as seeming to exclude gay characters.

Many states, including Tennessee and Georgia, have no explicit provision regarding the tenor of films they underwrite (although no state will subsidize pornography, and many disallow incentives for commercials or certain other formats).

Still, officials in Georgia plan to memorialize an understanding that the state will not pay for a picture that is likely to be rated NC-17. "We really need to go ahead and put that in the rules," said Bill Thompson, the deputy commissioner for the economic development department's film, music and digital entertainment division.

Hollywood has long dealt with stringent controls on content imposed by government entities like the Central Intelligence Agency and branches of the military when they offer access, equipment or other help.

"The Pentagon's policy is they will assist film and television if it shows the military in a positive light, and, if not, they'll assist in changing the script to put it in a positive light," said David L. Robb, who wrote the book "Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies."

That state governments are also tightening their approach was probably inevitable, given the financial squeeze on governments.

"Everybody's looking at everything so much more carefully," said Jeff Begun, a partner in the Incentives Office, a company in Santa Monica, Calif., that advises filmmakers.

Pennsylvania has not yet rejected a film for violating its stipulation that publicly supported movies should "tend to foster a positive image" of the state. But it might.

"That would only come into play if I had two applications at some moment, and only had enough funding left for one," said Jane Saul, the director of the Pennsylvania Film Office. Pennsylvania helped underwrite "The Road," a post-apocalyptic story that was distributed last year by the Weinstein Company, and which, like Mr. van den Houten's new film, was rife with cannibals, child-eating and otherwise.

Ken Droz, the communications consultant for the Michigan Film Office, declined to discuss "The Woman." But he noted that Michigan had approved 160 applications out of 320 submitted to date, after measuring each against criteria that include the potential for creating economic development.

"This is not an entitlement program," Mr. Droz said.

Mr. van den Houten, whose company is based in New York, said his plan is to move "The Woman" to Massachusetts, where the subsidy program has no apparent strictures on extreme horror.

But he might want to hurry.

"All the states will be looking at this as they begin to tighten their belts," said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission. His state has unabashedly declined to fund pictures that, as Mr. Moore put it, you could not take the governor to see.

Of the others, he predicted: "They're going to ask, why are we giving money to that movie?"

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