Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Art of the Poster: Bracing for Blockbusters with Oblivion and Iron Man 3.

Two movies, two shots at box-office glory this summer.

One's a sure thing and one is surely interesting. Tom Cruise's return to Sci-fi in Oblivion, guided by the direction of Tron Legacy's Joseph Kosinski, hits US theaters on April 19th and Disney's Marvel mega-releases continue with Iron Man 3 on May 3rd. Leaving just enough time in between for Oblivion to try to avoid the fate of its own title.

As releases approach, poster art begins to reveal more character and plot tone. For Oblivion it's a serious and concerned looking Cruise appearing somewhat roughed-up but well-armed, along with a badly battered (is it Brooklyn?) bridge.

For Iron Man 3, plot reveals are hinted at in three evocative and dramatic character posters. The last in a gorgeous hybrid of Hollywood one-sheet meets comic cover shot of Iron Man himself, down, but most definitely not out.

Like the movies themselves, the poster art matches my expectations. Disney and Marvel seem to know exactly what cards their holding in marketing their halo franchise, while Universal may not be quite sure what part of their movie to emphasize, their cast of characters (Cruise and Morgan Freeman) or the character of their story (a sic-fi battered planet Earth and its secrets).

The sure thing, Iron Man 3 promises to build on a seemingly unstoppable momentum. For Oblivion, its about promoting a promise that may be too intriguing to pass by. For movie fans, it's all about cineplex movie screens lighting up a blockbuster season looking to fill your spring and summer nights with popcorn and ticket sales.

What could be better? As always, click any poster to see the full gallery for today's post.

Access to poster art is from our favorite source, Thanks as always to the represented studios.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar winners shine, while all around them crumbles.

Here are two very sure facts about the 2013 Oscars, broadcast for an eternity last night on ABC:
1. There is very likely no one on the planet who picked ALL of the Oscar winners as I won't believe anyone who claims they predicted the category of Best Sound Editing would be a tie, resulting in Oscars being given to both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall.
2. ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not, should not, even if it takes making a deal with the devil, ever again hire Seth MacFarlane to host anything above a local pie eating contest.

The Oscars are the Oscars. The Golden Globes are the Hollywood Foreign Press. One is the White House (who indeed participated last night) and one is the House of Congress. Striking a naughty, irreverent, off-color tone is fine for the casual, tipsy atmosphere of the Globes. Even fun. Providing the host is skilled at treading that sometimes very fine line. MacFarlane never came close. His delivery was stiffly timed with the practiced plastic manner of an emergency procedures announcement on a budget airline. Lots more to say later in the week. But today, lets focus on the awards.

Notable last night, was the fact that no one film dominated the winner's list. Of the three films sharing the most gold statues, the most any single film received were 4, earned by Ang Lee's Life of Pi, winning Oscars for Cinematography, Visual Effects, Musical Score and Best Director. Argo, winning for Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Best Picture; and Les MisĂ©rables with Oscar wins for Make-up and Hairstyling, Sound Mixing and Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway, each tied at 3.

This was a year when Steven Spielberg's landmark film Lincoln's 2 Oscars (Production Design and the most predictable award of the evening honoring Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor), could only match Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, also earning two Oscars for Supporting Actor, Christophe Waltz, and Original Screenplay, penned by Tarantino. (More about Tarantino's masterful script for Django Unchained here: Tarantino unchains the power of great characters.)

Shirley Bassey belts Goldfinger like it was 1964.
In a year where the Oscars went with a theme of "Celebrating Movie Musicals", the movie musical  at the heart of the celebration came away barely beating, with only Anne Hathaway's Supporting Actress Oscar justifying that film's overbearing hype. The fact is, that on a show that even featured a live performance by Barbra Streisand, it was 76 year old Shirley Bassey who not only stole the show, but blew it back into the rafters with a stunningly powerful performance of her signature 007 theme song for Goldfinger. Bassey's performance owns the night for the best musical moment in recent Oscars memory.

Overall, in a night that ended with the year's Best Picture Oscar announced by First Lady Michelle Obama, live from the White House, movie fans were awarded with well deserved Oscars and generally intelligent acceptance speeches, a standout being Daniel Day-Lewis's eloquent and unexpectedly witty remarks (noting that he only agreed to accept the role of Lincoln after Mr. Spielberg agreed to shelf his idea to make it a musical).

Unfortunately, the broadcast was marred by a miserable, and often embarrassingly so, performance by its host, technical flaws in rapid camera movements, inexcusably bad framing of podium speakers, dull sets and lighting and typically unfunny podium banter. I'll let a day or two go by to let my remarks take shape before I go down that road later this week.

For now, let the Oscars be what they should be - a celebration of the movies, fans and industry insiders alike, and just say congratulations to all of those with new statues and framed nominations. It was a good year to go to the movies and it's a good year for movies ahead.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation.

The Oscars are just two days away and that means Moviedozer is going back for one more look at 2013's Oscar nominated Shorts before the big night.

On February 10th,  I spotlighted the Animated Short Paperman (Oscar nominated shorts: Paperman), with both a look at its production through its director's eyes and its trailer. Today, Moviedozer fills in the rest of the field of nominated Animated Shorts.

Below is an introduction to the nominees, provided by an overview trailer notably hosted by last year's winners William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The two men share what it was like for them just a year ago, while giving brief glimpses at the field of five nominated films for this year.

Here are the Animated Shorts nominated for the 2013 Oscars

As a very special feature, Moviedozer is also proud to showcase one of this year's nominated shorts in its entirety. Adam and Dog is written and directed by Minkyu Lee. Exceptional for it's artistic hand-drawn frames and simple, wordless storytelling, the short film is available to Moviedozer in its complete length rather than as a trailer. As such, it's an unusual pleasure to be able to showcase the complete film here.

Adam and Dog

Thanks for following our Oscar Nominated Shorts columns. Moviedozer will be watching along with you on Sunday night and celebrating one of global cinema's most festive occasions.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Art of the Poster: Big Ass Spider!

One stop movie marketing.

poster design by DOG & PONY

Forget the trailer, forget word of mouth. No need to list cast or director. The holy grail of movie marketing has to be a single poster that makes its point so perfectly, the target audience is jumping online to check the release date.

In this case, Epic Pictures Group may have done that and one better. They may have gotten away with just printing the title.

Promo, pitch and plot line all rolled into three words. You know it all in a glance. Is there anything you don't understand about what this movie holds in store for you after you buy a ticket? It ain't pretty but it's damned solid marketing. Even the cheesiness of the image suggests lowering your expectations and going along just for the fun of it.

That makes Big Ass Spider a text book example of the Art of the Poster.

To save you from clicking around to look up a release date, Big Ass Spider is scheduled to open on March 8th. Perhaps another good marketing move in counter-programming as that's the opening date for Oz the Great and Powerful, and I'm thinking there's not going to be a problem with audiences knowing which one they'd rather see.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Oscar Nominated Shorts: Documentary Short Subject.

As Sunday night's Oscar telecast approaches, it's just about now that all of the really important business is at hand. If you were nominated, it's likely driving your personal assistant, your manager and your agent crazy. If you're a fan, it's laying in some snacks and printing the ballots for the friends coming over.

And if you are a documentary filmmaker, just having had your documentary short nominated, a large part of your week is likely filled with welcoming family to town and pinching yourself.

This column is dedicated to those documentary filmmakers who are indeed nominated for a 2013 Oscar. Documentaries are one of the less heralded forms of filmmaking outside of its own, close knit community. It is also a genre of film that can be as inspiring and as enlightening as it is entertaining. And since the advent of Michael Moore's 1989 debut Roger and Me, and subsequent breakthrough Bowling for Columbine in 2002, studios have learned that documentaries can tempt big box-office from modest budgets.

That potential for a documentary filmmaker certainly opens a bit wider with an Oscar nomination.

Moviedozer is once again proud to offer a glimpse at 5 Oscar nominated shorts in the Documentary Short Subject category, along with glimpses of their filmmakers offering both some background on their films and a little of what it was like to hear that their work has been nominated for an Oscar.

Here, in no particular order, are the five nominees.

Kings Point



Mondays at Racine

Open Heart

Drop in on us again this Friday, for a closer look at the Animated Shorts nominated for 2013 Oscars and a special full length look at one of the five animated nominees.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action.

With the Oscars just a week away, the days are counting down for you to catch any nominated movie or performance you're still curious about. But whatever may still be on your list, on Oscar night the most likely films to fall under the "haven't seen it yet" category are the shorts.

Moviedozer gave you a glimpse of Disney's animated short, Paperman, a few posts back and there will be more animated shorts featured in the days ahead. Today the spotlight is on all five of the nominations for Best Live Action short.

To give you an inside glimpse of each, along with some background on the films, the five (appropriately) short trailers below are hosted by the filmmakers themselves. They also give just a hint of what it felt like when they heard that their films were nominated.

In no particular order, here are the five Live Action Short nominees.


Death of a Shadow (Dood van ten Schaduw).



Buzkahshi Boys.

I hope getting a taste of these harder to see nominees will give you a bit more of a rooting interest come Oscar night. And perhaps a greater appreciation for both the art of the short film and the creative talents of their filmmakers.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Don't mess with this spud!

In a new line of Marvel toys, Mr. Potato Head will be seeing some superhero transformations. At the 110th American International Toy Fair that kicked off last week in New York City, Hasbro introduced the Marvel inspired Mr. Potato Heads to a crowd that recognizes a hot collectible when they see one.

The three announced Super Spuds are Wolverine, Thor and Iron Man, pictured below.

The really weird thing would be if it looked just like Robert Downey Jr. underneath the mask. Or, for that matter, if Tony Stark looked like a potato in Iron Man 3. Perhaps Disney is saving that one for an Avengers/Toy Story mashup?

Thanks to Entertainment Weekly for the pic.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 85th Oscars has a Poster! Two in fact.

 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the official poster of the 85th Oscars and as an added celebration of this year's ceremony, a special edition poster as well.

The official artwork follows a long standing tradition and have become popular keepsakes for movie fans.

The unique, special edition poster (pictured below) was designed by Olly Moss, in collaboration with Gallery 1988. The poster features artwork of 85 Oscar statuettes, each individualized to represent the Best Picture winners from 1927 to 2012.

If you're already quizzing yourself on what film each best picture statuette represents, the Academy has posted a clever digital gallery of each statuette, followed by a second image that adds the film's title. The gallery can be viewed on the Oscars website here.

The poster, along with a commemorative T-shirt are available for purchase at

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oscar Nominated Shorts: Paperman

As promised, here's the first of the trailers I'll be highlighting from this year's Oscar nominated shorts.

Paperman has a breezy, light animation style with a classic story, told in soft contrast black & white, that matches its simple, romantic storyline.

Paperman falls into the Animated Shorts category, perhaps the most popular of the three categories honored. And, not surprisingly, this short is a product of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar/Disney creative chief John Lasseter.

Disney has also released featurettes that give an interesting glimpse into the creative process. I've included two of those here that feature the film's director John Kahrs. Writers for Paperman are Clio Chiang and  Kendelle Hoyer with music by Christophe Beck. The producer is Kristina Reed, with Mr. Lasseter listed as Executive Producer.

And the trailer:

Watch for more nominated shorts trailers in the coming days at Moviedozer.

What Oscar nominated feature film would be the most surprising win come Oscar night? Click the poll at the top right of the page and see if what might surprise you would surprise other Moviedozer readers as well.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What are you still planning to see before Oscar night?

With just 15 days before Oscar night, how many of the 9 nominated movies for Best Picture do you still have on your "to see" list?

Even diehard movie fans have a tough time catching every nominated film before the gold statues get handed out. But perhaps the films that catch both Oscar watchers and movie fans unaware, are the nominated shorts. Unless you live in a big city, or near a town where there's a local cinema that recognizes the value of showcasing independent films, trying to catch a screening of Oscar nominated shorts is akin to a scavenger hunt.

There is a way, but you'll have to search to see if there's a theater at least close enough not to fall off your maps app.

ShortsHD presents cinema screenings of the Oscar nominated shorts as three films, representing each of the three Oscar shorts categories: Live Action, Animated and Documentary.

As these films are often undiscovered gems to the casual moviegoer, Moviedozer will be posting the trailers for as many of the nominated shorts as we can finding lurking about in the far reaches of the internet. Not unlike subtitled films, or small independent releases, short films, in all three categories, can surprise and delight. As the Oscar nominated films in these categories, the titles here stand among the best of the best, and I'm certain you'll find at least a few among them that will be worth seeking out.

So get to things started, here is the trailer for the series, as presented by Shorts HD, as well as this link to get more information from their website. And if you can't find a local screening, I hope you'll enjoy checking back to see the trailers here as the countdown to the Oscars continues.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Feeling the need for speed in 3D.

If every time you hear "You've lost that loving feeling", instead of the Righteous Brothers 1964 hit record, you picture Tom Cruise in the dress whites of a Naval flyer, standing in a bar with his cohorts serenading Kelly McGillis, you need to check your weekend calendar.

IMAX is about to clear Top Gun for takeoff on a 6 day limited mission in 3D. Goose and Maverick will be thundering across the big screens beginning Friday, in IMAX 3D for the very first time in the film's history.

Originally released by Paramount in May of 1986, the film became a sensation as well as a hit record machine, scoring an Oscar win for best Original Song with "Take My Breath Away"(the #1 hit by Berlin), and a #2 hit for Kenny Loggins with "Danger Zone". Both songs were written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock.

Joining Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis were Anthony Edwards as Goose, Val Kilmer as Iceman, Tom Skerritt as Viper, Tim Robbins as Merlin and Meg Ryan as Carole.

Just to get the jets warmed up, here's the special release trailer and the poster art. If you're a fan, you've only got one weekend to fly into the danger zone. Don't blow it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Trailers!

Possibly the only crowd of people more excited than football fans on Super Bowl Sunday are marketing executives. (The people from CBS who sold the marketing are long finished counting the cash and have moved on to the champagne and 50 yr. old Macallan.)

For movie execs however, Super Bowl Sunday is a kick off of another sort. The start of the final drive of hype toward a bid at dominating the spring and summer box-office season. It's a lock that any studio ponying up the cash to buy Super Bowl ad time is fairly certain that they're already sitting on a movie destined for serious box-office.

Here are last night's top five trailers. I'm only surprised by one and I'll save it for the end. I'll start the way things started last night, with Disney taking over the pregame show by placing The Lone Ranger graphics on every piece of set real estate they could commandeer.

Disney didn't wait long to strike again. Early in the first quarter, the studio unveiled some unseen footage in a new trailer for its foray into OZ the Great and Powerful. The trailer's short, but still great and powerful. What kid isn't going to want to travel by bubble after seeing this?

With some 7 minutes or so left in the second quarter, the Baltimore Ravens were firmly in control of the game and while Beyoncé was likely just getting ready to be tucked in under the rolling stage rig, Paramount let loose a brand new look at Star Trek: Into the Darkness.

For the rest of history, what happened next in the Super Bowl XLVII will be forever remembered. No, not Beyonce's musical performance, not the record-tying 2nd half opening kickoff return for a Raven's touchdown, but a 35 minute blackout of half of the New Orleans Superdome's lighting. Not to worry - just more reason to watch the ads.

And it was Iron Man 3 who got the advantage of fans everywhere glued to the screen to see what the heck was going on. If you thought the lights going out was a problem, try chasing down a crashing Air Force One...

I should mention that back in the first quarter, in fact directly after Alicia Keys' long and odd take on the National Anthem that may have driven some into buffet raids, Paramount ran a trailer for World War Z that was only a reedit of the trailer Moviedozer posted back in November, which you can see by clicking back to that column here.

But what was new in the first quarter was this trailer for the return of Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious 6. It surprised me the way I'm betting it surprises box-office numbers on its May 24th, Memorial Day weekend release.

The football's over. Let blockbuster season begin. And keep an eye on it all at Moviedozer.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Art of the Poster: It's Iron Man, man!

One of the (many) things that Disney and Marvel got right back in 2008 was casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man. Downey has arguably become the second coming of Johnny Depp for the Mouse House and his swagger is carrying an undefinable percentage of Marvel magic through all of the subsequent Marvel movies made, and to be made, by the studio.

That decidedly cool factor smartly extends beyond the character of Tony Stark and the actor's take on portraying him, to the scripts, dialogue and interactions on screen that were such a significant factor in the success of last year's The Avengers. And in all of this, Downey's presence undoubtedly attracts a caliber of supporting and guest cast options that otherwise would be untouchable without offering blank checks to fill the roles with A-listers.

Then, just to prove that the Marvel machine is firing on all cylinders, marketing absolutely nails the cool factor with fantastic poster art. If you study this stuff, a course in Marvel movie marketing is a course in synchronicity.

And the evidence? Here are posters for Iron Man 1 & 2 (2008 & 2010), followed by the latest poster art  for the May release of Iron Man 3. And if you can't get enough of the guy in the Iron suit, there'll be a 60 second trailer debuting this Sunday during that big football game everyone's talking about.

No worries, we'll be posting the Superbowl trailers right here next week. For now, how high is the cool factor of the new poster? Very.

Lead photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez, ©2012 Wireimage, courtesy of