REPOST: SpongeBob Squarepants Goes Live-Action/3D in New Movie Trailer

SpongeBob Squarepants ventures out of the ocean and into the dry land in the latest sequel featuring Antonio Banderas, Clancy Brown, and Tom Kenny. More info on “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” in the article below.

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Image Source: comicbookmovie.com

Nicktoons heroes battle live-action evil on dry land in long-awaited sequel

Want to feel old? It has been a full ten years since the originalSpongeBob Squarepants movie. Two generations (and counting) of fans have been clamoring for a sequel the whole time, and now Nickelodeon has debuted the first trailer for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, in which the champions of Bikini Bottom will appear for the first time in 3D opposite live-action human actors.

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Image Source: awn.com

In the sequel (which also includes scenes rendered in the series traditional 2D animation), Antonio Banderas appears as an evil pirate seeking a powerful magic relic hidden in SpongeBob and friends’ undersea community of Bikini Bottom. When he succeeds in stealing it – placing both the ocean and surface worlds in peril – SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Plankton and Mr. Krabs must undertake the perilous journey to the human world to confront him (which is where the 3D kicks in); ultimately making use of the stolen magic themselves to become human-sized superheroes.

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Image Source: brandsynario.com

While SpongeBob characters have ventured onto land before, in the series it was typically accomplished using intentionally-crude live-action puppets of realistic-looking sea creatures. In the first movie, SpongeBob and Patrick were depicted as remaining animated when on dry land, but only so long as they didn’t dry out. They also encountered a human ally in the form of Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.

Sponge Out of Water is currently targeting a February 2015 release date.

Samantha Pouls is a film enthusiast who aspires to make genre-bending films that sell around the world. Visit this Facebook page for more filmmaking articles, news, and interesting discussions.

REPOST: Filmmaking helps heal wounds for troubled youths

Filmmaking is not just an art. It can also be a pastime that helps people find relief from life’s problems and faceeveryday challenges. This article from the Los Angeles Times proves how filmmaking helped troubled youths turn their lives around.

Darlene VisosoImage Source: latimes.com

As a child, Darlene Visoso tried to protect herself from the harsh words she endured from her father’s girlfriend by shutting off her emotions.

Until her early years of high school, she dealt with her pain, anger and insecurity by ignoring her feelings.

“I kind of went into a phase where I was like, what’s the point of feeling? What’s the point of laughing if you’re going to cry? What’s the point of crying if it’s non-ending emotion?” she said.

Though the girlfriend and her father have since split up, Darlene, now 17 and a recent graduate of South Gate High School, made a short film about her experiences titled “Learning to Feel.” She wrote it and played a part, starring as a girl who must learn to express her emotions after the death of her best friend.

The film was created through one of several programs run by Southern California Crossroads, a nonprofit group that aims to help underprivileged youths in violence-plagued communities. The film program, in partnership with the New York-based Tribeca Film Institute and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, allows students to confront social issues in their communities and their lives.

The topics addressed in the short films include such things as bullying, gun and gang violence, acceptance and self-identity. Saul Cervantes, a teacher with Crossroads, said filmmaking gives students a way to communicate.

“They feel like whatever they go through, they have to say it’s not really important,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to show them a way to have a voice.”

Crossroads was formed in 2005 to help youths avoid violence, intervene in crisis situations and provide reentry services for those with criminal records. Although the heart of the program is education and employment, Crossroads offers mentoring, case management, tattoo removals and the film program.

It serves 18- to 24-year-olds who have dropped out of high school or have a criminal background. The exception is the film program, which includes students at Hosler Middle School in Lynwood, South Gate High School and Lynwood High School.

Cervantes said he assesses students’ weaknesses and strengths, and assigns them jobs on films because “everyone has a spot in filmmaking.” Once they have jobs, the students must work together, which unifies students, something that doesn’t always happen outside the program, he said.

Alan Lopez, 13, acted in a film about how difficult it can be for young people to show who they really are, a challenge he has dealt with.

“You have to be yourself and not care what other people think,” Alan said, adding that it can be difficult because people “judge you by your cover.”

Paul Carrillo, executive director of the nonprofit, said he hopes the films’ impact extends beyond Crossroads and into the community. Because he wants the content to be relevant, he allows students to choose topics and write films to reflect what’s going on in their lives.

“We think they don’t see anything, they don’t know anything, they’re naive,” Cervantes said. “But they see it all.”

One member of the young adult class, Eric Saldana, 24, said he knows there’s violence and criminal activity in his neighborhood. So he chose to act in a film about choosing peace over violence. He said he is committed to raising awareness of the issues his friends and family members have been traumatized by.

He wants to show his work to friends and family “for them to change or something, to take the same thing that I took.”

On June 28, more than 100 people filed into an auditorium at St. Francis, the hospital that works in collaboration with the program. Among them were students, parents, surgeons and financial sponsors. All came to watch the first Crossroads film screening.

They viewed 11 films. The last featured teenagers releasing red balloons into the sky, an abstract depiction of its creators’ desire to chase their dreams.

After the film, Carrillo told the crowd, “We wanted you all to leave feeling inspired.”

As each person left, they were handed a chocolate or carrot cupcake decorated with white icing and a little red balloon

Teen filmmaker Samantha Pouls spends most of her time making short films and experimenting with different genres. Follow this blog for more discussions on filmmaking.

REPOST: A pastry-covered hammer: Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel”

Resident Indiewire.com critic Sam Adams talks about finding profound meaning in Wes Anderson’s overtly twee machinations in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

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Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”| Image Source: blogs.indiewire.com

 

In his book “The Wes Anderson Collection,” Matt Zoller Seitz talks about Anderson’s use of what he calls “material synecdoche,” which he defined in a 2009 article as “showcasing objects, locations, or articles of clothing that define whole personalities, relationships, or conflicts.” In psychological realism, we look inside characters to get a sense of who they are, but in Anderson’s world, those details are on the outside. His characters actually wear their hearts on their sleeves.

That holds true, as it turns out, for Anderson’s films as well as the characters within them. “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” builds to an encounter with the mythical crayon ponyfish, a flagrantly fake Plasticine creation that is nonetheless surpassingly beautiful — a neat summary of Anderson’s films, whose overt artifice doesn’t prevent them from being profoundly moving (at least when they work). In “Moonrise Kingdom,” the runaway teenage lovers cement their bond by piercing the girl’s ears with a pair of fishhooks earrings — a stand-in for deflowering that nonetheless draws real blood.

In “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the old-world aesthete M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) engineers a prison break by smuggling in digging tools disguised as elegant, oddly shaped pastries. The guards destroy other, less visually appealing foodstuffs in order to check for hidden contraband, but even they’re not immune to the pristine beauty of a Mendl’s pastry. Critics, for the most part, focus on the pastry, the immaculate, self-conscious beauty of Anderson’s movie: its dollhouse sets, its painstakingly composed shots, its stylized comic performances. But I want to focus on the hammer, the cold and surprisingly powerful force beneath “The Grand Budapest Hotel’s” dazzling surface.

The world of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a flagrantly artificial one, both physically and world-historically. The buildings in Anderson’s invented country of Zubrowska look like two-dimensional dioramas, evoking the theatrical illusion of the 19th century and the cinematic wonderments of George Melies, right down to the hand-tinted colors. The 1932 time frame in which most of the movie’s action is set ties it to the rise of Nazi Germany, whose iconography is echoed by the jagged double-S of the troops who eventually take over Gustave’s beloved hotel; the striped uniform Gustave wears in prison evokes the garb of Nazi concentration camp inmates. But Anderson also steals from the first World War as well as the second, compressing the first half of the 20th century into a single, world-altering conflict.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel’s” 1932 is the innermost in a series of temporal and narrative frames. In 1968, the hotel’s erstwhile lobby boy and current owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) tells the story of M. Gustave to a young writer (Jude Law). In 1985, that writer’s older self (Tom Wilkinson) retells the story to a camera in his office, presumably a metaphor for the writing of a novel. Finally, in an undated, presumably present-day, frame, a young woman in what appears to be a former Eastern Bloc country visits a shrine devoted to the now-deceased writer, and sits down to read his book — called, of course, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” (In a neat parallel, the Brutalist revamp of the Grand Budapest’s interior was built on top of its gilded exterior, then peeled away once the 1968 scenes had been shot.) As I’ve written previously, these time periods tie the movie to three major shifts in the European balance of power: World War II, the Prague Spring, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Anderson never lets us forget that these frames are constructed. The three main time periods are shot in different aspect ratios: boxy 1.33:1 for the 1932 scenes; Cinemascope 2.35:1 for the 1960s; widescreen 1.85:1 for 1985 and the present day. The first two are presented within a 1.85 frame, as they would be if you were watching them on a flatscreen TV, and even the 1985 scenes are pulled in from the edges so that they don’t fill the screen; none of them gives us the complete picture. The writer’s direct address to the camera in 1985 is the least overtly stylized, but his monologue is interrupted by a young boy with a toy pistol, and when the writer shoos him out of the door, the camera swivels and we catch a glimpse of workmen in the next room, painting the walls a pale pink. Like the others, his frame remains a work in progress.

Such self-aware aestheticism is the manna on which Anderson’s admirers feed, but in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” it has a specific, decidedly un-frivolous purpose. M. Gustave isn’t simply a prissy nostalgist, a Belle Epoque throwback pining for a world that “had vanished long before he ever entered it.” His insistence on elemental decency, his mantra that anger is merely the expression of needs unmet, is a subtle form of resistance — tinged, it must be said, with a hint of willful denial. At times, his insistence on maintaining decorum in the face of chaos evokes history’s whipping boy Neville Chamberlain.

Like many a member of an oppressed people, M. Gustave uses charm to work the system, which has allowed the Grand Budapest Hotel to function as an island of stability in an increasingly tumultuous world. But as the situation worsens and cultivated soldiers like Edward Norton’s Henckels are replaced by jackbooted thugs, Gustave begins to lose his grip. The only time the word “fascist” escapes his lips — the only time it’s uttered at all — is when he fails to sweet-talk his way past the border patrol who want to detain the “stateless” Zero (Tony Revolori) for failure to produce the correct papers. Henckels, who with Norton’s flat American accent appears on the scene like a poorly cast extra, saves Zero from likely internment and execution, but Gustave has been shown that the power he’s accumulated, and the fantasy he’s tried to sustain, have their limits. He tries to reassert both with an impromptu poetry recitation, but he finally gives up: “Oh, fuck it.” The confrontation is reprised at the end of the 1932 story, with results so dire the film cannot bear to depict them.

The physical dissimilarity between Revolori, a 17-year-old Guatemalan-American, and the 74-year-old Abraham, whose heritage is Syrian, further emphasizes the movie’s constructed nature, but it also gives the reference to Zero’s statelessness a frightening edge, one that’s honed when he reveals to Gustave that he fled to Zubrowska after his family was killed during a war in his native country. In the age of drone warfare, the image of global powers fighting each other with masses of troops seems unfathomably distant, but the idea of innocents being massacred by an invading power cuts all too close to home.

Ignoring such moments of rupture while cooing over Anderson’s manicured frames is the equivalent of praising the pastry but ignoring the hammer. It’s the combination of the two that gives “The Grand Budapest Hotel” its melancholy power.

Samantha Pouls is a budding filmmaker who loves experimenting with different techniques and approaches in film production. Follow this Twitter account for more about movies and the art of filmmaking.

REPOST: Jennifer Lawrence & ‘Hunger Games’ Cast Mourn Philip Seymour Hoffman

Just like the rest of Hollywood, the cast and crew of the Hunger Games films were shocked by the death of fellow actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Read what they had to say in this article from Hollywood Life.

http://pmchollywoodlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/cast-of-catching-fire-phillip-seymour-hoffman-lead.jpg?w=600Image Source: hollywoodlife.com

Philip Seymour Hoffman was only seven days short of completing his work in the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy when he tragically passed away on Feb. 2. Later that day, the cast broke their silence to express their ‘devastating loss’ in a joint statement.

Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the Hunger Games cast are mourning the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman just like the rest of us. Find out what they had to say below.

Philip, who played Plutarch Heavensbee, was arguably the only actor in Hunger Games: Catching Fire to draw any of the attention away from Jennifer Lawrence. When he was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose on Feb. 2, the Hollywood community instantly shared their grief with the rest of the world, and now the Hunger Games cast has issued a public statement to express their feelings on the legendary actor’s untimely death.

“Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now,” read the statement issued by Jennifer, director Francis Lawrence, and Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins on behalf of the entire cast and crew. “Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking. Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”

Their statement follows an earlier statement from Lionsgate, the production company behind the Hunger Games movies. “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation,” the studio said. “We’re very fortunate that he graced our Hunger Games family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”

HollywoodLife.com sends thoughts and prayers to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s family as they process their terrible loss.

– Shaunna Murphy

Samantha Pouls hones her skills in filmmaking to become a critically and financially successful artist in the future. She is an avid fan of many large-scale film productions that have created a strong impact in popular culture, such as The Hunger Games. Go to this Facebook page for more links to articles about the movie industry.

REPOST: Roberto Orci Talks Venom & The Sinister Six Movies

Roberto Orci spills his thoughts on what’s ahead for The Amazing Spider-Man spin-offs in this article.

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Image Source: empireonline.com

The Spider-Man spin-offs are a team effort.

Intent on exploiting its Spider-Man resource to the fullest, Sony confirmed rumours by announcing last month that it was planning spin-off films for the symbiote villain Venom and the group of baddies known as The Sinister Six. It’s a big order, and a group of writers is involved with making it happen. One of those overseeing this new drive – Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer/producer Roberto Orci – has opened up to IGN about how they’ll get it all wrangled.

“That’s the discussion we’re having right now; how exactly do you do that, and how do you do it without betraying the audience and making them all mean?” he says. “Cabin In The Woods’ Drew Goddard is going to be writing that one, so it’s kind of his problem… I’m kidding. We’re all working on each other’s stuff. So we want to be true to it, but there are some antiheroes in this day and age. There have been examples of that even on TV – Vic Mackey on The Shield, one of the great antiheroes of all time. There are ways to milk that story. Audiences have seen everything. They’ve seen all the good guys who never do anything wrong. Is there a story in seeing the other side? That’s the challenge, and that’s the fun. I’m not sure how we’re going to do that yet.”

In terms of logistics, Orci, along with regular partner Alex Kurtzman and fellow writers Goddard, Jeff Pinkner and Ed Solomon, are using a method well known to most of them, who got their start in TV writing rooms under the likes of J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon. “In television, you get a great team of writers together, a writing staff, and you’re working on five episodes at once. You’re prepping one, you’re shooting one, you’re writing one, you’re posting one, and you’re trying to make sure they’re consistent over 13 or 22 episodes. That’s how we learned how to do things. So it’s funny in the movie business, and you have different things being done by different teams and they’re not all communicating with each other.

“So when we talked about our interest in all this stuff, we said, ‘Well, the way would want to do it is kind of go to a TV model,’ and then the distinction between the quality of TV and film has gone away. They’re both equally viable, awesome storytelling formats. So the idea of, let’s get a core group of writers and producers and directors – and even though I might not be the one writing Venom, I’ll be in the meetings talking about how to make it interesting. We could be putting in Easter eggs and planning ahead in the previous movies, and then that guy over there is going to write that movie, and Ed Solomon’s gonna write another one with us. So having a committee, a board, of people who are creative, who are filmmaker, who just keep it all together, that’s kind of going back to the way we started.”

Of course, there is also the not-so-small matter of getting The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 made too, and all the time hoping that the superhero movie bubble doesn’t burst in the meantime. But at least Orci and co. have a plan to make everything hang together. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be in our cinemas on April 18.

Samantha Pouls is a movie buff who loves the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, and the Twilight saga. Like this Facebook page for more movie news, trailers, reviews, and more.

REPOST: Review of The Hunger Games Movie: Catching Fire

It has been a couple of weeks since the showing of Catching Fire, but the second Hunger Games installment is still fanned red hot by the inextinguishable passion of the fans. The Huffington Post explains why the series has become so irresistible.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

The first time I ever picked up the hunger games book, I was completely enraptured by its brilliance. Afterwards, I simply could not put the book down, and I went on to finish the trilogy in one weekend. There is something about the hunger games that necessarily draws its reader to a climatic excitement, even before you finish the first chapter of the first book.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Catching Fire explores the brewing revolution that Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, unintentionally began with her act of defiance at the 74th annual hunger games. Although her defiance stemmed from a strong will to survive rather than to start a social and political revolution in the districts, Katniss would soon learn that her intentions were more or less irrelevant. She would become the symbol of a revolution that is far greater than individual survival, one that transcends the bonds of enslavement that the Capitol forces the citizens of the district to face. Somehow, her path to survival is finely and dangerously aligned with revolution and freedom.

It is not hard for the people of Panem to see themselves, their will, their thoughts, their consciousness reflected through Katniss. Her defiance led to both a subconscious and a conscious elevation of a repressed and suppressed will, not simply to survive, but rather, to be free. The movie, at a very thematic level, reflects these larger concepts quite well. The acting was captivating, the writing was absolutely brilliant and, the directing and pace of the movie was phenomenal.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

What I enjoyed most about the movie was how the movie was able to conceptualize most of the themes that the book explores without completely sensationalizing the film. Jennifer Lawrence is arguably, one of the most brilliant actresses of our generation. There is something about the way that she acts that reflects factions of a variety of persons in one character, and that allows the audience to recognize themselves in her, no matter the part she plays in a movie. The reason why that is so important for the movie catching fire, is that Katniss was able to start a revolution because the citizens of the districts saw a piece of themselves reflected through her, both in her fiery and her fragilities. Jennifer Lawrence was able to through Katniss, embody a degree of intersectionality between vulnerability, unfounded courage, survival, sacrifice, and hope.

Catching Fire, I would argue, is a realization of a Marxist ideology within a dystopic reality. The proletariat (citizens of the districts) become socially, politically, and economically aware of their enslavement by the bourgeoisie (citizens of the capitol). This self-consciousness forces the proletariat to start a revolution to gain political control of the state. Within this framework, Katniss can be viewed as the link between self-consciousness and a lack thereof. Katniss is able to personify a possible transition to self-consciousness and social awareness, by her simple act of defiance.

I have alluded a bit to the general storyline but I am very wary to give away any specific spoilers because I want everyone to be able to fully enjoy the movie, through trepidation and anticipation. But I would say this though, the intensity of the last scene of the film is definitely one to watch out for. Jennifer Lawrence was able to, in the spam of a couple minutes embody denial, grief, true sadness, anger, a willingness to come to a full realization of her symbolic role as the mocking jay, and all of that subsequently makes you hopeful for what is to come. Thrilling, absolutely thrilling. Happy Hunger Games And May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour.

Samantha Pouls is an amateur filmmaker and a junior high school student living in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. For more articles on the film industry, visit this

REPOST: ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ movie review

‘Thor: The Dark World’ is no doubt one of the most talked-about movies these days. In fact, most film critics agree that the sequel to the 2011 Marvel movie is more entertaining than its predecessor, and it’s all thanks to the superpower charm of Tom Hiddleston. Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News writes the following review.

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

What weird sorcery is this? “Thor: The Dark World” may not be thunder from the movie gods, but it is — shock! — an entertaining journey into mystery, action and fun.

That wasn’t a preordained outcome. Thor’s 2011 Marvel Comics film adaptation — a crucial set-up for “The Avengers” — was a dull deal, with giant robots attacking empty southwestern towns and a brawny Norse mythology-derived alien superbeing. As directed by Kenneth Branagh, it tried too hard to bridge worlds.

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

Not so with the sequel. Director Alan Taylor, a TV vet (“Six Feet Under,” “The Sopranos,” and, most crucially, “Game of Thrones”), has given “The Dark World” both a light touch and a streamlined feel. It cruises where the earlier film lumbered. There’s also a jolt in here of “Lord of the Rings.” It has its faults, but this is solidly in the upper sphere of superhero sequels.

Two years after Thor (Chris Hemsworth) helped the Avengers quash his evil adopted brother Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) plan to rule Earth, the blond God of Thunder is a good son to Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and misses pretty Earth girl Jane (Natalie Portman).

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

But a “dark elf” named Malekith (unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston) is after a funky mist called the Aether. This, we’re told, can be used to return the universe (aka the Nine Realms) to darkness. Jane happens to find the Aether in a chasm on Earth and absorbs it.

To extract it and protect the Nine Realms, Thor brings Jane to his disco-lit world of Asgard. But once Malekith gets the Aether and brings it to his home, Svartalfheim (gesundheit!), Thor’s only hope is to free Loki from his Asgardian prison and set off together on a tenuous partnership to defeat Malekith.

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

Image Source: NYDailyNews.com

That’s a lot of gobbledygook, and reads like the fine print on a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Yet “The Dark World“ keeps its feet on the ground. Hemsworth has evolved into the Marvel version of Errol Flynn — he balances swashbuckling with sly humor — and Portman has grown into an appealingly feisty heroine. Her cute, snarky sidekick Darcy (Kat Dennings) is a welcome return, as is Stellan Skarsgard as their now-brain-fried scientist mentor.

As it goes with superhero flicks, the true believers are the ones who’ll groove on it the most. In fact, anyone who considers a giant hammer (called Mjolnir, as if you didn’t know) as cool as a lightsaber or the Batmobile likely has more invested in the story than the average moviegoer.Let’s face it, the real villain here is essentially a gloomy meteorological phenomenon.

The secret weapon is Hiddleston. The best thing the film’s army of five screenwriters did is set the odd couple of Thor and Loki on a sort-of celestial road trip. Loki is puckish, malevolent, peevish, magnetic and, with his Rooney Mara-like pale skin and dark hair, the polar opposite of Hemsworth. Hiddleston’s villainous asides steal the show, and he brightens “The Dark World” when it needs it most.

An avid film fan, Samantha Pouls knows a lot of movies–from blockbusters to indie films–than the average junior high school student. To keep abreast of the latest movies and updates in the film industry, follow this Twitter page.