["Computer animation, once one of the most isolated corners of Hollywood, is rapidly becoming one of the most crowded. With the cost of computer animation coming down because of advances in technology and soaring box office receipts for family films, a broad range of new animation players are entering the multiplex. In 2009 14 animated movies—most of them computer-generated—will have a wide release, compared with 8 such films in 2005. Pictures from independent producers like Imagi Studios, which has Astro Boy lined up for an October release, are competing with the likes of Up, from Pixar, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs set for release on July 1 by 20th Century Fox. Sony's own computer-animated movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, is scheduled to open on Sept. 18. "I have lots of respect for Disney and DreamWorks, but I think we are going to easily compete in this marketplace," said Erin Corbett, president of Imagi Studios USA. Astro Boy, based on the popular Japanese manga and television series, is about a young robot with incredible powers. Even the big boys are ramping up production. Last week DreamWorks Animation said it would increase its output by 20 percent, delivering five films every two years. Coming titles include How to Train Your Dragon and Puss in Boots, a prequel to the Shrek franchise."]
["The head of the agency responsible for the country's nuclear weapons says a list of nuclear sites accidentally made public does not include classified information about weapons-related facilities. Thomas D'Agostino head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, told a Senate hearing Wednesday the sites on the list are of civilian facilities and that none of the information is classified. Still, he said he's concerned the list could provide an 'easy locator' for uranium storage sites and other facilities related to the country's civilian nuclear program. The 266-page document was accidentally put on the Government Printing Office Web site. It is information that is to be provided as part of an international nuclear inspection program."]
3. In the latest installment of the Shooting Down Pictures "Best of the Decade Derby," House contributor Kevin B. Lee and film dervish Mike D'Angelo liveblog Spike Lee's The 25th Hour.
[MD'A: "I just can't get over this opening credit sequence. When I first saw it, I didn't realize what it was that I was looking at. But then when it pulls back to a wide shot, and I realized what I was looking at, it floored me, and i think I was in tears when i first saw it. I don't think I've ever actually seen the WTC tribute in light in person. At the time no one was acknowledging that this thing had happened, outside documentaries. As far as I know this is the first non-documentary to acknowledge 9-11, which is especially poignant as other films set in New York were busy erasing references to the World Trade Center."]
4. In the new issue of Cineaste, David Sterritt reviews Joe McElhaney's biography of documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (Salesman, Grey Gardens, Don't Look Back). Related: Some old House piece.
["McElhaney's book Albert Maysles makes a persuasive case for Maysles as a filmmaker with a distinctive and personal style. More precisely, McElhaney makes this case for the particular kind of cinema crafted by Maysles and associates, which is inflected by the technical preferences and overall filmmaking philosophy that Maysles has cultivated throughout his career. Among his signatures are an affinity for subjects that reveal the personalities of artists and aspects of the art-making process; a gift for seizing the spirit of the moment with striking accuracy; and a rapport with his subjects that reflects his conviction that all art works, including his movies, are autobiographical at their core."]
5. "Misogyny By Any Other Name." In which my new L Magazine colleague, "Art Fag City" columnist Paddy Johnson, opens a can of whoop-ass not just on one or two artists, but an entire mindset that turns fine art into a racket.
["The erroneous belief that gallery art has a higher, more profound purpose often gets in the way of properly assessing it. So too does the authority of the exhibition space, which can intimidate even the most seasoned viewer. Gallerygoers tend to excuse bad art, especially if it's controversial. Maybe the work has greater rationality behind it than is immediately apparent; maybe the art isn't challenged by the liberal politics of the artist; or perhaps the art is even transcendental! This came to mind recently when viewing Dirk Skreber's exhibition at Friedrich Petzel Gallery in Chelsea. Featuring two vagina-shaped crashed cars impaled on penile poles and bare-breasted paintings of super heroes, the show is the closest thing I've seen to pornography lately. I hoped there was more to it than appeared, until I read the press release, which described Skreber's sculptures as "begging ambivalence." In other words, they are to be read at face value. "]
Quote of the Day:
"If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them."
-- Jane Fonda
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Photo of actor Mike Doyle enacting his seventh onscreen death, photographed by Michael Appleton. See accompanying article by Michael Wilson (apparently everyone associated with this piece has the same first name—weird) in The New York Times.
Clip of the Day:
"Links for the Day": A selection of Links that will hopefully spark discussion. Comments encouraged. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to email@example.com.