Author Topic: Monster House  (Read 7181 times)

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modage

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Monster House
« on: November 12, 2005, 10:29:23 AM »
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Synopsis: Although no adults will believe them, three children realize a neighbor's house is really a monster.

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Fred Willard   
Director: Gil Kenan 
Screenwriter: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler 
Executive Producers: Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg
Genres: Drama, Kids/Family, Suspense/Horror and Animation 
Release Date: July 21, 2006 Nationwide 
MPAA Rating: Not Rated 
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing

TRAILER: http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/monster_house/
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Thrindle

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2005, 08:29:09 PM »
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Synopsis: Although no adults will believe them, three children realize a neighbor's house is really a monster.
Skeptical.

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee
Surprised.
Classic.

modage

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2005, 11:18:48 PM »
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i think the premise is cool as hell, so that would make me interested as it is.  but the fact that this is written by the two guys responsible for Scud: The Disposable Assassin, my favorite comic book of all time, makes me really really excited about this.

Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Pubrick

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2005, 11:19:40 PM »
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Starring: Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee
Surprised.
not really, they could use the work..
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

MacGuffin

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2006, 11:37:01 AM »
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New Trailer here.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2006, 11:47:46 PM »
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this was great.  really funny, scary (way too much for little kids) and a great classic sort of story done in a fresh way.  and it was even better in 3D.  (way to go, schrab/harmon!)  THIS is the film Pixar should've made this summer.   :yabbse-thumbup:

Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Ghostboy

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 12:09:41 AM »
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SHIT! I was totally on the list to go to the AICN screening in LA tonight, but I completely forgot about it. Oh well. I'm really excited about it.

MacGuffin

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2006, 01:52:48 PM »
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A Young Man's Game
Untried director Gil Kenan brings a brazen sensibility to the animated "Monster House."
By Patrick Goldstein, Times Staff Writer

To understand the brash, blitzkrieg humor of "Monster House," the new comic horror film that opens Friday, it's helpful to know that Gil Kenan, the film's 29-year-old first-time director, came to America from Israel at age 7, already half aware that pop culture is the great equalizer. Having arrived in Reseda fresh from the suburbs of Tel Aviv, Kenan knew that as the immigrant kid with a thick accent, he needed to hit the ground running in his new world.

"As an immigrant, you have to compensate somehow for your native headdress by impressing — you have to work extra hard to get noticed or be taken seriously," he told me the other day, sitting in an office at Sony, the studio that bankrolled "Monster House." "I was shameless. When I'd hear the girls in school talking about the latest episode of 'Silver Spoons,' I'd always say, 'Oh, yeah, I saw that.' "

At age 7, thanks to his dad, he already had an encyclopedic knowledge of outrageous British humor. So when he had a sleepover with a bunch of other 7-year-olds, Kenan brought a copy of "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," a movie filled with ribald humor about condoms and Catholics, buckets of vomit, an exploding fat man and an elaborate production number about sperm.

"The other parents were so horrified," Kenan recalls, not without a hint of pride, "that they made my parents come pick me up and take me home."

Some audiences may react to the noisy antics of "Monster House" about the same way that parents did to Kenan's Python screening. (And some parents are likely to feel the film is too intense for young children, despite its PG rating.) For me, it was a visual delight to see a house that, thanks to the magic of motion-capture animation, could leap from its moorings and gobble up everyone who steps foot in its yard. Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles enthusiastically wrote that "Monster House" was his favorite film of the summer. But Variety complained about the "ear-splitting sound effects," dismissing the film as "desensitizing," saying "the overriding impression is assaultive to a progressively off-putting degree."

Many critics said the same thing about "The Polar Express," the pioneering 2004 motion-capture film from Robert Zemeckis, who also served as Kenan's godfather in getting "Monster House" made. "Polar Express" went on to gross $172 million in the U.S. alone. But for critics like The Times' Kenneth Turan, the film felt like "loud music at the wrong party," offering "sequences of such exhausting, turbocharged jeopardy that it seems like we've wandered into a Jerry Bruckheimer movie."

As someone who counts among his filmic influences "The Shining," "Time Bandits" and "Nightmare on Elm Street," Kenan thinks critics have lost touch with their childhood. "Horror movies are supposed to be thrill park rides," he says. "It's supposed to be a visceral, intense experience, not a passive one. The whole power of a scary movie is the feeling of not being in control. To call my film desensitizing — I defy you to find anyone who's under 15 who'd agree with that."

Kenan grins. "Look at 'Time Bandits.' All the parts I really remember are the ones that really scared the hell out of me."

While it's too early to tell if 15-year-olds will flock to see "Monster House," the film marks another big step forward in the explosion of creativity from the world of animation. Much of the attention has justifiably gone to Pixar, which has delivered an amazing string of both artistic and commercial blockbusters. But animation has enjoyed a renaissance in other areas, including the dazzling hand-drawn animation of Hayao Miyazaki ("Howl's Moving Castle"), the eccentric clay animation of Nick Park ("Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"), the rotoscoping of Richard Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly" and the eye-popping computer animation in "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" that gives those films a visual intensity beyond anything imaginable in traditional live action.

It is no coincidence that a host of gifted younger filmmakers has turned to animation for upcoming projects, including Spike Jonze, who's doing Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," and Wes Anderson, who's at work on Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox." And, of course, TV has been flooded with clever comedy-based animation for years, from "The Simpsons," "South Park" and "Family Guy" to a host of cult-favorite Adult Swim shows on the Cartoon Network.

"Ten years ago, most animation was either stop-motion puppets, which were rarely seen, or hand-drawn animation, which only existed at Disney and in anime," says Jerry Beck, who's written extensively about animation, both in books and on his blog, Cartoonbrew. "But now we have a whole generation of computer animators as well as live-action people who are invading animation in ways we've never seen before. It's definitely a second Golden Age."

Led by Pixar and DreamWorks with its "Shrek" franchise, animation films have become the most reliable box-office vehicles in today's business. So far this year there have been five major- studio animated family films. Three of them — "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," "Over the Hedge" and "Cars" — have been huge hits. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math — when 60% of such films are hits, you've struck gold.

As you might expect, the studio projects don't have especially high artistic ambitions. In fact, if you've ever taken your kid to one animated film and sat through the trailers for the coming features, you know that the stories (Pixar films excepted) are basically knockoffs of one essential theme: A likable animal (rat, carefree cow, fast-talking mule or penguin — all lead characters in upcoming animated studio films) goes off on a madcap adventure.

Nonetheless, the films are huge moneymakers for studios, since unlike most live-action films, they rarely have any profit participants and the voice talent comes cheap. The animation process is especially attractive to studio executives, since the film is really made in post-production, allowing executives all the time in the world to suggest changes in various sequences. The films often travel extraordinarily well overseas, in part because they can be dubbed with local talent, allowing each country to lay a cultural claim to the film.

"Unlike a lot of other movie genres, animation speaks a universal language," says Columbia Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal. "The stories are simple and classic and in a funny way you can suspend disbelief in these stories in a way you can't in 'Miami Vice.' These movies also speak the visceral language of our age. Nobody believes long drawn-out arguments anymore, so animation feels especially vital in the way that an editorial cartoon can cut to the truth more effectively than a 15-page news story."

"Monster House" almost didn't make it off the drawing board. It was originally in development at DreamWorks but was put into turnaround. Eager to be in business with Zemeckis, Pascal jumped at the chance to make the movie. Normally a studio would be nervous about giving a $75-million movie to an untested rookie like Kenan. It certainly appeared like a big leap for a kid fresh out of UCLA film school whose last film had been a $400 short he made in the kitchen of his Westwood apartment.

However, with Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg serving as the film's executive producers, the studio felt it had a secure safety net. Zemeckis declined to be interviewed — he's still smarting over the rocky reception he got during the release of "Polar Express." But "Monster House" couldn't have been made without him.

"This was his baby," says Pascal. "I didn't have a single creative meeting without him. Bob isn't afraid of how technology is going to change our world. He says we're all going to be watching movies on our watches, so why fight it. He's always breaking barriers, whether it's having a guy to talk to a soccer ball in 'Cast Away' or creating a whole new animated genre with 'Roger Rabbit.' "

Motion-capture animation is still in its infancy, but it seems ripe with artistic possibility. The process involves using 200 infrared sensors to record the movements of actors wearing black wetsuits with reflective markers in a black-box-style soundstage. "It's a film shoot deconstructed," Kenan says. "You shoot the performances first, then do the camerawork and editing afterwards."

For a young filmmaker like Kenan, having a seasoned veteran around was invaluable. "Bob is filled with insight and enthusiasm," says Kenan. "What I really learned from him is that so many questions I had could be answered by asking, 'What story am I telling?' It's a magical question that opens a lot of doors."

For Kenan, it couldn't be a more exciting time to be working in animation, since America seems to finally be discovering what the rest of the world has known for years — that animation isn't simply something to pacify kids in the back of a minivan.

Whether it's motion capture or anime, animation expands the universe of storytelling.

"It allows impossible things to appear possible on screen," says Kenan. "You can go places that you can't go with live action. We still start with a script — and we had a really good one — but animation lets me use my voice to expand its possibilities. It's like reading a novel and illustrating it in your head."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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grand theft sparrow

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2006, 03:20:14 PM »
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As someone who counts among his filmic influences "The Shining," "Time Bandits" and "Nightmare on Elm Street," Kenan thinks critics have lost touch with their childhood.

I'm sold.

Pubrick

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2006, 01:49:47 AM »
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says Pascal. "He's always breaking barriers, whether it's having a guy to talk to a soccer ball in 'Cast Away' . "
if you're gonna be praising a guy you might wanna get the shit you're praising right.

America seems to finally be discovering what the rest of the world has known for years — that animation isn't simply something to pacify kids in the back of a minivan.
next maybe america, or at least the dumb writer, will catch on that the rest of the world isn't full of minivans with TVs in the back.

gil kenan sounds cool tho.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2006, 08:36:47 PM »
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This really was good. Already the top runner for best movie of the summer. I expected the movie to be clever like other animated movies, but it was simple and very imaginative. It allowed the movie to continually surprise me. The scary scenes were geniune and the heartfelt scenes were unexpected but just right. I felt the slight twinge of a Tim Burton influence with the love story that came towards the end. All in all, a movie that had perfect craftmanship and never made the material feel cheap.

I'm jealous of the kids who are able to grow up with this movie. I had to have the Goonies and even back then I knew it wasn't very good. This movie is really really good.

modage

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2006, 09:04:06 PM »
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yes, its definitely one of my (top 2) favorite movies this year.  but i think it will probably fall through the cracks. :(
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

MacGuffin

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2006, 09:11:32 PM »
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I'm jealous of the kids who are able to grow up with this movie. I had to have the Goonies and even back then I knew it wasn't very good. This movie is really really good.

Nick Cannon Wants 'Monster House' To Be The Next 'Goonies'
He's a rookie cop in CGI-animated horror film, which also features Jon Heder, Jason Lee, Kevin James.
Source: MTV

SANTA MONICA, California — Nick Cannon wants Hollywood to start making movies the way it used to.

He wants to see more dream-haunting kiddie fare like "The Goonies," "The Lost Boys" and "Gremlins," where characters battle spectacular beings and are placed in actual danger — and sometimes die. He wants to see more flicks like the ones that thrilled a generation two decades ago — even if he was young enough back then to count his age on one hand.

"This definitely has that 'Goonies' feel," the 24-year-old star recently said of his new movie "Monster House," a shockingly twisted CGI cartoon that also features the voices and motions of Jon Heder, Jason Lee and Maggie Gyllenhaal. "To me, and my generation as we were coming up, that was our cult classic. 'Monster House' will definitely tap into the same younger audience, and they will be able to say, 'This is our style of horror film.' "

Before the kids start making that claim, however, Cannon wants others with fond memories of those '80s classics to know that "House" — produced by "Goonies" overseer Steven Spielberg and "Back to the Future" creator Robert Zemeckis — will also earn a special place in their hearts.

"When you have Zemeckis and Spielberg involved, it's gonna be the next level," the star grinned. "You know it's going to be something cool, and at the same time anybody in your family can enjoy it."

Especially if your family enjoys cowering together in fear, as "House" — which hits theaters Friday — is already gaining a reputation as the darkest CGI animated film yet.

"It's so different, because it's like a horror film and it's animated," Cannon insisted. "It [takes place] close to Halloween, and this house can actually ruin Halloween, because it's haunted and it's eating everybody in the neighborhood. Some kids try to stop the house from eating people.
 
"I can't wait to sit down and see the response from all the kids, because that's the purest response we have as a movie-going audience. ... If they're scared, then we're all scared. If they think something's funny, they're gonna laugh louder than anybody."

Much like "Goonies" or "Gremlins," the film takes off when a dark secret is uncovered — and naturally, the adults are skeptical.

"The police officers roll up on them, and clearly these kids are talking about the house eating people," Cannon laughed, explaining where his character comes in. "They're like, 'Yeah right, kids.'

"I had an opportunity to go as big as I wanted to go," he said of his outrageous line readings. "That was really fun for me. ... I was just able to let loose."

Cannon gives what might be the funniest performance of his career as Lister, an eager rookie cop teamed with a jaded veteran, voiced by "The King of Queens" star Kevin James.

"We play the town law enforcement, and I'm just like this young overzealous officer that's looking for some action," Cannon explained. "[My partner is] just looking for the nearest doughnut shop. He can't wait to get off work. He hates me, because I take everything way too seriously."

It was hard for either actor to take anything seriously, however, when it came time to film the live-action segments that would eventually be painted over with the same cutting-edge technology that yielded another Zemeckis hit: "The Polar Express."

"There was no real wardrobe," Cannon said. "You would just have to put on this little Richard Simmons leotard thing, and then they had Velcro all over it, and they put all these dots all over your little leotard. Then they put this plastic helmet on your head that had dots on it, and then they put this Hannibal Lecter-like mask on your face. They'd put dots all over your face until you looked like [Pinhead from] 'Hellraiser,' and that's when you went to work in this environment where there was, like, 200 cameras all around you."
 
Cannon got over his leotard embarrassment when he saw one of his co-stars squeezed into the suit.

"The funniest thing in the world was seeing Kevin James in a tight leotard outfit with dots all over his body," Cannon laughed. "The jokes just come off the top. We looked like the number 10 standing next to each other, because I'm all skinny straight up and down, and he's round. It was hilarious.

"I would have to say I looked better in a leotard," he added. "I like how I look, and I wasn't trying to pay attention to Kevin and his tights. It was like tunnel vision."

As silly as the process might sound, the finished product is much more "Corpse Bride" creepy than "Finding Nemo" fluff. Characters get haunted by evil spirits, swallowed up by the film's hideous abode and even drowned in concrete. The bottom line: If you mess with the supernatural, you're taking your life into your own hands — a message that dates back to Brothers Grimm fairy tales but sometimes gets overlooked in the rosy world that Pixar has perfected.

"Everybody always has that one house on the block that you don't wanna walk by," Cannon said. "Because the old lady with 13 cats lives there, and she's real creepy, and she'll only be coming out of her house, like, once every year. That's the house that you dare your friends to go up to and knock on the door."

When that house springs up in your neighborhood, Cannon explained, there's only one proper response.

"I was always the kid that would dare people to go in," he laughed. "I would lie and be like, 'Man, I already went in there. There ain't nothing in there.' "
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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elpablo

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2006, 03:34:29 AM »
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I'm jealous of the kids who are able to grow up with this movie.

Yes. I feel guilty for being 19 and enjoying this movie as much as I did. And being mad that I didn't get to see it in 3D.

Good movie.

Ghostboy

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Re: Monster House
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2006, 05:11:59 AM »
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Why feel guilty? I'm 25 and I loved it. Especially in 3D. I really see what James Cameron is talking about now - this is going to be a whole new way of watching movies. It was pretty amazing. Unlike Polar Express, this wasn't about putting you in the front row of a roller coaster with things jumping out at you....the 3D was utilized more to create incredibly rich texture and detail. It was a beautiful experience. I can't wait to see Beowulf now, along with whatever Cameron finishes first.

 

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