Toy Story 4 Gets Forked!

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Pixar/Disney have just dropped the teaser trailer for next summer’s Toy Story 4, and here it is for you:

Now, I’m not entirely certain the world needs another Toy Story movie (I have to admit to only seeing the last entry once, and I was ferociously drunk, which I fully agree may not have been the best way to appreciate its charms, however it does render my recall of it in particularly vivid tones), but I also have to admit to being happy to see these characters here.

The addition of the frankly surreal Forky character is a welcome bonus. The plot of Toy Story 4 spells out his role a little more:

Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called ‘Forky’ to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.

Toy Story 4 hits next summer (nine years after Toy Story 3), and will likely make all the money.

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man Is Here!

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Comic book fans know that in the Marvel Universe more than one person wears the mask of Spider-Man, and now Sony Pictures is getting ready to launch Miles Morales onto the big screen.

The character was created in 2011 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, with Bendis and Marvel editor-in-chief  Axel Alonso drawing inspiration from both then-U.S. President Barack Obama and American actor Donald Glover (who made a tongue-in-cheek cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming)

The son of an African American father and a Puerto Rican mother, Alonso has described Morales as an intelligent nerd with an aptitude for science similar to his predecessor, Peter Parker. Originally existing in a separate reality from ¨ours¨, Morales has now crossed over and exists alongside Parker.

Now Sony has unveiled a brief teaser of its upcoming  animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” with a first look at the teenage Morales, as well as introducing audiences to the concept of the Spider-Verse (a conceit from the comics where Spider-Man exists in differing personas and forms across multiple realities).

The film is directed by Bo Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, with the screenplay by Phil Lord, and is due to be released on December 14, 2018.

Look out, Spider-Man, here comes, uh… Spider-Man!

Godzilla: King Of The Anime

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Care of Godzilla expert August Ragone’s always authoritative website, The Good, The Bad, and Godzilla, news comes that Toho Animation have just dropped the first teaser trailer for their forthcoming anime, Godzilla: Monster Planet (international title: Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters).

With a screenplay by Gen Urobuchi, writer of animated TV series including Peulla Magi Madoka Magica and Kamen Rider Gaim, and directed by Koubun Shizuno (Knights of Sidonia) and Hiroyuki Seshita (Ajin: The Demi-Human) the film, the first in a trilogy, will premiere in Japan in November, while Netflix have picked it up for international worldwide distribution.

Executive producer, Yoshihiro Furusawa, was reported in Variety as saying “I wasn’t familiar with Godzilla, and I made the film so even those who don’t know Godzilla can enjoy watching it.”

The story is set in the future world of 2048 and centres on a group of human beings who take revenge after being pushed from Earth by monsters such as Godzilla.

Here’s hoping for an animated Godzilla that will banish thoughts of Godzooky from the collective consciousness once and for all.

Uncle Bill and Isao Tomita

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I’ll always be grateful to Uncle Bill. I grew up in a block of flats, surrounded by a lovely, close-knit set of neighbours and my favourite amongst them all was Bill Bartlett who, with his wife Connie, lived directly below us. Bill and Connie loved music, particularly Barry White, and they had a big sheepskin rug in front of their fireplace – which they always intimated they made love on while listening to the Walrus of Love.

Uncle Bill, as I affectionately called him, was a cultured man who introduced me to art, photography and music, he would help me with my homework and we would listen to jazz, soul and electronica. Isao Tomita’s Snowflakes Are Dancing (based on the work of Claude Debussy) was released in 1974 and Uncle Bill adored it, playing it endlessly as we sat on their balcony, flitting between my schoolwork and books of photography (and cheekily allowing me a cold glass of beer if it was a hot summer evening – I was about twelve or thirteen, these were different times).

Tomita, of course, was one of the pioneers of electronic music and a hugely influential and important figure in the worlds of  music, film and animation. He composed the theme song and incidental music for Osamu Tezuka’s animated television series Jangaru Taitei (Jungle Emperor), released in the West (albeit not with Tomita’s theme music) as Kimba, The White Lion. He also created music for films and television shows such as Catastrophe 1999, The Prophecies of Nostradamus (U.S. title: Last Days of Planet Earth), Zatoichi and Mighty Jack, and in the wake of Snowflakes Are Dancing, released a number of classically themed albums of electronica, including Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Uncle Bill passed away several years ago, having left a vast, indelible mark on my life, and now Isao Tomita, one of the pioneers of electronic music, has joined him. I hope the two of them are sharing a cold beer together, somewhere as warm and loved as the very special place they inhabit in my memories.