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Marvel President Kevin Feige To Receive Ryman Arts Visionary Award

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The inaugural Marty & Leah Sklar Creative Visionary Award will be presented to Kevin Feige, Producer and President of Marvel Studios in recognition of his creative vision and role in Marvel’s critical and box-office success. This first-ever award honors Feige’s impactful contribution of bringing layered stories, visually compelling effects, and relatable heroes together to create unique film experiences for audiences.

“The Ryman Arts Board established the Marty & Leah Sklar Creative Visionary Award to honor Marty’s memory and to celebrate the legacy of two amazing founders of our organization. We are thrilled that the first recipient of the award, Kevin Feige, embodies the aspiration of the award so completely. Kevin has reimagined an entire universe of storytelling and introduced us to exciting new worlds through his creative leadership and vision,” stated Phil Hettema, Ryman Arts Board President and President and Creative Executive of The Hettema Group.

The Marty & Leah Sklar Creative Visionary Award will be presented at the annual Ryman Arts event, this year being held at the Majestic Downtown in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. The evening kicks off with a VIP reception including a dynamic panel discussion on bringing the world of Wakanda to life and the creation of Black Panther featuring Writer Joe Robert Cole and Director of Photography Rachel Morrison. The exclusive VIP reception will be followed by general admission and award program with remarks by Kevin Feige and other special guests.

The MARTY AND LEAH SKLAR CREATIVE VISIONARY AWARD is presented annually to an individual or singular creative vision and leadership who has made a distinctive contribution to the creative community: illuminating, inspiring and expanding the impact, relevance and reach of the arts through their work and creative vision. It is named for two visionaries who were co-founders of Ryman Arts. Leah Sklar has been active in the community and educational initiatives throughout her life, including a critical role in the development of Ryman’s mission and program. Marty Sklar was the legendary vice chairman and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), leading the creation of the Disney theme parks around the world.

RYMAN ARTS provides intensive studio art instruction along with college and career guidance to a diverse community of promising high school youth —all at no cost to the students. Almost all graduates go to college, many go on to work in the creative industries, and all are poised for personal success. A nationally recognized non-profit organization, Ryman Arts was founded in 1990 to honor the legacy of legendary Disney artist Herbert D. Ryman. It has served over 6,000 teens from 150 communities across Southern California in its core program, engaged over 20,000 inner-city students through outreach, and is committed to reaching students with the greatest need to ensure all young artists reach their full potential. KEVIN FEIGE, producer and president of Marvel Studios, is a hands-on producer and oversees Marvel Studios’ feature film productions. Under his leadership and guidance, the 20 films he has produced have all opened No. 1 at the box office and are all rated Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. His forward-thinking approach to production, casting and globally resonant storylines make him one of the most exciting and relevant filmmakers of our time.

Since the inception of Marvel Studios, Feige has continually brought together a diverse group of talent for each of his films, seeking out unique and unexpected voices to bring the studio’s stories to life, from writers and directors to actors and below-the-line professionals. This effort reached its apex with this year’s release of the critically acclaimed “Black Panther.” The film became a global cultural phenomenon and a critical hit, proving that showcasing diverse voices can lead to enormous global success. The most successful domestic release of 2018, “Black Panther” earned more than $1.3B worldwide. Among the global hits Feige has produced are “The Avengers,” “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Thor,” “Doctor Strange,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and, most recently, “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” Feige continues his advocacy of women and representation with the upcoming female-led “Captain Marvel” and storylines around major strong female characters from Black Widow to many more.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, Feige first worked for Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner at their Warner Bros.–based production company, which released the action-adventure “Volcano” and the hit romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail.”

In summer 2008, Feige’s first foray as a full producer was the first fully developed and financed film from the fledgling Marvel Studios, the commercial and critical hit “Iron Man,” directed by Jon Favreau. Feige’s drive to put unique storytellers at the forefront helped to craft groundbreaking and hugely successful projects that became a showcase for unexpected talent both in front of and behind the camera. Feige has continued without breaking stride, breaking numerous box office records and expanding Marvel Studios’ slate to up to three releases per year.

This year in addition to “Black Panther.”Feige produced the long-awaited “Avengers: Infinity War,” which opened to critical acclaim and broke domestic and global box-office records on its way to becoming the highest-grossing Marvel Studios film thus far, as well as “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” which opened No. 1 at the domestic box office and is the 15th Marvel Studios film to surpass $600 million worldwide.

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“Kung Fu Panda 4” — A Letdown for True Fans

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As a longtime fan of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, I eagerly anticipated the release of “Kung Fu Panda 4.” Unfortunately, this latest installment feels more like a blatant cash grab than a heartfelt continuation of Po’s journey. Despite its dazzling animation, the film falls short in delivering the magic that made us fall in love with the series in the first place.

A Recycled Plot

The storyline of “Kung Fu Panda 4” lacks originality. Po’s quest to save yet another endangered village from an ancient threat feels redundant and uninspired. Instead of the rich character development and emotional depth we’ve come to expect, we’re left with a series of disjointed action scenes and lackluster jokes. 

Neglecting the Furious Five

One of the most disappointing aspects of the film is its treatment of the beloved Furious Five. These characters, who played crucial roles in Po’s previous adventures, are now relegated to the background with minimal impact on the story. Their interactions with Po, once a highlight of the series, are reduced to mere cameos.

Stunning Yet Hollow Animation

While the animation in “Kung Fu Panda 4” is as visually stunning as ever, it can’t mask the film’s weak script. The vibrant landscapes and expertly choreographed fight scenes are impressive, but they feel empty and superficial without a compelling story. It’s as if the filmmakers hoped that impressive visuals alone could carry the film.

Flat Humor

The humor, which was a cornerstone of the earlier films, falls disappointingly flat in this installment. The jokes rely heavily on slapstick and recycled gags, lacking the wit and charm that made us laugh in previous movies. This reliance on tired humor only reinforces the sense that “Kung Fu Panda 4” is more interested in maintaining a profitable brand than in telling a meaningful story.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, “Kung Fu Panda 4” is a letdown for true franchise fans. It fails to capture the heart, creativity, and narrative depth that made its predecessors special. For those hoping for a return to form, this film may feel like a disappointing attempt to cash in on past successes rather than a genuine effort to continue Po’s journey. Let’s hope DreamWorks learns from this misstep and returns to what made “Kung Fu Panda” great in the first place.

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The Idea Man

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Disney’s latest documentary, “The Idea Man,” offers an enthralling and intimate portrait of Jim Henson, the mastermind behind the Muppets and a pioneer in the world of puppetry and children’s entertainment. This documentary not only honors Henson’s legacy but also delves deeply into the creative processes that made him a visionary in the entertainment industry.

“The Idea Man” begins by chronicling Henson’s early years, showcasing his initial forays into puppetry and television. The documentary paints a vivid picture of a young, ambitious Henson who dared to dream beyond conventional storytelling methods. Through rare footage and personal anecdotes from family, friends, and colleagues, viewers gain a comprehensive understanding of Henson’s innovative spirit.

One of the documentary’s strengths lies in its exploration of Henson’s multifaceted personality. Interviews with those who knew him best reveal a man driven by an insatiable curiosity and a profound desire to connect with audiences of all ages. The film highlights how Henson’s unique ability to infuse his creations with humor, heart, and a touch of whimsy made characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Big Bird beloved worldwide.

“The Idea Man” delves into the meticulous craftsmanship that went into Henson’s work. The documentary showcases behind-the-scenes footage of Henson at work, providing an insider’s look at the creative process behind iconic projects like “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” and “Fraggle Rock.” These glimpses into his workshop reveal the painstaking detail and boundless imagination that characterized Henson’s approach to puppetry and storytelling.

The documentary also emphasizes Henson’s contributions to the broader landscape of entertainment and technology. His pioneering work in animatronics and special effects, particularly in films like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” is explored in depth. Interviews with contemporary filmmakers and special effects artists underscore Henson’s lasting impact on the industry, cementing his status as a trailblazer whose influence endures.

“The Idea Man” does not shy away from the emotional aspects of Henson’s life. The documentary addresses the challenges he faced, both professionally and personally, and how he navigated the pressures of creative success. This balanced portrayal adds depth to the narrative, making it not only a celebration of Henson’s achievements but also a poignant reminder of his humanity.

Disney’s “The Idea Man” is a must-watch for fans of Jim Henson and anyone interested in the magic of creative storytelling. The documentary is a heartfelt tribute to a man whose imagination knew no bounds and whose work continues to inspire generations. Through a blend of archival footage, personal interviews, and expert analysis, “The Idea Man” offers a rich and engaging look at the life and legacy of Jim Henson.

For those searching for an insightful and inspiring documentary on one of the entertainment industry’s most influential figures, “The Idea Man” is an essential addition to your watchlist.

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Beach boys documentary

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**Rating: ★★★★☆**

Disney Plus’ new documentary, “The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony,” dives deep into the tumultuous, yet harmonious journey of America’s quintessential surf rock band. Directed with a keen eye for both nostalgia and narrative depth, the film offers an intimate look at the band’s rise to stardom, their internal conflicts, and their enduring legacy.

From the outset, the documentary captures the essence of The Beach Boys’ musical genius, spotlighting Brian Wilson’s unparalleled songwriting and the band’s signature harmonies that defined a generation. Archival footage, including rare studio sessions and candid home videos, paints a vivid picture of their creative process and the carefree California lifestyle that inspired their biggest hits. The inclusion of previously unreleased tracks and demos adds a layer of authenticity, giving fans a rare glimpse into the evolution of some of their most iconic songs.

Interviews with surviving band members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, alongside insights from music historians and contemporary artists influenced by The Beach Boys, enrich the narrative. These personal accounts are heartfelt and, at times, poignant, particularly when addressing the darker chapters of the band’s history—Brian Wilson’s struggles with mental health, the impact of drugs, and the tragic loss of Dennis and Carl Wilson.

The documentary’s strength lies in its balanced portrayal. It doesn’t shy away from the band’s internal discord and the challenges they faced, yet it also celebrates their artistic achievements and cultural impact. The visual style is vibrant, with a seamless blend of past and present, creating a tapestry that feels both nostalgic and fresh.

However, “Endless Harmony” occasionally veers into fan-service territory, glossing over certain controversies and perhaps offering a more sanitized version of events. Despite this, the documentary succeeds in providing a comprehensive overview that will satisfy long-time fans while introducing new audiences to the magic of The Beach Boys.

In conclusion, “The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony” is a must-watch for music lovers and history buffs alike. It captures the spirit of an era, the brilliance of a band, and the timeless appeal of their music. Disney Plus has delivered a documentary that is as much a celebration of The Beach Boys’ legacy as it is a testament to the enduring power of their sound and soul.

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