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Entries in The Jungle Book (15)

Monday
Feb202017

Interview: on Jungle Book's live-action aping Visual Effects

You may not know the name Robert Legato, but you definitely know his work. He's been on the visual effects teams of all sorts of blockbusters (Armageddon, Interview with the Vampire) and won his first Oscar for groundbreaking work on one of the most popular films of all times Titanic (1997) before creating the system that allowed for Avatar (2009). Hes' got two Oscars (Titanic and Hugo), two BAFTAs (Apollo 13 & Jungle Book) and two Emmys (both for Star Trek series). Will a third Oscar follow next weekend? It looks likely for the live action photorealism of the not really live action Jungle Book

Though a lot of the particulars of his craft are still a mystery to me after our conversation, I've cherry picked some pieces to share with you that are more readily translatable from our moviegoing perspective. 

NATHANIEL R: Rob, I'm not sure where to even begin with your work on Jungle Book. The big takeaway was of course the animals. Are you trying to put all four legged creatures out of work? 

ROBERT LEGATO: That's really the bottom line cause behind all this. How can we prove that you don't need those bastards anymore!?

[Laughter]

The thing is we're not even allowed to use them. You can't bring them on to photograph them for a study. It's against the rules at Disney....

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov192016

Happy 50th to Jason Scott Lee

Jason Scott Lee in Rapa Nui (1994)A very happy 50th birthday to one of our favorite 90s stars Jason Scott Lee. The Chinese-Hawaiian actor burst onto the scene in May of 1993 with major leading man charisma playing Bruce Lee in the mainstream biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and co-starring in the arthouse romance Map of the Human Heart. He chased that double with another the following year with Disney's live-action Jungle Book and the Easter Island tribe movie Rapa Nui. Only the last of those films was a flop but then he vanished, only popping up occassionally in supporting roles in action films. The roles just weren't there despite three early consecutive successes...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep022016

Quickie Reviews: The Light Between Oceans and The Jungle Book

by Nathaniel R

Apologies that there's no big review this weekend but I do hope you'll check out the Fassbender & Vikander flick. Here are two quick takes on movie options this weekend.

IN THEATERS

The Light Between Oceans (Derek Cianfrance)
Story: A war veteran (Michael Fassbender) takes a position as a lighthouse keeper where he falls in love with a local girl (Alicia Vikander). Their lives change irrevocably when they discover an orphaned baby in a boat.
Review: A pop quiz. Which is more ravishing?

  • Real life romantic chemistry that translates intact to movie screens.
  • Romantic dramas that don't stop at sexy but get across how comforting and life-changing love and companionship can be.
  • Picturesque rocky islands and lighthouses softened at their edges by grassy tenderness and the windswept beauty of two definitely cinematic brunettes.

Trick question -- they're all super ravishing! I've heard the complaints that The Light Between Oceans is "dull" or "has no edge" and it's definitely soggier and lacking in the instantaneously memorable moments of Cianfrance's previous outings Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines. But I kind of loved it while I was watching it. At least the first half. It loses its way a little in the third act as the tragedy stretches out and the film shifts to Rachel Weisz but it's uncommonly gorgeous to gaze upon and cry through. 
Grade: B+ (maybe B towards the end)
Oscar Chances: Perhaps it's not potent enough to hold on for months to win acting nominations -- though Fassbender & Vikander are both excellent -- but I'm crossing my fingers for Best Cinematography. Take a bow, Adam Arkapaw. (His previous credits include Macbeth, Lore, and Animal Kingdom). It also feels like a possibility for Score (Alexandre Desplat) though that's a little overbearing. 

JUST OUT ON DVD / BLURAY

The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau)
Story: You know this one already. A boy is raised by animals in the jungle. No, not that white one with the apes. The little Indian boy raised by wolves and panthers and bears, oh my. The problem: a tiger wants him dead.
Review: Can you believe we never reviewed this? Though it's somewhat ravishing to look at as a technical achievement, in truth I was not particularly fond of it and found it difficult to write about. The problem was that it doesn't have an identity of its own to discuss. Favreau trusts that fond memories of the Disney animated classic it apes (pun not intended) will win your love. He and his team trust in this so completely that they even graft on two and a half highly uncomfortable musical numbers despite the fact that this Jungle Book definitely does not self-identify as a musical, it's one characteristic that immediately sets its apart from the original. Until it doesn't.  Great voice work by Idris Elba as Shere Khan. 
Oscar Chances: Most definitely. At least a visual effects nomination. Perhaps sound as well?
Grade: C/C+   

P.S. If you liked it more, I'd love to hear why. Its long legs at the box office indicate that it wasn't just brand recognition but actual audience love that made it an enormous hit.

Friday
May062016

Tweetweek: Young Han Solo, Met Ball, and Civil War

Apologies for the slim postings the past two days. Boring issues at TFE HQ that will hopefully be remedied shortly for a jampacked next week. But enough of that...

As you may have heard Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as the Young Han Solo. If you are old like me you know he won't be the first actor to have risked Ford comparisons in the role. Way back in 1989, then freshly Oscar- nominated teen star River Phoenix (Running on Empty) played Young Han Solo in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in a flashback scene wherein we learned how Indiana Jones got that scar under his lip. 

Alden Ehrenreich is all the rage at the moment due to his truly awesome work in Hail, Caesar! And the following tweet is most definitely true of actor heat both now and in general. The Coens have a rich history of making people notice how great certain actors are and then other filmmakers capitalize on it. It's not just that galaxy far far away that takes cues from them. 

 

The Coens have a rich history of making people notice how great certain actors are and then other filmmakers capitalize on it. It's not just that galaxy far far away that takes cues from them. 

But before we begin after the jump please note that I'm nominating Scott Beggs for the Pulitzer in criticism

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr282016

I Cannot Tell a Link

Guardian Glenn on 10 best Australian documentaries ever including Canes Toads (in 3D) a film I saw at Sundance years ago that freaked me right out
The Tracking Board Martin Scorsese might make a George Washington biopic. Hmmm, how does Leonardo DiCaprio look in a white powder wig?
Oscars.org Los Angelenos readers take note. Alan Menken and Angela Lansbury will be taking part in a 25th anniversary screening of Beauty & The Beast on May 9th. You can buy tickets at the link. 
MNPP Jason attends a special Aliens screening and Q&A with Sigourney Weaver (who is still looking incredible) 
Awards Daily thinks Passengers (the sci-fi film starring Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence) could be one of our Best Picture nominees

The Playlist new images from The Neon Demon. Can't wait to see this 
New Yorker Richard Brody provocatively argues that film critics and publications need to move beyond "theatrical release" or "festival" when considering what makes a movie worth writing about
Variety more Cannes news. While we've already discussed the main jury, they've announced the sidebars. All three will be presided over by women (!): Actress Marthe Keller for Un Certain Regard; Director Naomi Kawase for Short Films; Director Catherine Corsini for Camera D'Or
Coming Soon has a new Kubo and the Two Strings trailer if you're interested (my general personal rule of thumb now is to stop after the first teaser or trailer so nothing is spoiled). Laika makes such great movies I don't even need a trailer. I'm always in.
/Film The Jungle Book has a how-they-did-it visual fx reel going around
i09 the X-Men finally get to wear costumes that are a smidgeon like their comic book origins at some point in X-Men Apocalypse (hopefully not just at the end)
Interview talks to programmer Thomas Beard about the current Film Society program 'Queer Cinema Before Stonewall '
FSLC ...and there's a few more days of that program left if you're in NYC

Provocative Thought O' The Day
Uproxx "Are more famous people really dying in 2016 or does it just seem that way?" which delves quite a lot into the 1980s as relevant cultural force

Off Cinema
Drama Desk Awards The nominations are in. Hamilton was eligible last year (since Off Broadway productions factor into these awards) which is why it's not up for anything. The revival of She Loves Me (with two of musical comedy's greatest stars: Laura Benanti & Jane Krakowski) leads all productions with 9 nominations. American Psycho wracked up the most nods for a new musical (well, it's tied with Steve Martin & Edie Brickelle's Bright Star) EXCEPT the big one: Best Musical. Weird, right. That's gotta sting even if the high nomination count isn't any sort of axe to the head for the show. Famous TV & Film actors nominated this year for their stage work include: Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon, Michael C Hall, and Frank Langella. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, who has been much-buzzed for her performance in Eclipsed, was not nominated this morning. Hmmm.

Today's Watch
Chase Whale interviews Key & Peele about their kitten heist movie Keanu. Fun bit.

Tuesday
Apr192016

Remember Jason Scott Lee?

The Jungle Book last time around. Mmmmm, 1994.