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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.

Sunday
Apr172016

Box Office: 'Jungle Book' and 'Green Room' Get Vicious

This weekend's box office winners were all about the thrills - one for the whole family, and the other decidedly not. It's like summer is already upon us!

Especially after the deflation of BvS, everyone was expecting The Jungle Book to be a big hit this weekend, though perhaps not quite as massive as the end result. The live action / performance capture retelling from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man and Chef) closed out the weekend above $100M, becoming the second largest April opening behind last year's Furious 7. Maybe the unexpected boost came from interest in 3D (I've seen comments on Twitter calling it second to Avatar for stellar use of the medium).

But Jungle's huge success isn't the only thing that will have the folks at Disney celebrating: their spring animated sensation Zootopia also crossed the $300M mark. This year is going to be one of the tightest races ever Best Animated Feature Oscar, and Zootopia should have a good shot with this level of success despite its spring release disadvantage.

In limited release, fashion documentary The First Monday in May was the highest among the debuts, but A24's Green Room took the weekend's highest screen average on only 3 screens. The indie label has used this strategy before and almost without fail, turning niche films like the uber-violent Green Room into a miniature, must-see event. Oscar is certainly out of the question and the film's reported brutality will likely keep it from trouncing Ex Machina's grosses, but it looks like A24 has another hit on their hands.

TOP SIX
01 The Jungle Book $103.6 NEW
02 Barbershop: The Next Cut $20.2 NEW
03 The Boss $10.2 (cum. $40.4)
04 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Just More Superheroes $9.0 (cum. $311.3)
05 Zootopia $8.2 (cum. $307.5) 
06 Criminal $5.8 NEW

LIMITED HITS AND NEWBIES
16 Everybody Wants Some!! $.4 (cum. $1.5) 134 screens Review & Review
20 Miles Ahead $.2 (cum. .6) 47 screens Review
23 The First Monday in May $.1 NEW 20 Screens Interview
26 Green Room $91K NEW 3 Screens
28 Sing Street $69K NEW 5 Screens
48 The Measure of a Man $11K NEW 2 Screens Review

What did you see this weekend??

Saturday
Apr092016

Linky Dreadful

The Guardian talks to Jessica Chastain and she is fired up about gender in Hollywood - as a cool non-competitive 'everyone wins' take on Best Actressing awards that's pretty cool to hear.
Kenneth in the (212) a protest of the Cats musical revival. LOL
Tracking Board Judy Greer is moving behind the camera! She'll direct A Happening of Monumental Proportions. The cast is now coming together
Girish Shambu on recent excellent micro-budget indie cinema
Variety Star Melissa McCarthy and her Husband/Director Ben Falcone already have their next movie lined up: Life of the Party
Gothamist Netflix is upping the prices for its longtime subscribers. Okay, cool Netflix. I guess this means you're going to add good movies to streaming again? Hello? Hello? [dial tone]
MNPP which is hotter, annual Taylor Kitsch fetish-wear edition
W Magazine for some reason Disney thought a fashion collaboration with Kenzo was smart marketing for The Jungle Book so here it is  
Film School Rejects rewatches No Way Out (1987) with directors commentary. Ugh, that's such a good little thriller. And Sean Young and Kevin Costner were scorching hot together at that precise moment in history
Pajiba shares screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie's story about how Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed his life. 

Superheroes still
/Film shares early nerd joy tweets from Captain America: Civil War. As a Captain America nut I was excited until I started digging deeper and one person who loved it like crazy still says it's not as good as Deadpool (which is not even a *good* movie, let alone a great one) so I'll continue to downplay expectations as Captain America: Winter Soldier is the best Marvel Studios movie ever and it's difficult to top #1s in any subgenre. 
Coming Soon Confirmed: Marvel Studios characters will appear in Sony's 2017 Spider-Man movie surprisingly virtually no one.
/Film Boyd Holbrook circling villain role in Hugh Jackman's superhero swansong Wolverine 3 with filming starting next month. The movie is said to be very loosely based on "Old Man Logan" story of the comics 

Political Mic Drop
I have announced on another platform and now here that I will stop talking about politics... at least until, oh, September. The why is that I find it absolutely damaging and yet strangely addictive like being a chainsmoker after a lung cancer diagnosis. Everyone hates everyone and I lose faith in almost everyone daily (including you. haha) when I listen to them talk about politics. And clearly people lose faith in me when I talk about politics (#imwithher). So since I will make a valiant effort to not speak about this until it's more relevant -- the next time anyone complains about how "long" the Oscars take I want to point them to this interminable two year long ordeal we're all living through politically --  I only ask that you read this hilarious, scathingly truthful Hilary Clinton endorsement from Ellie Mystal (thanks to MattRett for pointing it out) which sums up my feelings more than I thought was possible. And it put a smile on my face... which I didn't think was possible anymore politically.

(And that's it. Radio silence on politics after tonight. That's my plan at least.)

Today's Watch
The ghoulish tortured cast of Penny Dreadful are almost back! It took me a second to realize that the new poster was not a deformed skull performing its best Munchian scream but actually a man's body; Josh Hartnett's perhaps? Just 22 days until Season 3 begins. If you're not watching the show you don't deserve Eva Green, who may well be the most under appreciated supreme sorceress of the acting arts. 

Official Synopsis:

This season on PENNY DREADFUL, Tony® Award-winning star Patti LuPone (American Horror Story), who guest starred last season as the Cut-Wife, returns as a series regular in the new role of Dr. Seward, an American therapist who treats Vanessa (Eva Green) with an unconventional new approach. Wes Studi (Hell On Wheels) joins as a series regular as Kaetenay, an intense, enigmatic Native American with a deep connection to Ethan (Josh Hartnett) who also becomes an ally to Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton). The third season also adds Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Henry Jekyll (Shazad Latif). Other guest stars include Screen Actors Guild® Award nominee Christian Camargo (DEXTER®, The Hurt Locker) as Dr. Alexander Sweet, a zoologist who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Vanessa; Sam Barnett (2012, Jupiter Ascending) as Dr. Seward’s mysterious young secretary; and Jessica Barden (The Outcast, Far from the Madding Crowd) as Justine, a young acolyte to Lily (Billie Piper) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), and Perdita Weeks (THE TUDORS), as Catriona Hartdegan, a scholar with expert knowledge of the supernatural. Simon Russell Beale returns as Dr. Ferdinand Lyle. Rory Kinnear (as The Creature) and Harry Treadaway (as Dr. Frankenstein) also star.