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Entries in Visual FX (72)

Thursday
Mar052015

The Avengers (Again). Three Grabby Shots

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is nearing Spider-Man 3 levels of giving the game away before it opens. Which worries. Why the hard sell with a third trailer when you're going to break records even if you advertised with only the illustration of a turd -- and I don't mean the shitty poster, but an actual turd. This hard sell combined with the bleak tone of all the trailers (where's the fun of the megahit original?) combined with Joss Whedon calling the production "a nightmare" has me suddenly worried. Because, true story: I want it to be great. I love The Avengers (in comic and movie form). Yes, TFE complains about the glut of superhero movies but that doesn't mean they should've have a place in the movie ecosystem. They just shouldn't dominate it is all. They're dessert, not a balanced meal.

So at the risk of obvious spoilers (hey Marvel provided them not us) here are the three moments we must discuss...

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Friday
Feb132015

Best Visual Effects: "Will it be Apes or Aliens, Murph?"

It's not my imagination. I swear it's not. This year's Oscar competition is unusually tough to predict in quite a few categories . That's a refreshing change of pace. You might think this one is easy "Best Visual Effects" since it usually is (well, apart from the Golden Compass year. That was a shocker).

You might think that since Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) didn't win the prize so they kinda owe this series. Indeed, everyone seems to be in awe of the advances in motion capture technology that come with the series, particularly the way it's served as a new medium for the art of acting. But not so fast. The Apes series which dates back to 1968 and is composed of 8 films, has typically been an underperfomer with Oscars. To date the series has won only 4 nominations and 1 honorary Oscar (for makeup before the category existed) in its entire history. This despite starting as a mammoth zeitgeist hit and winning very strong reviews twice over during its rebirth this decade.

This one requires some extra thoughts and video so let's investigate after the jump...

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Thursday
Feb052015

Link: The Director's Cut

The Film Stage talks to the team behind Tangerine, the iPhone shot movie that was my favorite from Sundance
Pajiba green screen Jean-Claude Van Damme clips for you to make your own movie with
T, The New York Times Style Magazine profiles Xavier Dolan
Entertainment Junkie looks at the visual effects Oscar race
The Dissolve The Voyage of Time Terrence Malick's forthcoming film will have two versions. One with Brad Pitt's voice and one with Cate Blanchett's. I'm getting tired of multiple versions of the same thing, I must admit. It seems so indecisive. But maybe I'm just smarting because today I learned that...
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday and I keep hearing conflicting things. Some say it has all three versions of the film and some say it just has "Them" (which from everything I've read is the disappointing compromise). Should you be lucky enough to have access to the original two parts, which I recommend, watch "Him" first. 


Awards Daily The Visual Effects Society Winners a complete list but the three key big screen wins are Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Big Hero 6, and Birdman
Film School Rejects want Edward Norton to win Birdman's acting Oscar
/Film Baz Luhrmann is developing a music-related series for Netflix called The Get Down which focuses on the rise of hiphop, punk and disco in the late 70s. Could be amazing. Cross your collective fingers
Guardian wonders which modern actresses are channeling their inner Hepburn.

(True story. Last night I had a dream in which I was doing a sisyphean task of loading and unloading bags of ice. And Katharine Hepburn was my grandma in that dream.)

Retro Pleasures
Comics Alliance a look back at the awesome production design of Batman Returns which plays that stinkin' city like a harp from hell
The Dissolve "all the weird angles of Fritz Lang's M"
Medium a piece on Gene Kelly's death two decades ago and various tributes 

Off Screen
Vox has a fascinating long read on the Men's Rights Activism and social media debates about persecution and privilege
Playbill Anthony Rapp of Rent fame has co-created the first ever BroadwayCon for theater fans. The first annual event will be held next January!

This Week's Must Read
Kyle Buchanan at Vulture demonstrates beautifully how indie Sundance break-outs and subsequent career offers for their no-budget scrappy directors are a microcosm of Hollywood's White Guy Problem. It's so true!  A young white man can go from directing an indie for less than a million to helming huge blockbusters in one short step. Buchanan has examples and no such offers greet the directors of color or those with vaginas whose breakout films are just as mainstream leaning and just as popular.

Wednesday
Jan142015

VES Nominees. Fun and Weird They Are.

I'm typing up my final predictions article so while I'm doing that why not peruse my final predictions in the Screenplay categories (my big risk is Ida there) and something completely different: the Visual Effects Society nominations.

They  looked at CG heavy 2014 on the big screen and small and declared that these were the things they most liked looking at! I do suggest hitting the jump to see the whole list because they have a lot of interesting and highly specific categories like "Outstanding effects simulations in a photoreal/live action feature motion picture" which pits that funny scene from X-Men Days of Future Past when Quicksilver runs around the kitchen in slo-mo with that looped destructive beach sequence in Edge of Tomorrow that goes on forever until Tom Cruise gets the hang of it. 

The "supporting visual effects" is always an interesting category. I'm hoping Birdman wins but I can't for the life of me figure out what effects work went into The Imitation Game (???) which is also nominated! That damn movie, showing up everywhere! I liked it at first well enough but it's one of those films that can't bear the weight of all these honors and thus you begin to turn on it. 

My favorite VES category might be "Outstanding created environment in an animated feature motion picture" because three of them are places you'd definitely want to visit for hours if you could exploring every pixel: The Boxtrolls Cavern, The Land of the Remembered from Book of Life, and Oasis (which I believe is Cate Blanchett's dragon sanctuary) in How To Train Your Dragon 2. The fourth, though, is my pick for runt of the litter "Into the Portal" from Big Hero 6 which is the weakest segment in their movie, narratively and though your eyes may disagree, I didn't care for that segment visually either.

The complete list is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec312014

Interlinker

BBC News That's "Sir" John Hurt to you and "Dame" Kristin Scott Thomas. Woooo
They Live By Night Bilge Ebiri offers up a thoughtful defense of Interstellar and its portrait of restless Coop and the double edged sword of survival instincts
Reductress Brilliant send-up of Aaron Sorkin's recent sexist comments. These quotes are satiric but he has said that actresses aren't as good as actors so therefore he is MUCH stupider than his screenplays imply.
Pajiba Benedict Cumberbatch finally speaks about his "dance-off" with Michael Fassbender

Stage Buddy TFE's ocassional contributor Jose offers up his best theater of 2014
i09 lowest ticket sales year in quite some time for Hollywood
MNPP wishes you all a Happy New Year with a gallery of DILFs and their little ones from Channing Tatum to Cam Gigandet
Movies.com fun list of top hits from abroad that didn't make it to the States.  A few of this year's foreign film submissions are sprinkled in
Kenneth in the 212 wants an Emmy for Lisa Kudrow for Season 2 of The Comeback
Nerdist talks to Sam Raimi and he's quite candid about his recent artistic failures Spider-Man 3 and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Now if we can only get a movie as good as 
LitWit a book podcast celebrates the 50th anniversary of "The Chronicles of Prydain", a great young reader fantasy that Disney mucked up in the 80s with The Black Cauldron


Oscariffic
Interview Magazine a talk with ever gorgeous still undervalued Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game)
New York Times has a fine piece called "When the Red Carpet Is Rolled Up" about what happens to the previously unknown Oscar nominees after their moment of glory
Awards Daily Sasha named Rosamund Pike "Performance of the Year" but strangely in her top 11 best actress choices she says of #11 Essie Davis in The Babadook "arguably the best performance of the year". Why #11 then?
Critics Top 10 has been compiling list. It's fascinating to see how many lists each film tops no matter what run they occupy in the top 50. For instance The Grand Budapest Hotel has fewer #1 placements than several others but ends up at #2 overall.The highest ranking film with no #1 placements is Starred Up at #49
In Contention Kris Tapley does his annual best shots of the film year celebrating cinematographers: some of the selections include Godzilla, Interstellar, Mr Turner and Nightcrawler

Exit Video
The visual effects of Captain America: The Winter Soldier...

 

They'll have a tough road to a nomination given that AMPAS has been stingy with Marvel Studios films in this category unless Iron Man is around. But if they get nominated I'll celebrate even though this reel isn't particularly informative. So much destruction. But I love this movie. 

Friday
Dec052014

Oscar's FX Finalists: From Bucky to Bilbo

MURPH !!!!!!!

The Visual effects Oscar finalists have been announced after that branches bake-off ritual wherein they screen visual effects reels from various films. Ten films remains standing but only five can become Oscar nominees so it's superheroes vs. mutated monsters vs aliens vs. hobbits vs giant fucking robits vs. maimed fairies for that coveted honor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Godzilla
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Maleficent
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Other than Maleficent the female led fx hits all missed the cut from Lucy to Mockingjay Part 1 through longshots like Divergent. Critically panned mainstream movies like Into the Storm and Amazing Spider-Man 2 also didn't make it. Perhaps more surprisingly Oscar-hopefuls like Noah, Birdman and Into the Woods were also discarded. (Maybe the visual effects branch also didn't understand what was happening to the Witch in her final scene?) But the missing film we'll shed a tear for is TFE's endorsed visual effects contender Under the Skin. But then this branch never listens to us. Our suspicion is they don't view their own specialty as an art -- because they continually avoid emotionally expressive stylized vfx work - but view it as a technical craft with the two and only goals being first large-scale spectacle and second, computer generated versimilitude. 

May the best effects become Oscar nominees on January 15th and by best we mean the Apes, the good Captain, Interstellar and Godzilla. Certainly three of those are likely to make it but my beloved Winter Soldier is a longshot with those infuratingly ubiquitous hobbits and transformers being renewed for so many seasons over the years. 

What do you think the five nominees will be and who do you think deserves the win? It's a tough call with so many great looking films around. 

Thursday
Dec042014

PETER PAN LIVE! Live Blog with Margaret & Anne Marie

ANNE MARIE: Good evening, Lost Boys & Girls. Anne Marie here with the ever-youthful Margaret to live-blog NBC's Peter Pan Live! Or it would be live, but Los Angeles does everything on a delay, so instead it's a late-blog three hours after the original event began.

MARGARET: Thank goodness they don't do this with the Oscars.

ANNE MARIE: A word on my credentials: Like millions of children, I was basically raised on the Mary Martin/Cyril Ritchard broadcast. Until I was six, I thought I was going to grow up to be Peter Pan. I've also been in it, designed for it, and seen the Cathy Rigby version (twice).  Oh, and for actual credentials, I have a minor in theater and have stage managed in LA for six years. I also liveblogged The Sound of Music Live! last year. This isn't my first trip to Neverland, is what I'm saying. 

MARGARET: While I haven't Anne Marie's technical background, I also grew up a huge fan of the Mary Martin production. My copy was taped from a TV broadcast on an ancient VHS (look it up, kids) and I watched it so much I memorized the commercials. Since I am also a great fan of (1) celebrities looking uncomfortable and (2) anything with a strong potential for disaster, tonight's entertainment is right up my alley. I hope I'm not alone in that.

ANNE MARIE: If you're on the East Coast, check in with us and think back on fond memories made just three hours ago. If you're on the West Coast, follow along as we experience childhood anew. If you're in one of the middle states, then you're kinda like the Lost Boys: nobody pays attention to you and we spend a lot of time flying over your head. 

Are you ready? OFF TO NEVERLAND!

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