TOP 5: A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES Set Visit, VES Awards Interviews, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, Toy Fair 2013

by     Posted 1 year, 66 days ago

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Before I dive headfirst into what could be considered overselling to the “nth degree”, I have a disclaimer: I’m a total sucker for nostalgia-inducing, high school-centric, coming of age films. With that out of the way, I cannot recommend enough that you watch author/writer/director Stephen Chboksy‘s adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as soon as possible. The pic hit Blu-ray/DVD this past week and over the course of 24 hours I rented it, watched it, loved it, returned it (yes, somehow late fees are still a thing…), and purchased it for my own collection. I could go on and on about the emotional note the movie hit for me at every turn but I’ll spare you the fanboy torment. Suffice to say that I’ll be looking back fondly on this one for quite a while.

My “Blu-ray/DVD pick of the week” aside, this week’s installment features a week of Die Hard that includes Matt revisiting the entire franchise and A Good Day to Die Hard interviews with Bruce Willis and more, coverage from Steve’s visit to the set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a slew of video interviews from this year’s VES Awards including talks with Ang Lee and Wally Pfister just to name a few, Beautiful Creatures interviews with Emmy Rossum and more, and a healthy amount of images from the floor of Toy Fair 2013. Yep, you guessed it, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found on the other side.

Andy Serkis and WETA Digital’s Joe Letteri Talk THE HOBBIT, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Whether Performance Capture Will Ever Be Recognized by the Academy, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 70 days ago

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At the VES Awards last week, I was able to get a few minutes with Andy Serkis and Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri.  During our red carpet interview we talked about the audience reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the sequences that were the most challenging to get right, how far along they are on the sequels, and more.  In addition, Serkis talked about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and they both talked about the perception of performance capture and why it seems to be overlooked by the Academy.   Hit the jump to watch.

Travis Knight (President & CEO of LAIKA) Talks PARANORMAN, Audience Reactions to the Film, Laika’s Future Plans, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 70 days ago

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On the red carpet at the VES Awards, I managed to get a few minutes with President & CEO of LAIKA Travis Knight.  While some studio heads only decide which films to make, Knight also still works as an animator and had a hand in crafting a few key scenes in ParaNorman.  During the interview we talked about the reaction to the film by audiences, the process of making the movie, how much the structure of the story changed during production, the latest camera technology, and Laika’s plan to eventually release one film a year.  Hit the jump for the interview.

Drew Roy Talks FALLING SKIES Season 3, Doug Jones, Comic-Con, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 71 days ago

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Falling Skies struggled to find its voice early on, but has gotten better over time.  While season one got decent ratings on TNT, I found most of the action and dialogue from the human survivors unrealistic considering their situation; the limited budget didn’t help.  Every episode seemed to take place on the same sets and I often wondered whether the show could live up to its potential.  Thankfully, the second season was a huge improvement and most of my issues were dealt with.  Characters acted like it was the end of the world, they didn’t spend every episode on the same set, and as the season went on, it felt like it was driving towards an interesting conclusion.  Hopefully season 3 will be the best yet.

At the VES Awards last week, I was able to talk to Drew Roy, who plays Hal on the show.  We talked about his excitement for season three, what was it like to work with Doug Jones and the character he’ll play, how much he knows about the season before filming begins, his thoughts on each season, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

WETA Digital’s Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Christopher White Talk THE HOBBIT, Smaug, Gollum, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 71 days ago

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Last week at the VES Awards in Beverly Hills, I got to speak with Eric Saindon (visual effects supervisor), David Clayton (animation supervisor Weta Digital) and Christopher White (visual effects supervisor Weta Digital) about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and its sequels.  During the red carpet interview they also talked about the challenging shots of The Hobbit, Gollum, going back to Rivendell, Smaug, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

PROMETHEUS VFX Supervisor Richard Stammers Talks Collaborating with Ridley Scott, THE COUNSELOR, and Bryan Singer’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

by     Posted 1 year, 76 days ago

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While some had issues with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (I thought it was great), I’ve never heard a bad word about the visual effects.  At last night’s VES Awards (visual effects), I got to speak with Prometheus Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Stammers.  We talked about collaborating with Ridley Scott, which shot was the hardest to get right, the mixed reaction to the movie, and more.  In addition, Stammers talked about what visual effects work he’s doing on Scott’s next film The Counselor, and revealed he’s working on Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Of course, I asked if he’s started developing Sentinels.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer and Animation Director Erik De Boer Talk LIFE OF PI at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 76 days ago

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Shortly after Ang Lee’s Life of Pi opened, a friend of mine called wanting to talk about the film.  After hearing how much he loved the movie, he then revealed something that surprised me: he didn’t know Richard Parker (the name of the tiger) was CG until the ending credits.  While I was extremely impressed with the visual effects in Life of Pi, I had no idea people might believe a CG tiger was real, and it’s a testament to how far the industry has come in terms of VFX.  It also explains why after talking to Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer and Animation Director Erik De Boer on the red carpet at the VES Awards last night, the film went on to win four awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; and Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture.

During my interview with Westenhofer and De Boer we talked about the collaboration process with Ang Lee, the one shot in the film that they worked on until the very last second, how people believe the tiger is real, and future projects.  Hit the jump to watch and if you missed my interview with Lee at the VES Awards, click here.

Director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine Sarafian Talk BRAVE, What They Learned Through the Production Process, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 76 days ago

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Over the past year, we’ve interviewed director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian for Brave a number of times.  Each time they’ve been great to us and last night on the red carpet at the VES Awards (visual effects) was no different.  During our brief chat we talked about what the past few months have been like, being nominated, what’s been the biggest surprise to them throughout the whole development, production, and promotion process, future projects, and I try to find out if Pixar could make a Star Wars movie.  Hit the jump for what they had to say.

LIFE OF PI, BRAVE, and GAME OF THRONES Win 4 Awards Each at Visual Effects Society Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 76 days ago

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If we’re going to look at the Hollywood guilds/societies as a predictor for what will win at the Oscars, then Life of Pi will be the film to beat.  Ang Lee‘s drama won four categories at last night’s Visual Effects Society Awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; and Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture.  Brave also picked up four awards, but that doesn’t seem to be as much of a factor, and the Best Animated Film category is still very much in question with Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph as contenders.  As for television, Game of Thrones was the unsurprising winner as the show also netted four awards.

Hit the jump for a full list of winners, and for Steve’s interviews at VES, click on the respective links for Ang Lee and cinematographer Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight Rises).

Ang Lee Talks LIFE OF PI, the Believability of a Computer-Generated Tiger, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 77 days ago

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There was a time when everyone said Life of Pi couldn’t be made.  Most said trying to adapt Yann Martel’s novel was a fool’s mission.  And back in May, 2010, after almost reaching the starting gate, the adaptation was put on hold when the studio demanded a lower budget.  But that didn’t stop director Ang Lee, and after some compromise and with a lot of perseverance, he eventually got the green light and the film has now made over $500 million at the worldwide box office and it’s nominated for 11 Academy Awards.  Not bad for an unfilmable movie.

At tonight’s VES Awards I spoke to Lee on the red carpet.  We talked about the awards season experience, the reaction of fans around the world, the believability of the computer-generated tiger, Richard Parker, visual art vs. visual effects and how they contribute to a cinematic story, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Wally Pfister Talks TRANSCENDENCE, Possibly Filming in IMAX, Being Open to Digital Cameras, Spoilers, Casting Johnny Depp, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 77 days ago

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While most know Wally Pfister as Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer; that’s about to change, as Pfister will soon make his directorial debut on an original sci-fi project called Transcendence.  The film stars Johnny Depp as a scientist whose brain gets uploaded into a supercomputer with the aim of creating the world’s first machine that can think for itself.

Earlier tonight, I was on the red carpet at the VES Awards (Visual Effects) and managed to get a few minutes with Pfister.  We talked about his love of IMAX, whether or not digital cameras will ever get to the point where they can capture an IMAX quality image, will shoot Transcendence on film, digital, IMAX, or another format, where it’s shooting and when, how he landed Depp, whether or not he will be shooting the film himself or if he’s hiring a director of photography, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for the video and transcript.

2013 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations Include LIFE OF PI, THE HOBBIT, THE AVENGERS, and BATTLESHIP

by     Posted 1 year, 106 days ago

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The Visual Effects Society has announced the nominees for the upcoming 11th Annual VES Awards.  This year’s major players include Life of Pi, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Prometheus, The Avengers, and Battleship, all of which landed nominations for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture.  The VES Awards also recognize visual effects work in more dramatic fare, singling out the impressive effects of films like Flight and The Impossible.  Duking it out for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature will be the ridiculously impressive Richard Parker in Life of Pi, Hulk in The Avengers, and Gollum and Goblin King in The Hobbit.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees.  The 11th Annual VES Awards will take place on February 5th.

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