Trailering Apollo 18

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

What if there were a secret follow-up Apollo mission in December of 1973 funded by the US Department of Defense and kept under wraps by NASA that went awry, ensuring that we never returned to the moon? That’s the conspiratorial premise of Apollo 18 (opening Friday), directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov. Shot like actual footage captured by the two astronauts on that horrifying mission, the result looks like Blair Witch in space. The minimal VFX (around …

Oscar Watch: Mid-Year Top Animation Contenders

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

As we head into the fall awards season, I look at where the animation Oscar race is heading at TOH at IndieWIRE in this Year of the Sequel…

Frankenweenie Very Personal for Burton

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Don Hahn told me today at the Lion King 3-D junket that Tim Burton’s stop-motion Frankenweenie (Oct. 5, 2012) is such a personal project that he’s helming for the first time without a co-director. “This is Tim’s story; it’s about him growing up in Burbank with his dog,” Hahn said. “So I don’t know how else to describe it except it’s very personal for him.” The exec producer, who goes all the way back to the old Disney days with …

Anonymous Gets VFXY at Toronto

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Events, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Anonymous (Oct. 28), Roland Emmerich’s provocative political thriller about the identity of William Shakespeare — Amadeus meets Shakespeare in Love — is one of the techie treats premiering at The Toronto International Film Fest. The movie posits that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), is not only the incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave), but also the real author of the Bard’s works. As the Essex Rebellion conspires against her succession, political intrigue abounds between the …

9/11 Anniversary Vibe to Pre-TIFF Oscar Predictions

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Events, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

The Gurus o’ Gold made their initial predictions for best picture Oscar nominations heading into the Toronto International Film Festival, and, guess what? There’s a definite post 9/11 10th anniversary vibe with a lot of upheaval and soul-searching. 1. The War Horse 2. The Ides of March 3. The Artist 4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 5. The Descendants 6. Midnight in Paris 7. J. Edgar 8. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 10. The …

Small Fry Toy Story Short Served with Muppets

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Shorts, Tech | Leave a comment

Pixar’s second Toy Story short, Small Fry, directed by BURN-E director Angus MacLane, will be served up with The Muppets on Nov. 23. Buzz gets the spotlight in this one when Bonnie inadvertently leaves him behind at a fast food joint, taking home a kids’ meal Buzz instead. Meanwhile, Buzz meets a gang of toys, including Jane Lynch as a mermaid. Poor Buzz: looks like another face-off with a pretender. Can the kids’ meal toy tango? Small Fry marks the …

Spielberg Adds 3-D Frisson to Fright Night

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Steven Spielberg is apparently having a lot of fun with 3-D, and not just with Tintin. According to Fright Night VFX supervisor Joe Bauer, he added a dramatic touch to Colin Farrell’s pool attack. When the teenager releases a cross underwater, Spielberg added a more dramatic shot looking up in the cross part of the metal that is tumbling down through the water and toward the camera. In addition, Spielberg wasn’t quite satisfied with the stage-four look of Farrell — …

New Real Steel Main Event Featurette

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation | Leave a comment

The futuristic robot boxing drama, Real Steel (Oct. 7), has a nice “Main Event” clip, showing off the fighting bots, the steely environments, and the sexy eye candy. It looks like The Champ meets Rocky meets Transformers meets Tron Legacy. No wonder Digital Domain did the VFX along with Legacy Effects, New Deal Studios, and Giant Studios. Hugh Jackman plays a down and out trainer who hooks up with his long-lost son to rehabilitate a has-been bot for the championship. …

Trailering Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Movies, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

It’s pure Guillermo Del Toro and a throwback to The Innocents. In fact, there’s a literal turn of the screw, as an 8-year-old girl moves (Bailee Madison) in with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) and discovers tiny demonic creatures living in the basement of their Victorian mansion. The goblins torment her in this remake of a 1973 TV movie. Opening Friday, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is directed by Troy Nixey (Latchkey’s Lament short), scripted …

Disney/Pixar to Return to Annies

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Events, Home Entertainment, Movies, performance capture, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

ASIFA-Hollywood has announced its call for entries for the 39th Annual Annie Awards, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles. And Disney/Pixar has ended its one-year boycott, according to The Wrap. That’s the reason why ASIFA replaced longtime president Antran Manoogian with respected industry vet Frank Gladstone, who’s revising the voting structure to include a more representative voice from every animation studio. Disney/Pixar has called for the establishment of a multi-studio advisory board. The …