Rango Revels in Dirt on Blu-ray

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Home Entertainment, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Score another one for Rango, which is the best animated feature so far this year. The Blu-ray released last Friday from Paramount Home Ent. is stunning reference quality, which is ironic given the dirty aesthetic: We luxuriate in every dirty, grimy, dusty, fuzzy detail; the blacks are deep; and the spaghetti Western-inspired compositions are full of depth. Who needs 3-D when you have such a tactile experience with reptilian skin and parched desert surroundings? ILM’s first foray into animation proved …

Trailering The Dark Knight Rises

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

How does Bruce Wayne regain his humanity before he’s completely swallowed up by his Batman legend? A more immersive Gotham (spearheaded by VFX supervisor Paul Franklin and assisted by IMAX, no doubt); the tug of war for Wayne’s soul between Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul and Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. The eerie image of Tom Hardy’s Bane, but no allusion just yet to Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman. What a contrast to Potter. But then Christopher Nolan plays in a whole …

Potter’s VFX at IndieWIRE

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

Just posted “Winding Down Potter’s VFX” at IndieWIRE’s TOH. The Soho VFX companies have come of age with the Wizard of Hogwarts and are certainly poised for life beyond Potter. In due time, I’ll be covering the accomplishments of Part 2.  

Pooh at IndieWIRE

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

“Winnie the Pooh vs. Harry Potter” marks my debut today with Thompson on Hollywood (TOH) at IndieWIRE, where I will be writing regularly about animation, VFX and below-the-line.          

It All Ends for Potter

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Books, Movies, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

Watching the end of Harry Potter in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I was struck by how it all coalesces wonderfully like a magical spell. I admit that I wasn’t totally hooked until The Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment, when Harry’s rite of passage finally seemed arduous and riveting. But the narrative unfolds and climaxes nicely with operatic action, and stirring revelation, justifying the strategy to divide Deathly Hallows into two parts. There are plenty of surprises and delights, …

Pooh: A Hand-Drawn Poster Child

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

I have a Winnie the Pooh article at AWN. I was very impressed with Pooh: It not only captures the wit and simplicity of the original Disney shorts from the ’60s, but also plusses them in visual richness (art director Paul Felix exquisitely captures the soft English light) and narrative daring (SpongeBob owes a dept to the looney gang of the Hundred-Acre Wood). We’ll see how well it does at the box office, once the Harry Potter onslaught vanishes, and …

Trailering Hugo

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Books, Movies, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Hugo teaser trailer is now available (shortened from Hugo Cabret and opening Nov. 23). It’s immediately clear that it’s Martin Scorsese’s valentine to French cinema, particularly Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley), the father of special effects. He soaks up the period with steam trains and mechanical gizmos.”It’s Neverland and Oz and Treasure Island all wrapped into one.” The director/cinephile’s first foray into 3-D and children’s wonder is surely a holiday must-see. An adaptation of Brian Selznick’s bestseller about an orphan …

Trailering Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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

Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are back and the game’s afoot with Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (opening Dec. 16). Naomi Place plays Slim, the latest femme fatale, and Stephen Fry is along for the explosive Victorian ride as brother Mycroft Holmes. Looks just as action-packed as ever, as Guy Ritchie continues his mashup of Holmes, Bond, and Jim West. Chas Jarrett is back as overall VFX supervisor, with Framestore, MPC, …

Trailering Arthur Christmas and The Pirates!

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

First Aardman Animations and Sony released the UK teaser trailer for the CG-animated feature, Arthur Christmas (opening Nov. 23). And today comes the first UK teaser for Aardman’s next stop-motion feature, Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists, directed by co-founder Peter Lord (opening Sept. 21, 2012). And what a year for stop-motion 2012 is shaping up to be with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (Oct. 5) and Laika’s Paranorman (Aug. 17) joining the fray. Looking at Arthur, Aardman & Sony Pictures Animation …

Trailering John Carter

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

Walt Disney Pictures has released the John Carter teaser trailer this morning and it looks terrific, melding sci-fi and Western sensibilities (but uniquely different from Cowboys & Aliens). Coming off the heels of WALL•E, Pixar’s Andrew Stanton has made a smooth transition to live-action sci-fi with his visually striking adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars book series. Shot in Monument Valley, John Ford country, John Carter looks organic to the period. Taylor Kitsch plays Confederate soldier John …