The Inceptionization of The Dark Knight

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

The Dark Knight Rises teaser poster has been unveiled by Warner Bros., and the graphic design of Gotham City immediately brings to mind visions of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Obvious marketing connections aside, I asked VFX supervisor Paul Franklin about the take away from Inception during the run up to Oscar in February. First off, he said that Nolan was now very comfortable with signing off on early animatics or simple setups rather than waiting for a shot to be nearly …

The Ballad of Nessie Channels Classic Disney

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

I interview Stevie Wermers and Kevin Deters about their latest hand-drawn Disney short, The Ballad of Nessie, at AWN. It opens Friday with Winnie the Pooh. Like their previous Goofy short, How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, it captures the look and spirit of the classic Disney shorts, only this one has a fun rhyming narrative and wonderful pathos. It tells us it’s OK to cry.

New John Carter Concept Art Released

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

Disney has just released two new concept images from Andrew Stanton’s John Carter (shortened from John Carter of Mars, opening March 9, 2012). The Pixar director’s adaptation of the beloved Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science-fiction series marks his cross-over into live-action after WALL•E and Finding Nemo. Taylor Kitsch plays Confederate soldier John Carter teleported to Mars (or Barsoom), where he gets caught up in a civil war and the aggressors are 12-foot pale green, slim Tharks. Peter Chiang is the onset …

A Quantum of Bond 23 Casting

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, James Bond, Movies, VFX | Leave a comment

The supper baddie dream cast of Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes appears to be on track for Bond 23, according to the Mail, along with the introduction of Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean) as the flirty Miss Moneypenny. Nothing official yet from EON, MGM, or Sony. But that would mean that director Sam Mendes’ darker vision is also on track (scripted by John Logan and Bond regulars Neal Purvis & Robert Wade), “where the characters are modern, mature, and …

Shane Acker Follows 9 with Plus Minus

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

What’s Shane Acker been doing since 9? Making another post-apocalyptic short, Plus Minus. But this time at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood for the past three years (via its Gnomon Studios production entity). Plus Minus, which is about the inferno of territorial fighting between demonic forces of art and commerce, will be released in the fall for Oscar consideration. It’s co-directed by Aristomenis (Meni) Tsirbas, best known for his work on the award-winning animated films The Freak …

Trailering Tintin and Discussing Oscar

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

There’s a new trailer for Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Dec. 23), which reveals more of the performance capture animation and hyper-real world, adding fuel to the fire that the stylized effort to bring Hergé’s popular characters to life is worthy of Oscar consideration. Spielberg intends on qualifying Tintin in the animated feature category, even though the Motion Picture Academy has stiffened the rules by proclaiming that performance capture in and of itself is …

Trailering War Horse

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

It’s a busy year for Steven Spielberg with two Oscar contenders: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Dec. 23), adapted from the popular Belgian comic, which should qualify for best animated feature, despite its performance capture technique and stiffer Academy rules, and War Horse (Dec. 28), adapted from the Michael Morpurgo novel (fabulously staged in London), about a bond broken between a heroic boy (Jeremy Irvine) and his indefatigable horse when it’s sold to the cavalry and …

CG Apes Rise at CalTech

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

Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (opening Aug. 5) was dissected at CalTech last night with a panel that included director Rupert Wyatt, Weta Digital VFX supervisor Joe Letteri, and performance capture star Andy Serkis (via Skype). The footage they showed impressively demonstrated the post-Avatar breakthrough in performance capture with head-mounted cameras (or E-motion) by the Weta wizards. Indeed, for this first-time all-CG ape extravaganza, Weta reinvented what it achieved on Avatar by placing the performance capture actors …

Reading Between Craig’s Lines About Bond

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

Daniel Craig’s F-bomb littered Esquire interview was very revealing about graphic and implied violence in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 21), the thin political veneer of xenophobia in Cowboys & Aliens (July 29), the weirdness of doing performance capture for Steven Spielberg’s animated The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Dec. 23), and his impassioned world view of the crumbling middle and lower classes. But, of course, he had little to say about Bond …

Who Will Animate Paramount Animation?

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

Will Industrial Light & Magic come to the rescue of Paramount Animation? That’s the burning question after today’s announcement that Paramount Pictures is launching Paramount Animation, riding on the crest of Rango’s box office success (more than $240 million worldwide) and probable Oscar contention (“the best reviewed animated movie so far this year” — hint, hint). A new animation division is an imperative if Paramount loses its distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation (whose stock hit a 52-week low). Their deal …