Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

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DreamWorks Demos New Apollo Platform

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

DreamWorks Animation unveiled its new Apollo software platform with How to Train Your Dragon 2, and I got an in-depth presentation last month at the Redwood City campus. Taking advantage of Intel’s multi-core technology and its own hybrid cloud computing resources, DreamWorks has come up with a next-gen platform for visual computing from data center to chip set. Harnessing more power out of the CPU, it is intuitive, interactive, fully scalable, and makes computing a powerful animation and enterprise tool. Read more

Trailering Big Hero 6 from Disney

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

Check out the domestic and Japanese trailers for Big Hero 6 (Nov. 7), the first animated collaboration between Disney and Marvel. Disney’s definitely on a roll with its versatility and old school/new school ethos. Read more

17 Minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy Previewed

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

After viewing 17 minutes of new footage Monday evening from Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX 3D, it’s now clear that Marvel has fashioned the ultimate Star Wars riff. The ’70s sci-fi grunge, the rag-tag underdogs, the sarcastic chemistry, the serial action and the improbable success are wrapped around the ”Hooked on a Feeling” anthem. Judging from the enthusiastic response at the TCL Chinese, director James Gunn pushed all the right buttons and Disney/Marvel should have a late summer hit. Read more

Serkis and Weta Talk Dawn Performance Capture

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

From the outset, with that tight close-up of Caesar’s face, it’s clear that Andy Serkis and Weta Digital have taken performance capture to a whole new realm of photo-reality. The detail and emotional intensity are extraordinary. We’re not even aware that Caesar is CG anymore. We are totally immersed in the moment and from there it just gets better as we witness the complexity of Caesar’s epic struggle. Read more

Immersed in the Laika Boxtrolls Set Visit

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Cinematography, Costume, Movies, previs, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

With The Boxtrolls (Sept. 26), Laika tackles its first period piece — Victorian Steampunk — as well as its first creature-oriented tale about an orphan boy, Eggs, raised underground by cave-dwelling trash collectors. The result is a more stylized, theatrical look along with more ambitious storytelling. And judging by my set visit last year in Portland and footage screened last month, The Boxtrolls is sure to be one of the year’s best animated features and a prime Oscar contender. Read more

Reeves Brings New Dawn to Planet of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

No Apes director has gone through the looking glass to explore the human condition as ambitiously as Matt Reeves. As a result, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes makes a smart and most compelling summer tentpole, with Andy Serkis delivering his most powerful performance yet as Caesar, and Weta Digital making a quantum leap in performance capture. We are totally immersed in Caesar’s struggle to prevent war with humanity, and forget that we’re watching a CG character. Read more

ILM Reanimates Badass Transformers

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

Keeping up with Marvel isn’t easy, but Michael Bay and Industrial Light & Magic have brought new life to the badass Hasbro bots in Transformers: Age of Extinction, introducing a sleek new sci-fi design and a new army of fire-breathing Dinobots. At the same time, Bay has smartly ventured into China and has replaced Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg as a single dad and failed inventor, which also kicks the franchise into higher gear. Read more

Clipping Weta VFX on Dawn of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Watch a new featurette from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11) that shows how Weta Digital has taken a “quantum leap” in its Oscar-winning performance capture technology. Read more

Hogarth and Blanchard Launch Conduit Seminars

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Education, Events, Movies, previs, Tech, VES, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Industry insiders Pam Hogarth and Debra Blanchard Knight have launched Conduit Seminars to help production professionals find jobs and enhance their skills. The first session,  ”Job Hunting in Creative Industries,” will take place on Saturday, July 26th,  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Otis College of Art and Design (9045 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles). Read more

Mid-Year VFX Report: Godzilla and Marvel Rule

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Without a Gravity this year, the wow factor might not be as strong but certainly the Oscar race is now wide open. Yet in surveying the first half of 2014, only Godzilla looks like a potential nominee. But there are still plenty of bake-off contenders, with solid VFX work on display in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent. and Edge of Tomorrow. Read more