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.


Tintin Fanboy Fun

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

Now we have a Tintin fanboy featurette that gives us the marvelous backstory of Spielberg and Jackson teaming up to adapt Hergé and what attracted them to his fantastic adventures and Ligne claire (clear line) style that he pioneered. We get a glimpse of the performance capture process, the Raiders connection, and the seminal CG Snowy dog test with Jackson pretending to audition as the drunken Captain Haddock.

DreamWorks to Animate Captain Underpants

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

Deadline reports that DreamWorks Animation has acquired the rights to make a movie out of the popular Captain Underpants kid’s book series by Dav Pilkey. Aimed at a much younger demo for DreamWorks than usual, the premise has two fourth grade pals hypnotizing their principal into becoming their very own superhero sidekick. It’s certainly edgy enough for DreamWorks, but, after they turned the popular How to Train Your Dragon into an older demo, we’ll have to wait and see what they have in store for Captain Underpants.

Stan Lee to Get VES Life Achievement Award

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

Stan Lee getting the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award comes as a surprise. But it makes sense: his Marvel comic book creations have become box office bonanzas and have helped the VFX industry thrive. Besides, Peter Jackson can wait. So Lee will be feted at the 10th Annual VES Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 7, 2012.

“Stan Lee’s imagination has created a completely original and profitable niche in the entertainment world and has allowed visual effects to flex its muscle in service to it!” said VES chair Jeff Okun. “Thanks to Mr. Lee’s fantastic creations and amazing stories he not only created a future filled with gadgets and inventions that we aspire to create for real — but all while inspiring the minds and imaginations of storytellers, visual effects artists, and computer wizards everywhere.”

“As a writer there is nothing more rewarding than to see your creations brought to life on the screen and I am indebted to all of the incredibly talented artists who have contributed to my projects,” said Lee. “Visual effects have played a pivotal role in the ongoing success of Marvel’s characters and allowed fans to experience their stories in an entirely new way. It is truly a great honor to receive this award from the Visual Effects Society.”

Lee follows such previous VES Lifetime recipients as George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Dennis Muren, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, James Cameron, and Ray Harryhausen.

Clipping the Making of Tintin

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Books, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, Tech, Trailers, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Here is a making of featurette that reveals the performance capture work in LA, the molding of Snowy, and the amount of frame by frame animated work from Weta Digital that brought these characters and environments to fully-rendered life, as we are now beginning to witness in the latest trailer below.!

New Tintin Trailer More Revealing

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

There’s a new HD trailer for The Adventures of Tintin (Dec. 21), which visually sharpens the focus and provides greater depth, balancing the Raiders-like action with Hitchcock-inspired compositions and fluid overlapping of time and space. It’s really looking more and more like Spielberg was fully liberated, and found a unique hybrid of photorealism and caricature. With critical raves coming out of Europe in anticipation of next week’s opening, I think I’ll be seeing it sooner than later.!

IMAX Partners with Kodak on Laser Projection

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

James Cameron has been touting the coming of digital laser projection to correct the brightness issue for 3-D, and the technology has arrived, with IMAX exclusively licensing rights from Kodak to deliver laser projection to its more than 80-foot screens and to dome theaters in the second half of 2013.

“This Kodak intellectual property is truly cutting edge, and will be used by IMAX’s esteemed Technology Group to enhance the cinematic experience for consumers, enable the application of digital technology in our larger and institutional theatres, and make being in business with IMAX even easier and more profitable,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “It is a testament to Kodak’s strong heritage in film and tradition of excellence that we believe this deal further differentiates IMAX in terms of innovation and technological advancement in large-screen cinematic experiences.”

Kodak engineers will work closely with IMAX engineers over the next 18 months to assist with the implementation of the technology into the IMAX product family.

“We are delighted to be licensing our technology to a company as innovative as IMAX,” said Kim Snyder, president, Entertainment Imaging, and VP, Eastman Kodak Co. “Because this technology produces the deepest blacks, and the brightest 3D of any system demonstrated to date, it will truly make the movies more exciting for consumers, and that creates a strong value proposition for the studios and exhibitors as well. That’s the ultimate measure of this relationship. We look forward to working with the IMAX team to make this vision a reality.”

Tintin Getting Early Positive Reviews

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

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin opens Oct. 26 overseas, but is already getting positive early buzz in Europe.

TOH’s London correspondent, Matt Mueller, writes, “Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s inaugural instalment in their planned Tintin trilogy delivers the frolicking, boy’s-own-adventure goods in delightful, delirious spades. From frequently breathtaking animated imagery to superb vocal outings by its British cast and a tight screenplay (by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) that retains the globetrotting charm of Belgian originator Herge’s comic-book series, the movie keeps a could-be-confusing plot humming along nicely while adding in dollops of wry, affectionate humour. Tintin is a fine example of what can be achieved when some of cinema’s brightest minds come together to honour great source material…”

THR’s Jordan Mintzer adds, “…a dazzling flashback scene where past and present are intermingled with plenty of wit and digital splendor (most notably in an image of The Unicorn emerging from the sea and crashing, dreamlike, onto a row of sand dunes), showcase Spielberg’s talent for creating action that is less about bullets and bombs than in keeping things visually alive, introducing dozens of ideas in only a few shots. This is what makes Tintin an altogether more successful mocap experience than earlier efforts like The Polar Express, and the director (who operated the camera and is credited as “lighting consultant”) approaches the medium in a realistic way that’s also far from the epic worlds of Avatar, setting things in a past of lifelike artifacts and locations…”

Premiere’s François Grelet gushes, “Rushing in gap open by James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis the brothers Wachowski, indeed David Fincher, Spielberg seizes itself of his potential movie camera to rethink bottom in height the bases of the storytelling to the old one. The most beautiful moments of his Tintin are situated by there, in this manner to dare impossible transitions to print to the narrative a noisy dynamism, to reinvent the rhythmic binary one alternated mounting for him to infuse more nuances (attention the eyes on the sequence of flash back), to think every scene under the only angle of the piece bravery and to put to poorly the received idea according to which a film has itself Of housewife his spectator with moments of flottement, more commonly called ‘breathings…’”

Empire’s Ian Nathan concludes, “The pace throughout is rat-a-tat-tat quick, the plot tripping along, and the exposition breathless. You have a job keeping up, but never at the expense of the sheer goodwill. While luxuriating in its pre-existing universe, here is a film imploring you to join in. It would take a hard heart to resist.”

This merely confirms the positive takeaway I got from my Weta visit last summer and from what I’ve glimpsed so far since then. It’s looking more and more like Tintin will be a definite Oscar contender for best animated feature.

Trailering More Muppets

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

After parodying The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Disney has released a new, wacky, legit trailer for The Muppets (Nov. 23). The gang definitely goes Hollywood as they re-team to save their studio from the greedy grip of Jason Segel. Jim Henson would be proud.

Five New Tintin Clips Released

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

There are five new clips available from The Adventures of Tintin (Dec. 21). It’s very clear that Spielberg has applied a break-neck Raiders action ethos in taking Herge into the hyper real world of CG. Indeed, it also appears that Weta has taken animated performance capture to the next level with this new hybrid of photoreal and hand-drawn stylization. I’ll have to wait to see the completed film in 3-D, but it’s looking like Rango will have some serious Oscar competition.

First Look: Director Sarah Smith Talks Arthur Christmas

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

In this week’s Immersed in Movies column at indieWIRE’s TOH, I get an Arthur Christmas sneak peek from first-time director Sarah Smith. From what I’ve seen, Aardman and Sony bring out the best in one another as the Bristol creators of Wallace & Gromit finally nail CG and freshen up the Santa myth. Opens Nov. 23.