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Saturday, March 29, 2014

CinemaCon - Andy Serkis Interview

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Tim here, and I had the great pleasure to sit down with the one and only Andy Serkis at CinemaCon for a One on One Interview! He was a complete gentleman and answered all my questions magnificently. We spoke about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Jungle Book, Animal Farm, stereoscopic 3D, performance capture, and should the Oscars have a category specifically for actors in performance capture roles. You'll like his response to that last one. Andy was honored that night with CinemaCon's Vanguard Award, which is an award he rightfully deserved.

For those who don't know Andy Serkis has been confirmed by Warner Bros. to make his directorial debut on The Jungle Book, which is a new adaption of the book by Rudyard Kipling that will be much darker than the Disney version from the 1950's. Check out the interview below:

Tim: First, I want to congratulate you on The Jungle Book.

Andy: Oh, yes.

Tim: Got to ask, is it going to be 3D?

Andy: I would think at this point in time it is safe to say that it will be 3D.

Tim: Is it going to be native?

Andy: That is also a good question. It is still early days so I haven't got a definitive answer for that.

Tim: Moving on to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it was shot with 3ality Rigs, which you shot with on The Hobbit. You were the Second Unit Director, and this time you were acting with them. Was there any kind of difference for you working with the 3ality Rigs as an actor versus being behind the scenes?

Andy: I mean 3ality are fantastic rigs. They are incredible to work with. They're fantastic in the field and, of course, one of the things about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was that we were shooting nearly every single scene on location. And they worked seamlessly. So they were great to work with, for sure, and I remember that from working with them on The Hobbit. They are very good to work with on the field. It's tough working with 3D in the field, and you need all the help that you can get. And 3ality, certainly, a great brand.

Tim: Yeah they are great. I've gotten to visit their headquarters and seen the awesome things they're doing, especially with their image processors.

Andy: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I mean, it's terrific. And, Michael Seresin is the D.O.P on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and obviously Matt Reeves directing, and it was all very much shot in natural light. There's a real sense that these apes do exist, and it was not going for overly melodramatic lighting. It was very real. Everything was shot with vérité style, so it needed that support from the 3D, you know, so I think it works. I've seen a cut and it looks extraordinary.

Tim: That's awesome. I didn't get a chance to see it in 3D earlier when they showed us the clips...

Andy: Right... right.

Tim: ...but it looked incredible. And, going off of that, the performance capture: it looks like-- Not only has it improved, but so have the visual effects.

Andy: Absolutely.

Tim: What, for you, on this movie improved in terms of just the performance capture technology.

Andy: Well, this really is the first time that so many apes have been captured... once outside on location-- I think it is the first movie that has captured that amount of people at the same time. So that's incredible because really the great thing about performance capture is that is having everyone play off each other. In the first movie it was pretty much a domestic piece if you remember. I mean, Caesar was once-- You know, the first act was Caesar being brought up by Will (James Franco's character), and of course in the second act he goes into the sanctuary. This is a whole ape community that is brought to life. The cameras are now able to rigged very easily and over wide distances. The marker set-ups that we're using on our suits are, you know, they have a greater fidelity to our performances, and then the facial capture system (the head mounted cameras) they are much higher resolution.

Tim: Are they lighter?

Andy: I wouldn't say they are particularly lighter, but the cameras are much higher resolution. And then the visual effects side of it, what WETA is able to do now with interpolating the performance is unbelievable. I mean, it's another layer again. The skin texturing, all of the hair...

Tim: The hair is incredible. One of the things I noticed today.

Andy: Exactly. But, it's actually the nuance of performance that is absolutely transparent now between what the actor is doing and what you see on the screen with the apes' faces on. That is really WETA. WETA has broken so many territories and boundaries, rather... broken so boundaries with both facial and all the texturing over the course of the movies. What's great is that people are recognizing that and seeing it. It allows you to stay immersed in the story when your eye isn't taken away by something not looking one hundred percent.

Tim: Exactly. Okay, I'm going to transition... I just want to see do you have any TinTin updates?

Andy: Not at the moment. I mean, the desire is there from everybody to make another TinTin film.

Tim: Peter's just encumbered in...

Andy: Yeah, he has to finish the third Hobbit movie. You know, it's a huge last film.

Tim: Okay. I'm going to move on to what your expectations are for future performance capture films, like TinTin?

Andy: Well like The Jungle Book for instance.

Tim: The Jungle Book would be a perfect one.

Andy: The Jungle Book is going to be an entirally performance capture movie. As is another project which we at the at the Imaginarium, which is my company... my and Jonathan Cavendish's performance capture studio... we've been developing Animal Farm for a year and a half. And that is a perfect use of performance capture because not only do you get the actors playing all the scenes together and of course what they are metaphorically-- They are human beings portrayed as animals, but also you see a transition say for instance, with the pigs you see them growing from being four legged to two legged animals. You know, a great use of performance capture. So we've been evolving that over the last year and a half. What we intend to do is fairly hot on the heels of The Jungle Book is to bring that into play.

Tim: That would be a great one. I love Orwell. I remember reading that when I was a kid. That is a great one. I'm going to move on to my last question since I'm near out of time. Do you believe that the Academy Awards should create a category for Best Performance Capture Performance?

Andy: I've always said, actually, that I don't think that there should be because really at the end of the day performance capture is a technology; it's another set of cameras that captures an actor's performances. So it's not a two-dimensional camera, or a 3D rig--

Tim: So your saying you want actors to be treated equally?

Andy: Actors are actors, and they are delivering performances. It's just the method by which their performances are caught that's different. How one has to think of it these days is that instead of putting on a costume and make-up and playing a role, the costume and make-up is being applied after the fact. It's digital costume and make-up. The underlying performance is what is crafted and authored on the stage between the other actors, yourself, and the director in exactly the same way. So there is absolutely no difference. Really I've always believed that one is playing another acting role. And, I've never drawn a distinction between live action and performance capture acting.

Tim: Okay, that's awesome to hear because I wish you had been nominated for first Gollum, and then even now Caesar. Hopefully you can get a nomination.

Andy: Thank you.

Tim: And with that I'm out of time. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me.

Andy: You're welcome.

Tim: And I hope that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a huge success.

Andy: Thank you.

So awesome to sit down with such a great actor! Thank you Andy and 20th Century Fox for allowing me the opportunity to sit down and talk with him. Funny thing, I interviewed Caesar from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in Caesars Palace. It was a great interview, and I wish I could have got more time. Hopefully again in the future we'll get to talk. Maybe when The Jungle Book is being released. If you'd like more information about Andy Serkis' company The Imaginarium Studios you can check out the site at: theimaginariumstudios.com. And let's hope that Andy gets the well deserved nomination for his performance as Caesar this coming awards season. And, to make Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a huge success go to your favorite movie theater and see it in 3D and IMAX on July 11th, 2014.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Warner Bros. Presentation from CinemaCon 2014

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Tim here, and the last studio presentation from this year's CinemaCon was Warner Brothers Pictures. Now, they went all out with their presentation by bringing in tons of stars (Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, and a few others) to introduce each picture from their upcoming slate. Warner Bros. upcoming 3D movie line-up: Godzilla (Conversion), Edge of Tomorrow (Conversion), Jupiter Ascending (Native), and The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Native). I felt it was a bit overkill with all the stars, and wanted them to stop talking and show the footage.

The coolest thing was that Gareth Edwards got up to introduce Godzilla, which he revealed they just finished editing. That might not mean it's completely finished as they could still have some VFX tweaking and finalizing, or that the stereo conversion isn't done. The footage we saw was a bit of an extended trailer, but even more than what the trailers have shown thus far. It looks insane! This movie is amongst my most anticipated of the year. They were still a little wary about showing a clean full shot of Godzilla, but I think that adds to the awesomeness of the movie. See by obscuring Godzilla in smoke and rubble it keeps the tension, which I applaud. Godzilla hits theaters May 16th, 2014.

Next was Edge of Tomorrow, which is directed by Doug Liman and stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The movie looks like a thrilling sci-fi version of Groundhogs Day and it will filled with lots of action. I'm intrigued, and look forward to checking it out. The footage we saw had a lot of footage from the previous two trailers, and a bit more. Edge of Tomorrow hits theaters June 6th, 2014.

Second to last was the Wachowskis and their sci-fi film Jupiter Ascending that has at its center Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, who were in attendance to introduce the footage. A return to sci-fi from The Matrix filmmakers makes this one of the more anticipated movies of the year. It's also the first stereopscopic 3D movie made by the Wachowskis, and they chose to shoot it natively. The footage was screened in 2D and included a decent amount already seen in the trailers already released, plus a little bit more. Jupiter Ascending hits theaters July 18th, 2014.

Finally, we got a quick sneak peak at The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which didn't show a whole lot to write about. A couple of shots that look like the calm before the storm at Laketown, Gandalf saying "The time is upon us where all must choose what side we're on," and clear tense character close-ups. This was all after production diary behind-the-scenes footage and a montage of the journey so far. It wasn't by any means an indication that a trailer is close.

Got to love Warner Bros. right now! I can't wait for more Hobbit footage. Overall, however, the best studio presentation at CinemaCon goes to 20th Century Fox who started with a Vegas style song and dance and decided to let the footage speak for itself. Look out for my interview with Andy Serkis coming soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - Teaser Trailer Released


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Tim here, and I can now share with you the teaser trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I got to see opening night at CinemaCon. I've posted the trailer below.

The trailer shows the earliest footage of the turtles, and for most of it they are a fast blur, that Megan Fox's April O'Neil tries to capture on a phone. And then she gets face-time with the turtles, and the fans finally get to see that precious childhood memory in CGI form. You instantly notice how massive and muscular these turtles are. Enough so for O'Neil to faint at first sight of their real faces without the mask.

Check out the teaser:


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits theaters on 8 August 2014, is produced by Michael Bay and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, and Pete Ploszek.

20th Century Fox Previews a Massive Summer 3D Blockbuster Line-Up at CinemaCon


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Tim here, and I just finished the 20th Century Fox CinemaCon presentation! They decided to show more than to tell during the presentation, and as a result we got to see a lot of footage from their upcoming movies, both 2D and 3D releases. For the 3D releases everything we got to see was in 2D because they are all still in post-production, so the 3D isn't ready yet. However, we saw the opening of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the beginning of How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The footage from each of these projects looked spectacular, and it's likely the effects are incomplete. X-Men: Days of Future Past in particular looked great, and of course the beginning was an on the edge of your seat action pumped beginning to the picture. I won't go into any spoilerish details, however it is sure to set in motion the events of the movie with panache. The film was shot with 3ality Technica Rigs and the ARRI ALEXA. 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is set 5-years after the events of the previous film and it looks like the Vikings have adopted Dragon racing into their new pastime activities. However, where's Hiccup? He's experimenting still with his dragon buddy Toothless. I got to see some of that sequence in 3D from the previous trailer and it looks great in the format. We can be sure that this will be great in the format like the last one. It also looks like a fun second installment. 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is definitely my most anticipated movie of the summer, and the footage shown justified those expectations. This was shot with 3ality Technica Rigs and the ARRI ALEXA also and the footage looks amazing. It's awe inspiring how gorgeous the picture looks and how seamless the VFX are when added to the real world environments. The CGI is so lifelike, and yet I'm sure it will be even better by the time the movie is released. Heck, in stereoscopic 3D this will hands down look breathtaking.

Fox also teased us with a few images from Ridley Scott's Exodus, which just finished shooting in native stereoscopic 3D with the 3ality Technica Rigs and the RED Epic Dragon camera. No footage sadly, but considering how well Scott used 3D on Prometheus it's easy to believe this will look just as sensational.

The big three summer blockbusters from 20th Century Fox are all released this year on these dates: X-Men: Days of Future Past - 23 May 2014; How to Train Your Dragon 2 - 13 June 2014; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 11 July 2014. And finally Ridley Scott's Exodus hits 12 December 2014 in 3D.

Sony Pictures Shows 30-Minutes of The Amazing Spiderman 2 at CinemaCon

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Tim here, and in my continuing coverage of CinemaCon we got a special treat during the Sony Pictures presentation: 30-minutes of The Amazing Spiderman 2! We got to watch the beginning of the film, a little action sequence a bit later in the film, and a lead in to the climatic end. All followed by a sizzle of all the footage previously seen in trailers.

Before describing the footage, the biggest news Sony revealed is that their decision to have 3 villains in this movie had to do primarily with setting up the Sinister Six, which they plan on bringing into the franchise, and as well spin-off films. They mentioned Venom.

We opened with the beginning of the film, which gives another perspective to the beginning of the last film and explains what happened to Peter's parents. We move forward to the present, a year after the events of the last film, and Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) is in his prime. He has tried to keep his promise to Gwen's father by keeping away, and it seems his crime fighting nearly keeps him away from his high school graduation as Gwen (Emma Stone) calls him from the ceremony to figure out where he is. It sets up an early relationship with Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) that is then returned to in the next sequence we got to see. We also meet Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) who is in the midst of a heist that Spiderman works to foil.

Max is now Electro, and is discovering just what his powers are capable of in the middle of Times Square. Peter is with Gwen reconnecting as "friends" when his Spidy senses tell him something is amiss nearby. We witness the first battle between Spiderman and Electro, which works great in 3D. The next short sequence is when Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) attempts to get the upper hand on the Spider by teaming up with Electro.

The footage was screened in S3D, which was a nice change since most of the previous footage shown by studios has been in 2D. Although, I can tell it's a conversion for the pure live action elements, the rest works in the same Hybrid manner that Gravity did. Since Spiderman and Electro are so often CGI created in the computer the stereo works great. As much as I wish they had shot it natively, it still will work fine in the 3D format.

Pretty exciting stuff coming from Sony this year! The Amazing Spiderman 2 hits theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on May 2, 2014.

CinemaCon Day 2+3.5: Universal, Nolan Open to 3D, and Trade Show


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Tim here, CinemaCon kicked off the 2nd day with a presentation from Universal, but for the most part they showed off their 2D 2014 lineup and a bit of Fast and Furious 7 from their 2015 lineup, and a quick sizzle of their upcoming 3D films like Minions. The most I got out of the day was from the Trade Show part where I got to experience a couple of the new technologies that are going to be brought into the theaters. I'll touch a little upon those and the first half of Day 3 including what Christopher Nolan had to say about 3D. Day 3 opened with a presentation from Disney, and a little on that in a bit. 

Let me start with Christopher Nolan: he's open to the 3D format! He said that he doesn't have a project that he feels works in the format at the moment, as he feels it's a more independent and personal movie going experience while he tries to make films that can be a shared theatrical experience. He was asked in his interview with Hollywood Reporter Chief Critic Todd McCarthy the question about whether there were any 3D films that he thought used the format very well and Nolan answered that he thought what Baz Luhrmann did with The Great Gatsby was a spectacular use of the format. It's a promising start for getting a movie from him in the future that will be Stereoscopic 3D. The next key is for the digital camera technology used to capture the images to surpass his technical requirements. That's what he said as to why he's a celluloid guy, and why he wishes to continue shooting on film, especially now that he can shoot on 65mm IMAX film. His comments on film vs digital distribution of course caused some upset amongst attendees, and even caused some exhibitors to leave the room in the middle of the interview. You can't knock the digital distrubtion platform to the theatrical exhibitors who are adopting it.

Disney showed off their coming line-up at the start of the third day, including a preview of Pixar's Inside Out, which will be in stereoscopic 3D. The presentation wasn't in S3D, so I can't comment on how well it is used, but considering that Pixar has a great track record with the format we can all feel confident that it will be spectacular. The extended clip resulted in enthusiasm from the crowd treated to it. Sadly it won't hit until 2015. They also highlighted their Marvel connection and the upcoming Captian America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Both look like they'll be huge successes. Disney was very mum about anything Star Wars related, so there's no new news coming out of CinemaCon regarding the project. Maybe next year.

Trade Show wise I got to experience the new 4D Experience that will be accomanying future 3D movies. I got to experience 3 different companies tech during the show. 4DX and MediaMation Inc's 4D System were more than just motion seats as they added mist, smoke/fog, wind, and additional effects, while D-BOX mainly added motion to the seat. I'll write up more about my thoughts on these technologies in an individual post about 4D technology. First thoughts are however that they do add something new and interesting to the movie going experience. I'll have to experience a full feature with these additions to fully be able to state whether it works or not.

I also visited the Christie Booth to see their new 6P Laser Projection System, which is phenomenal! Instead of the traditional 3P Laser System this system has more efficient and brighter images as it's 2X the lumens that the regular 3P system has. They showed us examples of both standard 24 frames per second footage and some HFR footage in 48 fps from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. You should go to your local theater and demand they update their Christie Projection System to the 6P Laser System because not only will it enhance the 2D cinema experience, but most importantly the 3D experience.

Lastly, I attended a special presentation from Barco yesterday that showcased some of their new technology that's being added to movie theaters. Their 4K Digital Projector that's capable of doing 3D in HFR is amazing in it's quality, and so is their surround sound system Auro 11.1, which sounded spectacular. Then they have an interesting new thing for pre-show entertainment in their Interactive-Dimension technology dubbed "iD". Then there is their new wrap-around screen idea called "Escape" that happens to remind us that theaters are desperate to keep movie goers attending. This system is designed for the ADD/ADHD generation who can't watch one screen, but need three to satisfy their needs. Either the image can be stretched across all three screens, or a widened capture can occur, or 2-3 separate images can be displayed. So if you're not satisfied with the angle in front of you then you can look to the left or right to see a different one. I'm not sold. However, I could see a creative use for this system, if the filmmaker knows how to utilize it to it's fullest potential. For example had TV-show 24 gone to the big screen this format would have worked well with its multi-screen transition effect.

So far a lot of cool movies coming up this year, and some really cool technology for the cinema. Sony's Presentation was a bit later in the day and after I wrote this, so I'll be writing about that in another post. Sony showed 30-minutes of The Amazing Spiderman 2 and it was awesome. More on that later. As well I'll go more in depth in individual posts on the demos I got of RealD's TrueImage and the new MasterImage MI-Horizon3D system.

New Trailer For The Wachowski's JUPITER ASCENDING

Here's the second trailer for JUPITER ASCENDING from Andy and Lana Wachowski (THE MATRIX) and I'm liking it much more than the first one. Loving the premise, that someone else actually holds claim to Earth rather than humans. The action and scope of the whole thing is staggering. I really hope they pull it all off and given that they pulled off THE MATRIX, I think they can capture lighting again.

Here's the movie's storyline:
Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in "Jupiter Ascending," an original science fiction epic adventure from filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski.

Jupiter Jones (Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

From the streets of Chicago to far flung galaxies whirling through space, "Jupiter Ascending" is written and directed by the Wachowskis. Award-winning producer Grant Hill, with whom they have collaborated since "The Matrix" Trilogy, is producing, together with Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski. Roberto Malerba and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers.

JUPITER ASCENDING is opening on July18 in 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CinemaCon 2014: Day One Overview - Paramount

Tim here, and I just finished the first day of CinemaCon. There's more that will happen through the rest of the week than today because today was a start day. Mainly registration, plus a opening dinner, but most importantly a presentation from Paramount Studios. Paramount showed exclusive footage from their upcoming line up of films. Stars were on hand for the presentations such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Hercules), Will Arnett and guest David Cross (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) entered in on segways, and finally Mark Wahlberg, his daughter, and upcoming stars Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction).

I can't go into too much detail about the footage seen, but all these films are being released in Stereoscopic 3D. This means that all these movies will be pretty big at the box office. Hercules was more or less a new trailer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the teaser trailer that's coming out this Thursday morning. The most amount of footage shown was for Transformers: Age of Extinction, which looks like it's bigger than any of the previous Transformers movies.

The footage we saw showcased a good deal of the beginning of the film that sets up the story. We see the relationship between Wahlberg's character and his daugher played by Nicola Peltz. He's a character the audience is instantly going to connect with and Wahlberg looks like he has fun with the role. We got to see plenty of explosions and destruction caused by the Transformers and the humans fighting them. The VFX for the film already look spectacular as we likely were seeing rough drafts or uncompleted shots (some shots still had green screen), and the movie could be the biggest in the franchise. It helps having a star like Wahlberg. Michael Bay wasn't in attendence because he was busy working on the the film.

In regards to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teaser trailer it was pretty action packed. You'll be able to check it out later this week, but the advance preview did assure that I can tell you that it will feature the CGI turtles front and center. They look pretty massive standing in front of Megan Fox, who plays April O'Neil. Hercules will also be an action packed film, and with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the film's center it should be a fun thrill ride. 

Overall it was a great opening day. Sadly none of those presentations were in 3D, but I did check out a demonstration from Real D about their TrueImage technology that I'll write about later in the week. Also, MasterImage has their new MI-Horizon3D system which I got to check out so I'll write about that later as well. Keep an eye out for the 3D news here on MarketSaw reporting from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas!

About CinemaCon
CinemaCon will attract upwards of 5,000 motion picture professionals from all facets of the industry –from exhibition and distribution, to the equipment and concession areas – all on hand to celebrate the movie-going experience and the cinema industry. From exclusive Hollywood product presentations highlighting a slate of upcoming films, to must-see premiere feature screenings, to the biggest stars, producers and directors, CinemaCon will help jumpstart the excitement and buzz that surrounds the summer season at the box office.

CinemaCon is delighted to have both the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) and National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) as its tradeshow partners. CinemaCon is also delighted to have as its official presenting sponsor, The Coca-Cola Company, one of the industry's greatest and highly regarded and respected partners in the world of the movies.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MUST WATCH: Second Full Trailer For X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST !



In a much darker way, the second full trailer for Fox's X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST delivers on the promise of Bryan Singer's deep character studies, dripping in action of course. Definitely a must watch for some new glimpses of unseen material and tone for the movie. Magnificent. Can't wait for this!

Here's the storyline for the movie:
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST opens on May 23.

TRANSCENDENCE Gets 3D Release After All - In China ONLY !?!

This is ludicrous. I can understand to a certain degree why studios would not necessarily shoot or convert their productions in 3D for various reasons, but for the life of me I don't understand why they would spend the money on a 3D conversion of a tentpole and then only release it in one country! Who is actually running this show? It's ridiculous!

Take DIVERGENT for example from Lionsgate. I saw it last night and while it is a bit contrived, 3D could have served it well and I kept thinking over and over again how much money Lionsgate is leaving on the table with each and every DIVERGENT, TWILIGHT or HUNGER GAMES movie they have released. Still, and this is a big STILL, they did not spend any money on a 3D conversion so they got what they paid for.

Warner Bros. and it's producing partners DMG and Alcon Entertainment are actually forking over the money to have it converted to 3D and then, in a brilliant business movie (not), only releasing it 3D in one country - China!

The only thing I can think of is since DMG (Beijing based) is also the Chinese distributor for TRANSCENDENCE, they may have solely paid for the 3D conversion with the other producers and distributors stubbornly abstaining (probably due to the personal wims of the antiquated first time director of the movie). Since DMG potentially paid for it alone, they alone should reap the box office benefit.

Anyway you look at the distribution though, it looks ludicrous. So congratulations to the Chinese who were able to bypass the political and moronic maneuvering of the North American pencil pushers and get to see TRANSCENDENCE in 3D, all while enjoying a much better revenue stream. I wouldn't be surprised if China's box office SURPASSES the North American for the movie simply because of these decisions.

Warner Bros. had better take a strong look at the opportunity cost of hiring Wally Pfister for directing any tentpole like this. Sure, there is his justifiable salary and percentage of the gross (it is his IP after all), but I'm talking about how much money Warner is losing from NOT going 3D everywhere else. If the movie takes in $500 million, they've lost conservatively $100 million. That, my friends, is one expensive director.

Anyway it's not like I'm refusing to see the movie when it comes out in flat, it's the irony of a production's owners paying for a worthwhile endeavor and then throwing the vast majority of the benefit away. Sad really. But again, congrats to the Chinese. ENJOY!!

Source: THR

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two New Posters For GODZILLA


Check out the two latest posters for GODZILLA. I have to say I think we are all in for a visual effects treat with this movie. Director Gareth Edwards is all about bang for the buck - especially with VFX, so prepare to be blown away.

I recently read an interview with producer Thomas Tull (the source escapes me at the moment) who actually brought on Edwards and he said that one of Gareth's early ideas was to have a guy see a flash of light and then wait for the roar of Godzilla while counting the seconds - to see how far away the beast was. That's brilliant! Love that story.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Gareth Edwards directs "Godzilla," which stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Kick-Ass"), Oscar® nominee Ken Watanabe ("The Last Samurai," "Inception"), Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), Oscar® winner Juliette Binoche ("The English Patient," "Cosmopolis"), and Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine"), with Oscar® nominee David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck.," "The Bourne Legacy") and Bryan Cranston ("Argo," TV's "Breaking Bad").

For all of our GODZILLA coverage, click here.

GODZILLA opens on May 16 in 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.



Source: IMP Awards

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Teaser Trailer For PEANUTS From Fox And Blue Sky

Yes, the loveable characters from the late Charles Schulz are back in PEANUTS and in fact the Schulz family are deeply involved again with Charles' son Craig (producer) and Craig's son Bryan (script co-writer).

As you can see in the teaser, we are seeing some minute changes to the animation that will also bring in stereoscopic 3D from our friends over at Blue Sky Studios (ICE AGE, RIO, EPIC). The movie's storyline remains unpublished at this time. More when we get it!

PEANUTS is slated for a Nov 6, 2015 opening.


Third Trailer For Disney's MALEFICENT


I'm not seeing a great deal of new footage here but there is some including the end of trailer which looks spectacular! Have a look...

Here's the storyline for the movie:
MALEFICENT explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic SLEEPING BEAUTY and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. 

MALEFICENT opens on May 30


Watch Teaser For Tonight's MARVEL STUDIOS: ASSEMBLING A UNIVERSE !

This television special promises to be right up my alley and probably yours if you are a Marvel and superhero fan. MARVEL STUDIOS: ASSEMBLING A UNIVERSE is airing tonight on ABC at 9pm Eastern and it's aim is to cover how they do what they do, including the challenges of setting up their Marvel universe without the likes of Spider-man, X-Men and Fantastic Four due to licensing commitments.

Marvel Producer Kevin Feige sat down recently to discuss the special and had this to say regarding seeing any footage from THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: "They’re advertising it as a first look, and that is an honest statement. We don’t start filming for another week and a half, so you’re not going to have a lot of first-unit footage because it doesn’t exist yet. But you certainly get more than just a peek at some of the new fun things we have in store."

So enjoy the special tonight Marvelites! I'll definitely be watching. THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens on May 1, 2015.



Quote Source: Movies.com


Monday, March 17, 2014

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Teaser Trailer - Full Trailer Next Week !


Here's the latest in the trend of teasers for trailers which I don't mind if they're done inventively as this one is from Instagram. Can't wait to see this full trailer which is coming next week! I know the guys behind the 3D on this picture and trust me - it's going to rock.

Click here for all of our X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST coverage!

Here's the storyline for the movie:
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST opens on May 23.



MALEFICENT Reveals Wings - Full Trailer Tomorrow


Once upon a time... Maleficent had wings; but they were lost - and we don't know why. I'm assuming the full trailer that is being released tomorrow may shed more light on the matter, or more mystery. Perhaps on the play on the trope of angels losing their wings as punishment for breaking dogma.

The movie is really starting to fill out very well. I can see the production value Disney is putting into the movie as the marketing material is being released and I think we're in for a rather interesting ride. Stay tuned for the trailer tomorrow!

Here's the storyline for the movie:
MALEFICENT explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic SLEEPING BEAUTY and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

MALEFICENT opens in 3D and flat on May 30.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Movie Review - 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, 8.6 Stars, Spoiler Free

I went into the movie not expecting as much as what was delivered in the original Zach Snyder 300, but was pleasantly surprised! Noam Murro hit the nail on the head with it - though I don't know the extent in which Snyder has his hand involved (he co-wrote the screenplay from Frank Miller's original graphic novel and also produced).

Speaking of Miller's graphic novel - it was entitled XERXES and quite frankly his role was minimal so I'm thinking that they are holding him back for the second sequel which I'm sure is going to happen now with the stellar box office RISE OF AN EMPIRE is enjoying - $45 million and $88 million overseas for a total opening frame of $133 million.

3D screenings accounted for a very strong 63% of earnings which is a huge victory for the format. 3D clearly is the way to see this movie and audiences agree. If you are going to check this movie out - and I do recommend it if you saw the original and enjoyed it, definitely go 3D.

Make no mistake, this is a rated R movie. Blood and gore abound but it is needed in this period piece of a very bloody era, however fictional it is. I was impressed with Eva Green's performance; she showed me a side that I didn't know was there.

The standout aspect of this movie for me is the visual effects which dominated the screen in just about every shot if you think about how much green screen was used here and the cinematography / directing which had to integrate everything together. Again, if you saw the original, you would expect this level of VFX wizardry.

Click to enlarge
The score and sound effects were brilliant too. A great package.

Last but certainly not least, the 3D delivered the goods. I thought the "floatees" were a bit overdone (sparks and dust particles were omnipresent), but I enjoyed them nevertheless. 3D was amplified were needed - long courtyards, etc and was reduced for more intimate scenes allowing your eyes to rest. Well done. Not perfect, but well done. Keep in mind that the vast majority of environments and effects were digital so 3D can be rendered natively which helps a great deal.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. “300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Overall a must see in my books and deserving of 8.6 stars! Go see it. 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE is now playing.



Friday, March 07, 2014

Three New AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Clips Narrated By Stan Lee !!


Stan the man! He's back in action narrating three clips of his beloved Spider-man. There is some new footage appearing, but let's face it - hearing Stan Lee and the pride in his voice is easily worth your valuable time. You won't get this during the movie so - ENJOY.

Note that Disney didn't fail to take advantage of putting their touch on Times Square in the screencap in this post (left side) :-)

Here's the storyline for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2:
We've always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.
It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 opens on May 2.







Source: Blackfilm | via Collider

Thursday, March 06, 2014

MUST WATCH: GSP Emerges! Massive First Clip From CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER !!



Yes! Georges St-Pierre (GSP) of mixed martial arts fame is reveling in his villainy in this new 4 minute marketing piece highlighting the first clip from CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.

You can watch Cap and Black Widow infiltrate an ocean liner taken over by Batroc (GSP) in a special extended clip.

Definitely worth your time to watch this, but as always with movie clips beware of spoilers. Technically the entire clip is a spoiler as it is actual footage so watch it with that in mind!

Here's the storyline for the movie:
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER opens on April 4.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Watch: New Trailer For TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION


Here's the new full trailer for TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION from Michael Bay.

I'm looking forward to seeing a more human focused story this time around - but as always, the effects look jaw dropping. What else can you expect from a Bay production? Wahlberg brings a much more believable and likeable presence to the series.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
"As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon', Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet."

"However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control - all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his crosshairs. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues."

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION opens on June 27 in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.

Monday, March 03, 2014

New Poster For CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Have a look at the most recent poster for Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Obviously the Helicarrier is in a heap of trouble with the obligatory sparks and smoke rising in the background.

I'll be reviewing my new Sideshow Collectable Captain America Rescue Version figure soon as well, so look for that in the coming weeks.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER opens on April 4 in 3D.

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