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[VIDEO] LIVE: Mystery Science Theater 3000 2016 Turkey Day Marathon

Spend Thanksgiving with MST3K Creator Joel Hodgson
and Season 11 Host Jonah Ray!

MST3K

It’s time to talk turkey—cinematic turkey, that is! Shout! Factory continues its revival of the beloved MST-ie Thanksgiving tradition with a newly curated Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon on Shout! Factory TV, hosted by show creator Joel Hodgson and Season 11 host Jonah Ray. Read the rest of this entry »

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Christopher Nolan’s First Feature: ‘Following’

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editor-commen-deskI saw this film about a year ago, and was impressed in a way I didn’t expect. Christopher Nolan‘s mega-budget films are legendary for their unlikely balance of collaborative Hollywood grandeur and singular creative vision — “Inception“, the Dark Knight Trilogy, to name a few — I was curious what his first feature, a modest, low-budget production, would look like. Because his movies are such precise, analytical, clockwork inventions, I admit, I hoped to see a rough, sketchy, incomplete hint of Nolan’s potential. I was wrong. Even on a shoestring budget, with a tiny cast, on his first outing, Nolan created a work that’s as complex and realized as anything that followed. It’s as though he emerged as a fully developed storyteller, focused, economical, and confident. It’s not a spectacular movie, but it’s original, well-crafted, and successfully maximizes its modest resources, to produce a film several steps ahead of the work of most first-time feature directors. Enjoy this review from FilmMunch.

FilmMunch writes: So I finally got the chance to watch Christopher Nolan’s first feature length film, and it’s undeniably fresh and what I would consider a must see!

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It’s amazing that he’s able to generate such an intriguing story in only 70mins, which is by far, his shortest film, considering some of his films are just shy of 3 hours. Short and sweet, but what on earth is going on!?

[Read the full text here, at FilmMunch]

Films that rattle your brain and chose to only show you the necessary bits are fascinating, because you want to keep watching and find out more. This story is no less fascinating than Memento, and if you’ve seen Memento, then you know what I’m talking about! Memento and Following, must be seen, at least once! The innovative story telling technique used in Following is something I want to see more, it’s basically a triple layered telling of events, very fascinating!

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This film was extremely low budget, with film stock being the most expensive expense for the film, there wasn’t much room for error. Nolan would rehearse with his cast on the weekends, since all the cast had other full-time jobs. Only one or two takes were possible, considering Nolan was paying for the film himself! He also had to use natural light, since he didn’t have access to professional lighting equipment. Inspiration indeed, and what drive and motivation from this modern thinker!

The result is something akin to a Hitchcockian noir thriller, nothing short of slick and sophisticated. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Star Wars’ Films Will Be Available for Download

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“Star Wars” is finally arriving on the world’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy: the Internet.

All six “Star Wars” movies will be available to download for the first time — legally, anyway — starting Friday, April 10, from major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

“Hard-core fans will likely want to know that the digital versions will be the same ones that the always-tweaking George Lucas released on Blu-ray, not the original theatrical versions.”

Disney and 20th Century Fox, which together control rights to the films, will make them available to purchase for digital devices individually and as a set. Previously, “Star Wars” has been available on DVD and Blu-ray, but not online.

Prices will be set by retailers. The movies will only be available to buy, not to rent via video-on-demand. Read the rest of this entry »


China Escalates Hollywood Partnerships, Aiming to Compete One Day

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With China adding an average of 15 cinema screens every day, the country’s box office brought in $4.8 billion last year, tripling in size since 2010

SHANGHAI —  writes: Tucked away in a quiet design studio in this fast-growing city, a team of young animators, illustrators and computer programmers is bringing an ancient Chinese village to digital life.

Using three-dimensional texture painting software, the team — mostly graduates of China’s leading arts schools — is adding intricate details to temples, palaces and pagodas. Team members are also helping animate the movements of the digital characters, including two pandas named Po and Mei Mei.

“Because of the importance of the Chinese market to Hollywood, no one wants to make movies that offend China. Some may see that as self-censorship.”

— T.J. Green, a former Warner Bros. executive who now runs Apex Entertainment, which builds cinemas in China

“This is what I really love to do,” says Fang Zheng, a 32-year-old animator who studied environmental arts in college. “I’ve always been interested in characters and cartoons and things like that.”

[Read the full text here, at New York Times]

The project, part of the next installment of the blockbuster Hollywood film franchise “Kung Fu Panda,” represents a shift in China’s moviemaking ambitions.

“We want to learn how to make movies that appeal to a global audience. Eventually, we need to go global.”

— Ren Zhonglun, president of the state-run Shanghai Film Group, which is also negotiating to form alliances in Hollywood

No longer content simply to build movie sets and provide extras in Hollywood films, Chinese studios are moving up the value chain, helping to develop, design and produce world-class films and animated features. They want a bigger role in the creative process, one that will allow them to reap more rewards, financially and artistically.

An animator in the Shanghai offices of Oriental DreamWorks, the Chinese partner of the American studio DreamWorks Animation. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An animator in the Shanghai offices of Oriental DreamWorks, the Chinese partner of the American studio DreamWorks Animation. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

Kung Fu Panda 3” is the first collaboration between Hollywood’s DreamWorks Animation and its Chinese partner, Oriental DreamWorks, which is partly owned by a government investment fund and a private equity firm, China Media Capital. DreamWorks Animation has taken the lead in the creative and design work for the animated feature, which is scheduled for release in early 2016. Oriental DreamWorks contributes by adding Chinese elements, creating storyboards and building parts of the 3-D digital sets.

“We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents,” says James Fong, the chief executive of Oriental DreamWorks.

It is part of a broader push by China Media Capital into the entertainment business. Over the last few years, the investment firm has made deals with Warner Bros. and the IMAX Corporation of Canada. It also helped develop a Chinese version of the hit TV show “The Voice.

An employee in Shanghai at Oriental DreamWorks, which is collaborating with DreamWorks Animation on “Kung Fu Panda 3,” such as by adding detail to traditional Chinese structures. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An employee in Shanghai at Oriental DreamWorks, which is collaborating with DreamWorks Animation on “Kung Fu Panda 3,” such as by adding detail to traditional Chinese structures. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

For American companies, such collaborations offer access to new talent and the chance to understand better a culture that will increasingly be portrayed in its films. And coproduction deals provide greater access to China’s tightly regulated market, which in a few years is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s biggest film market.

“We want to leverage the best of the Hollywood creativity with the best Chinese characteristics.  We make it faster, do it cheaper, and in the end do something really innovative.”

— James Fong, the chief executive of Oriental DreamWorks

With China adding an average of 15 cinema screens every day, the country’s box office brought in $4.8 billion last year, tripling in size since 2010, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. And Chinese piracy is no longer such a significant threat to American studios; for example, “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” made more money in China than in the United States.

An employee at Oriental DreamWorks. The company's chief executive said, "We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents.” Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An employee at Oriental DreamWorks. The company’s chief executive said, “We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents.” Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

The rapidly growing market is reshaping the way Hollywood deals with China, from the scripts it accepts to the marketing strategies it adopts. Some of America’s biggest television and movie production houses, including HBO and Warner Bros., are already pushing into China with a raft of joint ventures, partnerships and cofinancing projects. Read the rest of this entry »


Discount Movie Bin: Barack Obama is ‘THE UNREMARKABLE SULK’

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Game of Thrones Blooper Reel

The last season of hit HBO series Game of Thrones brought moments of high drama and tragedy, but it looks the stars of the drama can make time for a laugh behind the scenes….(read more)

TIME


Are Netflix and iTunes to Blame?


South Korean Activist Plans to Launch The Interview DVDs into North Korea

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A South Korean activist said Wednesday that he will launch balloons carrying DVDs of Sony’s “The Interview” toward North Korea to try to break down a personality cult built around dictator Kim Jong Un.

The comedy depicting an assassination attempt on Kim is at the center of tension between North Korea and the U.S., with Washington blaming Pyongyang for crippling hacking attacks on Sony Entertainment. Pyongyang denies that and has vowed to retaliate.

“North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down.”

— Activist Park Sang-hak

Activist Park Sang-hak said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with the movie by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. Park, a North Korean defector, said he’s partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.

Park said foundation officials plan to visit South Korea around Jan. 20 to hand over the DVDs and USBs, and that he and the officials will then try to float the first batch of the balloons if weather conditions allow. Read the rest of this entry »


SONY HACK UPDATE: ‘The Interview’ Facebook, Twitter Accounts Are Deleted

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Todd Spangler reports: The Facebook and Twitter pages for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “The Interview” — the satirical film at the center of North Korea’s alleged attack on the studio — as of Saturday morning were not accessible.

It’s not clear if Sony deleted the accounts or if hackers had disabled them….(read more)

Variety


U.S. Home Video Market Grows for Second Year Thanks to Digital Streaming

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(AP) LOS ANGELES U.S. home video spending rose nearly 1 percent to $18.2 billion in 2013, the second straight year of growth as higher spending on video streaming subscriptions and digital purchases offset the decline in DVDs.

The figures were released by the consortium of Hollywood studios and electronics makers, The Digital Entertainment Group, on Tuesday.

Digital sales of movies and TV shows rose 47 percent to $1.2 billion, while subscription streaming spending rose 32 percent to $3.2 billion.

Read the rest of this entry »


Jack The Ripper is a DIY, 3D-Printed DVD Ripper for Fans of Optical Media

If you like DVDs but also like shelf space, have we got a project for you. Called Jack the Ripper, this Raspberry Pi-powered system takes DVDs from one pile, drops them into a DVD drive for ripping, and then tugs them out and onto another spindle. Ad infinitum. Read the rest of this entry »


Why do Japanese still buy CDs?

Other countries might be going digital, but Japan’s music fans are sticking with the compact disc. Pauline Chiou reports.JPCD

Via CNN