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Friday, May 06, 2016

Movie Review - CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR - 9.1 Stars! Spoiler Free!!

I managed to see CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR in Real D at the local Ultra AVX premium large screen format Cineplex last night and I was not disappointed.

If you are a fan of the Marvel universe and especially the Avenger movies then you'll love CW. The humor - oh THE HUMOR is back. There's nothing quite like Marvel's brand of laughter out there and for that reason alone I recommend you go see it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is cerebral and comedic just when it needs to be. A beautiful accomplishment!

I won't spoil the movie for you but I will let you know a few things you can expect. The 3D was on par with everything else from Marvel except for just a few lazy areas which I thought should have been tighter - nothing to worry about though, most will miss them. The 3D conversion was done by StereoD as lead and Prime Focus as secondary. Also I felt some depth should have been dialed up for some key scenes that were not. Still, a good job. I gave it a ranking of 92%. I definitely wish that Marvel had gone with native 3D (DC for that matter - would have been a great differentiator), but it's too late to continue complaining I suppose.

Visual effects were jaw dropping of course including some new technology that was used for some up close scenes - you'll know when you see it. I can't comment on it or it will spoil the surprise!

I thought the visual effects, directing and score were the best accomplished tactical aspects of the movie, but really for me the comedy was gold. Again.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Captain America movies are generally more cerebral than the others in the universe and you can really isolate that juxtaposition when you see the other heroes mixed in and working together. Take Ant-Man for example - you'll know what I'm talking about when you see them together.

Yes, I missed the other Avengers that weren't included in the movie, but just seeing Spider-Man on the same screen is AMAZING.

Here's the movie's storyline:
Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd and Frank Grillo, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl.

Anthony and Joe Russo are directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts when Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” opens in U.S. and Canadian theaters on May 6, 2016.

Go see this as soon as possible because if you're like me you're going to want to see it again very, very soon! Oh and I saw the trailer for DOCTOR STRANGE in 3D pre-rolling before CW - and WOW. Can't wait for that one! Cumberbatch looks perfect in the role.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Four AVATAR Sequels Confirmed By James Cameron - Releases Start in 2018

Ok I feel much more confident about these estimates. I was never good with the seemingly rushed schedules that were announced with finished scripts in hand, but now things are progressing as I had originally envisaged.

James Cameron has announced at Cinemacon that the AVATAR universe will have four sequels, not 3 and that the releases are slated for 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023. 

Says Cameron: "We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic project, making four epic films, each of which stands alone but together forms a complete saga."

Further Cameron states: "I’ve been working with the top four screenwriters and designers in the world to design the world of Avatar going forward. The environments, new cultures - whatever it takes to bring it to life. From what I’m seeing of the art on the wall, in pure imagination, is just beyond the first film. I’m speechless."

Man I miss Cinemacon! I've got to get back next year. To personally miss announcements like this hurt me on a physical level!

Happy to hear there are 4 sequels now. It explains a lot about why things got delayed and the mindset of the creatives and the studio. Can't wait to start hearing more about the projects. Remember, Cameron already had a massive budget in place for 3 sequels already - add on a fourth and wow! That's a sizable commitment from 20th Century Fox.And commitment from Cameron - he will be one busy man for the next 7-8 years.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

When Push Comes To Shove: Warners Moves WONDER WOMAN And JUNGLE BOOK Launches

Some pulling up going on too. WONDER WOMAN is being pulled up to a slated release date 3 weeks earlier to June 2, 2017. Showing us some confidence? I hope so. I really enjoyed Gal Gadot's performance in the role in BATMAN v SUPERMAN - one of the few aspects of that movie that I didn't have any issues.

Meanwhile, Andy Serkis' JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS has been pushed out a full year from October 6, 2017 to October 19, 2018. I also view this as a positive with not only giving Serkis more time to deliver on his performance capture promises but also allowing audiences some breathing room from Jon Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK offering (which looks amazing) opening next week on April 15. It will feature the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett among others.

Said Serkis: "I’ve got to say that personally I’m absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of our movie. The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals."

Further to Warner Bros announcement of these changes, they added dates for a couple of untitled DC Comics launches: October 5, 2018 and November 1, 2019.
 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Check The Latest TV Spot For Duncan Jones' WARCRAFT!!

Check the latest TV Spot for Duncan Jones' WARCRAFT based on the popular MMORPG from Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft. This is looking GOOD. I was skeptical at first because video game adaptations for the big screen do not have a great reputation, but I did have confidence in Jones to deliver something palatable. And so he has!

I can see the character traits exploding from these creatures and the casting seems particularly well done. The effects? Staggering! Looks amazing. Can't wait!!

Here's the boilerplate for the movie:
From Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures comes Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon.

The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.

So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and written by Charles Leavitt and Jones, the film starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu is a Legendary Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment production.

The producers are Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Alex Gartner and Stuart Fenegan. Jillian Share, Brent O’Connor, Michael Morhaime and Paul Sams serve as executive producers. Rob Pardo, Chris Metzen, Nick Carpenter and Rebecca Steel Roven co-produce. Warcraft will be released by Universal Pictures. www.warcraftmovie.com

WARCRAFT opens on June 10 in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Check The Latest Poster And TV Spot For Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK

I am so looking forward to seeing director Jon Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK! It's natively shot in 3D and with High Dynamic Range HDR imagery. The visuals are looking so darn good. And as I said it's a Favreau movie which I've been salivating for recently. I loved CHEF.

Favreau hits all the right notes with his comments relating to the massive audience for the movie: "You are serving many masters... you are trying to honor the memory, preconceived memory of people who grew up with it, but you are also trying to make a movie that appeals to the full audience -- that is ethically what we set out to do. We are trying to pay tribute, and we can also see that with the visual effects, we are pushing the technology. We are mixing the old story with cutting edge technology".

Here is the movie's storyline:
Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, THE JUNGLE BOOK is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. THE JUNGLE BOOK seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world.

Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK opens on April 15. Here's the official website.





Friday, January 29, 2016

THE FORCE AWAKENS - And Yours Truly - Among Winners At This Weeks Advanced Imagining Society Creative Arts Awards!

Yes, this year's Advanced Imaging Society's Creative Arts Awards was an exciting event for many, many reasons including our own 40 BELOW AND FALLING which I had the pleasure of helping produce along with a truly exceptional team. We won the 3D Feature Jury Prize and are deeply honored with the Lumiere.

Here's the official press release:
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Advanced Imaging Society bestowed 20 honors for “distinguished achievement” at the Creative Arts Awards on Wednesday night, at Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Disney/Lucasfilm) was honored with two Lumiere statuettes, for Best 3D Live Action Feature and Best 2D to 3D Conversion (StereoD). “The Martian” (20th Century Fox) was also honored with two awards, for Best Live Action Stereography and Best Use of Native 3D. “The Walk” (Sony/Legend3D) won 3D Scene of the Year for its Act 3 high wire walk by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt. Pixar was honored with 3 Lumieres, including: Best 3D Animated Feature and Best Animated Stereography for “Inside Out” (Disney/Pixar) and Best 3D Short for “Lava” (Disney/Pixar).

“Conquest of the Skies” (Colossus Productions), hosted by Sir David Attenborough, won Best 3D Documentary. The Russian cinema commercial, “Schvabe” (StereoTec) won for Best 3D Advertising. The 3D short “Hard Reset” (Buk Films) won for Best Live Action Short. “Emma” (Pannon Entertainment) was awarded for Best use of High Dynamic Range. “Great Barrier Reef,” (Atlantic Productions) also hosted by Sir David Attenborough, won in the Best Ultra HD content category. The Best Virtual Reality Experience was awarded to “The Walk: Virtual Reality Experience” (Sony/Create Design LA).

Marvel’s Victoria Alonso, who heads the Studio’s Physical Production Unit and serves as Executive Producer on many of the Studio's blockbuster hits, was presented with the Harold Lloyd Award for filmmaking.

BBC and BBC Earth were awarded the annual Sir Charles Wheatstone Award for excellence in natural history documentaries.

“With movies like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ ‘The Martian,’ and ‘Inside Out’ competing for our top honors, we had an extraordinary awards process this year. 3D has never had a better year at the box office, or a better year in terms of brilliant creative work,” said Society President Jim Chabin. “With the addition of Virtual Reality, High Dynamic Range, and Ultra HD entries, our members are clearly working at the very cutting edge of our industry’s future,” he added.

Several Jury Prizes were presented for special achievement. Director Raman Hui was awarded a Lumiere for 2015’s “Monster Hunt,” (Edko Films Limited) the biggest box office hit in Chinese history. The romantic comedy “40 Below And Falling” (Avatar Media), the 3D Short “Coda” (National Film Board of Canada), and the Japanese animated children’s film “Gamba” (Shirogumi) were also honored with jury prizes.

“Our honorees this year came from all over the globe, from China to the UK, to Europe, Canada, and of course Hollywood, 3D has truly come of age,” said Society Awards Chairman Buzz Hays. “Both the high level of quality and the quantity of 3D, HDR, and VR production is impressive,” he added.

Here are the night's winners in detail:

HAROLD LLOYD AWARD
VICTORIA ALONSO
MARVEL

SIR CHARLES WHEATSTONE
BBC EARTH

3D LIVE ACTION FEATURE
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
DISNEY/LUCASFILM

3D ANIMATED FEATURE
INSIDE OUT
PIXAR

STEREOGRAPHY LIVE ACTION
THE MARTIAN
20TH CENTURY FOX

STEREOGRAPHY ANIMATED
INSIDE OUT
PIXAR

3D SHORT ANIMATED
LAVA
PIXAR

3D SHORT LIVE ACTION
HARD RESET
BUK FILMS

3D DOCUMENTARY
CONQUEST OF THE SKIES
COLOSSUS PRODUCTIONS

UHD
GREAT BARRIER REEF
ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS

BEST USE OF NATIVE 3D
THE MARTIAN
20TH CENTURY FOX

HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE
EMMA
PANNON ENTERTAINMENT

BEST USE OF 2D TO 3D CONVERSION
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
DISNEY/LUCASFILM

3D SCENE OF THE YEAR
THE WALK
(SCENE: TIGHT ROPE WALK BETWEEN WTC TWIN TOWERS)
SONY/LEGEND 3D

VR
THE WALK: VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE
SONY/CREATE DESIGN LA

3D ADVERTISEMENT
SCHVABE
STEREOTEC

3D FEATURE JURY PRIZE
40 BELOW AND FALLING
AVATAR MEDIA
CANADA

3D SHORT ANIMATED JURY PRIZE
CODA
NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA
CANADA

3D FEATURE JURY PRIZE
MONSTER HUNT
EDKO FILMS LTD
CHINA

3D ANIMATED FEATURE JURY PRIZE
GAMBA
SHIROGUMI
JAPAN

On behalf of our director Dylan Pearce, producer Andy Scholotiuk and everyone else involved with 40 BELOW AND FALLING, I'd like to thank everyone involved with the Advanced Imaging Society for the honor, and the continuing passion for our industry. It was a tremendous year again for 3D highlighted with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS dominating the box office and setting records and the top 4 movies of the year being in 3D.

2016 looks to be another amazing year!!

More Trade Coverage: Variety | THR

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

World Box Office: THE FORCE AWAKENS vs. AVATAR? Forget it... Look At All That Cheddar.

As I've been postulating for weeks now (other than the fact I knew there was no way AVATAR 2 would hit its latest release date), there is no way STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS challenges James Cameron's AVATAR in worldwide box office. Let's face it, worldwide box office is the number that matters most and while the domestic record is an awesome achievement, it's only a third of what really matters or in SWTFA's case, half. Yes, TITANIC may sink, but AVATAR is quite safe.

Was there really any doubt about this? Not to me. There's the old description of a four quadrant movie that sort of fits both movies: Males under 25, Males over 25, Females under 25 and Females over 25. I think SWTFA delivers admirably on this, but not in the league of AVATAR. But of course there is much more to the story than just four quadrants.

Many will argue that shiny new 3D technology helped push AVATAR to dizzying heights and while that is true to some degree, SWTFA has nostalgia and an extremely well established fanbase and, count 'em, SIX previous feature releases. SWTFA also has 3D revenue in MORE theaters. AVATAR was an original work. That more than balances the scales.

Here's why AVATAR will remain king of the world in my opinion:
1. James Cameron. The world loves him. They love his movies and love his environmental stance. That's a huge reason why AVATAR commanded the box office it did. SWTFA must measure up to this standard of relevance or fail in my opinion. Cameron is AVATAR's scientist to SWTFA's fantasy magic. It's a very interesting comparison to contrast AVATAR's environmental message to THE FORCE AWAKENS' well... force, and while I'm sure I'll hear from more Star Wars fans on this (I am one!), AVATAR much better aligns with true Science Fiction. Star Wars embraces the supernatural, albeit in a passionate, space opera setting. Don't underestimate the power of "James Cameron Presents". Just his name alone will bring in masses of people. Abrams is good and is getting better, but he doesn't command Cameron's respect yet in the theater - and very probably never will. Cameron IS Captain SciFi. I feel the pure SciFi play is a better option for box office when we're dealing with four quadrant movies.

2. Everyone can relate to AVATAR's story. Indigenous people's oppression. The environment. Corporate greed. Romance. The world responded to it. It had legs. With SWTFA however, the story continually evolves around the soap opera of grandparents, parents, siblings and children with unexpected gasps from audiences as lineages are revealed. There needs to be more at stake and more that relates to our world directly to connect as AVATAR has. THE FORCE AWAKENS needs more meat to move to the next level. Perhaps EP. VIII or the spin offs will.

3. The AVATAR sequels will punch up cinematic technology once again and potentially set the bar even higher in the coming years. You didn't think he was done with just 3D did you? You can bet Cameron will be marketing some new technology very, very hard for the sequels. AVATAR broke amazing ground with 3D, crossing the uncanny valley with photo realism, performance capture and virtual real-time cameras. You can expect more of the same for the sequels only with technology 10 years better. Imagine what he could and will do.

So if not SWTFA, then what will overtake AVATAR? AVATAR 2? Maybe. I suspect the movies will be BETTER than the original (as Cameron always shines in sequels) and will do massive box office, but AVATAR was a must see event for the world. It will be hard to replicate that again and re-energize that urgency. That being said, if there is one person in the world that can beat James Cameron, it's James Cameron. He's already proven that. And there's plenty of causes that are of urgent priority on this planet. Mine that cheddar.


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