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Friday, May 31, 2013

Watch PACIFIC RIM Featurettes! Let's Take A Look...

I know what you're asking yourself: "How many trailers and featurettes should I watch without spoiling myself too badly?" And justifiably so. Yes, there are visual spoilers in these and background stories as to how things work which could be deemed 'spoilery'. It is totally your call to watch them or not, but so far I have sat through them and don't feel as though my experience will be lessened by it.

I've been holding off posting these until we get a couple to discuss and now's the time to start. Just amazing stuff! Especially the dual cockpit and how that works. But I won't get into it here - have a watch and then we can discuss if needed in the comments.

Here's the movie's storyline:
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

PACIFIC RIM opens on July 12. Oh man, I can't wait for this one.






Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Trailer For MONSTERS UNIVERSITY


Here's the new trailer for MONSTERS UNIVERSITY from Pixar and Disney. Look, I've been down on Pixar lately - what's been coming from them is brilliant technically, but the story just is not there anymore. Further, I don't think sequels or prequels are the way to bring back originality and great storytelling.

What's going on over at Pixar anyway? Don't they have the same development cycle they've always had? Has the mouse house interrupted that in some way? Too many questions for me. Anyway, this trailer hints at some funny moments - but where is the UP or RATATOUILLE in this movie? I'm concerned yet again. PLANES? Not the answer either. Same universe as CARS and CARS 2. It's for the marketing of toys I know - but this is Pixar! Marvel better not suffer the same fate.

What we can expect however, is amazing stereoscopic 3D. That they have nailed.

Here's the movie's storyline:
Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.


MONSTERS UNIVERSITY opens on June 21.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Trailer For PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS


Here's the new trailer for PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS starring Logan Lerman. SEA OF MONSTERS is the franchise follow up to PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF which made $227 million worldwide back in 2010.

Of note in this trailer is the appearance of Nathan Fillion as Hermes. 3D maven Alexandra Daddario (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) also stars.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Based on the best-selling book, PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS continues the young demigod’s epic journey to fulfill his destiny. To save their world, Percy and his friends must find the fabled and magical Golden Fleece. Embarking on a treacherous odyssey into the uncharted waters of the Sea of Monsters (known to humans as the Bermuda Triangle), they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate Evil.


PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS opens on August 16.


Give A 30 Second Video Review Of THE GREAT GATSBY And Win Some Swag From 3ality Technica!



Here's a cool contest for all you 3D aficionados out there! What did you think about the stereoscopic 3D in THE GREAT GATSBY? Feel strongly enough about it to put your voice behind it? Perfect - we've got a contest for you from the good folks at 3ality Technica.

To enter, simply review the 3D in The Great Gatsby in 30 seconds or less on video (on youTube or other social media sites) or write a review – in 140 characters or less – of The Great Gatsby and what you thought of the 3D, then submit it using online form found here.

Top creative reviews will be featured on 3ality Technica's website, and exclusive 3ality Technica swag will be sent to featured reviewers.

Pretty cool contest if you ask me! Here was my review to help you remember some things (not to sway your thoughts or anything).


3D GAMING: XBOX ONE To Support 3D And 4K

Tim here, and I've got some news for XBOX users regarding 4K and 3D! The new XBOX ONE will support 4K resolution and 3D output! This was revealed last week by Microsoft's Larry Hryb in a Yahoo chat session.

In response to a question regarding whether the new console will include these features Hryb stated "XBOX ONE supports both 3-D and 4K, including 4K for Blu-Ray."

In regards to 4K adoption it is not without its hurdles. Sony Electronics in February stated that 4K videos require downloads over 100GB in file size. Whoa! That's a huge file. Considering the XBOX ONE comes with 500 GB of internal storage, that would mean about 5 4K movies could be stored on the device at that size. Also, internet speeds are not yet fast enough to speedily get 100 GB quickly when downloading.

While Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4) will support 4K output for photos and videos, it will not support 4K games. Microsoft has confirmed that XBOX ONE games will support both native 4K and upscaling to 4K.

Look out for more info regarding XBOX ONE and its 3D support on MarketSaw. Read more about XBOX ONE on its official website.

Spivet Gets Domestic Distribution Deal & International Poster

Tim here, and over the weekend Harvey Weinstein did a great service to the US by picking up distribution rights for THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS SPIVET (French title: L'Extravagant Voyage du Jeune et Prodigieux T.S. Spivet) according to Deadline. As well a new international poster has emerged for the movie. It's geared towards French audiences, despite the movie being in the English language.
Although there hasn't been an announced domestic release date yet, it will hit French IMAX screens October 10th. With Weinstein obtaining the domestic distribution we can expect a domestic poster and release date soon.
For those of you who are curious about the note on the poster written in French. It reads:

Chère famille Spivet,

Je pars pour quelque temps travailler loin d'ici. Ne vous inquiétez pas. Je ne vous en ai pas parlé, parce que je ne voulais pas vous déranger. Merci d'avoir pris soin de moi, vous êtes un des meilleures familles du monde.

Je vous aime,
TS
Translated to English it says: (Google Translate)
Dear Family Spivet,

I'm off to work some time away from here. Do not worry. I have not told you because I did not want to disturb you. Thank you for taking care of me, you are one of the best families in the world.

I love you,
TS
THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS:
T.S. Spivet lives on a ranch in Montana with his mother, who is obsessed with beetle morphology, his cowboy father, who was born 100 years too late, and his 14 year old sister, who dreams of being Miss America. T.S. is a 12 year old child prodigy with a passion for cartography and scientific inventions. One day he receives an unexpected call from the Smithsonian announcing he has won the Baird award for the discovery of the perpetual motion machine, and is invited to make a speech. Unbeknownst to all, he decides to head for Washington D.C. crossing the United States on a freight train... but no one at the Smithsonian has any idea that he is only a child...
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS SPIVET hits IMAX 3D screens this fall.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

First Poster For HERCULES 3D Hits


The first poster for HERCULES 3D has landed. Director Renny Harlin (CLIFFHANGER, DIE HARD 2) and Millenium have mounted their marketing campaign for their version (*sigh* Yes, there is another version getting ready for us too from director Brett Ratner starring Dwayne Johnson - due August 2014) and Harlin is shooting right now in Bulgaria.

Harlin's HERCULES 3D stars Kellan Lutz (TWILIGHT) in the titular role, Liam McIntyre (TV's SPARTACUS) and Scott Adkins (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING) playing King Amphitryon.

Apparently Harlin has $70 million to play with so hopefully we'll see a great product with great 3D. They're aiming for a March 2014 release to beat Ratner to the box office.

Twitch reports that the storyline for the movie will go something like this:
Myths are that during Amphitryon's absence, Alcmene (Hercule's mother) became pregnant by Zeus, who disguised himself as Amphitryon, when he visited her; she then became pregnant again by her real husband upon his return. Of these unions were born twin boys, of whom Iphicles was the son of Amphitryon, Hercules the son of Zeus.

More on HERCULES 3D when we have it!

Source: Twitch


Friday, May 24, 2013

MUST WATCH: First STALINGRAD Trailer Released!!

Tim here, and as a fellow World War II history buff we can all rejoice because the first trailer for the insanely awesome looking STALINGRAD movie coming out in 3D this fall is out. Directed by Russian Fedor Bondarchuk with the 3D produced by Steve Schklair (3ality Technica; using their TS-5 rig and SIP (Stereoscopic Image Processor)) and starring Thomas Kretschmann (KING KONG, WANTED, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCOLYPSE) this movie looks like a thrill. Could it possibly be a contender for the Best Foreign Picture category at the Oscars this year?

For those of you not familiar with the Battle of Stalingrad, you can read about it on Wikipedia. The opening paragraph says this:

The Battle of Stalingrad (August 23, 1942–February 2, 1943) was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the southwestern Soviet Union. Marked by constant close-quarters combat and lack of regard for military and civilian casualties, it is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. Afterwards, the German forces never regained the initiative in war in the East.
According to IMDB STALINGRAD is the "first Russian movie made completely in 3D and the first non-American film in the IMAX format." This is a pretty big deal for Russia, and depicting the infamous battle screenwriter Ilya Tilkin studied museum archives as well as the diaries of the Stalingrad Battle participants to write his original script.
MOVIE SYNOPSIS (IMDB written by Ilya Tilkin):
Stalingrad has become hell and paradise for those who were worthy of awards, but the only reward they managed to get was love. How they won, and how they were not defeated, who they were and who was on the other side of the street, what secret they have taken away with them - the movie will tell this story.
Below is the trailer:
It has Russian subtitles, and according to IMDB the movie's language will be Russian and German.


The movie is slated to be released  by Columbia Pictures Fall 2013 on IMAX 3D and RealD 3D screens.

**Editor's note: Jim here, I saw some of this in advance at 3ality Technica's offices and man does it ever look good. We're going to be in for a heckuva story and ride with this one!


3D Geek Alert: Collect Your DESPICABLE ME 2 Special Edition 3D Glasses!

It's interesting to see what sort of custom glasses come out any given year as part of the marketing budget for various movies - all of which are invariably family movies. The next one coming down the pipe is DESPICABLE ME 2 which feature the glasses pictured. They remind me of the Pod Racer glasses that came out with STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D.

The DESPICABLE ME 2 glasses are coming to Best Buy (US) or look3D.com soon and they are exclusively for use in RealD 3D theaters. In addition to them being useable at the cinema, you can also use these passive 3D glasses with passive 3D electronics. This includes LG and Vizio home theater systems. Not for use in IMAX 3D or Dolby Digital 3D Cinemas. Not for use with Active 3D television systems.

FRAME MATERIAL: ABS Plastic with Elastic Strap
FRAME SIZE: Fits Kids / Youth / Adult
LENS SPECS: REALD Certified
RETAIL PRICE: AUD $12.95
COMES WITH: DM2 Branded Soft Cloth Bag and Retail Blister Packed

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster, DESPICABLE ME, delighted audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In Summer 2013, get ready for more minion madness in DESPICABLE ME 2. Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy animated adventure featuring the return of Gru (Steve Carell), the girls, the unpredictably hilarious minions… and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.

DESPICABLE ME 2 opens on July 3, 2013.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Osaka Popstar and Passmorelab Announce Debut of 3D music videos on the Nintendo 3DS

May 22, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) Passmorelab and indie-punk-rock group Osaka Popstar announced today that the 3D music videos for the songs Wicked World and Insects will premiere on the Nintendo 3DS in May and June respectively.

The handheld Nintendo 3DS is an autostereoscopic console capable of showing 3D video without the use of 3D glasses. As of April 2013, Nintendo has sold over 20 million 3DS games. Nintendo will premiere Osaka Popstarʼs music video for Wicked World on May 24, 2013 and the band's video for Insects will be available for download on June 20, 2013.

Osaka Popstar is a sonically and visually stimulating punk-pop band led by singer/producer John Cafiero—long-time Misfits and Ramones collaborator and platinum selling film and video director. This new multimedia experience is another example of Cafieroʼs vision for his music and art crossover project which features a revolving backing band of punk-rock legends—guests in the lineup have included members of the Misfits, the Ramones, Black Flag, and more.

Passmorelab, a San Diego-based 3D producer and distributor, is a licensed developer for Nintendo and has provided 3D for music videos for many top musical acts including Linkin Park, Devo, Black Keys and Train.

“Our innovative 3D style has allowed us to become a leader in 3D post production for the music industry. Additionally, we thought this project was a wonderful opportunity to promote the incredible special education program at J.P. Widney High School,” said Greg Passmore, President of Passmorelab (ʻInsectsʼ was written by the Kids of Widney High, a music group composed of disabled students from the special education J.P. Widney High School in Los Angeles. All of the producerʼs net proceeds from the video will benefit J.P. Widney High School).

Osaka Popstar frontman Cafiero stated, “With all the different components there are to explore in Osaka Popstar I couldnʼt imagine a more perfect fit than teaming with Nintendo. Video games have an incredible dynamic mix of audio/visual excitement and Osaka Popstar has kinship in that approach. The imagery stemming from the music, and the animated videos themselves are essentially like video games that have taken on a life of their own, and started playing out in stealth mode. Iʼd love to take it the next step and reverse that concept, bringing the characters and scenarios into an actual gaming environment...” Cafiero added, “Weʼve done punk versions of the Astro Boy and Sailor Moon themes, and I canʼt tell you how many times fans have requested Osaka Popstar cover the theme to “Sonic X”, so if you do the math, it speaks for itself. Weʼre definitely in the right place with Nintendo, and Iʼm thrilled about it. This is going to be a blast.”

“As the first and most widely embraced autostereoscopic device on the worldwide market, the Nintendo 3DS has changed the way 3D content is delivered to consumers,” stated James Humann, Passmorelabʼs legal counsel. “Johnʼs vision for Osaka Popstar, infectious pop punk inspired in part by Japanese animation, translated perfectly for 3D. Its fun and its cool. Our recent project with Devo
(Monster Man 3D) was a huge hit with Nintendo users and we think these videos will be as well."

About Osaka Popstar
Osaka Popstar is the pop-punk multimedia music and art project led by singer/producer John Cafiero, long-time Misfits & Ramones collaborator and platinum selling film and video director. The critically acclaimed debut album “Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk” features frontman Cafiero with a revolving lineup of punk-rock legends as his backing band including members of the Misfits, the Ramones, Black Flag, and the Voidoids among others. The bandʼs new single “Super Hero” (written by Cafiero), was released pre-Spring 2013 charting in the top 20 on alternative radio. An expanded reissue of the debut album will follow this summer and more new material is already in the works. The world of Osaka Popstar is a fusion of pop-culture that transcends into all facets of art including music, animation, apparel, vinyl toys and much more.

CONTACT:
http://osakapopstar.com
http://facebook.com/osakapopstar
http://twitter.com/osakapopstar

About Passmorelab
Passmorelab is a San Diego-based stereoscopic 3D studio that specializes in Ultra HD (4K) and 3D production and distribution. The company's California and Texas facilities include 4K and 3D production and post production suites and software development labs. Passmorelab’s state-of-the-art 3D technology has been used on many major Hollywood films. The company also specializes in 3D production for music videos and has worked with many high profile artists including Linkin Park,
Devo and the Black Keys. Passmorelab also operates a distribution/sales office in San Diego that specializes in licensing 4K and 3D content across all platforms.

CONTACT:
Passmorelab
4901 Morena Blvd., Bldg. 600
San Diego, CA 92117
Michael Williams, Director of Content and Distribution
(562) 533-0453 sales@passmorelab.com
http://www.passmorelab.com/
http://www.facebook.com/passmore.lab

WHOA! Must Watch: Last MAN OF STEEL Trailer Drops!!

Wow - very nice. I'm hoping for an excellent 3D conversion here because, let's face it - this is Superman. I'm impressed with how the story is filling in and the how realistic the scenes look. Truly hyped about MAN OF STEEL!

Hear General Zod's (Michael Shannon) ultimatum to Kal-El (Superman)! This is going to be amazing...

Here's the storyline for the movie:
In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Cavill) is a young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.

MAN OF STEEL opens on June 14.

Check the trailer:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why I'm NOT rating STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS And Why It Reminds Me Of THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER

In a nutshell, if you've been a fan of Star Trek from the beginning or have extensive knowledge of the canon, then I will tell you right now I was disappointed. However, if you haven't followed Star Trek from the beginning then you are in for a treat.

I'm not going to rate the movie. I've seen it twice; I really tried to like it. I can see many, many people really loving the movie and justifiably so. But I can also see many hating the movie and justifiably so. Me? I'm in the middle.

Speaking as a loyal fan since The Original Series, I did not like most of it. The visual effects? Stunning. Really. The 3D? Not so good. The story? Here we go...

**HEAVY SPOILER ALERT! **

Obviously spoilers here. I'm just going to talk as if you've seen the movie already.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS crosses the line from paying homage to downright copying with many twists. I can't stand knowing the lines before they are spoken and I don't care who is saying them. Swapping out Kirk for Spock in the radiation death scene is inexcusable. Lame, lame writing. Not clever at all. I also felt as though that whole scene was added on - it wasn't needed in the story. It could have been edited out entirely and have no bearing on the outcome of the movie.

Furthermore, other than now having no need for medicine whatsoever (Bones, you're out of a job) the device of using Khan's blood (Yes Khan Noonien Singh; copying yet again) to bring Kirk back from the dead is such lazy writing it's unbelievable. And now the franchise is stuck with the results. Why even wait to get Khan's blood? Thaw out one of his 72 cronies and use theirs!

And that's evading the fact that the Federation has had 300 years to distill this technology from what they knew when they froze them! Think about that. 300 YEARS!!! At least with the Genesis project from THE WRATH OF KHAN, a new technology accidentally brought Spock back and he wasn't quite the same afterward. Do you have any idea how much knowledge can be attained in 300 years, that far into the future? Computers have long become sentient and capable of independent thought *and invention*. Heck even today when we look back 300 years to our horse riding, leeching medicine ancestors - are we not amazed at what we have done to this point?

Khan blood. Why not just grant wishes? Seriously. Why not allow everyone in the Star Trek universe to grant each other wishes. What's next for the writers? Hey let's destroy Vulcan! Hey, get this, a main character dies from radiation while trying to save the Enterprise but we're gonna switch it to Kirk this time! AND let's reuse those lines again. Hey let's kill Pike!! No need for him to be a mute quadriplegic, and weave him into future films - just get rid of him. Moreover, instead of killing him for the development of something truly meaningful, let's kill him off so that Spock will learn something from his last moments mind-meld - so he can improve his understanding of his relationship with Uhura (which shouldn't be happening in the first place!). No, no - don't kill Pike so that Kirk can lose yet another father figure and we'll see how that affects his character (which might have been actually interesting). Killing Pike was horrendous. Just like Vulcan in the first movie. I was so looking forward to seeing him in a motorized transport unit and somehow contributing to the development of Kirk down the road. *Sigh* They spent all that time developing Pike as such a great moral compass for Kirk and then just whack him. Bruce Greenwood too! One of the greatest character actors we have today.

The writers also spat on the Admiral (Peter Weller), who announces that he brought in Pike to the Academy in the same fashion that Pike brought in Kirk. See the very cool connections here? Admiral Marcus is a father figure to Pike who is a father figure to Kirk. These connections could have been amazing story material, **ORIGINAL STORY MATERIAL**, if these "writers" could have fathomed it. But no. Let's kill 'em all. All of 'em. Kill Marcus as a traitor (the ADMIRAL as a TRAITOR no less!). Kill Pike to help Spock's love life. And kill Kirk, but bring him back with Khan blood. Don't worry, it's science fiction - we can get away with it.

Sorry, this story is a complete failure for me. The only saving grace is the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in as much as I hated seeing Khan brought back. Abrams missed the chance to actually use Cumberbatch as an original villain - something new and exciting, rather than trying to have him live up to Ricardo Montalban's Khan - which by the way, both Montalban's performance and the movie THE WRATH OF KHAN are still tops in my books.

Yes, I get that this is an alternate universe. Congratulations. What's next on the Xerox guys, whales? Unfortunately I have the feeling it's going to be The Next Generation's Borg. While the idea excites me, I'm sure all they're going to do is just regurgitate Kirk being assimilated into the collective. LaKirkus? Yeah, I can see those guys dreaming it up already. *Sigh*.

So what do I like about the movie? How about LOVE about the movie - the effects!!!! Stunning, wondrous visual and practical effects that I needn't talk about too much. If you've seen it, I'm sure you will agree this is top flight stuff here.

The 3D? Not so great. Abrams style of shooting anamorphic and with lens flares just doesn't convert well at all to 3D. Some shots were amazing (mostly the effects as these were done in a computer through a native digital render), but other shots? Ugh. The Carol Marcus scene (that Tim spoke about) with the outrageous and totally ignorant lens flare mixed with distorted and stretched heads on the screen edge, all in converted 3D almost made me sick to my stomach. Ok maybe not, but I'm sure I LOOKED like I was going to be sick. Not from a headache, but from pure distaste. It literally looked like a film school dropout's work. I'm not kidding. Perhaps it was their idea of a joke. A homage to the Abrams' lens flare joke. If it was, I didn't laugh. The 3D conversion was just good. Not amazingly great like what Stereo D has done for Marvel (THE AVENGERS was the best conversion to date). STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS' 3D barely excited me - much like Stereo D's work in IRON MAN 3. Now a lot of this I know is derived from the creatives - mainly the director who give instructions to the conversion house, but c'mon - follow the Marvel 3D plan. It works big time. If you can't Abrams, then shoot natively for the love of Roddenberry.

Listen, if you haven't been following Star Trek, or if you haven't really been paying attention by all means see this movie. Much of it is eye candy and wondrous. But for all you stereoscopic 3D aficionados and Trekkies - be wary. For you may react similarly to me -and Kirk- from the ending of THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER: "Let's get the hell out of here." 

And I can't look anymore.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Peter Jackson Picks Up THE HOBBIT Where He Left Off...

Yes, Peter Jackson is back at it with his cast and crew for the final pick ups for THE HOBBIT trilogy. Would love to be there to see the 3ality Technica rigs and Epic cameras capturing Tolkien's world for the final time.

Here's what Jackson had to say via Facebook:
"Back on set for our last Hobbit pick ups. Our last ever Tolkien pick ups, in fact. It’s going to be an intense few weeks, but we’re looking forward to shooting some powerful scenes with our great cast. Our next blog is coming soon!"

We know that the pick ups will last ~10 weeks and seeing as though this is definitely Jackson's last trip to Middle-earth (unless he can sink his claws and legal rights into THE SIMILARION as sort of the book ends to everything), so it's going to be a somber affair yet again with his team.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG releases on December 13th, plus we can also look forward to the conclusion, THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN on December 17, 2014.

Source: Facebook

First Trailer for Jean Pierre Jeunet's THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS SPIVET In 3D

Tim here with a trailer from the latest movie by acclaimed director Jean Pierre Jeunet (DELICATESSEN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, AMELIE and MICMACS). His next film is a 3D family feature titled The Young and Prodigious Spivet and is based on The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, by Reif Larson.

This is a movie that was shot using Cameron | Pace Group 3D Rigs and the ARRI Alexa. After the success of Baz Lurhmann's THE GREAT GATSBY as a dramatic 3D feature this will be a great treat. If any of you have seen Jeunet's previous films you're aware that you're in a for a real treat with him venturing into 3D. He's a true cinematic mastermind, whose every frame is magic to witness on screen. If you haven't seen his previous films the ones listed above are magnificent films to start with.

Here's what stereographer Demetri Portelli said about the director's use of 3D (quote from filmstage.com, where more images from the set are located):
"This is an important film for the 3D industry, Jean-Pierre is a master filmmaker who is shooting very ambitious material on a modest budget. The film stands to prove that extraordinary 3D images can be created of the highest quality with a director who visualizes the story from its inception to be shot in 'native 3D capture.' Jean-Pierre embraced the medium with on-set 3D systems to tell the story of 'T.S. Spivet.' The director will seize many 3D opportunities 'in the moment' as he blocks the scenes and composes his shots. I am amazed at Jeunet's storyboards and how he conceived the film originally in 3D from the script stage. He is playing with the depth space and the timing for his 3D moments."
SYNOPSIS:
A 12-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.

Below is the trailer.  

I apologize for the French subtitles, but since this is a trailer for the French speaking countries since they are the only ones with a release date as of yet it's the only one available.


The film stars newcomer Kyle Catlett as the title character T.S. Spivet, and the cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis, and Dominique Pinon. Currently there is no North America release date, but it is set to be released in France in October on the 16th so hopefully it gets a domestic release date soon.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Tim's Star Trek Into Darkness Review - MAJOR SPOILERS!

Tim here. First let me start with stating that spoilers will follow in this review as this movie cannot be properly analyzed without at least discussing these spoiler filled plot points. If this is an inconvenience and you wish to see the movie unspoiled then please see it first before reading this review. 

That being said this was a great continuation of the new Star Trek series brought to us by director J.J. Abrams.

The movie opens with Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) in command of the USS Enterprise and not following the "Prime Directive" rules set by Starfleet when he chooses to save his friend and colleague Spock (Zachary Quinto) from certain death. This sets up the necessary distance that Kirk and crew need to have from Starfleet as they embark on a mission of vengeance of both a commanded and personal nature. The mission is to kill John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) after he has bombed a secret Starfleet facility and assassinated much of the high ranking officers at Starfleet headquarters. More on the story will follow in a bit.

First let's talk about the writing and performances in general. Overall it was very well written and acted. Chris Pine is great in the role of Kirk, continuing to develop what he started in the first movie. As well Zachary Quinto performs well as Spock, and continues to play the half-Vulcan, half-human, first officer of Enterprise with great poise and humility. However, it is Benedict Cumberbatch who steals the show as the main antagonist Khan. Did I just spoil that plot point? Yes, John Harrison is in fact really Khan who was woken from his cryo slumber by Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller). Weller is the secondary antagonist, and he's good and sufficient in his role as a war mongering Starfleet admiral. Again, Benedict Cumberbatch cannot be matched as he steals the thunder in every scene he performs in. Other notable performances belong to Simon Pegg as Scotty, who delivers a large amount of humor while also fulfilling his duty. Zoe Saldana is wonderful again as Uhura and she plays the hurt lover by Spock's earlier choice to die for the greater good before being saved by Kirk. She handles those emotions perfectly. However, it is Alice Eve as Carol Marcus who gets the better emotional performance when she pleas with her father not to destroy the enterprise. I will comment more on this in the story section along with the cinematography section.

With cinematography the 3D conversion must also be discussed. The movie was brilliantly shot as a 2D movie, but it didn't quite lend itself to helping the 3D conversion with the lens flares. The lens flares were toned down in this one, but not enough in some instances. One that was absolutely terrible was a distracting lens flare that interfered with the touching dramatic performance as Alice Eve pleaded with her father from the Enterprise. Why? That was a really poor choice because it hurt the performance and was a distraction. It didn't add anything to the moment and was fully capable of destroying the suspension of disbelief. In fact with the 3D conversion the lens flares completely ruined that suspension of disbelief that 3D can help. Yes, humans do see lens flares in real life, but not to the same degree as a camera lens. In fact the lens flares too often draw attention to the fact that there is a camera in the scene. Not to mention the anamorphic lenses used on the cameras created a warp to some images that made the 3D conversion odd. A few times because of the 2D cinematography there were screen violations because foreground objects in negative parallax were too far to the side of the image frame and caused slight discomfort. This was unforgivably detrimental to making this movie worth the 3D conversion. However, there were plenty of moments where the stereo was good.

The visual effects were top notch as always. They played really well in 3D because all the elements that are built in 3D programs can be rendered out in stereo. However, that doesn't mean that some were ruined by lens flares. Why lens flares in space? I commented about this for the last Star Trek because by having a lens flare in space you acknowledge that there is a camera in space filming this event, and as a result make the filmmaker's presence part of the audiences awareness.

Now for the story, which was very well done. It was a good continuation. A lot worked well for it, but at the same time there were questions. For example, why demote Kirk only to have him quickly reinstated to his same position in less time than the demotion can sink in and have an effect? That plot ploy was a bit weak. However, it did help in giving Kirk the distance he needed from the rest of Starfleet's high ranking officers. Next, was Scotty's resignation, which worked wonderfully. It was believable and worked well to serve as a means to get Scotty to be able to go off and do his own exploration and be in the right place at the right time to save Kirk and crew's lives. Now, as soon as Kirk starts beating Khan (still John Harrison to the audience at this point) and doesn't make a dent it brings to light that Harrison can't be human. The fact that he looks human and thus must be some superhuman instantly makes anyone with knowledge of the series and previous films know he has to be Khan. When he's revealed to be Khan I couldn't help but cheer, but get annoyed at the ploy to hide his identity. Then Spock contacting future Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to inquire about Khan completely changes the dynamics again. It shifts the arch nemesis status of Khan away from Kirk and moves it over to Spock. Even giving Spock the famous "Khhaaan!" scream. However, it worked. Especially the role reversal where Kirk is put in the Spock position and sacrifices his life for the crew. Bringing him back to life using Khan's blood was in fact something that worked well to keep him part of the series, but rendered his sacrifice less effective. It even gives a new dilemma: How can anyone die for the rest of this series when all they need is a blood transfusion from Khan?

No matter what issues rise from these new developments in the story, the movie is still a fun ride with well written action sequences and dialogue. The film is filled with great performances. And despite some drawbacks the cinematography is very well done. The 3D conversion however was wasted. Not only because of the way it was shot but also the way it was edited. Honestly in the future I will primarily see this movie in 2D even if there were some nice conversion work done by StereoD. I give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5, and most of the points against it have to do with those lens flares and as well doesn't counter in the 3D. Grading the 3D conversion and the use of 3D I give it 2 out of 5. If you haven't seen the movie I suggest you do. See it in 3D or 2D, it's up to you, but no matter what format you see it in you should enjoy it.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

MUST WATCH: MASSIVE New Trailer For PACIFIC RIM!!

Just take my money now.



Here's the storyline for the movie:
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

PACIFIC RIM opens on July 12.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Movie Review: THE GREAT GATSBY - 9.5 Stars, Spoiler Free!

What a treat! If you've read other critics panning the movie - do not listen to them! I can't emphasize this enough. Make up your own mind. But do go and see it. Take a look at RottenTomatoes. The critics have THE GREAT GATSBY at 49% currently (a joke), while the actual paying audience has it at 84%! These critics are WAY out of touch with reality. Further, TGG enjoyed an opening weekend of $50m+!

I felt reinvigorated and thoughtful upon leaving the theater. Think the opposite of how you feel after a explosion filled action movie. Think culturally relevant. If you don't go see this movie in theaters, in 3D, you are doing yourself a disservice. This is art in motion and in sound.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a young man from Minnesota, moves to New York to learn about the bond business. He rents a house in the swanky West Egg district of Long Island. He eventually meets his neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and gets caught up in his world of extravagant parties and people. 

Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this story deals with the allure of fame and fortune, as well as the unbreakable bond of first love.


I'm going to jump right into the review...

Story - 98%. Adapted from one of the greatest writers we have ever known, F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY delivers an extremely satisfying drama that pulls you in and doesn't let go. Brilliant characters illuminate the story from beginning to end and their journey is full of joy and peril. Life can flip on a dime and these characters live it. Almost flawless and wonderfully adapted, you won't want for a better trip away from your own joys and perils.

Acting - 95%. Leonardo DiCaprio is Jay Gatsby. His development as an actor has been a work in progress over the years. I remember seeing him in THE QUICK AND THE DEAD and thinking wow, this kid's going to be amazing in a few years. He hasn't let me down. His portrayal of JG captures his intense yearnings, patience, timidness and ultimately his obsessiveness - all brilliantly done. Director Baz Luhrmann's camera captures every nuance of JG's emotion through all the glitz and glamor of the era. I can't think of better casting. One scene in particular, again in the hotel room - Jay Gatsby reveals a chink in his emotional armor and perfectly summed up my thoughts on DiCaprio as Gatsby: Range and authenticity.

The only reason why I didn't give the acting a 99% or even 100% is Tobey Maguire. I am not a fan. His personality is appropriate diminutive in this movie, hinting at why he was cast, but Maguire just doesn't have believability. Nick Carraway needed to be more in awe, more out of place, more insane (at times) and have much more of a change by the end. He witnesses a great deal of things. Carraway needed to CHANGE much more than Maguire portrayed and I just didn't believe him as an actor. Still, he wasn't horrible. Miscast, but ok.

I've become more and more of a fan of Carey Mulligan of late. I first took note of her in DRIVE - she plays wonderfully enamored women who seem to fall for the wrong man. Perfectly cast as Daisy Buchanan.

Character Development - 92%. A wonderful and gradual exposure to Jay Gatsby was timed perfectly to continue with the wonderful and gradual exposure of what he was up to! Maguire's character should have gone deeper visually (the story was fine). I loved the evolution of Daisy 's character into the pure state of confusion. I must revisit this movie again soon to see how Luhrmann did it! Normally I am watching technique as much as the story itself, but I was lost in this movie so many times that I simply must investigate Luhrmann's technique in certain scenes once more. The hotel room scene toward the end in particular.

Suspension of Disbelief - 88%. I am conflicted on this section because on one hand sits the most wonderful treatment of Times Square I have ever seen for that era or any era for that matter (especially with the 3D), but on the other rests some fairly poorly painted mattes that had me shaking my head. Further the industrial blue collar zone outside of New York looked like more of a fantasy than reality. Like a purgatory. Perhaps it is meant to be that metaphor. I haven't read the book (I know!) so I can't comment on the various book club discussions on it's meaning. Perhaps it's due to it being told through the memory lens of an insane Carraway. Regardless, Times Square was amazing and I so wanted the camera to linger on that scene for much, much longer. The modern score helped draw me in as well. Not as a historical piece no, but as if I were there - accepted into - and at home with these characters.

Directing - 98%. What can I say? Almost perfect. This is art to me. Something I could watch over and over and over again and see something new every time. Without exception. That's art. It reminds me of standing in The Louvre and ogling paintings for hours, then going back and doing it again. It's moving to see beauty and it's all the more rare these days to see it in a motion picture. Heck, THE GREAT GATSBY belongs IN the Louvre. There are some continuity issues (pen position on paper, etc) but that's nitpicking (it did however break my suspension of disbelief). Baz Luhrmann's movies are pieces of art, but none as effectively done as THE GREAT GATSBY. It's a tour de force of imagery, sound and story magnificently woven with the unforgettable strands of a literary classic in stunning 3D immersion.

Sound / Score - 95%. Luhrmann took a big risk (as he likes to do; ROME + JULIET in Shakespearean tongue for example) with the music for GATSBY using modern day artists and their music as the thunder behind his visual lightning. And when I say modern artists, I mean an impressive list of the who's who in today's music: Jay Z, Beyonce, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Ray, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Bryan Ferry, will.i.am, Fergie, The xx and U2. Of course there's a little Cole Porter in there too. Some small amounts didn't work - like Beyonce's "Crazy In Love". All that did was flash some of the music video in my mind. For me, 95% of it worked. Big time. It drew me in. I was engaged and actively participating in all the grandeur. Just a wonderful, wonderful double edged palette knife of sight and sound being mixed together and presented on the giant Real D screen. Thank you Baz Luhrmann for taking risks.

Cinematography - 99%. Yeah. It's tight. As close to perfection as you can get with actually being perfect. The lighting! WOW. Just spot on lighting. I was just sitting back thinking to myself "Just soak it all in". I was in awe of just how magnificent everything looked! Opulence. Opulence. Opulence. The makeup was amazing too. Closeups betrayed nothing out of place. Even when Gatsby returned from the rain (in the trailers), his closeup and full shot was flawless - arguably one of the most important shots of the movie (Jay meeting Daisy again). Why not 100%? Some of those matte paintings. That's it.

Visual / Special / Stunts - 82%. The only real weakness of the movie. Matte paintings were weak. The car racing scenes were great but could have been better. Times Square brought me back over 80% satisfaction though.

Stereoscopic 3D - 95%. This my friends, is a BIG deal. THE GREAT GATSBY is an adult drama that utilized 3D the way it was meant to be - to draw you into a story. Just as Luhrmann's use of visuals and sound draw you in, his artistic use of 3D sealed the deal. I WAS there. In the parties. In the emotion. In the story! You have to see it to believe it.

A standing ovation for 3ality Technica for their impeccable native 3D services and equipment! I'm proud to have them as a sponsor. I truly am.

One shot in particular has Jay Gatsby throwing an object into his pool on an angle from the camera and the resulting splash was just at the right perspective (perfect really) to have me 'think' to move, but not too much to have me flinch! Such subtle command and control of the moving going experience has me giddy with anticipation for the new tentpoles that are shooting in native 3D. Luhrmann probably did the pool splash just to show you he could toy with you if he wanted to - he just doesn't want to water down his movie. Nothing that I can recall breaks the plane of the screen. It was all about immersion into the decadence of THE GREAT GATSBY. Luhrmann used 3D as one of his tools in this obvious labor of love. And I indeed loved it!

Do yourself a favor, go see this movie. Treat it like a cultural event... for the edification of your mind. Because that's what it is. Art. Culture. Life. Bravo Baz!

THE GREAT GATSBY is now playing.

Thank you to Empire Theaters for the screening! The Real D presentation was well lit and sounded remarkable!! The service was the typical excellence I have come to expect.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Behind The Scenes Shots From THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: Visual Spoilers!!

Hey guys, got some cool new behind-the-scenes (BTS) shots from Marc Webb's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. We'll start with the one that has been circling for a bit (Sent from Marc Webb's Twitter account yesterday) and leave the remaining shots for after the jump to protect those who don't want to be spoiled.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.

Yes there are spoilers in the photos after the jump! Don't click unless you're sure you want to see them. You have been WARNED.

Click here to hit the jump...

Friday, May 10, 2013

James Franco Joins Wim Wenders' Next 3D Project: EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE

Yet another adult drama being shot in 3D! The timing for this announcement couldn't be better with the pending release of Baz Luhrmann's THE GREAT GATSBY. We're entering a new phase for 3D - one that says 'I don't care what genre you're shooting in - make it 3D'.

World renowned director Wim Wenders (PINA) has just inked James Franco to star in his next 3D project entitled EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.

Says Wenders on the movie: "A family drama, unraveling over the course of twelve years. ...And I’m convinced that the medium (3D) lends itself really well to an intimate story."


Here's the storyline for the movie:
A writer (Franco) who accidentally causes the death of a child and the story that follows him over the next 12 years as he looks for the footprints of the accident on his life, as well as on the life of the child’s mother.

More when we get it! Assuming this project will be shot in native 3D as was Wenders' Oscar nominated PINA.

Source: THR

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Teaser Trailer for Gravity Released!

Tim here, and I'm very exciting to help reveal the very first teaser trailer for Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity! It's his first movie since 2006's Children for Men, and it looks like another masterpiece from the reknowned director.

Here's the synopsis for Gravity:

Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

GRAVITY opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on October 4.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

First Peek At Alfonso Caurón's GRAVITY!

It's not much as far as length, but George Clooney's in a space suit again - how great is that? I am itching to see more of this thing and Entertainment Tonight promises more on Thursday. Aside from the anticipation for just how Cauron will pull it off (including his amazingly long opening take), seeing Clooney and Sandra Bullock in orbiting peril will be dynamite.

Even more exciting (for me anyway) is the fact the Cauron and his son Jonas wrote it. When a director is involved with multiple facets of his/her movie, that's when you know it's a personal passion play. It's kind of like when a musician writes his own material. It's just... better.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Dr. Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they've lost any link to Earth... and any chance for rescue.

GRAVITY opens on October 4.



via The Film Stage

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Movie Review: IRON MAN 3 - 7.7 Stars, Spoiler Alert!!

I've started using a single decimal point in my movie ratings because, and I must emphasize this, IRON MAN 3 is not an 8 star movie. Will you go and have a fun time? Yes. Is IRON MAN finally in 3D? Yes. Should Marvel be proud of this effort? Not really, in my opinion.

WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. Couldn't help it.

The worldwide success that IRON MAN 3 is enjoying is predominantly from the goodwill from THE AVENGERS, the 3D surcharge and the remarkable marketing jobs that Disney can pull off. To date, IM3 has raked in $700M - a stunning figure in that it was just released in North America this weekend. But in the end, IM3 will lower expectations from Marvel Studios and hurt future box office returns, including that of THE AVENGERS 2. What I am NOT saying here is that THE AVENGERS 2 will bomb - far from it; but I am saying that it will be hurt in some degree by this let down.

So why am I disheartened by the movie? Multiple reasons. Some of them I am quite passionate about - others more of feeling than anything else. Keep in mind that 7.7 stars is far from panning a movie - it's just that Marvel is capable of so much more.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Marvel's "Iron Man 3" pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Let's go over the categories one at a time and break this thing down into chew-able pieces:

ONCE AGAIN - SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!

Story - 68%. Not a great story. In fact IRON MAN 2 and 3 are fairly close in my mind. The original IRON MAN was an amazing movie. Look, I'm going to have to give some spoilers here to justify my comments and so, the problem is this: Marvel promised something and didn't deliver. In many ways. There's a fine line between expectations and surprises and this movie failed to manage both. I love the angle of Tony being anxiety ridden and the strange symptoms that can bring (who wouldn't after New York?), but the delivery of it was horrible. J.A.R.V.I.S. diagnosing anxiety within seconds of reviewing basic bodily function stats? A kid making a psych evaluation and solving his problem? Why in Asgard is Stark seeking treatment for anxiety from Bruce Banner? I can think of better Avengers tie-ins than that!

But I digress (it's easy to when you love a character like Stark). Broken promises. The Mandarin. Where do I even begin? My expectations were toasted up, buttered and slapped with saliva inducing marketing marmalade for months upon months. Finally a deep, psychological nemesis for Stark to deal with - intellectual parity battling for supremacy. Nope. A been there, done that character device - he's just an actor. You know, the ol' Star Trek TOS device in "The Corbomite Maneuver" where the evil villain is really just a front for a child-like man. I felt the same let down in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and the metaphorical castration of Bane. Dang it, I just want original material! Marvel has an amazing menagerie of villains - why on earth would you intentionally lobotomize him? His rings alone would warrant a movie.

Broken promises. Tony goes back to the cave (paraphrasing). What cave exactly? A suburban garage with a young kid in it? No, no, no, no, NO. I wanted solitude. A fortress of solitude if you will. But a place where Stark could be his creative self. Seriously - what did you think he could build there? He built exactly what he could in such a place - a pop tart heating oven mitt. What was that?? That's a fair cry from building a miniature arc reactor in a middle eastern cave. I wanted him to TOP THAT. I wanted him to walk into this amazingly secret location he had built with every conceivable toy he could dream of using to build something worthy of the Stark name. And that kid! Great for some comedic relief, but come on - not in the fortress of solitude. Let me write the script here: Have him battle his anxiety on his own, while trying to build something useful to battle the real Mandarin and throw in either his growing dependency on alcohol (due to New York and character flaw) or some other drug for anxiety to complicate things. I'm going to stop here - but I could go on and on and on about this topic, believe me.

Heck, seeing that Hulkbuster looking armor barreling through walls had me sit forward in my seat - what's going to happen? Is Stark going to use that armor personally to win the battle? Ah no. It was used as a throwaway. Inanimate. A waste of my attention and not required in the movie's story AT ALL. *Sigh*.

Acting - 85%. Obviously strong with this cast in place. No real weak link. Robert Downey Jr. did the best with what he had I felt, but it could have been so much more. The real waste was of course Ben Kingsley - his awesome performance as a villain was cut very short.

Character Development - 77%. An attempt was made to finally show some weakness in the ego armor of Stark. But in the end, I had a bad taste in my mouth from the way he treated the child (it's not his child and even if it was, does he want to repeat what his father did to him?), his almost laughable creations in the boy's garage and ultimately his full surrender to 'serenity now'. It all doesn't sit right with me.

Now Pepper Potts on the other hand was brilliantly wrought. Finally she is a formidable adversary both physically and mentally. Her quick and decidedly very aggressive actions have her and Stark meeting themselves going in different directions: Potts becoming more warlike and Stark un-arming himself. I applaud whats happened to her in IM3 and as a device, I like having the two characters slowing migrating to polar opposites once again.

The Mandarin was a sham. Completely put off by the premise as a slap in the face of everything I thought Marvel stood for. Marvel has to work so hard at suspension of disbelief with superhero movies, to just up and rip this one to shreds points to too much ego in the ranks. Someone is getting too big for their britches. It stinks. Yeah, I'm upset.

Suspension of disbelief - 75%. I'm going to touch on this later in the effects review, but for now suffice to say that there were many times I was thinking about the effects and not what was going on in the scenes. That's bad. The acting held together, the effects suffered. When my expectation of the Mandarin was shattered, so was my disbelief. Marvel invited me to believe the character and like a lemming I did, only to be slapped with their notion of a plot twist later. Thanks. At least the camera work and score held things together outside of that.

Directing - 71%. I never thought I'd say this, but I want Favreau back. He was a student of the character and I believe he's the only one I can think of right now that can bring more life back into the character. Favreau's biggest drawback to me is his lack of 3D experience. Shane Black's IRON MAN 3 is disjointed. Several times he lost me. Maybe I should have picked something up earlier, I don't know but there were a few scene shifts that completely lost me. Understand that I am a hard person to lose in a movie too. Sure I liked the nods to the original IRON MAN like the inclusion of Stark's assistant from the Middle Eastern cave. His comedic touches were somewhat nice too. Loved Stark's "Westworld" comment for example.

Sound / Score - 88%. Nicely done. Especially the folly and sound effects. The Iron Man franchise has always been strong in that department. Hat's off.

Cinematography - 87%. The other reason to see this movie. It's a spectacle. Awesome camera angles and motion! Inventive scenes and a very nicely lit and shot movie. Between this, the sound and the acting - these are the reasons to see IM3.

John Toll (BRAVEHEART, CLOUD ATLAS) was the Director of Photography.

Visual Effects - 81%. Nope. Not as good as ILM and it will be sometime before anyone can catch (if ever) ILM in what I call "hard line engineering". ILM did the first two IRON MAN movies and boy can you tell the difference. At least I can. And it was DISTRACTING. Look, I am a HUGE Weta Digital fan. And Digital Domain fan too. But Weta is a much more of an organic, photo realistic shop for tight closeups of creatures and humans that want to cross the uncanny valley. In other words, they have their place right now and that is working their magic in Middle-earth and on Pandora, rather than the armor of Tony Stark. ILM owns this space. Nobody is better than they are with robots (TRANSFORMERS - which was converted mostly by Legend 3D), building destruction, ships, cars, etc. It's just their heritage. They've built their engines from a pedigree influenced by their previous works. Same goes for Weta. It's no disrespect here. ILM is better with hard lines and Weta is better with soft line engineering (organic). The best result if both types of effects are needed are for these tow companies to work together. Producer Kevin Feige actually compared the final battle scene in IM3 to THE AVENGERS final battle scenes and said IM3 was better (paraphrasing)! No, it's not. Far from not better. One scene with Stark walking down stairs in his armor had me shaking my head. It was so easy to tell it was effects, and kinda shoddy at that! I want to be guessing if this was someone really in a suit walking or effects. There was an overall softness to the effects and I wanted nice hard lines. In other words, Disney - spend the money to get ILM. Don't contract this stuff out to the lowest bidder if that's what happened. And to be clear, I'm sure Weta did the best job they could with what they have.

Stereoscopic 3D - 76%. Oh man does Marvel need to embrace native 3D if they are going to continue down the path of IRON MAN 3. The 3D in IRON MAN 3 was passable and good in most scenes, but in other cases was bad. Stereo D did the conversion and while they are Marvel's go-to conversion shop, this effort is merely ok. Compared to THE AVENGERS, the 3D in IM3 pales. One scene had a lazily converted backdrop that had me shuddering.

I was able to tour Stereo D's facilities while I was in LA in February and they were working on IM3 when we were walking through. They're good people there. I just think Marvel had better shape up in the effects and 3D department - spend the money where you need to. Go native 3D if you can't get the conversions you want. And go back to ILM for hard lines! The digital renderings in 3D seemed much better in THE AVENGERS than in IM3 and my guess is because they had both ILM and Weta involved. Assuming ILM did the building devastation and Iron Man suits, while Weta did the Hulk and alien invasion forces. It's perfectly logical to assume that better 3D will arrive from these shops when they are working within their own specialties.

CONCLUSION: Marvel needs to learn from this movie and unfortunately they are going to be happy with the monetary gain this thing is going to enjoy. Will they actually take the time to learn, or just continue on? Heck J.A.R.V.I.S. was practically omnipotent! How in the world is J.A.R.V.I.S. not sentient yet? For me IRON MAN 3 was a step backward for Marvel and for stereoscopic 3D conversions. Weta did the best it could with the customized engines they have. I don't blame them AT ALL. I don't want to see Shane Black back in the Marvel fold - I think the writing was a mess too (Shane Black and Drew Pearce) as I've already said with the story. I want to have Favreau back. In native 3D. All in baby. Iron Man deserves it.

Thank you to Empire Theaters for the screening! The IMAX presentation was well lit and sounded remarkable!!


Sunday, May 05, 2013

Stark Box Office Competition For IRON MAN 3! $175M Weekend In Sights...

Marvel has done it again. Looks like IRON MAN 3 will own the #2 box office record for largest opening weekend ever, behind - well... Marvel. THE AVENGERS owns the #1 spot from last year. IRON MAN 3 has launched at an estimated $175M for the weekend and that is something to celebrate. IM3 needs to best $169M (HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS 2) for the honor.

It kinda underscores the good decision it was for DC Comics and Warners to go 3D for MAN OF STEEL doesn't it? Not to mention upcoming movies THE WOLVERINE and X-MEN, etc.

IRON MAN 3 is also obliterating the other two 2D Iron Man movies in the franchise. Certainly the movie has the goodwill generated from THE AVENGERS but also that 3D box office take is impressive.

But that's not all. Overseas IRON MAN 3 continues to fight the good fight, with an impressive $505M take thus far for a total worldwide count of $680M! IM3 is easily in flight toward $1B+.

And here's an impressive tidbit of info: IRON MAN 3 currently accounts for 93 percent of sales on Fandango and 91 percent of sales on MovieTickets.com. DANG.

Look for my review of IRON MAN 3 Tuesday! Can't wait. Personal matters have pushed my screening back a few days but I am itching to see this thing!! Also should have some interesting news on some native shot 3D tentpoles coming soon :-) Stay tuned.

IRON MAN 3 is now playing.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Hey all, Tim here with a review for you. Iron Man 3 completes the journey Tony Stark started in the first film released in 2008, and takes place after the events of The Avengers (2012). It is a fun adventure, and a good movie. It surpasses the second Iron Man film, but isn't nearly as good as the first.

Now, I need to warn you that I am not familiar with the comics, and thus will only be rating the movie based on how it works as a film by itself and as part of the whole Iron Man trilogy. Let me begin with the story…

Some small spoilers here - you might want to read it after you see the movie.

The movie begins with a very Shane Black (writer and director) style voice-over, which honestly didn't quite fit into the world established in the first two movies. It didn't quite work too well either as it felt like a lazy way to tell exposition instead of showing it. Nonetheless the movie gets moving quickly enough, and it maintains a pretty quick pace for its two hour running time. Although the story tended to feel a little disjointed, it worked.

There were some things that were done well to comedic effect, but likely pissed of fan boys. Guy Pearce worked effectively as the antagonist, and it's in large part because he's such a fantastic actor. Character development wise Tony had better development than the second, but not nearly as good development as the first. However, what they establish as his short-coming at the beginning of the film is overcome by the end.

The performances in the film were top notch. Robert Downey Jr. owns the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. By now he's got the role down and completely escapes into the character. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Tony's better half Pepper Potts and gets a lot more screen time this time around. She even gets to don the famous suit! She has great chemistry with both Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Pearce. As stated before Guy Pearce is fantastic in his role as antagonist Aldrich Killian. Ben Kingsley is the second antagonist in the film, and even though he's great in his performance he's under used. Also, from my understanding there's a deterrence from the comics in the way his character, The Mandarin, was written. It worked well enough for the film as a standalone, but still with a performer such as Kingsley the character could have been better developed. Don Cheadle returned in the role of Colonel James Rhodes, as he wasn't replaced like Terrence Howard after one go in the role. He did a fine job in the role again, and got to have equal screen time to what he had in the last. This time it felt like he had more fun with the role. Rebecca Hall and James Badge Dale also round out the rest of the cast in well acted roles.

The stereo 3D conversion on the film was spectacular. Not surprising these days, but still a pleasant thing for the eyes. Although there were a few moments where the 2D cinematography wasn't meant for stereo 3D, it overall worked great. All the digital elements are easily rendered in 3D since they're built that way in the computer. It merits mention however that there was a clever use of 2D and stereo in the film. All of The Mandarin's broadcasts are in 2D. When they fill the whole screen everything plays in 2D, and then when they appear on a screen in a set the set is stereoscopically rich as the broadcast continues to play in 2D. This especially helped emphasis the use of stereoscopic space, and instantly became this reviewers favorite use of 3D in the film. There were plenty of other great stereo moments, especially during the climatic battle. The visual effects were spectacular, as is to be expected, and were as dazzling as ever. Paired with top notch sound effects this film was technically solid.

Overall this film comes in at a 3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars. It's graded down on the story and the small lack of proficient character development. IRON MAN 3 is an enjoyable, fun, and a good film. It's definitely worth seeing in theaters and in stereoscopic 3D. It is this reviewers recommendation that you go see it.

IRON MAN 3 is now playing.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Watch: New Trailer For THE WOLVERINE!

We've got the new trailer for Fox's THE WOLVERINE and now that I think about it, I'm really glad that Marvel was able to keep their logo and splash screen at the front of their licensed properties. In some way at least the Marvel universe is connected. Wouldn't it be amazing to have the X-men in the fold right now, helping the Avengers? Heck Spider-man WAS an Avenger (ok, a NEW Avenger). I digress.

Looks like THE WOLVERINE will have tons of martial arts (and Silver Samarai) which only makes sense given it's location.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

THE WOLVERINE opens on July 26.

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