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As popular as Star Wars is, I'm not sure there's a franchise out there that has dealt with more controversy and backlash. There are certainly those out there who unconditionally love every frame of every movie in the two trilogies, but there are also those who not only endlessly rant about the prequels, but also the Special Editions of the original trilogy that were made in the late 1990s. The latter were created after George Lucas set out to try and capture what he described as his original vision for the movies, using the help of more advanced CGI, but many die-hards felt that all of the extras and changes did little more than clutter up the screen and take away the original impact (not to mention the rage over Greedo shooting first). Because of all this, years have been spent begging for high-definition versions of the original theatrical releases »
Remember last summer, when movie industry insiders as lofty as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were predicting that it would take only a couple of megaflops to bring Hollywood's entire blockbuster-driven business model crashing down? Indeed, there were a number of such flops last summer, and yet there were enough big hits offsetting those failures to wind up with a record-breaking summer, worth $4.85 billion.
This summer? Also a number of megaflops, but not as many successes to balance them out. As a result, the summer winds to a close with a total of $3.77 billion, down a full 22.2 percent from last summer. It's the lowest-grossing summer since 2005; adjusting for inflation, it's the worst since 1992. The numbers are so bad, they're likely to make Hollywood executives wonder: are Spielberg and Lucas's dire predictions finally coming true?
For perplexed box office observers, here's a question-and-answer guide to what happened this summer, and what »
- Gary Susman
We all have touchstones in adolescent life that end up shaping who we become. I’m sure we all share a few of them. Maybe it’s Holden Caulfield. Maybe it’s Kurt Cobain. Maybe it’s The Smiths or Fight Club or Ghost World. All of those had an effect on me, but I’m not ashamed to say that the one who had the biggest effect was Seth Cohen, a character in the early 2000s Fox teen soap opera The O.C.
Seth Cohen was awesome. He was awkward and read Chuck Klosterman and drew superheroes and wore the coolest t-shirts. He brought comic books, twee indie rock and snarky internet knowingness to a show few would associate with geekiness, and blasted all those things into the mainstream. »
Telluride — While press and patrons were hustling into gondolas and over to the Chuck Jones Cinema for the World Premiere of Jean-Marc Vallée's "Wild," the 41st annual Telluride Film Festival was kicking off with a bang at an over-stuffed Werner Herzog Theater for the lead program of this year's schedule: a tribute to Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." The ticket was so hot that well over a hundred pass holders were turned away at the door. In introducing a new Dcp of the original theatrical cut of the film (supervised for Coppola himself), Telluride co-founder Tom Luddy said it was noteworthy the event was unfolding at the Herzog, as "Apocalypse Now" holds a fair share of homages to Herzog's "Aguirre the Wrath of God," which screened at the fest last year to dedicate the new venue. A boat in a tree, a creeping vessel barraged by arrows, the general descent into madness, »
- Kristopher Tapley
As per usual, this story is rife with Star Wars: Episode VII plot information that could be considered a Major Spoiler! Continue at your own risk...
A few more Star Wars: Episode VII story details have been leaked by Latino Review, and first thing they do is clear up the rumor that the main villains will be called Sith Inquisitors. It is believed that they will not go by that name in the movie. Though, there will be a number of Sith and one of them may be a cyborg. But not the cyborg shown in a recent piece of concept art.
This is where there story takes an interesting turn. As we've heard in recent weeks, the concept art which reveals one of Star Wars: Episode VII's main villains is not a cyborg Sith Inquisitor as previously reported. It is actually Emperor Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious. »
Hong Kong – Thx, the cinema certification and standard business founded by George Lucas, is to open a Beijing corporate office. The move follows a partnership between the company and China Film Group.
The deal was announced at this week’s Beijing Intl. Radio, Film and Television Equipment Exhibition.
“The debut of Thx in China is … bringing China’s film industry one step closer to international standards regarding audio and video performance,” said Lin Min Jie, g.m. of China Film Group’s subsidiary company China Film Equipment Co.
The first Thx-certified screen is expected to be one opening in Shanghai next month that uses China Film’s ‘China Giant Screen’ package, a large screen rival to Imax.
China is the world’s second largest theatrical box office market and is witnessing a massive expansion of its cinema exhibition circuits.
In a separate move at the same trade show, the U. »
- Patrick Frater
The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “Will We Ever Forgive George Lucas?” — Rob Bricken at io9 opens up the mail bag and answers an excellent assortment of queries. At the top of the pile, a smart take on what the new Star Wars movies would have to be like in order for the hissing crowds to crawl back to Lucas. “7 Deadly Sins Of Talking About Pop Culture” — Also at io9, Charlie Jane Anders beats down a list of no-nos. Beyond non-consensual spoilers, there’s a few great reminders here, but every single person needs to read #7 and repeat it as a mantra. “How Getting Wild Saved a ‘Lost’ Reese Witherspoon” — Kyle Buchanan at Vulture interviews the actress on the kind of role we don’t normally get to see her in. “You have to understand, for »
- Scott Beggs
[As you probably already know, starting on Thursday, August 21, Fxx is running the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon, running through all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons," plus "The Simpsons Movie." To aid in your viewing process, Team HitFix is selecting our favorite episodes from each day, plus an episode or two that you can skip and use as a bathroom or nap break.] And then there were only two. Day 8 of Fxx's Every Simpsons Ever Marathon takes us from "The Regina Monologues" to "The Italian Bob," or from early in Season 15 through to early in Season 17. Honestly, I think that some of these are mighty funny installments for a show that went past its 350th episode in this period, but there's no question that a fair amount of repetitiveness had set in here and an impressive number of plots feel either cribbed from earlier shows, or at least siblings to earlier plots. I mean... Homer gets an Rv again! Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart a couple times! The Simpsons go to... Italy and England and China! Perhaps that's why we're now just down to me and Sepinwall and Katie Hasty giving recommendations. But don't worry, we offered five up good episodes and I added two episodes that you can skip, though I »
- Daniel Fienberg, Alan Sepinwall and Katie Hasty
First came Disney Infinity 1.0 with the assorted characters from Disney's animated and live-action film vaults. Next month comes the release of Disney Infinity 2.0 which adds various Marvel superhero characters to its roster.
Speaking with Newsarama, Avalanche Software CEO John Blackburn and Infinity executive producer John Vignocchi dropped big hints that not only will it happen, but it will likely be sometime next year.
The pair were teasing the interviewer about future developments for the game with Blackburn saying "I like your other tease better. We can talk about the future, but that's far, far away" and Vignocchi adding "2015 is not so far, far away anymore, is it?" with the emphasis on the 'far, far away' wording - the same phrasing »
- Garth Franklin
Directors’ Trademarx is back! At least once a month, Cinelinx will chose one director for an in-depth examination of the “signatures” that they leave behind in their work. To kick things off again, we examine the trademark style and calling signs of Steven Spielberg as director.
No director is as well known, nor has had as much success in Hollywood as Steven Spielberg. He invented a style of filmmaking that audiences ate up in the 1980’s, single-handedly invented the modern blockbuster, and was influential in helping George Lucas make Star Wars. From a young age, Spielberg was fascinated by theater and film. In his teens, he used an 8mm camera to film movies with his friends. Later, he became an intern at Universal Studios, and the rest is history.
Spielberg’s career started small. First he directed segments of TV shows, and then later entire episodes. His success convinced the »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
"No jokes." Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point. "No jokes." It would seem like a crazy rule to set for an entire series of films. How can you know what the tone is for every story you'll be telling in a series before you've even started telling it? The thing is, DC has taken a few stabs at establishing this larger universe on film, and they've gotten smacked down for everything that hasn't had Batman in it. "Man Of Steel" made money, and I'm certainly not the only person to like the film. I may be one of its more ardent defenders, but I'm not alone. I think you'd have a far harder time finding someone to defend "Green Lantern, »
- Drew McWeeny
Ask Walter Bernstein what makes for a good screenplay, and he’ll answer you with a (possibly apocryphal) story about Henry David Thoreau. “He was living out at Walden Pond and a friend came to tell him that Samuel Morse had just made the first successful wireless telegraph transmission from Boston to Portland, or something like that,” Bernstein says with the practiced storyteller’s delight in a well-told tale. “And Thoreau asked, ‘But what did it say?’ That’s always stuck with me. With all the technology and everything else, what’s it about?”
“What’s it about?” is a question Bernstein, who turned 95 this month, has been asking himself in one form or another for most of his 65-year career, which has stretched from the early days of live television to the modern era of binge watching, and from the lionized “golden age” of the studio system to the low-budget indie renaissance. »
- Scott Foundas
From lightsabers to Darth Vader's mask to quotable lines ("Use the Force!"), few movies are as hugely iconic as the original Star Wars trilogy. But new video has just revealed that one of the most memorably elements of the sci-fi fantasy was nearly cut from the films completely, that'd be the voice of Yoda. Giant Freakin Robot has tipped us to an interview with legendary puppeteer and moviemaker Frank Oz, in which he confesses that George Lucas fought hard to get anyone but Oz to voice the pint-sized Jedi master in 1980's Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Oz recalls: "George didn't want my voice in the beginning. I gave him a (demo) tape. He said, 'No thank you.' And in post-production for about a year I heard that he was auditioning voices for Yoda. He had no intention of using me for the voice. Then »
Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2-D2 would be significantly lacking without the visual effects that created them—and these creations and innovation in digital cinematography have put George Lucas and his companies on the forefront of technological advancement in film. On Oct. 23, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers will be giving honorary membership into the society, its highest award, to George Lucas during its Honor and Awards ceremony.
Lucas is the founder of Industrial Light & Magic, sound company Thx, and Pixar Animation, which began as a subdivision of Lucasfilm.
This post has been updated to reflect that the »
- Teresa Jue
George Lucas is among three technologists to receive the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers highest accolade, the org announced today.
Lucas is to receive an Honorary Membership in the body in recognition of his many contributions to entertainment technology, from founding Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar (which began as a division at Ilm) and Thx to advancing digital cinematography.
“In his determination to push the medium of cinema with new technologies and techniques, Lucas encountered both support and skepticism,” said Smpte in its announcement. “It is now clear that his perseverance and vision were key factors in the eventual widespread adoption of digital cinematography in motion picture production.”
Also receiving an Honorary Membership is Leonardo Chiariglione, who is credited with the development of the Mpeg standards that underlie digital video. Receiving a posthumous Honorary Membership, a.k.a. Smpte’s “Honor Roll,” is John Logie Baird, a TV technology »
- David S. Cohen
Opening with archival footage of Drew Struzan painting the original poster for Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, tells the life-story of an artist that as iconic to my generation as the films themselves. An artist whose work actually graced more films that I imagined and an artist whose work has inspired a new generation of illustrators, even though the poster medium as Drew knew it, is dead.
Starting at the very beginning, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster tells the story of how Struzan who grew up with a family who didn’t love him, his struggles at art school and his early “poor starving artist” years in which he tried to develop his art and support his family. »
- Phil Wheat
The perceived wisdom is that George Lucas lost his goddamn mind sometime in the mid-nineties. Around about the time he decided to re-release his classic trilogy of Star Wars films, only with a load of added junk that nobody wanted, and some other tinkering that supposedly “ruined” a bunch of movies that were instrumental in the childhoods of the world’s adult nerds. Han shot first! CGI Jabba The Hutt! Other stuff we didn’t ask for! All of that should have been a warning sign for what was really coming up, however, as the re-releases heralded the production of a new Star Wars trilogy. Which everybody hated. And which was all put down to the poor filmmaking skill of one George Lucas.
That’s the accepted narrative of how the creator of Star Wars went from geek royalty to public enemy #1 almost overnight, right? Well, not overnight, but over a period of decades. »
- Tom Baker
Indiana Jones is one of the greatest adventure movie characters ever created, and he's been perfectly portrayed by Harrison Ford. I love that this character exists, and I can't imagine what the world would be like without him. I'm excited for the prospect of another movie because with Disney and Lucasfilm more involved with it than George Lucas there's a good chance that another movie would be just as amazing as the first three. The reason I say that is because they are fans of the franchise just like they are of Star Wars, and from what I've seen and heard about Star Wars: Episode VII, I love the direction they are taking it. The team of people behind these movies have seen the mistakes Lucas has made, and I know they aren't going to repeat them. So yes, I believe that when they move forward with another Indiana Jones movie, »
- Joey Paur
Directed by Erik Sharkey
A documentary on legendary movie-poster artist Drew Struzan.
Drew Struzan is a man who’s name might not be familiar to everyone, but his work certainly is. As the man behind iconic posters such as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Police Academy and E.T: The Extra Terrestrial to name but a few, Drew Struzan has solidified himself as a legend in the field.
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster tells the story of a man who grew up with a family who didn’t love him, found his own true love, struggled as an artist before cementing himself as the “go to man” for some of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers. The documentary has interviews with a lot of the people who have fallen in love with his »
- Luke Owen
British actor Warwick Davis says he has “specific” fans—well-wishers who want to discuss just one of the several fantasy franchises in which he has appeared. “People talk about Star Wars, people talk about Harry Potter,” he explains, “and people talk about Leprechaun.”
Alert readers will have noticed that one of these franchises is not like the others. While Star Wars and Harry Potter have raked in billions of dollars, »
- Clark Collis
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