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George Lucas once said that "the sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie", and a recent trip to see Gravity backed up by a Dolby Atmos sound system left us very much in agreement with him.
What exactly is Atmos? Think of it as a totally different way of doing cinema sound, where rather than looking at individual channels of audio, sound exists in a 3D space that wraps completely around your head.
For visual effects-packed movies like Gravity, it can completely change the cinema-going experience. People talk about movies that you "must see at the cinema", and pairing up Gravity with Atmos definitely puts it in that category.
The system works by placing speakers both above your head, as well as behind the cinema screen itself, and all the way around to the back of the room. The end result is a sound setup which lets »
Today Netflix unveils the final 13 unaired episodes of The Clone Wars animated series, along with all five previous seasons, marking the first Star Wars title to be released on the streaming service. Production on the Emmy-winning Cartoon Network series was shut down by Disney after the company took control of the Star Wars empire last year. The company then promptly ordered a promising new animated series, Star Wars Rebels, which is coming this fall to Disney Xd. »
- James Hibberd
While everyone eagerly awaits Star Wars: Episode VII, fans have a new reason to get excited. Roger Christian's long lost fantasy short film Black Angel will become available for the first time ever this year, possibly through iTunes or Netflix and may be part of a DVD re-release of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
What's so special about this particular short? While it doesn't tie directly into the Star Wars mythology, the 1980 film was shown in theaters with the original May 21, 1980 release of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back in select localations. It was the directorial debut of Star Wars art director Roger Christian and was thought to have disappeared forever, until the film was rediscovered in December 2011.
There are few directors who polarise audiences quite like Wes Anderson. While there are many who love and admire the work of the American auteur, there are also those who aren’t quite as enamoured by his whimsical, creative approach to filmmaking. However his latest production, The Grand Budapest Hotel, may just a defining piece for him, as though certainly faithful to his cinematic fervour, and full of the quirks and nuances that make him so popular – it’s an emotionally driven piece, and perhaps somewhat more tender than we’ve ever seen before.
When in Berlin, where this picture opened the prestigious film festival, we had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Anderson to discuss his latest piece. Just upon walking into the room, instantly you see the man behind the camera, as there’s a sophistication and elegance to his well-kept appearance, matching that of the hand-crafted universe that he creates. »
- Stefan Pape
“Star Wars” is always better when it leans toward its darker side, and that’s certainly true of the batch of “The Clone Wars” episodes, dubbed “The Lost Missions,” premiering exclusively on Netflix. A huge coup given the importance of fan passion in driving subscription enterprises, these episodes are more adult in tone than many past installments of the animated series, including an extended interlude that could easily be dubbed “The Last Temptation of Yoda.” Frankly, just trumpeting a “Star Wars” property is a win for the streaming service; to quote a certain green-hued sage, that the episodes are good, a happy accident, that is.
Animation — and particularly the half-hour format — has proved especially beneficial to this permutation of the “Star Wars” franchise, given the shortcomings (clunky writing, stiff performances, wonky dissertations about tariff policies) that tended to leech some of the fun out of George Lucas’ most recent film trilogy. »
- Brian Lowry
Now it’s gettin’ good, right? This section of the list begins to get into the portion where “you’ve heard it before.” A number of the films below have been universally acclaimed for one reason or another, but the focus here is on the writing. Some are innovative, some are unexpected, and some completed changed the way films were written, creating a new style or sub-genre. After all, isn’t that what makes for good writing?
30. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
I don’t wanna kill anybody. But if I gotta get out that door, and you’re standing in my way, one way or the other, you’re gettin’ outta my way.
Before he was one of the more recognizable directors in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino was a screenwriter just trying to make enough money to get the films he wanted to make off the ground. »
- Joshua Gaul
Though they didn't take the stage during the segment, there's no question those who received honorary accolades at Sunday's (March 2) 86th Academy Awards were worthy.
Presenter Kevin Spacey announced the quartet: Stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury, who's returning to the stage in her native London in "Blithe Spirit"; actor-writer-comedian Steve Martin, whose work has kept audiences "in stitches and in thought," Spacey noted; veteran costume designer Piero Tosi; and Angelina Jolie, given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for what Spacey cited as her "courageous, compassionate work" to aid women and children throughout the world.
Pointing to Jolie sitting in the audience next to her clearly proud partner Brad Pitt, Spacey concluded by imitating his mentor Jack Lemmon and his line, "That's a taste of terrific," leading into clips of last November's ceremony at which the honorary awards were given. Tom Hanks, Geoffrey Rush, George Lucas and costume designer Jeffrey Kurland »
Meryl Streep is a cinema nonpareil whose acting talent and aura seemingly can't be explained. Nominated for a record 18 Academy Awards and winner of three, Streep is up for an Oscar on March 2 for her over-the-top portrayal of a grieving, drug-addicted mother in John Wells' movie version of Tracy Letts Broadway smash "August: Osage County," although she's not pegged for another win. Finally, film critic Karina Longworth, who has moved from movie blogging in New York, to long-form criticism at the La Weekly and Village Voice Media, to book author, has managed to nail Streep down. Longworth's third contribution to the Cahiers du Cinema/Phaidon series --the first was on Master of Cinema George Lucas, followed by an Anatomy of an Actor book on Al Pacino-- takes a straightforward deep dive into ten iconic Meryl Streep characters, from the start of her career through her rich middle-age blossoming, accompanied by glossy color photos. »
- Anne Thompson
Movies with perfect pace aren’t those that move quickly or slowly - they’re the ones that move at the right speed for the story being told and the style being used to tell them. There are lots of movies that I love which fail the pace test, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Superman (1978), Dawn Of The Dead (1979), Apocalypse Now (1979) and Taxi Driver (1976).
Consider in this list - and those aforementioned that didn’t make it to the finals - that pace is not the only thing a film needs to offer, and that it can still be a terrible film even if it is well-paced. So this is not a collection of ‘best’ movies - it’s a collection of movies with great…
What contrasts. What innovation. Hitch’s adaptation of Robert Bloch’s gory, Ed Gein-inspired shocker knows exactly when to speed you uncomfortably to an uncomfortable place, »
Trevor Hogg chats with writers Mike Raicht and Austin Harrison along with illustrator Zach Howard about turning their creative relationship into a business partnership starting with the release of Wild Blue Yonder. As an added bonus preview pages of Wild Blue Yonder #4 have been included...
Mike Raicht“My grandmother is a writer, but other than that no one is really all that artistic,” states Mike Raicht. “We all love to talk and tell stories when we get together, but I don’t think that’s common in a lot of families. I spent a lot of time reading as a kid and I think it was just something I was always drawn to.” A space opera created by filmmaker George Lucas served as an introduction to the world of comic books. “When I was very young, maybe 4 years old or so, my dad bought me the Star Wars  movie adaptation »
That '70s Show star Topher Grace wanted to learn how to edit film, so as an exercise, he took it upon himself to make a one-film cut with footage from the three Star Wars prequels, which includes Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. What resulted was an 85-minute sci-fi adventure that is lean, mean and has been quite enjoyed by those who've seen it. It was never meant to be released outside Topher Grace's circle of friends, but that might have changed after a couple years being asked repeatedly about it. We don't have a confirmed release date for Star Wars: Episode III.5, but we may finally get to see it as Topher has cut together and released a teaser trailer, which helps to remind fans why »
Topher Grace‘s Star Wars Prequel Re-edit has become the stuff of Internet legend. Fans went crazy a few years back when news broke the That 70′s Show actor edited George Lucas‘ three Star Wars prequels into one movie. On the surface, the idea made lots of sense, but many were outraged both that Grace would […]
- Germain Lussier
There are a number of "Star Wars" references in Steven Spielberg's "E.T." This was both a product of the time (it was produced in between "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," at what was arguably the height of Jedi-mania) and a reference to the deeply felt friendship between "E.T." director Steven Spielberg and "Star Wars" creator George Lucas (the year before the two had teamed on minor art house hit "Raiders of the Lost Ark"). But thanks to a keen theorist on Reddit, which was picked up and expounded on by Buzzfeed (since Reddit and Buzzfeed are the ying and yang of pointless Internet time-wasting), a new theory has emerged... One that will blow your mind all over your office wall.
- Drew Taylor
Unless you're prediction-loving, number-crunching wizard Nate Silver, you probably find statistics pretty boring. But stats concerning the Academy Awards have always been fascinating, mostly because the Oscars are just plain weird, and riddled with anomalies.
The ceremony got its start in the late 1920s, when movies were just making their transition into sound, and early nominees and categories reflected the sheer chaos of those halcyon days of what would eventually become Hollywood's golden age. (Though, of course, any film aficionado worth his/her salt would have a strong opinion about the exact dates that that age entailed.)
As the Oscars tradition continued, the awards became a bit more traditional themselves, settling into a predictable pattern of narratives that have stayed relatively consistent to this day. But there are always idiosyncrasies hiding in the woodwork, and the Academy Awards have them in spades. Here, we've collected some of the most distinctive »
- Katie Roberts
Like a lot of you, I was a much bigger Star Wars fan before the prequels. George Lucas' ugly, garish, and wooden trips to a galaxy far, far away took a lot of luster off the lightsaber. Since the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm and the announcement of Episode VII, I've found myself pretty uninspired. Uninspired by the announcement, uninspired by the baseless rumors, uninspired by fan service favorite J.J. Abrams being chosen as the director. Everything felt so preordained. Nothing felt inspired.
Then yesterday it was announced that Adam Driver is in line to play the villain in the.new installment. For the first time, I felt a hint of inspiration.
- Gary Collinson
Adam Driver Playing a Villain in the New 'Star Wars' Is an Awful Idea He will never be his own kind of bad guy. By Jillian Lucas The Star Wars saga is incredibly near and dear to my heart. It has spawned childhood debates about why Luke is just a pansy with feathered hair (Han is the true hero here) and why Jar-Jar Binks is a step below that kid in middle school that always reminded your teacher you had homework from the night before. With the announcement of a new Star Wars story to begin filming, with old friends Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fischer, and Anthony Daniels as C3-po signing on to bring the story to life, I was slightly (read: seriously) disappointed when I found out that Adam Driver from Girls is set to play a "Darth Vader-esque" villain. Don'[...] »
- Jillian Lucas
Never begin a relationship with a lie. That's not wisdom I got from watching ABC's new sitcom "Mixology," which actually preaches quite the opposite. "Mixology" strongly advocates that the best way to get laid involves some level of performativity or outright lying. So maybe it's appropriate, actually, that "Mixology" begins literally every episode with a lie. "This is the story of 10 strangers, one night and all the ridiculous things we do to find love," declares the opening voiceover to "Mixology." My ass. "Mixology" is as much about people on a quest for love as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is about an archeologist on a quest for snakes. When you get down to it, "Mixology" is about 10 hateful people looking for sex, irrespective of the lack of chemistry between either the characters or the actors. Set across one night, "Mixology" is desperately invested in making you care whether or not sex will happen, »
- Daniel Fienberg
Marvel Studios and Disney are looking into developing creator Steve Gerber's Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm property "Howard The Duck", originally a parody of Walt Disney's 'Donald Duck', to see if the profane squawker has potential for an adult comedy feature, along the lines of "Ted".
'Howard the Duck' is a three-foot-tall anthropomorphic duck, who generally wears a tie and shirt.
In the 1970's, Disney originally threatened Marvel with legal action due to Howard's resemblance to 'Donald Duck', forcing Marvel to redesign the character.
Howard's near-constant companion and occasional girlfriend is former art model and Cleveland native 'Beverly Switzler', with Howard transported to Earth due to a shift in the 'Cosmic Axis'.
Created by Gerber and illustrator Val Mayerik, "Howard the Duck" debuted in Marvel's "Adventure into Fear" #19 in 1973, and by 1976 was given his own title.
- Michael Stevens
Looks like Adam Driver is heading to outer... space! According to a report from Variety, the "Girls" breakout star is nearing a deal to join "Star Wars: Episode VII" as the movie's villain. The J.J. Abrams continuation of George Lucas' classic franchise is set to start filming in the coming months, and if Driver signs on as the antagonist, he will be the first actor officially cast in the new trilogy. The report from Variety ...
By Kevin P. Sullivan »
The grant will be used to build a new arts hall that will be named after musician and photographer Gordon Parks, reports contactmusic.com.
Hobson added: "It was important to us that the University of Chicago campus have a building named for an African American, given the diverse. »
- Ketali Mehta
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