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Aside from his incredible filmography and influence on cinema over the past few decades, director Steven Spielberg is also known as being a master at pulling amazing performances from child actors. Whether it's Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Cary Guffey in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards in Jurassic Park, Jonathan Ke Quan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun, Haley Joel Osment in A.I. Artificial Intelligence or Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds, he's done some great work with kids on the big screen. And now he's just found his latest child star for his adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Bfg. Read on! A press release from DreamWorks Studios has named newcomer Ruby Barnhill to make her big screen debut as the young girl Sophie in the story of »
- Ethan Anderton
Photographer Phil Stern, who was responsible for some of the most intimate portraits of Hollywood stars, including Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, died Saturday, his rep confirmed. He was 95.
Director and longtime friend Brett Ratner posted about the news on Instagram early Sunday.
Stern worked as a special still cameraman on films ranging from “Guys and Dolls” to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and his work appeared in the magazines Life, Look and Vanity Fair, among others. He also contributed photography for albums by Liza Minnelli, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie.
Stern also photographed President Kennedy’s inauguration.
He fell in love with the art of photography long before he captured the famous faces on film. »
- Shelli Weinstein
With this week's Sound and Visions series, Vulture explores the future of movies and the movie industry. We hope you’ll plug us directly into your cerebral cortex. Douglas Trumbull wants movies to be big again. The man who realized 2001: A Space Odyssey's spaceship ballet, Blade Runner's foggy future, the blooming spaceships of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the momentous introduction to the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture grew up on spectacle that demanded the highest, widest screens imaginable. Innovations like “Cinerama” and “Super Panavision” felt as otherworldly as the latest space satellite. When Trumbull started making movies, his goal was to instill that awe in the next generation. At 72, he continues to forge that future with a new innovation he calls Magi, a digital-projection method optimized for the eye-popping trifecta of 3-D, 4K, 120fps imagery. To get a clear picture of moviemaking's past, »
- Matt Patches
This week we received an email from a filmmaker about his crowdfunding campaign for a feature called The Delicate Art of Puppetry. It’s a high school movie focused on a nerdy kid who is a fledgling puppeteer, and I guess his two hand puppets are sentient and take control of the boy’s life. Yes, once again the puppets are evil, not unlike such cult-classic horror flicks as Magic and the Puppet Master series. That isn’t to say The Delicate Art of Puppetry is a bad idea — in fact, the comedic project shows promise for a low-budget debut — but it got me wondering if a movie could be made featuring puppet characters who are simply characters, not necessarily villains or purposefully bad or edgy, without that movie being a Jim Henson Company production or something involving the late Jim Henson‘s creations. In other words, is there a Muppet monopoly? It »
- Christopher Campbell
Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies who have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way. Jerry Alan (c.1939-2014) Stunt man. He worked on the James Bond movies Casino Royale, Diamonds Are Forever and The Man with the Golden Gun, as well a Cop and a 1/2. He died of throat-and-mouth cancer on September 26. (THR) Bob Baker (1924-2014) - Puppeteer. His legendary marrionette work can be seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (see the long-limbed alien in the video below), Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Angry Red Planet, G.I...
- Christopher Campbell
The legendary puppeteer Bob Baker has died at the age of 90.
He owned the Bob Baker Marionette Theater - one of the world's oldest children's theater companies - in his hometown of Los Angeles. It launched in 1963 and was named a Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument in 2009.
Baker, who apparently had an archive of more than 3,000 puppets, loved puppetry from the age of 5 when he saw a puppet show at a Downtown La department store.
He worked as an adviser to Disney and other studios, and was also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Television Academy.
In the late puppeteer's memory, donations can be made to preserve Bob Baker's legacy and purchase the building that houses the theatre. »
Bob Baker — the legendary puppeteer of stage and screen, and co-founder of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, the oldest and longest running children’s theater company in Los Angeles and in the world — died Friday of natural causes. He was 90. Baker, who started the theater with his partner Alton Wood in 1963, had his performances featured in films including Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1954 version of A Star Is Born with Judy Garland, as well as many TV shows and commercials. He also served as governor of both the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
- Ashley Lee
Puppeteer Bob Baker, whose marionette theater near downtown Los Angeles was an institution serving generations of kids, died Friday of natural causes. He was 90.
Baker, who launched the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in 1963, offered puppet shows in what was billed as one of the world’s oldest and longest-running children’s theater companies. In 2009, the theater’s location on First Street was named a Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument.
An L.A. native, Baker traveled the world with his famous marionette troupe. His work was featured in prominent films, ranging from Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” to Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” to the 1954 version of “A Star Is Born.” He was said to have an archive of more than 3,000 puppets.
Baker’s interest in puppetry was sparked at the age of 5 when he saw a puppet show at a downtown Los Angeles department store. Within »
- Variety Staff
Our letters page returns, with Jaws 3D, Your Sinclair, a missed birthday and flying sausages...
It's back! Since our last letters page, two things have happened. Firstly, we've had a lot more letters - we will get to them all, but we only allow ourselves so much space per round-up. Secondly, the questions have been getting harder.
Our next letters page will be our last before Christmas. Feel free to send in pictures of Christmas jumpers and stuff. Details of how to get in touch are at the bottom. But until then, here's the latest selection....
Dear Den of Geek,
I was channel-hopping the other night and managed to land on Jaws 3D. Aside from challenging my belief that Highlander II was definitively the worst major, film franchise sequel ever made I was actually taken aback by the special effects. Remembering this was a relatively high budget production, »
The soft-spoken and humble Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” also nominated for “The Deer Hunter,” “The River,” and “The Black Dahlia”) sat down this past summer to answer questions about his impressive career as part of Toronto International Film Festival’s Higher Learning program. (As a quick aside to our Canadian readers, we encourage you to check out Tiff’s Post-Secondary Programmes: “Higher Learning is a free ongoing programme that provides Canadian college and university students and faculty a forum in which to examine film, television, video, new media and gaming from a wide range of cultural, social, historical, political and technological approaches and disciplines.”) Tiff just published the talk and we think it’s worth a watch. Over the course of the discussion, Zsigmond talks about the importance of film, modern versus historical cinema, and even how he made his transition from the athletically ambitious son of a. »
- Zach Hollwedel
Best known as Richard Kelly’s go-to cinematographer for Donnie Darko, Southland Tales and The Box, cinematographer Steven Poster will conduct a masterclass on Saturday at the Made in NY Media Center, run by Filmmaker‘s parent organization Ifp. The day begins with a Donnie Darko screening and includes lunch. Curious to know more about Poster’s career beforehand? This half-hour podcast is pretty comprehensive, covering the childhood moment Poster decided he wanted to spend his life working with photography, his learning experiences at his career’s start as part of the second unit on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and, of course, […] »
- Filmmaker Staff
To celebrate the success of the Rosetta mission, we take a timely look at Lifeforce, an exceedingly strange comet-based sci-fi from 1985...
In olden times, comets were seen as portents of death and disaster, so goodness knws what they’d have thought of the Rosetta mission: the ambitious attempt to put a landing craft on the jagged bulk of a comet called Churyumov-Gerasimenko - a delicate procedure that’s still ongoing at the time of writing. Our ancestors probably would have thought we were completely mad. Or in league with the devil for creating such advanced machinery in the first place.
Then again, who knows what they would have thought of Lifeforce, the 1985 film about an exploratory mission to Halley’s Comet, which inadvertently causes a trio of space vampires to attack London - and all from the director Tobe Hooper, who brought us The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Lifeforce is, »
Jean-Luc Godard said that cinema is truth at 24 frames-per-second, but Douglas Trumbull feels it should be 120, or at least 60. The director and special effects wizard behind Blade Runner, Close Encounters of The Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey speculated about the future of cinema at the Tiff Bell Lightbox last weekend as part of a Stanley Kubrick retrospective. A sold-out audience of mostly male cinephiles and tech-heads listened intently to their SFX guru as he denigrated the standard 24 fps format of today’s cinema, though he admitted, “It’s a beautiful medium. I’m not trying to wreck anything.” […] »
- Allan Tong
Directed by Christopher Nolan
A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
A quick note before I begin the review:
Regardless of what I or others may think about Interstellar, one thing will remain constant; you need to see the film in 70mm IMAX to truly experience the film as the director wanted it to be seen. The advent of digital screening may be, to some, an improvement over film projected at 24 Fps due to clarity unseen before, but nothing can match the beautiful grain and slight imperfections of watching a film. The detail is so rich, you cannot mistake it for anything else and, if for no other reason, »
- Gary Collinson
Interstellar features Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, but it's the rare Hollywood film where the director is the unquestioned star. This is a Christopher Nolan joint, from its epic scope, its tangled storytelling gymnastics, and its unrivaled insistence on Nsa-level control and pre-release secrecy. The director, who made his name with the backwards-running Memento, and burnished his reputation with the Dark Knight trilogy and the mind-bending Inception, goes all in with Interstellar, an ambitious tribute to the film that most inspired him: Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the near future, Earth is slowly starving and suffocating, »
- Jeff Labrecque
The much-anticipated arrival of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar — which, whatever you think of it, aims to be so very, very, very much more than a “space adventure” — made us think about our favorite space movies since the one that transformed the genre, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Interestingly, there haven’t been that many such films in the ensuing decades. (We’re talking movies about space, not just aliens. So, for example, Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T. don’t count, since they’re mostly about aliens coming to Earth, as opposed to what might happen to us out in space.) We also had to butt up against our own limitations here: The vast majority of these films are in English, and we’re sure there are films from Eastern Europe and Japan and many other places that we’re missing. We’re sure folks »
- David Edelstein,Bilge Ebiri
If you say 2001: A Space Odyssey, you lose a testicle. That’s how I feel about the talk around Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar and its comparisons to the Stanley Kubrick classic. Yes, there are a few reasons to mention the almost 50 years old sci-fi epic, but there are also reasons to mention the more than 100 years old A Trip to the Moon. Those are ancient, highly influential basics, and in a way any movie involving space travel should be linked back to them. They’re also understood by anyone to be essentials, so there’s little need for my added recommendation. I’d rather devote this week’s list of movies to see to less obvious works, especially since I’m including more titles than usual with this one. Interstellar is an original feature, but it’s very much drawn from other material, one predecessor of which may have had footage directly transplanted by Nolan. It »
- Christopher Campbell
By Anjelica Oswald
Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar is hoping to join Guardians of the Galaxy, another space-related film, at the top of the box office after it opens Nov. 5 and could garner a best picture Oscar nomination. In the trailer, Matthew McConaughey‘s character says, “We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars; now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt,” so one wonders how often the Academy looks skyward for best picture nominees and if voting members have set a precedent for space films to do well at the Oscars. Though many of the voting members came of age when President John F. Kennedy said we were going to put the first man on the moon, only six space-related films have been nominated for best picture: Gravity (2013), District 9 (2009), Avatar (2009), Apollo 13 (1995), The Right Stuff »
- Anjelica Oswald
It's not often you see a movie on the cover of Time, but here it is. All eyes are on "Interstellar" for the next few weeks. In the cover story, director Christopher Nolan and Oscar contenders Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain and co-star Anne Hathaway talk about the smart science behind the soon-to-be Hollywood blockbuster (go behind-the-scenes of the shoot). "Interstellar" opens Tuesday night, November 4, in 70mm, IMAX and 35mm screens: 4k digital and regular digital will play wide Friday, November 7. Read our Toh! review plus six reasons why the movie isn't a best picture slam dunk here. Our Q&A with Nolan, who reveals that he set out to make a modern-day "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," is here. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
'Interstellar' movie review: 'Ravishing, but overextended mind-bender' (photo: Anne Hathaway in 'Interstellar') There are many intriguing questions raised in director Christopher Nolan's ravishing, overextended mind-bender Interstellar. One of the first: has a theoretical physicist ever received an executive producer credit on a nine-figure, studio movie? Probably not, but if 74-year old Caltech professor Kip Thorne were to find any director willing to tap his intellect for an above-the-line credit, it would be Nolan. His movies are puzzle boxes of plot and theme that have become grander in scope as they've become more opaque in effect. At this point, every Nolan film contains the moment when we ask ourselves if the director himself has completely thought everything through. That's certainly true of Interstellar, where the London-born director and his screenwriter brother Jonathan utilize Thorne's theories on relativity and gravitational physics to bandy about questions as deep »
- Mark Keizer
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