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The Star Wars franchise is going strong 38 years later. But what about the artists and filmmakers who helped make the 1977 original a hit?
In theatres all over the world in 1977, audiences thrilled at the sights and sounds of Star Wars. Harking back to a bygone age of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, it also pointed forward to the coming age of ubiquitous computers and special effects-led blockbusters.
But while the triumphant fanfare of John Williams' score gave Star Wars a confident swagger, its success was far from preordained. George Lucas reworked his script time and again; studios turned his concept down; even the production was rushed and torturous.
By now, the contribution George Lucas, John Williams and Star Wars' cast made to cinema is well documented. But what about some of the other artists, technicians and fellow filmmakers who helped to make the movie such a success? Here's »
Read More: Attention, Filmmakers: Here's How to Re-Create the 'Interstellar' Black Hole What do "Poltergeist," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Cocoon" and "Independence Day" all have in common? Aside from alien storylines, each feature predominantly uses cloud tank magic in order to depict supernatural weather. You may not have known it by its formal name, but you have no doubt come across cloud tank magic if you have seen any movie in the past several decades, including "Star Trek," "Total Recall," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and dozens more. In a new web video courtesy of PBS Digital Studios and Shanks FX, special effects guru Joey Shanks highlights the process behind cloud tanks. A cloud tank consists of a bottom layer of salt water and a top layer of fresh water; clouds are produced when various forms of liquid are injected into tank. The technique was the Hollywood standard for depicting. »
- Zack Sharf
Larry Cohen hasn’t directed a film since 1996 (Original Gangstas), but he’s stayed busy as a writer with thrillers like Phone Booth, Best Seller and Cellular. It’s a bit of a shame as the man’s directorial touch is usually a guarantee that a movie is going to be a fun ride — think It’s Alive, The Stuff, The Ambulance — and one of his best is 1982’s flying monster movie, Q the Winged Serpent. Scream Factory released the film to Blu-ray in 2013 complete with a new commentary track from Cohen, and we decided it was time to give it a spin. It was a smart decision as the track is a fun, informative and occasionally surprising listen. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Q the Winged Serpent. Q the Winged Serpent (1982) Commentator: Larry Cohen (writer/director) 1. They had an early preview of the film prior to distribution, and »
- Rob Hunter
The Academy Award winning actor and star of "American Graffiti," "Jaws" and "The Goodbye Girl" attended the Belgrade International Film Festival as one of its guests of honor. Among the event's many changes and novelties that include several brand new competition programs, the festival has created the Victor Lifetime Achievement Award and Dreyfuss was the first recipient of this brand new recognition. In honor of the achievement, the festival not only screened seven of his most important films such as the above-mentioned three -- as well as "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," "Dillinger," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Postcards from the Edge" and "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" in the recently inaugurated new building of the renowned Yugoslav Film Archives -- but the institution also recognized the actor’s invaluable body of work by honoring him with its famed Golden Seal. Read More: »
- Tara Karajica
Disney's "Tomorrowland," directed by super genius filmmaker Brad Bird and starring undeniably handsome bloke George Clooney, has been one of the more tantalizing propositions of movies this year. This is a movie that, for years, has been cloaked in mystery, and even as the release date (May 22nd) rapidly approaches, the filmmakers and marketing gurus have been extremely shy about showing off anything from the potential blockbuster. We saw a nifty sequence at New York Comic Con last fall, with an enigmatic trailer premiering around the same time, and a Super Bowl spot that hinted at slightly more footage. Now a full-length trailer has launched (literally) and it hasn't just lived up to expectations of what the movie would actually look like, it has exceeded them.
Things, however, are still pretty mysterious. The trailer starts with Clooney saying that, "With every second that ticks by, the future is running out. »
- Drew Taylor
Homesick aliens and lovesick robots are among Hollywood's favorite science fiction movies. Pulled from THR's list of Hollywood's 100 favorite films, some of the flicks take place in galaxies far, far away, while others hit a little closer to home. E.T. (No. 8), Steven Spielberg's film about a Reese's Pieces-loving extra terrestrial, wasn't the only sci-fi entry from the Oscar-winning director. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (No. 93) and Jurassic Park (No. 50) also found their ways onto the superlative list. Audiences will be able to return to the perpetually ill-fated park in this summer's Jurassic World. Read More Meet the
- Mia Galuppo
The original script for the first Star Trek movie did not include Mr. Spock. The project was conceived as what would have then been the most expensive television project ever, with a budget of $3.2 million. When that vision died, Paramount — which had watched other studios feast on Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind — decided to make a movie instead. With a planned $18 million budget, the studio courted director Robert Wise (West Side Story), who took the job not because he loved the old television series but because his wife and father-in-
- Kim Masters
This article contains a spoiler for the ending of Interstellar.
In case you missed it, the Oscars were this past weekend and Birdman was the big winner. The Academy’s choice to award Alejandro González Iñárritu's fever dream was a genuine shock, with Boyhood the running favourite for many months. Nonetheless, some things never change, and in that vein it's certainly a non-surprise the Academy also hardly noticed the most ambitious blockbuster of 2014: the Christopher Nolan space epic, Interstellar. Indeed, I use the phrase "non-surprise", because how could it be a winner when it was only nominated for the bare minimum of five Oscars in technical categories that are reserved as consolation prizes?
This is by all means par for the course with a film that has »
Why should I care about the Oscars?
No, that’s a serious question. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I do. At their very best, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gets it right by tripping and falling into a “Market Irglova & Glen Hansard” here or a “12 minute standing ovation” there. At their very worst, AMPAS indulges in the most regressive, ass-backwards impulses of the industry. Whether enforcing asinine restrictions on eligibility or blacklisting via internal politics, Academy voters can be inept, close-minded and utterly humorless about their annual pat-on-the-back. Too old, too white, and too male, AMPAS is like a closet mob comprised solely of Bud Selig clones, perpetually fumbling in the dark for their reading glasses.
And yet despite all this, I’m still going to throw the remote through the television if Alexandre Desplat’s The Grand Budapest Hotel doesn’t bring »
- David Klein
Cameos, mistakes and in-jokes. We’ve trawled the Game Of Thrones season 4 DVD commentaries for what went on behind the scenes…
Warning: contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones season 4.
If you’re a busy Game Of Thrones fan who can’t find the spare ten hours required to re-watch season four with the accompanying disc commentaries, then we have your back. Gleaned from said audio tracks provided by the cast, crew and creators George R.R. Martin, Dan Weiss and David Benioff, is the below list of nerdy facts and anecdotes about the making of season four.
Granted, skip the commentaries and you won’t experience first-hand Peter Dinklage’s rendition of Let It Go from Frozen, a stream of filthy innuendo from Lena Headey, or the general sense of awe, adoration and good-natured mockery everyone who works on the show has for everyone else (“If only you could act, Peter »
From toilet-based scares to nasty encounters in the shower, here's a selection of 17 memorable moments of terror in the bathroom...
Nb: the following contains potential spoilers and scenes which may be considered Nsfw.
The scariest moments in horror are often the most intimate - this is why knives are a far nastier, button-pushing instrument of death than the gun. As the Joker famously put it in The Dark Knight, “You can savour all those little emotions...”
Intimacy may be the key to understanding why, in horror films, so many dreadful things tend to happen in bathrooms. The bathroom is often where we go to be by ourselves - either to answer the call of nature, brush our teeth, or simply relax in the bath after a hectic day at work. Equally, the water closet also sees us at our most vulnerable: naked, or at least with our trousers down, and »
I know what you’re thinking. Steven Spielberg – the guy behind Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Hook – influenced… Joe Swanberg? Any confusion you may have is fair. Swanberg isn’t a director known for his visual flare, but that may change soon. With Digging for Fire, he’s directed his most visually accomplished work to date. While the writer-director behind Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas may not get the call to helm the Indiana Jones reboot anytime soon, when he mentions the Spielberg influence, it makes complete sense. The camera actually helps tell Digging for Fire‘s story, which cannot be said for plenty of indies these days. The roaming camera, which suits the story about a husband (Jake Johnson) and wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their weekend of freedom and temptation, provides a sense of dread over the idea of infidelity. Even »
- Jack Giroux
Despite going up against the monstrous and the mechanised heavy-hitters during Sunday’s Super Bowl extravaganza — namely Jurassic World and Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genisys — there was a lot of goodwill emanating from the online community in relation to Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland.
Channeling the awe and wonder found in sci-fi classics such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the futuristic flick will center around the titular utopia and in a bid to showcase the rather dazzling environments, Disney has partnered with Google to launch a site known as takemetotomorrowland.com. And the first fruits of this partnership appeared online earlier today, after the studios released several new screenshots for Bird’s upcoming science-fiction adventure.
Following Britt Robertson’s protagonist, Casey, Tomorrowland will orbit around her journey as she happens across a rather unusual pin that harbours an innate power of transporting the owner to another dimension. Upon her adventure, »
- Michael Briers
In the summer of 1977, James Cameron, like lots of other people that year, went to the cinema and watched Star Wars. But unlike so many others, Cameron didn't feel elation as the room went dark and the first space ship soared overhead - he felt a shiver of mild panic.
"My reaction to it was not, 'Oh, wow, that's cool. I want to see more,'" he later recalled. "It was, 'Oh wow, I better get off my butt because somebody is doing this stuff, you know, and they're beating me to it.'"
Within one year, the 24-year-old Cameron had borrowed some money from a consortium of dentists looking for a tax break, and with it, made the short film Xenogenesis. That film and its title (which could »
The works of Stanley Kubrick have changed film making forever. They have stood the test of time and only become more important and impactful as they age. For these reasons, we honor the legendary director and his most sucessful films.
In each genre of art there are certain individuals whose works transcend the eras of their creation to become something more than just art. These pioneers of culture push the boundaries of their respective crafts to deliver masterpieces that are truly timeless. Often times the true impact of their work is not properly recognized until many years after their work is released. Stanley Kubrick is one of these rare individuals. In the craft of making film, Kubrick was a visionary ahead of his time and on the leading edge of pop culture trends that helped define humanity in the 20th century. His abilities and talents as director, in particular, changed »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
Aliens invade and terrorise a family home in the first-person horror game, The Hum: Abductions. Here's a trailer...
In recent years, games like Gone Home have created convincing worlds that are all the more atmospheric and unnerving for their lack of firearms or brutal combat. Forthcoming first-person horror The Hum: Abductions could be another one of those games.
You play a mother whose infant son is abducted by aliens. And as you can see from the first trailer below - compiled, we're guessing, from the first few minutes of the game - these extraterrestrials have clearly been watching Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
The use of lighting and shadows looks effective, and reading through The Hum's website, there's lots more to the game than we're currently seeing: the game will delve into the mother's past to find out what happened to her husband, who also mysteriously vanished months before. »
Longtime entertainment exec Alan Hirschfield, who oversaw such films as “Taxi Driver” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and held high posts at Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, has died. He was 79.
According to his son, Marc Hirschfield, Alan Hirschfield died of natural causes on Thursday in his home in Wilson, Wyoming.
Hirschfield served as CEO of Columbia Pictures from 1973 to 1978. The exec was ousted from the studio after he refused on moral grounds to reinstate David Begelman, who had embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from Columbia. He served as chairman for 20th Century Fox from 1982 to 1986.
Hirschfield was co-ceo and investment banker at Financial News Network from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 to 2000, he served as co-ceo of Data Broadcasting Corp.
Hirschfield, who was born in New York and raised in Oklahoma, is survived by his wife, »
- Alex Stedman
Former Columbia Pictures chief executive Alan Hirschfield died Thursday at his home in Wilson, Wyoming, of natural causes, according to the Associated Press. He was 79.
Hirschfield held the top post at Columbia from 1973 to 1978, helping make classic films like “Taxi Driver” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” He was ousted at Columbia after taking a moral stand against the reinstatement of David Begelman, who had embezzled more than $61,000.
- Jason Hughes
Directed by Todd Holland
Screenplay by David Chisholm
Although e-sports have long been a part of video game culture since the early 70′s, competitions saw a large surge in popularity in 1989 when Universal Pictures produced The Wizard, about a trio of kids who make their way to a national Nintendo video game championship (Video Armageddon) for a grand prize of $50,000. The charismatic and rising star of television’s Wonder Years, Fred Savage, stars as Corey, a boy who escorts his deeply traumatized younger half-brother Jimmy (Luke Edwards) away from a group home and sets off on a cross-country trek, chased by their father (Beau Bridges), their older brother (Christian Slater), and a child-finder, hired by their mother to bring him back home. Along the way they meet little Haley (Jenny Lewis) and discover that Jimmy is a real prodigy when it comes to video games. They make a stop off in Reno, »
I've always wanted Close Encounters of the Third Kind toys. Devil's Tower playset with a giant mothership UFO and of course action figures of Francois Truffaut and Bob Balaban. Those never happened, but now Hot Wheels is about to release the next best thing: a diecast replica of Roy Neary's yellow work truck, a Ford F-250 to be specific. This is one of the latest in the toy-car brand's Entertainment series of collector's items. Others in the first 2015 batch include the titular '58 Plymouth Belvedere from Christine and the black Porsche 356A from 48 Hrs. If you want those, you're best off trying to get them somewhere online, probably for more money than you'd usually spend on Hot Wheels at the toy store. I've seen a few of these movie...
- Christopher Campbell
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