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Director Rupert Wyatt's smash hit prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes is available on Blu-ray and DVD this week. We recently caught up with senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri, who is responsible for creating all of the Apes in the film. In honor of this anticipated release, we discussed the filmmakers' remarkable achievements in creating believable CGI characters, Andy Serkis' Oscar worthy performance, and their current collaboration on The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
Here is our conversation.
There is a real push right now to get Andy Serkis nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. What are your thoughts on that?
Joe Letteri: I think he deserves one. I think this is a fantastic performance he gave, and »
The British are coming!
For the upcoming spy pic "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Swedish director Tomas Alfredson manages to whittle the sprawling John le Carré spy vs. spy novel into a twisty-turny Rubik's Cube of a feature film. Not a small order, considering it was originally made into a seven-part BBC miniseries in 1979.
Packing the running time to capacity with complex examinations of Cold War loyalty and betrayal among an MI6 intelligence agency that's sprung a Russian leak, Alfredson assembled what could be considered an elite guard of English actors to fill just about every part, large or small. Star Gary Oldman, who plays enigmatic lead character George Smiley, is already talking sequel, and we have a list of all the main ingredients that have made this batch of Brits a force to be reckoned with.
5. Toby Jones
At 5 foot 5 inches, this pocket-sized performer first pricked up our ears providing »
- Max Evry
It's been a big week if your name is Andy Serkis. Not only has the British star of Lord of the Rings seen a sequel to the summer's best popcorn sci-fi flick, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, greenlit by Fox, but the studio has begun its much discussed campaign to see their man nominated for an Oscar for his motion-captured turn as Caesar the intelligent chimpanzee.
The striking but unnerving "for your consideration" ad doing the rounds features Serkis in mo-cap get-up alongside a snap of his ape counterpart in the movie. The studio says it sees no reason why its star should not be given the same consideration as other thespians when it comes to awards season, »
- Ben Child
(The Red Robin logo, above.)
By Terry Keefe
Actors Judd Hirsch, Ryan O'Nan, C.S. Lee, Jaime Ray Newman, Caroline Lagerfelt, and Joseph Lyle Taylor have all joined the cast of The Red Robin feature film, which begins shooting outside Philadelphia on December 3rd.
The Red Robin will be directed and produced by screenwriter Michael Z. Wechsler. The psychological thriller is Executive Produced by Jonathan Sanger (The Producers, The Elephant Man), Rick Porras (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Shawn Singh.
O’Nan will play Tommy Shellner, the adopted adult son of Hirsch’s Nathaniel Shellner, a famed, and dying, trauma psychiatrist who was rumored to have done some confidential work for the CIA during the Cold War. A family reunion on Nathan’s death bed spirals into chaos when Tommy accuses his father of adopting his large family of children for the purposes of dark experiments in mind control. »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
David Lynch’s 1986 classic Blue Velvet is surreal, stilted, and perverse, but it’s also the movie where his career began to make sense. Up to that point, there’d been no comprehensible pattern to Lynch’s choices. He had one unclassifiably freaky midnight hit under his belt (1977’s Eraserhead), and two deeply strange work-for-hire projects (1980’s Oscar-nominated The Elephant Man and 1984’s mega-flop Dune), and given the limited opportunities that were available at the time for filmmakers with Lynch’s avant-garde sensibility, it was reasonable to expect that he’d keep taking quasi-commercial jobs that »
It was a quarter century ago that David Lynch scored one of the greatest comebacks in cinema history by rebounding from the epic fail of Dune with the art house neo-noir that was Blue Velvet. The creepy crime flick — starring Kyle MacLachlan as a peeping tom amateur detective and Dennis Hopper as a gas-huffing, F-bomb hurling deviant — earned the then 41-year-old Eraserhead auteur an Oscar nomination (the second nod of his career; The Elephant Man gave him his first) and set the stage for the pop culture phenomenon of Twin Peaks. Blue Velvet is full of offbeat, seemingly gratuitous choices, »
- Jeff Jensen
We miss David Lynch terribly.
Don't panic—the inimitable 65-year-old director of "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man" and Lost Highway" has not died or retired, but he seems to have turned his back on film for the time being. His last movie, 2006's "Inland Empire," was an all-digital production that was obtuse even for Lynch's standards. Instead, Lynch seems more interested in music nowadays—he directed a concert for Duran Duran that streamed live from Los Angeles and he just put out a new album today titled "Crazy Clown Time."
The release of "Crazy Clown Time" coincides with the Blu-ray debut of "Blue Velvet," his gorgeously filmed 1986 masterpiece starring Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini for which Lynch was nominated for a Best Director Oscar. The story is about clean-cut Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan), a college student who returns home to the small town of Lumberton to assist with »
- Robert DeSalvo
“Heaven and Earth will collide”
To celebrate the release of visionary director Tarsem Singh’s Immortals (coming to cinemas nationwide from 11th November) we have exclusive Immortals Hoodie and Bag sets to giveaway to three lucky readers.
Producers Gianni Nunnari (300), Mark Canton (300), and Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter) unleash an epic tale of treachery, vengeance and destiny in Immortals, a stylish and spectacular 3-D action adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece and threatens to destroy mankind, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful.
The brutal and bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his murderous army are rampaging across Greece, demolishing everything in their wake with ruthless efficiency. Village after village falls to Hyperion’s legions and each victory takes him one step closer to his goal: unleashing the power of the sleeping Titans to vanquish both the Gods »
Team Film Experience is celebrating the rare Oscar nominated and winning contributions to horror films. Today Craig buzzes in with the latest edition of Oscar Horrors.
Here Lies... the remnants of the Brundlefly that Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis (who went on to win the Best Makeup Oscar) lovingly crafted for David Cronenberg’s 1986 re-masterpiece The Fly. I don’t think they were there at the ceremony to collect it but they had it teleported to them within seconds of their names being read out.
As we know from the film, Jeff Goldblum becomes attached to a pesky, common housefly at a genetic level: he metamorphoses in a major way. Like, bummer. It was Walas and Dupuis’ job to make this as grotesquely memorable as possible. It’s fair to say they succeeded.
Walas – whose company, ‘Chris Walas, Inc.’, received first credit at the end of the film – went on »
- Craig Bloomfield
★★★☆☆ Dexter Fletcher has a fine film pedigree: Bugsy Malone (1976), The Elephant Man (1980), The Long Good Friday (1980) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) are just a few of the movies on his 30-year CV, and his directorial debut Wild Bill (2011) - starring Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter and Liz White - bares all the hallmarks of an experienced old-hand.
Read more » »
- Daniel Green
Trevor Hogg profiles the career of Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood in the third of a five-part feature (read parts one and two)...
“You’ve got to keep stretching out and trying other stuff,” observed actor and director Clint Eastwood. “I could have chosen a lot of scripts that were different than Bronco Billy , that were less of a challenge but it was worth trying.” The native of San Francisco, California explains, “It’s about the American Dream, and Billy’s dream that he fought so hard for. It’s all the context of this outdated Wild West show that has absolutely no chance of being a hit. But it’s sweet. It’s pure.” The subject matter resembles the work of two legendary Hollywood filmmakers. “My first thought was that Frank Capra [It’s a Wonderful Life] or Preston Sturges [Sullivan’s Travels] might have done it in their heyday. It has some values that were interesting to »
Rosie O’Donnell may have moved her new Own show out to Chicago, but the big Broadway supporter in her hasn’t forgotten her NYC stage roots. She’s flying the entire cast of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert out to the windy city to perform a medley of “It’s Raining Men” and “I Will Survive” on The Rosie Show on Thursday, Oct. 13, during the show’s premiere week.
According to the show’s reps, Priscilla will be the first musical to appear on Rosie, a hint that there will likely be more in the future. If you remember, »
- Aubry D'Arminio
• Read John's answers here
• John Hurt interviewed earlier this month
Put it down to impeccable good judgment or a simple quirk of the release schedule. Either way, John Hurt has gone quietly viral in recent weeks. The British actor is currently riding high in the box office chart as Control, the chief mandarin in the acclaimed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. From Friday, he can also be seen as Kirsten Dunst's dyspeptic old dad in Lars Von Trier's award-winning Melancholia. And on Wednesday he'll be heading into the Guardian office for a live Q&A with readers. Rest assured we'll be checking to ensure it's him and not some crafty clone.
In the meantime we need your questions. »
- Xan Brooks
Twenty-five years ago, David Lynch held a crystal clear mirror up to the face of America. Blue Velvet, which had played festivals in Montreal and Toronto, opened in the Us on September 19, 1986. It was mainstream America’s real introduction to the private world of David Lynch. Eraserhead was still a cult film. While many people had seen The Elephant Man and some (not many) had seen Dune, few were prepared for the deeply idiosyncratic dreamscape Americana seen in Blue Velvet. Attacked for depicting a savage sexuality rarely seen on screen, the movie attracted no shortage of negative attention, but it quickly became regarded as a classic. After twenty-five years Blue Velvet’s mysterious and musical vision of middle-American life remains seductive and powerful. Its gallows humor still earns laughs, and a peculiar clash of of classical Hollywood and noirish styles draws viewers in to Lynch’s unique world. The classic »
- Russ Fischer
The raging winds and biting British chill could not keep us away from this one; try though it did. The setting is the prestigious BFI Southbank, and the occasion is the premiere of the most anticipated British film of the year, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Set during the Cold War, the story follows George Smiley (Gary Oldman), who is forced from semi-retirement, in order to uncover a Soviet infiltrator threatening the integrity of MI6.
We were fortunate enough hear the thoughts of some of the cast and crew of the film. Here’s what they had to say:
With the book and the television series having been so well received, »
- Martin Daniel McDonagh
Trevor Hogg chats to the Academy Award-winning film editor Anne V. Coates...
“When I was a really small girl I was very horsey; I used to think I’d like to be a race horse trainer,” recalls British film editor Anne V. Coates whose cinematic career spans over six decades. “Once I reached about 16 and became interested in movies, I thought I would like to be a movie director.” The shift in thinking occurred while the teenager was at boarding school; she and her classmates were taken by their teachers to see classical films. “When I saw Wuthering Heights  I was in another world; I was swept away by it and Laurence Olivier [Sleuth]. It suddenly made me realize that would be quite an interesting job to be able to take a book like Wuthering Heights and make it something magical on the screen. It had a profound influence on my life. »
Hello Hello blog readers, it’s me, Da7e.Shamon-ah! You can say that “Dave with-a-seven” or “Dave-seven” or just “Dave.” Or don’t talk to me, I’m fine with that as well. This week we’re going to talk about Michael Jackson. And I know this is a website about film, so we’re going to narrow the focus even more: Michael Jackson’s Music Videos... wait ... there’s a ton of those as well. Ok, let’s make it even More specific. Michael Jackson loved documenting Michael Jackson. Which ended up not being creepy, because the guy was a genius. There might have been a few years there were the country thought he was a pedophile (with young boys, which was not okay, instead of Roman Polanski, which is somehow a grey area amongst film lovers). Good news: none of those charges stuck. Then he died and we were all sad. »
Well, look at that: Brundlefly is twenty-five years old today. On August 15, 1986, David Cronenberg’s The Fly was released by Twentieth-Century Fox. The film became Cronenberg’s greatest success to date, and quickly established itself as an instant classic of practical effects thanks to the Oscar-winning work of Chris Walas. (Who would go on to direct the sequel.) The Fly also gave stars Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, who had met and begun dating while making Transylvania 6-5000, their first true breakout lead opportunities. Those are all significant results of the film’s release, but The Fly is a film worth revisiting and honoring for other reasons. It marks a real turning point in the career of David Cronenberg, and stands as one of the unassailable arguments for the idea of the film remake. And, in the cinematic culture of 2011, where the superhero is ascendant, some of you might join »
- Russ Fischer
Before we called them MILFs or cougars – long before – there was only Mrs. Robinson. She was a mid-1960s adolescent fantasy come true; the sexy, available older woman/housewife next door with an appetite for young not-quite-men/not-quite-boys. She became so indelibly, boldly etched in the public consciousness that the name became a noun – and, for young males, a hope – and the referenced fodder for a thousand if-only-they-were-true Letters to Penthouse.
But the character in the movie The Graduate (1967) was no exercise in wish fulfillment, no Weird Science (1985) or Risky Business (1983) teen’s wet dream. Rather, Mrs. Robinson was a devouring suburban nightmare, a paean to unmoored youth and disillusioned adulthood and life-draining, soul-killing upper middle class ennui.
Over four decades later, the name still resonates, her portrait so deeply carved into the pop culture by Anne Bancroft’s letter perfect Oscar-nominated performance that Mrs. Robinson remains the proto-milf/cougar, »
- Bill Mesce
With his stunning work as lead chimp Caesar in Rupert Wyatt’s impressive Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Andy Serkis shows once again that, in the world of digital performance capture, he remains the expert of choice.
Currently on hiatus from his work as second unit director on Peter Jackson’s two Hobbit movies, we caught up with Serkis to talk about his work as Apes, the differences between playing King Kong and Caesar, and what to expect from the upcoming Tintin movie.
Are we reaching a point now where the performance capture work you’re known for is coming to be seen as a legitimate branch of the acting profession, rather than as an adjunct of the effects business? »
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