8 items from 2013
Odd List Ryan Lambie Simon Brew 5 Dec 2013 - 06:54
Our voyage through history's underappreciated films arrives at the year 2001, and a vintage year for lesser-seen gems...
Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke may have seen 2001 as the year we'd head off to meet alien intelligences in the depths of space, but in reality, its cinematic landscape was dominated by fantasy rather than extra-terrestrials. Rowling and Tolkien dominated the box office, with Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and The Fellowship Of The Ring earning almost $1bn each, while Monsters, Inc and Shrek thrilled old and young audiences alike.
At the other end of the spectrum of success, 2001 was such a vintage year for movies that we had to whittle our usual selection of 25 films down from an initial selection of more than 40. This is why the decision was made - with heavy heart - to exclude some of our favourite films, »
CGI effects have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, to the point that, as films like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Avatar have proven, it is possible to present audiences with a character that seems almost completely real, be it human or alien.
Just ahead of rendering fire and water, however, a living thing is unarguably the most difficult object to render, as proven by the long list of movies that have failed to convince us of their computer-generated characters’ living, breathing status.
Whether these characters fall into the uncanny valley – where they almost convince, but aren’t quite right – or are simply subject to suspect effects entirely, here are the 10 most unconvincing CGI characters in movie history…
10. Dark Seekers – I Am Legend
- Shaun Munro
Adapting a video game for the big screen is a dependable way to fill up a few of those sacks with the dollar signs printed on them. It’s also a dependable way to put film critics to sleep (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is one of the most highly acclaimed video game movies ever made, and it holds a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes). Sony is clearly after those moneybags, as the company has announced that its film division, Sony Pictures, will be breaking ground on an film adaptation of its Watch Dogs franchise. You may not have heard of Watch Dogs. That’s perfectly reasonable, as the game won’t be released for another three months. A bit of a bold move on Sony’s part – presumably, the idea of a Watch Dogs movie would drum up some extra interest for the game, but if it turns out that Watch Dogs the game is a massive dud »
- Adam Bellotto
Brad Pitt's star power helps his new film avoid disaster. So what does it take to make a genuine modern mega-flop?
You can almost taste the disappointment in the air: World War Z turned out all right, after all. "Advanced word said [it] was the walking dead. This was the giant zombie turkey, come screeching from the shadows to tear the careers of director Marc Forster and producer/star Brad Pitt to shreds," wrote Henry Barnes in this paper, before admitting the film to be "a punchy, if conventional action thriller".
As anyone who understands the ecosphere of Hollywood will know, this was most ungentlemanly of Pitt, the only thing keeping the press alive during the wall-to-wall marketing jamboree of the summer being the slim hope that one film will mount the diving board and execute a perfect triple summersault and twist, before going splat on to the concrete. With bear-baiting now illegal, »
- Tom Shone
America’s fascination with all things Japanese long predates Keanu Reeves’s backflips or the recent adaptations of Ringu. The popularity of Japanese pop culture is a huge subject and even tackling Japanese manga and anime is daunting. Experts in the fields of manga and anime will have to excuse the necessary compression needed to introduce some of the history of these – by now – inescapable art forms.
To begin, manga are comics and anime stands for animated film in Japan. Due to its popularity, Disney animation left a big mark on anime on pre-war Japan that anime and manga absorbed. Those incredibly big eyes that Japanese cartoons sport are simply Bambie’s grandchildren in disguise. But there the parallels soon end. Whereas American animators seem to be positively ashamed of the two-dimensional space they are confined to and have been searching ever more novel ways of using 3D, Japanese manga »
- Cath Murphy
Odd List Simon Brew 26 Mar 2013 - 06:44
A superb character actor James Woods has turned in some remarkable performances. Here are a few of his underappreciated roles...
If you're looking for an actor who's far more interested in being a character than a hero, then surely James Woods is your man. He's built up a body of work over several decades that has rightly brought him a degree of acclaim - Videodrome, the brilliant Cop, Ghosts Of Mississippi, Contact, Salvador, and his growing collection of excellent TV roles - but in the 80s and 90s, he popped up in lots of films that are rarely talked about now.
There are so many seemingly lost great James Woods roles, that it seemed long overdue we try and right that particular wrong. So here's a collection of perhaps the lower profile, yet brilliant, performances from his career. And this is just a few of them. »
Chicago – Considering the hoopla surrounding “Aliens: Colonial Marines” it’s pretty fascinating that “Crysis 3”, is the best “Alien Vs. Predator” game of all time. With the small addition of a very versatile bow, “Crysis 3”’s Nano-suited leading man Prophet feels quite a lot like “Predator”’s namesake, down to the lethal arrows, fancy heat vision, futuristic technology, and jungle-esque environments. Engaging in a cycle of cloaking, tagging foes, sneaking up on them and snapping their necks 180 degrees around, sniping the rest from afar with a variety of arrow types, all the while dodging turret fire and jumping over ledges, is a transcendent experience — you truly feel like you’re stalking prey.
Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0
In addition to the arsenal of pistols, assault rifles, grenades, and high explosives you’ll amass from enemies and weapon stores, your Nanosuit provides a litany of functions, including armor (activated via Lb) a super jump »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
The Source Code director could be just what this adaptation of the online fantasy game needs to be a surefire cinematic hit
Movies based on video games have always struggled to achieve a high score with critics. A quick look at the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes tells us that the best-reviewed example of the form is 2001's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within with a rating of just 44%. Below that, 2010's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time could manage only 40% despite the presence of Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead and director Mike Newell, and 2002's Resident Evil has just 34%. And these are the good ones.
Nevertheless, there is good news for hardcore gamers hoping to see their digital adventures played out on the big screen. A film based on Assassin's Creed is currently in the works with Michael Fassbender in the lead, and playwright – yes, playwright – Michael Lesslie working on the screenplay. »
- Ben Child
8 items from 2013
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