13 items from 2015
The horror and futility of war are conveyed in terms both stilted and striking in “Cafard,” Flemish animator Jan Bultheel’s melancholy tribute to the 400-plus Belgian soldiers who fought as part of an armored-car division on the Eastern Front in World War I. Told from the fictionalized perspective of a world-champion wrestler seeking to right a terrible wrong through the spilling of German blood, this straightforward tale of revenge, loss, survival and self-reckoning gains as much as it loses from the use of motion capture: With its simple forms, bold colors, nondescript faces and detailed CGI backgrounds, the visual style blends realism and abstraction in ways that are undeniably arresting, if not always dramatically effective. Still, with enough appreciative attention from animation buffs and festival audiences, the arthouse-worthy curio could take its rightful place among the many new features observing the Great War’s centenary.
The graphic influence of »
- Justin Chang
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
The story of Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 is not a new one to New Yorkers or to film lovers: it was the subject of 2008’s Oscar-winning best documentary feature, Man on Wire (see it if you haven’t already; it’s currently on Netflix and Amazon Prime in the U.S., though not in Canada or the U.K.). But we haven’t seen that story like this before. Robert Zemeckis has been a cinematic fantasist of the highest order, using magical FX to tell wondrous »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Cinema at large generally views filmmaker Robert Zemeckis as an entertaining visualist, perhaps once pegged to supplant the populism of Steven Spielberg’s thrilling works. As the director of “Back To The Future,” a pioneer in the world of live-action/animation hybrids (“Roger Rabbit”), and a trailblazer in the world of motion capture imagination (“The Polar Express” and “Beowulf”), Zemeckis’ largely commercial, popcorn tendencies often belie and camouflage their subversive qualities. The helmer usually goes uncredited for writing and approaching mainstream moviemaking in a method largely untraditional by Hollywood standards (perhaps because many of the movies themselves are ultimately fairly traditional). Zemeckis' career is marked by films without major antagonists (“Cast Away,” “Contact,” “Flight,” even Biff in “Back To The Future” is more source of conflict than movie nemesis), and sometimes feature fully-formed characters who undergo no arcs or changes (“Forrest Gump”). His movies »
- Rodrigo Perez
We tend to identify Robert Zemeckis with a long list of hit films from Forrest Gump to Cast Away to Back to The Future, Romancing The Stone, Polar Express, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Beowulf and Flight. A closer look at the struggles behind almost all those films suggests why he might have found a kindred spirit in Philippe Petit, the French aerialist (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who in 1974 walked a wire strung between the North and South towers of the World Trade… »
An impossible, but true story, the new film from Robert Zemeckis, The Walk is a live-action, PG-rated entertainment for all audiences, ages 8 to 80. A love letter to the World Trade Center, the film is a 3D and IMAX visual experience, unlike anything audiences have seen.
On August 7, 1974 – the day before Richard Nixon announced he would be resigning from office – Philippe Petit, a French aerialist, surprised the city of New York with a high-wire walk between the towers of the almost-completed and partially occupied World Trade Center. Passersby without a moment to spare stopped in their tracks and looked up. They saw the impossible: a man dancing high in the sky, seemingly in the thin air.
Now, forty years later, Zemeckis – one of cinema’s most accomplished filmmakers at integrating technology in the service of emotional storytelling – is putting moviegoers in Petit’s shoes. The Walk, an epic, big-screen cinematic spectacle, »
- Michelle McCue
Beasts have always provided fantastic source material for horror filmmakers across the ages, whether from the mythical world or the natural. To celebrate the release of Into the Grizzly Maze last week we take a look back at some the biggest, baddest beasts on film…
Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)
Starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Billy Bob Thornton, Into the Grizzly Maze tells the story of a sheriff (Jane), thrown into turmoil when a massive rogue grizzly wreaks havoc in a local Alaskan community. Enlisting the help of his estranged brother (Marsden) he enters the labyrinthine Grizzly Maze to track down his missing wife, before the bear does. As the body count mounts, things are only further complicated when an infamous bear hunter (Thornton) enters the fray, determined to take down the bear he’s been waiting for his whole life…
- Phil Wheat
Robert Zemeckis with the cast of Flight Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
After the New York Film Festival Opening Night Gala screening of Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk in 3D, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit with Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Schwartz had to be rescheduled due to the visit of Pope Francis, the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced today, What Lies Beneath: The Films of Robert Zemeckis.
His feature films, including Romancing The Stone, Forrest Gump, The Polar Express, Contact, Used Cars, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Cast Away, A Christmas Carol, Beowulf and Flight (Closing Night Gala selection of the 2012 New York Film Festival) will be shown. On October 3, screenings of Back To The Future, Back To The Future Part II and Back To The Future Part III in succession celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original film's release.
Kicking off »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Since its release 30 years ago this week (on July 3, 1985), "Back to the Future" has been everyone's favorite time-travel movie. It's remained a must-see long enough for Marty McFly's own kids to enjoy it.
Even so, there's much you may not know about the beloved sci-fi comedy, from the unused ideas that popped up in other films, to why there has yet to (thankfully) be a reboot. To celebrate the film's 30th anniversary, we're firing up the flux capacitor and traveling back 30 years to learn the secrets of "Back to the Future."
1. Director Robert Zemeckis and co-screenwriter Bob Gale (pictured above) tried for years to create a time-travel story. The key came in 1980, when Gale was looking over his father's high school yearbook and wondered whether he and his father would have been friends if they'd both been teenagers at the same time.
2. Zemeckis and Gale took their idea to Steven Spielberg, »
- Gary Susman
In the run-up to Back to the Future's 30th anniversary on July 3, Digital Spy presents a week of special features celebrating the time-travel classic.
Great Scott! Has it really been 30 years? Back to the Future celebrates a landmark anniversary this week, so to mark the occasion we take a look back at the film to find out what the cast were doing then and where they are now.
Michael J Fox
A huge teen idol thanks to his role in sitcom Family Ties, Fox initially wasn't able to play Marty McFly due to a scheduling conflict with his TV show. The part of Marty went to Eric Stoltz, he was fired five weeks into filming, then Fox jumped on board as a last-minute replacement. The schedule was gruelling (10am-6pm on Family Ties, »
Is Robert Zemeckis ready to tap his human side again? The filmmaker seems to have been distracted and sidetracked by filmmaking toys in his last few years. There was the run of early pioneering motion capture work ("The Polar Express," "A Christmas Carol," "Beowulf"), but even with his “return” to live-action filmmaking, “Flight” with Denzel Washington, the most convincing sequence in the entire movie was the dynamic and horrifying plane crash. Even “The Walk,” which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as young quixotic dreamer with an ambition to wire walk between the World Trade Center towers looks like an excuse to induce vertigo with 3D technology. So, what will Zemeckis hide behind in an upcoming untitled World War II thriller with romantic dimensions? Considering his cast, we hope nothing. Zemeckis’ latest already stars Brad Pitt, and Marion Cotillard has just joined the cast as his love interest. Penned by Steve Knight ("Peaky. »
- Edward Davis
"The difference between traditional and technical images, then, would be this: the first are observations of objects, the second computations of concepts. The first arise through depiction, the second through a peculiar hallucinatory power that has lost its faith in rules." —Vilém Flusser, "Into the Universe of Technical Images" Lately I often find myself, usually in squalid municipal airport bars in Douglas, Arizona or Butte, Montana, having the following exchange:q: “Is there anything you don’t hate about the movies?”A: “Yeah. Bob Zemeckis.” Which seems like, I guess, an indefensible position, now that he’s burned through the brave sordid purgatory of his infamous mo-cap period and not quite gnawed his way out. Ah, the thankless fate of the pioneer. History will absolve you, Robert. But, alas, here’s Beowulf. The most interesting filmmaker of his time, Zemeckis’s 2007 fulminant data explosion & puppet show got some stupid mixed reviews when it came out. »
- Uncas Blythe
As VFX technology marches on at speed, more and more of our favourite movie characters are being brought to life by actors driving a performance capture digital creation.
Though Andy Serkis's Caesar from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Sharlto Copley's Chappie sit at the cutting edge today, in its current form it actually stretches back nearly 20 years to Star Wars's much-maligned Jar Jar Binks.
Go back even further and take into account rotoscoping - animators drawing over an actors' performance frame-by-frame - it's possible to mark Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a landmark film in 1937. There, an actress was used as the basis for the titular princess.
Fast forward to 2015, and we're now at a point where many in the industry are calling for an 'Assisted Performance' Oscars category to recognise the work done by actors and VFX artists.
"I think the technology is relatively new, »
ITV has offered a first-look at its slate of dramas for 2015.
It also teases the drama coming up during the second series of Broadchurch, which began on Monday (January 5).
The new series follows notorious armed robber Jimmy Rose, who is released from prison only to find that his family have moved on with their lives.
ITV recently ordered a 13-part adaptation of Old English epic poem Beowulf, with production set to begin in County Durham and Northumberland in April. »
13 items from 2015
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