News

The Blood Stream: Beneath Loch Ness

The Blood Stream mines the Internet for horror gold so you don’t have to, delivering streamable horror titles never before featured on Dread Central. Occasionally I’ll dredge up something good, maybe even great. To find those gems, I’ll have to sift through a lot of breathtakingly bad cinema. Enjoy!

Beneath Loch Ness has all the trappings of a Syfy original movie, though as far as I can tell that’s not how it came into existence. It has a plot built from half-assed homage and blatant rip-offs, obviously fake “location” settings, a Princess Bride synth score, and a list of B-movie has-beens longer than Nessie’s tail.

The framework here is basically a knock off of Jaws (of course it is), complete with a dopey local official who opposes preventing further deaths because it’s tourist season. The big difference is in this one, the incident that
See full article at Dread Central »

New Grimm & Sanctuary tonight, interviews with Sasha Roiz and Bear McCreary, VFX Minds panel & general updates

Let's start with Friday night TV.

Grimm 1x04, "Lonelyhearts," airs at 9 pm on NBC. Synopsis:

After investigating a strange cluster of female deaths and disappearances, Nick (David Giuntoli) sends Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) undercover to get a whiff of a hypnotic suspect.

In the meantime, a stranger shows up looking to avenge the death of his friend at the hands of a Grimm, but he’ll have to get past Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz). Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch and Reggie Lee also star.

Patrick Fischler (Mad Men, Southland, Lost) guest stars. Blastr has a first look at the creatures from tonight's episode, and you can see a few sneak peeks on NBC.com.

Sasha Roiz did a round of radio interviews this morning. You can listen to them on Blog Talk Radio, MrMedia.com and KeyW.com.

Sanctuary 3x07, "Icebreaker," airs at 10 pm on Syfy. Synopsis:

Henry, Declan and a
See full article at CapricaTV »

New interview with Sasha Roiz and the weekend monster update

Let's start the weekly round-up with Grimm.

Grimm's ratings dropped a little this week, but the show still won the 18-49 demo in its timeslot, finishing ahead of CSI: NY, Fringe and Supernatural, and rising by a full frakking ratings point (1.8) after Chuck (0.8). Wake up, Chuck.

Hitfix visited the set in Portland recently and posted a lengthy report. Here is a snippet:

Sasha Roiz on how his character will develop later in the series: "I’m not a Grimm descendent, but I'm a descendent of a long line that dates back just as Grimm does and we have a bit of a history and a past, so my line is a royal line and that will slowly unfold throughout the series."Collider has a longer interview with Sasha and Reggie Lee (more at the link):

It’s nice to see your character – like the main character – has the duality.
See full article at CapricaTV »

Meet Shannon Benna: World's First Female Stereographer

Congrats! Also, what the hell is "stereography," you ask?

Stereography, an alleged "art," is a very complex method of creating stereoscopic imagery - or 3-D - for films. The official, technical description, is:

Quote:

Stereography uses a combination of capturing unique Left and Right eye images (Stereo Pairs), then displaying those images in a proportional and aligned composition, discretely to Only their correlating eye. Distance between cameras (Stereo Base), time frame between images captured (Sync/Phase), angle, skew, declination (Stereo Alignment), point of focus (Convergence) and Image Separation when viewing (InterOcular) all must be precisely designed to create successful Stereoscopic imagery. If any of these or any other minute details fail in capture or display, the human brain immediately, albeit subconsciously, recognizes that there is a problem, Being highly efficient, the brain tries to resolve the problem by filling in the missing data, just like it does for people every day,
See full article at Planet Fury »

James Cameron And The Cast and Crew Of ‘Sanctum’ Talk About Tackling Cave Diving

HollywoodNews.com: Despite the wealth (no pun intended) of filmmakers interested in investing in a future blockbuster, James Cameron is one of the few folks in Hollywood who puts his money where his mouth is: After investing some $300 million in 3D technology developing his own camera system in order to shoot “Avatar,” he’s further funding the use of 3D by executive producing “Sanctum,” director Alister Grierson’s story of a group of cave divers who get trapped miles underground. Combining state-of-the-art camera technology with firecracker storytelling, Cameron hopes to further expand 3D’s presence in the movie marketplace – both commercially and artistically.

Hollywood News sat down with Cameron, Grierson, producer Andrew Wight, and stars Richard Roxburgh and Rhys Wakefield at the recent Los Angeles press day for “Sanctum,” where the cast and crew talked at length about the many physical and technical challenges they faced while trying to bring this story to life.
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

Sanctum: Developing the workflow

Encore spoke with the team from Digital Pictures, about their work on Sanctum.

How did you prepare for this project?

Rachel Knowles, head of post production: We met with Andrew Wight, line producer Brett Popplewell and post-production supervisor Marc Van Buuren back in early 2009. Our Gm John Fleming had 3D on his radar for a long time and we were ready to make the investment; Sanctumwas the perfect opportunity. Andrew knew he’d be bringing a lot of expertise to the table from Avatar and his relationship with James Cameron; our guys learnt a lot but they also assisted in perfecting and adapting the technologies and workflows as well – we managed to set up a 3D editorial workflow which they hadn’t had back in the earlier days of Avatar.

Nic Smith, technical director: Coming into Sanctum we’d spent a lot of time in R&D looking at what
See full article at Encore Magazine »

SMPTE symposium highlights 3-D

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers will open its annual Technical Conference & Exhibition with a pre-conference symposium on stereoscopic 3-D production, which is scheduled for Oct. 23, and sponsored by Sony and Texas Instruments.

The event was developed to explore the core technologies, applications, and challenges of 3-D and provide a roadmap for 3-D deployment. Speakers on the 3-D session include: Jason Goodman, president, 21st Century 3D; Rob Engle, stereographer/digital effects supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks; Buzz Hays, senior VFX producer, Imageworks; Phil McNally, stereoscopic supervisor, DreamWorks Animation; Jim Mainard, head of production development, DreamWorks Animation; and Chuck Comisky, 3-D visual effects specialist, Lightstorm Prods. Representatives from Real D, 3ality Digital Systems, Dolby Laboratories, In-Three, Insight Media, Lightspeed Design Group, MKPE Consulting, Pace, and Quantel, are also scheduled participants.

The SMPTE conference will be held Oct. 24-27 in Brooklyn.

Ghosts of the Abyss

Ghosts of the Abyss
Opens

Friday, April 11


For his second movie about Titanic, director James Cameron has made a film whose ambition rivals that of -- if not outstrips -- his first film, "Titanic", the all-time boxoffice champion. "Ghosts of the Abyss" is made in 3-D for Imax theaters, which means underwater cameras, camera housing, remote operating vehicles and methods of lighting had to be invented for the 2001 shoot at the legendary wreck. Yet Cameron isn't content simply to take audiences down to the vessel's watery grave. He caught Titanic fever on his first expedition in 1995 and means for audiences to get hooked too.

Cameron brings with him a crew of historians, marine scientists and even "Titanic" actor Bill Paxton to react to the awesome and strangely beautiful ruins. They explain and debate what we see and what is known about the events of the night of April 14, 1912. Searching for a way to look at the crumbling vessel not as a dead ship but a piece of living history, Cameron creates the "ghosts" of his title -- actors who re-create the historical events of Titanic's maiden voyage and are then superimposed over images of the actual wreck.

This proves a mixed blessing. Certainly the footage of the old ship, whose ghostly grandeur is still apparent despite nearly 90 years of existence underwater, speaks volumes. And to demonstrate that this is the exact spot where 1st Officer Murdoch stood as he loaded passengers into lifeboats does open a door to the tragedy. To enter a stateroom unseen by human eyes in 90 years and know that Molly Brown slept here personalizes a disaster whose horror may have been diminished by romantic legend.

But the 3-D footage of Titanic does speak volumes, and sometimes the sheer fussiness of all the ghosts and archival images get in the way. As huge as the Imax screen is, when six different images vie for one's attention, it looks cluttered.

The arguments by Cameron's crew about the life-and-death decisions of crew and passengers that fateful night and what constitutes bravery and cowardice are questions that resonate across two centuries. What might have been, should have been or could have been will always be part of the Titanic story.

"Ghosts" documents not only the ghostly wreck but how the movie, historic in and of itself, was made. We watch two little remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, -- dubbed Jake and Elwood -- as they zip around inside the wreck at the same time we see the pictures they are transmitting back along fiber-optic lines. It does take awhile to get used to watching several things at once as they float in 3-D before one's eyes. Undoubtedly, a second viewing will yield even more discoveries.

High drama occurs when Elwood becomes "lost." Its battery dies, and it cannot make it back to the sub. Cameron and his crew devise a rescue plan in which Jake will search for, then recover his partner. Moments of frustration and genuine anguish yield to eventual triumph that proves short-lived. Elwood's recovery happens on Sept. 11, 2001, a day of an even greater human tragedy than the sinking of Titanic. The crew debates whether to continue to explore the ship. Fortunately, they do.

Paxton's role is something of a problem. He comes along as a kind of Everyman to react as we might react had Cameron chosen us to dive to Titanic. He must express comical anxiety over the dangers of the dive itself and utter such remarks as "Unbelievable" or "I can't believe I'm here" every few minutes. A little of this goes a long way.

GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures presents an Earthship production

Credits:

Director: James Cameron

Creative producer: Ed W Marsh

Producers: James Cameron, Chuck Comisky, Gig Rachauskas, Janace Tashjian

Line producer: Andrew Wight

Director of photography: Vince Pace

Visual effects supervisor: Chuck Comisky

Music: Jole McNeely

Editors: Ed W Marsh, Sven Pape, John Refoua

Running time: 60 minutes

MPAA rating -- G

Film review: 'Blade'

Film review: 'Blade'
Put a stake in this genre already. The vampire movie gets yet another reworking in New Line's excessively gory and unpleasant "Blade" starring Wesley Snipes as a half-breed immortal with big guns and muscles who is determined to rid the world of the enterprising bloodsuckers.

Based on characters from Marvel comic books, "Blade" may slash its way to a respectable opening weekend at the boxoffice, but there's nothing noteworthy about this cinematic killfest. Crossover appeal is unlikely, from both sides of the tracks -- mainstream audiences will stay away and vamp fans of all colors will be wary.

And they should be. Credited to screenwriter David S. Goyer, the scenario is packed with new angles on the pointy-toothed-ones -- from serums to sunblock -- but at its center is a big void. Snipes grimaces a lot as his one-note character goes through hell. He's joined by the viewer having to suffer through an overwrought slaughter that drags on for an ungodly two hours.

The film begins with a literal bloodbath as partygoers in a rave club housed in an abattoir are sprinkled with blood in preparation for a communal massacre. Bursting in to ruin the ferocious gang's fun is Blade (Snipes), an avenging ally of us normal folk, although his mother died of a bite in the neck as she gave birth to him.

Half-man/half-monster, Blade the "daywalker" can leap off tall buildings and has other supernatural attributes, but thanks to a daily dietary supplement he doesn't crave the red stuff. His ally is fatherly Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), a normal human whose family was killed by the creeps.

When a burned-to-a-crisp corpse comes to life in a hospital and attacks nurse Karen (N'Bushe Wright), Blade's usual hard-line approach softens and he whisks her away to safety. Although Whistler suspects it's too late to stop her changing, the pair keep her around and she eventually joins the struggle.

Meanwhile, upstart neck-muncher Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) is shaking up the centuries-old vamp society with his group guzzling parties like the opening sequence. When aristocratic Dragonetti (Udo Kier) -- how exactly can one be born a vampire? -- opposes his power play, Frost rises to the occasion and dispatches the older gent with a trip to the seashore at dawn.

The evil ones are everywhere, according to this movie, with many human allies that have convenient tattoos. Frost's master plan is to harvest some of Blade's precious juices to awaken the "Blood God" and exterminate the human race. In a temple erected ages ago for just such a purpose, the final showdown takes place, but one has no interest in the outcome.

Other nasty highlights include a 1,000-pound androgynous vamp archivist who is fried with garlic sauce and the climactic confrontation between Blade and his mother, who lived on as an undead one. The violence is constant and repulsive, from such relatively tame examples as Blade's hand-shredding trick sword hilt to Whistler's brutal demise.

Production-wise the film lives up to this gem in the press notes from set wrangler Kirk M. Petruccelli: "Red is an extremely important color in the film." Sticking their necks out with gruesome success are special effects makeup artist Greg Cannom and visual effects supervisor Chuck Comisky. Needless to say, the concepts of subtlety and restraint are not familiar to sophomore director Stephen Norrington.

BLADE

New Line Cinema

An Amen Ra Films production

In association with Imaginary Forces

Director: Stephen Norrington

Screenwriter: David S. Goyer

Producers: Peter Frankfurt, Wesley Snipes, Robert Engelman

Executive producers: Stan Lee, Avi Arad, Joseph Calamari, Lynn Harris

Director of photography: Theo Van de Sande

Production designer: Kirk M. Petruccelli

Editor: Paul Rubell

Costume designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays

Special effects makeup artist: Greg Cannom

Visual effects supervisor: Chuck Comisky

Music: Mark Isham

Casting: Rachel Abroms, Jory Weitz

Color/stereo

Cast:

Blade: Wesley Snipes

Deacon Frost: Stephen Dorff

Whistler: Kris Kristofferson

Karen: N'Bushe Wright

Quinn: Donal Logue

Dragonetti: Udo Kier

Running time -- 120 minutes

MPAA rating: R

See also

Credited With | External Sites