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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: How VFX Supervisor Farrar Fixed the Zombies in 'World War Z' (CLIP)

So much for decrying the "fix it post" mentality that plagues so many big budget movies. It evidently saved the trouble-plagued, $200 million-plus zombie thriller, "World War Z." After production snafus, cost-overruns, and a significant reshoot to streamline the third act, VFX supervisor Scott Farrar ("The Transformers" franchise) was loaned out from Industrial Light & Magic to salvage the zombies.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 21, 2013 2:22 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Review and Roundup: Stakes are High on Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' UPDATE

The stakes have never been higher for the Hollywood studios as Paramount finally releases Brad Pitt and Marc Forster's beleaguered $200 million zombiepocalypse epic "World War Z" (June 21). Critics are divided (see below). Yes, "World War Z" is a zombie movie. And we have no idea if Paramount will make back its considerable investment. But at least "World War Z" is not based on a comic book, but a thoughtful novel by Max Brooks. The movie is efficient, even at two and a half hours, expertly manipulative, throwing jolts and blurry flesh-biting zombies in your face in 3-D. Forster & Co. alternate noisy chaos and calm silence, frenetic action and solace, family and danger. Forster ("The Kite Runner") knows how to elegantly stage large-scale crowd scenes in exotic locations--the sequence in Israel is as well-wrought as anything in recent movies.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 19, 2013 2:34 PM
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Watch: Pitt Talks 'World War Z' on Good Morning America, Says Jolie Back to "Business As Usual" Following Surgery

Brad Pitt appeared on "Good Morning America" today, chatting with George Stephanopoulos about his upcoming "World War Z" (June 21), and also discussing Angelina Jolie's decision earlier this year to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. Pitt says Jolie is resilient following the surgery: "Business as usual." Watch below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 17, 2013 1:24 PM
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'World War Z' Zombies Reflect Pool of National Anxieties

Vampires have always represented rather specific sources of fear -- sex, blood (especially post-AIDS) and, of course, the loss of one’s immortal soul. Zombies, on the other hand, are a blank canvas -- whatever you’re afraid of, be it immigration, disease, terrorists or the Tea Party, zombies are ready to serve as metaphors.
  • By John Anderson
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  • June 11, 2013 11:54 AM
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  • 1 Comment

'World War Z' Composer Marco Beltrami Had to Pull Back "Aggressive" Score, Featuring Skulls, Emergency Sirens

Marco Beltrami
The term 'family movie' might not be the first thing that comes to mind to describe "World War Z," the upcoming Brad Pitt-driven zombiepocalypse flick that pits a group of government workers against a pandemic of the undead. But that's exactly how composer Marco Beltrami--who has worked on the score for "World War Z for more than two year--thinks of the film. (Early review round-up is here.)
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 4, 2013 4:28 PM
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Angelina Jolie Writes About Her Decision to Have a Preventative Double Mastectomy and Commitment to Family

The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Angelina Jolie this morning, in which she articulately explains her reasoning for undergoing a preventative double mastectomy, a process that has taken the past three months to complete. Jolie's mother died from cancer at age 56, and, after consulting doctors, Jolie confronted the reality that genetically she had an 87% risk of breast cancer, and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. Now, "I can tell my children they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer, " Jolie writes. Highlights from the essay below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 14, 2013 11:58 AM
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Columbia Pictures Nabs North American Distribution to David Ayer's World War II Drama 'Fury,' Starring Brad Pitt

Columbia Pictures has picked up domestic distribution rights, and a good portion of available international rights, to David Ayer's "Fury," starring Brad Pitt as an army sergeant leading a deadly mission into Nazi Germany near the close of World War II.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • April 11, 2013 11:52 AM
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McQueen's 'Twelve Years a Slave,' Starring Pitt, Ejiofor and Fassbender, Gets Oscar-Friendly 2013 Release Date

Fox Searchlight took a huge gamble picking up Steve McQueen's Toronto 2010 entry "Shame," starring Michael Fassbender as a tormented sex addict, which hit theaters in 2011. Fans of McQueen's work (which also includes 2008's "Hunger") have been chomping at the bit for his next film. Searchlight is giving his "Twelve Years a Slave" --starring dream team Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Fassbender--a limited release on the Oscar-friendly date of December 27, 2013.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • April 2, 2013 2:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment

'World War Z' UPDATE: Paramount Execs Cut Mention of China as Possible Culprit of Zombie Outbreak

As if "World War Z" hasn't already stomached enough production turmoil. News broke earlier today that Paramount executives have changed a minor plot point in the film that involves China, so that Chinese officials might look more favorably on the film for domestic distribution in the fast-rising Chinese market.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • April 1, 2013 2:54 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Brad Pitt Talks Tentpole 'World War Z,' Unused Budapest Scenes and Fast vs. Slow Zombies in New EW

Much has been reported on "World War Z"'s laborious trek to the big screen (June 21), plagued with re-shoots and re-writes -- all the while taking the title of Most Expensive Zombie Movie Ever Made. Despite rumors of conflict between director Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace") and his producer-star, it's up to Brad Pitt's to turn this movie into a winner for all concerned. And so he sits down with Entertainment Weekly (which hits newsstands March 29), and discusses his newfound admiration for the big-budget tentpole, the stealthy zombies in the film, and why he loosened up on his original political interests in the project.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 28, 2013 1:43 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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