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Thompson on Hollywood

Director John Bruno Talks the Stormy Waters of 'Deepsea Challenge 3D' & "The Ultimate Stress Test" of James Cameron (TRAILER)

For John Bruno, it was surreal directing James Cameron's record-breaking solo voyage into the deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana Trench for the "Deepsea Challenge 3D" doc. That's because the journey into the abyss this time was real after first working with Cameron as VFX supervisor on "The Abyss" 26 years ago.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 8, 2014 2:00 PM
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How Lasse Hallstrom Spiced Up 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' with Sexy Food, 35 mm, and A.R. Rahman

"I don't think it's about the close-ups of the food," says "The Hundred-Foot Journey" director Lasse Hallstrom. "I think it's about the sensuality of the performances. Another attraction with this story was that I could play around with merging the sounds, the languages [and the tasty hybrid score by composer A.R. Rahman]. There’s a lot of different languages that are not translated, so it’s another spice, another color of the film that I appreciated."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 7, 2014 2:25 PM
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The Female Superhero Finally Strikes Back

Suddenly there's momentum for female superhero movies, thanks to Warner Bros. and DC breaking the ice with Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." This has led to Sony entering the female fray with a Spider-Man spinoff scripted by Lisa Joy ("Burn Notice," "Pushing Daisies"). No confirmation yet if it's Spider-Woman, but it's a significant development. And word is, Marvel is developing its own female counter-attack by turning the spotlight on Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, with a script to be written by "Guardians of the Galaxy's" Nicole Perlman (but who tweeted on Monday that there has been no active development since turning in her treatment in 2011).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 5, 2014 3:51 PM
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  • 4 Comments

ILM Gets Trippy with Scarlett Johansson's VFX in Luc Besson's 'Lucy'

Industrial Light & Magic embraced something completely different with Luc Besson's heady sci-fi actioner, "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson plays a badass and brainy super-gal who taps her full cerebral capacity in blazing a new evolutionary trail for humanity.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 1, 2014 1:01 PM
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'Guardians of the Galaxy' Director James Gunn Looks Forward -- and Back

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is the most irreverent Marvel departure, and, thanks to writer-director James Gunn ("Slither"), we're reminded that sci-fi can be fun. What's old is new again. But even though it wasn't his intention to give us a nostalgia trip while creating his own colorful galaxy of rogues and villains, it's an occupational hazard of turning archetypes on their heads.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 31, 2014 1:44 PM
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Dowdle Brothers Talk Supernatural Paris Catacombs of 'As Above, So Below' at Comic-Con (TRAILER)

The found-footage sub-genre has really come of age, and the Dowdle Brothers ("Quarantine") give it their own supernatural spin with "As Above, So Below" (Aug. 29). But although they were playing with an Indiana Jones-like archaeological bit of horror, John Erick and Drew told me after the Legendary panel in Hall H that the project didn't coalesce until Legendary producer Thomas Tull pitched them the Paris catacombs concept.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 29, 2014 4:54 PM
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Guillermo Del Toro Talks the Horror and Romance of 'Crimson Peak' at Comic-Con

Guillermo del Toro, who's become quite the Comic-Con fixture, hugging fanboys and journos alike, admits that his gothic horror-romance, "Crimson Peak" (Oct. 16, 2015), is the biggest movie he's ever made. "Not only the scope is bigger, but I'm going to use a word that I don't normally touch, and that's ambition. This is an ambitious movie from the thematic point of view and from the visual point of view."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 29, 2014 12:01 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Titans Peter Jackson and George Miller Take Over the Con with 'Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies' and 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (POSTERS & TRAILERS)

Despite the momentary wow factor of glimpsing that spooky stare-down in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," (yes, Ben Affleck looks perfectly suited as The Dark Knight), the real joy of the Warner Bros. Hall H panel on Saturday was Peter Jackson and George Miller geeking out about the "The Hobbit" finale and the re-imagined "Mad Max."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 28, 2014 4:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Comic-Con 2014: Marvel Hammers Home 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and 'Ant-Man'

The Marvel strut was in full force Saturday evening in Hall H.They rule the comic-book, superhero genre for movies and demonstrated once again why they also rule the Con. And Marvel didn't disappoint in touting the more ambitious "Age of Ultron" (May 1, 2015) along with the more fantastical and whimsical "Ant-Man" (July 31, 2015), which will star Paul 'Rudd as the incredible shrinking superhero. The contrast is further proof that Marvel will keep mixing it up between dark and light to escalate the danger while using gallows humor as an essential escape valve.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 27, 2014 2:59 PM
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Comic-Con 2014: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' 3D Reboot vs. Low-Tech 'Project Almanac'

Two of Paramount's offerings at Comic-Con, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Project Almanac," revealed an interesting contrast in tech approaches. While the "TMNT" reboot touts the latest facial capture advancement from Industrial Light & Magic called Muse, the time-traveling teenage adventure is proudly low-fi in its attitude toward hardware.
  • By Anne Thompson and Bill Desowitz
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  • July 26, 2014 5:18 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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