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Thompson on Hollywood

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

Comic-Con 2014: Fox Targets Male Demo with Firth Spy Flick 'Kingsman,' YA 'Maze Runner,' and 'Hitman' Starring Quinto

Fox's presentations at Comic-Con emphasized finding new ways of being fresh and relevant, as the studio is targeting the male demo with "The Maze Runner," its young adult answer to "The Hunger Games," along with Matthew Vaughn's Bondian "Kingsman: The Secret Service," and a second adaptation of the "Agent 47" video game, "Hitman."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 26, 2014 4:49 PM
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Serkis and Weta Talk Photo-Real Performance Capture for 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

From the outset, with that tight close-up of Caesar's face, it's clear that Andy Serkis and Weta Digital have taken performance capture to a whole new realm of photo-reality The detail and emotional intensity are extraordinary. We're not even aware that Caesar is CG anymore. We are totally immersed in the moment and from there it just gets better as we witness the complexity of Caesar's epic struggle.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 11, 2014 12:05 PM
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Seventeen Minutes of Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Previewed with a 'Cherry Bomb' on Top (VIDEO)

After viewing 17 minutes of new footage Monday from "Guardians of the Galaxy" in IMAX 3D, it's now clear that Marvel has fashioned the ultimate "Star Wars" riff. the '70s sci-fi grunge, the rag-tag underdogs, the sarcastic chemistry, the serial action, the improbable success, all wrapped around the "Hooked on a Feeling" anthem. Judging from the enthusiastic response at the TCL Chinese, director James Gunn pushed all the right buttons and Disney/Marvel should have a late summer hit.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 8, 2014 6:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Matt Reeves Brings a New 'Dawn' to 'Planet of the Apes'

No "Apes" director has gone through the looking glass to explore the human condition as ambitiously as Matt Reeves. As a result, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is the smartest and most compelling kind of summer tentpole, with Andy Serkis delivering his most powerful performance as Caesar, and Weta Digital making a quantum leap in performance capture. We are totally immersed in Caesar's struggle to prevent war with humanity, and forget that we're watching a CG character.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 4, 2014 7:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Why Mendes Brought Back Purvis & Wade for 'Bond 24' Polish

Turnabout is fair play, as veteran James Bond scribes Neil Purvis & Robert Wade have been reinstated to add a bit of witty repartee to the upcoming "Bond 24," according to the reliable Baz Bamigboye of DailyMail. Purvis & Wade, franchise staples since Pierce Brosnan's "The World is Not Enough" (1999), turned over the screenwriting reigns to John Logan for "Bond 24" after he was brought in to polish their work on "Skyfall," which, of course, become the first billion Bond in franchise history.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 28, 2014 4:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments

ILM Reanimates Badass Transformers for 'Age of Extinction'

Keeping up with Marvel isn't easy, but Michael Bay and Industrial Light & Magic have brought new life to the badass Hasbro bots in "Transformers: Age of Extinction," introducing a sleek new sci-fi design and a new army of fire-breathing Dinobots. At the same time, Bay has smartly ventured into China and has replaced Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg as a single dad and failed inventor, which also kicks the franchise into higher gear.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 25, 2014 4:00 PM
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PREVIEW: Pixar's 'Inside Out'

Thursday night at the Directors Guild, Pixar provided the same sneak peek of Pete Docter's "Inside Out" that was presented at the Annecy festival last week, except we were also treated to the first screening of the short that will play in front of it (next year to the day): the lovely Hawaiian-themed "Lava" musical directed by animator James Murphy.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 20, 2014 7:10 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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