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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Ang Lee Talks 'Life of Pi' VFX and 3-D

Tuesday night, the Visual Effects Society will honor director Ang Lee with its Visionary Award at the 11th annual VES Awards at the Beverly Hilton. It's an apt tribute, given the tremendous tech accomplishments of "Life of Pi" as both a groundbreaking 3-D experience and for the riveting performance of Rhythm & Hues' CG Bengal tiger, Richard Parker.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 4, 2013 3:35 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Animated Shorts Oscar Race (TRAILERS)

Animated shorts have never been bigger. Starting today, ShortsHD and Magnolia Pictures are screening the five nominees theatrically in North America and Europe for the eighth consecutive year along with the live-action and doc short nominees; they continue to sell briskly on iTunes; and, for the first time, the Academy has opened up the voting to all members, and will be sending out DVD screeners, which will offer greater exposure.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 1, 2013 3:39 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Revisiting 'Frankenweenie' with Tim Burton

If "Frankenweenie" has an edge in the Oscar race for best animated feature, it's because of the Tim Burton factor. He's long overdue for an Academy Award and if it weren't for the continued popularity of "The Nightmare Before Christmas", there likely wouldn't be three stop-motion movies competing for the Oscar this year.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 30, 2013 2:29 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Composer Alexandre Desplat Talks 'Argo'

With "Argo" seizing momentum in the Best Picture Oscar race after its impressive SAG and PGA victories over the weekend, there's also potential spillover in other categories, including Original score. Alexandre Desplat is a five-time nominee, at the top of his game in "Argo" and long overdue for Oscar gold.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 28, 2013 2:45 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Exploring 'ParaNorman' VFX

In addition to its best animated feature Oscar nomination, the stop-motion "ParaNorman" has also distinguished itself with a few VFX noms from the Visual Effects Society. It's a testament to both "ParaNorman's" individual accomplishment in pushing verisimilitude and Laika's commitment to transcending the limitations of stop-motion...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 25, 2013 2:57 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski Talks 'Lincoln'

The stripped-down, theatrical approach to "Lincoln" allowed Janusz Kaminski to light with an intimacy and ambiguity that's unique in his celebrated collaboration with Steven Spielberg (he's photographed every one of the director's live-action movies since "Schindler's List," for which he won his first Oscar).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 23, 2013 2:35 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Revisiting 'Wreck-It Ralph' with Director Rich Moore

"Wreck-It Ralph" has quickly gone from Oscar dark horse to front runner since the nominations: an acknowledgment that it not only thwarts our expectations of what a Disney movie should be but also that it's much more than a nostalgic video game romp.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 21, 2013 2:00 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Claudio Miranda Talks 'Life of Pi'

"Life of Pi" was like two journeys in one for cinematographer Claudio Miranda: an opportunity to expand the 3-D experience beyond what he achieved on "Tron Legacy," and to convey a soft golden hour magical feel that surpasses the otherworldly "Benjamin Button." The result certainly sets "Life of Pi" apart from the other best picture Oscar nominees: it's the "2001: A Space Odyssey" of 3-D movies.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 18, 2013 2:29 PM
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Immersed in Movies: 'Les Mis' Creators Schönberg and Boublil Talk Oscar-Nominated Song 'Suddenly'

There's nothing that demonstrates the difference between the "Les Misérables" stage show and movie more than the new Oscar-nominated song, "Suddenly." The tender lullaby sung by Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) to little Cosette (Isabelle Allen) in a carriage never could've been carried off on stage...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 16, 2013 2:56 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Revisiting 'Brave' with Director Mark Andrews

Pixar isn't used to playing the dark horse, but that's where the animation powerhouse currently finds itself in this year's Oscar race with "Brave." But last night the Scottish mother/daughter adventure/comedy won the Golden Globe and seized some momentum over its two Disney rivals, "Frankenweenie" and "Wreck-It Ralph."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 14, 2013 3:56 PM
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