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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Restored 'Shane' Celebrates 60th at TCM Classic Fest, with the Right Aspect Ratio! (TRAILER)

If it weren't for a recent aspect ratio brouhaha, "Shane" probably would sneak into the TCM Classic Film Festival on Saturday at the Chinese without much fanfare. Which would've been a shame considering that Technicolor has digitally revived its naturalistic sheen in honor of the 60th anniversary and an upcoming Warner Home Video Blu-ray on June 4. I asked the director's filmmaker son, George Stevens Jr., to clear up the confusion: "There's no controversy about aspect ratio," he replied by email. "We made a 1:37 transfer, color corrected and cleaned up. I also supervised a 1:66 in which we took care with every shot for optimum framing."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 26, 2013 3:23 PM
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Immersed in Movies: 'Oblivion' Director Kosinski Talks Creating Original Sci-Fi Landscape Starring Cruise

With a looming summer season packed with post-apocalyptic sci-fi--from "After Earth" (June 7) and "World War Z" (June 21) to "Elysium" (August. 9)--it's a good thing that director Joseph Kosinski's "Oblivion" is first out of the gate. This Tom Cruise-starrer about a blue collar drone repairman haunted by dreams of a woman he's never met stands apart from the competition, mainly because architect and video game designer Kosinski's follow-up to "Tron: Legacy" is a passion project he's been developing for eight years that allows him to strut his visual stuff.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 19, 2013 2:25 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Recreating Iconic Ebbets Field for Jackie Robinson Biopic '42'

Getting Ebbets Field just right as the legendary home of the Brooklyn Dodgers was the greatest challenge for production designer Richard Hoover on "42," the stirring biopic about Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as Major League Baseball's first African-American. It's both an arena and a battleground for Robinson's crusade in 1947 to fight racial prejudice and prove his greatness as a baseball player. But without digital enhancement they never could've made us believe we were there.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 12, 2013 4:05 PM
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Indiewire Adds Two Stars to Blog Network: Jerry Beck and Jon Friedman

Welcome to two members of the Indiewire Blog Network. Animation expert Jerry Beck and co-founder of Cartoon Brew, which he left in February, will keep us posted on daily doings in the animation world via Animation Scoop, while Media Web columnist Jon Friedman, who recently left Marketwatch after 14 years, brings his inside look at players and trends in the media industry to Media Matrix.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 11, 2013 5:38 PM
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Immersed in Movies UPDATE: 'Elysium' Trailer Lands, Plus Previewing Blomkamp's Dystopian Sci-Fi Film

At a Comic-Con-style presentation this morning at The Grove, we finally caught a glimpse of Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium," the ambitious sci-fi follow-up to his acclaimed indie hit, "District 9," which opens August 9. The trailer (watch below) and additional 10 minutes of socially-conscious, high-octane action didn't disappoint.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 10, 2013 12:39 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Adriano Goldman Keeps 'Company' with Redford and Streep

For Adriano Goldman ("Jane Eyre," "Sin Nombre"), it's definitely about the company you keep. The Brazilian director of photography has shot Robert Redford as a former '70s Weather Underground radical on the run in "The Company You Keep," as well as Meryl Streep as the dysfunctional Midwestern matriarch in the upcoming adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "August: Osage County" (November 8).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 4, 2013 3:06 PM
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Disney Shuts Down LucasArts and Star Wars 1313, Lays Off 150 Employees

After buying Lucasfilm 154 days ago, Disney has closed LucasArts, laying off 150 employees. This is on the heels of cancelling The Clone Wars animated TV series on Cartoon Network and laying off animators at Lucasfilm. This means we will not be seeing the darker and edgier next-gen shooter game, Star Wars 1313, featuring higher quality performance-captured animation from Lucasfilm Animation and VFX from Industrial Light & Magic.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 4, 2013 12:36 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Stepping Up the VFX for 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'

After viewing the bang-bang antics of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," it made perfect sense that Jon Chu became the director. His dance experience with "Step Up 2: The Streets" and "Step Up 3D" provided the perfect training for the choreographed action he devised for the "G.I. Joe" sequel starring newcomers Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock and Bruce Willis as the original Joe. The stealthy overthrow of Cobra after the Joes have been decimated and disgraced involves a series of escapades that are as remarkable for their balletic brilliance as their explosive firepower.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 29, 2013 2:55 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Exclusive Early Peek at Blue Sky's Star-Studded 'Epic' -- 'Avatar' Meets 'Gladiator'

Blue Sky founder and director Chris Wedge recently gave a sneak peek of his latest animated feature, "Epic" (May 24), at Fox (you can view the new trailer below). It's certainly no "FernGully," and it's a far cry from "Ice Age" and everything else Blue Sky has ever made. It's more like "Avatar" meets "Gladiator," if you had to pin it down.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 22, 2013 4:03 PM
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Finally: Union Talk at VFX Town Hall

Not surprisingly, talk of unionization and a trade association dominated the international Pi Day VFX town hall meetings on Thursday in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Vancouver, and Wellington. Everyone agrees that the VFX industry has reached a tipping point and that the business model with the studios must change.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 16, 2013 6:10 PM
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