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Thompson on Hollywood

'The Rover' Cinematographer Talks Filming Pearce and Pattinson--"he's a natural" (VIDEO)

The Rover," the Australian dystopian crime drama from director David Michod ("Animal Kingdom") is a fascinating cross between a western and neo-noir. And the pairing of Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson is an intense psychological study of abuser and enabler. For Argentinian cinematographer Natasha Braier ("The Milk of Sorrow," "XXY"), this is a breakthrough movie. Shot on film in the hot outback, she helps convey a hostile environment where survival has put humanity on hold.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 13, 2014 2:36 PM
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  • 2 Comments

How Sony Imageworks Embraced Challenging Animation, Gritty Realism and Alien Mimics for 'Edge of Tomorrow' (VIDEO)

Sony Pictures Imageworks, which is moving its headquarters from Culver City to Vancouver to stay competitive, embraced gritty, CG photorealism for the first time with Doug Liman's smart and trippy "Edge of Tomorrow." Truly "War of the Worlds" meets "Groundhog Day," with Tom Cruise caught in a nightmarish loop, the aliens he's up against were a strange, tough animation challenge for Imageworks.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 6, 2014 4:27 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Director Robert Stromberg Talks 'Maleficent': Cutting Edge Virtual Cinema and Age-Old Emotional Storytelling

The path to directing from VFX and production design has certainly been a natural one for two-time Oscar winner Robert Stromberg ("Avatar," "Alice in Wonderland"). And after re-imagining Disney's iconic "Sleeping Beauty" with "Maleficent," he not only wants to continue directing but also explore new tech frontiers. In fact, Stromberg has formed his own virtual company, Hydra (in partnership with The Third Floor previs boutique and "Maleficent" production designer Dylan Cole), so he can be on the cutting edge of total cinematic immersion.so he can be on the cutting edge of total cinematic immersion.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 30, 2014 2:26 PM
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  • 1 Comment

'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Editor and Composer John Ottman Talks Multitasking, and Building a Marvel Epic

It's hard enough wearing two hats as editor and composer for Bryan Singer, but the trippy, time-traveling "X-Men: Days of Future Past" offered some additional challenges for John Ottman. "I think we both look fondly upon the experience we had on 'X-Men 2' and we wanted to relive that a bit so coming back to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen allowed us to fulfill that and then expand upon the thing and make it more epic," he says.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 23, 2014 3:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Director Fred Schepisi Talks 'Words and Pictures' as Counter-Programming

Director Fred Schepisi ("Six Degrees of Separation," "Roxanne") is a lot more hopeful about the state of movies for adults after making "Words and Pictures" and tackling the dumbing down of education and culture head on. Of course, it helps having Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche rekindling the joy of good, middle-brow drama as reliable counter-programming this Memorial weekend.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 23, 2014 2:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Director Gareth Edwards Returns to the Nuclear DNA of 'Godzilla'

Director Gareth Edwards ("Monsters") has admirably returned to the Toho roots of "Godzilla" 60 years on and made the Kaiju myth as relevant as ever, even adding a humanistic twist. Drawing on the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster as inspiration (what if it wasn't a natural disaster?), and utilizing the best that CG animation has to offer, Edwards delivers the thrilling monster goods along with a sense of melancholy.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 16, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Director Craig Gillespie Talks 'Million Dollar Arm' and Doing the Dramedy Dance

Craig Gillespie is no stranger to offbeat drama and comedy, and "Million Dollar Arm" represents his greatest dance with dramedy. The inspirational biopic about recruiting two raw talents from India and turning them into major league baseball pitchers in less than a year also afforded "Mad Men's" Jon Hamm the opportunity to show off the full range of his acting chops, according to the director.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 9, 2014 2:26 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Sony Imageworks Gets Electrified Over Cutting-Edge 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' VFX (VIDEOS)

The "Spider-Man" franchise serves as a good barometer for assessing the recent VFX evolution of Sony Pictures Imageworks. In "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," though, it's about the power to energize Electro (Jamie Foxx), thanks to advancements in lighting (using the 3D application Katana) and rendering through ray-tracing along with a more efficient workflow that empowers the artists.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 2, 2014 1:41 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Director Gareth Edwards Talks 'Godzilla,' a Monster Movie for Our Times

After "Godzilla" was appropriately unveiled to journos on Thursday in IMAX 3D at the TCL Chinese, director Gareth Edwards and producer Thomas Tull did a brief Q&A about paying homage to the '54 Toho classic while offering relevant social commentary for our times.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 2, 2014 11:12 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Motion Capture Maestro Andy Serkis Talks 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

Andy Serkis came to Stuttgart on Wednesday and Europe's premier computer graphics conference, FMX, finally got a taste of star power after nearly 20 years. It probably could've done without the heavy security, though, as Fox took every precaution to prevent online piracy. The performance capture guru showed the same footage from "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" that was glimpsed at WonderCon last week, and discussed the continuing evolution of his digital craft.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 24, 2014 2:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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